Throwback Thursday: I Remember …


A few weeks back I read this post written by Anna at The Wandering Introvert and it got me thinking; this would not only be a good writing exercise but also an excellent prompt for a Throwback Thursday post.

Anna’s method goes like this:

“Set a timer for some amount of time, and, without stopping, compose a series of sentences that begin with the phrase “I remember.” If you get stuck, just write the prompt over and over again until something else comes out.”

I set my clock for 10 minutes, then added a few more for touching up and uploading pictures.


I remember one time when I burned my hand on hot coals while playing outside by the wood boiler – I tried to hide the blister from Mum because she’d told me not to go there, but somehow she found out. I remember being relieved (and surprised) because she didn’t get cross and instead gave me a hug and placed a soft kiss on my hand.

I also remember Mum being very cross with me for cutting my doll’s hair.

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Sophie the doll, after her hair cut

I remember going with Dad to look for tadpoles in the stream at the end of our garden. Dad kept a thermometer there in the water, I can’t remember why he wanted to record the temperature but I do remember the water was always very cold! I remember that he had to make a cage for the thermometer out of bamboo sticks to keep the otters from destroying it. I remember that we often saw otters there. I remember years later watching a film called Ring of Bright Water, which was about an otter.  Thinking about that story still brings tears to my eyes.

I remember my first day at school. I wasn’t really afraid until I saw that Mum was crying and trying not to let me see and then I became scared. I remember one day doing something really bad in class – I think I deliberately coloured outside the lines and made a mess of my drawing – and had to sit in the corner with my back to the other children. I remember the shame I felt and I remember worrying that the teacher would tell my parents. She didn’t tell them, but I did. I think they pretended to be cross.

I remember watching films every Friday night at the open-air cinema (we called it the bi-scope). There were short breaks each time the reel had to be changed and a longer one at half-time, when we would buy a coke and a packet of crisps for 10 cents. Before they paved the area, us kids used to sit on the sand at the front while our parents sat in plastic ribbed seats behind us.  I remember some nights, if it was an age-restricted film, I would sleep in that little hole at the very back of my parents’ VW Beetle with Owen, our Welsh Border Collie, to keep me company. I remember one night he stole a cheese and onion crisp out of my hand – it was the biggest crisp I had ever seen.

I remember the first dog I ever owned. Sometimes, after bathing her, I would dye her white coat with food dye. Her name was Fifi. I remember the sound of screeching tyres on the road in front of our house and how devastated I was when I learned that she had been knocked down by a passing car and that I would never see her again.

Fifi in pink

Fifi in pink

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Add New Post on Old Screen – No More Beep Beep Boop


I don’t know about anyone else, but I really Really don’t like the “improved posting experience” we are now being forced to use when writing a new post.

Heaven knows why it’s been changed – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

Colonialist found a way to beat the system and he has kindly told us how he did it. It works for me and I am very grateful to him.

Colonialist's Blog

(Click on appropriate section of sidebar on right for translations, writings, compositions, awards and special series.)

Does Beep Beep Boop drive you dilly?  Did you always go back to the older version until the option to do so on the page below disappeared?

Beep beep boop

I’m not sure how it works on later themes, but for my preferred old one here is a quick method for getting back to the other far more flexible version:

Positing My Sites Blog Posts X and Tick

On the ‘My Sites’ dropdown, you don’t go to Blog Posts but to Sharing.

Posting Sharing Post New

A new dropdown appears, and with this one the ‘Posts’ and ‘Add New’ get you into the old version, with the usual plaintive urge to use the ‘new posting experience’ – no, thank you.  The old one gives far better response and ease in operation for changing fonts and colours, adding links, and manipulating elements generally.

Dead easy – when you know how.  You have no…

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Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge (Day Five): Rustle Crow


This is my final entry in the Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge. I have had a lot of fun taking part and I would like to thank Cee from Cee’s Photography Blog for asking me to join. Cee is a very active blogger and she always posts something every day. She also runs various daily photo and writing challenges and offers helpful advice and encouragement to everyone who takes part – I don’t know where she finds the energy! If you haven’t already, I recommend that you pop over to her site to have a look at her work – her photos and accompanying stories are beautiful.

Colonialist’s Blog is my nominee for today. He describes his home as being “on the edge of that pond called the Indian Ocean” and I have to admit I am a little bit jealous of that! I enjoy the humour on Colonialist’s Blog and hope that you will too.


Rustle Crow

Rustle was born in December 2007 in a nest on the top of the internet mast at the back of our garden.

It was the rainy season and a particularly violent storm had caused some damage to the mast, cutting off our internet supply (this happens every year!), so we called in the internet people to come and fix it.

One of the internet men climbed onto the mast, got half way up and then came down again. He declared that the problem had not been caused by the storm but that he could see a crows nest at the top and that this was why we had no signal. He had come down to fetch a stick which he was going to use to destroy the nest (and in the process kill whatever was in it).

