Tag Archives: Recreation

Move over BFF, we’re talking MBF

Mind you, “Best Friends Forever” is in many ways synonymous with “Man’s Best Friend”, at least as it applies to doggie years. It’s just the lifespan discrepancy that causes heartache. Still, the joy supercedes, so we come back for more of the same magic. As our beloved old boy, Tex, gradually prepares for a graceful parting with this world, our whirlwind puppy, Quest, is developing his inborn flair for the successor role.

While Tex’s tired legs can no longer match the eagerness of his spirit, Quest’s energy is boundless. Nothing delights him more than a super social, team walk. We often indulge him at a beautiful local park, which also forms part of our morning cycle route. Here are some glimpses of this favourite playground:


Dam at Marks Park, Johannesburg


Men with their dogs – Marks Park, Johannesburg

Now for some serious opposition to the theory of dogs looking like their owners: the miniature, airborne ball of fluff (in the middle) is Max, the Pekinese who belongs to Simon, the big tattooed, tough guy! Or the other way around, depending on your perspective, as so eloquently expressed in the movie Babe – where the animals speak and their respective people belong to them 😀

Already the bond between Dave and his dog is unbreakable. Quest would forego his food in favour of a car ride, to anywhere and everywhere Dave has to go. Aside from being a tough guy (and closet softie), Simon is a talented photographer as you can see on his blog, GotMilk Photography. He took this telling pic of Dave and Quest together:


Dave & Quest – Marks Park, Johannesburg

Although Quest excels as MBF, he still has time for his own BFF, and it seems there’s some truth to the saying that “opposites attract”. You guessed it: the German Shepherd and the Pekinese are best of friends. During a break from Quest tumbling Max like a dishwasher on full speed, Simon snapped this shot of them panting under a tree:


Max & Quest – Marks Park, Johannesburg

All told, however, I’d say Quest’s priorities are pretty clear. Dave is number one. They love hanging out together, engaged in male bonding, like watching sport on TV:


Dave & Quest hanging out together

In case you’re thinking I feel left out, not to worry. I have a personal WBF, in the form our gorgeous Norwegian Forest Cat, Jina. What could be cosier than a pre-dawn cuddle under the covers, with her gentle purr vibrating beside me?

Finally, an aside, following my last post: Dave is cycling above because an old lower-back injury from his pro racing days continues to haunt him, making walking any distance extremely painful. Recent intensifying of the pain, together with loss of feeling in his foot, necessitates a spinal fusion, which is scheduled for the first week of May.

This means that I won’t be posting a host of enduro articles, since he’ll be off his motorbike for about three months. We’re still going to Cape Town for a wedding and to visit family, though, so I’ll certainly share some photo’s from the Mother City. Have a wonderful few days in the meantime, everyone! Continue reading

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Saving a Turtle

Another big thank you to Hills of Africa Travel – for being simply the best! Today, they’ve featured the second part of their interview about my novel (chick-lit/romance) on their blog: Out of Air: A Story of Sheer Inspiration – Part II.

In case you’re wondering about the book’s title, a fellow writer and student on my first novel-writing course, Leilani Basson, suggested it during a brainstorming session. This followed a discussion about the inspiration, which includes scuba diving. Dave is a long-time instructor, and introduced me to it almost twenty years ago.

We shared an amazing experience once, when he saved a giant leatherback turtle from running out of air. It was held fast to the sea bed by three fishing lines, attached to triple-hooks in its mouth. Wedging his diving knife handle into the huge beak, Dave gradually worked the hooks out, freeing the turtle to come up for air. Through it all (15 – 20 minutes), it seemed to relax into a kind of trance, as if realizing he was there to help.

This is one of my most special underwater memories, contributing to certain key scenes in Out of Air, as well as the title. Metaphorically, it relates to Gina’s breathless state of being as she strives to navigate the storms of her search for true love.

I don’t have a photo of the leatherback, but here’s a loggerhead sea turtle instead:


EYE TO EYE WITH A TURTLE – Loggerhead Sea Turtle, Mozambique


LOGGERHEAD SEA TURTLE WITH SCUBA DIVERS – Mozambique

My sincere thanks to Leilani, and especially Dave. Without him, Out of Air would not exist – for countless reasons.

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Dog Whispering Decision

Full credit to Dave for making the final call and getting it done. In fact, his nickname among certain work associates is get-it-done-Dave. Not for nothing. I might well have faltered, muddled by a mix of emotions. I’m talking about returning one of our puppies, Quilla, to their breeder. Regular blogging friends will remember her pretty little face. Well, that disguised unmitigated mayhem – mostly due to the dynamic between the two.

