21 July 2017

#3322 Dominique

On Saturday 11 March 2017 there was no relaxing in our pyjamas or enjoying a lazy breakfast ,  We had to get ready early to go see the departure of “Dominique”.  “Dominique” is locomotive #3322, an oil burner steam engine, that was restored in Voorbaai, Mossel Bay for the CeresRailway Company.  
Class 19D locomotive
#3322 Dominique

For years my husband would say how sad it is to see all the old trains/locomotives etc just rusting away in the “train cemetery” in Voorbaai.  But the last few years a team has started to restore some of these old locomotives for the Ceres Railway Company.  After the restoration is complete the locomotives are moved to Ceres where visitors can take trips between Ceres and Cape Town.  Before Dominique, they restored “Jessica” a Class 19D locomotive #3321, “Bailey” a Class 19B locomotive #1412 and “Red Devil” a Class 26 locomotive #3450.
Class 19D locomotive
#3321 Jessica

Class 19D locomotive
#3322 Dominique

Dominique was scheduled to leave Mosel Bay at 8:45 Saturday morning and we arrived at the Voorbaai station at just after 8:00.  We were very happy to see that “Jessica” to Mossel Bay to make the trip back to Ceres with Dominique.  Now we could see both locomotives.

I was surprised at the amount of people who came to look at the trains.  It was difficult to take a photo without people in the way.  Our 2½ year old son was with us.  He was very excited about the trains.  He wanted to touch everything and even tried to climb onto the train.
JW and the train tracks

#3322 Dominique

Unfortunately there was a problem with the water pressure and there was not enough water to fill up both locomotives.  Transnet assisted them by using a diesel locomotive to pull them out of Voorbaai to Heidelberg where they had to pick up a wedding party.  This big red diesel locomotive spoiled a few of the photos but it was very nice to see the old locomotives back in working order.

After they left Voorbaai we drove to Mossdustria to see the train at the crossing.  Husband still did not see enough and we drove further to the Gouritz river bridge to see the trains cross before returning home. 

Crossing Gouritz bridge

I hope they will restore more of the wonderful trains and hopefully one can stay in Mossel Bay for us to take a trip.

07 July 2017

Mushroom Meander

Mushroom Meander

We regularly visit the Garden Route Botanical garden for walks and to take photos.  At the end of February 2017 we decided to do the Mushroom Meander walk for the first time.

An article inthe Mossel Bay Advertiser described the trail as follow: “The 800m trail, in a stretch of indigenous forest to the northwest of the garden, has a variety of mushrooms and fungi growing along the path and is a photographer's paradise.” 
Mushroom Meander

Mushroom Meander

Mushroom Meander

The path is easy to follow but there were no signs and a few times I worried if we were still walking on the right path. I was a bit disappointed because there weren’t a lot of mushrooms along the route. I expected more of a trail with “mushroom” in the title.

While driving home we decided it was a very nice walk but as a photography outing it was not successful.
Mushroom Meander

Mushroom Meander

Mushroom Meander

23 June 2017

Swartberg Pass

In October 2015 we took a short trip to Prince Albert.  We ended our trip by driving back home using the Swartberg Pass.

The Swartberg pass was the final pass built by Thomas Bain and was opened on 10 January 1888.  The pass is a gravel road of about 27 km from Prince Albert to Oudshoorn over the Swartberg Mountains.

The pass has many with lots of switchbacks with beautiful views.  The road is supported by an amazing stone retaining walls. It declared a National Monument in 1988.

The pass was very busy on the Sunday morning as we made our way home.  At some places the road is very narrow and one of the vehicles has to stop for the other to pass.  I was very glad that I was not in the driver seat but my husband did a great job.  It is not necessary for a 4x4 vehicle to do this drive. We used our in our Ford Figo and saw even smaller cars also driving along. 


We first stopped at my parents house in George.  I was very glad to see our son (It was the first time that we left him alone at his grandparents for the night).  It was also my birthday and we had a quick birthday celebration before driving home.


Unfortunately the pass was closed on 10 April 2017 after a huge rain shower severely damaged sections of the road.  I hope it can be fixed soon because it is a great experience to drive on this pass. 

09 June 2017

Old Water Mill, Prince Albert

Our last stop in Prince Albert was the Alberts Mill. 

Driving out of town it can be found on the left side of the road.  This water mill was built in 1850 by HJ Botes.   It is the last of 7 mills that used to operate in Prince Albert. 

