Saturday, 26 December 2009

An update on Biddy

On 23 December 2009, Biddy ran her first race. It was the second race at Greyville over 1000m. We had arranged a table of 20 at the Durban View Room (where you have a wonderful buffet supper and can watch out the glass windows). There was a delay with the first race as they had a false start. We all went down to the parade ring to watch her being saddled up by Paul Lafferty, her trainer (and also a part owner of her) and then watched her walk around the ring. The jockey came up to us and we all shook hands with him. A very nice little guy called Muzi Yeni. There was a serious storm looming and Paul had received a phone call from a friend of his in Umhlanga advising him that there was hail. There was also quite a bit of lightning. Anway, we then went up to the Durban View Room to watch her go to the start. And then the race began .... she jumped out of the starting pens and then didn't quite know what to do and lost about 2 lengths off the leader. She maintained her pace and got into the group and coming along the straight she was probably second last, but went on to run a fantastic race and deadheated for 3rd. Boy was that exiting. Our whole table was standing up and shouting for her. It was awesome. The report back was that she ran a great race and wanted to run and she should do very well next time out which is possibly on the 10 January 2010.

Today, Dereck and I went to the stables to see her. She really is a lovely horse and just likes to muzzle up to you. She was doing that to me and muzzling my tummy and sniffing my bag. I think I should find out if I can give her sugar cubes and then treat her!!

She has such a gentle nature and is a very special horse to us.

Horse kissed signing off ....

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

The Biddy Filly

After checking the weather report, we made arrangements to take my mom, dad and Leanne up to see Biddy. I was also able to go as I was given a bit of time off in the morning. I got to the stables after Biddy had been put back into her box, but she still come to whisper in my ear that "she was pleased that I had come to see her and that she had trained well and is looking forward to her first race." It was so funny when she came up to my ear and was sniffing me and then breathing warm air into my ear. I just could not help laugh and I really love this picture that Dereck took. I think that is shows the fun that we had.
Biddy was doing the same thing to Leanne all the time she was touching her. My mom and dad with Biddy after her training session and before she went back into her box.

Biddy is really a lovely horse with a gentle nature. Everytime Dereck goes to see her, she recognises him. She has grown well and is training very well and we are all looking forward to going to see her in her first race which hopefully will be soon.
I was also given the rest of the day off, so am enjoying my time at home with Leanne.
Proud horse owner signing off ....

Sunday, 22 November 2009

The Fear Factor Challenge

So after being educated through the cultural village at Phezulu, followed by the crocodile farm and snake park tours and finishing off with the game drive, we had worked up an appetite. Before the game drive we had gone to the restaurant to buy something to drink and I had seen a "Fear Factor" Challenge on their menu. I told Liesel and Leanne that this was something we were going to do. It means ordering a meal consisting of a crocodile kebab with chips and a salad and then eating it in a pit full of crocodiles. Liesel and Leanne were a bit concerned about doing this but I said we had to!! A guy does stand in the pit with us with a stick and he advised that he stands between us and the crocodiles. We ordered our food and he set up the table. He gave us brief instructions of what to do if a crocodile should come towards us - ha ha ha ha. There were 10 crocodiles in this pit. I must say eating crocodile was very enjoyable. Don't know what the crocs though of us eating one of them in their pit.
There we are enjoying our meal.

And just in case you thought the photo was taken elsewhere, we turned around so that you can see we are all in the pit with the crocodiles.
This is a close up of the one on the water's edge closest to us. He just kept opening his eye and looking at us and then closing it again.

There is our "watcher" with his stick. We were told that when it is cold the crocs just chill in the water and don't move around too much. It is when it is hot that they come out of the water to find shade and often it is under the table we were sitting at. Apparently crocs can jump, so getting on to the table if they came towards you is not an option either!!!

Once we were finished we headed back to the restaurant where we were each presented with a certificate stating that we had survived the "Fear Factor Challenge" and were alive to tell the tale.
Croc fan signing off ....

A day at Phezulu In Botha's Hill

Last week, Monday 16 November 2009 was my brother Malcolm's birthday - hope you had a great day. It would also have been our good friend Biddy's birthday - rip my friend you were greatly missed.

