Category Archives: Humour

Blue Skies

Blue Skies and Cape Bulbul

Haiku 202

Nothing but blue skies

And chirpy little Bulbul

On sleeping grape vines

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I was wandering round the garden with my new cell phone, taking pictures of flowers and stuff to familiarise myself with the camera.

I was snapping away at my yellow honeysuckle when I heard a determined twittering coming from overhead.

I pointed my camera upwards and clicked.

Luckily, before he flew off, I captured this cheeky little Cape Bulbul, sitting in the winter grape vines and telling me to get lost!

Though he’s not quite in focus, I’m showing the photo here because of that blue, blue sky!

And I know I’ve said it before, some years ago in I see Skies of Blue, but obviously it still bothers me, so I’ll say it again.

As a teenager at school in England, I always painted my skies this deep blue colour. My art teacher, who didn’t like me or my work, criticised yet another of my humble efforts, squashing any artistic dreams I might have had, when she briefly glanced at my “work of art” and said, “You don’t get skies that colour!”

Well, Ma’am, “Yes you do!”

Over here, most days, all day, the sky is resoundingly this marvellous deep clear blue. And my blue wasn’t even as deep as in the above untouched photo!

The thing that bugs me is how teachers back then often totally crushed any individuality or creativity in you.

I mean, it was a painting for Pete’s sake. Why couldn’t the sky have been green, had I so chosen?

 

To see how blue the sky really was, tilt your screen away from you. 

 

Addiction

Devices Galaxy 2

Haiku 201

Total addiction

My Smartphone just died on me

Withdrawal symptoms!

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I got my first Smartphone three and a half years ago. I quickly became accustomed to using it constantly throughout the day: to check the weather, read my emails, do my Duolingo language exercises, play games and keep in touch with people via WhatsApp. Apparently people check their devices on average 150 times a day! I can believe it. Ref.

The storage on the phone filled up over the years, with each new software upgrade, so I knew I’d have to look for another phone soon. Also, the battery was on its last legs; always needing charging and actually bulging quite alarmingly! Search as I might, I could not find a genuine replacement battery.

I was in the process of gathering info and looking at new phones in March, but then came Corona and Lockdown, putting a stop to that. Finally, my poor old phone gave up the fight and died.

That first day without it I definitely suffered withdrawal symptoms!

My daughter ordered me a new phone online and it was delivered to my door a few days later. Hooray!

However, it took another week to get the phone up and running. It uses a nano sim, but my old sim card was too large and I didn’t want to cut it down and risk damaging my brand new phone. So I needed to get a new sim card and change it to my old number.

Here in South Africa you have to RICA your sim card; register it online with proof of ID and address. (RICA stands for The Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-Related Information Act; to help prevent criminals from using cell phones for illegal activities.) You simply cannot use the sim until it is RICA’d.

Unfortunately, it was the end of the month and even though I got to the cell phone shop early so didn’t have to queue too long, their system was overloaded and extremely slow. After trying for an hour, I gave up and returned the following week, when the sim swap was done in all of ten minutes!

Though slightly bemused with the advanced technology of my new phone and taking time to set it up how I like, at least now I am back in the land of the living!

 

For those who’d like to know; my new phone is a Samsung Galaxy A50 LTE. The photo is of Little Monkey on my old phone. 

 

Masked Bandit!

Masked Bandit

Haiku 196

Covid Chronicles

The Masked Bandit Rides Again!

Or just leaves the house!

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This was in the early days, when we went from Level 5 Lockdown – not allowed out to exercise, to Level 4 – allowed to go out between 6 am and 9 am. As it is still dark in Cape Town till 7.30 am and very damp in winter, this is not the best time to be out walking!

Still, my makeshift face mask, a silk scarf, worked very well; both in adhering to the regulations and in keeping some of the damp air out of my asthmatic lungs!

I have since made my own face masks, out of a linen tea-towel, which are very comfy and allow me to breathe. It is mandatory to wear a cloth mask any time you leave your house and to keep a distance of 2 metres from anyone else. Your hands will be sprayed with hand sanitizer at every single shop you enter and trolleys and baskets wiped down. Cashiers sit behind perspex screens or wear protective visors or masks. Counter tops are sanitized regularly.

