Africa, Home, KwaZuluNatal

Design Excellence

We were talking bathrooms and cupboards and renovation projects. My friends are carpenters, like that Galilean ou, so they were vying for the gold medal.

There was Steve in Brisbane:

and Brauer in Tshwane:

If I was to enter the fray, I needed to lay down some groundrules if I was to stand a chance in this fiercely competitive minefield that looked vrot with danger.

So:

I tip-toed in:

Subject: Architectural and Conceptual brilliance – The Solution

When critiquing my design, please be fair and take time and motion and cost implications into account. I will admit to one advantage over you poor souls: bachelorhood.

I give you: My Bathroom Cupboard:

This neat innovation leaves the mountain bike undisturbed, and bathroom still with potential:

Great interest was shown by the judges . .

Terry Brauer: mmm . . – perhaps you . . .

(a) need to go shopping – a little sparse on the blue shirt thing; (b) there may be a light problem here unless you are saving on blinds to keep out the glare; (c) Yip no potential female species will fall for this design I fear !

~~~oo0oo~~~

I had to defend myself . .

Me: I don’t understand! I have a blue shirt for Monday, a blue shirt for Tuesday, a blue shirt for Wed, Thurs and Fri; and a darker blue shirt for Saturdays. What “shopping”?

~~~~~ooo000ooo~~~~~

Brauer: Amazing how one misses the wood for the trees, but I was in awe of your metrosexual side that had put up new blue curtains for the retro dressing room (although I was suspicious that it was a ploy to dodge having to do some manly woodwork) . .

~~~~~ooo000ooo~~~~~

Steve Reed: I think for modesty sake you could consider hanging the shirts  at a lower level  to cover your nether regions and minimise offending the neighbours and the kids’ friends but otherwise … brilliant. 

~~~~~ooo000ooo~~~~~

Terry B: Very insightful Steve (she obviously means the part where he said ‘brilliant’ . . )

~~~~~ooo000ooo~~~~~

Brauer: Insightful or unsightly?? (a biased judge obviously ignoring that ‘brilliant’ comment)

~~~~~ooo000ooo~~~~~

Me: Insightful. Even Mrs Suboohi Choudry next door would agree.

She can’t see into my bedroom at all, even though her driveway is only 2m from it. I mean it’s a JUNGLE out there. Her driveway is also about 2m lower. She would need a machete and a stepladder, and she doesn’t have a ladder, she borrowed mine to paint their house.

~~~~~ooo000ooo~~~~~

I think all this interest and back-and-forth means I won the Design Contest

~~~oo0oo~~~

UPDATE:

Leaps and bounds.

The home decor front is proceeding apace.

I hope you two carpenters can keep up.

My window is once more filled with trogons and pittas and louries. Quite shirtless.

Built-in cupboards have sprung up in the bathroom.

~~~oo0oo~~~

Africa, KwaZuluNatal

New Worm !

Dizzi discovered a new worm, sent a picture and asked: ‘Pete – What is this? Hamerkop Worm? About 5cm long.’

I didn’t have a clue, and guessed – incorrectly – that it might have been from the dogs. But Dizzi soon came back with an answer: Bipalium – a genus of large predatory land planarians. They are often loosely called “hammerhead worms” or “broadhead planarians” because of the distinctive shape of their head region. So Dizzi’s description was spot-on!

– from Georgia USA – wikipedia –

Land planarians – flatworms – are unique in that they possess a “creeping sole” on their ventral (‘under’) side. And they’re hunters! They’ll stalk their prey, following their tracks and then pounce on an earthworm or snail! Some earthworms will react violently and wriggle vigorously, but the Dizzi planarium bipalium flatworm uses the muscles in its body and sticky secretions to attach itself to the earthworm to prevent escape. Some even have a potent neurotoxin, so goodbye earthworm or snail.

Maybe Dizzi will spend more time in her garden and film a planarian kill for us?

They vary in size from smaller than this one to over a metre. They have very few predators themselves as they seem distasteful or toxic to most other creatures. Wonderful where they belong, but can be a menace when introduced where they don’t. They’re found all over in the tropics and sub-tropics, and are now spread outside their natural areas too – mostly moving around in potplants or plant soil.

Asexual planarians can just split and form two planarians. Sexual planarians are hermaphrodites. Some can reproduce both sexually and asexually. Telling a planarium to ‘Go Fuck Yourself ‘ is pointless, as it might just do that – ‘autofecundation.’ That’s rare, though. Usually two hermaphrodites will get together and swop sperm.

Fascinating creatures! BipaliumPlanarian.

Africa, KwaZuluNatal, Wildlife, Game Reserves

New Spider !

A beautiful new button spider was found in Tembe Elephant Park and Phinda private reserve recently. The 32nd known button, or widow spider in the Latrodectus genus, of which eight are found in Africa; and – the first new one in 28 years.

And she’s a beauty:

Discovery

A single female was first found in 2014 in Tembe Elephant Park in Zululand. It was observed until its natural death two years later, when it was collected and sent to a laboratory. Way to go! More and more we should be observing before collecting! In 2017 a number of live specimens were collected from the Phinda reserve. They and their offspring were studied until 2019 when it was confirmed to be a new species.

– female hanging from her web –

Habitat

The species is only known to occur in the critically endangered lowland sand forest biome of northern KwaZulu-Natal. These forests are threatened by illegal clearing for farming as well as wood collection. The females build nests in trees and stumps more than 50 centimetres above ground, which is higher than most other members of the genus.

– tiny little male –

I haven’t been able to find out where the specific name umbukwane comes from. Will keep looking. isiZulu.net doesn’t have it as a word. Maybe the name of the person who first pointed it out?? Maybe a local place name??

