A lioness and her kill….Camera issue resolved for now…

A lioness and her kudu kill on the bank of the Crocodile River.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

This is some type of chameleon lizard that takes on the appearance in its surroundings, as in the case of the tree in this photo.  We’ve seen it in this same spot every day for the past week.

A few days ago while Tom & Lois were still here we made our usual drive to the river to search for sightings beyond Marloth Park’s fence into the Crocodile River in Kruger National Park.


Each time we find several cars lined up at either “Two Trees” or one of many lookout spots along the river road, we knew we were in for a treat.  Most often, the enthusiasm is generated by lion sightings, much more than for elephants, cape buffalo, giraffes and others.

This day was no exception.  Photography enthusiasts, both amateur and professional may be found at the fence striving for the perfect shot of what treasures lie beyond the limitations of the fence between the two parks.
We couldn’t believe our safari luck in getting these photos.
Recently, one of our two identical Canon Powershot cameras got soaked by an unopened bottle of red wine I had in a grocery bag.  Since I mostly drink low alcohol wine, I often bring my own bottle to a restaurant and pay a corkage fee which generally runs no more than ZAR 30 (US $2.09) for the entire bottle.

Recently Jabula Lodge and Restaurant had started carrying my favorite low alcohol red and white wines so when I brought the bottle of red, I never used my own bottle, instead respectfully ordering from their supply. 
At the end of the evening with the wine in my cloth grocery bag, I placed the camera inside the bag, not thinking anything of it.  Lo and behold, as we were getting ready to leave after another fine meal I placed the bag on the stone floor with a slight thud.
It was quite a sight to observe her bloody nose from eating her kill.
The thud was powerful enough to break the glass wine bottle and the contents poured all over the camera and the floor.  I wiped up as much as I could at the restaurant and worked on the camera further when we returned to the house, taking out the battery and SD card, hoping it would dry out.

With the upcoming exciting Kenya photography tour in February, I thought perhaps it was a sign I needed a more sophisticated camera.  Tom could continue to use the identical second model and I could learn to use whatever I could find.

Knowing the postal service is a nightmare in South Africa and not wanting to pay outrageous DHL five-day shipping and customs fees, my best hope was to find something suitable in South Africa.
Every so often, she’s stand to investigate her surroundings.
This proved to be hopeless.  None of the models I was interested in are available online here and there was no way we were willing to drive to Johannesburg (minimum five-hour drive each way) to purchase a new camera.

At one point, a few days ago I resigned myself to the fact that a new camera wasn’t in the cards for me at this time and I’d have to use the one we had left which is in fine condition.  

This would mean Tom wouldn’t have a camera to use during the Kenya trip or any other outings we’ll take to Kruger over these next months. I put the bad camera on the dresser in the bedroom figuring we’d have to dispose of it at a recycling facility before too long.
Was a male lion in the area that would steal her kill if he spotted it?
Yesterday, a few hours after Tom and Lois left, I decided to try, one more time (I’d already tried no less than 10 times) if I could get it to work.  I inserted a battery and SD card, fired it up and goodness sakes, it worked!

The end result?  I’m not going to purchase a more sophisticated camera until we get to the US in five months.  We’ll live with what we have in Kenya.  No doubt, this being a “photography tour” may leave us as the only people in the small tour group with a less than ideal camera for such an event.

But, I can’t worry about that.  I know we’ll end up with decent photos our worldwide readers will enjoy as they’ve frequently commented positively on our photos.  Sure, the photos can always be better and eventually, they will be as I gain more skill and eventually buy another camera.
Lois’s last time feeding the kudus yesterday morning before they departed.
The reality remains, our site is about the lives of two nomads traveling the world without a home, without storage, and without a place to call their own.  It’s not an arena to boast photographic skills and expertise.

Let’s face it. I have minimal photography skills and expertise. As much as I get a kick of out taking some decent photos, it’s just not my major love.  My love is sharing our story, year after year regardless of how exciting or uneventful our days and nights may be.
Thanks to all of our readers for hanging in there with us during this long period in Africa.  In a mere 110 days, three months, 18 days, we’ll be on our way to Kenya and won’t be staying in a vacation home until next May. Lots will transpire in the interim.

Have a fantastic weekend, living life to the fullest!

                  __________________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, November 2, 2017:

Tom got this distant shot of the Montezuma Oropendola which is a New World tropical icterid bird. It is a resident breeder in the Caribbean coastal lowlands from southeastern Mexico to central Panama but is absent from El Salvador and southern Guatemala.  For more photos, please click here.

