I’ve been having a couple of jump up and down tantrums because wild creatures refuse to sit still and have their photos taken – they apparently don’t at all care that I’m still new at this. I do have lots of photos of tips of bird tails and feathery backsides, so I’m guessing that at some point I might just get the whole thing – I might have to venture forth too rather than waiting for them to come to me. There are the most amazing birds zooming around now all busy with their nests and babies. I love watching the weaver birds doing their wild thing best of all. They’re the cleverest little guys, even though I could be a bit biased.
Jelly and Button have never shown the slightest inclination to go outside, and on the couple of occasions that a door has been accidentally left open they’ve run away from it not towards it. Outside is a bit of a scary place for my guys.
In the wild they construct the most amazing nests in huge noisy communities. These are in a thorn tree, so good luck with that any snake who fancies a snack.
My two little guys zoom around busy all day making their own constructions, and singing their little hearts out. They have their own kind of tunes that I’ve never heard from a wild weaver. Anyway, a couple of people have wondered what it’s like around here. Weather wise, I think it’s sub-tropical. Louis Trichardt (here) is a little town situated at the foot of the Soutpansberg Mountain range, and only a couple of hours drive away from the Kruger National Park (I’ll get there yet). It’s a mellow place right up at the top of South Africa very close to the Zimbabwe border, and the people are lovely, both the townies and the farming community. The national highway runs through the town, and if you blink twice you’ll very probably miss it. Wherever you look there are gorgeous mountains. I hope sometime not in the too distant future to head out a little ways and get some pics of just how gorgeous this place is to share, but for now – a couple of shots around and about where I live.
Free Books On Amazon
To celebrate the fact that it’s always Spring – somewhere, I’ve decided to put all my tales on Amazon up for free today and tomorrow (12 – 13 April). I’ll pop the links on here if you’d like to download them. I hope you enjoy them! They will go free at around 12 CMT, so in around two hours from now. African Me & Satellite TV will be published next, and then on to the second book in the Shadow People series.
And join us today and tomorrow at the Spring Fever Reads Giveaway, and stand a chance to win more books and a Kindle Fire!
Till next time friends. xxx
Chickens And Bees
Busy week, dodgy internet. The usual bits and pieces. A couple of swarms of bees have invaded the house over the last couple of days. The first lot caught me out in the dressing room with only a tin of air freshener for ammo. It worked though. I came out scathed with only one sting, and that was from standing on a floored bee. Not too bad considering my usual luck. I wonder at the wisdom of using cute bees on children’s cakes and so on. Certainly around here I wouldn’t want any child being under the impression that a bee is in any way cute and wandering over to say Hi to a swarm. I get chills just thinking about it. These little buggers are deadly.
My feathered horde is growing. Angus has been eyeballing a limping baby chicken around and about, and being the macho, uncaring guy that he is, made a point of finding its owner, buying it, and bringing it home. Of course I named him Naka. He’s a sweet little guy, but the rest of the horde bully him, so he hobbles around all on his own all day. They bully the dog too. They’re like a gang of chicken hoods. How to stop chicken bullying – anyone know?
Right now our anthology group is preparing to launch its first book. So that excitement won’t leave me any time to get African Me out there for a little while. I’m not in any hurry any more though. I’m planning brand new covers for existing books anyway, and a re-launch of everything with bells and whistles.
I’m finally figuring out that it’s not necessary to zoom as much as I always feel compelled to do. In fact, I’m learning that speed can be a bad thing as far as establishing yourself as an indie writer is concerned. With my very soul being zoomy, I’m finding slowing down a little hard, but I’m definitely a lot happier with what I’m producing, and learning. I’m loving combining writing with painting too. I’ve started four paintings – one for each cover, but even though that really is slow going, it’s brilliant seeing my own visions for my scribbles coming to life a little.
Till next time friends. xxx
I’m a bit like that big bunny in Alice In Wonderland I think, always zooming around, muttering, “Late, late, late!” I haven’t had a look at yesterday’s action on the great old world wide web yet. Epic monthly shops require epic monthly unpacks, and I didn’t do much of that when we got home last night. Button, the baby weaver bird (formerly known as Kewpie – weavers are a bit like Prince that way), had spent his first full day without his dear old mum (me), since he was blown or booted out of his nest when he was a tiny chick. When we got home, he refused to let me near him until I’d changed into shorts, scruffy T-shirt, and ruffled my hair a bit – not at all liking the look of my civilised town persona. Jelly (the not so baby weaver bird), was a tiny, yellow, quivering mass of rage at having to go without her favourite bouncy toy, perch, and supplier of chocolate and other various really healthy nibbles during the course of each day. So it took a while to stop her from trying to twist large chunks off my earlobes. The parrots had obviously had enough of weavers in general, so they headed off to the kitchen on their own to help with unpacking things, and helpfully chose to unpack, or should I say, chew holes in, a couple of bags of really hard to re-seal Almond flour and desiccated coconut. Obviously I gave up on the unpacking for the day at that point. My feathered guys have ways of getting what they want.
Yesterday went fairly well – apart from the roadblocks. Usually the return trip averages out at a minimum of eight roadblock stops. These are one of the very few things that actually really make me cross. Try as I might, and I really have tried, I can’t think of any justification for being so interfered with. Apart from the usual, “How are you? Where are you going? Have you got any cigarettes? You must give my three Aunties here a lift to Samora Machel Avenue. Give me that Coke?” questions, there are days when everyone’s on the same page, and you get harangued – and spot fined – for having a blue fire extinguisher instead of a red one, having apparently excessive amounts of mud on your wheel arches – regardless of the fact that you’ve just driven forty kilometres on four inches of slippery mud, or having more than three squished bugs on your windscreen. Having a “dirty” car here is punishable by a fine. Not cool.
