Even though the early mornings are getting ever colder, eating fruit salad for breakfast is a good way to take in those important vitamins.

Sunflowers help to brighten the entrance of our home and bring with them a sense of warmth and sunshine.

Outdoors, our garden is awash with the beautiful yellow flowers of indigenous canary creepers.

This pretty Aeonium shows shades of yellow too.

The nightly temperatures plummeted during our recent visit to the Mountain Zebra National Park so we were grateful to be warmed by a fire in the grate.

It was pleasant too to round off a pleasant day with a soupçon of honey liqueur.



Several overseas readers have commented on the lovely aloe blooms I feature now and then and some remark that while they have seen aloes, they have not seen them in bloom. With this is mind I want to show some of the flowers in my garden. The first shows an early stage of the flowering spikes pushing upward.

Here is the same aloe a few weeks later. The actual flowers haven’t opened yet.

We have several of these aloes growing all over the garden.

They will look really beautiful once their flowers have opened to welcome birds, bees and ants. Then there is this very tall aloe which is almost past its prime.


I featured a photograph of a very beautiful Knysna Turaco perched in my garden during my April garden-bird round-up. Here is another view of it.

What has it to do with my birthday? Coincidence? Serendipity?

A friend whom I seldom see as she has moved to one of the coastal towns pinned us both down for tea today. As the date approached and the weather improved, she announced that I was to provide some savoury snacks and she would bring the rest.

The rest?

It turned out that as she had the opportunity to see me during the latter part of the afternoon she had decided we should celebrate my birthday early with … gin. Not any old gin, but Knysna Gin.

This is delicious! We added frozen mixed berries for an extra festive flair – a successful move.

It is made in a copper pot still by the Knysna Distillery and, according to their website, “features nine different botanicals, including the Knysna Lourie’s favourite food, the Num Num berry [also known as Natal Plum],

almonds from Sedgefield, honeybush from the Crags, and Mondei Whitei from Limpopo.” All in all a very interesting tasting combination.

This was a happy – and tasty – early birthday surprise.


The air  is dry; leaves are curling up, turning yellow or brown, and some are carpeting the ground; pot plants have shrivelled in the summer-like temperatures that have scorched us over the past few days; water in the bird baths evaporate almost before my back is turned; wasps and butterflies regularly dip onto the surface of the swimming pool to drink. Everything is crying out for water … April is not a rainy month.

All is not lost though. Canary creeper blossoms are beginning to cover the trees with a bright yellow carpet.

The blue plumbago flowers continue to provide cheer.

The sea lavender also puts on a brave show.

There is plenty of natural food for the birds too. These small Natal figs are already attracting African Green Pigeons, Red-winged Starlings and Black-headed Orioles.

These (so far) unidentified indigenous berries that hang in heavy bunches are eaten by Cape White-eyes, weavers and Speckled Mousebirds.

Ants abound both indoors and out. They are clearly on a quest for water in this hot, dry weather. I watched these ones moving up and down a stone wall outside our kitchen this afternoon.


On this beautifully bright, sunny day let me share some of the things which bring me cheer:

A lingering bright nasturtium.

Sunshine highlighting a leaf.

The excitement of seeing a lion drinking early in the morning.

Scarlet blooms of an Erythrina lysistemon.

Seeing an African Spoonbill.

A view of the Winterberg.