Zebra

drinking water

Nervously drinking

We came across this scene. A rare one indeed. A group of zebra drinking while being watched but not chased away by 3 bull elephants. They did chase them eventually.

Two of the male zebra got into a disagreement shortly after this and had a full go at each other. I was lucky to be at the right place at the right time and shot a series of photos. The best of the series…

Zebra fighting

Zebra fighting

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Zebra fight 2

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Zebra fight – rearing up

It shows the explosive power and agility of these normal docile animals. Each photo looks ominous, yet not one ended in a “hit” as the other animal managed to move or pull away in time.

Happy New Year

Hi, we are back from a trip to the cape. We would like to wish all our friends a happy, wonderful and fruitful 2017.

We flew down to Cape Town, collected Boeta’s Grandparents and set off to Struis bay for New Year.

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Boeta got a late present, this was one of my favorite toys as a kid and he now has one too.

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As we got to 2017, we popped a few drinks and shared some laughs.

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We also drove around a little, exploring and just relaxing as much as we can. My camera never being to far away.

These house were some of the first from 1800’s.

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The harbor.

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Outlying farmnew-year-31

Boeta running the planks on the many walking areas.new-year-32

More later…

 

Last day

The cottage morningNext morning was the last morning on the farm in the Karoo. We started the morning s we do nearly every morning, with hour of book reading.

This is an important hour of bonding between mom and Boeta, while daddy get ready for the day ahead with Boeta. On this day we were on holiday, so daddy got ready for one last walk on his own, while Boeta got ready for the day with mom. The road to our next destination was waiting. But we had some time to walk around one last time.

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I saw a pair of Pied Barbets having a disagreement. Sorry about the second shot, but message is clear to see.

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My first stop was to see if I could capture the Rock Hyrax in the Agave plants. Many of the old farm have these near especially old houses, but I have never seen Rock Hyrax living in them and using it as obvious protection.

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They were warming up in the early morning sun, so I got a few nice shots. As I passed them walking into the fields, they disappeared to the lower levels and protection. I heard a crow on the morning breeze and looked in the direction of the calls. It was slowly gliding along the road, probably looking for possible easy food from a car strike during the night.

The cottage morning-8 The cottage morning-14The sounds of the sheep grew louder as I walked into the field. My senses were alive and I was determined to enjoy every sound, smell, sight as the crispness of the morning tingled on my face.

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 More later…

 

Climbing the dunes

Earlier this month the boys decided one morning to go climb some dunes. The 2 year-old has never attempted this before, so it would be a great new experience for him too. We walked past some driftwood left by a previous storm.

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The dunes start at this point and Boeta did not hang around, he wanted to try this out.

MaitslandBoetaNov-7It is pretty steep. We climb it in a zig-zag motion/action. At the steepest angles you really struggle to go forward/upward, but with some support Boeta got to the top.

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I carried my tripod up the dune as well and attempted some new shots from the top. Here are a few.

MaitslandBoetaNov-5 MaitslandBoetaNov-6Boeta got a drink on top and while he investigated the new environment, I waited for a moments in which he stood still long enough for bracketed shots.

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The EXPLORER!MaitslandBoetaNov-3

I saw a how the wind excavated the top of a dune and attempted to capture it, overlooking the ocean.

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Unfortunately the wind also started to blow with strong enough gusts that the sand really bothered the little man, so we decided to walk back down to the beach. More photos of the rest of the walk later.

Toddler is a girl magnet…

untitled-17So, after many “boys only” excursions to the beach and learning sessions, mom was available for a walk for the first time after 2 weeks.

Boeta enjoyed having this girl back in his life. It is his most favorite girl in the world and he even has a loving name for her…”Mamma!”

untitled-7They decided to do fishing together, while daddy got a chance to walk on the rocks and deeper in with his camera.

untitled-12 untitled-11 untitled-13 untitled-20 untitled-19 untitled-30While daddy was shooting the large old barnacles, Boeta who learned about it in the week, showed mom the small ones.

untitled-18I carried on walking around looking for interesting finds. I looked back to see if they were okay and Boeta had another girl in his midst.

untitled-6He was less taken by the love showed to him by the 5-year-old, he prefers older women. She seemed to like him and he decided to allow her join him in rock throwing.

