Category Archives: Galaxy

Raindrops On Freesias

Purple Freesia 1

Haiku 223

Tiny crystal balls

Microscopic universe

Raindrops on Freesias

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Purple Freesia 2

I love finding great big fat raindrops on my plants.

Purple Freesia 3

Not just because it means that rain has fallen, but because it is so beautiful; nature enhanced.

Purple Freesia 4

Of course, with or without raindrops, I do like my purple freesias;

Purple Freesia 5

And their subtle, heavenly scent.

 

Still Looking for Mr Right!

Toffee 1

Chapter Four

I went looking for a rescue dog in March this year, to no avail, just before our Level 5 Lockdown. As most of you know, we have had a very severe Lockdown here in South Africa.

My plan was to have volunteered at the rescue organisation, spending time with the dogs and getting to know them. Maybe I would spot my Mr Right when he arrived, but our Lockdown just went on and on and on.

Toffee 2

As we have just downgraded to Level 1 Lockdown, I went looking again last week. Even on Level 1, there are still many restrictions and no volunteers at the shelter. I had to book an appointment and when I arrived I was stopped at the entrance to check I was on their list. My contact details and temperature were taken before I was allowed in, with a bright red sticker attached to my T-Shirt, saying, Screened! Everyone wore a mask and social distanced, and I sanitised my hands repeatedly.

I look on the shelter’s website beforehand and choose a few likely candidates, but you have to actually go and see the dogs in person to find if they are a good fit for you.

The dog above, Toffee, was estimated to be about 4 years old and described as having low energy levels; (2 out of 5); the kind of dog you take for a slow amble and then he sleeps at your feet all day.

Toffee 3

Well, he came out of his kennel full of bounce, kept jumping up on me, pulled hard on the lead and was very young and strong! Much too boisterous for me these days and with a great deal of training required. I worked very hard to get these calm-looking sits you see in the photos!

I really thought, on paper at least, that Toffee would be the right dog for me.

Smart Boy 1

I also wanted to look at Smart Boy, age about 7 years, even though I suspected he might be too big. Sadly, at 26 kg he was far too big and strong for me to manage; these days! Little Monkey weighed 23kgs and I need to go smaller.

Smart Boy 2

Apart from the size, he is just the kind of dog I like. Street savvy and very mixed breed; just like my old Jack. We liked each other at once and he was more responsive to training, sitting nicely for a treat.

But I cannot adopt a dog that is capable of dragging me down the street, if he so chooses!

Smart Boy 3

It’s not obvious from the photo above, but I am scratching his rump, which dogs like, not trying to get him to sit.

I walked round the rest of the kennels and came across Fluffy, who I thought had been adopted. I asked if I could see her too. She was estimated to be 8 years old and calm.

Fluffy 1

Now, she appeared to be fine, but I have been fooled before, by my collie cross Madam, so I was understandably a little hesitant. Madam was the most likely out of all my dogs, to bite!

Fluffy 2

I ask the kennel guy showing me around to take photos, so I can kook afterwards and see things I might not have picked up on at the time. Studying the photos afterwards, I could clearly see visions of Madam! My goodness!

So sadly, not this one either!

Fluffy 3

All the dogs I looked at coped well with people covering their faces with masks. I also wore sunglasses and a cap, so was even more disguised, but they dealt with it.

So no luck this time, but I’ll just keep looking.

TJ

My perfect guy, Mr Right, is out there – somewhere!

 

Spring is in the Air

Red Freesia 1

Haiku 218

A little treasure

Hidden in a winter pot

Surprise! Spring Freesia

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Red Freesia 2

Most of my few surviving freesias are yellow, so it was lovely to find this solitary red one popping up in an abandoned flower pot; providing a welcome warm colour in our most changeable season.

Red Freesia 3

One day the sun bakes down ferociously, then the next temperatures drop rapidly, with driving rains and howling winds.

Red Freesia 4

Throughout it all, this brave little freesia just keeps on blooming.

 

Stolen

Variegated Plant 1

Haiku 215

If you grow my side

Technically you are now mine!

Law of the jungle

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Variegated Plant 2

So how did I steal these plants?

There used to be a broken down wooden fence between my property and the neighbours. This old fence became overgrown with their creeping ivy, bulging out on both sides, till nothing remained of the fence.

Underneath the ivy, in a few places, some of the neighbour’s plants grew through on my side.

Variegated Plant 3

Two and a half years ago we replaced the mass of overgrown ivy with a vibracrete wall on the property line. I planted four honeysuckle bushes along my side and carefully tended them. I noticed a few straggly bits of plant had survived from the neighbour’s side, even after the wall was built. Well, as Nature knows no boundaries, it’s Finders Keepers and all the more for me!

Variegated Plant 4

I also carefully tended these stolen plants; weeding and watering along with the honeysuckle. The plants have variegated leaves of green and white and are pretty to look at, even without any flowers. In fact, I didn’t know they were supposed to bloom.

However, they have finally rewarded all my gardening by producing a few purple flowers. Now they are even prettier.

How lovely. Stolen plants and free flowers!

 

Renewal

Erica 1

Haiku 214

Delicate as lace

Tiny tinkling flower bells

Spring is in the air

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Erica 2

Mr Spaghetti legs’ plant returns each Spring.

Although it isn’t really Spring till next month, I am certainly not complaining. I’m always happy to see the plant is surviving and even growing a little each year. You can see just how small it is by the bricks.

