Cat Speak


Hola Bloggies.    No, I am not in Spain now -( two weeks holiday planned) but habits die hard.   And yes, it is many moons since I blogged.   I’ve never been very good at repeating myself and unless there is something extra special going on or I have a photograph I can’t resist sharing, the urge to rabbit on has simply gone.   But I’m still here, it’s still freezing cold, and no news is good news!

I do however try to keep up with the blogs and follow my buddies.   And find something to blog about very occasionally.

So here goes.

If you cast your minds back, some of you may remember a time when I blogged religiously, every day – and lived under avos in a beat up old camper van in Spain.   We acquired rescue animals.  Lots of.  They simply attached themselves to us and stayed.  Until we departed.

Katta was feral and pretty well starving.   She moved in, grew fat and semi domesticated. She also produced six kittens, which we dutifully found good homes for – and, much to her panic and shock, carted her off to the vet one fine day, and had her spayed.   It was the least we could do.  When we returned to the UK, Katta stayed under the avos, much loved and spoiled by the remaining lovely campers.

We visited our happy camp site last year (the best of friends are still there) and went hunting for Katta.   Discovered her hanging out with a bunch of feline buddies – fat and happy, fast asleep in the shade of a glorious yellow hibiscus.

Four years since I had seen her.  Didn’t really think she would remember me, but called anyway.  ‘Katta!’

And up she got, and languidly strolled towards me.  No eye contact at all.  No weaving around ankles. No vocal greeting.  But, at my feet, she rolled on the gravel, stretched, rolled over again, and again. and again.   Never looked at me once.

Cat speak for ‘I remember you happily’?   I think so.

Seeya, sooner or later. xxx





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The clocks went back last weekend.   It’s creepy having the light disappear by 3 p.m. If I could I would hibernate, literally, and wake up in April 2017.   Hmm.  I might even shed a few kilos instead of piling them on as no doubt I will.   All that ‘comfort’ eating *sigh*.

Whatever.   There are compensations.  I guess.   Like autumn colours…autumn-2







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Mini Mob

Way back when Letterdash, our original South African blog site operated, Meetings of Bloggers were big.   The lovely Libra’s Child and I managed a mini mob a couple of weeks ago.  It’s five years or so since we last met up in Spain, so it was a real treat and we celebrated in true SA fashion with a braai.

Our Libs doesn’t do photographs but I nagged her into this one.


The weather was kind and my garden was as good as it gets:

garen 2016

Definitely not going to wait five years for our next M.O.B.   Anyone care to join us?

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Harmless Horace and me.

I was raised in Africa, in a city and never encountered a snake until, in midlife, moved to a farm with snakes.  Fight or flight?   Forget it.  Run yelling ‘snake snake’ and let some one else deal with it regardless.   There are ‘good’ snakes and bad snakes but they were all the same to me.  Preferably kill or at least remove. I would be long gone.

On my recent sojourn in Florida I encountered a snake.

It was the mockingbird who drew my attention

mocking bird

He was dive bombing the poor snake, who was on the driveway,screeching in a dozen different bird languages (Mocking Birds do that).   The snake disappeared under a car, and then when the coast was clear headed under the house. I watched fascinated.

Hours later, out with my camera, my eye was caught by a sliding motion on the fence.  The snake appeared and posed for the camera.  I am assuming it was the same snake.  I stilled my heart and got the pic.


I was ensured by my family that the snake was harmless, although my sister confessed that she, in ten years of living there, had never actually seen him.

I named him Harmless Horace, just to remind myself not to be terrified.

I spent much time in the garden and was always aware of him.   A black slither across the patio.  The flicker of a tail disappearing under a shrub. An arm length away amidst the jasmine – a rolling coil of glistening black.   I was always aware of him, but never got another photo op.   I stomped around, speaking loudly.  Terrified I might stand on him and in panic, drop my camera (which is not insured).  I felt an affinity.

