Side View’s challenge. “Impossible.”

“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. ”  ~ Dalai Lama

Sidey’s challenge for this week, is “Impossible.” I’m sure we’ve all surprised ourselves at some time, by achieving or doing something which we would never have thought possible. I suppose, the trick is to believe that we can, and if we think we can, then it’s very likely that we will manage it somehow.

Henry Ford, the founder of the Ford Motor Company, and the creative force behind an industry of unprecedented size and wealth that in only a few decades permanently changed the economic and social character of the United States, once said, “Whether you think you can or you can’t, either way, you’re right.” Not everyone can aspire to be as famous or wealthy as he, or other such entrepreneurs, like for example, Richard Branson and Bill Gates, but in our own way we can make our dreams come true with a positive attitude and hard work.

The beautiful actress, Audrey Hepburn is credited with this quote, and it’s very true, isn’t it?

We all feel at times that what we wish for is beyond our reach, but if you keep striving towards your goal, it’s more than possible that you’ll get there one day. Sometimes the only thing needed to make the impossible dream come true, is patience. Often, we give up too soon, and maybe, just before our dream was about to be realized.

Have a great day, everyone. Chat again soon.

Visit to awesome Chichén Itzá, Cancun.

In 2007, we visited Cancun on the Yucatan Peninsula. This holiday holds many happy memories, and I was looking through the photos yesterday. We stayed at the Club Med resort, and much of the holiday was spent relaxing like this,

but we did go out to do a bit of exploring too. Our day trip to the Mayan ruins at Chichén Itzá, was really awesome, and something which I’ll never forget.

The Maya who settled in Chichén (Spanish for ‘the mouth of the well’), around 550AD, are credited with an advanced and brilliant knowledge of astronomy, The most famous structure which is believed to have been built before 800 AD, is the Temple of Kulkulkan, renamed ‘El Castillo’ by the Spanish. This seventy-eight hundred foot tall pyramid, is actually a solar calendar with which the Maya worked out exactly when to plant their crops. There are ninety-one steps on each side, and another step up to the roof altar, and every day, the shadows fall upon a different step.

Another of the main attractions, is ‘El Caracol’ (conch shell, or snail). This is a giant observatory dome where many rituals and celebrations were performed. The dome has numerous windows, and stars can be seen through different windows on specific days of the year. This structure is quite a wonder of both astronomy and engineering, because as you can imagine, creating a stone dome with windows at such accurately precise points, must have taken an enormous amount of time and skill.

Here is the entrance to the ‘Great Ball Court’, and the building in which the dignitaries would most probably sit to watch the games.

There are many ball courts in Mexico, as they were an important part of every Mayan city, and were designed much like today’s soccer pitches. Raised stone hoops, 23 feet above the ground, were placed at each end, and the Maya would play a game which was a sort of cross between soccer and basketball.

They used a small, hard rubber ball, and the players had to keep the ball in the air, using any part of their bodies, except for hands, feet and calves, the aim being to get the ball through the stone hoops. This was an extremely brutal blood sport and they played to the death. Legend has it that the captain of the winning team, presented his head to the losing captain, who then decapitated him. While this may seem a strange reward, the Maya believed this to be the ultimate honour. The winning captain was getting a direct ticket to heaven instead of having to go through the thirteen steps that the Maya believed they had to go through in order to reach Paradise. I don’t know how true this is, but if were me, I’d make sure I was on the losing side. Wink That wouldn’t work either though, as I also read that the losing team was sacrificed to the gods. So either way, you couldn’t win. Undecided

To the north-east of the pyramid, is the ‘Templo de los Guerreros’, the temple of the warriors complex, which consists of a large stepped pyramid fronted and flanked by rows of carved columns depicting warriors.

There are a thousand of these columns, and I couldn’t resist putting this photo in, because it’s not every day that a person gets to play hide and seek around Mayan ruins, is it? Laughing

It was a wonderful visit, as there was so much to see, and although I have dozens of photos,  I’ve only shared a few of the more interesting ones with you. I hope you enjoyed looking at them.
Have a great weekend, everyone. Chat again soon.

