The Family is Here

Saturday

Dear Elsie

You are here! It is so good to have you and your Mom here with us. When you read this in the future, it’s the time your Dad stayed back in Swellendam but he may come later in the week. It is going to be a fun week with you.

We had a lovely day and in the evening had “builder your own burgers” which actually turned out really well.  It’s a full moon tonight. June’s full moon is known as a strawberry moon (due to it being strawberry season in the northern hemisphere).  We went out on the balcony to watch it rise.

And not long after 6, it began to appear.

This was around 6.30pm.

Cameras can’t do it justice.

This evening we have watched a bit of Ice Age 3 which Elsie enjoyed.

We have so enjoyed the day with you, Els. There are lots of days of fun ahead.

My heart is full.

Acts 14:17
He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; He provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.

It’s not about now – we are only passing through.

Keep the smile going.

God bless you.

In His Grip,

Gran xx 🙂

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Shortest Days of the Year

Friday

Dear Elsie

Yesterday & today have been the shortest days of the year.

Tomorrow the sun will set at 5.45pm and the days will very slowly start getting longer. This year I’ve really noticed the long nights. I’ve regularly fallen asleep way before 10pm, sometimes even around 9pm. Today the gloominess of the day was felt even more as a cold front swept through, bringing with it some blustery rain. It’s not expected to last.

Today I was reminded of how hard it is to get to the top of anything. I was reading about Tiffany Keep. I first heard her name this year when she won the ladies’ Argus Cycle tour. I started following her on Instagram and she has just posted that she has been selected to represent SA at the Olympics in Paris. She is so excited. She posted a bunch of photos of her as a young teenager dashing over mountains on a mountain bike. She reflected on the blood, sweat and tears it has taken for her to get to the top.

It’s difficult getting to the top of anything – I think of how we climbed (that tiny little mountain) last weekend and how we nearly turned back. I’m so glad we didn’t.  It takes grit and determination to achieve anything – perseverance and stamina to keep going. When we got to the cross, we didn’t stay there long. It took us an hour and 45 minutes to labour up for 15 or so minutes of enjoyment at the top, but it was worth it. There was reward at the top. We were so glad we pushed on, but ultimately most time is spent on the journey, so my conclusion is, that’s where we need to enjoy ourselves. There will be another mountain to climb and I will be sure to stop often, rest regularly and enjoy the journey.

So excited to be seeing family this weekend, including you Els!

It’s not about now – we are only passing through.

Psalm 139:9-10
If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.

Keep the smile going.

God bless you.

In His Grip,

Gran xx 🙂

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Windows and a Walk (and a Wedding Anniversary)

Thursday

Dear Elsie

Today is your parents 15th wedding anniversary! What a happy day it was. A perfect winter’s day enabled the whole event to be held outside. We remember it with a warm and fuzzy feeling. Your Mom was a beautiful bride.

Happy anniversary! We love you so much.

For me, twas a full day of work which became a bit tiresome towards the end. To have an eye break and get off my chair, I went down the stairs a couple of times. One of them was when Ashley came to discuss the new window for the loft.

Hopefully, this will get done in the next week or two.

Just after 5pm, Julian and I went for a walk down to the beach.

At the end, by the river, we noticed the last board walk…we’d never been this way before..

And it took us to the red roof houses…

We ended up at Barracudas for dinner where Mike was waiting. Now we are home watching a Grand Design.

Today I read Psalm 138, which I’ve probably quoted on this blog before. It is a psalm I would like to memorize, but it is this reminder from Acts 13:38 – words of Paul that make their appearance on my blog today:

“Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.”

It’s not about now – we are only passing through.

Keep the smile going.

God bless you.

In His Grip,

Gran xx  🙂

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No One Can Complain About Today’s Weather

Wednesday

Dear Elsie

Today was the day the rain had passed and a glorious winter’s day followed.  Surely, no one can complain about today’s weather, although it began by looking very ominous.

I worked this morning and at lunchtime walked down to Fish Hoek. By then the beach looked nothing less than idyllic.

Quite often visitors to the Cape Town Facebook page ask what the weather will be like in winter. It is so difficult to predict but can bring with it windless, sunny days that are as good as, or even better than, any summer day in Europe. Today was such a day.

