Friday, April 20, 2018

Friday 20th April


We woke to a cold house; the heating has died again! Luckily it wasn't very cold this morning, & the sun soon warmed the place up.
I made some “Chocolate Crackle type things” this morning, to take with us tomorrow as a dessert (Special gluten-free rice bubbles & leftover Drinking Chocolate that I had in the cupboard). They tasted OK. I drizzled some melted chocolate over the top as they are rather pale & not very chocolate-y.

Geoff packed the ute & we are about as ready as we can be now, with a few things to do in the morning before we head off.

Dusk & sunset over Botswana...Beautiful


At a guess, I reckon that 3 out of the last 5 years the ducted heater at Mum's has broken down while we were here. We think it is close to 20 years old, and most of the innards have been replaced. So, like a Kardashian (So I hear. I don't watch that crap), there is not much original about it. Anyway, the repairman came out and will do his bit, if he can. A few chores and sorting out of the van and ute had me occupied most of the day. So, tomorrow it is infinity (Oberon, Armidale) and beyond!
Thursday 19th April


More sorting & leaving prep today; also cleaning & tidying up upstairs.

After lunch I headed to the hospital to see Jean. She appeared happy & put on a brave face for me. All 3 of her ankle bones are broken & will probably need pins. Crickey, at almost 80 she might have a fair recovery time ahead of her!

I got the trip groceries on the way back to Farrer, then it was back again to the Africa photos.
Wind blown sand on the Eastern Cape coast
near Port Elizabeth South Africa

Cape Recife - South Africa

Cape Recife coastline

Port Elizabeth coastal walk

Loved the name of the wine -
so we had to try it

Rather surprisingly (in a positive way), Mum finally agreed that going to a plant nursery to buy suitable plants for the garden was a good idea. I'd offered several times over the last three years, as for some reason the "designer" who had managed the landscaping of the yard, thought that putting ground-hugging plants along a fence-line would block sight of the fence and be attractive. FAIL! This designer also managed to arrange the landscaping to have rainwater run-off flow straight into the garden shed. There are also gaps where some plants have died and been removed. So off we went to the nursery at Yarralumla, where my style of shopping was not used, and we eventually left with a small percentage of what was originally sought.

Wednesday 18th April


I headed out orchid hunting with Tony today; it's my only chance to go before we leave.

Tony had said Jean would also come, but when I got to Tony's he told me that Jean had fallen over on Monday whilst bush walking & badly smashed her ankle. She was in hospital! OH Bugger.

The 2 of us went to Lowden Forest Park & did a couple of short walks. Although we saw plenty of orchid leaves from at least 3 different types of orchid, we only found one flowering Acianthus exsertus (Large Mosquito Orchid) for the whole day! Rather disappointing, though we did have a nice walk around the forest.

In the evening we met up with Evan & Daniel at the Ethiopian Restaurant in Pearce & had a tasty meal. This was despite the awful wine that I had brought with us from  Cellarmasters!

Acianthus exsertus - Large Mosquito Orchid

The old steam engine in the Lowden Forest Park - once used for logging the area

Looking towards the steam engine & parking/camping areas

Tony at the end of the first walk

The old water wheel
Out with Daniel & Evan for dinner

A few odd jobs etc during the day, and then a yummy dinner at Pearce. Varena and I have been here three times now, and it is worth going to again. The food is tasty and reasonably priced, and as a bonus there is no rip-off corkage fee for your BYOs. There is nothing flash about the place, but the great food speaks for itself. Dan and Evan had no idea what to expect, but were happy and content at meal's end. As were we.

No idea about the wine, but it was awful! Varena darted out to buy another bottle, as the one we'd brought was horrible.

Tuesday 17th April


An uneventful day of chores, cleaning & packing Bertie for Saturday's departure. I did the inside things & Geoff did the outside, as is our usual routine.

That done it was back to the Africa trip photo naming, culling & sorting...a huge job, that will probably take several more weeks.

