Suzelle DIY show you How to Declutter Your Life with Gumtree Laugh out Loud! 31 JUL 2015

Suzelle DIY continues to make me chuckle every time I see something of hers on the Internet, and her latest effort is certainly no different.

So here goes: How to declutter your life – Suzelle DIY style!

Brilliant, as always! :)

(Just a note, but this is also a fantastic example of native advertising done right. Nowhere is Gumtree being pushed at you but it is obvious enough that this is a video done at their behest. Subtle, nicely done.)

how to declutter your life suzelle diy

Related Link: Youtube

How to fix: ” and @ mixed up on keyboard? (Windows 8.1) Tips, Tricks and Tutorials 30 JUL 2015

Chantelle’s Toshiba laptop that I bought her for Christmas a little while back is a Windows 8.1 single language install. The language currently set is English (United Kingdom). I needed to use it the other day and was rather annoyed to discover that for some reason the @ and ” buttons were mixed up – if I hit shift+2 I was getting ” instead of the promised @ – infuriating indeed!

A quick Google search lead me to the culprit behind this annoyance – my currently set input language wasn’t matching my physical keyboard layout.

To fix, I needed to set the keyboard layout to match the physical layout, in this case English (US).

To do this, I fired up Search via the Windows key and headed off to my Control Panel. Next, under “Clock, Language and Region”, I clicked on “Change input method”.

change keyboard layout screenshot 1

As you can see, my language is set to English (United Kingdom). To get the Keyboard layout to rather be US, I clicked on the “Options” item and set the input method explicitly to “US”.

change keyboard layout screenshot 2

See?

change keyboard layout screenshot 3

I’m particularly happy to report that doing this solved my problem, meaning I can now type a @ when I mean a @ and a ” when I mean a “! :)

What is an Hash Algorithm and What are Hash Collisions? Tech News 29 JUL 2015

Tom Scott, who I think is particularly adept at explaining complex computing concepts in very understandable and relatable ways, joins up with Computerphile to explain what exactly the idea behind hash algorithms are, how they can be used to confirm a file’s transmission for the most part, and what things called hash collisions are.

Great, so just in case you were still using MD5 for something meaningful then, best you move over to something a little more modern, no?

computerphile

Related Link: Youtube

Things to See in South Africa: Old English Fort and the Cogmanskloof Tunnel to Montagu Travel Attractions 28 JUL 2015

The Cogmanskloof Pass connects the towns of Ashton and Montagu. Its entire 6.5 km stretch through a majestic landscape of towering rock formations. Renamed after Cape Colony secretary, John Montagu, the town’s original name of Cogmanskloof is where this pass took its name from.

IMG_20150708_135549 Cogmanskloof (R62) Tunnel to Montagu

The original route through the mountain included two fairly dangerous river crossings (Kingna River), and so following a few disasters, famed road and pass builder Thomas Bain was commissioned to build the pass through Cogmans Kloof in 1877.

Using a combination of dynamite and gunpowder (gunpowder because dynamite was apparently relatively new and they quickly ran out of supply), Bain and his team ‘dug’ (fine, blasted) through the Kalkoenkrans and opened the route in 1879.

IMG_20150708_135919 Cogmanskloof (R62) Tunnel to Montagu

The unlined tunnel is 16 metres long, and has a five metre high arched roof.

IMG_20150708_135452 Cogmanskloof (R62) Tunnel to Montagu

The tunnel is the oldest solid rock (unsupported by concrete) road tunnel in South Africa.

(Thomas Bain’s father Andrew Bain, actually built the very first tunnel along the western ascent of Bainskloof Pass near Wellington in 1835, but that collapsed during construction so it doesn’t count)

At the top of the tunnel, blink and you will miss it, is the remains of a well camouflaged English fort (declared a monument in 1999), accessible via a short little hike starting to the right of the tunnel entrance, heading towards Ashton side.

old english fort cogmanskloof tunnel montagu 1

Taken from the Internet: “1899 heralded the Second Anglo Boer War and saw the construction of the English Fort above Cogmans Kloof. This was built by stonemason William Robertson at a site selected by Lieutenant Colonel Sidney, Commandant of the Royal Field Artillery. The fort was garrisoned by a company of the Gordon Highlanders who were survivors of the Magersfontein battle, commanded by a Lieutenant Forbes.

They were camped on the original road construction site below Kalkoenkrans (Turkey Crag) the site which is now the parking area below the fort on the Montagu side.

The fort measures 9,3 x 3,8 m on the outside. It has a simple entrance opening at the west end and 21 ‘waisted’ loopholes formed in the masonry without steel plates. The loopholes are 700-800 mm above the concrete floor and the 400 mm thick stone walls reach a height of about two metres inside the building.

Inside the fort, near the south-east corner, is a roughly circular mortared stone platform (400 mm high), together with a drainage channel and hole at the base of the adjacent east wall, which seems to indicate the presence of a water tank and hence a roof.”

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Related Link: Old English Fort | Cogmanskloof Pass

Things to See in Russia: Kazan’s Iron Tree Ministry of Agriculture Building Travel Attractions 27 JUL 2015

The Russian Ministry of Agriculture sports a particularly interesting building in Kazan, the capital of Tatarstan in the Russian federation, fronted by a massive wrought-iron tree!