A tour of the visually enticing and historic city of Livingstone, Zambia…Twenty years from now?…Is it possible?…

A craftsman at work encouraged us to take the photo.

“Sighting of the Day in Zambia”

Everywhere we travel in Africa and other parts of the world, we see women, not men, carrying heavy baskets atop their heads.

We prepared today’s post yesterday after uploading the post for August 19th.  With a plan to leave the hotel in Livingstone with Steve from Chris Tours picking us up at 7:00 am, we realized there would be no time to prepare a new post for today.

Our driver dropped us off at this outdoor arts and crafts market in the center of town.

Luckily, the editing site in blogger allows us to select a time and date we’d like a particular post to be automatically uploaded.  This has proven to be invaluable for our commitment to post a new story with photos each and every day.

We encountered some of the most “assertive” vendors we’ve seen anywhere in the world, comparable to those in the souks in Marrakesh, Morocco.

No doubt, this commitment we made to our worldwide readers many years ago has kept us on our toes when we have activities planned that impinge upon the hours of the day we reserve for doing our posts.

Only one vendor refuses to allow us to take photos. (Not necessarily this one).  We respected his wishes.

Yes, I know.  Some of our kindly readers have written saying, “No worries, miss a post or two from time to time.”  Thanks to all of you for your support!  However, if we miss one or two posts here and there, suddenly we may find ourselves missing four or five or ten or twelve.  

The items offered for sale consisted of inexpensive jewelry, Africa themed arts and crafts, fabrics, clothing, toys and such.

We all know how this goes.  Change a consistent habit or process and suddenly it gets away from us.  It’s kind of like being on a diet…only one piece of cake and then I’ll go back to my diet.  

Often tourists can’t resist buying items for their homes.

Well, we know what happens then…a leftover piece of cake beacons us sitting in the fridge in the morning calling our name and once again we re-commit to the diet after we’re done eating this “one last piece.”

With no intent of making purchases, we wandered through the busy area stopping to appreciate some of the items.

Writing these daily posts is one diet we want to stick to, as long as we continue to travel the world and perhaps even after when we can’t continue any longer due to health as we age.  As long as I still have my wits about me, I can’t imagine ever stopping.

Colorful dolls with handmade detail.

Imagine, we had to stop traveling due to health concerns or merely old age and we were thrown into the reality of staying put.  How we handled this may be of some interest to others for both retirees and working folks.  

It appeared many shoppers could easily be locals shopping for themselves and for gifts.

At this point, neither of us can conceive of living out our lives without this magical way we approach each day.  But, most likely, someday, it will happen.  When I think that in 20 years, God willing, I’ll be 90 years old, its hard to imagine doing what we’re doing today…riding on bumpy dirt roads on safari in Chobe National Park in Botswana.

There are numerous banks and financial business in town.

I’m sure some travelers out there have done this at 90 years of age.  Please point them out to me.  I’d love some inspiration that it’s indeed possible, if not likely.  Tom will be a measly 85 years ago…quite the youngster.

A typical day in the city of Livingstone.

When I think of how fast the past 20 years flew by, it makes me realize how quickly the next 20 will come.  So, missing a day’s post is not in my wheelhouse.  Each day counts.  Each moment counts and our intent is to continue to live each one to the fullest, sharing our story with all of you.

We waited for our driver to pick us up while people watching on the busy street.

Tomorrow, we’ll be back with a short post since we’ll be on safari all day once again.  However, we’ll upload a few photos from today’s safari and a few snippets of this return experience to Botswana.


May each moment of your day be special.

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Photo from one year ago today, August 20, 2017:

Lavender bougainvillea on the grounds of La Perla, villa in Atenas, Costa Rica.  For more photos, please click here.


Part 2…Plas Mawr…A step into yesteryear…A historical home in New Plymouth…A day to remember…

June’s warm and friendly demeanor is a delight to behold.  We feel fortunate to have met her and had the opportunity for this special experience.

As we entered the historic house, Plas Mawr, (which translates to “big hall” in Welsh), owned by June and Simon Moseley, we realized the treasures we found on the grounds continued well into the fine home.

We entered the sun room to find this book, “The Life and Times of James Walter Chapman-Taylor.”

June explained many of the details in the building, upgrading and maintenance of the house while our eyes flitted around the rooms perusing the many amenities the renowned New Zealand architect, James Chapman-Taylor had so thoughtfully included in the design of the home, so well preserved today, over 100 years later.

The home’s Arts and Craft’s woodwork and style is reminiscent of homes many of us have seen in our past.

Each space had its own personality as the theme of the era followed from room to room never deviating from the concept of his design and the era of the decade and beyond. The popular Arts and Crafts concept was popular in areas of Minneapolis, which we both had seen on many occasions over the years.


