Which Way Challenge: So many choices

Cee’s Which Way Challenge ends today. This signpost seen in Mallory Square Key West seems to fit the bill. How many of these places have you been to?


Thanks Cee for hosting so many interesting challenges. I’ll miss this one, as I always love to see what people come up with.


Old man of the forest

When we were over in England earlier this year, we visited Sherwood Forest, the legendary haunt of Robin Hood and his band of merry men. Besides seeing the Major Oak, purported to be the outlaw’s secret hiding place, I came upon this carved tree trunk, which I think is perfect for  Nancy’s Photo a Week challenge ‘Wood’.


Travel Theme: A Berry Delicious Breakfast

Ailsa’s Travel theme this week is ‘Fruit’. I love to eat berries for breakfast, and when we were in Key West a couple of months back, this is how they were served up, in a cute glass jar with granola and yoghourt underneath. Just looking at the photo brings back such great memories of an idyllic few days spent with our son and three little grandchildren.



WPC: Grid work in our ‘abandoned’ house

The Weekly Photo Challenge ‘Grid’ is an opportunity for me to show you some of the work hubby has done in the main bedroom of the ‘abandoned house’ we bought last year.


He had what was to my mind, the rather ambitious idea of creating a barrel ceiling, and has done so all by himself with the help of equipment he bought over the internet. First he designed a template and then manufactured a wooden grid, which he erected underneath the existing ceiling.


He then hoisted up the drywall ceiling boards onto the grid, and screwed them in place.


It didn’t take him too long, but was a lot of work for one person. He then had to spackle over the joins, and sand it all by hand. I have a selfie he sent me, with his whole face and head covered in white plaster dust, which I’m tempted to show you, but maybe he wouldn’t appreciate it. It’s pretty scary. 🙂


He put up the fancy mouldings along the sides and ordered flexible curved ones for the ends. When they arrived, he was taken by  surprise by how heavy they were, weighing 68 lbs each, so he had to devise a way of getting them up there. With the aid of two cardboard boxes and the hoist, he managed to do it, but described the experience as single-handedly attempting to nail two 16ft dead pythons to the ceiling.


Well, all his efforts have paid off and now all that’s left to do is to paint the whole thing. He says that’s the easy part.


He’s now on a roll, and wants to do the same ceiling in the dining room. I’m so glad I don’t have to live in the house whilst he’s doing the remodelling work, but he’s enjoying himself immensely.

To see more grid entries, just click the WPC  badge.




‘Unusual Clouds’ in my backyard

Nancy’s Photo a Week Challenge  ‘Unusual Clouds’,  is right up my street.

I absolutely love the sunsets here in Florida, and the reflection of the fiery clouds in the water where Mr. A hangs out, are always so fascinating to see. Last night’s dinner just had to wait whilst I snapped this photo.


I’ve been a bit down the last couple of days, but am feeling much brighter today. Hope your week is going well.

Back home again with wonderful memories

On Wednesday morning we arrived back in Florida, thirty-six hours after hugging my sister one last time. What a very special time we had together.


Thank you so much to all of you who have left caring and loving messages of support here. This is such a wonderful community, and I appreciate every single one of you. I believe it’s so important to thank people, and when we as a family went to the care home where mom had been so well looked after for the past eighteen months, to take a ‘Thank You’ cake and some delicious eats for the dedicated ladies who work there, we were quite taken aback to be told that we were the first family to ever go back and show gratitude for the work they do. It was so very moving to receive their hugs of condolence and to realise how much they had also grown to love our mom during the time they’d known her.


What a beautiful, sparkling day we were blessed with for mom’s memorial service.


It was held in the foyer of the church she once attended, and was very informal with everyone seated around tables covered with colourful cloths. It was wonderful to see so many of her friends gathered to honour her memory, and one elderly couple had driven all the way from Johannesburg to be there. Two of the church elders who had known mom and dad for many years, shared their thoughts, and hubby read tributes from the grandchildren overseas. My sister’s husband gave the eulogy and of course I also shared some of my most special memories of my mom, which prompted many smiles as well as a few tears. Afterwards we had tea and refreshments and chatted for a long time before people eventually started to disperse. It was a really uplifting time, and so comforting to receive such heartfelt condolences from people who really cared, and had loved her so much. It was a time of celebration of mom’s life rather than a time of mourning, which is exactly what she would have wished for.

