A Duiker Ate My Petunias!

Thursday

Today was the day…

We walked out the front door and to my shock, something had eaten my petunias…every single one! There was a stray blossom that had fallen down the side of the wall, but that was it. They hadn’t stripped leaves – they had just bitten off all the flowers.

They were as verdant as my others…

They must have tasted delicious. It set me searching for what could have done the deed. According to the internet, rabbits and deer are the biggest culprits who have a particular taste for petunia heads. In the absence of rabbits in the area, I thought it quite possible that a little duiker came by and had a night-time meal. With this in mind I went outside and looked around the most likely route a Bambi may have taken and just look what I found…little footprints. Can you see them? Scroll to the next picture if you can’t…

The idea that a little deer quietly crept to our front door and munched through my pretty petunias doesn’t leave me upset and frustrated, but rather warm and fuzzy inside!

That was unexpected! I asked on the neighbourhood watch chat site if anyone had a photo of a duiker on the mountain and one of the guys who checks the security camera posted this. That looks like a cat as well.

He also posted a caracal….

I wonder if that is what tore into our composing bin.

Then another member of the group posted this amazing picture. It’s a duiker that was seen between our road and Simon’s Town road a few years ago as well as early in 2020 so they are around…beautiful picture…I could imagine this one tucking into pink petunias!

For the rest of the day, Mike and I went to the beach. It was a degree or so warmer than yesterday so I had a good solid 35 minute swim. Fishing boat at sunrise. This was actually from yesterday morning…

I worked for most of the morning and in the afternoon Julian and I went to the second hand shops looking for outside furniture. We found exactly what we were looking for and I also found perfect bedside lamps for the guest house. We are edging our way towards it being finished.

Now I’m off to cook dinner.

Psalm 105:3

Glory in His holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.

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 Sea Was Brrrrr

Wednesday

Today was the day…

Mike and I woke early – well I woke early and then badgered my poor husband out of bed because I wanted to know what the bright stars were in the east. We discovered they were Jupiter, Mercury and Saturn – all in a row. Jupiter is the 4th brightest celestial body after the Sun, Moon and Venus. It was amazing seeing Jupiter  because it has a lot of moons and through the telescope you could see some of them – well that’s what I thought we were seeing. It was quite a sight.

Today the sea was cold! The locals seemed to think it was about 15C. When Mike and I arrived, he went off for his regular run and I went off for my regular swim. The tide was high and the sea was really flat, hardly a wave in sight. I swam to the lighthouse but with the water so chilly, I didn’t do too much crawl. With breaststroke I could keep my head above the water to prevent further heat loss. This was the beach from the bench…

And this was from the cat walk…

I swam for 35 minutes. There’s always something to see. Close to the lighthouse, the trek fishermen were hard at work.  The tide was high and waves were breaking against the wall and then rolling back  to where I was. That was quite fun. Lots of fishing boats were out and a couple of them hooted to each other in greeting.  After my swim, I joined Mike on the bench. I was really cold walking home and it was good to shower and warm up.

I worked this morning and then at lunchtime I went to the bank, changed my address, did the FICA thing and updated my account. That was quite productive. I then did some shopping and came home. Julian took care of dinner and it was SUSHI!

I’ve just read the weather forecast and it looks like it will be cooler tomorrow with a 30% chance of early rain. Could this mean that winter is already knocking at the door? Certainly autumnal weather for tomorrow at any rate.

Psalm 126:5

Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy.

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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Builder’s Stairs Are Down

Tuesday

Today was the day…

The builder’s stairs finally got taken down. This was 30th September 2019 that they were being built…

3rd October 2019…

They were well used during the build…

 

Yesterday Courage made great progress in disassembling them…

And today, Julian helped him move the side planks to the back of the house…

And now 17 months later,  it looks like they were never there…

Now we need a new gate.

This morning I got to swim for 40 minutes. I swam out to the blue drum twice. There are no shark nets being put out at the moment but I am confident there are no Great Whites around right at the moment. About an hour after I got home, I heard via our neighbourhood whatsapp group that “something” had been seen in the water, but it seemed a false alarm. This evening Julian and I walked to the end of the beach, passing hte shark board. It still said it the last sighting was December and it was a bronze whaler which isn’t as threatening as a Great White.  It was a lovely swim and a lovely evening too.

The other great thing about today was this…only 16 new cases of Covid in the entire Western Cape over the last 24 hours.

Nehemiah 8:10

The joy of the Lord is your strength.

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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David Turns 30!

Monday

Today was the day…

David turned 30. Yup, 30 years ago, I was a very happy Mama!