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He really enjoyed this and decided this girl was okay too (for throwing rocks), not so much hugging, he did not want to hurt “mamma’s” feelings. Then he saw Uncle Bennie and ditched the lot…he adores Uncle Bennie.

It did not take long for the two and daddy to find his favorite climbing rock. Now he could show Uncle Bennie his real capabilities.

untitled-8untitled-9Wishing everyone a wonderful week.

Reflecting on the last week(s)

DSC_0922I took this photo last night of the sun going down and the reflection from our living room window.

I thought it a good title to this post as we have had an interesting time, lately.

First, I want to thank all the people who wished me and Boeta good health, we are all better and feeling ready to take on the world again.

Mom is away for the week, we miss her and cannot wait for Friday to go and collect her at the airport again.

Last Friday we had expected a power cut again, something we are having to live with, because it is a near daily occurrence in South Africa at the moment. At 9 pm the power went….we did not get power again before Sunday, near midday. So for 48 hours we had to keep going with the toddler and being winter it becomes dark early in the evening. Here are some photo’s…

LOOK MOM….THE LIGHT IS OFF!

DSC_0782 DSC_0785FUNNNNN!DSC_0786Daddy had to try to keep his mobile working and much to the enjoyment of the family, got a kinetic power generator plugged in and winding the living daylights  out of it (look at him go) to charge his phone. At least daddy was warm (hot) and even worked up a sweat for half a bar of mobile power we guess.

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DSC_0859For the rest of the time it was torches and candles. we told stories and played games.

Boeta got to do more ART, which is his new phase now. He wants to do art and build puzzles.

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DSC_0958REFLECTING on BOETA

DSC_0933The little man still loves playing ball and with all the other speedy things he likes and the new art phase, the little man has grown some more since we arrived back from holiday. It is amazing what these outings do for his development. He is doing short sentences now and can say any word, parrot style, without knowing it’s meaning. For the most part it is his communication skills that we all find lots of benefit in now, as we are able to generate discussions, toddler style. Playing on the deck has evolved from mere kicking to dribbling, throwing and catching…we are working on the catching, 1 in 4 he actually catches. So…are you ready for some action….! HERE WE GO!

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THIS ONE HE DID CATCH!

FOCUS….

LOOK AT THE FOCUS!

We had some other visitors as well. A Mommy Southern Right Whale came past the house with her baby.

DSC_1021 DSC_1042What was interesting was the turning around on her back, belly up! Not sure if that is to allow the baby to suckle or just playing?

DSC_1072 DSC_1067 DSC_1077She lay like that for a while and the turned around again and swam off. I could not get a nice shot of the baby fin, sorry.

DSC_1058We are approaching full moon and it is called “The Sturgeon Moon“. Seems appropriate given the “large fish” we saw….

August: The Sturgeon Moon
The sturgeon, a large fish common to the Great Lakes and other nearby bodies of water, is most easily caught during this month. The reddish appearance of the moon through the frequent sultry haze of August also prompted a few ethnic groups to dub it the Red Moon. Other names included the Green Corn Moon and the Grain Moon.

OK, so that was a “current” update, we will go on with the posts of the holiday from tomorrow. Thanks for visiting!

Walking mom through the garden

Yesterday Boeta took mom through the garden. We are progressing nicely with the revamp and one aim is the placing of the animals in more open and sometimes accessible positions for him to find, touch and show to who ever is with him.

DSC_0093First stop is the water bowl and frog. If he gets the chance, he plays with the water. Then he says “owl” out loud and runs down the hill to the owl, sitting down in front of it.

DSC_0086Mom, being new to this exercise attempted to sit with him, not going to happen mom, he was up in a flash again and said “meerkat”, running to the spot where the meerkat family is situated.

