Tag Archives: life

Whispering Clouds

Clouds 1

Whispering Clouds

Will-o’-the-wisp

Wistful

Whimsical

Wandering

Wondering

Wishing

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Clouds 2

This unusual cloud formation looks like a white fire of mist, spreading upwards and outwards.

Wouldn’t it be lovely to float on high like these clouds, without a care in the world? Especially now in Lockdown.

Wistful indeed.

 

Orcas of the Sky

Pied Crows 1

Haiku 232

Orcas of the sky

Black and white killing machines

And noisy to boot!

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No matter how bad a day you’re having, there’s always someone having a worse day.

I was in the kitchen boiling the kettle to make a cup of tea one afternoon, when I heard a lot of noise coming from outside.

Looking through the window I saw several Pied Crows flying around, cawing loudly. There were two, then three birds, flying from one tree to another nearby.

Pied Crow 2

They kept returning to the top of the large tree in my neighbour’s front garden. It looked like they were trying to perch there, but it was extremely windy with strong gusts, so they just kept hovering over the uppermost branches. They had to work hard to maintain their position, with wing and tail feathers splayed, as shown in the first photo.

Then I heard the most plaintive loud chirping coming from somewhere inside the foliage at the top of that tree.

I assumed these sharks of the sky were trying to kill a baby chick.

The peeping was pitiful. This prompted my thoughts above – No matter how bad a day you’re having, there’s always someone having a worse day.

I felt very sorry for whichever little bird was being harried incessantly.

Pied Crow 3

I could still hear the cawing and plaintive cheeping when sitting outside with my tea. So, I walked round the side of the house with my camera to see if I could find out what was going on.

I took a few shots of the large birds battling the strong wind currents. The photo above captures one crow flying with its beak open, cawing loudly!

The three crows kept coming back in turn to this one tree, where the peeping was coming from.

Finally, a big grey bird shot out of the tree, chirping loudly as it flew. The adults immediately followed it.

It was their own large youngster that they had been trying to encourage to move out of the top of the tree!

The family flew off together into the distance and the plaintive peeping stopped.

I was very happy to have been mistaken in thinking that they were trying to kill another bird’s chick.

They were simply protecting their own.

 

I am very lucky to have a garden with lots going on to entertain me (and provide Blog content) during our endless Lockdown. Otherwise by now I would have had to resort to showing you my collection of teaspoons!

 

Next Generation

Baby White Eye 1

Haiku 228

Little fluffy balls

Peeping away constantly

Next generation

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Baby White Eye 2

Baby Cape White Eye, Mum and Dad are worn to a frazzle feeding you; keeping up with your demands!

But you are so very cute.

Baby White Eye 3

A spherical blob of downy feathers; tail and wings half grown; your flight a flurry of frantic flapping that carries you to the nearest branch. Mum and Dad are ever vigilant; concerned for your welfare.

Three Baby Chicks 4

The baby White Eye joined up with a couple of baby Cape Sparrows, locally known as Mossies.

Three Baby Chicks 5

It’s a little chick creche. I guess safety in numbers!

Three Baby Chicks 6

Either way, it’s cuteness overload!

 

Unusually, it was an overcast grey morning with what little sunlight there was, shining from behind the birds. My Canon camera does not do well in low light, so some of these photos are grainy and blurry.

 

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!

 

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. 

 

Rose and Green Girls

Roses and Green Girls

Haiku 195

Outside trips curtailed?

Bring a little Nature in

Mini peace garden

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I treated myself to a bunch of delicate pink roses on my last weekly foray outside to replenish food supplies.

These two had broken near the top of the stem. No problem; they fit perfectly in this tiny vase, on top of the piano, between my two Green Girls.

 

post script: As some of you may ask, the ceramic Green Girls came from Denmark; a gift from my mother-in-law. 

 

Sunset

Crimson Sunset

Haiku 194

A Crimson Sunset

Showing there is life beyond

Corona Lockdown

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You have to be jolly quick to catch the evening sunset in Africa, as the gorgeous colours only last an instant. The sun’s last hurrah as it retires for the night.

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Being forced to stay home isolated and socially distant, you have no option but to turn inwards and your world shrinks.

Catching a beautiful sunset is a good reminder that the Universe is still out there and that one day we can rejoin it.

Hang in there my friends and Keep Safe.

 

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?

 

Look Out!

Cape Bulbul 1

Haiku 184

Find a look out point

Just eight inches off the ground

Better than nothing!

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Cape Bulbul 2

Here is a Cape Bulbul in my garden, keeping a look out from the top of a solar lamp. He didn’t like the fact that I was sitting outside having a cuppa, in his garden. So he flew closer for inspection.

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While the Coronavirus pandemic has hardly begun in South Africa as yet, it is rampant in other parts of the world.

I hope that all my Readers and their families keep safe and healthy during these trying times.

Look after yourselves, my friends.

 

Happy New Year 2020

Sunrise

As the sun sets on 2019 and rises on 2020, I’d like to wish my WP friends all the very best for the coming year.

Thank you for your friendship during this last year and here’s hoping the coming year will be a good one for you all, with health and happiness.

Here’s to a great 2020.

Cheers from Scifi.

Happy New Year!