31 August 2009

And they said it could not be done!

When we got back from our holiday recently I had a good laugh as we drove past the Mount Road Police station and saw all this scaffolding in place.

When the moves were still afoot to build the 10111 call centre at Richmond Park, the developers vehemently rejected all our suggestions to convert part of the police station into the call centre. There were many "good" reasons for this, which suddenly dissipated when the development was stopped at Richmond Hill. It just goes to show that you can never trust the spin.

This is only a temporary measure to gear up for the 2010 World Cup Soccer and until the new centre is built on the site in Korsten.

30 August 2009

Bulgarian Cameos #1 - Shipka Pass

When you see a scene like this one at the top of the Shipka Pass, it is difficult to imagine that four fierce battles were fought here during the Russo-Turkish War (1877-1878).

The Russo-Turkish War resulted in the defeat of the Turks and brought an end to 500 years of Ottoman rule in Bulgaria. If you are interested, you can read all about the war on Wikipaedia.

23 August 2009

Time for sunshine

These sunflowers were photographed near Kazanlak in the Valley of the Roses in Bulgaria. Though they had their backs to me they nevertheless put on a cheerful display.

Kazanlak is probably one of the largest rose oil producing area in the world. By the time we passed through the roses had been harvested, but the visit to the Rose Museum was interesting. Apparently it takes one hectare of roses to produce one litre of rose oil. No wonder it fetches around €6,000 a litre.

These roses were photographed in the car park outside the Rose Museum.

22 August 2009

A time of sadness and a time of joy

I have not been able to bring myself to blog for just over a month, which has been filled with mixed emotions.

While we were on holiday we received a call to say that my younger sister had suffered a massive brain haemorrhage and was in a coma. She passed away that evening. I never expected my "baby sister" to die before me, so her passing came as a tremendous shock. I am still trying to come to terms with her not being with us, and I still hope that it is just a bad dream.

Whenever I think of Joyce, I think of her as my little sister, because that is how I referred to her when I was a kid. From an early age she was a person with a strong character. She knew what she wanted, she was not influenced by popular opinion, she could assert herself and was not afraid to hold back, she also had a sharp wit and a good brain.

My sisters and I had a tradition of having our photos taken together, which started when we were still small. As kids mother would periodically decide it was time for our photos to be taken. Spontaneous or candid shots were not done. All the shots had to be carefully posed, but first of all we would be bathed and scrubbed and put into our best clothes and go through an afternoon of what could best be described as "kiddies hell." We would have preferred to be playing, but looking back now I realise our mother left us with a legacy of treasured photos that bring back many memories.

We had a great childhood. We played and laughed and argued and fought like any other siblings and always stood up for one another, because we were family. Joyce, Charlette and I had a very close relationship and our times together was always very special. Joyce always retained her no nonsense approach to life and her sharp wit and could always be relied upon to be unconventional. She also always sought the best for her two daughters and her granddaughter.

I am really going to miss my little sister.

Yet in the sadness there was also joy, with the arrival of our third grandchild Jonathan, a delightful little boy, who needless to say is going to be spoilt rotten by me. Just one look at that littlle guy and I was totally besotted.