We started the day by going down to the beach and Adrian, Stacey and Elsie joined us. Elsie stood in the sea for the first time and had the water lap over her toes. Big new experience!  Mike had a short run and I had a short swim. Then it was to the shops and home for a big brunch! David opened his gifts. He got some quite super ones too.

Once those strings were changed, this pretty old in perfect condition instrument sounded amazing!

Mid-morning the Swellendam family left taking an easy trip back to the country. The weather meantime varied from warm to misty…

We all had work to do so that took up the afternoon. In the evening, Julian and I walked to Kalk Bay while David and Mike drove. This was dinner view…

And this is the birthday boy!

The evening activities have revolved around the telescope which will identify the stars we are looking at. We have seen Mars which was amazing! And we peered at Beetle Juice (Betelgeuse) which according to Wiki is the tenth brightest star in the night sky. During the day today, Mike set its sights on a fishing boat – which by looking through the telescope we could see was called Garfield. As Mike looked for a little longer, to our surprise, he spotted a swimmer. The boat, fishing rods and all, was actually accompanying an open water swimmer. They were miles out in the bay and looked like they were heading for St James or even further along the coast. The boat crept across the water and when it was almost out of sight, suddenly, it returned flying back towards Simon’s Town. Clearly the swim was over, the swimmer helped aboard and they were on their way home.

Mike and David are now busy viewing the moon which has been quite spectacular over the last couple of nights. Out came the cell phones to try to capture a photo of it… this is not a bad shot…

It’s easy to rejoice in a day like today.

Psalm 118:24 says

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Amen!

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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Mike is 70!

Sunday

Today was the day…

Mike turned 70! It’s such a milestone and we are so grateful. This day is so significant to me.

Firstly, because Mike married when he was 35, we always knew and spoke about the fact that he would be 70 before he was married for as long as he was single.  He is now 70 and this August we will have been married for 35 years. We dated for a year before we married, so he has been in a relationship for longer than he was single. 70 was the special number that confirmed it. Mike is very appreciative of me because he was single for so long.

Secondly, it was 9th May 2017 when I woke up and felt compelled to do something about building right here at this property. It was on that day that I thought that if we don’t do something, nothing will get done and I want Mike to celebrate his 70th birthday at Echo. That very thought went through my mind and it compelled me to go, on that day, to 53 Echo to find out who the builder was who was building that house. I found out Werner’s name and number and went home. Mike was on leave that day. I told him I had the number and he said, ‘why don’t you phone him?’ At 12 noon on the same day, we had our first meeting with Werner at this site.

And so here we are. What a blessing!

We started the day latish by going to the beach. I had a wonderful swim in big swells. It was fantastic fun. Mike had an excellent run,  challenging himself to keep up with a lady running in front of him. He did, so ended up running at 7 mins to a km which is pretty good for a 70 year old running bare-foot on the beach! Certainly faster than I could have gone.

Home for breakfast with Julian. David finished his 4 hours of teaching and then joined us. And at lunchtime, Adrian, Stacey and gorgeous Elsie arrived. We had a lovely afternoon together and decided to gather at 5pm for tea and cake. Elsie hung out with me for a while and then just before 5,  John and Avril arrived. Perfect timing! Mike’s cake…

Singing happy birthday for Covid-cautious candle blowing! (Thanks John for the pic)

We had a lovely afternoon. John and Avril on the balcony…

This evening Mike got to try out his birthday present with a spot of moon-gazing.

Tomorrow we do it all again as David turns 30! Lots to be thankful for.

1 John 4:19

We love because He first loved us.

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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Mike’s Last Day in His 60s

Saturday

Today is the day…

…we woke up to a lovely sunrise….photos don’t do it justice…

We celebrated Mike’s last day in his 60s. I’m not sure why we are so very excited about him turning 70. I certainly can’t remember being this excited when he turned 60. This is such a big  milestone – three score years and ten. I think the thing that brings so much joy to my heart is how well he is. As Julian and I are more than a decade younger than him, we aspire to be in the shape Mike is in when we arrive at this massive milestone.  In building this house, apart from the entire design, he did all the electrics (on all 4 floors), did the entire solar design, ordering and installation and designed and built the kitchens. The mind boggles. Was their stress? Absolutely. Now the months have passed and he is, at least, semi-retired and spending more time enjoying the fruit of his labour. Here he is enjoying the sunshine after a run on the beach and a dip in the ocean.

