Sunday, 26 August 2018

Books, and all things life...of sorts

I had a run in with my garage door opener on Friday. It wasn't pretty. When I was ready to go to work, the door didn't open. Stuck, I decided to take leave for the day and do other stuff. Several hours later, I got that incredibly jittery feeling of being trapped. Not literally, but not being able to just get in the car and go somewhere, makes me feel that way.
So there I was trying to figure out how to do this. Of course, I knew what to do, but the problem was getting it done. Disengaging the motor drive was a challenge (because I refuse to get on a ladder) but I finally managed to stretch at just the right angle to reach it.
Here comes the not so pretty part. I had to lift the wooden door by hand. Given the angle and space, I had to work with, I was glad I was alone in that garage. I managed to lift it just enough so I could go outside (via Francois' garage door), stick my fingers underneath and then haul that load up.
The door is still damn heavy, but I was sure grateful for all those weights my personal trainer had me lifting these past eight months.
Door open I had now to try and get it closed again; otherwise I couldn't leave. Back to the same problem, the car was now outside, but the door now had to be closed again. But luckily the empty space was sufficient to get the door in the right position. I tried again to engage the motor drive, and thank goodness it locked the gear and closed by itself.
If any of my neighbours saw my efforts, they would probably have been laughing their butts off or popped over in a second to come and help. Since I managed, I went off to refuel the car and get a few things for home.
And the new book, Take Your Journal to the Next Level, is making good progress too. According to my project plan, the first draft is now 64% complete.
Something that makes me motivated to keep going, that's for sure.

Until next time!
💜  Linzé
PS: There are more book features coming soon!

Monday, 13 August 2018

Follow Me: A long weekend - Part 2

Friday, 10 August 2018

The fog was the consistency of milk soup this morning. I would say denser than yesterday's even.
Driving in the fog
We went to the Wheelbarrow for breakfast this morning. Amazingly enough, I remembered this place from way before. It has a lovely nursery, and the gardens give you a tropical forest feel when you walk through the gardens. They have all these nooks and crannies which are lovely, and secretive(?), to explore.
Do you know what these blue flowers are called? Please leave your answer in the comments, since I have never seen anything like it before and am curious to know.
At least the waiter knew what an Americano was. If memory serves, we still had to explain that style of coffee the last time we were here. But the breakfast was nice, and the coffee good too.
Now we are off to our next adventure, and I am grateful that the sun came out to burn away the fog. We saw too many drivers being irresponsible in the almost zero visibility conditions on the road.
It is 12h27, and we are having lunch at the Eatery in Haenertsburg.
After breakfast, we went into the forest looking for old trees. As in more 100 years old, but we didn't find them. Somewhat tricky to spot very tall trees amongst a lot of other tall trees. Maybe next time.
The entrance to the
"secret nook"
@ The Wheelbarrow
We did see lots of pine trees, masses of them. Okay, they were planted for their wood, so the truck filled with huge logs that drove past should have been my cue. And we also saw blue gum trees. They were huge. When I stood next to one looking up and up towards its crown, I felt slightly sick when I did. Motion sickness kicking in perhaps?
All the off-road driving brought some beautiful scenery too, and real motion sickness for me. That was rather yuck. I told Francois to stop so I could get out and interact with the ground on my own feet. While I sipped a little water, he turned the car around, and by then I felt marginally better.
Spotting the time, we went food hunting in some other parts of the forest area. A wedding venue looked promising, but they only provided the venue for day visitors for picnics and such, so no food in sight.
The "secret nook" @ The Wheelbarrow
Then we went back to the access road to the organic cheese farm we saw on the way in. Missing the turn-off, we went down the access road for busses. Which was funny. To accommodate a bus the road didn't have sharp turns and was a bit longer, but we reasoned that it was going to get us there. It did, right behind the butt of a big bus. My first thought, how on earth? Francois' reply: he is going to get out using the same struggle to get in.
The funny part? The bus access road ran past the homes of the staff working on the farm. There were these small steel rods planted across the road (Francois almost didn't see them in time) with string spun between them. It was a holding pin, if you want, to keep the pigs and a shed full of piglets from running all over I suppose. One of the men saw us, removed a pin for us to cross, and then he chased the pigs. The adults walked off by themselves, but the babies probably thought it was a game and came running towards the car. The man chased them again and boy can they run! If was funny to see those short legs move those round little bodies out of our way.
Amazing blue flowers
@ The Wheelbarrow
Then we got to the parking space and the bus mentioned above. Off to the bathroom it was for me while Francois walked around to spot a picture or two.
Side note: I have been to facilities on this trip that will give most people nightmares. And that is all I am going to say on that subject.
The cheese farm was a short visit. Their food offering looked uninteresting, and their set up not really geared for casual visitors. So we decided to go back to Haenertsburg. And here we are at the Eatery.
The food was delicious, and I liked the interior of the place too. The staff was lovely and knowledgeable about the food on the menu (dairy allergies can make for an exciting test of the waitress' knowledge).
We are now back at the cottage taking stock of the morning's excursions and thinking about what we are going to do after we finish our coffee.
17h19 settled in to wait for our dinner (pizza on both counts) to be served.
After we finished our coffee, we went damming. First off the Ebenezer Dam. To get there, we had to drive on what is known as Blue Gum Lane. It is not the official name of the road (gravel again, but not as bad as this morning's) because of the giant blue gum trees that line it on both sides. I collected a few blue gum leaves from the ground and took a few more pictures. I don't know if you have ever been close to such big trees, not only tall mind you, but they do give one a sense of timelessness. I also felt in awe that such living entities exist and are not cut down when the pine forest is harvested. The people of this country are not known for their environmental awareness, so seeing these beautiful big trees, almost made me cry.
Yes, we have all those national parks, but their existence is no longer because people feel the need for preservation of our fauna and flora, it is money that ensures their survival. These trees, however, have no monetary value, and yet there they stand. Doesn't say a lot about the new South Africa, does it?
Magoebaskloof Dam, photographer taking a picture, Limpopo province
Francois taking a photograph of Magoebaskloof Dam
Our next stop, down the mountain, was the Magoebaskloof Dam. Neither of us had been there, and it is a sight for sure. Especially with all those trees on the opposite shore. The water was mirror calm, and I am sure Francois' photographs (I will steal one with his permission) will tell the story. The angle of the sun made mobile phone pictures challenging, that is why I want one of is.
Back up the mountain, the sun is about to leave us for the day, and we are awaiting our pizzas with hungry anticipation.
Tomorrow morning we take the road back home to Pretoria. One the one hand the break was nice, but I like being home too. Since it is a long weekend, there is still a weekend ahead for doing things like drawing and shopping for supplies for next week. I have laundry to do, and the rest of the house to clean. Long weekends also go by faster than we want them to, don't they?
So this has been a short Follow Me, but I trust that you enjoyed my stories and our pictures documenting yet another beautiful part of my country, South Africa.

