31 August 2008

The big guys

Yesterday the family popped down to the Addo Elephant National Park for the afternoon. Why? To see the elephants of course.

It was a cool and blustery day so there were no elephants cooling down at the water holes, but we came across many lone bulls in the dense bush as we drove around.

A big guy browsing from the bushes. .

Man with a mission. By the way one of the peculiarities of the female elephants at Addo is that they do not have tusks

Towards sunset we came across this fellow having a drink at the Domkrag Dam.

At sunset we ended up in the middle of a herd of female elephants with calves. I was not able to take any pictures of the little guys, but Suzie managed a few. See PE Daily Photo.

We saw a lot of other game and I will post pictures of the other animals we saw over the next week.

28 August 2008

Sky Watch Friday - Sunrise at Malealea

Sunrise over the Thaba Putsuo mountains, viewed from Malealea in Lesotha, when we were on holiday there a few months ago.
For more sky watch pictures visit the Sky Watch site.

Stone bridge - Karnmelk River

There was a time when the stone masons were very busy in the Eastern Cape. This is one of the many of the old stone bridges that are to be found in the Barcly East region. You can see the craftsmanship in the construction of this bridge.

21 August 2008

Sky Watch Friday - One big sky

I just love living in Port Elizabeth. You never know what is going to come your way next. This picture was taken a few weeks ago along Marine Drive.
For more great pictures pop in to the Sky Watch site.

20 August 2008

Rocks, sand and sea

One of the many views on the walk from Port St Francis to Shark Point.

Life with Suzie - "anger management"

One little rule that Suzie and I decided on right at the beginning of our marriage, was never to go to sleep angry with one another. This has been a good practice as it has forced us to deal with our disagreements, even if it meant talking into the early hours of the morning. This is also an added incentive to sort out the problems quickly, especially if you need your beauty sleep.

The times we have broken the rule could probably be counted on one hand, which is not a bad record for 32 years. The only problem on those occassions is that the night got very uncomfortable, as we each clung to our side of the bed trying not to touch each other.

On the plus side we have a great marriage and very seldom have disagreements.

One memorable disagreement in the early years of our marriage, was when Suzie was a potter. We had been invited out to dinner with a group of friends and were running late. Suzie believed in being fashionably late and I believed in Teutonic punctuality (must be my German ancestry). I was champing at the bit and being a total grot.

To make matters worse, from my perspective, she very cheerfully loaded a pottery order into the car, which she said we could deliver on the way.

By now I was being totally unreasonable and said it would make us even more late - even if it was on the way.

Let me just say that there was an exchange of words between us and when we got to the street where the delivery was to be made, Suzie was equally anry, with probably a lot more justification than me. Her stubborn streak kicked in and she refused to give me the street number, saying that she would do the delivery on Monday.

My conscience was now beginning to get the better of me, not that I would admit it. So instead of saying I was sorry and that it was really no problem and I was being totally unreasonable, I parked the car in the middle of the road and said we could stay there until she gave me the street number.............

...............Suzie weakened first and we made the delivery and even though we were late, we were the first to arrive at our friends place. Some people take being fashionably late to even greater heights.

That night we behaved totally out of character, sitting on opposite sides of the room and not saying a word to each other. It must have been very obvious to our friends. Afterwards we drove home in stoney silence and put the kids to bed without saying a word. We were both still in sulk mode.

Rules being rules, neither of us went to the bedroom. We somehow gravitated to the kitchen, where we stood staring at each other, still in stoney silence and then simultaneously burst out laughing. I don't know what brought it on, but we kissed and made up. So often the causes of a disagreement are so silly you can only laugh at them.

Suzie still likes being fashionably late, but there are times when she is a stickler for punctuality. And me - well if you can't beat em, join em - life's too short to get hung up on the little things.

The rule is still there, but I can't remember the last time we needed to use it.

18 August 2008


The Blogger problem have persisted all week, but so have I and this is the first picture I have been able to post from my ADSL line in over two weeks. I have been posting with my cell phone, but that was a hassle and more costly - then this morning as suddenly as as it stopped working, it started again. Let's just hpe it lasts.

