Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Bee's in the Belfry.

Well, not quite in the belfry because we don't have one but, but wait ... let's start at the beginning:

Turns out you should never ignore a big buzzing sound when you hear one.

On Saturday I heard a loud buzzing noise in the back garden but couldn't see where it was coming from, I didn't look very well but when it wasn't obvious I gave up and wrote it off to "something" but I didn't really know what. It was a busy weekend and I didn't think about it again.

On Monday morning while pushing children on the swing at school, I heard the buzzing again and noticed a big box on the wall of the house next door which was not there before. And it was covered in bee's.

I wasn't too sure what to make of it as it looked like a "professional" piece of equipment put there quite purposefully but the proximity didn't make sense - very close to a boundary (ours!) and about a metre away from their own bedroom windows, as well as the fact that they have a newborn baby so my initial fear of "oh my goodness there is an apiary 1 metre away from my swing!" didn't really seem to make sense! I was concerned about the school children as well as my own who have never been stung so their allergy status is unknown and also for Grant who is allergic to bee stings. It was all a bit worrying. And very confusing, I kept running different possibilities over and over in my head as to what it could be as well as trying to figure out how I was going to negotiate it's removal without causing trouble with the neighbours!
Fortunately, apart from a few strays they all seemed to stay pretty much in a group so we weren't being inundated with them but I wasn't sure if noise or food or small children running around the garden would cause them to disperse or attack!

Three attempts yesterday to find our neighbours home were fruitless so I started today still not knowing what the bee's were about but my confusion didn't last too long as my neighbour came over to explain what had happened.

Apparently, on Saturday (the day of the buzzing!) a swarm of bee's decided to make their hive in an air brick in the wall of their garage (which faces my swing!), they had discovered this and called in a beekeeper to help. He had covered up the entrance to the hive with a box which would "encourage" them to move!

I was SO relieved!

At 10 a.m. this morning there was a swarm the size of a small football hanging underneath the box (creepy) and by 11 a.m. they were gone! Apart from a few lingerers.

Bee's are really interesting and fascinating but I would prefer them to be interesting and fascinating somewhere else.
These pictures were taken with my cellphone so it's difficult to see but the brown and silver thing is "the box" and the black clump on the top right of it is "the bee's"! This clump being about half the size of today's clump!! We do like honey but we're glad they've gone to make it somewhere else!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Abigail's quote of the day.

Abigail's phys. ed. teacher has gone away so they have had someone standing in.
Today the weather wasn't great so this evening I asked her if they swam during their phys. ed. time today. This was her reply:
"No, we did phys. ed. with a teacher called Lynn, she's old, but quite flexible"!!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Cape Argus Pick 'n Pay Cycle Tour 2011.

Exactly 10 years ago Grant took part in his first "Argus" cycle tour and yesterday he took part in his second - with one BIG difference: this time he used his arms not his legs.
Since his operation in May last year there has been a significant reduction in Grants pain levels, unfortunately it comes with the loss of the use of his legs. However it has allowed him to take part in activities that, for the last 10 years, have been out of the question.

He is able to go to the gym and takes part in swimming and some weights training and has also
taken up hand cycling.
Now, "in his day" Grant was a very good swimmer and enjoyed tri-athlon so this is a huge step
for him to be able to exercise and "compete" again at some level.

After buying a bike second hand and doing it up a bit (a lot!!) he was determined to attempt the 109km cycle tour that is held every year in Cape Town. It follows a beautiful scenic route around the Cape Peninsula and over quite a few hills and in fact mountains!!

The day started out (very) early - at 3:45 a.m. to be exact! We needed to be in Green Point by 5:30 a.m. to get set up and get ready to join some other hand cyclists, including Ernst van Dyk, as they were given a police escort to the start in Town.
So Saturday night entailed getting everything ready to go and loading the Praying Mantis (as it has become known!) into the car.
At 5 a.m.ish we arrived outside the Cape Town stadium to meet some serious cycling dudes! Their bikes are awesome, (Grant's is a dinosaur in comparison), costing +- R45000.00 a piece! Grant's doesn't come close! They were given a police escort and then waited in the wings for
their time slot. They are not able to line up in the official start gates because of pavements etc.
Just look at these bikes, these guys lie down almost completely flat, their bikes are amazing.

Just before their time slot they line up along the side of the starting area:then after that group leave they turn around and get into position.
And then they're off!
Can you spot the celebrity?!!
Grant looking very nervous!
It was a beautiful day and "perfect" conditions little or no wind and a moderate temperature.
This was the only other time I saw him along the way - in Constantia, about 14km from the start. He had lots of supporters along the way but with many of the roads closed for the cyclists I couldn't get to anywhere except Hout Bay on the the other side of a mountain and one of the most dreaded hills - Chapman's Peak.
After seeing him in Constantia I went home to sort out a few things that were left in a not so organised state while getting ready to leave long before the crack of dawn and then headed off to wait in Hout Bay.
I sat there, on a rock in the middle of a traffic circle for about 4 and half hours watching literally thousands and thousands of cyclists go past.
The crowd eventually dwindled as everybody got to see whoever it was they were waiting for.
It rained. And I was eventually left with a bunch of out of tune, slightly drunk 60+ year olds who were obviously devoted to the bitter end singing things like "Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag" badly.
There was also a group of township boys aged about 5 who sat on my rock singing "Suikerbos ek wil jou he" and if you are a Capetonian and/or familiar with the route you will appreciate the humour.
Anyway, the end of the story is that Grant was stopped at the start of Chapman's Peak and not allowed to continue. I finally got the call I was dreading from an unknown number but it wasn't a paramedic calling to tell which hospital he had been taken to, it was Grant asking me to meet him at home. It was a disappointing end but wise one as he would most likely not have made the finish in time and it would have been that much more devastating after conquering Chapman's.
The distance he covered was 84.8km which on your arms is no joke and although he didn't finish we are very proud of him and as he put it, he didn't give up he was forced to stop! A small consolation for someone who doesn't like to give up!
He will be back next year to try again with more training and hopefully a better bike but for now he is resting his very tired arms for a while!
And to end, Niaves picture of "Daddy riding his bike":
So sweet - although I don't see any arms in there!!

Wacky Wear Day.

Every year the girls at Greenfield get to go to school in really weird clothes!
Friday was Wacky Wear Day and it was a day of wigs, hats and boa's; mismatched shoes, crazy hairstyles and all sorts of outrageous fun stuff.
Abigail has become a bit more daring after only being prepared to don a jesters hat at the first one, this time she was prepared to be a bit more wacky!
A quick trip to the Chinese shop down the road and a raid of Lisa's seemingly bottomless dress up "box" we were set!
And here she is with some of her fellow grade 3's:
I'm not sure how much school was accomplished but they definitely had fun!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Summer evenings at the beach...

... are perfect: -

Not too hot and not too cold.

No need for sunscreen.

No need for hats.

No need for sunglasses.

You can travel light and have a good time.

While the sun goes down.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


February has come and gone and although it's been quiet here it certainly hasn't been quiet in reality.

We had a friend from England, Dottie staying with us for a month so it was a busy time, here's some of what we got up to:

Paddling and discovering at the beach,

had lunch at Kirstenbosch,

lots of gala's,

Readathon week - Abigail dressed up as Violet Beauregarde from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. Why? So she could chew gum!!!

celebrated a 40th birthday,

had supper at Moyo,

and bought a chicken called Reggie!!

Can't believe it is the 6th of March already and Easter is around the corner - haven't we just had Christmas?!