Until next time!

💜 Linzé

Sunday, 12 August 2018

Follow Me: A long weekend - Part 1

Women's Day - 9 August 2018
Francois holding the gate for
me at the cemetery
We are in Haenertsburg in the Limpopo province today. Since it is a public holiday here (Women's Day) we both took leave for Friday and turned it into a long weekend. So here we are in one of the most beautiful parts of my country. It is high above sea level, so fog and rain are common occurrences, even at this time of year.
We didn't come with a plan: do this or go there, it was purely a matter of getting away and taking a break. But even without an itinerary, we did quite a bit today. Most of it involved food, but we had to eat after all.
After the semi-breakfast disaster - the first place we stopped was so crowded, and the queues so long, we decided to drive on and go somewhere else. I had a protein bar, and Francois got himself a small pie from the shop, to tie us over. Fifty kilometres later we had to wait a long time for our food to be delivered, and had to ask four times for cutlery (twice asked the same waitress) but we eventually got real food into our starving bodies. The coffee wasn't too bad though.
When we finally reached the region of Magoebaskloof, the fog hit us. In places it was so dense it was difficult to see the trees right next to the road. When we arrived in Haenertsburg, we set off to the cemetery. Trust me, I was just as surprised since neither of us has any relatives buried there.
photograph, Haenertsburg cemetery, Limpopo, South Africa
Fog in the Haenertsburg cemetery
(photograph by Linzé)
But, Francois had been there before (with a few photography friends), so he knew what we were going to find - you guessed it - breathtaking scenery. The gravestones are overgrown with mosses, and some of them are quite old. Add the trees, shrubs, and green grass, and incredible photographs happened. Add to that the skills of a great photographer (nope, I wasn't referring to myself) and you have a few winners on your camera.
A signalling device? (photograph by Linzé)
When we got back into the village, we parked on the main street and explored a few of the quaint little shops we found there. I also spent some time in the local museum where local volunteers documented and maintain the local history of the village. The museum is open to the public but unmanned, so there wasn't anyone around that I could ask about the curious object. 
The unknown device's label (photograph by Linzé)
The label is so worn that I could only speculate that it is something used for navigation or signalling perhaps. If you know more, please let me know since I find old technology intriguing.
After the obligatory browse through the books and antiques shop, we sat down to enjoy coffee and cake for lunch. Something we can only get away with (from our consciences that is) during holidays.
photograph, books and antiques shop, Haenertsburg, Limpopo, South Africa
The books and antiques shop
(photograph by Linzé)
We then went to book into our cottage, unpacked and relaxed for a bit, before heading out to explore the surrounding pine forest on foot. I collected a leaf, some pine needles and took pictures of the wild azaleas growing in abundance around here. They were extraordinarily beautiful with all the raindrops decorating their petals. With nature playing her part, there was no way that even pictures taken with my iPhone weren't going to turn out nice.
Later we drove around and took some photographs at the Ebenezer Dam. The fog was still as dense, if not more, than what we saw when we arrived. On our way back we stopped for a lovely dinner and coffee at Lekwar and decided that we will go back there for breakfast too before we go home.
Now I am typing this post in front of a cosy fire in our cottage. Internet access is limited, so I might only post this once we are back at home. Note to self: check the spelling of Haenertsburg, there is something odd going on in the way different signs and the internet spells the name of the village.
Off to get some coffee to enjoy with my cosy fire. Then I will read my book for a bit, then go snuggle in bed with Francois who has been asleep already for the past half an hour.
Until tomorrow!

💜 Linzé