What the photo doesn’t show is the howling gale. While Mike was running, I was in the sea. If I needed an occasion to get used to massive waves leering at me, today was the day. The wind speed was high and the waves rolled in one after another – in sets of several, I had to keep my eye on them. Swimming out beyond the breakers was an exercise in its own league. With not  many swimmers in the water, I confidently coached myself. The wave would roll in and I could see it was about to break upon me, “Okay,” I said out loud, “One, two, three, go under!” I pretended someone else was saying it! Wave after wave, down I went, diving beneath its swirling unpredictable break, amazed at how going under removed the power it had over me. By going under, I had more control over it, than its powerful force had over me.

I usually stay in the sea for 30 minutes. I reminded myself this morning, I didn’t need to stay in for a full half hour. But I couldn’t bring myself to leave the water either. It was exhilarating and challenging. I soon saw Mike jogging back to the bench and shortly after, he too was in the water being buffeted about by the relentless breakers.

The sea is unpredictable and demands respect. That is always on my mind when I’m out there.

Mike didn’t stay too long and a short while later, I also left the water and joined him on our sunny seat. On windy days, there are less beach goers…

We sauntered home, pausing on the cat walk to admire the few people in the sea…

The wind remains strong this afternoon, but tomorrow it will drop – not entirely – but by quite a bit. By Monday, it will die off completely and a few calm days are forecast.

Julian is in the air right now, coming for the next ten days or so.

We’ll have a lovely evening together.

2 Timothy 2:22

Pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace.

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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Birthday Weekend 2021

Friday

Today is the day…

I did a bit of a shop for the birthday weekend food. I ordered Mike’s cake and got the ingredients for David’s choice. I also got most of what I need for Mike’s birthday lunch. He does not have big requirements. Sunday is Mike’s 70th. Monday is David’s 30th. Tomorrow evening Julian arrives and on Sunday Adrian, Stacey and Elsie arrive.  The wind is going to continue howling until tomorrow night and is expected to drop a little on Sunday. Monday will be calm. I’ve just about taken Monday off, but I will check in on my email and see if anything needs to be dealt with. I didn’t have too much work today.

This afternoon I headed to Claremont to see the dentist who needs to do the final touch-ups on my 4 front teeth. I have a temporary crown on my implant. Truth be told, I could probably do nothing for some years, but I figure it’s all going to go up in price, so may as well get it done now.  On the way home, I stopped to shop.

Mike arranged dinner. It was wonderful. I was starving.

Then we went down to the cottage to see the progress Courage has made. The mirror is up…

And the imprint on the front wall has been spruced up. Our guard is looking pretty sharp…

I’m not sure what the history is with this. It would be interesting to find out.

And with that it’s time to end the day.

Psalm 13:5

I trust in Your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in Your salvation.

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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Mike in His Happy Place

Thursday

Today was the day…

We reverted to our usual routine. We went to the beach and I swam in choppy water while Mike jogged. There was no crawl to be done in the sea today. I tried, but got slapped in the face by an unruly wave. Breaststroke was the answer – I swam with long strokes, usually pulling myself under the water and watching the floor of the ocean as the waves rolled over me. It is amazing how the water was moody and constant – unceasing and bordering on rough. It was discontent. While turmoil unfolded above the surface, below was peace and calm. A solid foundation of ocean bed lay beneath me. It was quiet and comforting.  I am definitely getting bolder and more able to cope with undisciplined waves.

After the swim, it was wonderful sitting on the bench and just letting the sun dry us off. Mike is his happy place…

I did a few hours of work this morning and to take a break, we went to see how the painting of the guest house is getting along. It’s looking great!

Stacey, Adrian and Elsie are coming for the birthdays this weekend and they are sure to see the difference, both inside and out.

I now have recipes to plan and shopping lists to prepare! Thanks to Stacey for the phone call.

1 Corinthians 13:13

Three things will last forever – faith, hope and love – and the greatest of these is love.

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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I Caught a Bus

Wednesday

Today was the day…

I caught a bus. It must have been the first time in about 30 years I caught a Golden Arrow bus. It happened like this:

We decided to have a break from our usual walk to the beach, Mike runs and I swim, routine. Mike was feeling tired and running every single day is not necessarily good. He needs a break. I needed my car today, so I decided to walk across to Sun Valley to pick it up my. That would get me exercise and I’d get the car. But not long after I’d taken to the road, I decided this wasn’t such a hot plan. It’s so time consuming walking.  On the way I had concocted a plan to catch an informal taxi. I had always vowed to do this at least once in my life. This was a perfect opportunity to do so.

