Wednesday, July 28, 2010


When your phone rings and the identi-call tells you it's your child's school, there is always a pang of worry. Usually it's just to say that they have become unwell during the day and need to be fetched early, or perhaps they have lice and they need to be "dealt with". I suppose it could be that they have fallen and need stitches or have broken a limb, that would probably be a worst-case scenario kind of phone call.

But today when my phone rang it was none of those things.

Niave has been off school for 2 days with a bad cough and went back today so I thought that the school was calling to tell me that she wasn't feeling well or was coughing a lot BUT no, they were calling to tell me that although Niave was fine and in their possession, she had in fact climbed over a fence (a high fence topped with barbed wire) and disappeared.

She had apparently liked the idea of going to play at her friends house and so the 2 of them carried a ladder to a place where there was a tiny gap in the barbed wire hidden behind some bamboo plants. They had then climbed over into the grounds of Greenfield (Abigail's school) which is on the other side of the fence.

Now this is when a set of 3 circumstances conspired against us, the back gate of Greenfield had a broken lock and so they were able to get out and walk down the driveway that leads to the road. The gate at the end of the driveway had a broken motor and so was not closed and the security guard who usually sits there was showing somebody around the premises so they just waltzed freely out into the big, wide, scary world.

They walked along, apparently hand in hand, crossed a road and were found quite a way down the road. (For those of you who know where Barkly house is, they were almost at St. Lukes Hospice.)

They had the teachers at her school and Greenfield in an absolute state searching everywhere and Niaves teacher was in tears.

Fortunately they were found unharmed but the list of possible disasters is long and rather frightening: death and abduction being right at the top.

While I went about the afternoon doing things like cook the supper, supervise homework etc. I pondered the events of the morning and wondered what had made her do such a dangerous thing and then I realised that it runs in the family and she is only following in the footsteps of her uncle who 39 years ago left home 3 days before his 3rd birthday to catch a train to fetch his new bicycle! My mother found him at the station!

So, all's well that ends well but it is a wake-up call for everyone who is in charge of children whether they be your own or somebody else's, sometimes small children have big plans and they are much more resourceful than we think. I once heard of a little boy who drowned in his own swimming pool because he propped a plank up against the fence and climbed over. Even though his parents thought they'd taken enough precautions to keep him from drowning.

By the time I got to school to fetch her I'd had a little time to calm down and when I saw her my first thought was "She kept her warm top on the whole day"!! So she can listen and she did listen to that instruction that I gave her this morning.
I am so thankful that she came to no harm and I pray that she will have learnt a very important life lesson today and have enough sense not to do it again.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


Just for the record, this is my 300th post:-)
Anyway, back to the post then.

We were invited to join a group of friends for a braai (barbecue) at Silvermine.
Silvermine is part of the Table Mountain National Park group and is a reserve in the mountains between Tokai and Noordhoek. It is a lovely spot and really so close but I'm ashamed to say that I haven't been there for years, probably decades and my children have never been there. So as it is mostly wheelchair friendly we went along and had a great time. It was a beautifully sunny winters day with a chilly breeze.Renette and Jordan went through early to grab a spot and get the fires going. Everybody brought something to contribute, salads, bread etc. and the boys did the braaing.The braai area's surround the reservoir.
The children had a marvellous time, playing, fishing (they actually caught fish!),
exploring the forest and braaing marshmallows.

We were really close to the waters edge but miraculously nobody fell in!!! At one point every child and almost every adult was still and speechless as a duck/water bird of some sort caught and gupled down 2 fish right in front of us!! Abigail told me later that that was her best part!!

We went for a walk round the reservoir and some people were actually swimming!! It must have been freezing, 1 guy had a wetsuit but 1 did not!!

It was a great day with friends and it took me back to my childhood, we used to do that kind of thing all the time. We definitely need to do more of it.

Thank you to Jordan and Renette for all your organizing and to everyone for helping us with our stuff and navigating Grant over the steep or bumpy bits.

Playtime at the park.

On Friday we discovered a new spot, another gem right under our noses.

Quite a few months ago we noticed some men hard at work constructing a huge, new jungle gym in a park in Wynberg (not far from us) called Maynardville.
Maynardville is "famous" for it's open air Shakespeare theatre and carnival's but it is also a big park with a duck pond, pathways and now a fantastic play area.

The kids had been wanting to go to "the new park" for ages and Friday afternoon called for an outing so we loaded up with bikes, Rollerblades and a flask of tea and met up with the Carters.

The kids had a ball (literally and figuratively!!!) and what a bonus - nobody fell from a dizzy height and got a concussion!!!

There is a nice paved section where Abigail could Rollerblade and the the kids could ride their bikes, or like Bryce, both at the same time:

We had such a good time that we went back on Saturday with Willow, Marley and Ouma and Oupa.
I think I need to get on my soapbox again and get them to transform our park, the play equipment there is over 40 years old and wouldn't it be wonderful to have a safe place to ride bikes etc. Mmmm, I think it's time for a letter...