This clever seating nook and appropriate narrow table brought visions of “tea time” to mind.

An expensive concept at the time, it required the inclusion of detailed quality uncluttered woodworking, unique contemporary mechanisms and the use of nature as a backboard. 

June and Simon have made the historic home comfortable for their needs while carefully maintaining the integrity of the style. 

The Craftsman style of home flourished throughout the world finding its way to New Plymouth, New Zealand by Chapman-Taylor in the early 1900’s when he built 80 homes:

“James Walter Chapman-Taylor (24 June 1878 – 25 October 1958) was one of New Zealandʼs most important domestic architects of his time, bringing the Arts and Crafts Movement to New Zealand houses he designed. Chapman-Taylor was also a skilled craftsman, builder, furniture designer, photographer and astrologer.”

The fireplace behind this copper screen is still used today as the only source of heat in the home.

The world renowned Frank Lloyd Wright (see below) built many homes of this style in Minnesota and throughout the US:

Frank Lloyd Wright, one of the most important and prolific architects of houses in the U.S., was one of the originators of the Prairie School style, which was an organic architecture outgrowth of both the American Craftsman style aesthetics and its philosophy for quality middle-class home design. Wright’s career spanned through the Victorian, Chicago School, American Craftsman, Prairie School, International style, and Modernism movements. The Robie House is an example of his American Craftsman inspired Prairie School work.”


Do these light switches bring back memories of long ago?

Having spent 25 years of my career as a real estate broker/company owner, I had many opportunities to see and occasionally sell one of these styles of homes.  They often sold quickly although they may have been priced higher than homes of the more ornate style of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.  Their popularity continues today.

The architect designed these special windows that remain today as practical and functional.

Plas Mawr is a perfect example of the integrity of the style which we’ve attempted to illustrate in today’s photos.  June was the perfect tour guide as we wandered throughout the house stopping on many occasions to talk along the way. 

The Arts and Crafts style are clearly illustrating in the design of the ceilings.

After our tour, we settled in the comfy seating in the sun room as June educated us on New Zealand’s cultural history which we’ll include in a future post. As a teacher, she was able to present the information in a context of great interest to us both.  Its a highly charged topic for New Zealander’s which we hope to present with the dignity and sensitivity it so well deserves.

When replacing kitchen appliances June and Simon included this “antique appearing” style range and oven.

We shared many of our cultural and wildlife experiences throughout the world with June as she listened attentively and with a natural curiosity as to the unusual lifestyle we lead, very supportive of the choices we’ve made to explore the world for as long as we are able. 

The original cabinets were open without doors and drawers which we added at a later date.
We all giggled when June brought out some postcards from Minnesota from a visit to the US some time ago.

Finally, it dawned on us it was time to go.  June had guests arriving for the holiday weekend and we needed to get out of her hair.  She insisted we stay longer which warmed our hearts but we preferred to let her continue with her busy day.


Check out the electricity running to this original light fixture.

The beautiful wood cabinetry was carried into the bathroom.

We all enthusiastically hugged goodbye at the gate. We hope to meet again in our next over two month stay in New Plymouth.   Its truly been a pleasure.  Thank you, dear June!  Thank you, Plas Mawr!

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Photo from one year ago today, February 7, 2015

Cattle egret are common in Hawaii and many other parts of the world.  In Kauai they often gathered near construction sites, lawn mowers and gardeners hoping that the processes will stir up worms in the soil.  For more photos, please click here.

Part 1…Plas Mawr…A step into yesteryear…A historical home in New Plymouth…A day to remember…

When we spotted this original gate to the property, we knew we were in the right place, Plas Mawr, a historic custom home built in 1913 by renowned New Zealand architect, James Chapman-Taylor.

When we met June Moseley at the market and she invited us to visit her historic home, listed on the historical registry, Heritage New Zealand, Pouhere Taonga (The Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act 2014 replaced the Historic Places Act 1993 on 20 May 2014), we were amazed that meeting a stranger in a supermarket could result in a meaningful experience. 


The stone garden house.

As a teacher with a passion for history and architecture June is a wealth of information about local New Plymouth and New Zealand history over hers and husband Simon’s many years in the area. 

Last Christmas, June received the rain barrel to the left of the garden house as a gift.

We were in awe of the comprehensive details June shared on her Arts and Crafts style historical home, Plas Mawr, built in 1913 by renowned New Zealand architect, James Walter Chapman-Taylor as quoted below from the historical registry:

“Chapman-Taylor, James Walter

Chapman-Taylor (1878-1958) was born in London and his family came to New Zealand in 1880. He was apprenticed to a builder in Stratford, and there he studied architecture by correspondence.

