Kenton Trip

February/March 2018

Monday 19 February

After leaving Mountain Zebra National Park, we made our way through Cradock to Nanaga, where we stopped to buy pies and pineapple juice for lunch. From there it was a short trip to finally reach Kenton. As we drove we came across a group of about 20 yellow-billed kites circling above the main road. It was an interesting sight.

We unlocked the house and started opening up, sweeping and putting the furniture out onto the veranda. We then unpacked the vehicle (fully this time) and started packing things away. We ate our pies for lunch sitting at the table on the veranda, before finishing the last of the unpacking. The pump wasn’t working for the water tank, so we also called out the plumber to look at it. They fixed it temporarily. (Later they came and installed a new pump per Peter's instructions to them).

We then went down to the shops to get some basics and drove around to see Kariega river, swimming beach and middle beach. It was something that we tried to do every day.

Tuesday 20 – Thursday 22 February

Despite the poor weather on Tuesday, we did some washing but eventually had to bring it inside to dry (which took a few days!). Otherwise, we did some exercises in the morning, shopped in Port Alfred (Superspar and Woolworths available) and got the house sorted out (including having Mavis for a day). We also had coffee Margie and Russell and collected some new crockery from Yuppiechef. Val had it delivered there and we unpacked it, washed it and replaced the old set in the cupboard.

Despite the weather, we did manage to take a walk from middle beach to the river, but, thereafter, the weather was too bad – either wet or really windy. One thing we did notice was that the Knysna turaco was in the garden, sheltering under the tree in front on the veranda, if it rained. In fact, we had a wonderful sighting when one flew in under the tree and another sat on the dead tree just beyond, before joining its partner.

On Wednesday we had lunch at The House Kitchen. I ate tempura-battered hake strips, while Terry had the pulled pork roosterkoek.

We managed a walk again mid morning on Thursday, but it was really windy. In fact, unpleasantly so as we got back to the car, so we didn’t hang around. Instead we took a drive out to Ghio wetland (the drive is known as the poor man’s game drive locally, as the road goes past a number of game reserves). Unfortunately the wetland was dry and the wind meant that there was not much else in terms of bird life to be seen.

We then drove through to Grahamstown (via the nursery in order to buy a nesting log for the tree near the veranda) as we were going to pick up Jean and bring her through to stay at Kenton with us. We first had lunch at Saint’s bistro. We both had pork belly sandwiches and then shared a small portion of bonbons (deep-fried, phyllo-wrapped bar one). It was delicious!

After a quick visit to Pick n Pay, we picked up Jean and made our way back to Kenton. We managed a brief walk on the path along Kariega river before having pies for supper.

Friday 23 – Sunday 25 February

It was sunny when we woke up on Friday, so we quickly did some laundry! We also managed to fit in a walk on the beach before lunch, which I cooked at home (pork schnitzel with blue cheese sauce). The weather changed dramatically though, thunderstorms and lightning, which caused the electricity to go out at about 6pm.

We still had no electricity on Saturday morning. We managed to have quick, warm showers, but Terry was not able to open the garage door manually. We were having Gavin and Margie around for dinner that evening so he and I walked into town to find an alternative for dessert (I had planned to make a cheesecake, but this was not possible with no power)! As we were investigating the options at Pandora’s (the home industry) a lady came in from a restaurant and asked if they could sell a lemon meringue on her behalf as she was worried that it would spoil. So we bought it!

Once we were back home, Gavin and Margie popped around to help with the garage door. We were all worried as we needed to drive to PE the next day to collect Auntie Norma. After a light lunch, we took a walk on the beach. There was still no power when we got home so we had to revise our menu so that we could use the hob (gas) rather than the oven (electric). So I used the prosciutto in a peppered peach salad and cut the fillet into steaks that could be served with blue cheese sauce, baby potatoes and stir-fried vegetables. It was too cold outside, so we ate dinner in the lounge by torchlight (Terry bounced the light from his new torch onto the ceiling!). The power eventually came back just after 9pm. Gavin and Margie had already left, but it at least meant that we could clean up and run the dishwasher – twice! We could hear it raining through the night and early morning.

We left for PE on Sunday morning, but Jean opted to stay home. Norma was keeping us informed as to where the bus was, and we realized that she was going to get there more than an hour before schedule so we went directly to PE. Once we had collected her, we took a drive along the beachfront. It had been our plan to take her out to lunch, but it was a sunny day (after all the rain) and everything was really busy. So, instead, we stopped at Nanaga on our way home and had a late lunch of pies once back in Kenton.

