Sunrise, Eyesight and Monkeys

I can only come up with one positive aspect to being woken up at 5 am by people stomping around in the apartment above ours. I rarely see a sunrise, so decided to make the most of the situation by taking a few photos.

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I think sunrises and sunsets over the sea are quite hard to beat.

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My ‘holiday’ by the sea isn’t turning out to be quite as relaxing and carefree as I would have liked. I’ve been experiencing a problem with the vision in my right eye for a few months, and thought it was something simple like a bit of scar tissue after my cataract and lens implant operation three years ago. We have medical insurance here in South Africa, so I went to see my eye surgeon soon after we arrived. It turns out that I have a small macular hole which prevents me from seeing fine detail and reading. Today I am going into hospital for a ‘vitrectomy’ which has a 90% success rate of closing the hole by inserting a bubble of gas in the space behind the retina. It sounds as though I may have to keep my head bent forward for quite a few days, and even sleep face down, which I really can’t contemplate as I usually sleep on my back. Anyway, it is what it is, so I’ll keep thinking positive.

I was rather amused by the welcoming committee which was lined up to greet us when we visited our friends up the hill in Kloof. Looks like we all have our wildlife, wherever we happen to live. I’m really missing my Iggys and Sammy squirrel. I wonder if they’ve even noticed that I’m not around to take their photos.

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Hope you’re all having a good week. I’ll let you know how everything goes.

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Cee’s Oddball Challenge: What’s this fascination with old loos?

Cee invites us every week to post some of our ‘Odd Ball’ pics, which to me means, the ones that we’re not sure why we took, as they don’t fit into any other category than ‘Odd Ball’.

The centrepiece of UShaka Marine World in Durban South Africa, is a wonderful aquarium, set in a recreated, rusty old cargo ship from the 1920’s. The crew’s ablution section, especially the toilet area, seemed to hold a great fascination for most people, including our family. This first picture was taken by hubby when our two South African grandchildren came to stay with us for a holiday. My mom was game to have a seat and rest her weary legs; the children just did as they were told, but as you may notice, I avoided sitting on the loo in public.

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When our granddaughter came over from New York, some ten years later, we took her to the aquarium, and of course it was mandatory that she should also have her pic taken on one of these loos. Family tradition, I guess. 🙂 I’m not sure what happened with this photo, but it sure looks really weird. Love the sparkly shoes though!

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Do you have any Odd Ball pics that you’d like to share, or maybe you just want to smile at other people’s. Click on the badge below.

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WPC: Signs, both pleasant and ominous.

Some signs we see have pleasant and happy connotations, like this one from our beach walks in South Africa. It was from one of these boats that our daughter caught a 6ft Barracuda when she was just sixteen.

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Just down the road is a kite surfing shop, and outside is this sign. If I’d been a lot younger, I would have tried it.

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Right next door is this sign, which sounds quite ominous and could be very painful. Would you venture up those stairs to the first floor?

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Talking of ominous, how about this sign at Madame Tussauds Chamber of Horrors. We actually paid good money to be frightened out of our wits. Inside are replicas of horrific instruments of torture, to be viewed amid the sounds of agonised groans and bloodcurdling screams. A new and startling innovation in one part where it’s so dark that you can’t see a hand in front of you, is to have actors in macabre make-up and costumes, lurching out from the shadowy recesses of the cells, right in front of customers as they pass. It was absolutely terrifying, and I’ve never screamed so much in my whole life. Hubby thought this was very funny.

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Here is an escape sign for those who have second thoughts, and decide they’d rather not be scared witless. I didn’t see anyone taking the coward’s way out though. I suppose we all wanted to get our money’s worth.

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To see more entries for the challenge, just click on the badge below.

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One last nostalgic walk before we leave this paradise.

Today we took our last walk along the beach promenade. It was a beautiful spring morning, and there were already so many fishermen at the water’s edge.

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We set off towards the lighthouse, which is something I’m really going to miss seeing, as our little lake in Florida doesn’t warrant one. The birds there seem to know exactly where they want come ashore, and without any help.

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The Candelabra Aloes are looking rather sorry for themselves at this time of year. Their beautiful orange flowers have been picked off by the birds, and all that is left are the seeds.