Plains Zebra

Hamerkop & an African Fish Eagle

Oh my...!!! Is it cold or what?

YES!! Another Meerkat photo

This Starling seems to be enjoying the rain

Southern Red-beaked Hornbill; drying off after the rain

Secretary Bird at Dusk

Little Egret Fishing


House, car, caravan. They all need maintenance.
Monday 16th April


We took Bertie to a caravan servicing place in Hume. It has been over a year, plus 1000's of km; to Northern Queensland, over to Birdsville & back. It's good to get everything checked out before we head off again.

Then we had a late breakfast with Bevan at a coffee shop in Kippax. He was well, & suffered through the latest Blog Book. We also had lunch out, meeting friends of Geoff's at the Old Canberra Inn for several more hours of gas-bagging.

Collecting Bertie around 4.30pm we returned to the house, parked him off & Geoff zoomed off to another mate's house for the evening. Busy, Busy!

Flying across Botswana in a 6 seater plane

Farm below us

Flooded salt pans of the Kalahari Desert

Abandoned farm near Gweta - Botswana

Storm ahead

Rainbow in the storm clouds


Catching up with friends again. It was a busy day.
Sunday 15th April


The usual Canberra Sunday. Geoff took Val to church, whilst I did the washing, ironing etc.

More photo culling & naming. Whilst in Africa I bought a couple of animal & bird books to help with the ID of some of the less well know animals & birds. So it is taking time to check & re-check the names ….

The Canberra family came over for afternoon tea. Val has been sorting things out & then trying to pass them on to family when they appear. I don't think much was taken!!!

PS. The photos are still of our African jaunt; hopefully ones I haven't already posted...I have enough so there shouldn't be double-ups for weeks yet!

One of the "Ugly Five" - Maribou Stork

Hippo out from the waterhole for a munch on the grass

Tsessbe - one of the less well known of the antelopes

Highly endangered Ground Hornbill

Francolin on a termite mound

Millipede curled around a stick

Sundays at Farrer usually involve getting Mum to church then catching up with my Canberra-based sisters. This Sunday was no different.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Saturday 14th April


The weather seems to be changing here in Canberra. When we arrived it was warm & sunny. But the past few days a strong cold wind, squally rain showers & overcast skies are seeming to dominate. Autumn is on its way.

Great weather for staying & sorting holiday photos; still several 1000 to go I think!

Yes, PS Again, more shots of art from Joburg!


Still a bit mucked up with jet lag, I headed out to coffee with Shorty at Garran for a quick chat. Afterward I managed a few tasks around the house, and watched some catch up shows and footy on TV.

While in South Africa I tried to replicate my UK beer sampling and got up to 25 different beers. The range of beers available in most places was limited to the everyday common lager-ish styles, but when I could I tried to have some variety. The UK has much more variety, but if I went to Southern Africa again I reckon I'd be alright! Here they are in the order I tasted them:

1 Castle 1895 Draught

2 Soweto Gold Superior Golden Lager

3 Carling Black Label

4 Hansa Pilsener

5 Zambezi Lager

6 Golden Pilsener

7 The River Brewery “Belgian”

8 Traditional African tribal beer

9 St Louis Lager

10 Windhoek Premium Draught

11 Windhoek Premium Lager

12 Tafel Lager

13 Olde Sea Dog Pilsener.

14 Franschhoek Three Oaks Lager

15 Tiger’s Milk Lager

16 Stellenbrau Lager

17 Castle Milk Stout

18 Darling Brew Godfather Rye IPA

19 Agar’s Brewery American Pale Ale

20 Jack Black Lumberjack Amber Ale

21 Agar’s Brewery Red Ale

22 Darling Brew Thunder Bird IPA

23 Agar’s Brewery Black Mamba Stout

24 Agar’s Brewery White Dog Saison

25 Gilroy Real Ales Serious