Erica 3

This plant with the tiny delicate flowers is a fynbos, Erica Quadrangularis.

Mr Spaghetti Legs.

Mr SL is all ears

 

Golden Flower

Yellow Freesia 1

Haiku 212

Like a Buttercup

A tiny drop of sunshine

Cradled in petals

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Yellow Freesia 2

Early morning sunlight is caught by my solitary freesia in a pot on the stoep. Such a cheerful bright spectacle.

I’ve mentioned recently that the garden centres were shut due to Lockdown earlier in the year, when I wanted to replenish my dwindling supply of bulbs. For once I had remembered at the right time of year! Coming from England I still think Spring is in April and you plant your bulbs in September.

Yellow Freesia 3

But of course, that is topsy-turvy down here, like everything else. You have to plant in April for your Spring bulbs to pop up in September. Year after year I only remember in September, that I should have planted them in April. Oops!

What can I say? I have found my formative years to have a huge impact on my life.

Oh well, this, along with so many other things, will have to wait until 2021 – which is going to be the Best Year Ever!

Photos taken with my new Galaxy A50.

 

Iridescent

Dianthus 1

Haiku 210

Incandescent glow

Shimmering and glittering

Luminescently

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The evening sun illuminates my few Dianthus flowers with its last rays.

Dianthus 2

I usually plant Pansies as my winter flowers in this bed. However, the garden centres were closed earlier in the year, due to Lockdown, so I had to make do with these Dianthus that, luckily, I’d bought just before.

Dianthus 3

They sat there very quietly to start with, all green leaves, with barely a glimmer of colourful flowers. Now they are blooming merrily away, in various shades of red and pink, and cheering my winter days.

 

Close ups taken with my new Galaxy A50.

 

Cheers Y’All!

Vodka!

Haiku 203

To drink or not drink

That is the burning question

Apparently not!

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We had a severe Lockdown at the start of the Corona pandemic in March, here in South Africa. At Level 5 we were not allowed out to exercise and many things were not for sale; including alcohol.

Level 4 provided some easement of the restrictions and we were allowed to exercise between 6 am and 9 am. Still no alcohol.

Finally Level 3 arrived on 1st June, bringing further easing; more freedom to exercise and more things for sale. Alcohol was permitted again. Hooray!

We quickly replenished our stocks of alcohol and relaxed a bit.

As can be seen from the photo above, I went a little overboard with my vodka purchase, but I can explain!

Obviously, there were long queues outside the booze shops once alcohol was on sale again, so I waited a few days before going. As I queued for my turn to enter the shop I saw notices stating there were limits on what you could buy. I selected a few bottles of whiskey for my husband and then went looking for my vodka. The shelf was bare! But I did find one plastic bottle right at the back, so put that in my basket.

Heading for the check out, I suddenly came across a shelf stacked full of glass bottles of Smirnoff vodka. Yay! I asked a shop assistant how many bottles of spirits I could take. She said, “You can have one!” I looked at the three whiskeys in my basket already and repeated to her, “I can only have one?”

“No,” she said, “You can have what you want!” Honestly, no-one can hear a thing anyone says in masks!!

And that’s how I ended up with so many!!

Just as well I over-stocked as it turns out, because –

Without warning, alcohol was banned again last Sunday night. There was no chance to stock up.

Now we are back to eking out our supplies until it’s legal again.

Other measures were also put in place, such as a curfew again, between 9 pm and 4 am. Taxis (most of ours are mini buses holding many people, which function as buses) can now run at 100% capacity for short distances and 70% for long distances. They are going on the theory that you can sit in a confined space for a short time and not catch the virus! Also gatherings of up to 49 people are now allowed for religious practices, and – get this – casinos!

So we can go gambling, but we’re still not allowed to see family members.

Why all the ups and downs with alcohol?

Some people abuse alcohol, causing an increase in drunk-related casualties and violence. The hospitals become overrun with alcohol-related cases, taking up doctors’ time and beds that could have been used for Corona cases. Sad but true.

So the majority of us have to do without our sun-downers, because of the irresponsible behaviour of a few.

Our severe Lockdown measures at the start of Corona in SA curbed the spread, giving us time to build extra hospitals and make other preparations for dealing with the pandemic.

Now, however, the numbers are rising at an alarming rate, despite all the mandatory wearing of masks and hand sanitizing. There are just too many people living in densely populated areas.

Today’s Corona Stats for South Africa –

Confirmed cases: 324221; Recovered: 165591; Deaths: 4669

Still, the death rate in SA is quite low compared to other countries. For example, though our total number of cases has now exceeded that of the UK, our death rate is only 10% of theirs, and we have the same number of total cases as Mexico, but only 12.5% of their deaths.

Also, because misery likes company, we are now having power cuts again! Of course we are. It is mid-winter, the Cape has just been battered by violent storms and there is snow on the mountains. Why would you need electricity to make a cuppa?

The power cuts are scheduled, so at least you know what time you’ll have yours. It is called Load shedding and naturally we have levels for that too.

But you may as well laugh about it all, as South Africans are wont to do. We are at Level 3 Lockdown and there’s a meme where our President says, “My fellow South Africans, we are going to Stage 2 . . . of Load shedding!”

And another meme which says, “I can’t believe it’s Load shedding season already. I still have my Covid-19 decorations up!”

However, like the rest of you, I’m fed up of 2020 already!