Some housekeeping and an update

Walking the Cats

For anybody who has been following the indoor-outdoor cat debate on this blog in the last week, take a look at this video which 2Summers found online. Quite amazing! The normally indoor-only cats in this video look really happy. Just like dogs going for a walk.

Vince on a walk. Vince was not on that video, but he's such a stunning cat that I had to use his image instead! (Image source: Kris Bradley via Flickr Creative Commons - click on image to link to original page)

The deal with the Devil

Several of you have asked how my deal with “the Devil” is going. Well, it started off quite well, but then I had a bad couple of days, and it was put on hold. Before he left on his adventure, Willie asked me whether the title of my next post was going to be “And the Devil lost!”. My answer to him is that “The Devil” just has to be a little patient. So then I started getting texts from him signed “The Devil”! Think he’s trying to remind me of the deal?!

I have to confess that even though I’ve been feeling really good in the last week – winter is here at last and the temperatures have dropped dramatically – I haven’t been doing much cleaning or organizing. Being pain-free for the first time in months, I’ve spent the time doing the things that I normally can’t do. However, I will have to make an effort before “The Devil” returns.

Keeping busy while somebody else is minding the store

So while 2Summers was writing her guest post and fielding comments this week, I had a somewhat more relaxing time. Although I wasn’t completely idle. I was re-thinking my strategy for my Notes from Africa | Photoblog, which I’d been neglecting for most of the summer. Not only that, but I was changing the layout of the blog. After trying in vain to find a WordPress theme I liked (it seems good functionality and good layout don’t always go together!), I decided to play with the CSS code on my current theme (Twenty Ten). That didn’t really sort out my unhappiness with the layout entirely though. Then it dawned on me that here was a photoblog, yet the homepage had a lot of writing on it, and not too many photos. So as of this week I’m changing my strategy there. Firstly, by putting a really nice photo at the top of a post, and then “hiding” most of the writing and additional photos behind a “continue reading” link. I was looking for a WordPress theme which did this automatically, but didn’t find one I liked. Not even amongst the new premium themes available on WordPress.com. So this will be the next best option  . . . until something better comes along. Maybe I should submit my wish-list to WordPress?!

Aside: I am still experimenting with the link colours (wanted them to be different to this blog, so that readers can easily see the difference), so don’t be scared away by the current ones. There’s a good chance they won’t stay. In fact, if anyone has a good suggestion, please leave a comment. My personal preference is for “warmer” link colours.

This is what the photoblog looks like now - it actually has photographs on the homepage!

An update re: our intrepid adventurers who are currently participating in Mozambique 2011.

They have been away for over a week now. After three days of driving they finally arrived at their camp at Pomene, Mozambique. Exhausted, as you can imagine, but they rallied nicely and are now having lots of fun.

Six years ago when they were there, the camp was extremely basic, with no local supply of fresh fruit and vegetables, and even more importantly no link to the outside world. Now the camp has been developed some more and there are even chalets (like the ones in this post). The locals have seen a new market for their wares, and now cater to the tourists by growing vegetables and fruit and baking fresh bread. Apparently, the locals consider bartering with fish as a form of payment too, which makes everyone happy. Very importantly, the camp now has Vodacom (a South African cellphone network) reception! So Willie’s group have been able to call and text home to let everyone know they’re okay. The only “problem” with this is that I have been tasked with looking up the weather conditions and wave heights (all of this matters, apparently) every couple of days, and texting them the information. This is so they can plan their water-based activities accordingly. The Internet hasn’t made it to Pomene yet . . .

I have asked Willie how the two women who went along are doing, and he says it’s going well. “The Sister” – an avid shopper – has already checked out the shopping prospects in the local village. Which are not great, I’m told. Both women are exploring the area, swimming, sunbathing, reading and taking lots of photographs. The men are trying to include them in certain activities e.g. kayaking.

Everybody is in good health so far. This has been an issue on a previous trip, with one guy developing blood poisoning and having to be evacuated back to Nelspruit in South Africa, for medical attention. This time they went prepared with a comprehensive medical aid kit put together by our doctor and pharmacist. This included several different antibiotics which should kill any type of infection they might pick up. And of course they’re all taking their anti-malaria medication daily.

I’m just wondering whether the ladies will try and upgrade their accommodation . . .

The Pomene Shopping Center. This photograph was taken on a previous trip to Pomene. Obviously not quite the same as a South African shopping mall.

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Categories: Random

Author:lisa@notesfromafrica

I live on the Southern coast of South Africa, and write about the things that interest, amuse or inspire me. You can find me at https://notesfromafrica.wordpress.com and http://southerncape.wordpress.com (my photoblog)

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17 Comments on “Some housekeeping and an update”

  1. April 28, 2011 at 5:58 pm #

    Re walking the cats – I actually tried that once! Unfortunately my cat didn’t take to the harnass thing and would just plomp down on the floor and stay down after I finally got her into it. She behaved more or less like Sugar in that video, except that she didn’t want to walk – at all! Must be indoor-only cats that aren’t bothered with being led around, right? 😉

    Re the theme changes – I really like it! I vote for sending your Theme wish list to WP 🙂

    Good to hear the adventurers are in good health and having fun.