Sibling rivalry resulted in her inappropriately submissive behaviour, and constant hounding of our cat, and older dog. That’s when the puppies weren’t riling one another up. The peace that was impossible around both of them, has been palpable since she left, a few months ago. (Roof of Africa, re-opening our photographic studio and hosting a constant stream of visitors put blogging on the back-burner for a while.)

Don’t get me wrong, though. Quest is no angel, as you may see from his expression:


QUEST with both his ears up!

He had his sister’s help to disassemble the entire electric gate motor and distribute the sorry pieces around our property. Not so for the heap of hose ends, drain pipes, assorted car parts and my special pair of Silhouette glasses . . . the list goes on, but we love him 😀

We’ve also learned something about canine behaviour. You’d think we’d get it first time around, with Tex and his sister Pippa. She never seemed happy, succumbing eventually to ailments that plagued her from puppyhood. We put it down mainly to her personality, and the fact that she was a far more hyperactive, working dog type than her brother. In hindsight it was probably, at least in part, from being dominated by him.

The same scenario was playing out with Quilla. Our fabulous dog whisperer, Justin Jardim of Echo Personal Dog Training, our vet and various others in the know endorsed the decision to let her go. While siblings together can sometimes work, it’s apparently not the best idea. Understandable when you imagine spending your whole life with your own!

She is no doubt happier in her new home and Quest isn’t complaining. He’s spoilt with personal attention and one-on-one training. Here’s Justin in action, teaching him “Down”:


JUSTIN teaching QUEST the dynamics of “Down”

He’s catching on quickly, but we have a way to go with the chewing issue. Vix vapour rub isn’t standing its ground, so we may try chilli, following a post by the hilariously brilliant Kate Shrewsday. Visit her blog for outstanding writing and a serious LOL!

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Celebrating Southern African Getaways

Sincere thanks to the fabulous Christine Searle at SA-Venues, for including me in her awesome post: South Africans share their favourite local getaways! It’s a total treat to participate and discover what’s special to others too 😀

Picking only one favourite was impossibly tough, given the abundance we have here – as well as how privileged Dave and I have been, thanks largely to friends, family and our professional photography. I narrowed it down to the African bushveld, because I believe that nothing compares to the ‘soul vacation’ this offers. Here’s the longer list, incorporating more of Southern Africa and a few of the countless highlights we’ve enjoyed:

Londolozi private game reserve, SA – leopards:


LEOPARD CLOSE-UP – Londolozi Game Reserve, South Africa

Madikwe private game reserve, SA – wild dogs:


AFRICAN WILD DOG – Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa

Schotia Safaris, SA – lions:


MUFASA – Schotia Safaris, South Africa

Welgevonden private game reserve, SA – rhino’s & elephants:


RHINO SILHOUETTE – Welgevonden Game Reserve, Waterberg, South Africa


ELEPHANT SILHOUETTE – Welgevonden game Reserve, Waterberg, South Africa

Timbavati private game reserve, SA – buffalo:


BUFFALO BULL – Timbavati game reserve, South Africa

Khwai River, Okavango Delta, Botswana – abundant game and raptors:


HIPPOS AT SUNSET – Khwai River, Okavango Delta, Botswana


FISH EAGLE TAKING OFF – Khwai River, Okavango Delta, Botswana

Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Botswana – wide open spaces and occasional cheetah:


DAVE checking photo’s on our roofrack – Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Botswana


CHEETAH RUNNING – Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Botswana

Mozambique – scuba diving, especially Guinjata Bay’s manta rays:


MANTA RAY WITH REMORA FISH – Guinjata Bay, Mozambique


ME SCUBA-DIVING – Mozambique, Southern Africa

Lesotho – enduro riding, in particular the extreme Roof of Africa:


ROOF OF AFRICA 2010 – Lesotho, Southern Africa


VIEW OF MALUTI MOUNTAINS – Lesotho, Southern Africa

Cape Town (where I grew up) – family, fun, Two Oceans & Table Mountain:


TABLE MOUNTAIN from V&A WATERFRONT – Cape Town, South Africa


VIEW OF CAPE POINT – Cape Town, South Africa

As far as wildlife goes, we’re planning perhaps the pinnacle trip for September next year: Serengeti under Canvas in Tanzania with &Beyond Africa, which follows the migration in luxury tents. CAN’T WAIT, especially since it will probably include scenes like these:


WILDEBEEST RUNNING – Masai Mara, Kenya


HOT AIR BALLOON ABOVE MIGRATING WILDEBEEST – Masai Mara, Kenya

I wasn’t lucky enough to accompany Dave to Kenya, where he shot these last two pics, so that’s high on my wish-list of wildlife destinations, along with others in Southern Africa, such as Namibia (where I was born), Zambia (where my father was born and raised) and Zimbabwe (where some of our special friends come from). And that’s just for starters. Ah, AFRICA…what’s to do but LOVE YOU?