So after I walked about a kilometre and a half, I arrived at the Main Rd. just in time to see two very empty taxis rush past. Darn, I missed those. I stood on the edge of the road and saw another appear. In good African fashion, I waved my hand up and down at it. The taxi was empty. The driver was looking at his cell phone (yep) so didn’t see me. He flashed by. I decided to continue walking, but as I looked back, I saw a BUS! Ah, a bus going to Ocean View. This was my chance. As the bus approached, I waved my hand up and down and the bus stopped!

I climbed aboard and said in a loud voice (I’m wearing my mask and the bus driver has a screen between me and him), “I haven’t caught a bus in 30 years, how do I pay?” He asked where I was going and when I told him, he said, “R10.50!”

I paid the money and took my seat.  Some things never change. A bus is a bus!

He stopped at the main traffic lights as they were red, so I hopped off. How convenient that was. I may even do it again one day. Certainly cheaper than an Uber (which I still have never caught in South Africa!)

The main reason I needed my car was because last night I got onto Gumtree to look for a large mirror. I found what I was looking for…

I dropped the Irish seller a line. He was also selling bedside tables, so I took those as well. I hoped they would all fit in my car. At 1pm I rolled up to his parents’ house in Oranjezicht, loaded up the car, paid a discounted price for taking all and came home. I was really happy with the purchase. Mike and Courage looking to see how high it should go…

After I got home, I had a bite to eat and then worked for a while. Mike meantime, finished his tax return so now we are both up to date.

A quiet evening lies ahead.

1 John 3:18

Let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.

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 Stillness of the Day

Tuesday

Today was the day…

There was no wind. It was so very still that it impacted each minute of the entire day from sunrise…

To sunset…

And every moment in between…

With the wind expected to pick up in the next few days, we have embraced each moment of today.

My early morning swim was idyllic. I could have stayed in for longer, but alas the day awaited with work to do. The sea was so still. I swim with my goggles and it has been amazing seeing the bottom of the ocean. Mike and I always end close to the cat walk and have little look at the rocks below. There are families of star fish, some sprawled easily on rocks, others squashed in crevices.

Back home, throughout the day we took breaks and sat on the balcony drinking coffee and marvelling at the perfection of the weather. Such a still day.

Being alive is the special occasion. I like that.

This afternoon I walked to Fish Hoek and picked up my new glasses. Wow! What a difference my new reading prescription is. At last I can see better.

Romans 5:8

God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

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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Swimming Further

Monday

Today was the day…

That was really enjoyable. Every day the sea has a different mood. Mike and I went down to the beach. Mike jogged. I swam while he was jogging. The wind was blowing and the waves were rolling in so it wasn’t a calm easy-to-swim kind of day. It was choppy, but I am less afraid now and am confident about diving under the waves when they break. I am getting braver and swimming further out. I swim for 30 minutes. Mike usually arrives at the 20 minute mark and we swim a bit together. The shark nets are still not going out because of the dolphins. I’ve still not seen them in action, although others have. A guy called Matthew took this one…it was from Saturday…

The water looked lovely and clear today…

The green shark flag was out..

Which means shark spotting conditions are good…

Yesterday, while I was swimming – I suddenly heard the roar of a plane. Stopping to squint into the sky, flying over at speed was what Mike said was a SA Air Force Mirage.  Later, when we were home, we started hearing it again. This time it was circling False Bay. At least 5 times it flew in a big circle over the bay.  It was fun to watch. I Googled to find out what it was about only to discover that yesterday 21 Feb 2021 was Armed Forces Day, so no doubt that had something to do with their activities.

Meanwhile, back at Echo today, Courage started painting.

It’s going to look fabulous when it’s done.

This week is the big countdown to Mike’s 70th birthday on Sunday and David’s 30th on Monday. Both are very happy for low key celebrations. No big parties. No big surprises. I have managed, by God’s grace and inspiration, to give Mike gifts every day this month. His main gift is hidden in Julian’s apartment. I have arranged the final few for this week. He has received a lot of T-shirts,  coffee mugs and snacks, but has  had those interspersed with some surprises such as an oximetre, slip slops and swimming goggles and this week he’s getting framed photos of the house at different stages of the build, including this delightful one which I had printed today…he and David at the back of the plot just as clearing the land had begun.

Now to organise cake.

And only 111 cases of Covid in the Western Cape over the past 24 hours. That’s really low.

Psalm 89:1

I will sing of the steadfast love of the Lord, forever.

