Lovely weather for ducks.

Today is our last day in England, and when we woke up, it was again pouring with rain and decidedly chilly. I’d just got out of the shower, when hubby suddenly appeared, and grabbed the camera. He’d spotted a Mallard duck on the roof of the shed, and thought I might like a photo for my blog.

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We then wondered what Mrs Mallard was doing up there, and decided that she must be surveying the garden to see if it was a suitable mating ground. Sure enough, she flew off and returned with Mr Mallard. She had a little swim around the pond to try out the water temperature,

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and reported back that it seemed rather nice, and that she approved their choice of location.

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He was then ordered to investigate underneath the conifer, to make sure that there was plenty of room for their nest, which he obediently did.

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So it looks as though once they’ve set up house and got busy under that bush, mom-in-law’s little pond could be the setting for a very happy duck family scene. I was reading that a female can lay as many as twelve eggs, about half her body weight. I guess we human females have it quite easy in comparison. ๐Ÿ™‚

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I have a lot of sorting out and packing to do before we leave, so please bear with me if I don’t manage to visit your blogs for a few days. When we get back home, I’m sure things will return to normal.

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Wonderful Machu Picchu for Jake’s theme

Jake’s Sunday Post challenge this week, is ‘Wonderful’, and he has shown us some of his own wonderful images.

I asked myself, “What is the most wonderful place I’ve ever visited?” and Machu Picchu immediately sprang to mind. I have it as my blog background, but just in case you never noticed, here it is again.

I’d heard and read about it, but nothing could have prepared me for actually seeing this most sacred place of the Incas, in real life. It has such a peace and quiet about it, that you just want to stand and breath it in, and an aura of mystique which I’ve never felt before, even when I visited the pyramids of Egypt.

I don’t think it’s possible to take a mediocre photo of this most photogenic of places,

even when hiding from the heat of the midday sun, under one of the thatched shelters there.

For more details and pics of my most wonderful trip ever, you can click here.

To see other bloggers’ interpretations of the theme, visit Jake’s wonderful Sunday post.

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 hopingย  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.” ๐Ÿ™‚ 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. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Now all that remains, is for me to finish unpacking,ย  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. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I also have lots of photos to share over the next few days.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.ย  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.

Part two of my Phang-Nga Bay monsoon adventure.

Continuing on from my last post:

We stood in a sodden group on the jetty, impatiently waiting for our longtail to come pick us up. Here’s what these boats look like.

They are long and slim, and the local name for them is “Rua Hang Yao. They have a long rod in the back of the boat, which holds up the motor and the propeller, and are extremely noisy, sounding more like dragster racing cars. No wonder the baby in our party, started yelling again as soon as we set off away from Sea Gypsy Village.

We were all hungry, and soaking wet as we journeyed to view James Bond Island, made famous by the 1974 movie, “The man with the golden gun,” starring Roger Moore as Bond, and Christopher Lee as Scaramanga the world’s most expensive assassin, who charges $1m per hit.

After skirting the tall thin island,

we carried on to the Grotto Cave, and our boat sailed right through it, next to several people canoeing in the pouring rain.

Finally, we met up with our Junk boat again, and clambered aboard. Oh the luxury, in spite of the leaky roof! At last we were reunited with our towels, and could wrap ourselves up in them, as well as dry off our feet. A buffet lunch of fish, chicken, rice and salad was served, together with a couple of bottles of Thai wine. Our guide, knowing that we came from South Africa, apologised for the wine, saying, ” I know it’s not nearly as good as yours,” and he was right about that. ๐Ÿ˜‰

On our return journey, we caught up with the other boat which had left the harbour at the same time as us. They weren’t going anywhere, as they’d completely run out of diesel. It was still a long way back to port, so our crew set about fixing up a tow line, and we started off once more, amidst much hilarity and joking between the two crews.

It was now going to take us much longer to get back with the extra load on, but I suppose we could hardly leave them stranded, could we? ๐Ÿ˜‰ About half an hour later, we noticed something was banging against the side of our boat, and a head popped up over the side. No, it wasn’t pirates; just the other boat’s motor dinghy, with two of its crew and a large plastic container. They were hauled aboard, and up came the floor boards, so that diesel could be syphoned into the empty container, as they needed to be able to maneuver their own way into the harbour. Once they had the required 20 litres, off they went back through the extremely rough waves to their own boat.


We were all watching this exercise with our fingers crossed, as it was really very tempestuous out there. They made it back on board, but as they were trying to secure the dinghy, the rope slipped out of the one guy’s hands, and off went the little craft, bobbing merrily away through the waves. Once more, our captain came to the rescue, rounding up the dinghy, almost like herding cattle, and pushing it over to the other boat, until a man could jump in and tie it up. It was quite an expert bit of boatmanship, and I was most impressed.

So all’s well that ends well, I suppose. We caught the rush hour traffic, made worse by the pouring rain, on the way back to Club Med, but eventually arrived about an hour late. As we pulled up, some of the young staff came rushing down the the steps to greet us with fresh towels to warm ourselves in, and then ushered us over to the sofas in the foyer, where they had cups of hot chocolate waiting. What a day it had been, and a never to be forgotten trip.

This all happened on Wednesday, and it’s been raining steadily since then, with the exception of a few hours this afternoon. I hope the weekend will bring the sunshine again, not only for me, but for all of you too. Have a great one.

Travel challenge “Rhythm” (2)

Today was what one might call a “damp squib,” but that wouldn’t be terribly accurate; it was an extremely sopping wet squib! We saw, and waded through, waterfalls, rivers and small lakes, and that was just in the market we visited. ๐Ÿ˜‰ The monsoon rains chose today to teem down upon our boat trip out across Phang Nga Bay to see the islands, but in spite of getting drenched to the bone, I have many photos to share with you, but not tonight. It’s been a long day, so I’ll just show you that I did manage to find some ‘Rhythm‘ here in Phuket, after all.

Last night, there was a very talented duo performing in the club bar. They certainly had lots of rhythm, when they did the fantastic Eric Clapton number, “Layla.”

The show last night had a very special import, all the way from the ‘US of A’. You all believed that Elvis the King was dead, didn’t you? Well here he was, right before my eyes, asking us in a very rhythmic way, not to step on his “Blue Suede Shoes.” ๐Ÿ˜‰

Tonight we had a show performed by all the staff here. There are 21 different nationalities represented and they put on an impressive “Lion King” themed musical, which as you can imagine, had our hands-a-clapping and our feet-a-tapping.

Of course, one of the songs with the best known rhythm, and which had the whole place jumping, was,

“A wimoweh,a wimoweh, a wimoweh, a wimoweh,

A wimoweh,a wimoweh, a wimoweh, a wimoweh,

In the jungle the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight.”

(You’ll have me to thank, if you can’t get that song out of your head for a while.)ย  ๐Ÿ˜‰

Hope you’re all having a great day. My bed is beckoning, so I’ll catch up with you all tomorrow.