Anyway, Liesel (my sister) and I took leave and along with Leanne decided to go to Phezulu in Botha's Hill, the Valley of the Thousand hills. The weather was miserable and drizzling and on arriving up there, it was rather chilly. I thankfully had changed my mind and wore jeans as I would have frozen. It really is quite breathtaking to see all these hills and the mist had lifted in order for us to see so clearly. We booked to see the cultural show, followed by the crocodile park and finishing off with the snake park. We enquired about doing a game drive but due to the rain on the previous few days they advised that they would have to check to see if the roads were okay and would let us know. We went in to the cultural village where we were taken through two rondavels and explained what happened in there and the tools and things that were used. It was rather stuffy as there was a very smokey fire on the go. I am not sure how the Africans manage to live in places like that with all the smoke - it was quite a relief to get out into the cold, but fresh air. After the cultural talk we went to watch the cultural courting dance having already been told what the procedure was. These dancers are amazing and have so much rhythm.

Then it was in to the crocodile park. This is the oldest crocodile there, I think about 106 years old and weighed over 400kg's.

We saw a variety of different sized crocodiles but I am not going to post those pictures as they are really all the same.

Next was the snake park - uggggg! Hopefully this is the closest I will ever get to a python!!!

At the end of the crocodile and snake parks there is a gallery where they have skeletons etc of the various different crocs and snakes and off course we could not resist in playing around with this dead, stuffed crocodile!!!

Our wonderful guide - Brian, who was very knowlegable and told us all we wanted to know about the crocodiles and snakes. I could not bring myself to hold or even go close to this snake he was holding, even though he assured us it was totally harmless!

After we came out of the crocodile/snake park we were advised that a game drive was going to take place. I went and booked our tickets and then off we went. It was freezing so our guide got us blankets to put over our legs.

We saw a Wildebeest (known as a Gnu).

Some buck and Zebra's.

Mommy Zebra with her baby and it just stayed by her side all the time. Most of the Zebra females were pregnant.
The baby buck, who were jumping around for us. They were practising their bucking and were jumping and bucking their back legs quite a bit. It was really fun to watch.

There were two giraffe who had names, but I cannot remember them. A male and a female.
After our game drive we headed back to the restaurant for some lunch. That story is in the next post.
Safari parker signing off ....

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

50 years at Bellevue Tennis Club

My dad, Lu Engler, is an avid tennis player and was a good one at that too. This year he celebrated 50 years of being a member of the Bellevue Lawn Tennis Club in Glenwood. To honour him for this very fine achievement, they had a lamb on the spit on Saturday, 14 November 2009 at the club. It was great to go back there and it still looks very much the same as what I remember from a little girl going there. There have been some alterations done, of which my dad was the "work party" in getting it done. One of the guys who made a speech. All the speeches made were just so true of my dad. He is never one to sit around. If something needs to be done, he gets on and does it. He maintained the books of the club as well as keeping the bar stocked and apparently he used to tell the barman not to throw away the empties as he would count those against what was left in the fridge to balance against the money received!!
One of the things said in one of the speeches was you wanted a person like my dad on your committee and you just don't get people like that any more. This is a picture that the club had framed and will take pride of place in "The Lu Engler Lounge".

Val Maiden giving a speech. She reminded everyone of the brilliant "falls" my dad had. The "off the fence run" where my dad ended up running up the fence due to the momentum in getting a shot. There was also one where he could not stop and ended up rolling on the ground and then getting up and carrying on playing. Another when he could not stop at the net and ended up going over the top!! I must say I did witness one or two of those and they were spectacular - funny too!!! When I was younger and went to the club I used to play with Val's children who I think went on to play tennis themselves. I played for a short while, but preferred badminton and squash.
Inside the pub looking out onto the lounge my dad built.

The club from the main entrance.

The club from down on the tennis court.

Our family at the club.

My mom and dad.
In 1962,63,67 and 68 my dad won the men's singles competition. In 1961,63 65,66,67,68 and 69 he won the men's doubles competition. In 1963,64 66,67 68,69,70,71,72 and 76 he won the mixed doubles competition.
He also played in the masters championships as well as the grand masters championships. Sadly his knees have been giving him problems and last year he had a knee replacement and needs to have the other knee done as well, so is not able to play much tennis at all.
Well done dad, you are certainly an inspiration to the youth of today and have been a great inspiration to me.

Proud daughter signing 0ff ....