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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Busy Social Day

Sunday

Today was the day…

We did a lot of socialising. We went to the beach as usual, although it was a little later than normal. Mike jogged to the end of the beach and back. I swam for 30 minutes. The water was amazing.  Sunday at the beach…

Paul and Nadine had also wandered down and we found Paul swimming back along the cat walk, while Nadine walked it. We went home to shower before they joined us for brunch. We had a leisurely morning before they packed up and left for home. It was great having them. Great Great!

I had invited other friends from a long time ago over for tea. At just after 3pm, they arrived and we spent a lovely three hours catching up. They absolutely loved our birds. They too have bird feeders and really enjoyed watching which ones come to our feeder. Before we left, I took a photo of them on our balcony…. Andrew and Alison Cyprianos. They have been married 48 years.

I caught up with some work this evening and I have a lot of work tomorrow. Time to close up for the night.

1 John 4:12

No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and His love is brought to full expression in us.

Those are thought-provoking words.

The best is yet to come, despite my many failings. We are only passing through.

Keep the smile going.

God bless you.

In His Grip,

Helga xx 🙂

 

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Human-Seeking Mallard

Saturday

Today was the day…

I saw the human seeking Mallard duck again – only this time it wasn’t in the sea. Mike and I went down early this morning. Swimming conditions were perfect. I swam for 30 minutes. Mike jogged to the end of the beach and back and joined me in the water. Then we dried off and dawdled home.

Later in the morning, I walked down to do some shopping. The beach was buzzing and as I walked past the life-saving box, I spotted a Mallard duck that was showing some serious interest in one of the life-guards. I asked him if I could take a photo and he said yes…

The duck was more just nuzzling. If it joins me in the sea again, I’ll know what to expect. It seemed to just be showing some affection.

On the way back from shopping, I watched the shark net team take in the shark nets despite it being only lunchtime. I asked why and they said it was because there were a lot of dolphins in the bay and they didn’t want them getting caught in the nets. Fair enough.

I still haven’t had a good sighting of leaping dolphins, but I did see what looked like a couple of seals.

This evening, our friends (who are staying in our guesthouse) came for dinner. I got them framed.

Paul and Nadine. We had a lovely evening together and it has been great seeing them.

Time for bed.

1 John 4:10

This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

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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20 on Echo Guesthouse is Almost Ready

Friday

Today was the day…

I worked on the cottage and it now has a new name – it’s grown up sufficiently enough for me to now start referring to it as 20 on Echo Guesthouse! From now on, I won’t refer to “the cottage”. Instead, my reference will be to the guesthouse, because that is what it is turning into and a whole lot quicker than we expected.

The plan was for us to finish it next week in time for Mike and David’s birthdays and with the expectation that Adrian, Stace and Elsie would come stay. But that plan changed last night when I had a call from old friends who said they had found a dog and house sitter and planned on a camping trip away for the weekend, but every thing was booked. Did we have accommodation for them? Mike and I thought for a moment about how the cottage was in a complete state of disarray. We decided we could get it tidied up in time so we said yes!

So today we skipped our walk to the beach; I worked on paid work for a while and spent the rest of the day working with Courage to get the place back into shape. I even made a letterhead.

Mike went off to various places to buy  a whole bunch of stuff to get the place functional. We still have work to do, but the guesthouse is getting its first none-family guests this evening.  Lounge photos..

Dining area…

Kitchen…

Bedroom…

Who says you don’t get exercise doing housework. I’ve walked 13400 steps today.  Tired but grateful.

John 13:34

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

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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Fearless Swim!

Thursday

Today was the day…

I swam fearlessly, not worrying about sharks!  When we woke up this morning a little rain swept by, so we only ended up heading for the beach at about 7:30am. But we are so glad we did. The sea was flat and clear.

The cat walk rocks were amazing. Beach Art…

 Mike took off for a trot, while I entered the water. With the sea flat and clear, I  enthusiastically headed off swimming to the lighthouse. Yesterday I was nervous – today I was fearless. There are no sharks and if one did come, it would be seen a mile away. It was a great swim. The water was so clear and through my goggles I could see for many metres around. It was wonderful. My unexpected view was of a navy speedboat that did a patrol of the bay and was not far off. It was a great way to start the day.

Later, I needed something from Fish Hoek so I walked down to buy it and came back via the cat walk… our little piece of paradise…

We need to take advantage of every still perfect day.

Today there were also dolphins in the bay. We heard via our neighbourhood whatsapp group so went out of the balcony to take a look. It is the funniest thing watching dolphins from our balcony. This is what you imagine you’ll see…

This is what we saw…

Yip, not much! It looked like a bit of movement in the ocean but big majestic dolphins jumping didn’t happen! Maybe they’ll come in closer next time.

Romans 8:39

Nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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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