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The Bonuses of Blogging

Some gratitude is in order for this phenomenal blogosphere! It captivated me quickly, from the start, and has led to some fabulous relationships.

Yesterday served up a stunning ladies’ lunch, courtesy of the gorgeously talented Cindy at The Only Cin, who I’ve now met in person 😀 Follow that link to her blog to view some beautiful pics from our mouth-watering meal – and of course, the First Sighting Sauvignon Blanc (bottles of it!).

The spoiling didn’t stop at gourmet food, flowing wine, vibrant company, valuable introductions, sun-splashed rain, lingering laughter and lots more. We all got goodie bags for the road. THANKS for everything, Cindy!


GOODIE BAG from Ladies’ Lunch

What a consummate hostess, which you’ll discover if you follow Cindy’s delightful blog – or The BlaBla Blog where she’s the resident food and wine fundi 🙂

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Puppies’ First Swimming Lesson

‘Come quick! She’s in the pool!’ Merriam calls – earlier this afternoon.

EEK! MAD DASH . . . phew, Quilla’s fine, frolicking on the top step 😀 Quest hovers on the deck, nosing his sister anxiously. He’s totally unsure what to make of this. Meanwhile, I’m torn in two – the camera or the swimming costume?? Temptation wins! In I go, despite the chilly water. It’s a spectacular Jo’burg day, but still EARLY summer here.

However, the cold can’t compare to the captivating fun! Quest responds to coaxing, so the puppies launch together into their first swimming lesson. Both are cautious, preferring the security of the steps, but with support and playful urging they get into the game. Turns out Quest is a natural, innately confident at anything new. Quilla’s her mildly haywire self, sending far more water flying than nearly necessary. But at least it works for her 😀

Within a few tries they get the drift, also grasping where the steps are located. I’m chuffed about that, although this summer seems set for loads of soggy mayhem!

No pics in the pool, but here they are afterwards, sporting the wet look:


QUEST’s Wet Look


QUILLA’s Wet Look

And Tex looking on in his grandfatherly way. Swimming has never been his thing!


TEX in Grandfather mode

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Celebration

Celebration ↔ Smiles


WINE BOTTLE WITH GLASSES – Welgevonden Game Reserve, Waterberg, South Africa

It’s nobody’s birthday or anything like that. Just an exquisite evening in a beautiful lodge on a gorgeous game farm. African style. That’s reason enough for a special occasion. This one comes with grateful thanks to Dave’s brother and his wife. ‘Cheers, Mike and Lisa!’ Chinking of glasses mingles with the music of vibrant voices. Smooth Cabernet caresses tongues, tinted with friendship and the mouth-watering aroma of roasting lamb. A humming log fire inspires reveries as it swallows time. Warmth swirls around relaxed bodies, casting a glow across familiar faces. Smiles adorn mouths, hinting at the Celebration happening inside. When all is said and done, does life really get any better than this?

Quotes to consider:

“Fly free and happy beyond birthdays and across forever, and we’ll meet now and then when we wish, in the midst of the one celebration that never can end.” – Richard Bach

“Tolerance and celebration of individual differences is the fire that fuels lasting love.” – Tom Hannah

“The thing about performance, even if it’s only an illusion, is that it is a celebration of the fact that we do contain within ourselves infinite possibilities.” – Sydney Smith

“Think of the magic of that foot, comparatively small, upon which your whole weight rests. It’s a miracle, and the dance…is a celebration of that miracle.” – Martha Washington

“The Olympic Games are the quadrennial celebration of the springtime of humanity.” – Pierre de Coubertin

To help set the scene, here are two more pics of the lodge by day:


LODGE VIEW – Welgevonden Game Reserve, Waterberg, South Africa


LODGE VERANDAH – Welgevonden Game Reserve, Waterberg, South Africa Continue reading

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