My sister and I had a wonderful few days together, and of course we spoke about our mom constantly; over delicious meals and even whilst out shopping, especially when we saw any items of clothing in her favourite shades of purple or mauve. Last Sunday we took mom’s ashes, and with our husbands holding tightly onto us, scattered them from a beautiful viewpoint high up in the Krantzkloof Nature Reserve.


My sister had the idea that mom would want us to choose this place, as one of her biggest challenges after dad died ten years ago, was starting to drive again at the age of eighty. The route she used to take through Kloof Gorge to and from my sister’s house, was along very steep, narrow and winding roads, but she gamely managed it in her little white Hyundai Getz, until about three years ago when we decided that for her own safety and that of other road users, she should rather allow one of us to chauffeur her.

I brought back with me a pile of old photos which we found in a box in mom’s cupboard, and before retiring to my beckoning bed on Wednesday evening, I looked through them all, remembering family and friends from long ago. My absolute favourite has to be this one taken on an Amsterdam street in 1966. I’d never seen it before, but for me it  just empitomises the amazing  woman mom was; vibrant, happy, gentle, always a lady, a natural beauty, and so full of fun. This is how I will always remember her.

Vera in Holland

It’s good to be back here, and I will endeavour to catch up with you all over the weekend. Have a really good one.










Darling Mom, I miss you already

My darling Mom passed away peacefully earlier today, with my sister and her husband by her side. So, I didn’t get to see her again, which saddens me greatly. I don’t think anything can prepare us for the death of a parent, and especially a mother. There is such a special bond between a mother and her child, which is profound and unfathomable. Whilst I had my mom, I was still her child. Now that she’s gone, I feel somewhat at a loss. My dad died ten years ago, and that was really hard, but I still had my mom, so all was not lost. Over the past couple of years, her mental health had deteriorated and she’d become very frail. I think that last week when she stopped eating and couldn’t even swallow liquids, she had decided that she’d had enough and it was now time to go to her eternal rest. I have so many happy memories to hold onto, and that twinkle in her eye is one of them.


Mom was always of very slim build; on a sofa she took up hardly any space at all. In spite of her slight frame, she was a powerhouse of energy and wasn’t at all afraid of hard work. I remember that when I was a child, she worked from early morning and often late into the night doing stuff for her family. We didn’t have money to spare, so she made what we did have, stretch and stretch as far as possible. She baked and pickled and bottled and sewed as though her life depended on it. She made sure that my sister and I were always well turned out, and she spent many evenings making us beautiful dresses and jackets.  She not only cleaned her own house, but also went out to clean an elderly neighbour’s house in her ‘spare’ time. Mom taught me how to iron at a very early age, and I remember how proud I was as an eight-year-old, to be able to iron dad’s handkerchiefs. She was a timid cook but a fantastic baker. Her apple pies and coconut tarts were second to none, and every day, we had dessert of some kind. Her “wait and see” chocolate pudding was our absolute favourite.

Mom had a sharp wit and a wonderful sense of humour. When were together, the smiles and laughter came thick and fast. She saw the funny side of everything, and I’ve inherited this sometimes embarrassing trait. My sister is the same but even worse, and when the three of us got together, you would have been forgiven for assuming that we’d been let out for the day from some institution for the insanely comical. I’ve also passed this gene on to my daughter, and our long-suffering husbands have just had to learn to live with it, bless their cotton socks.

Some of you may remember that Mom celebrated her 90th birthday at the end of May. It was a very special occasion indeed, and I didn’t realise then that it would be the last time I saw her.


Mom’s unwavering faith in God has been a constant in our family, and she has set a great example to us all. She wasn’t perfect of course,  but she truly believed that one day she would be with her Lord in Paradise. Oh that we could all find the perfect peace that she felt about moving on from this earthly life. Mom you will forever be in my heart.


Today has been very traumatic and many tears have been shed, but I thought I’d just let you know what’s been happening with me. Hubby and I will be in South Africa for the memorial service on Tuesday, and will stay for a while with my sister, so that we can spend time together, remembering our Mom and chatting about the good times. I’ll see you all when I return to Florida.