One Night in 1974

Tuesday

Dear Elsie

Today was the day we went to McGregor! One day in 1974, Mike aka Granpa was sent to this tiny little insignificant town to do a survey to put McGregor on the map. It was a short task so literally only one night was needed.  As I had never been to McGregor, we decided it would be a fun place to stop. What struck me most is its size. It’s really small. This is where it is in the world…

The 2011 population was said to be about 3000ish. I think it gets a bit busier in holiday season. There are quite a few places for sale, so I dived online to find out how much property in McGregor goes for….there’s not much under R2million. We are staying at this lovely little place…

Not a green gable in sight.

But very pretty on the inside…

As we drove around the village, we found the building that was once the McGregor hotel that Mike stayed that 1 night in 1974.

It now seems to be a home in the lower part of town.

There are a couple of places to eat in McGregor. One is Jimmy’s place which is a bar, but a food truck comes and parks opposite. You go to Jimmy’s & order your drink. Then you go to the food truck and order your meal. While you sit and enjoy your drink, your meal is prepared and in time, your number is hollered and you get your food, which you can eat at Jimmy’s. The other option is the Courtyard which is opposite the police station. That was our choice.

Our view of the courtyard…

The food was great. We had pasta…

Tomorrow we hope to start the day with a walk, then breakfast, then onwards!

Psalm 37:4
Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.

The best is yet to come – we are only passing through.

Keep the smile going.

God bless you.

In His Grip,

Gran xx 🙂

 

 

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Dinner by David

Monday

Dear Elsie

Today was a regular Monday with lots of work to be done. The day dawned very misty, so we didn’t go to the beach this morning. Instead, I took a walk down there this afternoon and had a late afternoon swim. The tide was high and the water really warm. There were no shark net was not out – I was told the shark spotters are not putting the net out during the week any longer because as they said, ‘everyone has gone back to work!’ Everyone that is except the droves of people enjoying the beach. I suggested there is no net because there are no sharks! There were a number of people swimming quite far out so I joined them.

From morning to afternoon I did 8 hours of work and am pretty much on top of things ahead of our road trip tomorrow.

This evening, David offered to cook dinner. A real treat. Dinner by David…

It was delish.

One of the irritating things that has happened and Mike forecast it was the hot water cylinder blew a gasket. Tomorrow the plumber is coming and hopefully will be able to fix it. Hopefully, the job will be done before we leave for our road trip.

I had better go and pack.

Psalm 37:3
Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.

The best is yet to come – we are only passing through.

Keep the smile going.

God bless you.

In His Grip,

Gran xx 🙂

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Dolphins & Croissants

Sunday

Dear Elsie

Today was the day we woke up to see a big pod of dolphins having a feeding frenzy in the bay. They were so fun to watch. They were going round and round in circles, possibly rounding up the fish and then diving in to catch them. It’s always difficult to get a decent picture from our balcony, but they are the dark patch in the middle of the picture below…

They fished for quite some time, probably from 6am to 9am they were along this stretch of water. Really entertaining.

At 8am, I decided to walk to Fish Hoek to buy croissants for the family. We were supposed to go to a sort of house church at 10am but that was cancelled. The beach looked wonderful.

And the croissants were a treat…

The rest of the day was pretty chilled. I did some reading and this afternoon went back to the beach for my 2km swim. The water was warm; the tide was high. It was all good.

Here is some sound advice someone posted on Facebook.

Start of a new week – good to focus on what I can control and not what I can’t.  I’m excited about the week ahead – road trip!

Psalm 36:5
Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.

The best is yet to come – we are only passing through.

Keep the smile going.

God bless you.

In His Grip,

Gran xx 🙂

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Walk Up Memory Lane

Saturday

Dear Elsie

It was great having a video call with you today. You are so chatty and full of beans and opinions and fun things to say. I’m so excited you are learning to swim and loving it. Already you have been managing without holding onto the teacher. Well done!  We went to the beach this morning and had a nice easy swim. The water is warm and the wind had dropped so it was very pleasant. It turned into a really beautiful summer’s day.

Guests arrived and in the afternoon, we did some washing and I read.

This evening was just too beautiful and still. We took advantage of the perfect weather and moved the dining room table out onto the balcony.

And that’s where we had dinner.

After dinner, we watched a Grand Design and then got stuck on watching some of the videos I had recorded over the years. The other day while I was waiting for a guest to arrive, I took this photo of the house…

Keep your eye on it while you watch this video I recorded in March 2019…

Unless the Lord builds the house the builders labour in vain. Given the state of the plot, it is remarkable that the house went up at all.

