Travel Theme: Faces of the Ammazulu African Palace

Ailsa’s Travel Theme is ‘Faces’, so I thought I’d show you a few of the unusual faces I saw in September, when we were staying at the Ammazulu African Palace Hotel.


These two sculptures were high up above the breakfast room. The one on the left seemed to be looking right at me. Quite unnerving so early in the morning.


This guy pulling an old Durban rickshaw, doesn’t look too happy with his lot.


In the late 1800’s, the ‘Ricksha’ became Durban’s main mode of transportation both in the city centre and docks. By 1902, there were 2170 ‘Rickshas’ crowding the streets, pulled by a veritable army of registered ‘natives’.


This last face is very weird wooden sculpture which I think looks a lot like ET but not nearly as friendly or cute.


You can see more faces for Ailsa’s theme here.


Beady Eyes in my backyard

What is Mr. Great Egret staring at so intently this morning?


I look across the lake and spot a dark shape in the water.


Oh yes, Mr. A is back again, and looks like he’s had a bit of a growth spurt since I last saw him. I can’t quite make out where his tail ends, but that head is huge.


Here’s looking at you, Mr. A , but I’d rather you didn’t get too close with those beady eyes and that humongous jaw. I’ve never seen your teeth, and I hope it stays that way.

I’m linking my post to Rosie’s Animal Tales #46 on Blogspot.

Animal Tales Badge Final

Bench Series #46 In Sherwood Forest

After thinking I had nothing for Jude’s Bench Series this month, I found two more benches with messages, this time from our visit to Sherwood Forest, haunt of the legendary outlaw Robin Hood.

The first one just has a bit of graffiti which is quite indistinct. I really wonder what compels people to scribble on things that don’t belong to them. I can’t see any rude words though.


This one has a notice attached.


I must have know that Jude was going to want to see it, because I took a closeup.


This must be John Lackland who came to the throne after King Richard. He ruled England from 1199 to 1216. He may have liked neither his brother King Richard I, nor the outlaw Robin  of Loxley, but John wasn’t liked by many people either.



Heavy-hearted Saturday

“As you press on for justice, be sure to move with dignity and discipline, using only the weapon of love. Let no man pull you so low as to hate him. Always avoid violence. If you succumb to the temptation of using violence in your struggle, unborn generations will be the recipients of a long and desolate night of bitterness, and your chief legacy to the future will be an endless reign of meaningless chaos.” ~Martin Luther King Jr.


Bench Series #45: Mosaic benches

“A bench with a message” is the requirement for Jude’s Bench Series this month. I hope these two lovely mosaic benches seen at ‘Glass Cuttings Gallery’ at the Piggly Wiggly country village on the Midlands Meander route, will qualify.

These pretty benches are a couple of creations from the “Fragments of Africa” collection by Sarah Pryke.


They still have their price tags attached, and this one of a “Pied and Malachite Kingfisher” will cost you R4,800.


I wish you all a very happy and relaxing weekend. I’m happy to report that my sister is back home and recovering well. Her surgeon says that she is allowed to paint for limited amounts of time once she feels up to it, but at the moment she’s sleeping quite a lot and just getting her strength back.

Cee’s FFC: ‘Painted’ in Costa Rica

For Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge ‘Anything Painted’, I thought you might enjoy the colourful artwork we saw in the little town of Sarchi, known throughout Costa Rica for its intricate arts and crafts.


Sarchi is also famous for creating the ‘Worlds Largest Oxcart’, a huge brightly painted ‘Carreta’ that sits in the Parque Central in front of the church. This masterpiece was built in 2006  and got the town’s name into the Guinness Book of Records.


Another gorgeous example of artistry is the Catholic church, built in the 1950’s and painted pink and blue.


If you think the outside is pretty, just look at the inside, which is all hand painted and absolutely beautiful.


I hope you enjoyed my painted pics. If you have some to share, just click Cee’s fun badge below.







Lest we forget those who gave their lives

“They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old. Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.”
  ~ Robert Laurence Binyon


Today being Remembrance Day, I’m again thinking of family members who served, and especially of those who gave their lives during the 2nd Word War, and how it affected our family in particular. I shared some of these memories and photos a couple of years ago on my old blog, but today the feelings of loss once again well up in my mind.

When I was growing up in England, we often visited my Great Aunt Sue and Uncle Harold, and my eyes were always drawn to the photo of a handsome young man in army uniform, which stood on their piano. Alfie was one of the many young casualties of the second world war. The piano had been his, and was never opened again after his death. Here he is in happier times, with his mom and dad, who never stopped grieving for their only child.


My mom often spoke with pride of her older brother Fred. He was her hero, a great swimmer and competition diver, diving from the top of cranes in Hong Kong Harbour. The two of them were very close and had lots of fun together.


Fred went down on an unmarked Japanese POW ship, the Lisbon Maru, which was torpedoed by the allies in October 1942. A Military Medal is little compensation for the loss of a beloved son and brother. His name is at the bottom of the first column on this segment of the Roll of Honour.


I know I would have loved to have had him as my uncle. Maybe he would have taught me to play the bugle, as well as how to swim, which is something I still haven’t mastered.


This pretty birthday card was the last correspondence mom received from him, and it’s now one of my most treasured possessions.


Mom’s Uncle Bob is another relative I would have loved to have known. He would have been my great uncle, if only he hadn’t also died in the war.


My dad’s dreams of studying to be an engineer were shattered by the outbreak of war, and he was in his late teens when left his home and family in the Dutch East Indies, now known as Indonesia, to join the Royal Dutch Navy on the submarines.


At the end of the war, he fell in love with my mom in England and they married. Because he spoke very little English, he was forced to settle for a very mediocre job as an electrician in a coal mine. Times were very hard, and any job was better than nothing, especially with a young family to support.


My dad survived the war physically unscathed, but he never saw his mom and dad again, and my sister and I didn’t ever meet our grandparents. My grandfather died at the hands of the Japanese, and my grandmother passed away when we were very young.


These faded B&W photographs fill my heart with sadness, thinking of how war can change the course of people’s lives for ever, and usually not for the better. These words spoken by General Robert E. Lee, are so true: “What a cruel thing is war: to separate and destroy families and friends, and mar the purest joys and happiness God has granted us in this world; to fill our hearts with hatred instead of love for our neighbors, and to devastate the fair face of this beautiful world.”

A Tricolored Tuesday

Here’s a fairly new visitor to my backyard. The Tricolored heron is much smaller than the Great Blue.


He can make plenty of noise though.

My darling sister is undergoing a three-hour neck op this afternoon in South Africa, so I’m hoping all goes well, and am anxiously waiting for news from my brother-in-law.