DSC_0120 He then goes to the “new” part, where we are working, checking the progress, spins around saying “owl” and runs back up the hill.

DSC_0198DSC_0134He looks back just to make sure mom is following….

DSC_0136After sitting down in front of the owl again, waiting for mom to catch up, he is off again, further up the hill towards the frog and antelope.

DSC_0174 DSC_0177He makes a quick stop at the garden gnome, but never sits down, much more interested in the animals, the tortoise is next before the process starts all over again, mom in tow. They end at the meerkat and up we come again.

DSC_0253DSC_0270Every now and then some “live” animals make an appearance to his absolute delight. The agama lizards warmed up enough to appear from behind the bushes where they sleep.

DSC_0143 DSC_0106 DSC_0114We are pleased with the progress and result. Our main aim was to created a situation that could serve as an extra learning and activity platform for Boeta and he seems to really love “his” garden. Lots more to come. Time for tired parents to rest.

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Gardening Toddler

Daddy decided to lift the garden, cleaning out deep growing grass-roots and working in new soil and compost. Being so close to the ocean, also means we have beach sand for soil and it needed to be refreshed. Yesterday an area was done for replanting giving Boeta a great excuse to go play in the sand and help with the gardening. Daddy called him, put his gardening hat on and got his wheelbarrow. He told Boeta to go get his tools as we are going to do some planting. He was out of his skin with excitement.

DSC_0414 DSC_0416We started planting and we use the wheelbarrow to put selected plants in, then we push it close to the area and start planting. Initially it was Boeta’s job to bring the plants for daddy as he put them into the ground. He then decided to try a few himself, planting them upside down, roots in the air. Daddy showed him the correct way. The lizard is his favorite ornament in the garden and he helped putting it just right.

DSC_0418The idea of plants having to be covered with soil, stuck, and he then decided to add soil to every plant, just to be sure daddy did not miss some.

DSC_0485 DSC_0499 DSC_0504 DSC_0511The most important thing in the garden is one’s hat and losing it is not a good thing…the problem is to put it back, while one hand is loaded with soil…luckily, daddy was there to rescue the situation.

DSC_0530 DSC_0535Boeta really loved the play and learning session in the garden and soon he was walking around like a farmer investigating his crop, even learning the words “aloe” and “tag”.

DSC_0524We decided to end the session after about 2 hours and Boeta sat with daddy as they discussed what they did.

DSC_0440In this period of calm after a hard “days” work, Boeta decided to test the soil too! This was a less than good decision, clearly.

DSC_0434 We packed up, ready to go in and have something to drink and eat, having established that soil would not do.

DSC_0427Our neighbors saw us busy in the garden and being very fond of Boeta, they came over to see what was going on. They are Boeta’s favorite neighbors too.

DSC_0451 DSC_0453 DSC_0454 DSC_0462Boeta explained in a language still unrecognizable what we were doing and soon a game developed with the tags we use to mark the aloes.

DSC_0466 DSC_0475At the end of this session we went direct into bath mode. He had soil everywhere, but he was happy, very happy. It really is fun to play with your toddler in the garden, while also teaching them about plants and gardening.

Chasing a Rooster

On Sunday we visited the Farmyard again with friends. While waiting for them, Boeta got a chance to explore a little. He was walking around and saw his favorite “prey”…chickens. They were in for some exercise.

DSC_0028 DSC_0032 DSC_0035The hen shot off to the left, but the rooster was firmly in his sights and had to move his glorious butt to stay ahead. This was no ordinary rooster. He knows all about little people chasing him.

DSC_0039After a bit of a chase, Boeta saw a feather and walked toward it, while the rooster got himself sorted after the run.

DSC_0040 DSC_0042This was a bad idea, Boeta picked up the scent immediately, focus changed. Mom, always in attendance, held him back a little and said “leave the poor rooster alone son”, but daddy said to mom to let the little man go, the rooster is used to this.