Last weekend we were able to get many great pictures at Cape St Francis and I was delighted to be able to capture this francolin. What is also great about the Eartern Cape is that there is always some plant flowering, no matter what time of the year.

14 August 2008

Sky Watch Friday - Don't just look to the sky

Just after sunrise at Cape St Francis last Sunday we took a stroll out to Shark Point

It is just as well that we did not focus only on the sky, otherwise we may have missed this Cape Clawless Otter, fishing off the shoreline. What a delight to come across this shy animal.

09 August 2008

Life with Suzie – Man-speak

I have coined a phrase “man-speak” in our family. It is the ability of a man to communicate in monosyllables, grunts and other non-verbal forms of communication like gestures, a nod of the head or a raised eyebrow. I suppose you could also call it the secret language of men.

Two men, who have just met, can sit in what may seem like silence, watching a ball game on TV and at the end of it, are the best of buddies. The fact that they seemed to say nothing to one another is immaterial. They were communicating the whole time with man-speak

There is just one problem with man-speak, women don’t understand it.

Let me illustrate it with a real life example. Sometime last year Suzie asked me to unlock the front door for our domestic worker. I responded in man speak – which may have been a nod of the head or a grunt – I can’t remember.

“Did you hear what I just asked?”

“Yes,” I replied.

“Well you didn’t answer me”, was the response.

“Oh, but I did,” I assured her, “it was in man-speak.”

That evening I resumed the discussion on man-speak, with Suzie and daughter-in-law. For some strange reason they did not understand the principles.

“It is simple,” I said, “a man can say a lot with a simple non-verbal gesture, like inclining their head.”

“Well so can a woman,” came back the retort, as Suzie gave me her best rendition of a withering look.

I was not slow in responding. “The difference is that with a man the gesture is not followed by a barrage of words.” I just knew that I pushed the right button, as I saw Suzie lining up with a retort.

Daughter-in-law got in first. “Don’t fall for it Sue,” she said.

Suzie’s jaw clamped shut and I was subjected to another look.

The moral of the story is two fold. A man generally does not win an argument with a woman – when there are two he is lost. And then don’t use man-speak on women, because it will get you nowhere.

A stormy day

The Cape coast is being battered by gale force winds and I believe the swells are running at 7 metres. Since we arrived last night the wind has been whistling through the buildings, with an erie sound. We took a drive to Cape St Francis this morning, only to be severely battered by the wind and covered in sea spray. It was really cool.

We we a bit late for the sunrise, but the view was still great.

The waves on the wild side were giving the coast a good pounding.

Rollers coming in at seal point.

Around the corner, between Seal Point and Shark Point the sea was flatter, but still spectacular.

Frustrations, frustrations frustrations #2 - Update

I have tried Wordpress and it has some nice features, but I prefer Blogger - in particular the feature of posting larger format pictures. So I guess I'll continue to contend with the problem until it is resolved.

My latest conclusion is that it must be a conflict between my ISP and Blogger. I can upload and post to Wordpress from my ADSL line but Blogger. I have no problem uploading and posting to Blogger from my cell phone ISP. I have asked my "guys" to have a look into the problem and get back to me.

So for now it is back to Blogger.

The Rock - St Croix Island

Today marks the start of a new era in my blogging, as I have reluctantlly had to leave Blogger, because of persistent upload problems, which they seem unable to resolve. I have imported all my old posts into Wordpress, but will have to do some tweaking, because Wordpress is not configured for my large format pictures

St Croix Island in Algoa Bay is just one big rock filled with penguins, oyster catchers and a large assoetment of other sea birds.

St Croix has the largest breeding colony of African Penguins in Southern Africa. These poor birds have been put under a lot of pressure to find food as the fish in the Bay has been depleted as a result of trawling. They apparently swim out for up to 155 kilometres to find food.

Stepping out. Or is it the quick step?

The Oyster Catchers were an added bonus, as they are endangered. There are apparently less than 5 000 of these birds left in the world and it is the only oystercatcher that breeds in Africa.
Oyster catchers mate for life and may live for 35 years. The name is a misnomer, as the birds eat limpets and mussels and not oysters. They do not breed until they are three years old

07 August 2008

Frustrations, frustrations, frustrations!

