Sunday, August 22, 2010

I need a day off from holiday

I am tired.   Being away from home also means being unable to really escape and lock the front door.   Everything is really nice but this afternoon, after eating a few pieces of Lindt Chilli-chocolate in bed, I suddenly felt ill and depleted.  I took some ginger tea and milk-thistle tonic and had a hot bath and felt better.  But I need a day without a major physical activity.  A time to retreat and watch TV.

This time, Ingrid watched the kids while Dad took David and I on one of his routes.  There was no wind and lovely crisp sunshine.  All the monkeys were out on the ground - we saw some troops of almost 50 vervet monkeys rushing from the ploughed cane fields to the treeline when they saw us approach, some carrying pieces of cane.  They were particularly angry with The Dog (Charlie) and made ferocious barking chortles at him from the safety of the canopy.  Unfortunately I was unable to get close enough for a decent shot.

Dad vanishes down a road towards the river.
The route took us along the river behind the old homestead of Sir Marshall Campbell who once owned the sugar estate and along the river until it crossed the North Coast Road.   At the intersection we saw groups of women from the nearby squatter camp washing their laundry in the river and hanging their blankets out to dry on the embankment.  The squatter camp has been reduced since I was here last but there are still many established homes and piles of litter nearby.
Washing day under the highway.

We also noticed a security guard posted to watch some huge sections of pipe that had been assembled by the road works.  I can imagine the pipes (about 5 feet in diameter) would make a good shelter in the rain.

The Bad Biting Dog
Dad has been making a lot of effort to socialize the dogs and we have not had another biting incident.  That said, we are careful to keep the kids away from unsupervised contact with them, especially Charlie.  Wren had a chance to feed the dogs today and I also had some time with Charlie, without snapping.

Charlie at the river.
He was very happy to come out of the house and join us on the run through the cane - especially chasing monkeys.  I was relieved he had had his rabies vaccination although Dad assures me that there is no way the could catch a monkey and if he did the other monkeys in the troup would jump on him and attack him until he released it.

The ride itself was a mix of easy riding along the river and an extremely long and strenuous climb up to the ridge.  David reached the top first, followed by me and then Dad (who has a bit of a cold and is feeling under the weather but denying it because That Is His Way.)    Anyway ...

I kept thinking how much Frost would enjoy the ride and that, but for the tricky patches of fine deep red sand which bog your tyres and make the bike unsteady, it was an easy ride.

Me:  Call Charlie!  MONKEYS!!   He will catch a monkey!
Dad:  Oh, another monkey.  He hasn't a chance of catching one.
As we descended from the ridge we passed the cane laborers accommodation - small square red-brick huts on a terraced red sand hill.  We could hear monkeys shouting from the trees on the one side of the valley and roosters crowing from behind the huts.  In the cane, men in blue overalls and long black galoshes carried plastic bags.  David considered our safety at various points and said it is "important to keep an eye out."

Dad pushing up a very sandy patch of hillside.
We saw a few birds, fewer than I expected, but Dad was excited to see a yellow billed kite, least I think that was what it was, newly returned from the winter away from the region.    Looking across the reeds we saw only a few weavers.   The most excitement (beside the hundreds of monkeys) was David seeing a duiker escaping through the brush below the road.

Below the Campbell House looking for birds

Frost in sloth
Frost has been pretty languid and still prefers to stay at home unless a particularly child-enticing outing is planned.  He is building many warhammer guys (although we have yet to locate a shop selling the spray paint needed for the undercoat) and Orion has been letting him watch TV shows of questionable suitability on the laptop.  Orion and David's room seems to be the boys' den where TV on computer is watched, music is played and sleep occurs at all hours of the day.  Frost wants to be one of the guys and hangs out there when he can.

Tomorrow, I hope to take him for a ride and get him out a bit more.  We are also planning to do some math practice (ahem) which has not happened since we arrived.

The Ohlanga River - meaning "reeds" in the Zulu language.
Umhlanga is named as the place of these reeds.

1 comment:

Shannon said...

PS. Part of the reason I was to tired is that when we returned home I went to the gym with Ingrid and swam 1km. Then we cooked in the afternoon (Wren and Dad made mushroom pie) and had Karen, Francesca and Gerald over for dinner.