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

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Wednesday, 4 February '09: Weekending away

Where was I last weekend? Down in Bloemfontein (trans. Spring of Flowers), capital city of the Free State Province, visiting Joelle and Jaelene. Tucked at the bottom of my suit case ("Your 'kootcase' ", says Jaelene) were the girls' quilts. Labelled: Lovingly made by Granny, 2009.
What bliss! On Friday morning I had a free time to meander the colourful streets of Bloem and popped into the Twee-toring kerk (trans. Church of the Twin Towers). Here the verger's wife, Daisy, showed me around the 160-year old building with obvious love and enthusiasm.

Afterwards I strolled up the road to my favourite antique shop, Die Waenhuis (The coachhouse) which, as you can see, is well-stocked with treasures. It's always a pleasure to chat to the well-informed co-owner, Bobby, and ask her for her 'best price, please!' Hmm! Now what treasure has my name on it? Silver teaspoons and book on Queen Victoria for Catherine. Bone handled dessert knives and porcelein budgies on a china branch for me. And the girls? I tossed aside the idea of yet more Barbie dolls...
...because standing on the pavement outside the front door was just the buy. A double 1940's school desk, dented, scratched, with spaces for inkwells, slots for pencils, a shelf for books and little seats that flap up when you respectfully stand to greet Sir or Mam. Much nicer than toys made of expensive shocking pink plastic!

Fortunately, the girls are made of the same sentimental stuff as their gran. They were delighted when their strange new 'toy' was delivered that afternoon. ("What is our present, Gran!" It's something unusual - just wait and see!") Both settled into the desk parked in the family room and began to draw. When best friends, Esme and Emile, arrived, the game was extended and the desk was the centre of attention! "We're not playing school, Gran. It's Office, Office!"
On Sunday, we dressed in our best for church. And that meant princess dresses worn at last year's ballet concert. Jaelene donned her ballet shoes; Joelle prefers the grass under her feet!
The days were hot and sultry. Just right for showing Gran the progress that has been made with the skill of swimming.

Sunday lunch was enjoyed on the lawns at Olievenhuis (trans. The House of Wild Olives), this little city's own art gallery. The lovely grounds are filled the avantgarde sculptures of the local art students, nestling under thorn trees. Here little girls can choose a surrealistic beast to ride on the The Carousel.

A pixie wearing a Viking helmet and platform heels piped the end of the weekend as we turned to head homewards, pack and take a reluctant Gran to the airport.

" I am going to miss you, Gran!"
" Going to miss you too!"


pammiejo said...

We're separated by so many miles and yet our experiences of being with grandchildren are not so different. They will miss you - gifts that they will always have to remind them of you daily - you're a great grandmother!! PAM

willow said...

What a glorious antique shop! I could easily get lost in there for a day or two. That carousel is so lovely. Reminds me of my childhool. And I think that cutie in the first photo looks a lot like you, Eleanor!

Raph G. Neckmann said...

What beautiful quilts, Eleanor. They must have taken you ages to make.

I love the unusual carousel animals. What fun it must be to create sculptures for this place!

Barbara Martin said...

I could get lost in an antique store until closing. The carousel reminds of the times I begged my mother to allow me to ride the prancing ponies.

Claire said...

please will you be my gran too? i also want a quilt like that.

really really beautiful!

Janet said...

Those quilts are exquisite! I lived in Bloem for many years and LOVE the place! Oliewenhuis for chicken salad has to be simply the best!
I'm off to Bloem next week-end ... YEAH!

Greyscale Territory said...

Love all these photos! Each one seems to be filled with smiles and happiness! A pleasure to wander!

Ms.Daisy said...

Dear Eleanor, What precious granddaughters you have - the picture of you and the girls is a treasure that I am sure you will look at often! I love those paternal grandmother made one for me when I was about 5 and I loved on it so much it fell apart! I surely do wish I still had it.
Stop by my blog I've tagged your for a fun meme and award. If you don't have the time, though, I will understand! :)

Smilingsal said...

What a delightful weekend. I love the quilts, and the grandchildren are gorgeous. I'll bet you miss them already.

Neabear said...

Your granddaughters are lucky to have you for a grandma. Sounds like they had a wonderful time with you and you with them. sigh...

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Such beautiful quilts! I know your girls will treasure them for a lifetime!

Anonymous said...

You are all three so beautiful!! Hope your week is going well. Thinking of you ~

Poetikat said...

So many thing to say, Eleanor. That carousel is so unique and delightful! And the pixie with the viking helmet - I would love a miniature of that - so whimsical!
I'm so glad you went for the lovely school desk over new "pink plastic" stuff for the girls. Oh, and what pretty names they are for such charming little ladies in their bare feet and ballet slippers.