~~~oo0oo~~~

photos by Luke Verburgt – own work

wikipedia

World Spider Catalogue

Africa, Family & Kids, KwaZuluNatal

Blue Lagoon

Let’s go fishing Dad – at Blue Lagoon. Just till 7pm.

As we were leaving the plaintive ‘flat battery’ cry of the Water Thick-knee (Dikkop) sounded from across the lagoon . .

~~~oo0oo~~~

again, thank you xeno-canto.org for bird sounds

Africa, Birds & Birding, Family & Kids, Food, KwaZuluNatal, Wildlife, Game Reserves

Umhlanga Lagoon

Tom went to visit Ziggy in Umhlanga so Jess and I had a late breakfast at Europa Cafe – poached eggs, haloumi, mushrooms, bacon, tsatsiki, all-sorts, yum! Followed by delicious hot bitter black coffee and some sitting back and sighing. And then, what the hell, a chocolate milkshake!

Then off for a stroll at the lagoon in the Umhlanga Nature Reserve, a KZN Wildlife park.

A few birds – Diederik Cuckoo, Southern Masked Weaver, Bronze Mannikin, Familiar Chat, Olive Sunbird – but it was midday. I heard the cluck – cluck – cluckcluckcluck of a Little Rush Warbler while I was photographing a butterfly, so I switched to video:

– I’m guessing female White-Barred Acraea – Hyalites encedon encedon? –

~~~oo0oo~~~

Umhlanga Rocks is in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa; Umhlanga means reeds

Africa, Family & Kids, Food, KwaZuluNatal

Pre-Wash

We’re on a septic tank and a soakpit and I’m the only one who cares.

So I think about all our waste and our waste-water, as none of it leaves the property. It all stays right here and must be done right.

So whenever I had a pot or pan or plate with grease, oil, fat or protein on it, I would have it pre-washed before running the dishwater. That way less fatty waste was in the pipes and the pits.

Made perfect sense to me, was hygienic and made a huge difference to the gunge in the system, as Sambucca’s poop would be flushed down the toilet same as ours, and I wouldn’t need to pay for a honeysucker truck to suck.

Yet my co-habitants thought EW! and YUCK! Sambucca’s spit, Dad! Hello! It gets washed off at high temperature, dudes. They remained unimpressed. I remained unmoved. Sambucca’s movements were regular.

Now Sambucca has shuffled off and they’re happy and I’m not. The ants – millions of them, are also happy. And I’m not.

~~~oo0oo~~~

The pic is not actually Sambucca – this is Greg Price’s picture from Hilary Price’s cartoon website Rhymes With Orange. Sambucca got given her licking n pre-wash duties outside the kitchen door. She LURVED the job! Sometimes, though, she’d be less than thorough and I had to say Hey! Lick Up! – that was when it was olive oil. When it was dead animal juice she would lick the platter clean.

~~~oo0oo~~~

Another cool honeysucker truck . .

Africa, Family & Kids, KwaZuluNatal, School

Our Special Road

The little uns in our cul de sac from a while ago are big now, and new little ones are making their presence felt!

Thabiso (Tabs) and Andile are big now – all senior primary school longs, shirts and ties; while little Lisa heads off for her first day of ‘Big School’ (pre-school)!!

Michael – starting school 14 years ago when we got here, now driving his Mom’s car – sent the pic.

~~~oo0oo~~~