Thursday, November 23, 2017

First Guests!

On Monday, 20th November, I received a text message on my phone congratulating me on guests, Fanny and Yohan having booked into Cave Inn from Tuesday 21 - Friday 24th November. Feeling quite panicked I forwarded the message to Estelle who immediately phoned me. She told me to go onto my AirBnB site and I'd probably find I had activaed "Instant Booking" I checked and it was there. I immediately deactivated the function for the the future.


Meanwhile, I had guests coming in to stay the next day. I phoned Thabesile who works for owner, Ian, and cleans the big house and Cave Inn three times a week. I asked her to really blitz Cave Inn as this was the real deal.

On Monday afternoon Grant and I walked down to Cave Inn (just behind Diddly Squat where's we're still living while building continues) Skabenga and cats in tow, and checked up on the accommodation. Thabesile had come up trumps. The place was sparklingly clean, the linen was fresh and crisp. Towels were hung in the shower and extra toilet/washbasin cubicle. 

Christina, who services all three Estelle's accommodation units had helped Thabesile to set everything out beautifully. There were new mini soaps in the shower and toilets. There were tea bags, coffee sachets and packets of sugar in the kitchen. There was a small jug of milk in the fridge under the bar. Dishwashing liquid, dish swabs and drying towels were set out at the kitchen sink. 

We checked the fridge; it was clean and working. We lit the gas stove plates; all working and we checked the big screen TV. All A1 and 100% perfect. 

 The kitchen and living area 
The bedroom

On Tuesday Fanny messaged me via the AirBnB site,  and said they were at an adventure resort about 70km from here. They would be in quite late; was that in order? Although my website stipulates check-in time from 2pm - 5pm, Grant and I reckoned as our first guests, and because we were still on the premises, we would permit a late check-in this time. 

At 9.10pm Fanny phoned me; there were passing the shopping mall where I have the art shop. Grant and I drove through the electrified estate gate, onto the road and turned around. He drove back to the entrance and with hazards flashing we waited. Within three minutes a car approached, indicated to turn right. Grant opened the gate and they followed. 

We stopped the vehicles beside Cave Inn and got out and greeted our young guests who were from Sweden. Fanny spoke Queen's English (she grew up in the UK) and Yohan spoke slow but good English.We told them where they could start a rigid hike into the mountains and who to contact should they want to rock climb. We told them about Scootours which is new in South Africa.  They are very fit and into adventure sports. And we told them when visiting the Central Drakensberg, they should not miss the Wednesday afteroon Drakensberg Boys Choir concert.  After chatting for a while, we bid them goodnight. 

At last Grant and I (normally very early-to-bed-birds) bedded down. At 10.59 my phone rang. It was Fanny, most apologetic. They had had a shower but weren't to stop the water from running. The shower head continued to pour water although they were sure they'd turned it off. 

Oh dear. I'd forgotten to tell them that the water collects in the roof (no ceiling in a cave!) and even after turning off the taps, the water runs out for quite a while afterwards. They were happy with this explanation. 

Tomorrow is their last day. I've messaged Fanny and asked that she and Yohan visit me at the shop before they leave the Valley. 

Grant and I have had our initiation into guest accommodation. We spoke about it the next morning and felt it had all gone well. 

Our next reservation is a honeymoon couple who are booked in from 17 - 24 December. The family occupy the big house (and possibly the cave) over the holiday period. Then we have a couple from 29 December to 2 January. We know this couple which will make it a little easier. Or will it?

In between I'm hoping and praying for a few bookings (not Instant, that's way too stressful!) from now 25 November until 16 December. 

And with all this, it's business as usual  on the building site and in the shop. 

Here's wishing you all a wonderful Thursday.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Egyptian Goose



Last week as we left the little petrol station in a holiday resort, Grant pointed out that the Egyptian Geese wandering around the campsites had young. Well, it was probably two weeks ago. This morning when we stopped at the petrol pumps again, I noticed the same flock of geese.  They were a lot bigger than a fortnight ago but I decided to photograph them.

The Egyptian goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca) is a member of the duck, goose and swan family (Anatidae). It is native to Africa south of the Sahara and the Nile Valley.
Egyptian geese were considered sacred by the Ancient Egyptians, and appeared in much of their artwork. They have been raised for food and extensively bred in parts of Africa since they were domesticated by the ancient Egyptians. Because of their popularity chiefly as an ornamental bird, escapees are common and small feral populations have become established in Western Europe. 