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The huge rocks along the shoreline look sombre in the sun’s first rays, as the beach cleaners arrive to start their day’s work.

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This morning was the only time I’ve seen the pier totally deserted.

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The ‘Pearls’ luxury tower block will soon be overshadowed by more highrise condos and a shopping mall which is due to be built right behind it. This once small village-like seaside resort is now getting far too crowded, especially at holiday time.

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The ever present ‘Dinky Donut’ stand was closed for breakfast. Hubby and I have always managed to resist buying a tray of these calorific  deep-fried morsels. I wonder who forgot to paint the second ‘D’ on the side. 😕

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This little girl looks to be having fun, whilst her dad plays with his laptop, but I’m sure she’d have even more fun if they could build a sandcastle together.

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This one is luckier, as she races after her daddy, down to the sea in the safety area between the two lifeguard flags.

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The sun makes the sea really sparkle, as these two runners pound the sand.

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Here’s that wizened and twisted tree which shades the path so well on a hot sunny day.

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We reach the bench at the end of the path, where I sit and watch the waves for a while, wondering how long it will be before we return here.

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The wind is starting to blow quite hard now, so we head back for a shower and coffee. The guy with his metal detector is a regular along the beach. I’d love to know what his success rate is.

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There is little progress on the new lifeguard tower, which was scheduled to be completed by October. Today the workmen look to be drilling holes in the old concrete base. Maybe they’re going to pack them with explosives and blow it up!

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This sign is definitely worth a photo. We’ve eaten some really great fresh fish caught by various members of our family over the years.

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The two of us walk along in companiable silence, and then I notice our ‘fat’ shadows linked together on the pathway. Must be all the good food we’ve eaten recently.

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There across the water, is a hazy view of the city of Durban.

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Then it’s up the hill behind these two walkers, one of whom appears to have a red tail.

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The bright red, matches the lighthouse and the umbrellas outside The Oyster Box Hotel.

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Then there’s just one lone fisherman and a single boat on the horizon, before we bid the beach and ocean goodbye and turn back into the road.

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Tomorrow is going to be quite hectic as we pack all our belongings into our cases, and other stuff which we’re not taking with us, into boxes for one of our friend’s young married kids. We are driving up to Johannesburg to stay with our daughter for a few days, before flying to England. I’ll pop in on you when I can, and maybe even do a post or two if the internet access allows. Have a great week.

I’m linking this post to Restless Jo’s Monday Walk Challenge. She’s gallivanting in the The Algarve at the moment, but welcomes us to submit our entries whilst she’s away. Just click on the badge below.

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One last “Hurrah” for my Hibiscus on Floral Friday.

As we locked the door to our house for the last time on Wednesday, the Hibiscus in the three pots alongside our front path, waved goodbye to me. They promised to stay healthy and to always to be there,  welcoming the new owner every time she returns home, just as they’ve done for us for so many years.

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I will of course have to plant some exactly the same in our Florida garden.

We’re gradually getting used to our temporary accommodation, but have almost driven into the driveway of our old house a few times, as it’s only a few metres up the road. Wishing you all a splendid weekend.

Landmarks of Umhlanga, and the Demise of the Lifeguard Tower

In 1869, the first beach cottage was built in Umhlanga Rocks. Named ‘The Oyster Lodge’, it had a beautiful ocean view, and tea and scones were served to passers-by in a true spirit of hospitality. The cottage had a reflective roof, which served as a beacon for the captains of passing ships, to help them navigate their vessels around the rocky headland.

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In 1954 Umhlanga’s distinctive red and white lighthouse came into operation, to warn ships away from the dangers of these rocks. The red sun umbrellas of the Oyster Box Hotel, which was built on the site of the original cottage, can be seen to the right of the lighthouse.

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Another landmark for me, has always been the Lifeguard Tower at the main beach. As I walked past, I would often see the young volunteers up there, watching over the bathers. About a week ago, I was really surprised and rather sad, to see that the lifeguard tower which has been there as long as I can remember, was being demolished.

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Every time we went for a walk along the promenade, I would take photos, as it slowly disintegrated.

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At this stage, it was quite distressing to see how this once bright and beautiful tower, was reduced to a pathetically sad ruin with a bad hairdo.

