A great family long weekend in pics.

So, what did I do whilst I was internetless and away from you all?

I hugged my daughter a lot.

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I watched as she prepared the most delicious breakfasts in her beautiful kitchen.

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She makes the best roasted tomatoes I’ve ever tasted.

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I love smoked salmon for breakfast, or any meal, for that matter.

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The weather was really warm and sunny, so each morning, we sat outside to eat.

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On Saturday we went to the truly amazing ‘Body Worlds’ exhibition in Johannesburg.

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I had to poke my face through the holes for a couple of photos, just so that you could see what I would look like with no skin on.

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I could run with the best of them. :)

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Body Worlds is the first anatomical exhibition of its kind to display real human bodies, and it was an absolute education,  and really fascinating to take a peek under the skin to see how our bodies are made. All the bodies and body parts are real, and have been plastinated to reveal the inner anatomical structures. No photos were allowed inside the exhibition, but I got these from The Guardian’s UK site. The first one here gave us a bit of a shock as we came around the last corner before the exit. There was a warning for anyone under 16-years-of-age, but our grandkids weren’t at all phased.  It brought to mind that old song, “I’ve got you under my skin.” :)

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The exhibits were really riveting, in a ghoulish sort of way. The worst was a human head which had been sliced down the middle to show all the contents. The skin was still in place, and it even had eyelashes. I half expected the eyes to open at any moment, so didn’t pause there for more than a few seconds.

On Sunday we went to the Teatro at Montecasino, to see ‘Jersey Boys’.

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What a fabulous show, and it was so interesting to find out the story behind the singing sensation Frankie Valli and his group ‘The Four Seasons’. I had no idea that they had such a turbulent relationship, not only with one another, but also with the police. This photo was taken as they were performing that lovely song, “You’re just too good to be true.”

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We ate out every night except one, and my favourite was the Yamazaki sushi bar, where we sat around, watching the sushi being made. It was an ‘eat as much as you like’ buffet, and I was amazed at how soon my tummy told me it was getting full. :(  It must have been the delicious Spring Rolls we had to start with.

I paid a visit to one of my dearest friends, who lives in a little cottage with a beautiful garden.

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Just look at the size of the buds on her Cymbidiums! She has really green fingers.

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All too soon it was time pack up and head for home, so after many hugs and kisses, we were on the road again. The weather was still wonderfully sunny and warm, and the sky was a dazzling blue, as we drove back through the autumn landscape.

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We stopped to fill up with gas at a garage which had a couple of antique vehicles parked outside.

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Once back in our own province, the contrast of the lush green grass, as opposed to the brown of the much drier Freestate, was so noticeable.

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and the more we drove, the greener it got. We don’t really have a winter here. It always looks much the same; blue sky and lots of greenery.

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Tomorrow we’ll be off up the hill again, to see my sister and mom, and on Sunday, I’ll be playing the piano at our local mall. Happy weekend to you all. Have a great one.

Home again with great memories.

We have just arrived back home, after a 7 hour drive from Johannesburg. We left quite late, as we attended our granddaughter’s ‘Brilliance Award’ ceremony and stayed for a delicious lunch afterwards. She achieved the highest mark in South Africa for her sociology exam. Her college did so well and had 14 students who were given this award in different subjects. Her younger brother was sitting behind us, cheering her on as she went up to accept her certificate. She has two more years of schooling, and is hoping  to study medicine at one of the top universities in England when she graduates from college.

Our drive back was thankfully uneventful, although we did see some insane driving along the way. I wish people would realise that a car isn’t a fun toy, but a lethal weapon, when driven recklessly. The winter dryness was very evident as we drove through the Free State, but the scenery was still really beautiful.

Our son and his daughter Sienna got back to New Jersey today, and he sent me a message saying, “Had a decent flight home, except for the giant Croatian cruise captain who kept falling asleep on my shoulder; definitely something to be said for travelling business class.” :) He went on to say how much he enjoyed his trip out to see us all, and that it was “the trip of a lifetime.”

