New home for my blog.

Hi everyone,

I have been so blessed with all the followers I have.

My blog has moved to her new permanent home. I have started my website, and the blog will now live there.

Please could everyone, follow this link to the new space at Insanitree and follow me there again, as I really don’t want to lose you.

There will be loads of new things happening soon, as soon as I have set up the last of my site and other goodies.

The head of the dragon

A recent camping trip to the Drakensberg, in Kwazulu Natal turned out to be soul refreshing.

After an agonizingly long wait for the day to arrive for our holiday and loads of planning, poring over all the hiking trails we wanted to tackle. The day finally arrived.

In the end our holiday did not work out the way I had planned it, and maybe it was for the better. Sometime you need to do things spontaneously, go with the flow and not get upset when your holiday don’t go as planned.

It all started as I am sure all holidays start. We got up early, as I wanted the car to be packed and on the road before the sun rises, as I wanted to make stops along the route, and potter around places I haven’t been to see yet.

After packing and unpacking the car three times, the sky greeted me with a kaleidoscope of colors, as though mocking me. Gritting my teeth, I decide that maybe there is a couple of things that can stay behind. One of the things to go back in the house, was my stretcher. Now I know that it sounds like I am making excuses, but I had a bad back injury a couple of years ago while white river rafting on the Mooi River. And I NEED my stretcher, I just can’t sleep on the ground, even WITH one of those foam mattresses and a blow up mattress.

Finally, the car now packed, third cup of coffee under the belt, we made our way, the sun now at a level where it shone into my eyes most of the way to our first destination.

Our first stop was at the Nelson Mandela Monument at the Capture site in Howick, Kwazulu Natal. The extraordinary sculpture by artist Marco Cianfanelli comprises 50 steel column constructions – each between 6.5 and 9.5 meters tall – set into the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands landscape. When you arrive, you follow a walkway to the monument, that they had named the long walk to freedom, the walk starts in the Apartheid Museum. The museum is filled with photos and running documentaries of Nelson Mandela’s life. Then the long walk down to the Monument, which was truly a masterpiece. The technical and artistic of ability of the artist is phenomenal. My photo, sadly does not show it at it’s best, my excuse, it was very windy that day.

The second photo shows my son doing a scout salute in memory of Nelson Mandela, who was until his death the patron of South African Scout Association.

We then went an visited the Belgium Chocolate factory, where we bought way, way to much chocolate.

The next stop was divine, Swissland Cheese. They produce only goats cheese and ice-creams. After a brief taste testing tour, Dylan proceeded to empty out their fridges of the cheese he likes. Made him put some back. Don’t want be greedy. The only complaint I had, was that ice cream containers were way to small. After experiencing nirvana, tasting their ice cream, I asked if they had bigger bucket. Sadly no. Only teeny tiny cups. I will be going back for more, trust me, those ice creams, make everything else taste like frozen water.

Finally we arrived at Mahai campsite at the Amphitheater in the Drakensberg. There is not enough words to describe the majestic beauty of the Drakensberg up close. After signing in at reception, we briefly sat in the car, enjoying the view.

My goal for this camping trip was to hike up Thukela Falls along Thukela River, up into the Amphitheater escarpment.

Alas, this did not happen. On the very first night there, Dylan went for a walkabout to the facilities and back, just before he got back to the tent, he took one huge stumbling step downhill, and sprained his ankle. Badly. This was at 1am in the morning, I was half asleep waiting for him to come back, then a “HELP! somethings wrong, Mom, help.” I must have set the land speed record, as I was awake, out of my sleeping back and at my son’s side in 1 second flat. Nothing looked broken to me, so I strapped up his ankle with all my level 1 first aid knowledge I had. Early the next morning, his ankle looked like a balloon and changing colour. Here we go, from the campsite it is an hours drive to the nearest hospital. Joy.

Deciding to stop at reception, hoping they knew of someone closer, I struck a luck. There was a paramedic in the reserve. Following the lovely lady’s directions, I finally managed to find Pete the paramedic at a workshop. Who confirmed luckily, that he has not broken anything. But that his foot has to stay strapped up and raised for 2 weeks.


Change of plans. No Thukela falls hike for me then.

No problem, I will go back again, and this time I will take a group with me, so that I can still go, even if someone is injured. After two days of hobbling Dylan to the bathroom and back, he could finally manage to walk by himself with the help of a walking stick, as we could not find any crutches.

My decision then was to walk the small hikes by myself. Which turned out to be fun and relaxing.

The first hike was to The Cascades, a gentle lovely 1 hour hike, there and back. This hike has also been made wheel chair friendly. At the end of the hike, you end up at the Cascades where you can take a dip, I chose not to, as we went in Autumn and the water was freezing. Along the way I saw a dassie sitting on a rock and some arachnids, or orb web spiders as they are commonly known.

The River walk is also a gentle 1 hour walk along the Thukela River, perfect for the early morning amble. The sound of the river flowing around huge boulder is magical. Bush buck are plentiful along the river and close to the camping site.