Not being able to post pictures for a week has been a source of frustration.

In my frustration I transferred all my files to Wordpress, but to be quite honest I prefer Blogger.

I have done some experimenting and have discovered that I can upload pictures via my cell phone, so I can only concude that the problem does not lie with my Blogger account, but with my service provider.

I was assured the other day that the problem does not lie with them, but will now chase them up, until they sort it out.

Here is hoping that I get this resolved tomorrow.

New home

Blogger is either unable or unwilling to sort out our upload problems. Suzi-k and I have not been able to post pictures on any of our four blog sites since Sunday.

I have enjoyed using Blogger, but they have left me with no alternative but relocate The Max Files to a new home at Wordpress.

05 August 2008

Life with Suzie – Lead foot

Suzie loves driving and especially loves fast cars; well if they are not fast she will make them fast. I have for many years called her lead foot.

For some “perverse” reason I usually let her drive. One day she very magnanimously asked if I would like to drive her car - a 2 litre Opel Kadett IS (Aka "Bloublitz" - "Blue Lightning") - complete with a high performance chip.

“No”, I replied, “I have not yet had my adrenalin rush for the day”. That was definitely a challenge.

The kids used to take a great delight in telling me, “Mom says, you are not cutting it fine until you see the whites of their eyes”.

Admittedly she generally sticks to the speed limit and is a safe driver, but likes a quick get away.

Still nothing happening

After a day of trying to post pictures, from two different computers, it is still a no go. I have been trying since last night to upload pictures and all I still get is:

Network Error (tcp_error)
A communication error occurred: ""
The Web Server may be down, too busy, or experiencing other
problems preventing it from responding to requests. You may wish to try again at a later time.

For assistance, contact your network support team.
Two messages on blogger state that they have a problem with downloads and are working on it. One says it is resolved. Well it is not. Let's hope it is sorted out soon.

03 August 2008

Life with Suzie – the bends

My daughter had only just recently received her drivers licence and we were travelling home from work one evening.

She was driving, very sedately up Circular drive. Everything was going well as we turned right into Bordeaux Avenue. Then as we approached S-bend she accelerated, swung the steering wheel into the right turn, a quick left and then she accelerated out of the bend.

I was plastered back in my seat, by now in a cold sweat and thankful I was still alive.

Before I could say a thing she looked at me with a big grin and a gleam in her eyes and said, “Mom says you should never waste a good corner”.

Mmmmmmmm….what could I say.

A whale of a time

On Saturday we went out on a whale watching trip with Lloyd, from Raggy Charters. It was a round trip, of just over three hours, from the harbour to Brenton Island and then around St Croix and Jahleel Islands, past the new deep water port at Coega and back along the coast to the harbour.

Lloyd warned us not to be disappointed if we did not see any whales, but to sit back and enjoy the trip, because there was so much to see. The first sighting was the spout of a Bryde's Whale, which was not very cooperative and disappeared very quickly. These whales live permanently in the Bay and are quite shy and seldom seen.

"There she blows!"

On the return trip just past Coega we came across a pair of Southern Right Whales, just beyond the breakers, which did not disappoint us. All our earlier sightings have been of little specs in the distance, photographed from the shore. I did post some pictures once, but never again.

We spent about twenty minutes (the maximum legal limit) watching this pair and left.

All I can say is, "Wow what a trip. It was corth every cent". If you live in Port Elizabeth and have never done it, take the plunge, you will not regret it.

For more pictures of these whales go to Port Elizabeth Daily Photo.

01 August 2008

Life with Suzie – Made to measure

I was preparing my breakfast in the kitchen the other morning and looked up to see Suzie walking through to her studio very purposefully, with a black bra held out in front of her. The strap held firmly between thumb and forefinger of her left hand and the edge of one of the cups held in the same way, in her right hand.

I looked up quizzically.

“Don’t say a thing”, she said.

I didn’t. In fact I knew I did not have to. After thirty two years of marriage I knew I would be getting my answer, before she’d crossed the kitchen.

“I am using it as a tape measure”, she laughed.

That’s my Suzie. She wanted to replace a side table in the living room, with one in the studio and needed to know it would fit. There was no tape measure readily available – the next best thing at hand was her bra.