We’re now at Level 3 Lockdown, so can exercise outside any time. More businesses have opened; alcohol is on sale from Monday to Thursday, but still no cigarettes.  Kids are beginning to return to school, starting with only the 13 and 18 year olds.

So of course, with increased movement, the stats are rapidly rising. It is now definitely winter; a massive storm has just swept through the Cape, bringing so much rain there have been floods. Flu season is upon us, but maybe with all the masks, sanitizing and social distancing, the flu won’t be too bad this year!

As of going to press, South Africa has 58,568 confirmed cases of Corona, of which 33,252 have recovered and 1,284 died, in a population of about 59 million.

 

I Am Six

Six Year WP Anniversary

Six Year WP Anniversary

It is six years since I first started this blog. And I’m still here!

Thank you to everyone who has joined me along the way and shared in my little blog of everyday life. Without you there would be no Mad Cap Dog!

Thank you for your support, words of wisdom and sarcastic comments. I appreciate them all! You know people are your friends when they start being sarcastic!

Thank you to everyone who has popped by my blog and liked or commented on a post. I thoroughly enjoy visiting your blogs, reading your interesting posts and marvelling at your awesome photography. I really appreciate the interaction and have found the WP community to be friendly and caring.

I have come to know many of you well, even though we have never met, being separated in many instances by vast oceans, and I count you as my virtual friends.

Here’s to many more years of Blogging.

Cheers SciFi

 

Autumn

Autumn Leaf in Dog Water Bowl

Haiku 193

Single golden leaf

Floating in the water bowl

I guess it’s Autumn

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One swallow does not a summer make, nor a single snowflake winter, but in Cape Town, a solitary fallen leaf does make Autumn!

Autumn and Spring are so brief here that you have to look at the calendar, rather than the weather or flora, to know what season it is.

Although there is a chill in the air, during the day it is warm and pleasant, usually around 20C, (26C on Wednesday!); what I would call a nice Summer’s day in England!

Right now in my garden, I still have roses in bloom, as well as the honeysuckle, plumbago, hibiscus and frangipani. The camellia is absolutely covered in buds ready to unfurl into massive pink flowers.

So yes, one golden leaf fallen from the grape vine is as good an indication as any that it is actually Autumn.

After all, the 20th of next month is the winter solstice!

 

Fudge!

Homemade Vanilla Fudge 1

Haiku 192

Soft vanilla fudge

As if I don’t have enough

Sugar in my life!

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Yeah, let’s be honest – I only made this fudge because I’m stuck here in Lockdown and spend my evenings watching YouTube videos on baking.

And I don’t even want to think how many times I need to walk round the garden to burn off each piece I eat!!

Homemade Vanilla Fudge 2

Here’s the recipe, because now you want some too! –

Vanilla Fudge Recipe

150 g Butter
Tin of Condensed Milk
2 Cups Sugar (I used pale brown)
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Essence

Melt the butter, condensed milk and sugar in a thick-bottomed saucepan over a medium heat. Stir constantly (to avoid burning on the bottom) for about 15 minutes, or until thickening.

Remove from heat and continue to stir as the mixture cools, then add a teaspoon of Vanilla Essence.

Stir until the fudge is quite thick, then pour into a greased dish to cool. Cut into pieces.

Eat!!

 

Freedom Day

Rose

Haiku 190

Freedom Day Lockdown

Let your mind and spirit roam

Because your feet can’t!

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It is Freedom Day here in South Africa and Lockdown Day 32. It does not compute!

As you probably know, we are under a strict Lockdown, which is now designated Level 5. We are only allowed out for essentials such as meds or food. The white-haired woman queuing in front of me outside the shop last week had been stopped by police on the way there, demanding to know where she was going.

So how’s my Lockdown so far? Here’s a run-down for you.

Lockdown Day 32

Chocolate

Emergency Chocolate supply

I have no idea how this happened, but I guess every week I went shopping I thought I’d better stock up on chocolate – just in case. When I finally looked through my supplies I was (pleasantly) surprised to find so much!

Books

Books Read

I am scouring our bookshelves for anything I haven’t read too recently.

Kitchen Shelves Cleaned Out

Three drawers cleaned and re-lined and one large shelf.

