Resting after a morning of digging potatoes
Ok, so she was chasing crows while I dealt with the spuds
We’re closed to public during the week now. The still is so profound. The silence around me is broken only by the rustling of wind in the trees and the occasional krrrk of some bird hidden in the foliage. Even the chickens are quiet, except when I walk past, when they squalk indignantly that their daily bread and cake diet has come to an end.
Our new chick (seems there is to be only one) is thriving…
The pigs are bashing in the warm autumn sun. Now that’s the life!
Ken, gardener friend, found a newt among the plant pots. I took the little guy to the pond in the field usually reserved for sorting calves. We thought it was dead at first, but it slowly warmed up and was quite lively when I left it.
Lunch was a delicious bagel with smoked ham, roasted red pepper, chickenand some fancy cheese (I’ve forgotten what cheese it is), served with a rocket salad I’d just picked and freshly-picked apple.
Have you ever put your noise to a freshly-picked apple? Heavenly smell!
The working day ended with the loading up of three little boars into the horse box, then I took Meg for a walk up to the lake. Who can resist this face?
I was feeling a little nostalgic anyway, playing with Overenthusiastic-Odie….
I miss having my own dogs around. Luckily, I have an abundance of dogs and other critters who make me smile here. I spent yesterday playing with Lupa, a rather goofy 7 month old German Shepherd.
We don’t work weekends. Really. Honestly. Ok, sometimes. Thing is, farming’s like that. You’ve read ‘Animal Farm’, right? Today’s politics involved the chickens. You’ve met the existing chickens… Now meet the newbies!
These arrived here with warnings that they were wild and could fly and liked to sit in the trees. Um… ok… We clipped their wings, put them in the hen house and set about trying to make friends with them. A couple of weeks later, they no longer squeeze themselves into the corner to get away and they do come forward when greens are offered, but… they fly! They fly to the window sill with their clipped wings (to clarify – only one side, before anyone tells me we did it all wrong).
Today, we got another addition to the flock, Crocky’s sister, who looks a lot like that feather duster. She was put in with the other chickens by her now-ex-owner, only to be pecked on, so she was moved in with the frightened newbie group. We plan to try and put the whole lot with the old birds tomorrow. On Wednesday (or thereabouts), the new chicks should hatch. That’ll add another dimension to the whole drama. This should be an interesting week!
I’m now sitting here over my cup of dandelion and lemon balm tea with a wee drappie of honey. It’s delicious! I was feeling a little under the weather this past week. Hopefully this will give me the Oomph! that went missing.
I wanted to show Jurgis a video and was looking through my files with pictures of South Africa when we had a bit of a discussion about the location of a remembered landmark in our home town. That took us to Google Maps. I’d have lost a few kilos if I’d walked the distance we covered this afternoon :)
I’ve come to the conclusion that I had an idyllic childhood. How many children get to go to school in a school as full of character as this one. This is the old Albert Jackson Primary School. Its walls were solid stone and thick. It breathed history, but was bright and cheerful. It looked no different to the way it looks now (the building is protected by heritage laws), though it’s been many, many years since it held any children.
Albert Jackson had no playground of its own, so, at break time, we’d all line up and cross the road ‘crocodile’ fashion to the Donkin. Now can you imagine a nicer playground for school breaks? A view of the ocean, vast lawns, funky monuments and plenty of pigeons to absorb the lunch crumbs.
The Donkin is named after Sir Rufane Donkin, governor of Port Elizabeth in 1820, when the British settlers landed. The unusual pyramid next to the lighthouse is a monument to his wife. I thought the story to be really sweet:
“His life is also one of romance and undying love. He married Elizabeth Markham in Yorkshire under a traditional organised marriage which was the custom in those times for the social upper classes. But Sir Rufane Donkin truly fell in love with his beautiful young wife. In most cases the wives of high ranking military officials stayed at home while their husbands were abroad. However Elizabeth Donkin chose to be with her husband and travelled with him to India where she was to become seriously ill, and died in August 1818 after their first son George David was born.
The effect on Sir Rufane Donkin after her death was immense, and to such an extent was placed on leave from his post, however he was given the task of organising the 1820 Settlers in Port Elizabeth. He was officially the first governor of PE from the 6 June 1820 – 1821. His wife Elizabeth was buried in Meerut in India but her heart was embalmed at his request.
…… Love it is said is as strong as death! Sir Rufane Donkin built a memorial to his wife Elizabeth known as the Donkin Memorial atop a hill above the city centre and named the city, Port Elizabeth, in her memory. The Donkin Reserve is open to all in perpetuity according to his will.”
Photo taken by Jurgis. The butterfly landed on the soap bubbles as he was doing the dishes. He fished her out and she hung around a while. He then took photos before releasing her into the great outdoors.
