Days 12 and 13: Pets Control

Yes, you read right. I did not have a dyslexic moment. The major portion of this post is going to be about my friends’ pets, and how furry, feathered, and scaled companions have made lockdown easier for many, including myself.

For those of you that are inclined to have Seriously-Sensitive-Susan moments, a great deal of this post is written tongue-in-cheek. The idea is not to offend, but to bring humour, and hope. Please read (and accept) it in that way.

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Cape St. Blaize Lighthouse

As the lighthouse high on Cape St. Blaize winks and watches Mossel Bay was the opening line of my primary school’s anthem. Today I finally got to see that view for myself.

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Restaurant Review: Salt & Copper

I took my folks and a follower-friend to a new place that opened its doors during the week called Salt & Copper, based just outside Hartenbos, Mossel Bay.

We were met at the door by the hostess, Samantha, who gave us menus, and said she’d get our waiter. We perused the menus for about 10 minutes. The food options look delicious, with dishes available for both the carnivorous human, as well as the herbivorous ones. The dessert options sound sinfully good too.

Menu 1

Menu 2

Menu 3

There is a extensive wine list, featuring wines for all tastes from local wineries, as well as a great gin selection. There are also gin and wine tastings available as well as pairings for both. Prices are in line with what you would expect to pay at a mid-level to up-market restaurant.

Wine List

Gin & Cocktails

Pairings & Kids Menu

Sadly, the service left us wanting – we tried to get someone’s attention three times to no avail. Eventually our waiter came along and apologized, stating that it was his first day. There were more than enough staff on the floor (many of them behind the counter), but it is clear that some are still very unsure of themselves, and while I understand that teething problems are to be expected, I’ve lived in Mossel Bay long enough to know that bad service is not going to go down well with the often-impatient holiday makers that will be flooding in from up North later this month.

On the positive side:

The quips on the menu: “Unsupervised children will be sold to the circus…” got a chuckle out of me, as did “Champaign ice cubes” because Champaign is a city in the US State of Illonois. Champagne is what I think they meant to say. Proofreading is important, particularly when you’re presenting such a chic, swanky image.

The building itself has an industrial feel about it, but is very stylishly decorated, with various seating options, lovely glassware and striking copper items against dark, charcoal-like walls. It’s hip and trendy.

What’s also great to see is a spekboom (called an Elephant Bush, or in some instances a Pork Bush) in English on each table. It is referred to in many circles as a miracle plant and it is waterwise too, an added bonus given the water restrictions in our area.

Setting

Setting 2

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Table decor

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We didn’t stay long, having only hot beverages as we had a reservation for lunch elsewhere.

Hot Beverages

** Menu, Wine, Gin and Hot Beverages Images from Salt and Copper’s webpage **

The tea was served in delightful glass teapots, but there were no teaspoons on the saucers. The only one that received a teaspoon with her drink was the cappuccino-drinker in our group. These small details need to enjoy more attention.

Teapot

The cappuccino had by my follower-friend was very tasty. My beetroot latte was deliciously hot, but a little too spicy (in comparison with those I’ve enjoyed at establishments in Wilderness and Knysna) for my personal taste. I love the cup in which it was served.

Beetroot Latte & Cappucino

There are play amenities outside to keep kids busy – one for 0-4 years, and another for bigger kids. There is also a large chessboard for those enthusiasts wanting to exercise their strategic brains into a good ol’ checkmate.

Chessboard

I do hope that things will improve, because its close proximity to home and variety of food and drink make it the ideal place to support. Honestly though, if I’m going to pay between R125 and R155 for a main meal, I do expect good service as well and unfortunately, our short experience yesterday left a slightly bitter taste in my mouth.

With that said, I am a believer in second chances, so will visit once the Silly Season is over (but it will have to be on a weekend, given the odd operating hours:

Sun-Thurs 08:00 – 17:00

Fri-Sat 08:00 – 22:00

In the Season it will undoubtedly be profitable to trade during these hours, given the setting, but what about the locals who work (both in and out of season) who would like to have an enjoyable dinner during the week?

My suggestion is that the business hours be revisited – possibly open later during the week (my suggestion would be round 10:00 and shut shop at 20:30).

Price

That’s my R91.00 worth, with a star rating of 2 ½ out of 5.

Old Drift Lodge Sunrise Cruises

As I mentioned here, Carmen once told me “you either have a heart for Africa or you don’t”.

During my trip I did two sunrise cruises at the Old Drift Lodge, and both were spectacular.  The boat sets sail from the jetty shortly after 05:30 AM, but dawn breaks much earlier, meaning me getting up at 04:30 AM to catch the first light, which changes from dark shades of blue to warm oranges and then fiery red, with a touch of purple.  If I hadn’t had a heart for Africa before, I would have after seeing the magnificent sunrises.

