Saturday, March 3, 2012

Snake in the garden

So Owetu, an 11 year old boy and his friend (name slips my mind) were over at the house playing in the garden and were just on their way out the gate when they came running back to report that they had seen a large snake slither across the driveway and bury itself in the garden 'refuse'.

Now we are a family familiar to snakes. Ellery, when he was still a teenager, spent a week in a glass house with 7 (24/7) black mambas -- studying, doing homework, etc (him not the snakes) -- just to show that the snakes were not aggressive. (Mind you the snake park required me to sign an indemnity form!). But Ellery survived and went on to keep several snakes at home... including a python, puff adders, tree viper, and a skink (which is actually a harmless lizard).

 Ellery, being long away from home, it was now Andy's turn to hunt, find and capture the snake... which we were pretty sure was an adder of some kind. We also called the local game reserve office (uMngeni Valley Trust) and a game officer came over to assist. And shortly we captured a Night Adder. The game officer took the snake away to be released on a farm nearby.

And there is it...our night adder. 

The last wild creature we had in our garden was a couple of years ago -- a young vervet monkey.

Complements of Wikipedia...

Friday, March 2, 2012

Pics for last post

This is the one of the last pictures taken of my mother;
just a few days before she passed away on 19 September 2010.
These are her five children; Bambi, Wendi, Steve, Nikki and Gary.

And this is the amazing Cunningham at his children's class
in neighbourhood in Santa Cruz; this was part of his service
at the Bosch Baha'i School  in Santa Cruz

Andy was chosen male gymnast of the year
 for his club! Second year running.
Ellery and Cole -- 1 year and 1 month.
We visited for Ayyam-i-Ha
Kiara and Andy at my birthday party -- 1 February

Thursday, March 1, 2012


Goodness...time has flown by since last I managed to write. 2010 and 2011 were two of the most difficult and eventful years ever. The most distressing events were the passing of my mother (September 2010), the passing of my step-mother (May 2011) and finally the passing of my father in December 2011. Then there was work -- an endless timetable of lecturing and the proverbial mountain of marking (I think over 300 papers -- over 8000 pages of reading, editing, marking). It was effectively the work of three people...! Also distressing was my resolute son, Anderson's (Andy), terrible injury at school in October 2011.

The happier events include Andy finishing primary school and starting high school; and participating again in the South African National Gymnastics Competition. My erudite son, Cunningham, graduated from high school and almost immediately emigrated to the United States (first serving at Bosch Baha'i School and then caring for my father in his final months). He is now picking his way through a degree in psychology and film-making and helping out with a new arts academy. My industrious and philanthropic daughter, Kiara completed two 'tours of duty' in Papua New Guinea, and is now on her third...having carved out an adventurous and lucrative career while continuing with her volunteer efforts to mobilise youth worldwide around climate change and the Rio+20 summit. (Check out:, the boy who never liked studying, is now starting his Doctorate at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, in policy development (human settlements). And the enigmatic one, Ellery, and his dearest wife, Rhalda, had their first child (Cole Leroy Askari) 29 January 2011 -- Ellery continues to be one of the most competent people I know.

And now, I am on sabbatical. What a lovely concept... which comes from the old Jewish tradition of Shabbat ... "ceasing". So what does one do on sabbatical? Well, it has nothing to do with ceasing; except that I do not have to teach or mark papers for a whole year. Of course there are many academic and consulting (and Baha'i neighbourhood) projects on the go; but the freedom from marking is delightful beyond words. So perchance in the months to come (there are 10 left), I will manage to record updates.