Four days after Dylan hurt his foot, he asked to go with me to Sunday falls, an argument ensued, which I lost. OK, how did that happen? We started early, so that we could take lots of rest stops along the way. Even though his ankle was strapped up, he could still hurt it again.

Sunday falls hiking trails starts at the Mahai campsite, and is a steady uphill walk, the trail is termed easy to medium and the round trip would take us 3 hours, or as it turned out 4 hours, as we came back via Fairy Glen.

When we reached the top of the first hill, we looked back and was greeted with a stunning sight of the Amphitheater. You can see the campsite nestled in the trees among the hills.

The trail was filled with protea and other flowers, butterflies, though they were very uncooperative indeed.

On the way back down, we followed the Fairy Glen route, which was very enchanting. The locals believe, that if you wait quietly for long enough, you might spot the fairies. Now remember, I have a 16-year-old teenage boy with me, and his response to that was “Blind Mom, I am not staying here”

The nicest part of the camping trip was, the very early morning hours, a bush buck and her baby would come browse around the campsite. They were very tame, and would come right up to you, nibbling on your arm.

Birds were plentiful as well, but they were faster than me. And we played a cat and mouse game, if I didn’t have my camera in my hand, they were there hopping around and if did have my camera, they would disappear in to thin air.

Some sunrises.

Some more views and panoramas.

Why the heading, the Drakensberg, is known as the Dragons Back in Kwazulu Natal. And the Amphitheater is the highest peak on the berg and the most northern end of the berg.

To my son

Charlie Boy or Dylan to most!

16 year ago today
They placed you in my arms
I became a mother
Bewitched by all your charms
You learned to walk, to read
Each day brought something new
No more my little boy
You hurt, I cried, you grew
Sometimes you didn’t need me
didn’t want to hold my hand
Your independence made you proud
But me a little sad
I blinked my eyes, I turned around
your almost grown I see
Why did it go so fast?
A few more moments please
In your struggle to be free
Sometimes we don’t get along
But I’m always on your side
I’ll always be your mom
You can’t stop time, can’t hold it back
Can’t stop the ocean’s tide
The good person that you are
Fills my heart with pride
In my eyes there is no one like you
Can’t wait to see what you’ll become
My pride and joy, I love you
Happy 16th birthday to my son.


NOT the pink moon

With all the fantastic rain that we have had, I have missed the Pink Moon.

“Sigh”. I have looked forward to it for weeks.

But I did get a couple of near full moon photos from the night before.


Little house

The joy of seeing this little cake house first thing on a Monday morning, is brilliant.

This cake is made by a client, who really appreciated the lovely house she got through one of our agents.

It is so beautiful, our own Re/max house.

Re/max House, Re/max, Re/max Toti, Re/max South Africa.

Rundown landmark

It is with great disappointment that I write this post.
Deciding to try a different restaurent for change, my son and I chose Mimmos, Galleria Mall in Amanzimtoti. A bad choice to say the least.
The waitron greeting us at the entrance was very unfriendly, and promptly dropped us, was it something that I said or the way I look.
Taking a seat at a table, the table cloth is discustingly dirty and old plates is still lying here from the previous patrons. It still has not been taken away, even though new plates have been plonked down in front of us. The rather horrid condiments that is on the table, consists of dried up and what looks like damp parmesan cheese is in one container, with oily garlic and chillies in little bowls. Placing our order, they do not even have what we wanted to order and is then informed that their speedpoint is not working and we will need to pay cash.
Looking around the restaurent, it is in a state of disrepare, the walls have spots where the paint has chipped of and dirty. There is hardly any customers in therestaurent, eventhough it is a Lunchtime, Saturday afternoon at month end. Why then is there more staff than customers.
The staff is chatting and lying all over the counters
When our soda arrived, it was warm and watered down.
And though the pizza was nice and hot it was flavorless.
Needless to say, I will be eating at Mimmos again. It was very disappointing,

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45 lessons life taught me

I recently stumbled upon this lovely website, that has helped me a great deal, in dealing with issues. Here is an extract of one of her columns from her website. Link here

by Regina Brett, The Plain Dealer

May 28, 2006

To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me.

It is the most-requested column I’ve ever written. My odometer rolls over to 50 this week, so here’s an update:

1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

4. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.

8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.

12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don’t compare your life to others’. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don’t worry; God never blinks.

16. Life is too short for long pity parties. Get busy living, or get busy dying.

17. You can get through anything if you stay put in today.

18. A writer writes. If you want to be a writer, write.

19. It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: “In five years, will this matter?”

27. Always choose life.

28. Forgive everyone everything.

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

30. Time heals almost everything. Give time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.

33. Believe in miracles.

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.

35. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.

36. Growing old beats the alternative – dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood. Make it memorable.

38. Read the Psalms. They cover every human emotion.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.

41. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

42. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.

43. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

44. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

45. The best is yet to come.

46. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

47. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

48. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

49. Yield.

50. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift..


Exploring life one photo, story and quilt at a time – by Vanda Chittenden

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