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The humiliation!

One picture:

One word:

Friday, July 23, 2010

Readathon 2010.

This week was Readathon week at school.
The grade 2's had to read for an extra 67 minutes over the week to co inside with Nelson Mandela day.

Last year Abigail read lots of short books but this year she chose to read Charlotte's Web by E.B. White.We have read it before but it is one of those stories that you can read over and over again.
We haven't finished yet but she has done very well, there are some pretty big words in there!

Always, at the end of the week, they have a dress up day when the girls have to go to school dressed up as their favourite character from a book.

Abigail decided to go as Charlotte so I spent the week "constructing" a spider costume.
It wasn't too difficult just needed a few bits and bobs - this is what we came up with:
We bought some inexpensive black clothes (because she didn't have anything black) and 2 pairs of black tights. I stuffed the tights with black fabric offcuts that my mom got from work and attached them to the shirt. Then I attached some wool between each arm so that when she lifted her real arm they would all lift up.
I painted a web onto the front of the shirt and if you know the story of Charlotte's Web you'll know why it says "SOME PIG"!! I wasn't sure she would be happy walking around all day with "SOME PIG" painted on her front but she said "that's the story" so "SOME PIG" it was. (Radiant, Terrific andHumble were the other words we could have used but we went with Some Pig!!!) If you have NO idea what I am talking about - read the book!
Here are some of the other girls at school this morning:

DIY with Dad.

Because Father's Day fell in the holidays this year, Abigail's school had a Dad's and daughters evening last night in honour of, well, Dads!!
It was a "techno" evening with a "Bob the Builder" theme to it.They were asked to bring a screwdriver, wire strippers, pliers, scissors and a pencil.
Apart from Grant feeling ill on the way home and then actually being sick at home, they had a great time.
Abigail was very excited and came home beaming and with cheeks like 2 ripe tomatoes!
They were given various tasks to do together, I'm not sure of all of them but the 2 that Abigail really enjoyed were making a light with wire/cable, a plug a light bulb fitting and of course a light bulb! And they also had to make a car that would go out of a cereal box, bottle tops, a balloon and a straw. They did get it to work apparently but just once!!
I wasn't there, obviously so I don't have any pictures except for this one of Abigail in the hardhat she received!

This is: cheesy grin, wow that light is very bright and enough already with the bright light!!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A beautiful day.

On Saturday we spent a wonderful "morning" with friends having brunch. We ended up staying until about 4pm so a little longer than brunch but we enjoyed it and I hope they did too:-)

Afterwards Grant needed to visit a friend in Fish Hoek so we went through there. It was to be a rather serious conversation so we dropped him off and I took the girls to the beach for an ice cream and a stroll.

It was a magnificent day. The beach was idyllic, yet again confirming that I prefer the beach in winter.
Just look at these pictures:

This is winter people!!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The first fire.

Although we have a fireplace in our house we don't often use it. I love a fire but the p.t. involved in getting it going and then cleaning it out the next day are sometimes too daunting! And Grant is not fond of the "fire smell" in the house for the next few days so it has to be really cold. I mean really, REALLY cold.

And it was.

A couple of weeks ago a strong wind blew a rather large tree over in the park just near to our house. It also blew my washing over but the tree was more impressive!

Anyway, last week when the rain stopped we ventured into the park to look at the half chopped up tree and to find puddles, there weren't any puddles but there were a lot of pine cones due to the tree that now had it's pine cone laden branches sprawled all over the grass. So we collected some, the driest ones we could find and went home to to light a fire - the first fire of winter.

It took some persuading and the help of a skilled fire maker aka Grant and we enjoyed a warm evening.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Abigail's entry.

Abigail's school are having a photographic competition.
They can enter any photo/photo's that were taken at the soccer festival.
As I had taken quite a few we printed out a collage and Abigail made a frame for it.
The enlargement was on a half price special so it ended up being really inexpensive.
We were also able to laminate it as my parents have a laminating machine!
This was her entry:

Sunday, July 18, 2010

67 minutes.

Today is Nelson Mandela's birthday, he is 92. I think he is an amazing man, to come out of prison and take no revenge but show forgiveness was a remarkable thing to have done.
Another amazing thing about him is his size! I have met him once when I still taught at Valley, he did some school visits and that was one of them.
He is a big man. Tall, and he has enormous hands! That was the thing that stood out the most for me that day!! He has really big hands, and seeing as he was a boxer in his youth/young adulthood, I am glad I was not on the receiving end of those fists!!

Anyway, quite a few years ago this day, 18th July became "Madiba Day" and is celebrated around the world. A couple of years ago they also started the "67 minutes" campaign.
The 67 minutes represent the 67 years that Mandela worked actively for South Africa - either as the leader of the struggle against apartheid or as the President and also includes his 27 years in prison.