My holiday ended and I return to England.   Bro-in-law skyped me.  Said Horace had been looking for me.   Came up to the glass sliding doors of the family room, reared himself up and peered in.   He then apparently curled himself up and lay in front of the sliding doors for ten or so minutes before disappearing again. Never ever happened before.

I suggested to my bro-in-law that Horace wanted to see his portrait. Whilst I was in Florida I painted, on request, a painting of Roseate Spoonbills. I included Horace on instruction, at the last minute.

best painting pic

I am not feeling very comfortable about saying I felt an affinity with a snake. What I do feel is priviliged. I can’t quite explain it.

Meanwhile my sister says there is no way she is going to take the painting outside and sit and wait for Horace to come and view it.


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Living dangerously

Life has been a tad dull since I returned from Florida  – reclaiming my garden from an army of slugs has been a priority – and finding the will to get back to work.

Day 1 back at the shop and I was advised to keep a low profile along with everyone else.  A gypsy funeral was to take place in the village and they are known to become somewhat volatile should one not show due respect.

Despite the advice I couldn’t resist.  So lurking behind hedges and lamp posts I followed the   proceedings from a distance.   Not great photographs but better than nothing.   They did spot me eventually and took umbrage but I yelled ‘sorry’ and sprinted back down the High street to take refuge in the shop loo.   And survived.

gyp f 1

gyp f2

gyp f3

gyp f4

gyp f5

I am learning about these very secretive people.   I have yet to meet a single person who has a good word to say for them.   A friend says she can always spot a male gypsy – they wear very expensive shoes and use loads of polish.   Landlords close their pubs when there is to be a funeral.   I didn’t believe this and checked – absolutely true.  Another friend told me that they inevitably use a fake name when booking funerals, weddings etc.   If the truth emerges, it’s not uncommon for the chosen venue to cancel the booking – even a day before the event.   These folk are …. volatile.   And I am told they treat their dogs and horses appallingly – so much for the fairy stories I was raised on :-(.


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Happy birthday to me!

It’s not quite my birthday yet….. not here in Florida, USA at any rate.   It’s only 9.30’ish. (I’m on holiday).  But it’s my birthday in Australia, and it’s two hours into my birthday in my home country, England.   I know this because Face Book has just told me so and the happy birthday messages have started arriving.   So I thought I might pour myself a Mexican liquor (which happens to be available) called ‘Caffe Lolita’ and start celebrating :-).   Caffe Lolita is actually quite delicious although the name is not exactly appropriate.  I’ve finally made it to three score and ten and the rest is all icing on the cake?

I didn’t plan to blog about my birthday.   What I did want to waffle on about is the advantages of being a smoker.    (Shock, Gasp, Horror).

It is heading for mid summer in Florida and in case you didn’t know it, it’s as hot as hell and the humidity is unbearable.   We move from air conditioned homes into air conditioned motor vehicles into air conditioned shopping malls and air conditioned restaurants.   To step out of doors, is akin to opening a furnace door, and nobody in their right mind does it.   Except a considerate smoker, i.e. me – who has no wish to pollute the air and contaminate my wonderful hosts and their beautiful home.

If I didn’t feel the need to escape every so often (with my cigarettes AND my camera) I would never have seen :

This stunning fellow.

dragon 2


Or the Jay with a bad hair day.

fiddler crab

A Fiddler crab who without help, wouldn’t have made it out of the pool.


Erm… Horace, the Harmless (?) or so I’m told….

moma racoon

Or Momma Racoon

.racoons 1

and her two hopeful babies.

Painted bunting

To say nothing of this beauty.

Mine hosts have no idea what a paradise they are living in – and all because they never step outside.














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Justifications of Colonialism


I did an obscure English module on African literature. One of the books was Heart of Darkness, which was not really ‘African’ but boring as hell and written from a white patriarchal viewpoint. This was followed by Things Fall Apart which I preferred but also detested as the other extreme.

It reinforced how I generally have issues with books written about the ‘dark continent’, especially if the literature moves southwards to places and people I may recognise.