AD gets silicone implants. ;)

Hahaha…….. I thought that title might grab your attention. Laughing I’m afraid that I have to disappoint you though. They weren’t THAT sort of silicone implants. I went for my appointment with the eye specialist yesterday morning, hoping that he would say that I could start wearing my contact lenses again. When I walked into his consulting room, he asked. “So, how have you been?” “Highly irritated!” was my quick reply. He laughed and said, “Oh, you mean walking around without your lenses in?” He understood completely, and that was rather comforting. I had more tests, and he said that my eyes are 100% better than they were last week, but I must still continue with the drops and antibiotics, and I have to be patient without my contacts for another week, so that he can take accurate measurements for the operation. He then said that to help my dry eye problem, he would insert punctal plugs into my tear ducts to stop the tears from draining away so fast. I was amazed at how quickly and painlessly this was done. He has a very steady hand, but I suppose as an eye surgeon, he would need to have. Undecided He told me that these plugs are precision engineered from silicone, and are tiny miracles, even smaller than a grain of rice. So with that over, and the promise of almost perfect sight within the “forseeable” future, (pun intended), off we went home. When I told hubby about the plugs and that they’re made of silicone, he quipped, “Aha, so now you have silicone implants. That’s something to blog about, for sure.”

The route we take to and from the hospital, is along the coastal road between Umhlanga and Ballito, another seaside resort, and the sea views are spectacular on the way. It was the most beautiful day and the azure water was sparkling in the sunlight. I thought to myself how very lucky I am to be able to see all this beauty, and apparently after the cataracts are removed, the colours will look even better, as it will seem as though a veil has been lifted. There was a women in the doctor’s waiting room, who said that she couldn’t believe the difference in the brilliance of colours, since her op. I remember my dear old granny in England, losing her sight completely, many decades ago now, as the NHS refused to remove her cataracts until they got so bad, that she was blind, and it was far too late. We’re really fortunate in South Africa, that we have access to some of the best eye surgeons in the world, and I have great faith in mine.

Along the route we took, there is a particularly interesting and intriguing structure on a large plot of land, very close to the beach. This abandoned building is simply called “The La Mercy Ruin,” and try as I might to find out the story behind it, and why it still stands there on what must be an extremely valuable site with a magnificent sea view, I couldn’t discover anything at all. I found a pic of it on Google Street View, and also an aerial view which shows that this large ruined house stands in what must have been its own estate, although it’s now very overgrown with weeds.

What a desolate and sad-looking place it is now, literally gone to ‘rack and ruin’, and all covered in ugly graffiti. I would love to know who owns it, and also who used to lived in it. I suppose one possibility is that the house was never finished, because the money ran out. It seems destined to remain a mystery, but if no-one wants that prime piece of land, I’ll happily take it. Wink

Well, the weekend will soon be upon us, and now I have to decide what decadent dessert I’m going to take to my sister’s for Sunday lunch. I’m so looking forward to getting together with the family again.

Have a great day, everyone. Chat again soon.

Hug award from Francine. Thank you!

Hi again, everyone. Some time ago, my blog friend, Francine, who writes the most fascinating posts with such interesting photos, gave me this lovely “Hug Award,” and it’s only now that I’ve got around to accepting it. Thanks so much, Francine. I’m very honored that you should like my blog enough to bestow this award on it. There are, as with most awards, certain guidelines, and here they are.


The HUG Award© was initiated by Connie Wayne at A Hope for Today :, which promotes hope, love, peace, equality, and unity for all people.

Read more about this beautiful and inspiring Award here :

The HUG Award© is for people with an expectant desire for the world, for which they:  Hope for Love; Hope for Freedom; Hope for Peace; Hope for Equality; Hope for Unity; Hope for Joy and Happiness; Hope for Compassion and Mercy; Hope for Faith; Hope for Wholeness and Wellness; Hope for Prosperity; Hope for Ecological Preservation; Hope for Oneness.

I am now required to nominate several other bloggers for this award, but not knowing who amongst you may have already got it, I, like my friend, Sonel, have decided that I will give it to all those who take the time to read my blog, and who give me so much pleasure with their contributions too. My one special personal nomination would go to my dear blog friend, the happyhugger. There just aren’t enough hours in my day to properly fulfill the requirements, so I hope this is acceptable, Francine.

Wishing you all a splendid day. Chat again soon.

Thoughts on learning to receive gracefully.

On Sunday, I played the piano again at our local shopping mall. I had promised to stand in for the usual pianist, so although I wasn’t supposed to put in my contact lenses until after seeing the eye doctor tomorrow, I’m afraid I cheated, and did. It’s been awful this past week, trying to manage with specs I’m not used to, but with the antibiotics, the eye infection seems to have cleared up.

There were many shoppers, and I really enjoyed playing for them.