Luckily for Rustle, Last Born was visiting us for Christmas and he was having none of that! He donned a backpack, shimmied up that mast and was back down again with a baby crow safely tucked in his backpack before the internet guy could say “No! Wait!”.

It's a long way up there!

It’s a long way up there!

I don’t think there is an easy way to determine the sex of a crow, but it was decided that the chick was a boy, so he was named Rustle (had it been a girl, her name would have been Cheryl).

Rustle in his new, less elevated, home

Rustle in his new, less elevated, home

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He was quickly tamed and soon became a member of the family, keeping us entertained with his antics. He even got his own Facebook page.

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Like all birds, Rustle loved to bath and we always kept a dish of water handy for this.

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Having no windows in the house, the problem was keeping him out of the house when he was wet!

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Once Rustle grew up he left home. I was quite sad about that, but at the same time pleased that he was able to live his life as a wild bird, not locked up in a cage forever.

We are often visited by crows in our garden and when we do I always go outside and call his name, wondering if one of them is Rustle.

Is that Rustle up there?

Is that Rustle up there?

A couple of weeks ago while driving around in the fields taking photos for this post I came across some crows feeding on peanuts that had been dropped by the harvester.

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One of them broke away from the crowd and flew towards me, banking and swooping over my head. I like to think it was Rustle saying “hello”.

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Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge (Day Four): Motion


Thank you to Cee from Cee’s Photography Blog for inviting me to join in this challenge. Please pop over to her site and have a look at her beautiful, inspiring pictures .

“The rules of Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge require you to post a photo each day for five consecutive days and attach a story to the photo (It can be fiction or non-fiction, a poem or simply a short paragraph) and then nominate another blogger to carry on this challenge. Accepting the challenge is entirely up to the person nominated, it is not a command.”

I would like to invite scrapydotwo to join in today. scrapydotwo writes interesting stories and posts beautiful pictrures about South Africa and New Zealand, in both Afrikaans and English (Piet helps me with translations and my Afrikaans is improving – a little – as a result!). Have a look at her blog – you will be glad you did.

My post today is linked to The Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: Motion.


Where thou dwellest, in what grove,
          Tell me Fair One, tell me Love;
          Where thou thy charming nest dost build,
          O thou pride of every field! – The Birds, William Blake

I don’t think I have ever seen so many Yellow Billed Kites at one time as I did on this wintery afternoon.

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The dogs loved seeing them too!

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Storks moving in for the summer.

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And for a bit of colour, roosting European Bee eaters.

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Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge (Day Three): WTF Friday


Thank you to Cee from Cee’s Photography Blog for inviting me to join in this challenge. Please pop over to her site and feast your eyes on some beautiful, inspiring pictures .

“The rules of Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge require you to post a photo each day for five consecutive days and attach a story to the photo (It can be fiction or non-fiction, a poem or simply a short paragraph) and then nominate another blogger to carry on this challenge. Accepting the challenge is entirely up to the person nominated, it is not a command.”

Today I have invited Sue Vincent from the Daily Echo to join in the fun. Sue originally hails from my ‘Home From Home”, near the Peak District in the UK. Her posts are always thought-provoking and her photographs are stunning.

My post today is also a contribution to Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge which I try to take part in each Friday.

This challenge subject is all about capturing the roads, walks, trails, rails, we move from one place to another on.  You can walk on them, climb them, drive them, ride them, as long as the way is visible.  Any angle of a bridge is acceptable as are any signs.

There is never a topic to this challenge.  All you need have is the “way” visible and the main focus of your photo.


Which Way Africa Style (Part Three)

As I’ve mentioned before, we have recently experienced some unseasonal rain storms and I think these first two pictures speak for themselves.

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This track, seen in Namibia, seems to lead to nowhere.

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I have no explanation for this last one (except perhaps that dead maids are so inconvenient)!

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Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge (Day Two): Clouds


Slow internet aside, I am having a lot of fun with this challenge and also getting to know many new bloggers in the process. Thank you to Cee from Cee’s Photography Blog for inviting me to join in. If you haven’t already, do give her blog a visit – she posts some wonderful photos and her challenges provide constant inspiration.

“The rules of Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge require you to post a photo each day for five consecutive days and attach a story to the photo (It can be fiction or non-fiction, a poem or simply a short paragraph) and then nominate another blogger to carry on this challenge. Accepting the challenge is entirely up to the person nominated, it is not a command.”

Today I am inviting Aletta from nowathome to play along. Aletta is lucky to live in the ‘Mother City’ of Cape Town and her photos are always a treat to see.

Today I am going to combine my post with two other challenges – Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge, Clouds and Jude’s Bench series, Bench with a View.

You can see my first post in the challenge here.


Clouds

I love clouds!

When I was at university my meteorology lecturer was passionate about clouds. He asked us students to give him copies of any cloud pictures we took and he would pin them on the notice board for everyone to admire. Even though I never got to submit a photo, I think that is where my interest in photographing clouds began.

