Tag Archives: holiday

For Whom The Bell Tolls

Dear Reader,

I am reporting to you live from the most incredible country, Australia! The weather has warmed up considerably since its first frosty reception (probably to acclimatise us) and we are now experiencing days of pure sunshine bliss mixed with cool evenings.

There is no way I could invite you over for a coffee because the drink of the day would have to be a cool drink, cold beer or crispy wine. Once you’ve chosen you’re poison, come sit next to me by the pool.

I have a secret to share with you – not a nice one. Yesterday, I think we missed the Grim Reaper by a hair’s breath. I don’t know if you caught the report on the accident at one of the local theme parks on the Gold Coast, a terrible tragedy that took four lives. We were supposed to be at that theme park and when the tragedy occurred we would have been there. It was only by providence that we missed the time slot and decided to forfeit our day at the park, driving past it and going to the beach and shopping centres instead. 

As we lolloped amongst the waves, the news hit the headlines and we were struck with disbelief. Our family is large and the probability of us being on that ride would have been very high. The seriousness of this has stayed with me all night and I had to share my worry with you today. You see, when I travel with my sprogs and Hubble, I always guesstimate the probability of us dying in some freak accident.  As I drive down unfamiliar motorways, I keep a wary eye out for the Reaper, in case he has one of our names on his list.

It’s a morbid way of looking at life, I know, but we can’t live forever. It’s just hard to accept that one of us might not get to see a full life. Maybe.

Anyhoo, shaking off my morbid coat, I can officially re-declare my love of Oz and it’s inhabitants. The place is a mixture of Zimbabwe and England, taking all the best weather, space, technology, infrastructure and  design to create a eutopia that most crave. As we sit sipping our chilled drinks, soaking up the rays and twiddling our feet in the crystal clear water, I’m sure you’ll agree that this is a life we should aspire to. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll be lucky enough to count our last days on earth in this place, or another like it. We will see what happens.

Well, I’m ready to go in for a dip. The thermal heating has cracked the cold barrier on the water and this sun is baking my shoulders. Fancy joining me for a swim?

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Saturday

Young footballers are already gracing the green across from my dwelling, sending chirrups of sound through my double glazed windows.  That cacophony of joy so early in the morning on a Saturday; maybe I need to ask what blend of coffee they are drinking!

It has been a rather fraught week with events I would rather not repeat.  Watching a loved one get rushed to hospital and anxiously waiting for results is something I wouldn’t wish on anybody.  I’m happy to say that all is well now and life is slowly resuming its bland existence.

The countdown is starting to our last big trip for the year and I’m panicking.  There’s so much to do and so little time.  Plus I won’t be around to start the children off for NaNoWriMo. Thankfully, the children have an incredible teacher to take the lead and start them off, so that can be crossed off my list.

Dresses, shoes, swimming costumes and suits must be checked and packed.  After all, weddings don’t come round every day.  

I am continuing this post mid-afternoon after a morning spent shopping with the whole family.  There is not enough painkillers in this world to boot out the agony of clothes shopping with teenagers.  Oh my head is spinning with the clown outfits on display and, I kid you not, the cost of looking like said clown is not exactly cheap.

They’re all out now at their music lesson and I shall have a cup of peppermint tea and a sit down before collecting them and continuing the search for elusive wedding/holiday attire.

Send a search party from me if you don’t hear from me again!

Monday Coffee

Pull up a chair and watch out for the lady with the muffin behind you! She’s teetering on one leg and that oversized mug of tea looks as though it’s going to provide a watery end to her chocolate delight, and probably her pretty blue blouse.

How are you? I’m sorry I missed you last week.  We were either away for the evening or recuperating from an adventure.  It has been a fun couple of weeks and I’ve fulfilled a fifteen year old dream – to visit the Cheddar Caves and Gorge in Somerset. I’ll tell you more about it after we place our order.  What will it be tonight: coffee, tea, latte or something a bit more exotic?  I think I will go for a Darjeeling tea.  I find I don’t drink it often enough and I miss my peppermint tea too.  We have been spoilt with a new Tassimo machine at home which provides a Chocochino fix that is hard to refuse.

20160811_131343170_iOSNow, onto our trip to Cheddar.  We arrived mid-afternoon and we pleasantly surprised to find a quaint little town steeped in history.  20160811_131203528_iOSThe three mile gorge offered spectacular views and a stunning backdrop to the shops and tea houses meandering down the steep hillside.
After collecting our tickets, we made our way into the caves where history oozed out of the pores of the earth.

The smell of damp and the incredible colours of the rocks, stalactites and stalacmites added an air of mystery and excitement to the atmosphere. 20160811_141242239_iOS20160811_142516754_iOS

Austere shapes carved out by water hundreds of years before left dimples and caverns in the rock – one referred to as the Sistene chapel by their discoverer, Lord Gough. I was mesmerised, trying to take in as much of the caves as possible as we walked around. We listened to the special phone with options to follow the numbers posted in various parts of the caves that gave invaluable information on each section of the cave’s history.20160811_134855230_iOS

20160811_144626264_iOSOnce we completed our investigation of the caves, we moved onto the museum located further down the hill.  A kindly gentleman dressed in skins showed us around and showed the children various activities based around the history of prehistoric man. My favourite was sticking my hands in a box to try to guess the odd shapes contained within.  There was a skull, different sized bones, flint stones and shells. Oddly enough, I was the only one willing to shove my hands into the box.  The others watched in glee as I squealed each time my hand touched something new.20160811_145005436_iOS

We laughed our way through the displays, pointing out the different sections of history and where each
family member belonged.  I still believe my eldest belongs in the neolithic age!

Time was not on our sides and we had to move on before everything shut down for the day.  We sprinted down the hill, following other families that were as determined as we were to catch the last tour bus going back up and through the gorge.  Luck was on our side and we made it just in time!

Once seated at the top, we took photos of the scenery as it went by, enthralled by the sheer size of the gorge.  Yes, it is small in comparison to other places in the world, but it is still our special place in England.  Anyway, I haven’t heard of any other caves that have their own Cheddar cellar! We were lucky enough to buy some of the chees that had been cured in the Cheddar caves and I can tell you first-hand, it is absolutely delicious!

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20160811_160526096_iOSOur tour bus dropped us off outside the caves, and sadly, it was time to say good-by to the gorge.  Most of the attractions were closing for the day.  The good thing about buying tickets to the Cheddar Gorge is that, if you don’t get a chance to do everything on that one day, your ticket is still valid for ten years.  That means, you can come back and complete your tours of the other attractions at a later date.  Now that’s value for money!

Needless to say, it was a wonderful day out and surprisingly, even the angsty teenager and stroppy eight-year-old cracked a smile and admitted to enjoying their day.

Have you done anything exciting this past week? How was your weekend?  I’d love to hear what you’ve been up to for your summer vacation.

 

 

Great Zimbabwe

 We took a trip to Mazvikadai, a stunning place close to Chinhoyi where there are ponds for fishing just off the main lake.  It’s a resort, though I’ve never explored the residential side of it.

  From this picture you will deduce that they keep live crocodiles.  Now we were told stories of baby crocs stealing bait and attacking the fishing line of unwary fisherman and some family members even warned my younger sprogs to stay far from the water.  I didn’t believe them.  Surely, they wouldn’t allow you to fish with crocs? Boy, was I wrong!
   

 The crocodile enclosure spanned across two sides of the bridge crossing to the ponds, housing the most humongous specimens I have ever seen.  Basking in the hot sun without a care in the world, these creatures secretly watched us, their sparkling green eyes attuned to the slightest movements around them.  I warned my youngest to stay away from the fence dividing us from these gigantic creatures, but found myself drawn closer to their close proximity to the fence.  Some force enticed us to want to get closer, as though what we were seeing was too far fetched to believe.  

  

 My brother scoffed at us and moved us along to the pond where our equipment was being delivered from the car.  Yes, there are gentlemen there to carry your things so that you don’t have to struggle on your own along the jagged paths.

  Upon arrival at our own thatched gazebo housing a large picnic bench and overlooking the splendid pond, my sprogs started screaming.  Up in the ceiling, close to the beams was a giant spider with long black legs and a body, half white-half black.  It contentedly watched our chaotic reaction to its presence from a web intricately woven like a hanging basket amongst the beams.  After a deep breath I told them to just ignore it.  After all, we had seen similar spiders surrounding the lion enclosures at the lion and cheetah park.  They were supposedly harmless!

Once they got over the fact that we had company in the upper beams, they focused on the creatures flittering to and fro between the brickwork on the ground.  Another round of screams were released because of the large ants and small spiders!  I became impatient and told them to get a grip.  We couldn’t avoid all of nature.

  They settled down once we brought out the rods and big brother showed them how to load the worms in the hooks (something they refused to do themselves!). Soon, everyone had their own private spot around the pond.  The fish were very savvy; each time a line was cast, we watched them literally jump out of the way and dance to another safer spot in the pond.  Frustratingly, the tiddlers found it amusing to clean our bait off our hooks if we left the line in the water for too long. 

The day dragged on and the heat pounded down on our heads.  Accompanied by the sound of the various birds hidden in the reeds, the little kingfishers ducked and dived, barely catching the wily little buggers hidden just below the glassy surface of the water.  I grew tired of my spot under a tree.  The smell of fermenting water and the heavy buzz of flies behind me was off-putting, even if the spot was perfect for catching the Wile E. Coyote fish cooling themselves in the shadows cast over the water by the tree’s branches.  I moved back to our gazebo to join my brother who was frying up some boerwors (spicy sausages) as a snack.  

