Morsels of Gratitude, part 2

It’s not easy!!

Part of this gratitude lark is to stay positive and avoid anything that will bring me down. I was doing well until I realised that my visit to the specialist last week cost R2000. Yes, my medical aid will pay for it but it’s a third of the total annual fund supposed to cover all doctor visits, medication, any blood test or x-ray, spectacles, and so-called dental basics. There is NO justification for such a high fee for a 20 minute consultation. The special machine used to measure my lung capacity was a once-off expense, years ago by the looks of it, and nothing else was used. We are ripped off by fees like this. The alternative is to go to a public hospital but there are problems with this. One is the long queues, like all day sometimes, second is the possibility of catching the virus, and thirdly, although this country has excellent medical people and training, the system itself is a disaster.

What am I grateful for today?

As I type this, my son is washing my car. This may sound like no big deal but it’s actually a minibus (see at the end of this post) and it’s an exhausting job to wash it, so I’m really grateful that he’s doing it.

Grateful for living close to nature and open spaces. I’ve heard many people from Europe remark on how wonderful it is that this city and surrounds still has so much open space, so much nature. This is something many people take for granted or simply don’t care for.

I couldn’t live in a big city. I couldn’t live far from open space, water, mountains. I’m so grateful that I don’t have to go too far to walk amongst vegetation that is unique in the world – the wonderful fynbos of the Western Cape; or along a stream in the green belt nestled in the middle of a residential suburb; or the wide open white sandy beaches (when permitted, not these days of lockdown limits), and of course the mountains that cover almost all of the Cape peninsula. Further afield, the wide open expanse of the Karoo and the Northern Cape are sublime and I miss them enormously, having not been to either of those regions ages due to the virus limitations.

Pics below were taken this morning at the Tokai Plantation. It’s half plantation and half fynbos garden. The fynbos section has been reborn by cutting down a large portion of the pine plantation and allowing the natural vegetation to grow back. In cooler weather the open area is wonderful to walk in but the plantation is ideal for hot summer days because the trees provide much-needed shade.

I mentioned my minibus. Below is the link to a crowdfunding campaign I’ve set up to help me pay the bank for this minibus so that when tourism picks up again I have my vehicle all paid up. Any contribution will be welcome and very much appreciated!

Remembering June Lockdown

What can I say about June in the time of Corona? By this time we were starting to lose our sense of humour, seriously. The virus was raging, numbers rising. It was cold and wet, and booze was suddenly unavailable again. We were warned the virus would get worse before it got better and the few bookings I was still holding for September and October were cancelled. I started wondering if I would have any work at all for the rest of the year.

I seldom ventured out; saw a friend once – for a walk outdoors, keeping masks on – and became very tired of home cooking. I was grateful to not live alone. My companions and I started getting on each others’ nerves but the good times were worth the bad ones. Caring friends continued reaching out with phone calls and check-ins. I did the same to others that I knew would be anxious, alone, stressed. We’d have long conversations, boost each other, encourage each other, and offer advice and help.

It takes a plague to see who your true friends are and I can testify to that.

After years of drought, this winter decided to make up for lost time. In this region we have wet winters, as opposed to the savanna up north where they enjoy wet summers. Cape Town is lovely but sometimes disgusting winter weather. It’s really awful – cold and wet, the rain falls sideways because of the wind, and we have storms coming in from the ocean that have turned the coastlines into a graveyard of ships.

So, one night, in the first of two very bad storms, my bedroom ceiling started collapsing. If it had been any other room I might have been tempted to just ignore it and continue spending most of my days in bed with Netflix and depression. But the bedroom, my sanctuary, above my bed? Had to be fixed. Luckily, my 2 lockdown inmates are very tall men who did an amazing repair job. They did it all despite not having the right tools and by improvising with various items such as a tripod, a strip of wooden fencing, various other bits and bobs, and an amazing type of rude glue, photographed below.

And walks .. oh my god, finally, some proper walks with the dogs. What an absolute joy it was to get out and walk in nature again, to see the dogs run free. Things like that we take for granted until we don’t have them.

Last thing .. ending off with yet another link to my crowdfunding page wherein I try to save my business. Any assistance will be greatly appreciated.

Disclaimer: I have no control over any advertising on these blog entries and derive no benefit from them.

A walk in Tokai

Today’s walk took us to the Tokai conservation area again. Part of the forest has been removed so that the fynbos can regrow but alien vegetation is creeping back – lots of work still to be done. We like walking along the inside paths where you can better see the plants and Vida loves running on the sand. Today we even saw cranes but they were too far away for good photos.

Fynbos, Forest and Mountain

Fynbos, Forest and Mountain

Vida  loves it here, things to smell, space to run
Vida loves it here, things to smell, space to run.

Walking towards the pine forest

Walking towards the pine forest. Several bridges over the stream that zig-zags the area but there’s no water at the moment.

Stupid sign, dogs don't read and anyway it was all scrunched up on the ground

Stupid sign, dogs don’t read and anyway it was all scrunched up on the ground

As can be seen, this is not a natural forest

As can be seen, this is not a natural forest

Pretty light

Pretty light

Different light when you turn around

Different light when you turn around

Then our friends joined us

Then our friends joined us

Thinking time

Thinking time

Playing time

Playing time

A lot of work is needed to remove the alien invasive plants but it's still pretty

Anything surrounded by these beautiful mountains is lovely and we’re so lucky to have open spaces like this minutes from busy suburbs.

Disclaimer

A note to all accidental visitors:

I am not a photographer and do not claim to have any particular skills whatsoever in that department. I have enormous respect for those who can see the potential in a scene and can create a great photo. Good photography is an art, in my opinion.

I am just a happy snapper, I have no special lenses or accessories, my camera is very simple and it's usually best to leave the setting on auto.

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