Careful where you step!

Recording, reminiscing and occasional bokdrols of wisdom.

Random, un-chronological memories.

bokdrols – like pearls, but handle with care

 

 

Wednesdays! Tom Cooks!

Tom_Cooks_Jul2018_2[1]

On Wednesdays always something new. Tonight Porterhouse, mushroom, roast potato and um, something green. Cecelia had hers delivered to her room; Jess and I had personal service too.

Yum!

Oddballs, Then and Now

Its gone wimpish! Actually Oddballs is still a wonderful, more affordable way to see the Okavango Delta and this post must be taken with a pinch of salt; My tongue is in my cheek;

This is classic “The Good Old Days was better” bulldust.

When WE went we had to take our own food! But because there’s a 10kg limit on the Cessna 206’s and because one has to take binoculars, a telescope, a sleeping bag and books:

Jess Zululand Course Books

I exaggerate, these were Jessie’s books for her field guide course last year, but still: weight. So we took very little food. At Oddballs we bought their last potatoes and onions and then we pitched our tent. Not like these wimpish days when the tent is pitched for you on a wooden deck with shower en-suite!! We were like this:

OddballsOkavango (14 small)
Good Old Oddballs

Communal showers:

Yes, actually, Oddballs IS a luxury lodge!

Nowadays New Oddballs is soft and squishy:

New Oddballs
New Oddballs

Here’s Aitch in the Old Oddballs Palm Island Luxury Lodge – and the wimpish new arrangement!

Luckily, the rest is still the same! You head out on a mekoro with a guide who really knows his patch:

OddballsOkavango makoro

You pitch your own tent on an island without anyone else in sight:

OddballsOkavango Squirrel Camp

And you enjoy true wilderness. When you get back, Oddball really does seem like a Palm Island Luxury Lodge:

Oddballs (5)

There’s a bar, there’s ice and cold beer, gin and tonic. You can order a meal! And – NOWADAYS! – a double bed made up for you, ya bleedin’ wimps!

Go there (or here) NOW!!

Seven Years Today

You would be SO jealous if you were watching down from your cloud right now. The kids are in SUCH a good space. They’re a pleasure to be with. Sure, they give me a bloody hard time often and sure, they manipulate the hell out of me but they love their Dad!

May this last a few more years and then may they depart and start sending money home. Hey, we gotta aim high.

We miss you and talk about you lots still.

2003Apr kombi tom dizzi gayle jess trish 2
Two sober kids in this picture – champagne on the shores of Lake Sibaya

Oh, and Sambucca has gone grizzly about the gills and eye sockets. Past grey, her muzzle is now white. Also her eyesight ain’t what it used to be and she’s deaf. Otherwise she’s fine. Still manages to fool one of us into feeding her twice by promising earnestly that she hasn’t eaten for DAYS, when someone else just fed her. She has recently discovered her bark (I think that’s about all she can hear now) so she has gone from a silent snoozer to an enthusiastic barker who can only be shut up by tapping her on the shoulder and signalling SHURRUP! That causes her to bounce around with glee saying “I KNEW there was someone here! So it’s you!”

 

Sambucca old (2).jpg

Also, we found this in the garage this week: Sambucca’s pedigree! You hid it! So this is why she cost us R2000 when all our previous dogs had come free or with a R20 note tied on their collar!?

Sambucca Pedigree.jpg

So now we know Sambucca was born 23 August 2006. Twelfth birthday coming up, greybeard!

Good God Father!

Just because I’m not a good Godfather doesn’t mean I can’t have a good Godson. In fact I have two. Here’s an excerpt from the life of one: Gary Hill spent a few magic years as a MalaMala game ranger! His complete final blog post is here. Here’s a brief excerpt, featuring just four of his amazing photos.

Gary Hill pays tribute to the animals he encountered at MalaMala

As guides at MalaMala, we often feel as though we are personalities in an ongoing wildlife documentary. Following the journeys of the animals as they move through their daily lives is a tremendous privilege and an experience that will not be easily forgotten. The script of the documentary cannot be predicted. Every excursion into the bush reveals dramatic discoveries, and one is constantly engaged in a roller-coaster of emotions.

During my time as a guide, I have been lucky to witness some incredible sights. I have always said in the blogs that to see any of these animals is amazing, and the interaction between the species is really special. This is the ‘MalaMala magic’, and it is always out there waiting to be found. There have been too many fantastic sightings to share, but I have been sure to record each and every one, no matter how seemingly insignificant, in my journal and have tried my best to keep a photographic collection.

Lions: The Selati pride gave us a sighting of a lifetime when they brought down a kudu bull in the Sand River, in broad daylight and in plain sight for us to all see.

 

Young-lioness-launches-upon-the-kudus-rear-Gary-Hill

Following the movements of the powerful Manyelethi males has been incredible. They are a formidable coalition that are likely to dominate for the next few years. To shadow these four beasts as they move on a territorial patrol, or to have them roar in close proximity to the Land Rover, is a humbling experience.

The-Manyelethi-male-moves-through-the-Matshapiri-River.-He-is-my-favourite-of-the-brothers-Gary-Hill

Leopards: It is unfair to single out one species as a favourite. However, there is nothing more spectacular than a leopard. Their beauty is astounding. Their hunting ability astonishing. And, their cunning and intelligence is tangible. They have individual characters, and have been my favourite animal to view. The rich history and heritage of the leopards of MalaMala makes these animals even more fascinating.

Ostrich-Koppies-female-Gary-Hill

As a guide at MalaMala, you are a small part of a such an efficiently run camp. Thank you to all the staff of the camp who make everyday routines run so smoothly. MalaMala is a world class destination, and that is due to all your hard work. I would like to thank all the rangers for playing such a huge role in my experiences. We have become great friends and I will miss being part of such a dynamic team. I have crossed paths with many wonderful guests along the way and it has been a great pleasure sharing the magic of MalaMala with you all!

Gary Hill

Ranger – MalaMala Game Reserve
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WWAD

What Would Aitch Do? Tom and I had cause to ponder this deep question last night. I saw these cups in the sink. They were there because the usual twenty cups were all used and washing a cup just to re-use it is unthinkable.

I said, ‘Tom, rather don’t use these cups m’boy’ and he said mildly, ‘OK, Dad’ – employing the proven tactic of humour the old bugger, he’ll soon forget about it.

So I paused and said, ‘Actually, I wonder: What do you think Mom would have said about you using that cup?’ ‘Oh, definitely Don’t Use It, said Tom.

I agree then, I said, but I wonder now, peering down from her cloud, if she wouldn’t say ‘WTF, Life Is Short, Just Use it!’.

Tom pondered. ‘No’, he said, ‘She’d say Don’t Use It’.

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*update* They’re in full circulation now. Just cups.