Appreciative and humbled.

Psalm 35:28
My tongue will proclaim Your righteousness, Your praises all day long.

The best is yet to come – we are only passing through.

Keep the smile going.

God bless you.

In His Grip,

Gran xx:)

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71 Days

Friday

Dear Elsie

Today was the day I did an adventurous thing. We were just getting home and David was just going out on his bike. He realised he didn’t have his helmet, so asked me to keep an eye on his bike while he went to get it. I couldn’t help myself, so I went for a little ride on this small-wheeled exclusive Brompton. It was easy to ride but for me the seat was way too high. To think David rode 600km across South-Korea on this.

But that wasn’t the most adventurous thing I did today!  The most adventurous thing I probably will ever have done in my life is, God willing, 71 days away. For years Julian has been talking about going to one of the most remotest islands on the face of the earth. It’s not the most remotest inhabited island (that belongs to Tristan da Cunha), but St. Helena Island is certainly very remote – it’s in the South Atlantic Ocean 2253km from Walvis Bay.

Julian took the plunge and booked to go on 15th April. Mike & I discussed it and Mike does not want to go, but he is not averse to me going. I decided to wait until yesterday’s examinations were over before booking my seat. Now I have homework. It’s the book that whet Julian’s appetite for the visit. I have some reading to do.

One week on St. Helena Island. It will be an adventure indeed. I’m not expecting to get too many blogs out because this is what I read on the official Saint Helena website…

But I will be sure to take my laptop and document all our travels along the mere 118km of roads!  It will be very different & dodgy without Mike to guide us because I have a terrible sense of direction, but how lost can you get on such a small island?  There must be a map.

That’s the big trip, but there is a smaller one we are looking forward to. Next week, Mike and I are going on a road trip!

Psalm 34:1
I will extol the Lord at all times; His praise will always be on my lips.

The best is yet to come – we are only passing through.

Keep the smile going.

God bless you.

In His Grip,

Gran xx 🙂

 

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Mammo 2023

Thursday

Dear Elsie

No swimming for me today, but I saw you had a lot of fun at your swimming lesson. Here the sun was shining, the sky was blue and it was a perfect day for a dip in the ocean but I had other important things to do. Things that you, my darling will not need to worry about for decades.

I went for a mammogram. I get a little more  nervous about these tests the older I get.  The big pink machine.

After the mammogram I went for a bone density test which I last had 8 years ago.  I went with Riana who always has a mammogram as well as an ultrasound. We were both fine which was great news!  While I was having the bone density test I asked if they diagnosed a lot of breast cancers and the technician said there were so many. It was not lost on me that today was a great result and had it been different it would have completely changed the complexion of the year. Riana and I went to the Lime restaurant in Bergvliet to celebrate.

On my way home I stopped at Tammy’s for a hair cut. I’ve known Tammy since David was in single digits. On and off she’s cut my hair for about 25 years. She started off in Sun Valley in her parent’s home cutting hair in their 3rd bedroom. When she married she moved to Milkwood Park and has been there for years. In November, she moved to her husband’s childhood home which is one of the lovely houses on the mountainside of Boyes Drive. She has the most amazing view overlooking Muizenberg Primary, the rest of Muizenberg and a sweeping view of the curve of False Bay extending from Muizenberg towards the Strand.  It was lovely to see.

I spent the afternoon at work and have just about caught up with everything.

The weekend beckons.

Psalm 33:1
The word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does.

The best is yet to come – we are only passing through.

Keep the smile going.

God bless you.

In His Grip,

Gran xx 🙂

 

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Finding Joy in the Small Things

Wednesday

Dear Elsie

Today was the day we went swimming! At first I thought we may not because it was quite overcast, but the sea was so still and so alluring, we couldn’t help it. Off we went. As we went I talked about how it is important to find joy in the little things. I find myself throughout the day getting excited and joyful over the tiniest of events or pleasures. I get pleasure out of reading my Bible in the morning. I try to remember what I’ve read and I test myself when I’m swimming. I obviously get a huge amount of joy out of being in the ocean. I just can’t help myself in enjoying it. I never regret going to the beach.

Then today I went and had a quick pedicure. Work has been so unbelievably busy, but I had a Zoom call cancel and that freed up an hour. I’m so happy! Pink toenails! Elsie, you would love them! One day, my girl, you and I will go and have a pedicure together.