DSC_0043The rooster, as to prove daddy’s point walked calmly down to the path, Boeta coming down, carefully and when he was down the rooster just walked up to the grass again. He knows all about this, we were sure now. Boeta was seriously hampered by this move, but it did not stop his enthusiasm one bit.

DSC_0047 DSC_0049 DSC_0052 DSC_0055Time for Mr Rooster to run again….

DSC_0060 DSC_0064He eventually played his trump card and slipped through an opening in the fence. Game over.

Important interaction

At the farm, the most important ingredient for us was our son interacting with nature and seeing farm animals. Doing reading in books and showing him things on television is one thing, but nothing will ever beat giving your child the opportunity to interact with nature.

DSC_1050This happened on all 3 days of our trip, when there was a chance and at Kududu, the owners had a lamb, possibly orphan and chickens. The chickens slept with the parrots in their cage at night.

As we walked around the place, we eventually came to the area where they were and some toys as well. Boeta walked past all these toys, directly to the lamb, which he now mimics, asking and pointing.

DSC_1055 DSC_1058 DSC_1065He then saw the chickens and parrots, jogged around to them.

DSC_1036 DSC_1080 DSC_1101He was so pleased with this find and even tried to give the chickens and the lamb some grass. The best part, seeing the little one’s eyes. They were full of wonder and excitement. Each time he saw another parrot, ran over to point and ask, then he saw the lamb again, like seeing it for the first time, jogged over to that side.

I think another important note to this little story is the fact that mom or dad was always there with him, sharing his joy, answering the questions, laughing with him and exploring with him. It is amazing how quickly he picks up when you are not invested in a process, even at 20 months, they recognize it immediately and it takes the shine off their excitement for sure.

DSC_1040 After properly examining everything and feeling confident he covered all the birds and one lamb, properly, he decided to go and investigate the toys around.

DSC_1071Then he saw the parrots again…we started all over. We have seen it over and over; nothing beats giving a young mind space to explore. If at all possible, getting them outside in real nature with the family, to enjoy and explore, cannot be overstated and you cannot put a monetary value on it.

Another milestone

Today our little man is an unbelievable 20 months old. He has grown and developed at such a speed over the last 2 months, daily adding 2-3 words. Yesterday, boat, horse and sound of donkey. Keeping pace is the main aim now…

Above all, he is a healthy and we think typical toddler. For that we are eternally grateful. Here are few shots to show what we mean. He loves playing in the soil and creating dust, toddler heaven…

We stopped at our regular spot in the Addo for lunch and he was all to ready to enjoy this break from looking for wildlife…First checking, nobody says anything, creating dust…checking again, any negative reaction?

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Walking and exploring, sitting in his favorite position.

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Then there is the opportunity to learn, always asking us to tell him something…

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He is good with color now, not saying, but showing if we ask, counts 6,7,8 and can show some letters, including spelling his name out, but not saying yet. We can not imagine a life without our Boeta standing between us, holding our hand, smiling with those eyes twinkling.

Also added this to “Love is in da Blog”, check it out, lovely idea…

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https://justfoolingaroundwithbee.wordpress.com/2015/02/01/love-is-in-da-blog-february-ping-back-post-rules-week-1/

Suspension Bridge

Every now and then in life, we get to a point were we need to cross a suspension bridge to get or stay on the correct path. Each individual handles these challenges in their own way, but within a marriage it is also important and fortunate to have support, we believe, to help you overcome those challenges, sometimes by just being there or just an ear to listen, a compassionate sounding board. Sometimes one needs an opinion and in giving such an opinion we believe in honesty above all else, not being insensitive or rude, but honest, something that puts value in a comment.

The sharing of joy, whether physical, emotional, psychic, or intellectual, forms a bridge between the sharers which can be the basis for understanding much of what is not shared between them, and lessens the threat of their difference.
– Adure Lord –

DSC_0029This is something we do with each other but also in our raising of our son. We constantly rely on each other’s strengths in everything related to our son and how we go about being his parents. This is the background of our next series of photos and it hopefully illustrates the point in a physical sense.