The walkway toward the house.

In 1909 Chapman-Taylor went on a voyage to England where he acquainted himself with the English vernacular and the Arts and Crafts movement. This trip had a profound effect on Chapman-Taylor’s future work as he followed the principles of the Arts and Crafts movement, a movement with origins in the English Gothic Revival. Chapman-Taylor adhered to the Arts and Crafts principles of permanence, honesty, simplicity and beauty as espoused by architects C.F.A. Voysey (1857-1941), Baillie Scott, Parker and Unwin whom he met on this trip to England.

The continuation of the vegetation covered walkway reminded us of botanical gardens we’ve visited in our world travels.

He adapted the English movement to local conditions. His is an honest architecture which remained popular despite changing fashions. Chapman-Taylor adhered to Arts and Crafts principles over the 50 years of his career and showed a keen awareness of local forms and materials. He designed the furniture and fittings for many of his houses, including details such as wrought iron door and window fittings.

Our first view of the historic house.

As an architect and a craftsman, Chapman-Taylor designed and then built his houses himself – approximately 80 of them dated between 1904 and 1953. While most of these houses are situated in Wellington and Heretaunga, there are others throughout the North Island and one in the South Island.”

Hibiscus are hearty flowers seen worldwide.

Today, we’re focusing on the exterior of the house with its exquisite grounds, gardens and amenities.  Tomorrow, in Part 2, we’ll highlight the interior of this fine home including photos of many of the well suited personal items and antiques June and Simon accumulated over the years so well befitting the unique era and design of this historic home which they purchased 11 years ago. 

The entrance to the sunroom.

We easily found the house on the quiet New Plymouth neighborhood although the address wasn’t clearly marked.  The massive sturdy hedges provided a secluded barrier from the street adding to the unique charm of the property. 

Beautiful vines, trellises and plants highlight the property’s grounds.

As soon as we spotted the clearly marked gate we knew we were in the right place.  Immediately upon entering the grounds the grace and beauty placed us in another era we could only imagine of a time when such design was seen only in special properties.

June apologized for the dandelions and sparse lawn with the recent lack of rains.  We could easily imagine a lush green lawn in more a more rainy climate.

The archways, trellises, gardens and endless array of flowering plants, shrubs and trees reminded us of a variety of botanical gardens we’ve toured throughout the world. 

We’d love to be able to identify all of these flowers but with our metered wifi we can’t spend time searching online.

With my particular affinity for flowers, many of which were late into the blooming season in New Zealand, I paid particular interest in those remaining.  Had we arrived a few months earlier flowers would have been at their peak. 

Seeing these cute flowers was a first for us.

As we’ve learned in our travels, we aren’t always at the right place at the right time of year.  Its the “nature” of our travels with “Mother Nature” at the helm of what we’ll have the opportunity to see. 

These flowers seem to grow prolifically in New Zealand.

Nor, do we have any control over the necessity of taking photos on cloudy days.  Recently, we decided that clouds will not deter us from taking photos as was the case when we entered June and Simon’s property yesterday morning. 

Another pretty bloom.

As we approached the house, June warmly greeted us as we took more photos, escorting us indoors for the remainder of the breathtaking tour.  Aware that she had house guests arriving for the Waitanga Day (see description below) three day holiday weekend we didn’t want to take too much of her time. 


This stalk reminded us of a similar flowers we’d found in Madeira Portugal.

(Waitangi Day is a public holiday held on 6 February every year to commemorate the signing of New Zealand’s founding document – the Treaty of Waitangi – in 1840).

Zooming in to the above stalk we could see the flower’s unique detail.

As respectful as we intended to be for her time, June made us feel at ease, easily indicating we were welcome to stay as long as we’d like.  After over two hours both in touring the home and engaged in enjoyable conversation, we took our leave. She escorted us to the front gate and again we hugged goodbye, hoping to see her again and meet Simon who was called away for work.

Notice the carved sign above the entrance, identifying the architect and the date the house was designed and built.

Neither of us could wipe the smiles off our faces over the enriching experience with a step into another era that resurfaced many memories of our own home in Minnesota built during this same period and that of many historic homes built during this era in Minneapolis (Tom’s childhood home).

We’ll be back tomorrow with Part 2.  Please check back!

________________________________________


Photo from one year ago today, February 6, 2015:

It was our membership to the Makai Golf Club that was responsible for us meeting friend Richard who introduced us to many of his friends and neighbors.  The previous night we’d attended our first “Full Moon Party” making many new friends with common interests.  For more details, please click here.