Sumer Is Icumen In ...to Istanbul

Summer has come to Istanbul. The trees are in full bloom and the street cafés have removed their winter covers. We can, once again, sit on our balcony, overlooking Bagdad Street, and enjoy people and car watching while we savour our sundowners or enjoy our evening meal. It's fun to watch the comings and goings in our street and it affords us endless amusement.

Tomorrow I will be leaving this idyll for a time as I am off to England, to stay with Clare, John and Jessica. I promised Jessica that I would go to watch her ballet show this year and I'm also hoping to fit in a visit to Marilyn and Dick - watch this space! Meanwhile, as we gaze out over Bağdat Caddesi, we'll raise our glasses and say 'Cheers!' to you all.


Baden, Western Cape, South Africa

A very proud Grandma! Kathy with Louise's baby, Richard.

Eric and John picked me up from Cape Town airport and we drove to Wellington, where Eric's sister, Christine, lives with her husband, Basie. There, John wanted to look at a pair of antique handguns that are for sale. John is an avid gun collector and shottist, with a veritable arsenal of weapons of all kinds. I stayed and had tea with Christine, while the others went to look at the guns, before departing for Baden. I was so happy to see John looking so fit and well after his horrendous accident; his remarkable recovery is a miracle for sure!

John, looking fit and well!

Baden was just as I remembered it, and it felt almost like a coming home. That first evening, Saturday, Kathy, Eric and I went to Louise and John's house for a Braai, together with Martin and Carine. We had chicken and lamb from the farm; it was a very jolly evening.

On Sunday, there was a gathering of the family at the big house and we all had lunch together. What a spread! A typical farmhouse meal with the table groaning with food. Later, Eric and I went swimming in the hot spring; it is so relaxing! Kathy, Eric and I couldn't face eating in the evening; we had a very light supper to compensate for over-indulging at lunch.

Farmhouse lunch at Baden.

The next day was Ooma Kitty's eighty-eighth birthday and Alta excelled herself with the koeksisters, scones, chicken pies, bacon wheels, sausage rolls, milk tart and fridge cake. Lots of ladies drove in from Montagu to wish Ooma Kitty happy birthday. I'm making it a habit to turn up for birthday parities at Baden, last time I was here it was Ouma Emily's ninetieth! Later, sitting on Kathy's stoep, we witnessed the most fabulous sunset.

Sunset over Baden

That evening we were invited out to dinner at Mimi and CJ's house. We had the most amazing pie made from a Wildebeest that CJ had shot himself. I am going to need to go back the gym in earnest when I get back to Istanbul!

CJ and Miemie, my new-found friends!

The days were passing far too quickly. On Tuesday, Kathy and I went to Robertson while Louise took Richard to his swimming lesson, and afterwards went for lunch at the nursery - a delightful restaurant set in a garden centre, which I remember visiting the last time I was there. Richard played happily in the playground, while we ladies lunched! I was so happy to have time to chat to Louise, as she is usually very busy!

Louise and John's son, Richard, is such an attractive child, 
and knows how to pose for the camera!

My last day, Wednesday, Eric and Kathy drove me around Montagu to look at some of the historic houses there. It was followed by a round of visiting people to say goodbye, ending with Miemie and CJ visiting me especially to say goodbye, they are so kind! I will miss Baden, it's such a lovely place!

Montagu is a delightful small town, full of historic buildings.

In between my flight from Cape Town and the one from Jo'burg to Istanbul, Paddy picked me up to spend some time at Karen and Ian's house so that I could catch up with everyone there. Now I am back in Istanbul and the weather is glorious!


Quick and Easy Fish Pie Recipe

My visit to Jane is coming, all too quickly, to an end. I have so enjoyed my visit. One of the highlights was when Dave and Bäerbel came to lunch last Saturday.It was so good to see them and to catch up with their news. Dave is now sporting a beard! His reason for growing one is that it saves him eight minutes every morning, through not having to shave, and this translates into four extra days a year. We were very grateful that he granted us one of his extra days to pay us a visit.

Jane made a magnificent lunch, the cornerstone of which was a fish pie. Jane's delicious fish pie recipe is the quickest and easiest one possible; so I thought I would share it with everyone. Jane's recipe could feed six, but because it was so delicious the five of us finished it off!

Jane's Quick and Easy Fish Pie Recipe

1 packet frozen fish fillets cut up
1 packet frozen shrimps
2 or 3 hand-fulls of frozen peas
Some crushed garlic
Salt and Pepper
Put all of the above into a lasagne dish.
Mix up 2 packets of instant white sauce mix and pour over the dish
Top with a mixture of breadcrumbs, grated cheese and crushed cornflakes.
Put into a pre-heated oven at 180°C for 25 minutes.

You could cover this with instant mashed potatoes if you wanted to, but Bäerbel brought a potato salad and Jane made a three bean salad, so we used the breadcrumb topping instead. Try it; you will be delighted!

The main purpose of my visit was to see my lovely grandchildren, Shannon and Jordan, and I have thoroughly enjoyed watching them and seeing how beautifully they are growing up. I am already thinking about my next visit.

Tomorrow I am off to the Cape to stay with David's sister, Kathy, and family; and although I am sad to leave Jane, Sean, Shannon and Jordan, I am really looking forward to visiting Baden. Totsiens!


My African Family

Paddy picked me up at the airport last Friday and took me to Karen and Ian's house for a couple of hours before my flight to Durban, where Sean was to meet me. Everybody seemed well, and Liam and Kian were as delightful as ever. Karen has had substantial work done on her house and it is now bigger and better designed for their needs. (Not that it was small before!!) I will try to take some pictures on my return trip.

This photo is for Clare so that she can see the hoodies she bought for Shannon and Jordan..

After catching up with family gossip, it was, too soon, time to go back to the airport to catch my flight to Durban. There, Sean was waiting to take me back to Waterfall KZN, where I am at present. My grandchildren, Shannon and Jordan, are quite delightful and I have enjoyed being with them. Jane is having great success as a freelance writer and Sean has his business up and running and work is coming in steadily.

A day at the beach

Monday was a holiday - Freedom Day - and we drove to Umhlanga to meet up with David's brother Terry and his wife Sue, who are staying there for a month as a respite from the trials and tribulations of farming in Zimbabwe. It was wonderful to see them again and catch up with all their news. We spent the day with them on the beach and had tea and cakes back in their apartment before driving back home again. The children loved the beach and Jordan, in particular, was very cross to be taken away even though he was shivering with cold from the rather stiff breeze!

Sue helping Jordan to dig in the sand

Jordan loved playing with the water and the sand and he didn't want to leave the beach!

Shannon and Jordan playing in a rock pool.

Now Jane is busy writing, as she has deadlines to meet, and I am catching up on some R&R, because, for some strange reason, I can't log onto Jane's wireless network!

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