Other joyful moments, believe it or not is Wordle! It goes so quickly, so I always savour it. I love doing Wordle. If I wake up in the middle of the night, I force myself to wait until morning.

Breakfast is always wonderful because after the swim we are starving.

Bedtime is marvellous! Climbing into bed and feeling so tired and satisfied after a hard day’s work – there’s no better feeling!

Sometimes I have grumpy days and then I turn to rich cups of coffee and comfort food like Aunty Ivy’s biscuits! On those days, I need to dig deep for joy. It doesn’t come naturally.

Anyway, I’ve kicked February off with pink toenails. I’m getting the blog done early because I am going to need to get a bit of extra work done later this evening. I’ll have an eye break in between.

Psalm 32:7
You are my hiding place; You will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.

The best is yet to come – we are only passing through.

Keep the smile going.

God bless you.

In His Grip,

Gran  xx 🙂

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Water!

Tuesday

Dear Elsie

Today was the day you came home with a special sticker…you were the sweetest little girl in the class today! Proud Granny for sure!

Today, after no water for about 40 hours, we got it back, for a short while! Then it was turned off again before coming on again. For now, we have water. But the houses closer to Simon’s Town are all complaining again. The street whatsapp group has been alive with complaints and compliments depending on the flow of water!

This morning with no water, we decided to go to the beach. We may have left home frustrated but sitting on the beach with the sun smiling down on us, all irritation melted away…easy to relax with so much beauty before us…

We got home to find the water on. Ruth had come and taken out the Seaview apartment linen, had got it through the wash and put it in the tumble drier. We were load-shedding and I wasn’t sure how much of a drain the tumble drier was on our battery, but when Mike checked, the solar was making easy work of it. I showered and washed my hair, filled up the bird’s water bottle and had breakfast. Then, with the water coming and going,  I worked for 7 hours.

Julian arrived and almost at the same time, this vessel appeared on the bay…

It’s the SAS Protea – an oceanographer ship that apparently maps the bottom of the ocean. It’s 53 years old but is expected to retire soon.

Today, the last day of January 2023, I saw an elderly lady walking on the cat walk and she reminded me of Aunty Wyn. My dear Aunty Wyn would have walked the cat walk many times during her life. She loved Fish Hoek beach.  She lived to a ripe old age, embracing life & is now in heaven. She had her earthly turn. It made me think of those who have gone before. They had their turn. Now it’s mine – what am I going to do with the rest of my turn on earth? Let me make the most of it. Everyday, we have a choice. I want to choose joy.

Psalm 31:3
Since you are my Rock and my Fortress, for the sake of your Name lead and guide me.

The best is yet to come – we are only passing through.

Keep the smile going.

God bless you.

In His Grip,

Gran xx 🙂

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27 Hours & Still No Water

Monday

Dear Elsie

Today was the day we had no water the whole day! I woke up really early (about 4am) and thought to myself, ‘I really don’t want to check to see if the water has come on and find that it hasn’t.’ Eventually, I got up and went to the bathroom. No water. And there was nothing on any of the Whatsapp groups. Silence. Nothing from the Council. Nothing from the residents. Nothing was being done. By 5:30am, we had gone to the all night Spar and bought 3 x 5 litre bottles of water.

Sunrise – water water everywhere but not a drop to drink! The City did put on a water tank so we could fill up our bottles…

Only problem was by the time we got there after work, it had left. On Echo road the digging began…

I felt so terrible for our guests. They checked out at 1pm – out for lunch first and then to the airport to fly back to Germany tonight. They could not shower before they left and all they to wash in was a bucket of cold tank water. How awful was that?!

Anyway, amidst the water woes, I got 9 hours of work done today.

Psalm 30:4-5
Sing the praises of the Lord, you His faithful people; praise His holy Name.
For His anger lasts only a moment, but His favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.

The best is yet to come – we are only passing through.

Keep the smile going.

God bless you.

In His Grip,

Gran xx 🙂

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No Water

Sunday

Dear Elsie

This afternoon we had no water. What was different to other times is that no one had seen a burst water main. The water just went off in our whole neighbourhood and there was no burst pipe anywhere. We all reported it and then we went walking to see if the Council were out to find the problem. We found the Council van and the workers thought it had something to do with a water valve not working properly so they were going from valve to valve to make sure they were fully open.

