RIchmond - April & May 2010

We'd expected to pick up our truck on our return from the cruise but were very disappointed to find that the third engine that had been put in had been overheating. We were told that the head would need skimming and that it should be ready by the end of the week. However it was then discovered that the head was cracked and needed replacing.... So it was in fact another 5 weeks before it was ready!

A couple of days after our return from the cruise we walked down the field to see the donkeys and were surprised to see a donkey foal. When we mentioned it to Pat and Colin they were as surprised as us!

We'd all noticed that the 4 female donkeys were getting fat but weren't sure if they were in foal or just very well fed.



A week or so later another foal was born but during the night, just after it was born, a couple of dogs came and chased it. As a result the mother rejected the foal and both had bites on them from the dogs.

Colin bottle fed the donkey for a couple of weeks but, sadly, despite all his efforts it became very weak and had to be put down.

One day there was a cold wind so Colin put an adapted babygro on the foal to help keep it warm.

Yes that IS a beer bottle he's using to give it milk....

In April Veronica was 18.

We had a champagne breakfast to celebrate.

On April 15th I was due to fly to the UK for a couple of weeks. On the plane from Durban to Johannesburg (as we were waiting to taxi out to the runway) I got a strange text message from Diana (my sister) saying 'Check out flights due to volcanic ash landing problems." I'd not heard the news that morning but a few other passengers were able to fill me in. At the Virgin Atlantic check-in desk at Jo'burg I was told that they hoped to fly out at midnight (rather than 8pm) so I went through to the departure lounge. At that time all the other airlines had already cancelled their flights to London. I contact our niece, Desiree, who lives in Jo'burg and she said that I could stop with them if my flight was cancelled - which it was just after 10pm so Greg and Desiree very kindly came and picked me up.

I ended up staying there for 6 days (thank goodness I could stop with them instead of having to put up in an hotel). Every day the closure of European airspace kept being extended and I began to think that I'd never get to the UK. However I had been told that as I was 'in transit' that I would be on the first flight out and the following Wednesday morning I got an email to say that I'd be on the 1pm flight to Heathrow.


After the extremely cold weather during winter in the UK I'd been told that April had been very mild with plenty of sun and, apart from 1 day, it was indeed very sunny - I was glad that I'd taken a pair of shorts with me!

Although I only ended up with just under a week in the UK it was great to catch up with the family and I also managed to se a few friends.

The one day that it was cloudy was when Diana had organised a BBQ.

and, of course, it started to rain.....

.....but we still had a good time.

I got back to South Africa a couple of days before Adelle and Greg's wedding. They had been very worried that Greg's family wouldn't get to South Africa because of the volcanic ash disruption but, fortunately, Heathrow air space opened up a day before they were due to fly out.

Adelle looked beautiful. We all thoroughly enjoyed the ceremony and the reception.

Towards the end of May we spent several days at Bob and Lesley's farm while they visited friends in Jo'burg. It's always a pleasure to stay there, we never tire of the superb view over Albert Falls dam.


The newest addition to their animals is a kitten, which they found in one of the barns when it was tiny. Unlike most 'wild' cats this one is very friendly. She has very similar markings to Tiggy, one of our cats that we had to leave in the UK.

Kitty with Angus, the bulldog............

...........and having a rest on Kevin's shoulder.

Bob and Lesley have a herd of over 40 Nguni cattle. These are an African breed and and more hardy and resistant to disease than the cattle breeds that were imported from Europe. Many of them have lovely markings - but also long sharp horns!

We visited the Roual Show in Pietermaritzburg.


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