Margie called to say that she would like to bring us some cake for tea. When they arrived, Margie quickly took Terry and I to see a spotted eagle owl in a tree in front of her sister’s house. Then we all sat outside enjoying the lemon-poppy seed cake and the sunnier weather.

Monday 26 February – Thursday 1 March

On Monday we took Jean and Norma for a drive around the beaches and then on to Boknes, Cannon rocks and Woody Cape area. At Boknes, Terry and I took a quick walk on the beach to take a closer look at what looked like a “stranded” bird. It was a juvenile Cape gannet that looked very wet and bedraggled. We didn’t stay long as we did not want to stress it any further. Once we had finished the drive, we drove to Bushman’s where Jean treated us all to calamari and chips at The Sandbar. After lunch, we took a drive along Bushman’s river and then back home. Terry and I took a walk on the beach a little later, but both Jean and Norma opted to stay home.

On Tuesday Terry and I got up early and left the house just before 7am. We walked from the house to Bushman’s river, around the rocks and up to Shelly’s cove, down the other side to carriage rock, round to middle beach, past swimming beach and along Kariega river to the parking area and from there through town and back to the house! And high tide was early so both the weather and the tides worked for us! It was a lovely, if tiring, walk that took us just under 2 hours. Once home, we had breakfast and showered. I did some washing (the weather was favorable!) and made a cheesecake for the next day (the one I couldn’t make for dinner on Saturday).

Once Mavis had left, we made our way to Port Alfred where our plan was to have lunch and do some shopping. Unfortunately, we had a blowout just before Port Alfred. We were very lucky that Terry was able to keep the car under control and get us to a tyre place. They removed the tyre and we found that the about 1/5 of the sidewall was shredded. They did not have the right tyre, but luckily for us Dunlop had one that had been ordered and not collected. Terry walked the 3 blocks with the gentleman who assisted us, paid for the tyre and brought it back. They installed it with no further charge, so the guy who helped us got a nice tip!

We then continued on to Ocean Basket for lunch – all of feeling a bit peckish by this stage. We then did our shopping and made our way back to Kenton.

On Wednesday Jean slept in while Terry and I took Norma to middle beach for a walk to Carriage rock. After the walk, which Norma really enjoyed, Terry and I left her sitting on a bench watching the sea while we walked to the river and back. We then made our way home for breakfast and showers all round!

Margie and Russell were coming for lunch so I then prepared the chili chicken enchiladas and a salad. They arrived at noon and we all enjoyed the lunch and cheesecake.

That evening we went back to the beach and Norma opted to sit on the bench again (tired after her morning walk), Terry walked to the river and back and the two Jean’s took a shorter, slower walk to “talk to Dad”. (For those who do not know, Terry’s father’s ashes were dispersed in the sea at a point where the boats align 3 signposts to guide themselves into shore.)

On Thursday we slept in, surfacing only just before 7am. Jean packed her things and we took a drive around the beaches for her to say goodbye. We then drove to Grahamstown and visited Jean for a short while, leaving her to go to lunch at the home. We took Norma to the shops, and then drove around Grahamstown showing her the “sights” – mainly related to Terry’s childhood and our university years. We had to have lunch at Saints Bistro and we introduced Norma to the pork belly sandwich and bonbons. She enjoyed them as much as we did!

We made our way back to Kenton and took another drive around the beaches. It was high tide – really high, and the difference from the low tide in the morning was quite amazing. It rained later on in the afternoon so we had a quiet evening at home.

1 – 4 March

When we woke up on Friday, it was raining again, so we lay in before getting up to do some exercise. After breakfast, we set up Wi-Fi and updated Norma’s Kindle. We had hamburgers for lunch and then rested/read until the rain stopped just before 4pm. We made the most of the opportunity to go out to the beach and take a walk. The tide was really high, so Norma sat on her bench while we took a walk. There were pools and “rivulets” everywhere and the sand was really soft underfoot, so it was tough going. We then sat on the bench with Norma for over an hour, enjoying both the sun and the view. We watched the locals walking their dogs or enjoying drinks in the parking area (a local tradition). As it started to get cooler, we took a drive around the beaches and made our way home.