They did apparently find a valve that was not fully open. A short while ago they said the water wasn’t coming back on because the pumps were off because of load-shedding. As soon as the electricity comes back on, the pump will kick in and hopefully the water will start to flow again. This is the scary part. To go without water every time there is load shedding is unheard of. Let’s hope it’s not going to be a regular thing. Fortunately, we have tank water that will flush the toilets. However, we also have guests that arrived home an hour ago all hot and sweaty after hiking up Lion’s Head and all they want is a shower!

Anyway, while up on Highway, I took this photo of what is a very windy day in Fish Hoek. The sea is like a washing machine.

Overall, we have had a relaxing day. We went to church this morning; Riana came for coffee afterwards, David was around for a chat.

All ready and rested for the week ahead.

Psalm 29:3
The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord thunders over the mighty waters.

The best is yet to come – we are only passing through.

Keep the smile going.

God bless you.

In  His Grip,

Gran, xx 🙂

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Walk to Kalk Bay for Breakfast

Saturday

Dear Elsie

Today was the day we had a lovely chat with you and I watched you paint your nails. You are doing so well. You loved showing me the things you are building with lego and the stick set we gave you for Christmas. You are so talented and creative. And your smile Elsie is so disarming!

From our side, we didn’t swim today, as it was overcast and drizzly. With the cooler weather it was a perfect day to walk to Kalk Bay for breakfast so that’s what we did. We measured it’s 4km there and 4km back, although we did take a detour through Fish Hoek on our return making it a little longer.

Heading out of Fish Hoek…

Bible Institute – Mike went there 46 years ago! In those days (and probably still today) they called it the Bridal Institute of Stork Bay –

Mike didn’t find his bride there but if someone could have told him a mere decade after he started there, he would be married and his wife would be pregnant, he wouldn’t have believed them.

Kalk Bay was buzzing as usual but we found a good breakfast spot at the Courtyard Cafe.

Upstairs view…

And a really good breakfast arrived on a hot plate and the kitchen was not slow…

Home late morning and having clocked 9km, we chilled the rest of the day.

Today would not be complete if I didn’t remember my Mom, who passed away 19 years ago today. Her joy for life, love of word games and sense of humour all resonate with me today. At my wedding, she was 4 years younger than I am today. Always missed, remembered and celebrated with love.

I love this photo below. Our photographer was Brian Shackle who had a great way to make people laugh. I love that Julian is looking up at my Mom who is laughing the most.

For those who don’t know:
Standing left to right: Jacques (Mike’s best man) Abel (my Mom’s husband), Mike’s Dad,  my Mom, Mike, Me, Mike’s Mom, my Dad, Miriam (my Dad’s wife), Michelle (my bridesmaid).
Sitting left to right: Arnie (my  brother), Monica (Mike’s sister), Anne (my sister), Lache (Sandy’s daughter), Sandy (my  step-sister – Miriam’s daughter) & Julian (my brother).

A happy party of 16 people, half of whom have passed away. It’s a lovely piece of history – 9th August 1986 – a very happy day.

Psalm 28:1

To you, Lord, I call;  you are my Rock…

The best is yet to come – we are only passing through.

Keep the smile going.

God bless you.

In His Grip,

Gran xx 🙂

 

 

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Afternoon at the Beach

Friday

Dear Elsie

Today was the day I went to the beach in the afternoon! We didn’t go this morning and this afternoon my friends were going for a walk and then meeting at the beach Bistro so I went down for a swim and then went to join them. The water was stunning and much warmer than earlier this week. And the shark net was out. Here is where it meets the rock on the cat walk…

From the cat walk towards the barrel…

The shark net makes one big safe swimming pool…

Sitting on the bench looking towards the life-savers stand…

From the bench towards the cat walk…

Such a beautiful afternoon. The waves were good to swim in. It’s not easy work and the other day I watched a YouTube video on getting breathing right, so I practiced that. It’s a challenge breathing out through your nose and not lifting your head too much to the side to take a breath. This is extra challenging when you are in choppy sea water.  It makes you more streamlined…I think. I’m a slow swimmer but the distance does get done. I must look up open water swimming techniques that increase speed.

The chocolate milkshake I had afterwards also went down a treat.

I worked 4 hours this morning, wrapping up the week’s worth. The swim had me coming home feeling rejuvenated and ready for the weekend.  We are looking forward to it.

Psalm 27:1
The Lord is my light and my salvation– whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life– of whom shall I be afraid?

The best is yet to come – we are only passing through.

Keep the smile going.

God bless you.