This past week on the radio we've been urged to do something today for 67 minutes that will help others or your community or something. Many people have done wonderful things but I needed to think of a small manageable thing that I could do with my children. Eventually I decided that we would do a litter collection around our neighbourhood.

It was a beautifully sunny day today so it was no sacrifice to be walking around enjoying the sun and collecting litter as we went.

We set out at 3pm:

- packets in hand!

It didn't take long to find something to pick up.

Some things required gloves - eeeewwww!

It was a team effort!

Niave had a little rest and surveyed her collection of trash as if it was a treasure!!

At 4pm we returned home with 5 bulging bags of litter. Okay, so we only did 60 minutes, I'm sure it's not too much of a problem!It really is quite appalling to see just how much litter there is, we didn't do a very big area and found so much. It's really so simple to hold onto whatever it is that needs throwing away until you find a bin. Hopefully Abigail and Niave will have a better understanding of this concept now and not become litter-bugs.

So, what did you do for your 67 minutes today?

Friday, July 16, 2010

A trip to the countryside?

Monday was the last day of the holidays. It was a tired day as we'd all had a really late night on Sunday watching the soccer. My school started on Monday so the girls spent the morning at home and we went for an afternoon drive.

We visited a lovely duck pond / bird sanctuary where we fed the ducks and other birds and even some very tame squirrels:
This family of yellow bills was a real hit!
Abigail had the guinea fowl eating out of her hand!
We came across this "albino" guinea fowl, quite unusual.
This squirrel was really close, I am not zooming in! He/she loved the white bread that Abigail put down and was not frightened of us at all.
The weaver birds were very busy and not interested in food at all, it was all about finishing those nests!If you look closely at this picture you can see a white billed duck sitting on a nest. After a while she couldn't resist the temptation and left her nest to get some bread.

On the way home we came across this man trying to fly!:

I'm not sure what he was thinking because there wasn't much wind and certainly not enough to lift this kite (or parachute sail thingy) and him, anyway we watched him for a while.

Just along the road from there we met a herd of cows. They were so sweet, as cows are! There were quite a few calves of different ages and the girls loved seeing the smallest one drinking from it's mother.

So where was this place? Malmesbury? Philadelphia? Worcester? No, just around the corner in Bergvliet about 10 minutes drive away! What a pleasure!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

World Cup Final.

Sunday was the World Cup Final:Spain vs Netherlands and we were invited to watch on Lisa and Matthew's BIG screen - they have a movie room in their house!! It is pretty cool, anyway, the satelite hadn't been working but Matthew managed to get it up and running in time for the final. There was some division on who was supporting who but it made for good fun!Grant downloaded "Waka Waka" - the official World Cup song, and it played over and over again while I painted the girls faces, it was hilarious to see Niave trying to copy Shakira and co.

We got dressed in our colours and donned our facepaint and headed for the Carters! Grant wheeled himself there in his chair, it's about 2,5 - 3 km away, he did pretty well and arrived only a little while after us - but a lot sweatier!!

Lisa had all sorts of yummy things to eat in yellow and red - for Spain and orange - for Netherlands.
The BIG screen:

The closing ceremony was amazing and a brilliant way to end off seeing as South africa has been given top marks for how we hosted the tournament, the closing was top class.

We had a great time and it was quite a nailbiting affair with the score 0 - 0 at full time. An extra 30 minutes allowed Spain the opportunity to score the winning goal - YAAAAAY!!!!!!!
Because the game went into extra time and the prize giving afterwards we got home shortly before midnight. Niave had dozed for about 10 minutes but other than that they had been awake the whole time. That didn't deter Niave from asking for peanut butter toast and a story before bedtime!! And she got both because who wants to argue with a 4 year old at midnight??!!

A very tired girl - notice the time on the clock!
Fortunately they did not have to go to school the next day, I on the other hand did! Abigail woke up at about 9:00 and Niave at about 10:00 - unheard of in this house! Of course I was not able to take advantage of their one and only late sleep - I was up and ready before 8:00!!

So now the World Cup is over - there is no more soccer to watch, whatever are we going to do?!!

"Photo shoot" @ Kirstenbosch.

At the end of the holidays we went for yet another walk at Kirstenbosch.
While we were there a spontaneous photo shoot began! Lisa's camera is at least 3 times the size of mine and she actually knows how to use the settings on it so her pictures were probably a million times better than mine but here's what I got:


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Zakumi x 2!

Our house has been invaded by green and yellow creatures - HELP!!!
On a recent outing Grant and Abigail visited the Build-a-bear shop and came home with 2 Zakumi's!!

They are very soft and cuddly but I just can't quite get used to that hair!!!

Dad's can be so easily twisted around a little girl's finger!! But we have enjoyed the world cup and hopefully he will be a reminder of it as time goes on.