I took a 5km walk down to the berry shop, around Fish Hoek and back home again. One of the things that arrived today was my pepper spray. Actually it’s more like tear gas in a small pocket size aerosol can which is easy to carry.  I decided it would be a good idea to have one handy when I’m out walking. As I thought back over my life, I remembered only one occasion I was confronted by a mugger who tried to snatch a bag out my hand.  It was more than 40 years ago. I was staying at Carinus Nursing College behind Groote Schuur and walked down to Observatory Station to catch a train to Rondebosch to meet up with friends. As I approached the stairs going under the subway, a tall guy ran past me and tried to snatch a bag out my hand. I didn’t scream, but more like growled at him and hung on tight. He let go and ran off laughing.   I took a little while for my heart to come back down to normal, but no damage was done. Never forgotten it. I hope I never need the pepper spray but it will sit with my sun glasses and go out with me when I’m walking. Love the ‘USA Police’!

Julian arrived today. Courage worked on the roof of the cottage which is leaking and repairs needed to be done. I think it’s going to take a few more days to get it fixed.

And that was today.

My journey through the Bible has me in the exciting and fast moving book of Acts.
Acts 13:2
While there were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”

It’s not about now – we are only passing through.

Keep the smile going.

God bless you.

In His Grip,

Gran xx 🙂

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The Rainy Day That Was

Tuesday

Dear Elsie

Today was a rainy day. It had rained overnight and was very overcast for much of the day with a few showers. We thought there would be driving rain but that certainly didn’t come, although it’s now sounding like there is quite steady rain falling.

I decided to get some steps in while it was still dry. I walked to the end of the road…

And then walked up Highway, where I observed one brave man going for a swim…

The sun was trying to break through the clouds, making for a beautiful photo…

I came home and worked for 7 hours. Today Courage was sick. He actually didn’t feel well yesterday but came to work (he chose to work the public holiday because he’s taking another day off at some other stage). Yesterday, he had arranged for Hard-Life to also come and he didn’t want to let him down. Hard-Life did the heavy lifting, while Courage worked in the loft. Today Courage said he had woken with a serious headache. Hopefully, he will be better tomorrow. But it made for a very quiet day at the house with no coming and going.

The surprise of this winter’s day came this afternoon when someone on our swimming group said they were going to Glencairn tidal pool for a dip and did anyone else want to join. I decided, as my work was done, I would go. When I told Mike, he said he would go for a run, so that’s what we did. I went to Glencairn and had a 25 minute dip in water that was about 13C.

Mike ran to the tidal pool and stopped to say hello before jogging back. I passed him while driving home, so pulled into the first open parking bay and waited for him to arrive. This meant he didn’t need to go up the 122  steps to get to our road. We arrived home refreshed and invigorated. A hot shower and into bed for me and that’s where I am. Mike had baked a perfect loaf of bread and we tucked into that with great enthusiasm!

And that has been the rainy day that was.

Psalm 136:1
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever.

It’s not about now – we are only passing through.

Keep the smile going.

God bless you.

In His Grip,

Gran xx 🙂

 

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It’s the Weird Winter Weather

Monday

Dear Elsie

Today your Mom sent me a photo of you practicing your sums. Grade R, 6 years old and very neat.

Today there was the weird winter weather that sometimes comes to Cape Town. It’s when the north wind blows warm air off the mountain and we call it a Berg Wind. It usually arrives before the rain. The sunrise was a hazy orange ball. This was 7.58am.

The berg wind days are always good days to do washing. It dried within hours, so all our hiking kit from yesterday is now clean.

I worked in the morning and when I had finished, I took off most of the afternoon. I walked down to Fish Hoek to buy mayo and took a long route home, meandering through the very quiet avenues.

When I got back to the mountainside, I heard the steam train chugging through Fish Hoek & managed to get a photo from between a couple of houses.

I went home via Daisy Lane and took a photo of the beach to compare it to the misty day. With mist the other day…

Without mist…today…

By tomorrow, it should be raining.

A couple of other things have happened in the ‘hood. The dog next door got two porcupine quills shot into his mouth, poor thing. Badger was being taken for a walk at about 10pm last night when all of a sudden a threatened porcupine zapped him. I must keep a look out for them. Raiku loves playing with porcupine quills. Talking of Raiku, yesterday when we got home from our hike, I looked out our bedroom and saw him on the roof of the house across the road.

I called to him. While he didn’t look up at me, he heard me alright and immediately started  across the roof…he jumped down onto the wall…

And then onto the driveway and came home…

Naughty boy. I think he had been over there because we had been out. We had left the study window open so he had access to food and water, but we had closed the study door.