I woke up completely and quickly. That, in itself, was unusual. I’m notoriously slow to surface. My first thought was… surely it’s 4:30 already? I checked my cell phone, which doubles as an alarm clock – 4:37! I hadn’t set the alarm! Strike one. Without an alarm, I’m usually incapable of surfacing on time.
I put the kettle on and turned on the pc. Ack! My internet wouldn’t connect. An overwhelmingly sickly smell drew me to the kitchen. The gas had run out (the gas stinks just as the bin empties for some reason) – coffee would be delayed. I shook Jurgis awake. Luckily, he’d asked me to wake him early. He tackled the gas (we keep a spare bin) and internet while I got ready. With coffee and toast going down well, the morning was saved.
The first bus that came along was an inter-municipal (the elusive Santana bus, Tat! *poke*) The smiling lady sharing my stop got on, so I asked the driver if it went my way. Yep, it did. What a ride! Everyone was smiling! I wish I could take this bus every day. It takes a grand tour of the city. The route was different and thus interesting. I wished I had a camera with me.
Because I took a bus instead of the usual metro, I ended up on the other end of Parque do Juventude, a large, concrete and wannabe-grass walking area. It has some funky buildings. I walked past the building and wadya know…. a library! An honest-to-goodness fancy-schmancy library here in São Paulo!! Sadly, it was only opening later, so I couldn’t go in. Not sure when I’ll get the chance to see it, as it’s far from home and my ours are a little crazy.
I walked over to where my student usually meets me. I had nearly reached my spot when a scruffy man walked past. I think he was homeless, but who knows. What was special about him? The big red nose he was sporting! When he caught someone staring, he’d grin. He was having a ball. He left many laughs and smiles in his wake.
I spent the rest of my time there being entertained by an impish (he looked like a little imp) hopelessly drunk man who was dancing and clowning around with a huge grin on his face. He was having a ball!
What was that they say about "Smile and the world smiles with you"? Today, the world seemed to be smiling. It was good : ) I felt as though a load had been taken off my shoulders.
And back to the ordinary world…
Romany was caught grinning in his sleep.
Dogs! Argh! We’re into day 2 of our regional water cut. The pleasant enough,but extreeeeemly slow chap at the water department said it was due to a burst water mains and water would be restored the same day. That was yesterday.
The air is dry. There are pollution warnings out. This photo is from our local news. The airport is on a ‘fly only if necessary’ due to the pollution.
Our water system is here complicated. We run off a cistern on the roof. This is because of the city’s frequent water cuts. A storage box of water means that, during a cut, we still have water for a while. That’s all good and well, but…. unless we go outside to the yard wash tank, which is fed directly from the street, we have no idea the water has been cut or if it’s been restored.
The son of a second-hand sea sausage used the standing space in front of the water tank as his personal WC! Let it be known that I leave home by torch light – It was dark when I checked the status of our water supply!
Apparently, I will have plenty of luck today, especially since I couldn’t wash it off.
My week started with Kippy’s wedding and a computer format. I hate formatting because they never go as quickly and smoothly as I’d like. This time, my scanner went belly-up. We eventually got the scanner working by sneaking up on it… and disabling my webcam, as the pc wanted to use the webcam as a scanner source. I was finally functional by Wednesday afternoon, but without a printer. Let’s say that lessons and admin became very interesting this week. I rely heavily on technology.
Along with this came an all-pervasive tiredness. No idea where that comes from. I picked up towards the end of the week. Then yesterday, Thursday, we took both dogs up to the village. At the church, we parted company. I had Romany with me. Jurgis had Dingo. She was going to the vet who confirmed that she’s diabetic. She was already totally blind in the one eye and had minimal vision in her remaining eye. This past month, she lost a lot of weight. Generally, the dogs start piling on weight as the cooler weather sets in… she just got skinnier and skinnier. She was already a skinny dog to start off with. Her appearance was conflicting… glossy coat, perky ears, still all tail-wag, but otherwise clearly going downhill. She’d lie in the corner under my desk, not following Romany out. We made the decision to let her go. All I’ll say is that her tail was still wagging.
While we were out walking, it rained. No ordinary rain, but a typical São Paulo garoa, rendering umbrellas useless. We were soaked through. By nightfall, I was feeling ghastly… sore throat, achy, sheer bliss, of course. This morning, after chasing of the mule train that ran me over, I dragged myself out to teach. What a weird class. She’s a new student who wanted me to go over her application for a job. We met at a Starbucks that had Wifi, but she didn’t have a service provider, so she couldn’t access it. Most of the lesson was spent trying to find an internet connection. This afternoon, I dragged my sorry self back home and went to bed, waking up in time for supper. I think I’ll just veg with housework this weekend…. and a few blogs. I’m way behind in everyone’s blogs.
PS. The top photo is simply there because I thought it was pretty. I was looking for photos of Dingo and found that one. Not sure what Heidi and Specs were looking at… probably a hyperactive dog.
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