From 1842 grain was milled at the site but the current building is from 1850.  After being operated as a flour mill for more than 100 years it was sold in 1977.  The mill slowly deteriorated but in 2000 it was restored and can once again ground flour.

It was declared a National monument in 1965.

For more information visit "Prince Albert Friend"

Prince Albert

Prince Albert

Prince Albert

Prince Albert

Prince Albert

Prince Albert

Prince Albert

Prince Albert

27 May 2017

Oom Botha

One year ago, we lost two important members of our family. …one lost we expected…the other came so suddenly that it shocked us.  And we are still struggling to find our feet and trying to learn how to live without him. On 19 May 2016 my grandmother, Ouma Trudie, passed away.

One year ago on 27 May 2016 we lost my uncle, Oom Botha.

Oom Botha was my mothers’ youngest brother.  He grew up on the family farm “Groenfontein” in the Eastern Cape.  From a young age he was interested in farming and took over the family farm.  He was very successful with his farming but it took hard work. My Uncle was married and he had three children.

Growing up we saw Oom Botha and his family regularly.  We visited the farm at least once a year.  I have so many memories from this time:
  • ·         Swimming in the cement dam and later the pool
  • ·         Riding horses while sitting with Oom Botha
  • ·         Waking up on the hard floor after Oom Botha deflated our air mattress
  • ·         Handing out the presents from under the Christmas tree
  • ·         Jumping on the trampoline
  • ·         Watching Wimbledon tennis while matches sitting in front of the fire place
  • ·         Waking to loud music playing in the house because one should get up early on a farm
  • ·         Playing table tennis
  • ·         Watching the grown-ups play canasta
  • ·         Going for drives in the field on the back of the bakkie
  • ·         Being called “Dolla” (Oom Botha’s nickname for me)
When I reached high school the visits to the farm were less often.  We still saw my uncle regularly when he visited my grandmother in Hartenbos.  Oom Botha loved swimming in the ocean.  In 2011 or 2012 or around that time my uncle decided to hand over the farming to my cousin and to travel more.  He loved camping and spent a lot of time in different national parks around South Africa and Namibia. 

While searching for photo’s for this post I realised I have very little photo’s of Oom Botha.  I then realised that even in my childhood memories I remember Oom Botha taking photos or filming us with his video camera.  He was always busy taking photos and was almost never on the photos.

More recent memories included:
  • ·         Oom Botha busy taking photos or videos
  • ·         Looking for a bargain for camping equipment/something
  •        A phone call early on the first mothers' day after my son was born 
  • ·         Learning how to use a computer after getting a digital camera
  • ·         Regular phone calls to us after my husband was diagnosed with cancer
  • ·         Spending lots of time caring for my grandmother when she got ill
  • ·         Making new friends wherever he went
On 26 May 2016 the family was gathered in Hartenbos for my grandmother's funeral.  Then on 27 May 2016 Oom Botha came to eat lunch with us at my parents’ house.  He went to say goodbye to my cousin and then he and my aunt drove home to the farm. Near Willowmore they were in a car accident.  My aunt survived the accident with only minor injuries but Oom Botha passed away at the accident scene.

Only one day after my grandmother’s funeral we lost another special person in our family.

It is strange how life works.  Earlier in the year my uncle discussed how he wanted to be buried with my cousin.  He wanted to be buried on the farm and on 3 June 2016 we drove to the farm for the funeral. 

On 4 June 2016 we said goodbye to Oom Botha with a service in the NG Kerk Tarkastad and then the burial at the farm.  His coffin was taken to the family grave yard on the back of his red bakkie “Vlam” while “Wheels” by Billy Vaughn played.  After a prayer by the minister we my mom and other uncle placed my grandmothers ashes on top of Oom Botha’s coffin. Mother and son were together again.

As my cousin and other family started to cover the coffin with the sand and one by one friends and family reluctantly walked back to the farm house.

In the cement dam on the farm in 1984 with Oom Botha hiding behind me

Oom Botha with his mom, brother and sister (my mom)

Visiting the farm in 2006

With Oom Botha at my wedding in 2012

Visiting the farm in August 2012
Oom Botha and his red bakkie "Vlam"

Behind the camera making a video at my sons Christening in 2014

We were lucky to have Oom Botha with us for his last Christmas in 2015
Unfortunately this is the only photo of him from that day

Last family photo with Oom Botha
Taken at my grandmother's funeral the day before he died.

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