Grateful for today – 4  years ago today I had my jaw surgery! All good 4 years later.

Psalm 135:13
Your name, Lord, endures forever, your renown, Lord, through all generations.

It’s not about now – we are only passing through.

Keep the smile going.

God bless you.

In His Grip,

Gran xx 🙂

 

 

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Mountain Hike – A Challenging One!

Sunday

Dear Elsie

Today was the day we went on a mountain hike but we bit off more than we usually chew. There were some really challenging parts & the ascent was higher than we have gone in a very long time. When we climb mountains – such as Constantiaberg, we start half way up. With this one we parked at Danie Craven rugby stadium in Stellenbosch and walked from there.  This is at the beginning, right after leaving the stadium precinct.

The biggest issue with Mike and my hiking exploits is we never intend to go far. In fact, this morning before we left, Mike said it was a walk through the vineyards and we didn’t even need to take hiking sticks, so we didn’t. It also meant I only took a small amount of refreshments: 500ml water each, a muffin, naartjie and fizz pop each.

We were just enjoying the easiness of the road. We got to the first cross.

and carried on walking…

We came to a turn towards the mountain and thought let’s try going up a bit. I called this Protea Lane.

We met a runner going down and asked him if the hike was safe and how long it would take. He said, “to get to the cross, at your pace – probably about 50 minutes”. Then we looked up and  saw that there was a cross.

Oh, we had to try get to that, so off we went with alacrity!

The path zig-zags up the mountain. It got rockier…

We realised we had to ration our water. The path got steeper and more rugged. We had to pick our way through the rocks and sometimes it was pretty slippery..

There was no shade and the less cloud, so it became really hot. We encountered a couple of ladies coming down and had a chat with them. They had sunblock on them and offered it to me to lather up my arms and neck. That was really kind.

By half way up, we had drunk half our water, were really warm and it didn’t matter how slow I went, my heart rate just kept climbing. I know from previous hikes when I’ve over-done it, that I really pay the price at the end of the day. I have to keep my heart rate down in order to not have a crazy night of palpitations. So we stopped and rested enjoying the view…

Surrounding mountains…

This arrow shows where we parked.

We had the naartjie and debated not continuing, but then decide to go a little bit further.

And soon, we were very close.

We made it. Heart rate was fine!

There were a bunch of Stellenbosch students at the cross and they took the photo for us, so Mike took one of the 4 of them.

This is roughly where Fish Hoek is…

Table Mountain and Lion’s Head…

The antenna at the top. The peak behind the antenna is a 7-10 hour hike and some continue from the cross peak to that one.

My hike stats…not exactly speedy!

My maximum heart rate was 167. Elevation 478.9m!

We got home mid afternoon and spent the rest of the day recovering. A memorable day. Next time: more water, more snacks, more sunblock – even in winter.

Acts 10:34-35
Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.

It’s not about now – we are only passing through.

Keep the smile going.

God bless you.

In His Grip,

Gran xx 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

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When the House is Clean…

Saturday

Dear Elsie

Today was the day I got to speak to you for about an hour! It was fun seeing you and hearing what you have been up to and it’s so exciting knowing I will see you soon!

Saturdays generally are the days I clean the house. Some say I only clean when friends are visiting, but it’s not quite true. It just so happens the Berettas are coming for spaghetti bolognaise this evening, so I did a deeper clean. When the house is clean, it’s good to take a couple of photos because it’s not going to stay like this for long..

The other thing that happened today was we went to the beach for a swim this morning. I posted this photo the other day…one person walking out the sea.

Today I was the brave one. The water temperature was 14C they said. It was fresh. I spent 25 minutes in and it was fantastic. As I bobbed around at the barrel I was reminded why I love it. It’s just so exhilarating.

After getting home, we had breakfast, cappuccino and a rest. Then Mike went shopping to get fabric to recover the dining room chairs in the cottage and I did the housework. I also learned today that you can machine wash a down duvet. The trick is extra spinning and to tumble dry it afterwards. As the sun was shining, the solar was pumping and tumble drying was easy.

Now Mike has the bolognaise on the go and I’m going out to buy cheese which was forgotten.

I may as well get this posted nice and early, before I forget 🤦‍♀️

Psalm 133:1
How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity.

It’s not about now – we are only passing through.

Keep the smile going.

God bless you.

