B&W Sunday: The Mussel Man after and before.

Paula’s B&W Sunday Challenge this week is ‘After and Before’. Yesterday, whilst walking along the beach footpath, I noticed some activity going on in one of the rock pools.  A mussel collector, wearing snorkel and flippers, was at work filling a bag with tasty morsels. Here is the B&W edit of my shot.

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In the original colour version, he’s far more visible. Must be something to do with the bright yellow flippers.

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One of the guests at my sister’s birthday party on Saturday brought along a plate of delicious bacon-wrapped mussels which he had earlier collected from this same part of the beach. Needless to say, they didn’t last long.

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My Sunday Photo: Hello Aloe Vera

Here I am again in Umhlanga Rocks South Africa, and this morning we went walking along the sea front. At this time of year, the Aloes are coming to the end of their flowering season, and although the birds have had a really good peck at them,  I was struck by how beautiful they still look against the deep azure of the sky.

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It’s great to be back here for a short while. Happy Sunday to you all.

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Remembering my darling Mom

On Mothers’ Day,  I’m remembering how exciting it was as a child to celebrate my special  Mom.

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You were always my heroine, so pretty, chic and very clever. You taught me so much from a very young age. My love of music was nurtured because of your encouragement, and even though you had never learned to play an instrument, you were determined to give me the chance even though the cost of piano lessons was quite a sacrifice on your tight budget. You worked so hard at many menial jobs in order to supplement the family income, and yet still found the time to make my sister and I the most gorgeous clothes, often sitting at your sewing machine late into the night. I’ll never forget the Sunday School Anniversary dresses you sewed, especially the blue flocked one with the enormous navy bow at the back, which made it very difficult for us to sit down. Your daughters always had to be the smartest on the block, and I guess that’s why you insisted on the hats as the finishing touch. How we loathed wearing those feather hats, and also the ones that looked like a couple of beige blancmanges, but I’ve long since forgiven you. You were very brave in the hat-stakes yourself, and I remember that you were mortified, when at church one Sunday, our oldest member called out very loudly, “Vera, I like your new hat, but that feather makes you look just like Robin Hood.”

There always seemed to be just enough money to take us on a seaside holiday once a year, but only because of your thriftiness. Nothing was wasted in our house, and you somehow found the time to make all your own jams and pickles with fruit and vegetables harvested from dad’s garden. Coming home from school on cold winter days in England, I knew that there would always be a good fire going in the hearth, and toast or muffins with homemade strawberry jam to warm me up. You cajoled me into eating my vegetables, even brussel sprouts, with the promise that they were going to make my hair curl. I forgive you for that little white lie, but only because you made the best apple pies in the world.

I have so many wonderful memories of you. It was so heartbreaking to see you the way your health declined during the last two years of your life. You became so fragile and could no longer manage to stand on your own. When I took you for a walk in the garden in your wheelchair, I thought of how you used to push me in my stroller all those years ago. Our roles had somehow been reversed. You were always so dignified and independent; so strong and upright, and I longed for you to be like that once again, but as you said to me, “I just have to be content with the way things are now.” I know you wanted to tell me all sorts of things, and yet your mind just couldn’t process your thoughts and turn them into words. How frustrating this must have been for you. As we sat there trying to hold a conversation, I was really moved when Mrs. G, the lady in the chair next to you, rousing a little from her slumbers, reached her hand over the arm of the chair until it found yours. She didn’t even open her eyes but grasped your hand so tightly, and as you stroked her fingers I saw a glimmer of a smile on her face, probably remembering a time in the past when she had someone’s hand to hold, maybe a husband or even a child. She never had visitors, but I’m sure that your cool touch that day brought comfort to her heart and she felt loved, just as it used to for me when I was a child.

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Mom thank you for everything you did for me. You are loved so much and will always be in my heart.

Isolated Subjects for Cee’s FFC

All of my isolated subjects for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge are animals or birds, as these are my favourite subjects to photograph. I thought I’d do this post as a sort of fashion parade.

First up we have the gorgeous Tricolored Heron looking very swish and dapper, with blue beak makeup and wearing pink stockings. The outfit is topped off with a white feather fascinator.

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Next up is the dashing Grandpa Igasho, wearing bright orange hose to match his stunning fiery mohawk. Note the wonderful and very tough keratin jacket which is made from actual lizard scales.

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Peli pelican, showing off his handsome profile, poses amongst the flattering green foliage. His splendid gray- brown and white feather ensemble tones really well with his spectacularly large orange and gold-tinged beak.

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Here we have the stunning Great Egret attired in a dazzling snow-white feather suit, with black tights and fashionable yellow footwear, chosen especially to match his eyes, beak and face make-up.

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Majestic Woody wood stork could be called ‘cute’ in the old dictionary meaning of the word, which is “ugly but interesting”. He could well be the poster boy for ‘skinheads of the wild’ and his attire, although somewhat on the grungy side, would appeal to those of his fans who wish to look unusual and not too polished.

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Last but by no means least, is the elegant and long-legged Miss Rosy spoonbill, flaunting her striking, bright pink plumage. The rather large and somewhat bizarre-looking built-in spatula at the end of her beak, whilst not exactly attractive on a young lady, is a great asset when it comes to mealtimes.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed my solitary subjects found here in Florida. I wish you all a happy and relaxing weekend. I will be busy packing for our trip to South Africa.

To visit Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge, click the badge.

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Good Morning Sammy

I’m finally getting used to my new Macbook Pro and have learned how to put my photos on my desktop. Everything seems different to my previous one, which is very confusing.

One thing that is a constant, however, is little Sammy. He’s as cute as ever and always nibbling away at something he’s found in the backyard.

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Wishing you all a very good week.

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