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I cannot put into words the feeling that being on the water as the sun begins to rise brings.  The water is so calm, a mirror of only beautiful reflections and yet there is an underlying excitement within which surfaces when a pod of hippos does the same, although I did get a huge fright one morning while taking photos (from above, on the  jetty) when a hippo decided to make his presence known to me, but the river was so calm, even his reflection was captured on camera.

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Hippo 1

Both morning cruises, Fanwell was the guide.   He is friendly, well-versed with the birdlife and game along the river, and he is a good boat Captain to boot.

Fanwell

The first cruise I shared with a South African couple, Marko and Maryke, from Pretoria, both keen bird watchers.  As we sailed up and down the river, we saw many birds, many of which were firsts for the pair.

I recall great excitement and joy when they saw a Lesser Jacana, and a bird with bright reddish orange feet (and beak) which name I can’t remember, but Marko told me that what I was seeing was something truly special.

We saw Maribou Storks nesting in the high treetops, and an array of other water birds, including a Black Heron, which Maryke explained to me, spreads its wings to form an ‘umbrella shadow’.  The little fish swim towards the shade and before they know it, breakfast is served and they’re it!

Maribou Storks

There are also many Water Berry trees on the banks of the river.  Their roots are exposed during the drier months, but when the rain comes and the river rises, their roots are covered entirely and the don’t drown.  How incredible is that?

Waterberry Tree

My last morning at the lodge, I went out on a solo trip with Fanwell and again we saw much birdlife.  I was so lost in the serenity of it all, at peace for the first time in as long as I can remember, that I almost forgot to take photos.

It was only when a lone hippo (not the same one from the jetty) stepped out of the shallows that I grabbed my phone to snap a picture of it.

Hipp 3

We saw a few crocodiles sunning themselves on the banks, with some white billed ducks keeping a close eye from what I don’t think was a safe enough distance.  To me, crocodiles always look dead, but I’ve seen how quickly they can move.  They are reptiles not to be trifled with.

Croc 1

We heard the call of an African Fish Eagle, and while we spotted him with the help of binoculars, I couldn’t get close enough to get a picture.  I was a little sad about that because again, The Toppie and The Bean would have loved to see it.  I did get to see a Water Buck drinking on the banks, which was a super consolation prize.

Water Buck

The Zambezi is known as mighty, and it is.  But for me, it is a soul-restorer too.

 

 

 

(Emotional) Weekend Whirlwind

I am at the point again that when the phone rings and someone asks, “What are your plans?” I just want to hide.  Partly because I’m a little emotional, but mostly because of The Big Freeze that seems to have taken hold of the Sleepy Hollow Town I reside in; I’d much rather stay holed up in The Cave under my duvet with a book, or a movie.  Elizabeth was having none of it when she called with this very question on Friday last week.  She had been roped into helping a friend’s daughter (a young high-school learner doing photography as a subject) with her project on Saturday.  She’d also kind of already told her friend I’d be more than willing to help too.

When I woke up on Saturday morning, I was reluctant to get out of bed.  It was cold. And I was out of milk.  Not a good start to my day.  Anyhow, I did the no matter how you feel, get up, dress up, show up thing and went to Elizabeth’s house.  I’d arranged for a friend, Joy, to do our make-up.  Hell, if I was going to have to be in front of the camera, I didn’t want to look like a washed-out ghost from the 1920’s.  Joy was quite excited to hear that the shoot was Gatsby-themed, because she has always thought of me as “the perfect Gatsby girl”.

My confidence boosted, and my lashes ab-so-lutely gor-geous, Dahling, Elizabeth and I set off the the venue, Deja Vu Vintage House,  where we dressed up in real vintage clothes from the era, right down to pearls, feather boas and cigarette holders.  Once I was all flapped out in my purple frock, it was as if I underwent a complete personality change.  My inner Gatsby-girl took over and I ended up having so. much. fun.

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Elizabeth, the two other ‘models’ and I laughed till our stomachs ached as we waved to random strangers driving past.  The student taking the photos also had quite a few giggles at our antics.  I’m sure the photos are going to be a-ma-zing!

Elizabeth’s elder sister, Olive, had made a delectable curry and rice to ward off Jack Frost’s spell.  I love Indian food, so it was a given that I would stay for dinner.  With a full tummy and a happy heart, I went back to The Cave and slept incredibly well.

Sunday I met up with Charlie at his place where we had a bite to eat, and I showed him how to make a killer fridge tart with 4 ingredients.  I’m a firm believer in few-ingredient cooking, because I deteest pantry shopping almost as much as I hate doing the dishes.