I'm linking to Wild Bird Wednesday here

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Building update

I'm so behind with posting about the building up on the hill. I've been busy in the shop (Praise God!) and now that I have accommodation to manage, I just don't seem to get to the site after hours to take photos. These below were taken ten days ago; since then a LOT has been done like the flooring is laid and the cupboards are about to be fitted this week. 

The shower floor mosaic has been laid; Grant will hang the shower cubicle. The toilet has been installed. The plumbing is just about plumb done! 
 The windows have been fitted  (perhaps I've said this before)
 The ceilings are in (I'm sure I've posted this as well!)
 The ceiling fans are in 
 The downlights are inserted 
 The archway between the living area and the bedroom 
 The retaining wall at the back 
 Steve will insert river rocks once Amon has completed this part of building the wall 
Caroline and Mr Tibbs came to inspect the cottage as well (he's almost pulled her off her feet!) 

I'm linking to Our World Tuesday here


Monday, November 20, 2017

Me and my dog

We're still on the estate "squatting" in Steve and Estelle's one accommodation unit. I'll post about the building progress soon. 

Meanwhile, when I get home, it's kick off my smart sandals, don my walking shoes and (by this time Skabenga, is panting and whining next to me in the small space next to my bed),  we walk outside and onto the driveway. 

Oh, this is all after work. It happens again and again and again during the night. I can't think or remember who started this habit of walking at midnight, 2am, 3.30am and finally an official early morning walk at 5am! 

The driveway which leads through two other properties and to the veld beyond 
Yesterday I snapped a Reedbuck grazing in the distance 

Yip; I do this same walk about three time (minimum) during the night. I enjoy it. Skabenga loves it! 


Sunday, November 19, 2017

Cute kitties post

Hi Bozo and Mum's blog readers; this is Ambrose with an update on the cute Hedges kitties.

Last week Dad Ginger was asleep on his chair and cushion and I decided to horn in on his space. 
 Dad Ginger on the left, was pushed up by me! 
 Oi Dad, you're cramping my style! 
Aaah, that's always nice when Dad Ginger grooms me! 

Then this morning, Unca Shadow was resting under the blanket; when he tried to come out, he was afraid because Dad Ginger gave him the "eye".

 Can you see Unca Shadow peeping out under the blanket? 
Aunty Chappie watched us from the top of the wood stove 

For more cute pet posts, please click here

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Cave Critter

Some of you may know that I've started with vacation accommodation. The unit for rent as self-catering is a cave made out of rock. Steve, our good friend and the artist whose work I sell in the shop, built the cave for a Johannesburg businessman, Ian. He, in turn approached me to manage the hire for him.

It's a whole new ball game. Fortunately I have Estelle, Steve's wife who is helping me with bookings and ensuing guests. 

I've spent most of this week during quiet moments at the shop, setting up a website on AirBnB. At the moment we're living right next door to the accommodation. When we move into our little cottage on the hill, we'll be a few kilometers away but still available to check guests in when they arrive.

Meanwhile I was in the cave earlier this week and of course, Sir Skabenga the Lab had to accompany his mama. 

When we emerged, I checked around the top of the cave at the state of the garden and pool (which will be Grant's responsibility). Skabenga decided to test a couple of the shallow ponds at the same time.
 Part of the front of the cave 
 The top of the cave 
 The cave is adjacent to Ian's family home

 Head first into the water 
 This is so exciting! 

 I love lapping water while I plodge! 
The top of the cave with a deep rock pool for cooling down in

For anyone interested do click on my website link here - my unit is called Cave Inn 

I'm linking to Saturday Critters with Eileen here


Friday, November 17, 2017

Snow in mid-summer

After excrutiatingly hot weather earlier this week, we awoke on Thursday morning to rain (so welcome) and snow! 
When the clouds lifted mid-morning on Thursday, we all dashed out of our shops to photograph the snowy peaks 
The snowy peaks this morning at 4.32 while I walked the dog 

I'm linking to Skywatch Friday here


Thursday, November 16, 2017

What a surprise!

Over the weeks I've posted about the art shop and any new and different items on Facebook. I have many likes and comments from local people. However, blogger friend, Penny, Eileen, Sandra, Kay, Betsy and Gaelyn also follow my posts and comment on them, while "old" friends from our mining days like and comment on my posts as well.