I’m just finishing Alexandra Fuller’s Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight. I sent an interview she did to a friend of mine who hilariously pointed out how the American interviewer kept referring to her time in ‘Africa’ and she kept going ‘no, just Malawi, Zim and Zaire’. Because, of course, to many abroad, Africa is just one very large country, treating it like the old Soviet Union or China, no discrimination placed…

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An Evil Weevil.

The only weevils I have come across in the past have been those little brown numbers that turned up from time to time in the porridge at boarding school.   If we dared complain we were told they were an excellent source of protein and to ‘zip it’.

The red palm weevil is a different kettle of fish.   The wretch is causing havoc and doing in palm trees all over the globe.  The Spanish authorities are very tense on the subject, understandably.  So much so that if you are found harboring said weevil a fine of Euros 500 is summarily issued and, if feasible, deportation would probably follow immediately.

TL, missing his gym class, offered to chop down a half dead palm tree at the villa – and came across the culprit.   Ugly little s**t he is too.

Is there anyone out there who knows more than I do about weevils?   Is it eyeless, as in blind?  Or are those eyes on the end of it’s feelers?

Having photographed it from every angle  I suggested to TL that he now kill it.  Reluctantly agreeing with me, TL wandered off, stroking and crooning to it.

I haven’t dared ask if he carried out the execution or not.








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2nd childhood?

Hola bloggies.

I have had S.A.D. (I think).   Six weeks of gale force winds and rain.   Today, no wind and occasional sunshine.   (Still bloody freezing, but who cares).  The snow drops are blossoming.  Amazing what a bit of light can do -I may survive :-).

I have not precisely wasted the winter.   I painted ( a little).David's trees

It was a commission of sorts. (read ‘gift’ – friend needed trees for an empty wall).

Nothing scares me more than boredom.   Winter in the UK is extremely boring.  So I acquired a doll house – somewhat bashed about, and just a shell, it was donated to the charity shop where I work.  I bought it and undertook to refurbish, then, when complete, will donate it back – and maybe raffle it?


The ‘refurbishment’ has involved endless hours of fiddly activity.   I have rules.  I must either make everything myself, or find whatever from charity shops – i.e. do not spend real money!


I have made furniture from bits of wood, foam sponges, scraps of fabric, dominos and small treasures unearthed in charity shops.  I have modeled fruit and veges, baskets and bowls from clay.  I have  created oriental carpets from table mats and coloured them in with koki pens.   I have sewn tiny cushions and painted pictures on them.   I have been extremely lucky and what I couldn’t possibly make myself (the loo, etc.) have simply appeared –  donated!

It’s not finished yet – I am currently attempting to tile the bathroom – and a nightmare it is.  Big mistake – but I shall persevere.  I broke down and bought the little lamps!  They are led lights, intended for reading but work perfectly.   Oh happy day (£2 each :-))  I have unearthed tiny jars and filled them with herbs.  I have made tiny pots and pans.   I think I have lost my mind…..DSCF9670DSCF9671DSCF9494DSCF9664

It is almost done and soon I shall have to part with my toy.

I need little mirrors and can’t find any!   They will turn up.

So.  What next?   Maybe Spain.





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DSCF9618Hola Bloggies.

I made a single resolution this year. To ALWAYS have fresh flowers.  I should like to have added that they should be stolen from neighbour’s gardens – but I wouldn’t stick to it.  Not quite mad enough yet and dislike confrontation – don’t have the bottle.  (Give it time – I will get there).

Naturally I have an agenda.   I’m hoping to broadcast this resolution, so that ‘people’ (read TL) will bring me fresh flowers very week.

Otherwise – loads I should be blogging about.  Half problem is am spoiled for choice and unable to make decisions.  Shall I this… or shall I that….?   Unable to make a decision I  move on and blog zilch.   Nuts.

Anyhoo – I’m around and love u.   Seeya. xxx


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