Sunday, 08 November 2009

A Day at uShaka

During the week, Leanne had asked if we could go to uShaka, if the weather was nice. We checked the papers and saw that Sunday was predicted to be about 35 degrees. We went onto the uShaka website just to check the times etc and saw that they were having a competition and if you entered and then referred 4 more people, you received a half price combo ticket. So, I entered and then forwarded on Dereck, Leanne, Grant and Lauren's names and they each went in and entered so we all had half price tickets. Today turned out to be an awesome day and we got ready and headed off down to uShaka arriving there at about 10h15. We found a nice spot under a tree on the grass and close the the rides and set ourselves up. Grant, Lauren and her sister Michaela and Leanne went off first to check out and sample the rides while Dereck and I waited with all our things. It was so nice to just lie around enjoying life and watching the other people around us.
This is one of the rides we went on - yes, even I went down quite a few of them, but this one was hilarious as you go down in a tube and at the bottom there was another tube in my lane and when I hit it, I got knocked out of mine - I was hysterical laughing!!!! and trying to make sure that my costume was still in all the right places - ha ha.

I felt like a kid going on all the rides and then having a good laugh at the end. Each time Dereck and I went on a ride, he would start off first, I would wait a while before going down and ended up catching up with him and pushing him down and then landing on top of him in the pool at the end - we really had so much fun and laughter!!!

At 2:30 we went to the Acquarium and watched the sharks being fed and thereafter headed off to watch the dolphin show. They said they were looking for someone to meet a dolphin and you had to shout or jump around to be noticed and guess what - I was noticed!!!! I was called down and went into the dophin show area and told to sit on the rock above and wait to be called.

Then I went to meet Kelpie an Indian Ocean bottlenose dolphin. I stroked his chest. What an amazing feeling - he was so soft.

Then I gave him two pieces of fish and the best was giving him kisses. He just balanced while I gave him quite a few kisses - a memory I will treasure forever. (sorry this picture came out the wrong way).

After that I had to waive to him and he rolled onto his back and waved his fins. It was such an awesome experience.

We watched the rest of the show and then Leanne, Grant and I had our picture taken with a dolphin which happened to be Kelpie again.
After wandering through the shopping mall, we eventually left uShaka at about 4:15. We all had a wonderful, fun filled day. Although I did put sunscreen on me, I did get a bit burnt, but I am not sore, just look nice and healthy.
Lauren made us supper and then her and Grant went out for supper!!
Dolphin lover signing off ....

Saturday, 07 November 2009

Over the Top Award

I received this award from Desire - thank you so much.

The rules are that I need to pass this award on to 5 people, post on their blog that I have left this award and then answer the list of questions. Here goes:

1. Where is your cell phone? on top of my bag

2. Your hair? wet

3. Your mother? at home - I think

4. Your father? at home - I think

5. Your favourite food? seafood

6. Your dream last night? can't remember

7. Your dream/goal? to have a lean and healthy body

8. Your favourite drink? Brutal fruit / Hazelnut hot chocolate

9. What room are you in? study

10. Your hobby? crafts, baking, gardening

11. Your fear? being raped

12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? where I am now

13. Where were you last night? at home

14. Something that you aren't? a snob

15. Muffins? yes please

16. Wish list item? content with what I have, so nothing in particular

17. Where did you grow up? Yellow-wood Park

18. Last thing you did? swam

19. What are you wearing? costume

20. Your TV? plasma

21. Your pets? 2 sausage dogs and a ridgeback

22. Your friends? lots

23. Your life? I love life

24. Your mood? very positive and happy

25. Missing someone? Normally Leanne, but she is here visiting for a month

26. Your vehicle? Renault Clio III

27. Something your'e not wearing? clothes

28. Your favourite store? Craft shops

29. Your favourite colour? Mauve/purple

30. When was the last time you laughed? about an hour ago

31. When was the last time you cried? probably watching a movie - can't remember

32. Your best friend? I have a couple

33. One place I go to over and over? I have so much I want to see that I don't normally go to the same place twice.

34. Facebook? yes, I am on just about everyday - great keeping up with people

35. Favourite place to eat? Fargo

There are quite a few people that I would like to pass this on to, so instead of going to everyone, if you read my blog please accept this award and post it on to yours and then answer the questions.
Thanks for playing along.