Quite a few people stopped to say “thank you for the beautiful music,” and I was feeling so good, until something happened which really threw me. An elderly man came up to the piano, smiled at me and thanked me. He then bent down and put a R10 note on the stool next to me. I was so taken aback that I stopped playing, snatched it up and tried to give it back to him, saying, “No, no, you mustn’t do that. I do get paid for playing here.” I must tell you that he didn’t look at all well off, in fact quite the opposite. We had quite a tussle with this R10, but he absolutely refused to take it back, and pressed it firmly into my hand. “I want you to have it because you play with such care, and I so appreciate that,” he said. When he eventually walked away, I felt quite shaken and had difficulty getting back into my playing, as I was feeling so bad about taking his money.

I kept wondering if I should just have just accepted it gracefully and thanked him, instead of feeling so awkward about the whole episode. I hoped that I hadn’t diminished his joy of giving, by my unwillingness to accept his thank you gift. I wondered if he was disappointed at my reaction, and it was on my mind for the rest of the day, and as you can see by this post, I’m still thinking about it.

I remember many years ago, a sweet old lady came past, and put a R2 coin on the piano, and I felt bad that she’d given me this money probably out of her pension. I know these are very small amounts I’m talking about, but I felt on both occasions that it was some sort of sacrifice on their part, and here was I with plenty of everything, being given money that they could maybe ill afford to part with.

I think we are usually taught that “it is better to give than to receive,” but are we ever instructed on how to graciously receive unexpected compliments, gifts, or unnecessary acts of kindness? If we learn to do this, we allow the giver to express themselves, and with a smile and a “thank you,” we honour their act of giving.  It’s possible to balance the acts of giving and receiving, so that both the giver and the receiver benefit equally, and I hope that I’ve learned my lesson, so that in future, I will be a good receiver. I will of course pass on that money to someone else in the very near future; pay it forward, as it were, and hope that they don’t throw it back at me. Embarassed

On a lighter note, I was just remembering how, when I was quite young, and was playing one evening in a very up-market restaurant, a business man who was entertaining clients, sent over a request for “Tea for two,” together with a R200 note, and his business card with his phone number underlined. I played the request, accepted the money, but sent back his card with the waiter. Wink

Have a great day everyone. Chat again soon.



Weekly photo challenge “The Sun”

The WordPress  photo challenge this week, is “The Sun,” and I see many people have posted beautiful pics of sunrises and sunsets. Here is one which we took over the Venice Lagoon, from the pier of ‘The San Clemente Palace’ hotel, in October last year.

This one was taken from the famous Sunset Beach in Hawaii. If you go there,  you just have to get this shot. Wink

I think we might sometimes need reminding that rainbows are caused by the refraction and dispersion of the sun’s light, by rain or other water droplets in the atmosphere, so the sun also plays a major part in the appearance these beautiful phenomena.

This picture was taken after a spectacular storm over the sea here in Umhlanga, just a few days ago.

A rainbow demonstrates the effect of the sun’s visible light waves turning into the light spectrum. The sun  is essential to life on earth, and because of the sun’s rays, we are able to enjoy all the wonderful colours of the rainbow that we see around us every day.

Hope you’re all having a wonderful weekend. Chat again soon.

Up on the roof. “Odd jobs”

Side View’s weekend challenge, “odd jobs,” came on a day when there were a few odd jobs to be done around the house.  We had noticed a bit of discoloration on our staircase ceiling, which meant that rain water had been seeping through the seal around the skylight. Lucky for me, I wasn’t expected to climb the long ladder, or HORRORS, actually walk on the roof. Surprised  Hubby really seems to enjoy getting up there, whether it’s to fiddle with his weather station, TV aerial, or just to check on the roof tiles, and many’s the time when there’s been a phone call for him, and I’ve had to tell the person on the other end, “Sorry, he’s on the roof right now. Can I get him to call you back?” Usually, there’s a stunned silence before they answer in the affirmative, obviously not wishing to appear nosy and ask “What on earth is he doing on the roof?” This morning, the help of our caretaker was enlisted, and soon the job was underway.

I was sitting in my study at the top of the stairs, and could hear them happily chatting away up there. Men can be quite odd sometimes, but they do come in very useful for odd jobs. I’d asked hubby to take his camera up, and get a nice shot of the sea from his excellent vantage point.

Whilst he was standing up there, I suddenly had this memory from way back when, of my sister and I, as young girls, singing the then hugely popular,  Tommy Cooper song, which in 1961, was his one and only hit single in Britain.