In His Grip,

Gran xx 🙂

 

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A Half Day

Friday

Dear Elsie

Today I only worked half the day. It was super quiet at work for a number of reasons. The northern hemisphere schools we work with closed for a long weekend. Most of the company I work for were off and so altogether, it was unusually quiet. What a treat.  Also! It was your last day at school for a while and you got a very good report! Well done Sweetie!

Riana came over for tea and then Mike and I walked down to the shops on what was a misty day. When we got to the beach, the mist was rolling in…

By the time we got up to Daisy Lane, you couldn’t see the beach at all…

This is the view from my rocking chair a little later as it began to clear.

I went for an additional walk to the end of the road and spoke to a couple of the neighbours.  Then I had tea with David in the cottage which was a nice thing to do. This year is turning out so much better than last year for our family. While David is not fully better,  progress is being made. He’s on supplements but not much else. He’s getting out more, seeing people and having more of a social life.  Very grateful.

Proverbs 17:6
Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children.

It’s not about now – we are only passing through.

Keep the smile going.

God bless you.

In His Grip,

Gran xx 🙂

 

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If Sunshine is Served, Walking is Done

Thursday

Dear Elsie,

Today was the day I kept thinking it was Friday, but it’s not! I worked for most of what was a splendid June day and then I put on my walking shoes, my hat and my sunglasses and off I went. I also took my stick. If sunshine is served, walking is done.

 

From the path off Contour Rd…

How can you call this winter?! That was a good walk. I’m on track for my 3 million steps. I like that I’ve walked 1064km this year!

Today, I went to sit down on my rocking chair, but it was already occupied.

I approached and lowered myself onto the front…Raiku, “my comfort is being compromised”

“I’m out of here!”

Happening now right behind me: this is the Raiku’s ‘do not disturb’ pose.

Meanwhile, in the cottage the beam has been trimmed so there is more headroom in front of the window.

Now Mike is wondering if we should bite the bullet now while all the ceiling board is off and put in a bigger window. The engineer came and there’s no issue with the roof structure – in fact when the house was built in 1948,  it was over engineered and made with Oregon pine. Mike suggests putting in a big picture window with the 2 opening windows remaining on each side. That would be pretty impressive. We’ll see.

End of Thursday 13th June 2024. A successful day.

Such a sweet line from Psalm 131:2

“I have stilled and quieted my soul.”

Wise advice.

It’s not about now – we are only passing through.

Keep the smile going.

God bless you.

In His Grip,

Gran xx 🙂

 

 

 

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There’s Always Something

This got written yesterday but not posted! Thanks Joe!

Tuesday

Dear Elsie

I’m sure I’ve said this before, but today I was reminded there is always something. Life  may be going along swimmingly and then there’s suddenly this.

We went to the loft to make sure it is ready for a guest who arrives tomorrow. There had been some damp, but we thought it was a black south-easter thing and not the normal northerly rain. How wrong we were. The entire ceiling was damp the water had dripped down to the bed below. Courage took the whole thing apart so it can be replaced.

Fortunately, the guest can stay in the Little Lookout. Getting this fixed is going to take a bit of time.

After work, I took Mike’s car back to the storage garage and walked home. Views of the valley. 

Blessed to enjoy the mountainside. The sunrise was pretty amazing as well.

Home and now it’s time for dinner.

A good day. I got steps. I got work and today is Adrian’s birthday.

Happy birthday Adrian! Mike is on the phone with him as I write.

From my Bible reading, it’s Solomon’s prayer in 1 Kings 8:27

“But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain  you.”

It’s not about now – we are only passing through.

Keep the smile going.

God bless you.

In His Grip,

Gran xx 🙂

 

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Road Finally Tarred

Wednesday

Dear Elsie

Today was the day the road was finally tarred. For the last few months, a company has dug up the road to lay new water pipes. They started in about March.

Finally, today we got to the tarring stage. The “kidney rattler” – that’s what the foreman said this machine does…gives kidneys a real rattle.

Men at work… 

Done.

Now they need to replace the roll-over kerbs they broke up. They have said they will.

Meanwhile, Courage worked on the loft window roof section. He stripped it back.

Tomorrow, the engineer will come to see how we can reinforce it to make the window slightly higher.  It’s this section above the window that is now exposed. The horizontal beam will be made a little higher.

For me, I worked for most of the day. This afternoon, we walked to Fish Hoek and on my way home, I saw Werner, the builder who built our house. I stopped to talk, ever keen to find out the latest of the house he is supposed to be building diagonally behind us. He said there are still 2 more objections to overcome and then he should be able to start, so we wait to see. Maybe it will be this year. Mandy (the owner) has waited so long.

