Needs

Hey guys, I’m at the shops. Anything you need?

Jess: Buy me a chocolate please.

Tom: Ja! I’ll send you a list.

Tom's Needs

Ignorance is Bliss

snake for nick ID (2)

Found this tiny snake in my pool weir. Immediately set off to find my net – I have a dark little net they often just crawl into for refuge, making catching them easy. I very seldom handle a snake. Besides caution I really don’t want to injure them. Also I suspected this one may have been injured. Dropped into the pool by a kingfisher maybe, I was thinking.

But frustration and disorganisation – I couldn’t find my net or anything else to scoop it up with, and the bowl I wanted to use to take pictures in didn’t fit into the weir. So – convinced it was some kind of worm snake – I reached in and lifted it gently and placed it in the bowl.

Took pics and sent them to Nick Evans, Westville’s herpetologist extraordinaire.Nick_and_Stiletto[1]

Ooh!  Confession time: Actually Nick I did handle it! So then he sent this:

Nick_n_Stiletto_bite[1]Weirdly, I had read up on the stiletto snake this very week and noted that “This snake cannot be held safely and you will, in all likelihood, get bitten if you attempt to hold one.”

But at average length 40cm and the fact that the stiletto “is an irascible snake that bites readily” and my little snake was so docile, I “knew” my snake was harmless!

Lesson learnt!

Stiletto snake Marais

Here can be seen how the stiletto snake can bend its neck and how a tiny side-swipe could allow a fang to prick you. Thanks Johan Marais (see his site).

Stiletto snake Marais_fangs

Surviving Off The Grid – The Essentials

So we have no electricity and its getting dark and the kids are all over me, outraged!

Dad! There’s no electricity!

Yes, I say, I can see that.

Why!? they ask.

Uh, mumble mumble, payment mumble, I mumble.

Soon I have to confess: I paid late and we got cut off. Now there’s a reconnection fee I have to pay and a delay. I’m thinking fridge, freezer, supper tonight but they have far more urgent and greater disasters and catastrophes in mind:

“THERE’S NO WIFI!!” they scream in unison.

Now they’re ganging up on me. “In unison” and “Jess & Tom” are not usually linked phrases.

Well, I’m walking to the shops, I say, thinking charcoal, firelighter, matches, candles. Do you need anything? Their voices go up two octaves as they shout as one:

“AIRTIME!!”

=======ooo000ooo=======

Lasted four days. It was cool. Very instructive. AND they survived!

(I had paid on the due date but had ignored this little instruction “Rx is due immediately, the rest can be paid on the due date”).

 

African Greybeard

I’m coming down to Durban to buy a parrot. Where’s Overport? asks the ole man.

Then the ole lady phones, all worried – as ever. Can you tell us how to get to West Road in Overport, Koosie? I say I’ll try, phone you back. I need to hatch a plot. I phone back and say Come to my place for lunch, I’ll leave work early and I’ll take you, it’s not easy to find. She sounds dubious but she’ll try that.

She phones back, amazed. He saw sense. We’re coming for lunch, she says, relieved. She can’t see, he can’t hear, so she was dreading looking for a small parrot in a strange haystack.

When I get home they’re on my stoep and Jess has given them tea and Tommy is busy cooking lunch for everybody – pasta carbonara. My children! Bless them! I had told them I’d love it if you’d give them a polite hello, but you needn’t stay, just make your excuses and go. They decided to completely exceed all expectations and charm the old bullets. Proud of ’em!

Off we go to meet Sumie who has three baby African Grey parrots in a box. His grandfather breeds them in Utrecht. Dad had said he wanted to choose his own. We check them out on the tailgate of my bakkie in West Road Overport. Dad picks one and now I think, Here comes the bargaining. R2500 says Sumie. No way says the ole man and shuffles off to the front seat of my bakkie. He comes back slowly with the bird magazine in his hand, stabbing his finger at Sumie’s ad: R2300, moaning Now I have wasted my time coming all the way from Pietermaritzburg. Sumie says to me I thought I wrote R2500! To Dad: Fine, Uncle Pieter, R2300 says Sumie.

And the food for free, says the ole man. That cost me R100, Uncle Pieter, I’ve just fed them, so give me R80, says Sumie. It’s my birthday on Friday (true), counters the ole man, You should give it to me as a gift. How old you’ll be? asks Sumie. Ninety Five says the ole man (true) so they settle on R50.

Now they debate who’s box is better. Sumie has a shoebox – it’s wider. Ole man has a box some electronics came in – it’s deeper. Ole man realises if he takes Sumie’s box he gets both, so he settles on Sumie’s shoebox.

We go back home to eat Tom’s delicious pasta lunch, followed by ice cream and coffee, and off they go back to Maritzburg. The ole man changes into second too soon up the steep hill. He would have hated it that I heard that.

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And I didn’t take a single photo! Damn! Well, here they are with great-grandkids:

Gogo Mary & Great_Grandkids (2)

And I just thought: When last did I post a recent pic of my favourite children? Here they are willingly posing for me: