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Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Evening walk.

Some photos I took on evening walks this week.

Click to enlarge.

A pair of Egyptian geese enjoying the lush winter wheat.

A pair of Red-billed Quelea in their non-breeding colours. These are tiny birds, but in some parts of the they are a veritable pest gathering in great swarms to destroy wheat crops, much like locusts. With mono culture man has created the perfect environment for these seed eating birds.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Book fair.

Twice a year I organise a book fair day at school. Shaun of Books 2 You, brings his collection of books and displays them in our school hall. Shaun's books are very cheap as he visits the UK and the USA twice a year where he buys remnants directly from the publishers and then imports them into South Africa. Shaun's books average from R45 - R120. That's about $4.50 - $12 US.

We had a two day book fair in February and this one from the 25th July to the 26th July. 

Click to enlarge.

A view of Shaun's mobile shelves that are wheeled into the venue, opened up and all the books are in place and displayed.

Books for preschoolers and grade 1 & 2.

The tables contain non-fiction books and the shelves fiction. Hundreds of titles to choose from.

I usually spend about R7,000 at each book fair, but when Shaun arrived for this one I had almost depleted my budget for books, so I only spent about R1,200. The learners on the other hand bought almost R10,000 worth of books, that's an awful lot of books at those prices.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

A hookah smoking caterpillar.

A hookah smoking caterpillar. This illustration is from "Alice in Wonderland" by Lewis Carol and is for One stoned crow in Namibia.

Click to enlarge.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

... & moon set.

Saw it rise, saw it set. A double blessing.

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Took this photo on my way to school this morning.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Full moon rising.

Full moon tonight.

One of the smaller pivots, only covers about 20 hectares, but it can be moved very slowly and carefully to other pivot points.

Spurwing gees heading home with the moon behind.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Afternoon walk.

Took the dogs for a slow stroll around the farm, they were beside themselves with happiness. As usual I took my camera with me.

Southern bald-headed Ibis, (Geronticus calvus), these birds are restricted to the eastern higher areas of South Africa. Bald-headed ibises are listed as vulnerable.

Speckled pigeon, (Columba guinea) also known as rock pigeons, definitely not a threatened species and across most of Southern Africa.

Another view.

Winter wheat under center pivot irrigation. This a huge pivot and it irrigates fifty hectares, about 2.2 acres to hectare.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Get well cards.

Been at home for three days now and I can't believe I feel so well, will only go back to work on Monday. In the meantime the grade one's sent me get well cards that they made for me.

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There's me in bed with a visitor crying his eyes out, note the tears.

General view of the hospital.

In this picture I even have hair.

I got dozens of "cards" but have only shown these three.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

100,050 pageviews.

I have a counter on post page, on the blogger dashbord is blogger's official counter and it reads 100,050. My goodness I'm famous.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Report back on last Thursday.

Here I am back at home after a four day stay in the Howick private hospital. After my GP's call on Thursday morning I went to see him at his surgery where he went through the results of the blood tests with me. He then phoned a specialist physician in Howick, a small town about 40 minutes drive east of us, and his receptionist said if I'm there before 2pm  he could see me. By this time I was starting to feel very bad, heartbeat, 120+ and very irregular, blood pressure 160/110 and temperature also very high.

I phoned the Italian leprechaun and asked if he could drive me to the specialist, which he promptly agreed to do. Went home packed some things in a bag, (just in case). We got to the specialist rooms at five minutes to two, the specialist saw me immediately. I handed him a letter from my GP and all the blood test results. He wasn't a stranger to me as I had seen him several times before for check ups and other health issues. By now my face was glowing bright red and I looked like a stop light at a road intersection. He asked me a whole lot of question, check my temperature, blood pressure and pulse. He looked at me and said, "straight to hospital right now, you are a very sick man", picked up the phone and booked me a bed. Half an hour later I was in that bed with an anti biotic drip doing it's work.

Only yesterday I heard that I was almost short listed as a candidate on the Heavenly music team. My personal opinion as why I didn't make it was because my primary school piano teacher was on that selection committee, she was always biased about me, claimed I had no music ability, I can still hear her, "silly boy, don't you have ears, I said middle C, I repeat middle C!"  

To day I really feel better than I have in many months, thank you to every one out there who prayed for me and thought about at this time.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

News on on one the blood tests.

At 8:30 this morning I received a phone call from my doctor, which went like something like this; "Morning Phillip, doctor here. Just had a call from the pathologist, and the news is quite serious, you have a generalised infection and septicaemia. Your white blood cell count is extremely high. We need to get to you a specialist, come and see me asap".

To say the least I was gobsmacked.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Crowned cranes, and a list of my woes.

Here in Natal we are coming to the end of our three week winter holiday. On Friday the 21st of June our schools closed and the will be opening on Monday 15th of July. A nice little break in the middle of the year. For me it was not much of a holiday as I have been unwell since before the holiday started. What's wrong? I wish I knew! Nothing I can put my finger on, even the doctor can't say. 

A general feeling of weakness and lack of energy, and my body telling me I'm unwell. At the moment I have a bit of a fever, it most likely wont even show up on the thermometer, yet when I go to bed even just a sheet  is too hot, never mind a blanket or a duvet. It's winter here and the nights get pretty chilly, every one else is talking about electric blankets and hot water bottles, I say I get too hot a night, they all looks at as if I'm mad. My dogs have can back to their baskets, my bed is too cold for them.

Went to my GP this morning, he did all the usual, BP, pulse, temperature, etc, BP high, pulse fast and irregular, temperature normal. The next step urine sample, then draw blood for testing, PSA (prostrate), cholesterol, thyroid function, liver function, full blood count, and I can't remember the rest, looked like at least half a pint if not more to me, all in separate phials. One thing about this doctor, his an artist with a needle, you don't feel it going in and you don't feel it coming out. (Dracula should take lessons from this man and become a real expert). Results should be in by Friday.

Then he tested the urine sample, the test covered 10 different possibilities, eg, acidity, bacteria, sugar, etc. According to my urine sample I'm 100% healthy! So as they say in the classics, "go figure".  Next a concentrated multivitamin injection, (again the needle artistry on his part) just to give my body a bit of a boost. If colour is any indication of effectiveness, this one had what it takes, a nice bright red.

Then I told him that I'm having problems with moving my right arm at the shoulder. So I had to take off my shirt and show what range of motion I have, then he took my arm and put it through the motion it should have, (OUCH!). Verdict? Inflammation in the xyz (don't ask me the proper name) tendon that runs from the collar bone over the shoulder bone. Out came the needle and syringe and a phial of cortisone, to be injected at several places directly into the tendon, starting from the collar bone and moving up over the shoulder bone. Don't ask me how you locate a tendon, that can't be very easy among the muscle on ones shoulder and upper chest. Not too painful but unpleasant as the needle goes into the tendon, a sort of crunchy feeling, almost audible. 

Afterwards as he was writing up my file the big C word came up. What was my family history in the respect, etc. I guess that if a doctor is worth his salt he has to asked hard, unpleasant questions. 

So there you have my list of woes and what's kept me from blogging all these weeks.

Just to cheer us up, three crowned cranes.

Click to enlarge.

The photo above take three evenings ago. The next one one day later, note the difference in light quality.

Mom dad and junior. Junior on the left, mom middle front and dad at the back. 

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Back in Blog land.

I have been a bit under the weather for several weeks. Also been away and am busy doing a post on that, should be up tomorrow.

Click to enlarge.

Photo by the Italian leprechaun, aka Enrico Bucceri.

The intrepid photographer, with his faithful dog. 

Some humour to end with.

The things we fear usually aren't as dangerous as we imagine.