On our recent trip, we took a walk in the forest. On this path you get to a point where you have to cross a suspension bridge. Daddy was walking in front, looking for birdies to photograph and crossed the bridge, all the time focused on what is below and in the openings. Looking back he saw mom came to a sudden stop and he remembered that this is not one of mom’s favorite things in life. Adding to the situation was a little boy on the arm. She did not stop to turn around, she just wanted daddy to get off, so that she could do it as quick as possible. Daddy said to her to stay calm, there is nothing to worry, it is very safe and enjoy the experience. Easier said than done, when you have genuine fear for this situation.

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She did it and got big applause from daddy, even showing a little grin toward the end. Proud of mom. We walked further and had more fun, taking in the calmness of the forest. On our way back, just before we got to the bridge, daddy decided that Boeta’s first walk on a suspension bridge should be more joyous and he should definitely enjoy this experience for future recurrences. He gave mom the camera and took Boeta.

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First, one must enjoy it, so we had a bit of a laugh beforehand. Daddy then took the little man on the suspension bridge and walked over to the other side, turned around and put him down.

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We walked hand in hand on the bridge and he soon realized that this was fun. So daddy let go and victory – Boeta’s first walk on the suspension bridge!

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After a short walk on the bridge, daddy picked him up again and we stood there, enjoying the forest below, together. Seeing what we could see without apprehension. We influence how our children react to things around them more than you can ever hope to realize, of that we are sure. Look again at the photos of Boeta with mom, grabbing on, tension in both, and now look at this last shot.

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Even mom tried to enjoy the walk back a little more, though inherent fear will always stay. We joined as parents and used the simple strengths of one to overcome the suspension bridge to the benefit of all 3 of us. This is our way of doing things and in such situations as a family we sometimes rely on the strengths of one, to navigate us safely over such bridges, even Boeta does his bit with his innocent love of life itself.

Also part of Just Jot it January

http://lindaghill.com/2015/01/01/just-jot-it-january-pingback-post-and-rules/

Just jot it January 2015

Our environment … 2014.

We have shared with you our trips into nature throughout the year and in equal proportions showed you something of our immediate environment which is dominated by the ocean and views we have of it.DSC_0101

This included a photo here and there of aloes, which daddy collects, from the garden, like the Aloe schelpei from Ethiopia, or the Aloe tharskii in full flower.

98-DSC_0378Mostly we tried to give different views of the coastal area in front of our house and here are a few of our favorite photos.  Now lets fulfill a promise too, A Momma’s View blog had a new challenge idea, Nature Chills. Her question, what in nature makes you chill out and why? The photos below is our answer and it has always been our choice to make nature a big part of our life, because it is one of the few places a person can really get in touch with inner self, take a deep breath, experience relaxing solitude.

37-DSC_031727-DSC_0129 19-DSCF0616 06-2010_0215beachview006926-DSC_0107 04-2010_0215beachview00572-DSC_016323-DSC_029706-DSC_0205The red tide photos attracted a few people, so we show them again. Mom said she saw the post and thought I made the photos a little too red, I laughed and when she got home, she nearly tripped as she saw the color was real.

06-DSC_0296 07-DSC_0297 02-DSC_0275A few posts ago we did a 3 part series on the high seas, so we will not show them again. Moving on, some of them were taken within 1-2 km from the house in the surrounding natural forests we are blessed to have.

03-2010_0215beachview0034 29-IMG_041119-DSC_0106 07-DSC_0026 08-DSC_0032DSC_0266 DSC_0188So there, a nice overview of our environment – and the area we include in the definition of “our rumbling ocean”. We are excited to see, search and share more of our area in the new year and hope you find it interesting.

The Essence

The essence of our son. Ok, we know it is back to back posts about him and we will get back to scenery, lions and birds, soon, but it is an important milestone, 1.5 years for us and deserves a back to back Boeta. You see 18 months ago, when the sun set, we were on a new road, incredible, exciting, scary, a little unexpected, but oh so wonderful and with the grace of our Heavenly Father, we have reached this day.