In His Grip,

Helga xx 🙂

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Ten Years Since Debbie’s Accident

Thursday

Dear Elsie

Today was the day you swam and I didn’t! What great progress you made at your swimming lesson today and you loved it. Here the wind was blowing so we didn’t go to the beach, but I did get out for a little walk after work. I needed it as I had worked 8 hours.

Today I was reminded of Debbie’s accident.

On 26th January 2013, my good friend Debbie had a riding accident that would almost rob her of her life and leave her with a permanent brain injury. While she has improved incredibly over the last 10 years, she still lives with physical issues that she tries to manage on a daily basis. She moved to the UK and is well provided for. She is also close to her parents and sister which is helpful.  The day she came off her horse in a practice ring just before a show was a random accident that had dire long-lasting consequences. By God’s grace she was given excellent emergency and intensive care and her resilience and strength of character led to determined rehabilitation. The immediate days that followed, we didn’t think she would make it. To have Debs managing to live alone, drive and cope with daily life is amazing. Even though we are miles apart, she is my longest lasting friend. We met when we were in KG2. I’ve just had a video call with her and she is well. She’s been swimming more than 1km twice a week and has been doing Pilates which has done wonders for her right-sided weakness.

This is Debs and I on her horse Pegasus in about 1979. We were inseparable at primary school & into the early years of high school.

One day we’ll meet again!

Almost weekend and I’ve looked at the wind, tomorrow should be a swimming day!

Psalm 26:2-3
Test me, Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind; for I have always been mindful of your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on your faithfulness.

The best is yet to come – we are only passing through.

Keep the smile going.

God bless you.

In His Grip,

Helga xx 🙂

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The Back Wall is Going Up

Wednesday

Dear Elsie,

Today was a far better day than yesterday. We went to the beach and we were a little late so the shark net was being put out while I was swimming. The sea was quite rough as the wind was picking up, so it was more challenging than usual. It made it quite fun. I’m thinking of you and your swimming lesson tomorrow.

I worked for 7 hours. Guests arrived for the cottage. One of them had spent 10 days in December at the blue house. He and his young family are hoping to move to Fish Hoek (from Johannesburg) within the course of this year. He’s looking for a place to rent. I’m not sure the cottage will work for him because his kids are small and it’s not suitable for small children.

Courage and Brian have been working on the wall behind the house and have made great progress…

Courage has become a pro at building with stone. When we first started inquiring about building stone walls, we spoke to a stone mason in Fish Hoek who said he could build walls for us but needed different stone to the ones that litter the mountainside. We were not about to buy stone for a wall! Courage started down the bottom and worked his way up getting better and better as he went.

The latest wall, he’s written 2023 in the concrete. He also put his name and 2021 in a lower wall. I asked him to.

It’s hard to believe that wall was built in 2021. What happened to 2022? This is the thing with time – it has a way of running away with us.  If this blog remains on the internet as a record of the build and our lives, it will be quite something to look back on in 30 years time. Imagine writing the date 25th January 2053! If I live to see it, I’ll be 88. If I’m able, I’ll probably still be documenting the day at the end of each one, trying to remember what I did and typing it very slowly.  (And you Elsie will be 34!)

Such thoughts do drive me to want to make the most of every day. I am not guaranteed 88 years but I do have today.

Psalm 25:1
In you, Lord my God, I put my trust.

The best is yet to come – we are only passing through.

Keep the smile going.

God bless you.

In His Grip,

Gran xx 🙂

 

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The Rule of Thirds

Tuesday

Dear Elsie

I’m sorry you dislocated your elbow today! I’m really glad you were able to get to the doctor and he put it back in place and it wasn’t even sore! I  hope it doesn’t happen again.

Today was I reminded of the rule of thirds. It wasn’t such a bad day initially but as the day wore on it became more tiresome and negative with me having to say no all the time. I don’t like telling people their applications have not been successful and this is what I had to do.  I heard something the other day about the rule of thirds.

  • A third of the days are great days.
  • A third of the days are ok days.
  • A third of the days are not great or even pretty bad days.

Today was the one of those, but I am in the happy state of mind and body to believe that most of my days are okay or great. It’s probably really only 20% that are not great.

And there was good in today, for sure.

It was wonderful to wake up to rain. We haven’t had some in a while. The view is always different and certainly today the weather at the start was refreshing.

The rain only lasted a few hours. By lunchtime, the sun was shining and while now it’s partly cloudy, there is no sign of rain.

Tomorrow will be a better day!

Psalm 24:1
The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;

The best is yet to come – we are only passing through.

Keep the smile going.

God bless you.

In His Grip,

Gran xx 🙂

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