Uninvited Guests

Oh Thousands!

An army of teeny sugar ants has decided to brighten up our Lockdown by invading the kitchen. No sooner do we spray everywhere and block them off, than they find another way in.

And one small Golden Mole in the garden, who has made it his life’s work to dig as many soil mounds as possible, in the shortest amount of time.

Knitted Squares and Wool

Knitted Squares

I knit simple squares while watching movies (see below). Then I sew the squares up into blankets and donate to charity. I was actually elated to find wool was still on sale at our local shops, as I doubt it is essential. I found a small supply hidden away by a checkout counter and asked a passing shop assistant if I could buy it. I was really happy when she said Yes!

Netflix Watched

Far more than is good for me! This can be seen by the large amounts of knitted squares – see above!

Jigsaw

Jigsaws Completed

One.

It only takes a few hours and I don’t have many that I haven’t done recently, so I have to pace myself!

Garden Circuits

Since we are not allowed to walk outside, I walk round and round my garden most days.

Number of circuits round the garden during Lockdown: 277
Kilometres walked: 42

I am wearing a path in the grass. By the end of Lockdown I shall be walking in a trench a metre deep!

LM Vodka Day 1

Vodka Drunk

About half a bottle. I was incredibly lucky that I had just restocked my vodka supply before Corona came to SA. Alcohol is not on sale during Level 5 Lockdown.

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SA Corona Stats

As of today, SA has 4546 confirmed cases of Corona, 1473 recoveries and 87 deaths.

This is considerably less than most countries. Who knows exactly why, but the severe Lockdown must be helping. (Other possible reasons: the warmer weather; the comprehensive TB vaccinations of all SA school kids.)

However, on Friday 1st May we are downgrading to Level 4. Hooray! It is uncertain yet exactly what this will entail. A few more businesses will be allowed to open; cigarettes will be on sale, but alcohol sales or walks may still not be allowed.

So how’s your Lockdown going?

 

Pretty in Pink!

Pink Geranium 1

Haiku 188

Before this Lockdown

Remember the good old days

When you could go out!

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I hope everyone is keeping well and surviving being cooped up for weeks on end during Countrywide Lockdown?

To cheer you up, here are some photos of a tiny pink Geranium I am nurturing in my garden. It looked like it was on its last legs, but then produced these lovely flowers.

Pink Geranium 2

In South Africa we went into Countrywide Lockdown on 26 March for three weeks. This has just been extended another two weeks to the end of April; and may be further extended. We are not allowed out for a walk, not even to take the dog. We can only go to the local shops for essentials, such as medicines and food. No alcohol or cigarettes are on sale for the duration of the Lockdown.

Only fifty people are allowed in a shop at any one time. As a person leaves the shop another is allowed to enter. So we queue up outside, keeping our social distance of two metres. By carefully choosing my time to shop I can keep this wait down to about 30 minutes. Inside the shop everyone seems to forget about the two metre rule and just shops as usual! Fortunately, by limiting the amounts you are allowed to buy, there is stock on the shelves; though you might have to eat a little differently for a while.

Pink Geranium 3

Our Coronavirus stats are low compared to most countries, but we are heading into winter and flu season, so anything could still happen.

Thank goodness for the internet and many light-hearted clips to get us all through this difficult time.

Keep Safe my friends.

 

Mousebirds

Mousebirds 1

Haiku 187

What could be more fun

Than hanging out together

Solidarity!

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These chaps were happy hanging out on the edge of the old concrete bird bath, even staying put when other birds came to use the actual bird bath!

Mousebirds 2

I’ve been trying to capture a good shot of these White-backed Mousebirds for a long while. I hear them chirping in the trees and often see them fly overhead, when their magnificent long tails are clearly visible, but they are far too swift for me to take a photo.

I’ve snapped shots of them in the syringa tree. I know they are there as I can hear them and see the leaves moving, but they are hardly visible when I look at my photos later on my laptop, even when enlarged. This is because they tend to roost almost vertically against an upright branch and so blend in very well, their long tails in line with the branch.

So I was pleased to see them hanging out here for a while, even if they are still blurred because I can’t zoom any closer!

 

Such is the pressure of English Grammar that I am sorely tempted to call these two Mouse Birds, Mice Birds!