One of the first photos I ever took was of a cloud on a National Bird Count exercise I took part in in the Gona re Zhou National Park in Zimbabwe, probably in 1988.  I have since lost that picture but I clearly remember that it had uncannily taken on the shape of a dove, flying high above us while we scurried about below looking for birds.

Since then I have taken thousands of cloud pictures and I have found it quite a challenge today to select only quite a few for this post. (I can see I am going to have to do more than one ‘cloud’ post!)

This first photo was taken on the grounds of the Royal Livingstone Hotel.

A bench with a view

A bench with a view

This is the view from the bench – the spray from Victoria Falls.

The Smoke that Thunders

The Smoke that Thunders

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Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge (Day One): Early Bird


I have been reading the “Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge” posts popping up on my reader over the last week or so and have loved all the entries. So when Cee from Cee’s Photography Blog send me an invitation to join I was delighted! My biggest challenge will be getting my internet connection and/or electricity supply to behave, something it hasn’t been doing very well at during the last fortnight. [I have been struggling to upload one picture for the last 30 minutes It took five hours to upload these pictures]

Cee is a very active blogger, she always posts something every day. She also runs various daily photo and writing challenges and offers helpful advice and encouragement to everyone who takes part – I don’t know where she finds the energy! If you haven’t already, I recommend that you pop over to her site to have a look at her work – her photos and accompanying stories are beautiful.

“The rules of Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge require you to post a photo each day for five consecutive days and attach a story to the photo (It can be fiction or non-fiction, a poem or simply a short paragraph) and then nominate another blogger to carry on this challenge. Accepting the challenge is entirely up to the person nominated, it is not a command.”

Today I would like to invite Genis’s Fat Dog Diary to join in the fun. Genis’s stories are told from the point of view of “The Dog Himself”. They are fun to read and of course the photos of Genis and his surroundings are gorgeous.


Early Bird

I have never been someone who leaps out of bed as soon as the first bird starts to tweet. I’m more of a stay tucked up in bed snoozing until the last possible moment sort of person.

These days I find this difficult. Most of our house does not even have windows, let alone curtains to keep out the sunlight, and our living space is open and bare to the elements. And the wildlife.

The other morning while lying in bed, my eyes screwed tightly shut while I pretended that I was sleeping in that day (who was I kidding?), there was a sudden loud CRASH on the roof overhead. Then another. And another – a dead tree hangs over the roof of our bedroom and often branches are broken off by whatever animal happens to be foraging for beetles or spiders hiding under the dead bark at that time. Branches break, fall on the roof and the loud bangs wake me – and then I heard a long, plaintive wail, something sounding like a small baby crying because it hadn’t been fed for two days. Or because someone was poking its leg with a very sharp instrument and wouldn’t stop.

I reluctantly opened my eyes, peered up at the gap at the top of the bedroom wall that serves as a window and saw two eyes peering back down at me. They seemed to be saying “What? Are you still in bed this late in the day?”

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I fumbled around for my glasses but by the time I had put them on and looked again the bird was gone. I was quite glad about that – at least now I could get dressed without being gawked at from above.

But this bird was determined. No sooner had I pulled a shirt over my head when I got the feeling I was being watched again. But what was that she had in her beak?

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I knew, from the wailing sound, that it was a Trumpeter Hornbill (Bycanistes bucinator) that had so rudely woken me. But I also knew (or at least thought I knew) that their diet consists mostly of fruit and insects. Whatever that was in her beak was neither of those (I knew it was a female by the size of her casque – that lump on top of her beak. It’s longer on males).

By now I was standing on the tip of my toes on top of the kist that sits at the end of our bed, stretching upwards to get a better view.

She threw her head back and tossed that ‘thing’ around a bit and I began to get a better idea what it was she was she had found while rummaging around in the tree above our room.

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It was a chick! Unidentifiable by now, but definitely another species of bird.

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I jumped down off the kist to consult my Roberts Birds of Southern Africa – perhaps I had misidentified this bird – when there was another plaintive wail and the Hornbill looked down at something I couldn’t see. So instead of reading the book I had grabbed, I placed it on the kist, stood on it and could then see there was another noisy bird, sitting on a lower branch.

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The newcomer hopped further up the branch and I expected that either my original bird would fly off with her treasure, or that there would be a fight over who would go hungry that morning.

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Turns out I was wrong on both counts. The new guy (or rather gal. Unless the casque grows with age) was her newly fledged chick, noisily begging for breakfast!

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From now on I’ll make more of an effort to get up earlier in the mornings, it can turn out quite interesting.

Which Way Africa Style (Part Two)


I took this photo many years ago somewhere in Botswana. It was a very hot day and I wasn’t sure how the shimmering heat would turn out in the picture. This was in the days before digital cameras so had to wait a while for the pictures to be developed  – I was quite pleased with the result.

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We followed behind this bus for some time while travelling in Mocambique. I felt very sorry for those goats!

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I still can’t make sense of this sign, seen in Botswana. I wonder if anyone else can work out what it means?

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