Mr. Bean Finds His Voice

Mr. Bean has no voice.
I don’t know why, maybe it’s because he was thrown away as a new born kitten before being found on a rubbish heap and rescued, but what usually happens when he tries to speak is his mouth opens and no sound comes out, just air. Sometimes he will manage a small, croaky squeak, which can only be heard if you’re listening very carefully.
Last night we were all showered and tucked up in bed and about to turn out the lights when I heard a tiny, distant and plaintive “mew?”. Coming from … somewhere?
“What’s that noise?”
Piet couldn’t hear anything, “perhaps it’s a mouse”.
Although I was not really satisfied with that explanation, I again reached for the light switch and then I heard it again.
That was definitely a cat. I knew it wasn’t Tom – he sounds like a foghorn – could it be Mr. Bean?
Piet buried himself deeper under the covers.
So I got up, found the torch and shone it out into the darkness, while calling “Bean! Beanie Beanie Beanie Bean! Come along Mr Bean!”.
Oh so faint.
I shone the torch up towards where the sound was coming from and there he was. Mr. Bean, precariously perched between two branches in the old dead tree that hangs over our bedroom roof.
By now Piet was fast asleep, so thinking I could do this on my own, I donned my slippers, went outside and tried to coax the frightened little kitten down from the tree.
To no avail. I called, I pleaded, I rattled his favourite toy, I promised a feast of special cat biscuits but nothing would persuade him to come down. He just sat there, staring at me with those huge glowing eyes and occasionally uttering a small “mew?”.

So am I staying up here all night?

The noise from my futile attempts – the dogs had helped a bit too, with some excited barking – had by now woken Piet and spurred him into getting out of bed and joining me under the tree.


And this is how Piet came to be at the top of a ladder rescuing a kitten out of a rotting dead tree in the middle of a cold May night. (I thought it salient to not draw his attention to all the wood-louse spiders that had come out from under the bark to see what all the fuss was about)



Mr. Bean seems none the worse from the ordeal

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Two Very Different Items

My Dad wrestling with a crocodile – not something you see every day.

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These penguins look very much alike, but there are two of them and they do look very cute.

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As do these adorable young vervet monkeys.


Man and machine – applying lime to the wheat fields.



Have a look at Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge to see more entries in this week’s challenge – Two Very Different Items or The Number Two.

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.


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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Oh How I Love to Be By the Seaside

Rio Savanne was a favourite holiday place for us to visit when my children were small.

Situated just north of Beira in Mocambique it was far away enough from civilization for us to completely unwind and relax and getting there was relatively simple and quick.

I say ‘relatively’ quick but it was still close to a twelve hour drive from our home. However, compare that to the 18 to 20 hours it took to drive to Coconut Bay – our other favourite destination – and you will get my point.

Then, there was the ‘relatively’ not so simple issue of the Fronteira, or border crossing.  The first time we crossed over, just after the civil war in Mocambique had ended, I think we were the first customers they had had for many years – no-one really seemed to know what to do with us (although in subsequent years that air of puzzlement and feeling of ‘organised chaos’ didn’t change, so perhaps that is just the way it is done).

We had managed to squirrel away a few US Dollars for the trip and our first hurdle occurred when we tried to use that to pay for our visa.

Não! Não! Metacais!” the clearly frustrated Immigration official told us.

Ok, so where can we exchange Dollars for Mocambican Metacais?

Banco! Banco!” The bank, we assumed (correctly).

He gesticulated wildly towards a scruffy building adjacent to the equally scruffy one we were in and we started walking off in that direction.

Espera!“, Wait! He was becoming more and more flustered. So we waited while he took his pen (the only item that had been sitting on the counter) and locked it away in a room at the back.

He returned with an enormous bunch of keys and together we all traipsed across to the Banco. We had to wait while he muttered under his breath, rummaging through all those keys and trying them one by one in the door lock (there were only two buildings at the Fronteira, what all the other keys were for was anybody’s guess) until he finally exclaimed “esta aqui” and scurried inside.

He now obviously had his Banker Hat on. He went behind the counter and once there he put out his hand for the $100 bill, took it over to a till, opened it and rummaged around for a bit, all the time mumbling something to himself.

Then he shrugged, turned to face us and with a triumphant “non” he held both palms upwards, that universal gesture which means “there’s nothing”.

Now what? We can’t pay in US Dollars and the bank has no Metacais! Our holiday is doomed to never start! My children’s father started to become hot under the collar (and it was hot – we were all sweating) and one of the boys started to cry.

Another “espera!“.

Our immigration official-come-banker crossed back to the other side of the bank counter, removed that metaphorical bankers hat and put on his Money Tout Hat. He dug his hand deep into his pocket, removed a whole fistfull of notes and we entered into an illegal currency exchange right there*. In the bank. With the immigration official.

Looking at the current Rio Savanne web site it seems things have changed a lot since those early days, when we used to park our vehicle on the other side of the river and have all our camping gear ferried across in a small wooden boat.

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Here you can see the village on the other side of the river where our vehicles were parked

1-boat 16 1-boat 14 1-boat 17 It always impressed me how effortless it seemed for these men to move all that stuff! 1-boat 13 In those days the only accommodation was the tents you took with you and the only food you ate was what you cooked for yourself on a wood fire. 1-sunset rio savanne 2 When the tide was low we could walk for what seemed like miles along to the mouth of the Rio Savanne, the boys always taking along their fishing rods and me my camera. 1-rio savanne 1 I love the patterns the retreating water makes in the sand. This was the days before digital photography, so I had to take pictures sparingly. But I was quite pleased with some of the results and thought these next few pictures will fit in very nicely with this week’s Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge theme, Abstract Photography. Pop over to have a look – there are some wonderful entries this week. 1-abstract 5 1-abstract 4 1-abstract 1 1-abstract 2 * In case you’re interested, a hundred US Dollars got us approximately twenty three million Metacais.