Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Slouching Towards Blogylon

Hello Friends,

Before I left for the North at the end of June I was unable to post because I was feeling uninspired and negative about life in general - probably the Post-60 Blues.

I thought that it didn't matter whether or not I posted my usual "I'll Be Bach" entry when I go off-line for awhile.

... I was wrong and I apologise to those of you who became alarmed by my extended silence.

Even though we may never meet and only communicate through blog comments and the occasional mail, it's finally beginning to sink into my skull that the feelings of affection and goodwill we have for each other here in cyberspace are as valid as those in 'real life' (indeed, even the distinction between real and cyber is rapidly blurring).

When I arrived home I was horrified to find that one night of Black Frost had destroyed many plants ... the whole world seemed bleak and grey. My neighbour lost hundreds of Mango trees.

What upset me most was the loss of the ever-messy but shade-giving Flamboyant Tree in front of the house.

I've seen Black Frost a few times but it's never affected the Flamboyant before - I'm hoping that it's not dead but, when I left a few days ago, there was still no sign of any new life.

Spirit seems none the worse off after his castration in April - I got him to the Vet just in time, because Mutt was starting to recognise Spirit as a potential rival and attacked him viciously every time he saw him, attempting to drive him off.

As for Mutt, I was also going to have him 'done' in April but I had to cancel two hard-to-get Vet appointments because both times wily Mutt outwitted me and escaped from the room in which I'd locked him ... I've decided to just leave him alone now and let him be a Tom - I reckon that after his two incredible escapes he's earned his 'wings'.

At least now, when Mutt returns home every few days to grab a bite to eat, he still gives Spirit the evil-eye but refrains from attacking him.

I wish that Spirit would make himself more useful though - by catching mice instead of birds and lizards.

I spent six weeks building a new Septic Tank and in the process screwed my back up - I was in agony for the whole period and it's frustrating that my body hurts so easily these days.

Perhaps I should take up knitting instead - (don't laugh, I have vivid memories of my Grandfather knitting while puffing on his pipe).

I had to construct the Septic Tank as a matter of urgency because without it I can't progress much further on the house. I chose to build it during winter because it would have been sheer hell down in that hole during summer - also the risk of flooding if it rained.

The tank is very big and probably a case of overkill on my part but, ... hey, now I can die satisfied, knowing that I've provided a service to Mankind which may endure for centuries ... :)

There were dozens of different species of birds around, including my favourites, the Fork-tailed Drongo - I just love the way these birds dive up into the air to catch insects at dusk. Drongos are aggressive birds, fighting amongst themselves and also attacking much larger birds of prey.

The Drongo is known as "Rungada" amongst the Owambo people who also call it the 'Foreman of all Birds' because it is the first to start singing and calling before the sun rises ... it wakes the chickens up.

Also, for the first time in twenty-something years, I saw two Crows fly over the house.

The Fur People are all ok and Stoffel enjoyed our nightly walk-a bouts, chowing bugs and digging up sprouts.

I take Stoffel out as the sun is setting because then she's less likely to wander off and get up to mischief. After she's done her rounds she comes inside quite happily, has a drink of Horlicks and then heads off to bed, snuggling under the covers during winter.

Sunsets were spectacularly red because of all the dust and smoke from bush fires.

I know that winter is the time of death and rebirth and all that but, I much prefer summer, even though I often long for just one moment of coolness during the oppressive heat ...

I hope to have some interesting post in the next few days.

Once again, my apologies for being so thoughtless:

... if I were a Good Man, I'd talk with you more often than I do ...



  1. Glad you're back.Sorry about your tree. We're having very cold weather here in Bots this year too. Like you I prefer summer.

  2. Thanks Laurie - yes, it's been freezing this year hey - I believe that it snowed in parts of Joburg this year ...

  3. Nice post, and lovely to catch up on your pets. Loved the song too - I'm afraid I'm one of those that only knows PF's main song. That'll teach me. I lost my mimosa/wattle last winter and was heartcroken, as I'd looked after it for 10 years and it reminded me of Argentina, so I know what you mean.

  4. I really hope that tree comes back to life - it will be so sad if it has died. Your septic tank building looks super - when you are ready to build a few more I have three that I am too scared to even check in case they need redoing - I wouldn't have a clue how to do it. How do you close off the top - is that a cement slab that was premade or did you pour it yourself? You did a great building job for something that is just going to be buried. Love the pics of your animals. J

  5. Apologies accepted :-) It is great to have you back on line and know that you are OK (other than the back).
    Hope that your flamboyant tree recovers, it is distressing when a large tree dies. We have lost a cedar tree this year for some unknown reason other than perhaps the drought. Very sad, we in fact took it down today - my next post!
    Your house is looking fantastic and I am please all the furry beasts in your life are doing well. Looking forward to further photos of the house and what you have been up to. Keep well and take care of your back. Diane

  6. Thanks Caroline - yes, even though the Flamboyant is messy and it's roots have ruined some of my paving work it provides great shade during summer ...

  7. Thanks Jackie ... hehe I think one septic tank in a lifetime is enough ...

    I poured the concrete slab myself - I embedded a short pole across the top of each compartment for support, placed corrugated sheeting on top, then round bar for re-inforcing and poured 120mm concrete - you could probably drive a car over it ...

  8. Thanks Diane - yes, I love large trees and don't like to see them die ... I once spent days building an elaborate Tree House for my kids ... one night a strong wind blew the whole tree down ... good thing nobody was in it at the time ....

  9. Welcome back. Yes. living in the cyber world has become intrinsic to the way we relate to one another.

    Your house is looking fantastic and its good to see you back and share a glimpse of your world.

    Great post and pictures :)

  10. Thank You Monica - I've been trying to resolve this cyber/real world conflict in my mind for quite a while now ... I often wondered, when I used to visit chatrooms ( I don't anymore, a total waste of time), why, if I'm as detached as I think I am, words on a computer screen could make me angry or elicit other emotions ...

  11. It's great to hear from you! Glad to know you are doing more or less okay but sorry about your back. I know what you mean by frustrating. Since last summer I've been having trouble off and on with my right knee. Hope to see more of your pics soon.

  12. p.s. I do think that there is much to be said for cyber friendships. After all it isn't impossible that we get to meet one day. I had the chance of meeting Jo recently in Kenya.

  13. Thanks Penny - my back is improving ... I'll be writing about my first "cyber meeting" in my next post ...

  14. Hehe Fazlisa - it pleases me that I caused you to laugh ... It's true though, my grandfather did knit ... us kids were too embarassed to tell our friends about this though ... :)

  15. I'd love to see you start knitting. I think that would be awesome.

  16. Hehe Penny - you're kidding ... right? ... but, you know what they say ... never say never ... :)

  17. I'm not kidding, lol. I have an uncle who used to darn socks very well. When my uncles and mom were in residential school (like boarding school) they all had to learn to knit, sew, darn etc. There is also a famous former football player in USA who does exquisite embroidery work. No one would have dared called him a sissy. Then I've noticed there are men here starting to quilt. One whose wife runs a quilting shop in my mom's city and some who belong to various groups here in my city. So maybe something to consider for cold winter nights in Nam. I think it takes a brave sort who doesn't care what people think.

  18. Heh! ... well, you've almost convinced me Penny ... but in the meantime I'll look around for something more macho ... :)

  19. Welcome back!!
    I love that photo of the bird at sunset, i'd like to re-post if i may?
    That septic tank will probably outlast everything else in sight, nicely done!!

    peace mate :)

  20. Thanks David - please feel free to use any of the pics on my blog.