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After Boeta’s bath last night, daddy decided to try to capture his son’s essence at 18 months. Yes, missing is the odd tantrum or unhappiness due to one of his parents not playing with him or something he wants but cannot get, but those are luckily not very often. So as the sun went down over our rumbling ocean, daddy released the little chap and snapped away. Enjoy. This is our son.

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The Core of US…part 2 (Love)

My history with Struis Bay begin around 1994, when I went with a group of friends. I fell in love with Struis, the moment we arrived. I visited it a few more times, and on one occasion even invented “car trouble” to stay another day.

In 1995, I met a beautiful blue-eyed girl in my office, which I liked but did not think of any further as she was in a relationship with a friend of a work colleague. Later that year we met again at a function, and I gave her a lift to her vehicle, chit chatting all the way. When I got home, I told a friend, I met my wife in a tongue-in-cheek manner. I, again, did not pursue the matter due to the aforementioned condition.

This was a great time of getting to know self for me. I was coming from a 6 year relationship, and at that stage, I was in another on off relationship myself. This was to be an important time, for a boy was becoming a man learning and thinking about respect, love, honor, religion and many other life lessons through reflection and discussion with amongst people, my dad. I learned all about who I was and accepted myself and was comfortable with myself, recognizing where I could improve as well.

February 1996, I was not in any relationships, nor was she, so I asked her to an evening out. We had a great time, dancing and although she had a few suitors, I eventually got the nod, which also nearly did not happen, as I wrote her a letter, stating my intentions, which got lost behind a table (fell off) and she only got it 4 days later by pure luck.

I was in love and so was she. We loved talking and we spent hours doing that, nearly talked ourselves out of the relationship also, but by October that year we took the important decision to go on holiday together and it was at that point we both realized we wanted to get married. A few months earlier her mom was diagnosed with cancer, again, which was to play a big role in our eventual marriage date.

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Pondering the future on the garden route lookout.

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One of the big trees in the natural forests of Garden route

My first job was to ask fer her parents blessing and I made a date with them on a Friday morning. They lived in Struis Bay at the time, so I left at 6 am, and drove the 2 hours, stopping at a petrol station to freshen up, nervously fumbling with my hair brush. On arrival her mom had breakfast ready, which immediately made me feel a little more comfortable, and I asked for their blessing. She made me promise to look after their only child and I told them that I know she was their most precious gift and so is also mine and still is to this day.

In the second week of November we were back in Struis Bay, and we took a walk to the beach, specific part, called “Skulpiesbaai”, translated means “Bay of shells”. I had the ring in my pocket, constantly checking, because if it got lost there, it would be gone for sure. At a point, I dropped to my knees and asked her to be my wife. She accepted and I was as happy as a clam, excitedly walking back to “break” the news, only then did they cry (mom and daughter) and to be honest I felt cheated that she did not cry when I asked…just a joke, she obviously knew about it all long before then.

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Skulpiesbaai

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Skulpiesbaai

We planned out marriage for the end of 1997, but as time passed, her mom got sicker and we took the decision to move the ceremony to 12 April 1997. This ended up to be a great decision as my wife had both her parents present, as did I, on our important day. Next to the day Boeta was born, the best day of our lives.

8-Troue97troukoek2 4-TroueHeleenMa97 5-TroueHeleenPakerk97 6-TroueHeleenRiaanOffisiëlefotos597After our 2 week honeymoon, we ended again in Struis Bay for our last stop, visiting “our” parents as a married couple for the first time.

Struisbaai (2) Struisbaai3So as you can see Struis Bay is like the “flame of a candle”, we keep getting drawn back to it and the “warmth” of its never-ending flickering light. The lighthouse at the point is not only a warning for ships passing the point of Africa, it is a beacon, a grounding point, to which we refer and come back to, every so often, the rock on which we built so much.

In part 3 (pain), we will continue the story.

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