I have wonderful memories, lots of photos, and a pair of tiny purple socks which need washing, to remind me of their visit. ;)

Now all that remains, is for me to finish unpacking,  load the washing machine, and then it’s off to bed. Tomorrow I’ll attempt to catch up with you all, as I wade through my 300+ emails. ;) I also have lots of photos to share over the next few days.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of flight delays and baking cookies.

Last night, we had just got into bed when the phone rang. It was our son calling from Paris to say that their night flight had been cancelled, because the plane had been delayed, and so of course he was going to miss his connecting flights in South Africa. Air France gave the reason for the delay as snow, which seemed very strange, as the plane was actually coming into Paris from China, where it’s mid summer. We  decided that it was all a ‘cock and bull’ story, and that the flight just wasn’t full enough, and by blaming weather conditions, they wouldn’t have to compensate anyone for the inconvenience. Apparently they were most unhelpful. The line was impossible, so we ended up chatting backwards and forwards on Whatsapp until almost  11-30pm here.

They did have a wonderful day in Paris, and of course Sienna had her first visit to the Eiffel Tower.

That song, “On a clear day, you can see forever,” came to mind when I saw this photo of her at the top.

They are on the plane now, winging their way to South Africa. They’re booked on the last flight from Johannesburg to Cape Town, where a good friend is meeting them. It will be a close thing, and I hope they make it through passport control, baggage claim and through to domestic check-in on time.

I’m so excited now that their arrival is so close. I’ve been trying to take my mind off it by keeping busy doing housework, baking decadent chocolate brownies,

and my famous banana walnut muffins.

Please help yourself; I can always make more. :D

 

 

 

Weekend theme: Things that make me happy.

My friend, Viewfromtheside’s weekend theme, “Things that make me happy,” had me immediately thinking of that lovely John Denver song from 1971.

Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy
Sunshine in my eyes can make me cry
Sunshine on the water looks so lovely
Sunshine almost always makes me high.

It’s been on my mind for the whole of the weekend, so I played it today at the Mall, just to get it out of my system.  Playing piano is something that does make me very happy indeed, especially if people are listening and enjoying my music.

I’m generally a very happy person, but at the moment I’m especially happy and excited because next week Monday, our son will be arriving from New York to visit family and friends in South Africa. He’s bringing the oldest of his little girls with him. She’s almost seven, and will feel so special to be travelling all that way with her dad.

We’ll all have a lovely family time down here with my mom, sister and her family, and then we’ll be off to Johannesburg to see my daughter and her two children. There’s also going to be a big party with all my son’s South African friends, of which there are many. So all in all, it promises to be a very happy time indeed.

Home again, home again, jiggety-jig. ;)

Here I am back home again in South Africa. It’s winter here and I was surprised at how cold it was when we touched down at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo airport at 7am. Some people on our flight were still dressed in shorts, sandals and T-shirts, and were shivering as they waited for their baggage, which they would no doubt open up and grab some warmer clothing as soon as possible.

International departures at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport, was quite spectacular. We had an awfully long wait for our flight to SA, and weren’t sure whether to go through security early, as we didn’t know what facilities were waiting on the other side. Sometimes you go through, and all there is there, are just uncomfortable waiting areas. Hubby asked one of the airport staff if there were more shops on the other side, and he smiled as he answered in the affirmative. Well, he certainly wasn’t lying, as after passing through the gate, we were met by a massive array of fancy stores and restaurants, almost as big as a small town. Every designer shop was represented, and we could have spent a large fortune if we had one to spare. ;) There were wondrous creations to see all around us, and we so enjoyed admiring all of these, as well as the beautiful orchid displays.


We had lunch and then found something to take home for my mom, but still had almost 8 hours to wait until our flight at 1-15am, so we settled down to read and wait. By the time our flight came up, we were both more than ready for bed, and we still had an 11 hour flight, plus another one from Jo’burg to Durban. At such times, I just resign myself to my fate, and the phrase, “This too shall pass,”  plays itself over and over in my head.

I did get a shot of the rainbow over Phuket as we left for Bangkok.

The night passed very slowly indeed, and it was such a relief when the lights came on and I realised that there were only a couple of hours left. This was the first time ever, that I’ve been awake in time to get a sunrise photo.