It’s such a silly and ridiculous song, but we found it hilarious. I suppose you’d need to have a British sense of humour to find it funny, but here are the lyrics. I was going to post the YouTube link in case you should like it so much that you wanted to sing along, but maybe not. Laughing

Daddy came home from work tired
His boss had been driving him mad.
The kids were all shouting, the dog bit him too
His dinner was nothing but boiled over stew.

I guess it was then he decided
Up to the rooftop he’d go
He was about to jump off when
The kids started howling below

‘Don’t jump off the roof, Dad
You’ll make a hole in the yard
Mother’s just planted petunias
The weeding and seeding was hard

If you must end it all, Dad
Won’t you please give us a break
Just take a walk down the park, Dad
And there you can jump in the lake.

Well, I’m relieved to be able to tell you that the odd job is all done, and no-one fell, or jumped off the roof. Wink

Have a great weekend everyone. Chat again soon.

Awesome Machu Picchu. The story behind my background pic.

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel, read only one page.” ~ St Augustine

Hi again everyone.  Since I’ve been blogging, many people have remarked on my background and asked where the photo was taken. The two places which I have most wanted to see in my life, were the pyramids of Egypt, which we did in 1993, and second on my bucket list were the spectacular ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru.
In August 2003, our son was getting married at Lake Tahoe in California, so we decided to do a round the world trip, incorporating Mum-in-law’s 90th birthday in England and then just carrying on round until we eventually arrived home almost two months later. It was a truly wonderful experience and as you can imagine, we visited some amazing and interesting places. Our journey took us from South Africa to London and then on to Rio de Janeiro. From there we flew to La Paz in Bolivia and then crossed Lake Titicaca into Peru. We then travelled by road to Cuzco in south-eastern Peru from where we had a very early morning start for our four-hour train ride to the town of Aguas Calientes, the gateway village to Machu Picchu.

We arrived at Pueblo station.

The railway track runs down the main street, and either side are stalls and shops, which we so enjoyed looking around.

This stallholder had nodded off amidst her colourful display of wares.

After booking into our hotel, which was situated in a side alley, we had quite a scary bus ride up to the “Lost City of the Incas,” along the steep and winding road, barely wide enough for our vehicle, with hairpin bends. Of course we met other coaches on their way down, and miraculously managed to squeeze past them whilst it seemed my heart wobbled around in my mouth

This ancient Inca city, believed by most archaeologists to have been built as an estate for the Inca emperor, Pachacuti (1438-72), lay hidden amidst dense jungle-covered mountains until 1911, when an American historian, Hiram Bingham, announced his discovery of it.

The well-preserved ruins, overlooking the Vilcanata river valley, seem to almost cling to the steep hillside, and are surrounded by colossal green mountains. Even if you’ve ever seen photos of this wondrous structure, it doesn’t really prepare you for the breath-taking and awe-inspiring sight when you see it firsthand.

You realise when you get there, that you don’t just ‘visit’ Machu Picchu, but feel as though you are actually making a pilgrimage there. The Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda, wrote

“Machu Picchu is a trip to the serenity of the soul, to the eternal fusion with the cosmos; where we feel our fragility. It is one of the greatest marvels of South America. A resting place of butterflies in the epicentre of the great circle of life. One more miracle.”

We spent a whole day  wandering around this indescribably beautiful place. We started off in a group with a guide, but her English was so bad that we decided to go off on our own and see what we could find. There were cute llamas grazing along the way.

Much further up, we came upon this massive rock which is believed to have healing powers. I didn’t have anything which needed healing, but thought I would give it a try anyway.

Here, close to an open-fronted hut is a carved stone, called the Funerary Stone.


Historians think that it was an altar on which the Incas used to sacrifice llamas. Professor Bingham believed that it may have been used as a mortuary slab on which the dead were laid out in the sun to dry, before mummification. Just above this rock, he found a cemetery containing a large number of skeletons.

The site, which is South America’s most popular tourist destination, has been reconstructed, and the work is still ongoing. We were fortunate that it wasn’t very crowded on the two days that we were there. The extremely high  altitude makes it quite tiring to clamber around the site and then climb up to this spot from where we had this stunning view.


Looking at these pics, it looks as though we had the whole place to ourselves, but that wasn’t the case. There were many other visitors, but we obviously managed to steer clear of them most of the time.

From Peru, we flew to Ecuador and then on to the wedding. After the celebrations, we were off to Hawaii, for a much needed relaxing beach holiday, after which we did a wonderful cruise of The Great Barrier Reef, before flying home via Singapore. What a great trip that was, and one day I’ll put some more photos up for you to see.