On Saturday we couldn’t believe our luck – it was sunny. So that meant that we needed to quickly do some laundry (linen and towels). We then took a drive around the beaches, ending at middle beach. There we walked with Norma towards carriage rock again. The storms had exposed a lot more rocks and the walk was harder for Norma. So she sat down on one of the rocks, while we walked the last bit to carriage rock, collecting her on our way back. Norma then sat on a bench again while we walked to the river and back. We did some shopping on our way back home and then settled in for a lazy day.

It was sunny again on Sunday! We needed to make a slightly earlier start, as Norma had to catch a bus home from PE. Once we had packed Norma’s luggage into the car, we took a drive around the beaches and then made our way to PE, stopping at Nanaga to buy pies. As we drove we saw our first long-crested eagle of the trip! Then we saw a couple more too.

When we arrived at McDonalds, Norma’s friend was waiting for her with a parcel. She couldn’t stay so we then went into McDonalds and had a drink. When the bus arrived, we said our goodbyes and left Norma. We made our way to Walmer Park to get medicine from Dischem. We then found Fushin Sushi (a restaurant that Terry had found on FaceBook while we were still in Joburg) and had sushi for lunch. It was delicious. We drove along the beachfront but didn’t stay long as everywhere was really busy again (Sunday and sunshine – the magic formula!) We made our way back to Kenton.

5 – 11 March

It was sunny again on Monday, so as usual this meant it was a washing day! I hadn’t slept very well and wasn’t feeling in good form, so I “supervised” Terry doing the exercises! After breakfast, we made our way to the beach in the middle of the morning. I walked with Terry to the river and back, and felt strong enough to then walk to carriage rock and back too. We also spent a short time chatting to Anne and Bronte (her old cocker spaniel) in the parking lot, before making our way to The House Kitchen for lunch – grilled hake (J) and toasted camembert and bacon (T). The rest of the day was spent reading and catching up on some sleep (J).

It was raining again on Tuesday. We had expected Mavis to arrive, but she didn’t so we cleaned up the house and kitchen and I cooked – cheese bread, a chicken and gorgonzola pie – and prepared some pork fillet (wrapped it in prosciutto) for the next day. We had some of the pie for lunch (plenty of leftovers for other meals). Later on the rain stopped so we drove to middle beach and walked to the river and back, before making a round of the other beaches. Supper was homemade bread!

We were up early on Wednesday and did our exercise before showering and having breakfast. Mavis came and we left her to do her thing while we drove around the beach and then on to Ghio. We were interested to see what all the rain had done. There was actually water in the wetland this time and birds! We then made our way back to the beach where the tide was lower than earlier and walked to the river and back.

After sorting out Mavis, we cooked the pork fillet for lunch. We had just settled down to read when there was a knock at our front door. Terry opened it and was surprised to find Ruth and Wally (from George) there. They came in and visited for a short while. They were in Kenton visiting Ruth’s sisters, Margie and Daph. Once they had left (they had other visits to make), we drove around the beaches and then sat on the wall at middle beach for a short while (tide was too high for a pleasant walk). Supper was leftover pie.

Thursday we treated ourselves to a nice lie-in. We only woke up just before 8am because of the grey, dark day outside. The sun eventually made an appearance but it was terribly windy. We went to The House Kitchen for breakfast and it is the first time that we have been there and all the doors were closed (to protect from the weather). We did some shopping at Spar and Pandora’s and then drove around the beaches. The rest of the day was spent relaxing – indoors!

On Friday it was raining again when we woke up. We relaxed at home and eventually took a drive to the beaches at around noon. Then we mad our way home. I was so tired that I even fell asleep in the chair – so we had a late lunch of chicken schnitzel! Later on we took a walk on the beach.

On Saturday it was sunny – so guess what, we did laundry! I also cooked up some Thai satay chicken for lunch. We drove around the beaches but the tide was too high for a good walk so we went back home and had a late lunch. We returned to the beach later for a nice walk at low tide.

It was sunny again on Sunday. I had a lovely relaxing bath while Terry went to the shops to get his Sunday Times. I quickly prepared some spicy cream cheese chicken for lunch and then we decided to go to the beach while it was sunny. We drove around all the beaches, but returned to the river where Terry swam. His first swim in two trips!!

We then went home for lunch, stopping at Spar to buy ice creams for dessert. Margie phoned and then she and Russell came around for coffee – she bought biscuits and her own coffee!! We then drove around the beaches and walked to blue pool as it was too late to do a longer walk.

12 -18 March

We could not believe that we were in our last week at Kenton. Tides and weather seemed to play ball on Monday, so we set an alarm to wake up early and left the house to do the long walk around the rivers and beaches, but in reverse. We also didn’t walk through town but down Bathurst Street in order to get to Kariega River. While at Shelley’s cove, we made a short detour to visit “our” cliff and enjoy the view before continuing the walk. Once we got home a nice shower was welcome! And it was still early enough for us to do some laundry.

Later on we drove around the beaches and then made our way to Port Alfred to do some shopping, drive around the beaches and have lunch there. Terry had found another restaurant on FaceBook, but it was closed, so we went to Ocean Basket and both enjoyed a “platter for one”.

Back at Kenton, we relaxed and took a drive around the beaches at about 5.30pm, but it was too windy and sandy to walk.

On Tuesday, we again had no Mavis, so we went off to the beach quite early. We walked from middle beach to blue pool and there another couple asked us if we were locals. They were from Southampton (UK) and were staying in Port Alfred. They had come to Kenton to swim in mermaid’s pool but were not sure if the tide would come in and strand them. We were sure that it would not, so we walked with them to carriage rock and mermaid’s pool. I sat on a rock and Terry went in to swim. They followed him. It was not good though as the water and sand was all churned out. Terry came back and they turned around, not having made it into the pool proper. They decided to walk back to blue pool while Terry went to look at the beach on the other side of the pool. It was also so badly churned up that he couldn’t see the rocks so he wasn’t taking any chances. We then made our way to the river instead and Terry swam there. Once he had finished swimming, we went home, as it was too hot in the sun (33 degrees – our hottest day there).

We cleaned house (in the absence of Mavis) and then read and relaxed. For lunch we had pork spare ribs and lamb chops with baby potatoes and coleslaw. That just meant that we had another clean up afterwards! We spent the rest of the day reading and relaxing.

On Wednesday we got up early and went to middle beach to have a walk. We first walked to mermaid’s pool and back, and then decided to walk to the river and back too. Unfortunately, I twisted my back when I dropped the brush (for cleaning the sand off our feet) and reached down from the car to pick it up. I could hardly get out of the car when we got home. A nice hot shower helped release the spasm a little. Terry hung the washing out and felt a pull in the middle of his back. We are both getting old!! We put another load of washing on and then went to The House Kitchen for breakfast. I had a Monte Cristo gourmet sandwich (bacon, mozzarella and cheddar) and Terry had toasted camembert and bacon. I followed my sandwich with a lovely cappuccino.

We booked massages for the afternoon and went to the bakery and Pandora’s. Then we drove around the beaches. We chuckled at a couple sitting on deck chairs on middle beach, right in front of the parking area. They were being blown all over the show, but they were determined to get some beach time! We both had great massages and then took a drive round to the beaches. We took a short walk to blue pool before making our way home for a late lunch/supper.

We went across to middle beach on Thursday morning and walked to carriage rock and back. Terry then walked to the river and back, while I relaxed on a bench (my back was still a little tender and I did not want to overdo it). We then drove around to the other beaches before making our way to Grahamstown to pick up Jean for lunch. We went back to Saints Bistro and – you guessed it – had pork belly sandwiches for lunch (Jean had steak instead). Terry had bonbons, Jean ice cream and chocolate sauce and I had a cappuccino.

After saying our goodbyes, we made our way back to Kenton and it started raining while we were still on the road. We made a quick drive around the beaches to see the high tide. It was the highest we had seen (it was a new moon that night).

It rained through the night and was still raining when we woke up on Friday morning. We decided to be lazy and lie in bed reading. After showering and having a light breakfast, we did some more reading. We then drove through to Port Alfred to do some shopping (getting some things for Val & Pete) and to go to the Wharf Street Brew Pub (the restaurant that was closed on Monday) for lunch. It is in a lovely stone building (in commercial use since 1853) on the other side of the Kowie River. Terry had snails in phyllo pastry with blue cheese sauce and I had calamari and chorizo as starters. We then both had pork ribs – they came highly recommended and lived up to the hype. So did Terry’s snails. Terry eventually had his arm twisted to try the crème brûlée, which was small but delicious (he said) while I had a cappuccino. We were sitting next to a couple from Uitenhage who were on their way home from Yellow Sands (the other side of East London). They had decided to stop for lunch to break their trip. We chatted up a storm!