Afterwards we watched two episodes of Elementary followed by a movie called called The Book of Eli.

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One scene (of an attempted rape) triggered a minor anxiety attack in me.  I’ve become increasingly aware that my friends and some family don’t understand my condition, and as a result, don’t know what to expect, nor how to react around me.  The reading I’ve done on high-functioning depression states that sufferers become ninja-level-experts at hiding things.  I surreptitiously (I hope!) popped a chill-pill and curled back on my comfy kick-out chair, snuggled under a blanket.  Barring the upsetting scene, the movie is quite brilliant; with Denzel Washington in the lead, and Gary Oldman as supporting actor, how could it not be?

I will admit, I was feeling drained on Monday, and yesterday still, but today I’m feeling on the up-and-up again.  I’ve learned not to beat myself up when I’m not feeling sprightly, but to continue with one-baby-step-at-a-time.  I’m staying with Eliza and Nathan tonight, and I’m cooking (something I love, but don’t do much of at home, because the stove in The Cave is cursed – every time I cook on it for guests, it cremates the contents of the oven, making them a burnt offering!) On the menu tonight is (you guessed it), a few-ingredient, creamy seafood marinara pasta.

Catch y’all on the flipside!  Have a Wonderful Wednesday 🙂

 

 

 

Winter Solstice

Today signals the shortest day and the longest night in the Southern Hemisphere.  Part of me is grateful, because I detest waking up when it’s still dark and that within in an hour of me getting home from work, it’s dark again.  With climate change though, I will admit that we’ve not had much of a winter.  Sure, there’ve been a few cold-, sometimes wet snaps, but nothing that would qualify as a season.

One thing about the winter that I can say I appreciate, is the sunrises.  This was today’s.

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Gracious Old Soul

I have a few photos on my fridge; Happy Memories – Carmen & Ewan’s wedding invitation, Mary and Martin’s too. Sandra in her bikini on the one day years ago in December that I ventured out to the waterpark with her (and learning that I’m not as young as I thought I was!), Jack and I when I still had my braces (at 28!), an outing to a local wildlife ranch ages ago with The Bean and Aunty Carol one Mother’s Day (when The Toppie was still working); Lesley was with us that day, having lost her mother shortly before, so there is a photo of the two of us too, and another photo of Charlie and I, taken last year at the same place.  There are photos too of Aunty Carol, Uncle Barry, The Toppie, The Bean and I taken while we waited to board a passenger liner for a holiday, one of Elizabeth and her two sisters taken at Lesley’s wedding (which was on my 33rd birthday), Emma, Nathan and I at his 40th, and one of my precious little Mouse (which is the nickname I have given to my beautiful godchild, Lily-Rose).

Now, I see these photos every day, but honestly, I don’t notice them anymore. Except this morning I did, and my Mouse’s smiling face transported me back to the day she was christened, December 10th, 2017 – and the message the minister gave that day:  What’s in a Name?  Your Name…

I’ve thought a while about putting my real name here, and for the sake of this entry being authentic, I’ve decided to do so.

Hello World, my name is Priscilla Anne.  If The Bean had had her way I would have been Avril.

I never liked my name, until I realized that its meaning is spot on – Priscilla means “Of Olden Times” and Anne means “Grace”.  Avril means “Opening buds of Spring; born in April”.  The Bean sent my biological father (aka The Sperm Donor) to register me, and he came back telling her, “her name’s Priscilla Anne”.  For the record I was born in September, on the Equinox, so Avril clearly was never meant to be, although I doubt The Sperm Donor had the savvy to research any name meanings.   Avril though to me is worse, because in my warped mind I hear a tinny-airport-announcer-intercom-voice saying, “Ladies and gentlemen, please fasten your seatbelts as we prepare our descent.  Thank you for flying Avril airlines.

When I decided to start this blog years ago, Reflections of a Misfit just popped into my head and it stuck.  I still have difficulty sometimes accepting that people see me differently (and I mean that in the most positive sense) than I do when I see my reflection in the mirror.  I’m the piece of the puzzle that doesn’t quite fit, quite literally a Misfit, but my given names are perfectly suited to the person I am – I am an Old Soul, who has Grace with everyone, often at the expense of myself (but I’m working on that as part of my therapy).

Thinking back to Lily-Rose’s christening, the reading was Isaiah 43:1.

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The minister explained that each of us have a name (some of us even the same one), but that our given names have meaning and speak to who we are, and that God knew what our names would be, long before our parents even knew of our existence, referring to Jeremiah 1:5.

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Today when I looked at how happy little Mouse is in the photo on my fridge, it stirred something within me, and that is that this Gracious Old Soul is loved and cared for, not only by the earthly angels that I am surrounded by, but by God too.

There’s comfort in that 🙂