For one reason or another I have been mostly offline for a number of weeks. Today has been my first ‘proper’ day on WordPress and it now looks and feels like a place I’ve never been to before!
In addition to the flickering follow box (which indeed does seem to only work when it feels like it!), I now also have to re-acquaint myself with the new Reader lay-out. Good grief!
I share all the sentiments expressed by Sue – I am sure the majority of us do! – and only hope that the “Happiness Engineers” take note.

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

The gorilla mystery, Disney The Gorilla Mystery, Disney

Dear Happiness Engineers,

You’ve done it again, haven’t you?

Everything stops functioning properly, then suddenly the options we once had… and are used to… disappear. Only to be replaced by yet another ‘mobile friendly’ option that is proudly announced and slipped beneath our backsides when we least expect it.

This time it is the removal of the nice, static options at the top of the screen… the options that allowed us to ‘like’, ‘follow’ and reblog posts. Instead we have the flickering multifunction pop-up box that only bothers to do so when it feels like it… and only chooses to show the options it thinks you want.

For those who are not technically minded in the least, the loss of the static buttons makes things more awkward. Strangely enough, not everyone knows those options are available at the end of posts if you actually click into…

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In the Eye of the Beholder

Arachnaphobes beware. Spider pictures! (only at the end of this post though)

For more creepy pictures pop over to the Daily Post (if you dare) to have a look at the other entries in this week’s challenge.

I’ve been under cover, so to speak, during the last month or so and have not felt up to doing much at all.  The reason? The Sun.  A quick trip to Johannesburg, a visit to a dermatologist to check on a dodgy mole on my chest and the subsequent treatment (read Torture) he prescribed has confirmed to me that The Sun is Not Your Friend! Do not trust the Sun!

The cream, which I have to apply twice a day,  draws out any pre-cancerous cells that may be lurking below the skin’s surface (and which were made that way by the sun), turns them a fetching shade of bright red and then kills them. Once dead, these cells change into dark brown, oozing scabs before they fall off.

Until recently I thought my skin was relatively clear and blemish free and I’ve always tried to be diligent about applying sunscreen – usually only when we have been on holiday though, not every day. But the way those initial little red dots have amalgamated to cover my entire face and neck, making me glow in the dark, has been a sobering reminder that applying sunscreen as part of our daily routine is vital for all of us, and could be life-saving. This treatment is painful and inconvenient but it beats the alternative. It’s sunscreen every day and large hats for me from now on.

One of my Muslim friends has kindly lent me a burka to wear if I venture outside             (I have to avoid all exposure to the sun during my treatment) but it’s hot and uncomfortable under there and I’m avoiding any outings if I can help it.

I was going to share a couple of selfies (sans burka) to illustrate but decided it just looks too bad. That shiny red face is not a pretty sight –  even Tikkie barked at me when I got home from town the other day! (and if you really want to see, this is what it is like)

So instead I am posting a couple of pictures which I took with the new macro lens Last Born gave me for my birthday.

I think this is a wolf spider, a member of the Lycosidae family and, although many people find spiders creepy, these ones are harmless to humans and I think they are beautiful.

This little guy had just crawled out of his burrow when I came across him the other evening and he obligingly stood still just long enough for me to get a couple of shots. I couldn’t decide which was the best, so have included them both.



WTF Friday – Which Way Africa Style (Part six)

Once a week Cee from Cee’s Photography Blog runs a Which Way Photo Challenge – everyone is welcome to take part. You can read the rules for the challenge here.


For this week’s challenge I share with you a few of the pictures I took on the way to Munyemeshe in the Lower Zambezi.

On the escarpment, heading down into the Zambezi Valley

On the escarpment, heading down into the Zambezi Valley

Three rows of (large!) vehicles on a two lane road ...

Three rows of (large!) vehicles on a two lane road …

This is more like my kind of road

This is more like my kind of road

No road trip is complete without running repairs.


Africa-Style aircon!

Africa-Style aircon!

The new Kafue River Bridge

The new Kafue River Bridge



“We clean carperts, blankets, suits etc”



The Hippo Series V – Lower Zambezi Valley

Earlier this month Piet and I were invited on a trip to the Lower Zambezi, where we stayed at a self-catering lodge called Munyemeshe. This lodge is on the Zambian side of the Zambezi River where wildlife wanders freely between the Game Management Area (or GMA) and the nearby Lower Zambezi National Park.

It is a rustic place.  There is no electricity, no wi-fi and – best of all – no mobile phone signal, so for seven glorious days we were cut off from the World, no worries, no cares, no constant pinging of the telephone.

Each night I would lie awake in the dark, listening to the bush sounds – the eerie call of the thick-knees,  hysterical hyena scrapping over some left-over lion kill, the deep belly laugh grunting of hippos echoing across the water or the rustle and crack of elephants grazing from the tree above our chalet.

One was kind enough to leave us his calling card.


The days were spent on the boat, fishing, eating, relaxing, laughing and reminiscing with old friends about old times. And hippo watching.

In my last post I mentioned that I had rarely had the opportunity to photograph hippos out of the water.  My luck changed on this trip.

I don’t recall ever having seen so many hippos at one time. At every turn in the river, in each inlet and on every sand bank we were met with the glowering stare of at least one of these beasts. Pods of fat, shiny bodies sunned themselves, soaking up the weak winter sunlight – regardless of the time of the day.

It was a hippopotophile’s dream.













The Hippo Series IV

Hippos spend most of the day wallowing about and grunting in the river, leaving the water at dusk to graze on land through the night.  I have rarely been lucky to capture decent photos of hippos out of the water because light at that time of day is poor and I am usually bobbing about on a boat, so it is difficult to keep a steady hand.  A while back I was lucky and managed to get a few decent shots, which I have shared in my Hippo Series. You can see them here, here and here.


They may look cute and cuddly but in reality hippos are not your friend.

Being territorial animals, hippos don’t like it when people invade their personal space, and like all mothers, they are also fiercely protective of their young. So woe betide anyone who looks like they might be a threat to their wrinkly offspring. We always stay far away from hippos and try not to come between them and the land (or adults and their babies).

It is reputed that hippos have caused the deaths of more humans in Africa than any other large wild animal and most of their victims have been subsistence fishermen in makoros (a canoe-type boat made from a hollowed out tree trunk). They don’t actually eat people, but they do bite – their teeth are very long. Usually the hippo overturns the boat, and since the majority of the fishermen are unable to swim, many of the deaths are through drowning. Occasionally people have been unfortunate to come across a hippo on land and if they were unable to outrun the hippo (hippos can run 23Km/h) the result is always violent and often results in death.