By the time we eventually arrived home, I was ‘finished’, but still managed to unpack whilst the water was heating up for a very welcome bath. I made some delicious butternut soup for supper, and then it was absolute bliss to get into our own bed and sleep for almost 9 hours. It rained for most of the night, and today is cool and grey, but I’ve had that old Frank Sinatra song playing in my mind today, “It’s nice to go travelling………but it’s so much nicer to come home.”

Wonderful wild animal sightings in Johannesburg. ;)

Hi again everybody. I was internet-less whilst away in Johannesburg, but I was having so much fun that I wouldn’t have had time to blog anyway. My Mom was so excited when we arrived on Thursday morning to pick her up for the journey, which was to last for over seven hours. Who would have guessed that anyone could be so happy, sitting in the back of our Jeep for all that time? She is such a positive person, and takes nothing for granted. She remarked on the wonderful cloud formations, the beauty of the countryside, the awesomeness of the rock formations, the prettiness of the Cosmos flowers at the side of the road, and even the good state of the roads. When we stopped for lunch, she laughed and joked all through the meal and seemed to thoroughly enjoy every mouthful, even though it wasn’t fancy at all. When I’m with my Mom, I also seem to see everything through rose-coloured spectacles.

Arriving at our daughter’s house, we were all enveloped in hugs and kisses. It was so great to see them again. Our two grandchildren seem so tall all of a sudden, and our grandson has acquired this amazingly deep voice since the last time we saw him. Mom was given a guided tour of their beautiful house, all the while exclaiming that she would surely get lost in it, and suggesting that someone tie a piece of string around her arm and secure the other end to her bedroom door so that she could find her way back there. Laughing The evening meal was really delicious and we sat around the table chatting and laughing for a long while. Of course, mom was the centre of attention and  loved every moment.

The following day, we all went to the Rhino and Lion Park, just outside Johannesburg, where we had a game viewing drive booked. Of course, ‘Great Gran’ was seated next to the young game ranger, and even from that seat, she entertained us all.

At one point, she exclaimed, “What’s that moving in the distance, over there?” We all looked of course, not wanting to miss seeing anything, and my daughter said, “Yes, I see it. It’s black.” The ranger smiled, and  said, “It’s a car, but I can’t tell what make it is.” I suggested it might be a Jaguar. More laughter ensued.

We didn’t see the wild dogs, but we did see the gruesome remnant of their last feast.

The white Lions were just sitting waiting for us, and the male posed very nicely, together with his two wives.


This Cheetah was lounging right at the side of the road, and hardly acknowledged our presence. A very cool cat indeed.

Here is GT, the King of the Brown Lions, and looking very superior indeed.

He is called “GT” because, according to our guide, he has popped many Goodyear tyres on the private vehicles of tourists. Our ranger explained that he can smell the urine of the owners’ pet dogs, who have used the tyres as a toilet, and so he attacks the tyres to mark his territory. That must be quite scary for the occupants when it happens.

Sadly, we were told that one of the other two male lions will become the dominant one before too long, but to achieve this, he will have to kill GT. Cry

We saw so many animals, too numerous to show you. These Blue Wildebeest which can weigh up to 250kg had set up a creche for their young, and take it in turns to look after and protect them, whilst the others go out hunting for food.

After our drive, we visited the animal creche, and chose to go into the ‘White Bengal Tiger’ enclosure. These beautiful and rare creatures have the most beautiful blue eyes. Their unusual white pigmentation is caused by a recessive gene. Our two grandchildren loved stroking their soft fur.

This one took a real fancy to our granddaughter’s long blonde hair and wanted to get as close as possible to her, for a hug. She had a couple of small scratches on her arm, and a goodly amount of tiger drool in her hair.

It was a really fantastic day; the ranger was so knowledgeable, and we were out with him for almost three hours, instead of the two which he was supposed to give us. Lots of really great memories were made that day, and I’m sure that as you’re reading this, my mom is regaling her friends with all the details.

Tomorrow, I’ll tell you a bit more about our Easter weekend.. Have a great day everyone. Chat again soon.