The rain seems to have passed, although the north wind is still blowing. There is also cloud about but no rain.

We have just been watching planes land at Heathrow Airport (FlightFocus365). The first plane that came in aborted landing which we have never seen before. It lost its place in the queue and ended up coming in after about half a dozen more arrivals.

Wednesday done and dusted. Time for a quiet evening.

Psalm 130:5
I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.

It’s not about now – we are only passing through.

Keep the smile going.

God bless you.

In His Grip,

Gran xx 🙂

 

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Saving The Day

Monday

Dear Elsie

Today was the day that I worked for almost 10 hours.

It was a Monday on steroids! By the time I turned my clock off, my head was sore, my eyes were dry and my brain was fuzz. I needed to do something to save the day. This is a phrase I saw someone on Instagram say – if you have a hard day, do something to save the day.

Julian and I went walking. It was a beautiful day and the evening was too. We walked down to the beach where it was quite high tide…

So we came back through the beach houses…it’s quite a big piece of land with the little precast houses…towards Kalk Bay mountain…

and towards Fish Hoek mountain…

The sun was beginning to go down…

We walked back along the cat walk in time to see the Monday paddlers arriving home…

What a save it was. I came home feeling much better.

I wasn’t the only one working today.  Most of the lounge curtains are done…

Now it’s time to call it a day.

Psalm 128:1
Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in His ways.

It’s not about now – we are only passing through.

Keep the smile going.

God bless you.

In His Grip,

Gran xx 🙂

 

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Mountain Walk

Sunday

Dear Elsie

Today was the day we went for a mountain walk. It wasn’t very high or long but it was round the lower area of your peak! We walked from home and eventually went up Contour Rd to the path to Elsie’s Peak. The view is always special and the perfect day made it better.

The path passes through trees which are now recovering from a fire.

The reason I chose this route was to see a house that is being built right next to the main path up. This is it from above…

We walked until we got to the left turn up the mountain and then turned right down. This was once an alternate route up, but the house is right in the path.

We went down to the house and had a look around and tried to figure out where everything would go.

We walked home along the road. It was a good easy ramble.

End of the weekend and a busy week ahead for me.

This was the Bible verse on our wedding invitation 38 years ago! (One day I must dig out the invitation and post it here for posterity.)

Psalm 127:1
Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.

It’s not about now – we are only passing through.

Keep the smile going.

God bless you.

In His Grip,

Gran xx 🙂

 

 

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A Thoroughly Good Saturday

Saturday

Dear Elsie

Today was a thoroughly good Saturday. Part of that was speaking to you!  The sun rose with the promise of a beautiful clear day.

The plan was for us to walk to Harbour Bay for breakfast at the Blue Kiwi. Julian would meet us there. On the way we stopped at Glencairn Beach as there was a lot of activity… it was the False Bay Express Swim of 5km

Swimmers swim from Glencairn towards Simon’s Town. They turn at the wreck (opposite Harbour Bay) and then swim back ending at Fish Hoek Beach. 5km. Water temperature anywhere between 12 & 14C. What a challenge. What an opportunity! I would love to try swimming from Glencairn to Fish Hoek, but I have lost my swimming fitness and would have to get a lot more training in. Here are a bunch of the brave…

It was a perfect day for it.

Onward we walked. Julian picked us up and we went for breakfast which was delicious! This is the outlandish French toast at Blue Kiwi.

I’ll have that again!

Afterwards, Julian went onto Simon’s Town and we walked home. We were met with a side-car rally.

That was fun to watch.

In the afternoon, we went for a drive over Chapman’s Peak and stopped at the Hout Bay Coffee shop. It’s always been one of our favourites.

The coffee is delicious. Inside the shop..

The seating is in the tent. Very rustic…

They had a wheat free, sugar free ginger biscuit which I had. Mike and Julian shared a cheesecake.

From there we drove all the way along the coast through Camps Bay, Clifton, Sea Point, Green Point, through the Waterfront and back onto the freeway home again. It was interesting to see some of our old haunts from 40 years ago.

That’s why I say it’s been a thoroughly good Saturday. I also managed to work for 2 hours.

Sun is setting and dinner is waiting.

Psalm 126:5-6
Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.

It’s not about now – we are only passing through.

Keep the smile going.

God bless you.

In His Grip,

Gran xx 🙂

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