It quickly became apparent that the topic of yesterday was Radio Licences. For once a legitimate request, but equally unusually, one that I found myself firmly in disagreement with. I’m with the wrong side of the law on this one. If they’d said, “Give me thirty bucks, just because… I want it.”, they’d have had a lot bigger chance of getting it. But I don’t see why I should buy a radio licence if I don’t listen to the radio. Ever. At all. I never, ever, do. Why would I listen to boring radio when I have all of Pink Floyd on CD anyway? I never installed the radio – it’s factory fitted, and came with the car – and I’ve never so much as attempted to figure out how to even switch it on. Normally we just hand over the fine so as to avoid around a total of two hours wasted at these stops, and I normally shut my beak to avoid the always real possibility of getting yourself into proper trouble. Yesterday I thought, “The hell with that!”, and was so adamant that both the radio and CD player were in fact vital parts of the GPS system, that I think we were let off because they really thought that I actually believed that, and felt a little sorry for me – being so obviously thick. On a couple of occasions, much nodding agreement ensued, and we were ushered forward with unusual vigour. This probably won’t be the end of this topic, but I think I’d rather pay hundreds to have the radio removed, and have a much less pretty console, than be forced to hand over any cash in this case, no matter how small the amount. The law is something I have the greatest respect for, but having dozens of people hanging around in the middle of the road, taking thirty bucks from every comer for something they don’t use is just wrong, and I won’t pay it willingly at all. Anyway. Other than joining the criminal community, the day was brilliant.
I descended on a most cool art shop, and relieved it of quite a lot of oil paint, water mixable oil paint, oil pastels, artists brushes, general arty stuff, and much more for my new cover and Lapillus painting project. Now to see if I can. I forgot to get anything to actually paint on though, so I’ve been wandering innocently around, and have eyeballed some nicely cut squares of hardboard, which I’ll appropriate later after an unsuspecting Angus has zoomed off on his bike. If you’re going to go to the dark side, you may as well go all the way. I’ve also semi-finished my first poem in my head, between radio licence altercations, which I might just be brave enough to share with my friends tomorrow. I imagine that all this extreme stretching of the truth – well OK – bald-faced lies then, and plans of grand theft hardboard, are probably worse for my general karma than eating a kilogram of onions – although I’m thinking that that might be offensive on more than the spiritual plane only, so I can see where the yogis of old were coming from, but right now I’m not caring a lot, and also thinking that sometimes trying to be good, turning the other cheek, and not nicking your husbands bits of lurking hardboard, is just downright boring. So, for today, I’ll just be bad. Why not?
Till next time friends. xxx
Small Faces, Little Feet
This morning I noticed that Jelly the weaver bird had learned a new trick. I’ve never seen a wild bird do anything like that, so I’m most impressed indeed. For new friends that don’t know, we have two weavers and two parrots. People tend to give me odd looks when I carry on about how incredibly clever Jelly is. People often give me odd looks in general actually. I very occasionally wonder why, but in this instance I get it. Mad woman jabbering on about a bird. Anyway. She zooms around all day long, busy with one thing or another. She ambushes me when I put the kitchen tap on, because she figures that bathing in the palms of my hands under cool running water is a lot nicer than bouncing around in a bowl. She pulls the wings off any innocent bug that happens to be passing through, and then I swear she chuckles. She sings non-stop, and terrorises all of us until she finally conks out exhausted, in her basket at night.
Both of the weavers really “take notice” of things. They stare very closely at any new activity. You’d be amazed at how threatening such a small eyeball can be when it’s an inch away from your own. The parrots don’t like it at all. She’s their nemesis, poor things. She definitely gives them the willies, and they don’t find her antics in any way cute. She closely monitors their every move, buzzes around their heads whenever they try go anywhere, pulls their tail-feathers as hard as she can, and swipes food right out of their beaks. And I’m sure you’re wondering now where all this long-winded waffle is headed. Well.
I don’t think weaver bird legs are designed to bring food up to their faces with their feet. The parrots on the other hand easily hold their food in their claws and munch away. Their legs are different. It’s always been of great concern to Jelly that she couldn’t do that. So they have the little eyeball right in their faces every time they eat. She quickly figured out that the way forward was to bring what she wanted over to me, sing a small severe song, and shove the cornflake, or bit of bacon between my fingers. Having been thus instructed to hold it, I would, and she’d nibble bits off till it was finished. But now it looks like she’s moved on from there.
One of her games is swinging upside-down from door handles, so not something I’d normally take note of. This morning though, there was an unusual amount of zooming and yelling, so I went to have a look at what the little tyrant was up to. There she was, hanging upside down on to the door handle with one claw, holding half a peanut in the other, and leaning down to take bites out of it! Proving that this was no fluke was the little pile of half-munched items on the floor on the floor under her. Much cleverer than any old monkey I’m thinking.
I’ve always enjoyed watching what animals get up to, especially when they think nobody’s looking. They bustle around, busy with their tiny lives, and each one of those lives is important I think. To themselves at any rate. I see no reason for wild birds to be very different to ours, and from what I’ve learnt from them lately, I reckon there must be millions of little soap operas going on in the bush out there. They have totally different characters. They like totally different foods. They get happy, and sad, and cross. They love, and get jealous. Jelly’s rages are epic examples of this. Right now though, she’s trying really hard to put a bit of lettuce in my ear. I wonder what she’ll learn from that. Silly little thing.
Till next time friends. xxx