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It didn’t take too long before all that was left, was this forlorn heap of rubble.

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And now the rubble is cleared, and work on the construction of the new one can begin.

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Soon, a new and improved tower will rise in it’s place. It will be ‘C’ shaped, and the balcony will have a 180º view of the beach. It’s expected to be completed in October, but sadly, we will have left long before then. I’m sure we’ll be over again some time next year, so I’ll be able to see  if I approve of the new design. In the mean time, the lifeguards will have to made do with this.

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Floral Friday: Glorious Hibiscus in Winter

Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.” ~ Anne Frank

These two beauties are flowering so profusely in the pots outside our front door. At the end of the month when we move, I will have to leave them behind. I really hope that their new owner will love and care for them as I have done.

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Wishing all my American blog friends a very happy Independence Day, and all of you a wonderful weekend.

A trip to meet a Saint and a Blog Friend.

A few years ago, I started blogging on a South African blog site, and before too long had made contact with some really nice people there. Occasionally someone would organise a MOB (a meeting of bloggers), and it was at one of these that I met ‘Kragenhai’ of the ‘My Beach’ blog. If you want a daily dose of beach and the Indian Ocean, just click on his link and follow him. He lives just down the coast from me, and I decided that hubby and I should take a trip to see him before we leave here. Of course, the fact that he has a gorgeous Saint Bernard puppy that I hadn’t yet seen, had nothing whatsoever to do with my decision. 🙂

It was a beautiful day as we drove to Ansteys Beach.

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We had arranged to meet at the Green Dolphin restaurant, which wasn’t hard to find, as it was the only one there, and right next to the car park.

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Cindy and her master were waiting for us, and as you can see by the damp patches on my jeans, Cindy was very pleased to meet me, and greeted me with sloppy, wet kisses.

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We spent a very pleasant couple of hours together, and Cindy was so well behaved whilst we caught up on our news. Here are a few pics of our time together. Click on any pic to enlarge, and to see how utterly adorable she is.

Our route back home took us through the Durban city centre, where we haven’t been for years. I noticed a couple of strange anomalies.

Do these lamp posts look a bit skew to you?

Do these lamp posts look a bit skew to you?

What is the purpose of this bridge? It goes from nowhere to nowhere.

What is the purpose of this bridge? It goes from nowhere to nowhere. I notice that if one does manage to somehow get up there, that there are safety railings to stop you falling off. How very thoughtful 🙂

It was a lovely outing, and something I’ve been meaning to do for a while. Marianne of ‘East of Malaga’ blog, encourages us to do “One Trip Every Month,” so why not take up her challenge?

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Michelle “The Happy Hugger” has a Weekly Pet Challenge, so as I don’t have any pets of my own, I’m entering Cindy the Saint for this week’s challenge.

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Teddy Bear Friday. Meet Horace

I heard on our morning news here in South Africa, that today  is ‘Teddy Bear Friday’. We’re supposed to hug a Teddy today, and if we know someone who isn’t lucky enough to have one, we should buy them one, as no-one should be without their own lovable Teddy Bear. I have quite a few, but thought you might like to meet Horace who is about twenty-five years old. He lives a life of luxury, just lounging around all day, but is very cheap to feed and never answers back. He’s definitely a keeper.

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Did you know that Teddy Bears have been around since the early 20th century? They were named after US President Theodore Roosevelt, who was commonly known as ‘Teddy’, a name which he was not at all fond of. The name came about after an unfortunate incident on a hunting trip in Mississippi, which involved the killing of an America Black Bear. This cartoon was published in the Washington Post in 1902.

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If you want to read more about the story, you can find it here: http://www.theodoreroosevelt.org/site/c.elKSIdOWIiJ8H/b.8684621/k.6632/Real_Teddy_Bear_Story.htm

Please don’t forget to hug your Teddy on his special day!

WPC Split-Second Story: Been Fishing.

The Weekly Photo Challenge ‘Split-Second Story’, made me think for a while, and I eventually came up with this pic of my son, his dad and a friend, after a day’s fishing  just off the coast of Durban. They returned, jubilant about their success. Every picture tells a story, and this one shows a classic case of ‘Beginner’s Luck’.

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To see more split-second stories, just click on the badge below:

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