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Bits and bobs about my life in my lovely home, Thatchwick Cottage, Pretoria, South Africa.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tuesday, 21 October: Seasonal rhythms

The shy and gangly visitor to my fruit table, the grey lourie, is now busy picking berries from the flowering cherry. I have noticed, at this time of the year, for a period of about eight weeks the fruit eaters which are so busy at the fruit table for the rest of the year leave the bananas, papaya and apple untouched. They prefer to feast on what Nature is providing on all the flowering trees and shrubs. And so it should be!

On Friday evening the lightening flashed spectacularly and the thunder rolled to usher in our first spring rains. Only about 10mm fell but it was enough to exclaim, to whomever you met, the next morning, "We had rain, did you?" On Saturday evening another electric storm led to good showers; last night, soaking rain brought down this Masked Weaver's nest. I shall keep it for Joelle when she visits in November. She is a budding zoologist/entomologist! Mr Masked Weaver builds nests in a frenzy of activity; the Missus pulls them apart with equal energy until she finds one to her liking.

The hadeda ibis is so frequent a visitor to my garden that the dogs just ignore these prehistoric looking birds. They have glossy grey feathers and I call them my 'peacocks'. The call of the hadeda flying to and from roosts is one of the most familar calls in Africa: ha-ha-ha-dah-dah! I love the shrill sound over the thatch roof in the early morning.

So the year has its rhythms. Here in the Southern Hemisphere our commercial and school year runs in an orderly fashion from January to December. It is in December - Christmas time - as most call it, that schools close and folk take their long break. So as the sun rises earlier and sets later, we are all slowing down. I have finished my major academic writing projects for the year. Work will fill my in-basket and my in-mail till the day before Christmas but the worst pressure is off.

PS I want to recommend two attractive South African blogs for anyone who can manage yet another blogspot!!!! The Max Files shows the work of an excellent photographer situated in Port Elizabeth on the coast. My life in a picture is lyrical and lovely, like Claire, its author. I must also mention that the Internetional Award comes from the blog of a delightful 79 year lady in Poland at


Claire said...

nature is amazing! we need to stop and allow it to teach us more often!

Claire said...

and thank you SO much for the reference!

willow said...

Beautiful photos in your spring post today, but I am in awe of your new header!!!

Smilingsal said...

Your new header is spectacular. What a street! Thanks for sharing.

Carrie said...

We've been promised some rain for later today and tomorrow...I really need it since I had my lawn over-seeded in September.

Poetikat said...

The hedada is incredible. I think I can imagine the call in my mind from "Out of Africa", perhaps. What an amazing creature to have as a regular visitor!

You're right - all your hues are in the purple family, but they are beautiful!

Will check out those other blogs,



Max-e said...

Hi Eleanor
It is always a delight to visit your site as it always brings back so many memories of when I lived in Pretoria and Warmbaths, or should I say Bela Bela.
The grey loerie is aways a pleasure to see. The jacarandas are just stunning. We have them growing here by they are kind of scraggly. And I saw the Inn of the Sixth Happiness way back in the 1950's when I was still a little nipper.
Thanks for the visit and the mention in you blog. I will try and get around more often

Rowyn said...

I can see why your dogs leave the hadeda ibis alone, that beak is huge. What fantastic wildlife you have in your back garden.

Your jacaranda tree header is simply beautiful!

lady jane said...

Have you any idea what happened to Alexandra's blog (Silver Bell Cottage)? It's gone!

Nola @ Alamo North said...

Looks like an all you can eat buffet for the little feathered friend.
Thanks for the blog recommendations, I'll head on over and take a peek!

Linda's Blue Gate said...

What a wonderful berry bush and the lovely nest that fell looks like angel hair.... and such array of birds....

Ms.Daisy said...

Eleanor, you new Header is gorgeous - breathtaking, really!
You lucky lady, you get to see that every day!
Stop by when you get the chance I've posted another visit with BeBe and another picture of her with me.


Theresa @ Take A Sentimental Journey said...

Oh Eleanor,when I opened your blog, your header just took my breath away ! Absolutely beautiful !

Anonymous said...

Love your header photo--is that near you?! Kathryn

Pherenike said...

I think this must be the first S African blog ive read. I enjoyed this post about the birds, I too treasure the feathered friends that visit my little patch.