    • April 28, 2011 at 8:34 pm #

      Maybe if you left a harness on her for a while, she’d get used to it and eventually get up and walk? Lucy gets completely frantic when you put a collar or harness on her. Our African cats definitely don’t like to be cooped up or tied up, do they?

      Thanks! I like the way the theme looks. For now, at least. 😉

  2. April 28, 2011 at 6:17 pm #

    I love that cat with the red leash – adorable. I’m glad my guest post gave you a chance to experiment with your Photoblog. It looks great! I’m impressed with you for experimenting with the CSS. I really need to learn how to do that.

    • April 28, 2011 at 8:40 pm #

      Yes, Vince is a handsome boy, isn’t he? Talking about pretty cats, I have had your post on my screen for several days now so I can look at Walter every now and then.

      Re: CSS. Well, I have the advantage of having worked as a programmer. Although I didn’t know CSS at all, it was inevitable that I would start “tinkering” at some stage!

  3. April 28, 2011 at 6:44 pm #

    Oh, and I also meant to mention that it was a total coincidence that I came across that video yesterday. I wasn’t even searching — it just showed up in my Facebook feed!

    • April 28, 2011 at 8:43 pm #

      Did that happen “automatically” or did a friend post it?

      • April 28, 2011 at 8:46 pm #

        No, it just showed up as a post from Best Friends Animal Sanctuary.

  4. jacquelincangro
    April 29, 2011 at 2:44 am #

    The new look of the photoblog is lovely – very clean and sophisticated.

    Glad to hear that the Mozambique crew are off to a good start. I’m looking forward to seeing the photos soon.

    I’ve seen several people walking their cats on leashes here. It’s hard to let your cats roam free – there’s just too much traffic. The leashes seem like a good compromise.

    What a relief that your migraines are getting better for the winter! We’re heading into summer here, so you can bet that I won’t be having a good hair day for another 3 months or so. 🙂

    • April 29, 2011 at 7:20 am #

      Thanks Jackie! I’m quite happy with the result too. The look I was aiming for was minimalist, but not too boring.

      There are 4 photographers in Mozambique so there should be plenty of photos. On previous trips they’ve pooled their photos after the trip i.e. everybody gets a disk with all the photos – each person’s photos in a separate folder. It’s been interesting to see how different people concentrate on different things. One guy mainly photographs fish, another (a diver) underwater shots etc. The 2 women both have cameras, and I’m very interested to see their photos. Definitely won’t be any fish amongst them!

      What do the dogs do with all these cats walking about?!

      Good luck with your hair!

  5. April 29, 2011 at 2:46 am #

    ~~The video was amazing.
    Who would think about walking a “stubborn” cat?
    Just amazing…..

    • April 29, 2011 at 7:21 am #

      I had a Siamese cat that used to follow us if we went for a short walk. But we never had her on a leash.

  6. April 29, 2011 at 5:25 am #

    Yes, I walked my cat on a leash and harness, and it worked well. Though it wasn’t at all like walking a dog. The video from 2Summers was great–and Vince is a handsome boy! Thanks to both of you!

    • April 29, 2011 at 7:25 am #

      I meant more that the cats look as happy as dogs at the prospect of going for a walk! Willie would take Callie (our previous cat) for walks around the outside perimeter of our property (without a leash). He had a lot of patience with her though, because it happened at a VERY slow and erratic pace.

  7. Lu
    April 29, 2011 at 3:26 pm #

    Hi Lisa, – also relieved to hear that your migraines are lessening with the cooler weather. It cannot be fun at all. I used to get neuralgia and horrible sinus pain for years – until I discovered what a scarf/wrap/pashmina can do to lessen evil draughts to the head.. 🙂 (-there’s only so many Myprodol I can handle!)
    Your photoblog website is looking lovely, and talking of photos – I can’t wait to see the pictures that the Mozambique group come home with!

    • April 29, 2011 at 5:49 pm #

      Thanks Lu! Yes, it such a relief to not have to deal with daily pain. The pain meds make me constantly sleepy, so it’s nice to feel more awake as well.

  8. May 2, 2011 at 7:09 am #

    So glad the winter has arrived for you! What kind of temperatures/weather do you experience there in winter?

    I always play around with the WordPress layouts, and I don’t really like any of them. I’ll like parts of them, but never anything as a whole. I’ve decided I may have to shell out the money and have someone design a layout for me at some point based on my needs. I believe if you upgrade your account you can do a little designing and have more creative liberties. Still, I believe you’ll find something that works well for you eventually. The first thing I ever found of yours what your photoblog, and I remember really liking the layout at the time. 🙂

    • May 4, 2011 at 2:45 am #

      Winter in the Southern Cape is quite mild in comparison to where you live. According to the records our mean night-time temperature last year was 7C (44.6F) and mean day-time temperature was 22C (71.6F), but if it snows on the mountains it can dip below 0C (32F) and if we have bergwinds get to 30C (86F) or even above.

      I also liked that first Photoblog theme I used – it was “Journalist”. A lot. The problem is it doesn’t have the functionality I wanted e.g. the excerpts (instead of entire posts) when you search on a tag or archive month, and a proper menu.

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