  He asked me to recast his fishing line which was drifting lazily in the semi-cool breeze towards the lily pads.  Excited to do it since he had a really nice sized rod, I hopped to the opportunity.  Unfortunately I underestimated the wind and my ability to cast a heavier rod; the hooks and line went straight past a tree that had fallen into the water and got caught in its branches.  Weirdly enough, this tree was still growing.

I apologised and promised to go retrieve his line.  Big mistake.  It’s only when you do something ridiculously dangerous that you realise how old you are.  I started climbing this tree, telling myself that I had done this a thousand times when I was younger.  

“Just keep your balance,” I muttered to myself, “and you’ll be fine.”

Well my vertigo set in and the green, murky water kept reaching up to grab me.  I decided all fours was the way to go and crawled along the crumbly trunk.  A thin branch was in the way so I batted it to one side, not noticing the sharp thorns poking out.  It was some kind of Acacia plant that was using the tree to support it.  There’s a special word for plants that do this, but it escapes me at this moment.

Long story short, I managed to crawl up to the slender branches jutting out into the water just as my brother reeled in the line.  Disentangling the hooks from the fine, feathered leaves of the tree set it free and I was able to return to the safety of dry land.  My arm was ripped by the thorns but that didn’t bother me as much as the threat of falling into the water.  Later that day, I saw a baby croc swimming further up the pond. I was very glad I hadn’t fallen in! 

 

After a lovely day basking in the sun like the crocs, we packed up and headed home.  I’m sure I saw the fish waving good-bye and laughing at us.  I didn’t mind.  The baby crocodiles swimming just behind them were smiling too! 

Holiday Photos

Hello,

It has been a rainy day today and we have spent it shopping.  The cold seems to have followed us from England and I don’t think my family are too impressed.  The lovely thing about the rain is that it’s warm, not cold, and sounds so serene pitter-pattering on the rooftops.  It’s a pity we can’t light a fire; a family of Hoopoes have nested in the chimney and we don’t want to disturb them.  

Here are a few photos from the past few days…

   
 Two metal sculptures at the top of Argyle Road in Avondale. Apparently they stand on the pavement of a back-packer’s lodge.

   The Catholic Cathedral captured from the car.
 Lovely patisserie in a Food Lover’s Market in Borrowdale.  They were huge and mouth-watering!

  The rest of the shelf of delicious treats.
There are many more and I am preparing a nice post on the artists and sculptors I met at a flea market the other day.  To give you a taster, here is a picture of some of their art:

   
 
I hope you’ve enjoyed a little taste of Zimbabwe.  Join me again for another update on our holiday.

Monday Coffee

Hi!  Thanks for joining me at the most unusual place yet…the airport!

We don’t have to have coffee if you don’t want to – instead, we could have a glass of wine to celebrate the fact that I will be travelling back to the land where I was born in just a few hours.  It’s great to have company whilst I wait for my flight.

Did you get a chance to see the coffee blog I posted over the weekend?  How fantastic is it that the blog we all love to read and share has found its way to the powers that be?  I’m pretty excited to be a part of it.

I remember linking my first coffee blog to Parttime Monster’s post and thinking, what a great idea to share a space with fellow bloggers and catch up on news.  I prefer creating an illusion of actually meeting up in a coffee shop, or my bat cave, or at an airport!

 

Sharing our Monday Coffee at Oriel

 Now, we usually share a slice of chocolate cake or a different scrumptious treat, but for today, how about a Caesar salad or something more sustantial?  

My order is a a plate of French fries and olives on the side.  Delicious!

Whilst we wait for our orders, why not tell me where your most recent travels have taken you.  Some of our fellow readers are world travellers, whereas some are like me, a bit green behind the ears!  

If you had a dream destination, what would it be?  I would love to visit Hawaii, or the Sahara Desert.  Two extremes, but both exotic, beautiful places.

Right, our food has arrived and it’s rude to to keep checking my phone whilst we eat.  I’ll bid you farewell and will keep you updated on my travels with a few photos to give you an idea of the beauty of the place.

Oh and if you were wondering where I’m going, it’s Zimbabwe in Africa.

Bon apetit!

This Is Truly Bliss

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So close your eyes and come with me to a piece of the earth where beauty knows no boundaries. Close your eyes and come with me to a place where misfortune is just a fairy tale, stress is a myth and worry is an old past time. Close your eyes and come with me to a piece of paradise where the beauty is interminable, indiscernible and tranquil to say the least. Not for the young and not for the old just a story best left untold. If you close your eyes and come with me ill show you a place where dreams are real, and real is for the living.

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Croatia’s largest and most popular tourist destination, Krka National Park, made its way onto my bucket list in a “love at first sight” kind of way. Half in the unbelief that somewhere so sensuous still existed. The other half because…

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We’re On A Break!

I’m sorry I haven’t been around but I am on a break.

Will be back soon.

Missing you already!