We could not believe that we had gone to have our best meal out of the trip as we reached the end of our stay! It was absolutely delicious and we will definitely go back.

We made our way around the beaches and both Port Alfred and Kenton before going home to relax. At 6pm we went to middle beach. Terry walked to the river and back while I relaxed in the car (it was windy out) and listened to the waves. Terry said that the sea must have been hectic as there were tons of blue bottles washed up on the beach and even a dead penguin. We drove around the other beaches and then home for the night.

Saturday was an early morning. Mavis came and we washed the linen that we had used so that Peter and Val could move in to the main bedroom when they arrived on Sunday. I cooked breakfast for us. We left for the beach just after 9am. There was lots of sand visible at the river and no big gully at swimming beach. The tide was very low. So we drove to middle beach, put on our aqua shoes and walked on the rocks, looking at the rock pools. We walked all the way to Shelley’s cove and climbed up to the top. I sat on a rock enjoying the view while Terry walked to “our” cliff. He then walked on the other cliff and over the side, while I walked down the way we had come.

Terry also walked to the river and back, while I relaxed on a bench, watching the sea, people and birds. After a while a wind came up and sand started to irritate so I moved into the car.

Back home I prepared chili chicken enchilada for dinner when Peter and Val arrived the next day. We ate leftover chicken for lunch and started packing, moving our things into the room on the other side of the lounge – the two beds were together so we could share our sheet.

Later on we drove around the beaches but it was cold and windy, and very sandy. We decided to drive to Bushman’s river to see the sunset (if any with the clouds) and bumped into Mike Wilmot and his wife. Terry had tried to catch up with him at his office but he wasn’t there. He was worried that Mike might not know who he was, but 2 seconds after he called out to him, he responded with “Terry Ochse…!!!” We then made our way home where we had burgers with chutney and camembert for supper.

Sunday was our last real day in Kenton, so we were up early and back to middle beach to walk the rocks again. We saw a baby octopus. A guy looking for bait found it and showed it to his kids. He then gave it to Terry to show to me. We also saw a bright red starfish in one of the small pools. We walked to mermaid’s pool and back, then removed our shoes, and walked to the river and back.

At home, we had a light lunch and then settled in to read. Peter and Val arrived just after 3pm and we helped them unpack the car. Margie (Val’s mom) popped in to visit and we all (except Terry) had cappuccino (from Oscar – Pete’s coffee maker that had come with them from Joburg).

Peter and Terry took a walk on the beach and then we had the chicken enchiladas for supper followed by some more coffee.

19 March

We got up and showered at 6.30am and finished our packing. We then had breakfast with Peter and Val, leaving the house just before 9am. We had to drive around the beaches, of course, and say our goodbyes. But it is easy to do when we know we will be back…

Mammals: Blesbok, bontebok, buffalo, bushbuck, eland, giraffe, red hartebees, impala, small grey mongoose, yellow mongoose, vervet monkey, nyala, warthog, zebra

Birds: Southern boubou, dark-capped bulbul, common buzzard, jackal buzzard, yellow-fronted canary, Cape cormorant, white-breasted cormorant, Burchell’s coucal, Cape crow, pied crow, Cape turtle dove, laughing dove, fork-tailed drongo, African fish eagle, long-crested eagle, little egret, western cattle egret, amur falcon, common fiscal, Cape gannet, Egyptian goose, pale chanting goshawk, helmeted guineafowl, kelp gull, black-headed heron, grey heron, hadeda ibis, sacred ibis, pied kingfisher, yellow-billed kite, blacksmith lapwing, Cape longclaw, brown-throated martin, speckled mousebird, black-headed oriole, ostrich, spotted eagle owl, African black oystercatcher, speckled pigeon, common ringed plover, grey plover, Kittlitz’s plover, three-banded plover, white-fronted plover, Cape robin-chat, sanderlings, wood sandpiper, secretarybird, South African shelduck, grey-headed sparrow, Natal spurfowl, red-necked spurfowl, Cape glossy starling, pied starling, red-winged starling, black-winged stilt, white stork, greater double-collared sunbird, southern double-collared sunbird, barn swallow, little swift, Caspian tern, sandwich tern, swift tern, spotted thick-knee, olive thrush, Knysna turaco, ruddy turnstone, Cape wagtail, pied wagtail, village weaver, Cape white-eye

Other: Leopard tortoise