Great was my surprise when I received a Whatsapp last evening. It was from an unknown number) and the message asked "where in the mountains is this cute little shop you advertise on Facebook?" I enlarged the profile photo and saw it was a  friend, Linda from Marquard. I've since changed my phone and didn't have her on my new contact list. 

I replied to her Whatsapp asking where they were staying in the Drakensberg. She said they were at Champagne Sports Resort which is opposite the shopping center and that they would be popping in this morning.

Linda's daughter, Mandie lived opposite us in Marquard Mandie's immediate neighbor was Trudie another good friend of mine. 

I was thrilled to see Mandie. Linda and Trudie at my shop earlier today. Mandie's little boy, Luke, dashed up to me, arms wide open and hugged me. I was touched that this little six-year-old remembered the old 'aunt' who lived near him until last year. 

Of course, we all had a wonderful chat and the ladies shopped for gifts in my shop as well. Even Luke; he bought a magnet with a lion on it for his granddad whose birthday it is tomorrow. He told me "My oupa will be 65 tomorrow" 

The weather has turned unbelievably cold and at last we've had good rains. When the mountain
s opened up (while my friends were visiting), they were covered with snow . Luke insisted I walk outside with him and see the big mountains full of snow! 

So precious. 
A few of the items which I advertised on Facebook this week 
A natural cream and a vitamin booster (and my resultant nails) which I advertised this week on Facebook 
Linda, moi and Trudi, happy to see each other after so long


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Southern Bou-bou

The southern boubou (Laniarius ferrugineus) ('ferrugineus' - rust-coloured) is a  bushrike. 
This species is found in southeastern Africa, in southeastern  Zimbabwe, eastern Botswana,   Mozambique and southern and eastern South Africa.  It frequents dense thickets in forests, mangroves, scrub and gardens. In drier regions, it is found in riverside woodland.
 Southern bou-bou 
 Note the thick bush it's sitting in 

The male southern boubou is a fairly distinctive 20–22 cm long bird with black upperparts extending from the top of the head down to the tail, a striking white wing stripe, and a relatively long black tail with white outer feathers. The underparts are white shading to rufous on the lower belly, undertail and flanks. The bill, eyes and legs are black.
The female is similar to the male, but dark grey above and with a rufous wash to the breast. Young birds are like the female, but mottled buff-brown above, have a buff wash to the wing bar, and are barred below.

I'm not sure whether this is male or female. My photos are too indistinct. Just happy I was able capture this elusive bird in Caroline's garden. 

I'm linking to Wild Bird Wednesday here


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

A quick ride

This Saturday past had been very busy on the veranda and I did good business. Sundays can sometimes be lucrative (as I've proved while running the art shop) but this particular day, I noticed the cars were streaming up the road past the centre and going home. Not bothering to stop.
After being opened for two hours, and greeting about 15 people who walked straight past the shop, Grant and I decided to close up. 

We were going on a bike ride.

We did, we had a lovely ride and ended up at an eatery where we had a light meal and iced cold drinks. 

As we walked out, Grant pointe to a painting on the wall: it was the Muthi/meerkat painting which draws the most attention to the shop. 

I told the youmg man who'd served us, we knew the artist and had known the dog, who'd crossed the Rainbow Bridges two months ago. He said he'd take a photo of us posing next to the painting.
Posing in front of the famous Muthi / Meerkats painting 

I'm linking to Our World Tuesday here


Sunday, November 12, 2017

Dad Ginger and the litter tray

Hi Bozo and Mum's blog readers; this is Ambrose and as usual I've found cool photos on Mum's laptop to post here.

We had a kitty laugh earlier this week. While Mum watched Dad Ginger walked towards the toilet; a place none of us kitties visits! She followed him and was surprised to see him pull himself up onto the closed toilet seat. 

"Aha," she said to our yoomen dad, "I've left the litter tray outside" and promptly brought inside. 
Of course, Mum took a photo! 

Dad Ginger immediately used the sandbox (and this time Mum didn't take a photo!)

Skabenga the dog still sleeps indoors and Mum takes him for many walks during the night. He has a special toy mouse which he keeps between his paws while he sleeps. 

 Skabenga and his toy mouse 
 The toy mouse which Skabenga loves 
 Aunty Chappie is at the cookie bowl 
I am tired after posting these photos 

For more cute pet photos, please click here