Have a great day everyone. Chat again soon.

Sunshine Blog award. Thanks to Sonel.

Hi again, everyone. A short while ago, my blog-friend, Sonel was kind enough to pass on “The Sunshine Award” to me. Thanks so much, Sonel for thinking of me. It’s a really lovely award to have.

The rules of the Sunshine Blog Award are simple…

Thank the person who nominated you with a link back to their blog.

Please go and visit here to see what Sonel is all about. Her photos are really captivating and I always enjoy visiting her blog.

Answer the following questions….

Favorite color : Well looking in my wardrobe, it’s hard to say. Quite a lot of red features there, though.

Favorite animal : Mr Lion, the King of the beasts.

Favourite number:  #1

Favorite non-alcoholic drink : Water

Facebook or Twitter : Facebook

My passion : My family

Getting or giving presents : Well both are really nice, but I do love to see the pleasure on someone’s face when I give them something which they really like.

Favorite pattern : Snowflakes

Favorite day of the week : Sunday, often spent with my family here.

Favorite flower : Hibiscus, of which I have quite a few in my little garden.

And finally, nominate 10 other extra special bloggers, and include a link to their blogs.

I see that so many of my favourite bloggers already have this award. It would be quite difficult to find ten, so I’m going to just choose the first four that popped into my head.


The Life and times of a Disabled Cyclist

Viewfromtheside’s Blog


All these are so worth a visit. Tell them I sent you. Laughing

Hope you’re all having a super day. Chat again soon.

Weekend beachcombing, and piano playing.

Saturday was so beautiful, sunny and with hardly a breath of wind, so we set off quite early for another walk along the beach front. So many people were out there already. There were the joggers, the dog walkers, and a couple of fathers with babies in strollers, obviously having been sent out to give their wives a bit of peace, and maybe a bit longer in bed. There were young children, excitedly skipping along ahead of their parents, so impatient to get onto the sand. Quite a few elderly folk slowly ambled along, and I saw one couple sitting gazing out to sea, holding hands in companionable silence; the husband was in a wheelchair, and his wife must have pushed him quite some way from the car park. It made me so grateful for my health and strength. I suppose one never knows what the future holds though, as we go into old age.

The surfers were having a great time, and the waves were perfect. here you can see one in particular, really riding that wave, and in the left of the pic, is a boat from the Sharks Board checking the nets.



Along the promenade, there are so many vendors, selling anything from ice-cream to basketry and bead-work, but most of the wares these days, seem to be made in China. Here are three ‘mobile shops’ on the beach.



These guys wander up and down all day, trying to sell their wares. The man sweeping the steps was on his phone, and ended up sweeping the sand off the steps using only one hand, whilst he did the cell phone dance.

This young couple had set up the fishing rod on the rocks, and were relaxing whilst waiting for their supper to bite.




Filling plastic bottles with sea water, is something many families do when on holiday down here. They take it back home for their domestic worker, as it’s supposed to be very therapeutic.



African Sangomas (Witch doctors), believe that it has medicinal properties, and one can often see buses and taxis on the return trip to Johannesburg, with huge plastic containers of sea water secured to the roof. I would be very wary of drinking the stuff, knowing what children and maybe some adults do whilst paddling in the water. Surprised

We walked all the way to end of the promenade and found a bench to sit on for a while, just admiring the view and watching the bathers. Then it was the long trek back home, which is just beyond the lone tree you can see in this pic.



Today, I played the piano at our local Mall, and it was great to sit there for a couple of hours, entertaining the passers-by. I saw a few friends who stopped for a chat and then there were the parents with small children who wanted to know if I teach piano. One sweet little boy proudly told me that he can play “Ode to Joy”, but when I moved over to give him a place on the piano stool, he changed his mind and said that he’d rather listen to me play. Wink

I read in the news that Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees, is in a coma after contracting pneumonia. He’s been battling liver cancer for years, and is the last surviving of the three brothers. I used to love their music, and my favourite song was “How deep is your love,” so I played it this morning on the piano and said a prayer that he will recover, although I believe that he is not expected to live much longer. So sad for his family.

Well tomorrow I have to see the eye specialist, as my vision is deteriorating somewhat, and I may have to have a cataract operation. I’m rather squeamish about anyone messing with my eyes, but I suppose what will be, will be. Hope you’re having a great day. Chat again soon.