Things to See in Russia Kazan's Iron Tree Ministry of Agriculture Building 1

Built for the Ministry of Agriculture by Russian construction firm Antica, the building’s style gives a nod to the opulent era of Imperial Russian architecture, and the end result (standing opposite of the Kazan Kremlin, itself stunning building by all accounts) is an impressive, imposing and beautiful structure to behold.

The main focal point of the building is without a doubt the magnificent, giant (20 meter high) wrought-iron Tree, intended to symbolize fertility and prosperity, and taking up the central part of the building.

Things to See in Russia Kazan's Iron Tree Ministry of Agriculture Building 2

Antica gives some more background into the design choices and implementation on their own site:

“The design idea of the building of the Ministry was to create harmonious look of the building with existing buildings and views of Kazan Kremlin. Kazan Kremlin is the historical gem of Kazan. In our opinion the best solution for the location at the foot of the Kremlin is to use the architecture in the style of the past ages. That is why we have decided to design the building in the classicism style – in the spirit of Belle Epoque, which was the leading style in the second half of the XIX century – the golden age of the architecture. In order to eliminate the competition between the building and Kazan Kremlin, it was decided to limit the height to four storeys and place it lengthway. The building is integrated into the slope of 15 meter hill and exceeds its height only by one storey. These solutions provided maximum lowering of the building in comparison to Kremlin hill.

Things to See in Russia Kazan's Iron Tree Ministry of Agriculture Building 3

The idea of the building itself is to create the Building of the Ministry that would look extremely monumental. That is why in the development of the facades we used original architectural orders (Corinthian, Ionic, Dorian), and strict compliance to the tractate of Viniola about five orders in the architecture.

The center of the composition of the building of the Ministry is the Tree (height-20 meters) implemented into the deep arch. This tree symbolizes fertility and prosperity. Agriculture is the industry of cultivating live nature. Big tree inserted into large strict arch symbolizes the beauty of the nature which is cultivated by humans. The second important detail of the building is its central cupola. It is made in a form of spiral twisted sphere with openings. The cupola has classical silhouette due to the fact that it is a part of the classical building, but at the same time the openings and the spiral structure add a hint of the eastern architecture.

Things to See in Russia Kazan's Iron Tree Ministry of Agriculture Building 4

Kazan is the city where eastern culture meets western culture. And that is why in our project we wanted to create the harmonious mix of these two cultures in our project.

In accordance to the design and architectural concept, the building has three separate entrances:
– for the staff of Ministry
– for the staff of Agricultural Sector
– for the administration of the Ministry.

Central part of the building features halls and exedras, right and left parts are two autonomous parts of the building connected to each other by corridors. Consequently, one wing (first three levels) belongs to Agricultural Sector, and the second wing belongs to the staff of the Ministry. That is why the facade on Fedoseevskaya st. has two main entrances. The entry for the administration of the Ministry is located on level 4 from the side of Nagornaya st, and all this level belongs to the administration of the Ministry.

The design was affected by the fact that the building hits the slope of the hill with its southern side. This have caused the deficiency of the insulated area. In order to resolve this issue, we have arranged three atriums in the roofing for the illumination of hall, office and parking areas. Due to the close location of the ground waters we did not create the basement floor, but the parking was created on the ground floor of the building.”

Things to See in Russia Kazan's Iron Tree Ministry of Agriculture Building 5

Related Link: Ministry of Agriculture Kazan Iron Tree Building

Things to See in South Africa: Montagu Nature Garden (2015-07-08) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 26 JUL 2015

One of the things that Jessica and I popped in to take a look at during our enjoyable week long Montagu holiday earlier in the month was the Montagu Nature Garden, a 61 year old indigienous wild flower garden dedicated to plant species representative of those in the Klein Karoo and marginal Fynbos biogeoghraphical zone.

(Chantelle and Emily decided this time would be better spent sleeping in the car).

IMG_20150708_143223 jessica and craig lotter go to montagu nature garden

From the Internet: The Montagu Nature Garden was established in 1954, the year in which the village of Montagu celebrated its centenary. In 1961 the garden was proclaimed a Nature Reserve and placed in the care of the Montagu Municipality. Currently the Montagu Nature Garden Association “leases” the Nature Garden on a long-term basis. The association is also a member of the Wildlife and Environmental Society of South Africa (WESSA)

IMG_20150708_141139 jessica and craig lotter go to montagu nature garden

Montagu Nature garden is situated in the most southerly part of the succulent Karoo “biome.” It has the distinction therefore of having flora of 3 regions of the Western Cape – succulent karoo, fynbos and renoster veld. There are numerous species of succulents, fynbos, geophytes and a diversity of flowering shrubs and trees occur here. The garden is especially known for the excellent variety of Vygies (mesembryathemums), which sets the garden ablaze with colour during spring.

IMG_20150708_142410 jessica and craig lotter go to montagu nature garden

A 1.7km circular walking trail within the garden includes a fairly easy climb with benches at strategic intervals. From the top of Bessiekop, magnificent panoramic views of the town and the Cape Folded Mountains can be seen. Bloupunt, one of the highest peaks in the area rises in the distance. One is sure to come across a geometric tortoise, a dassie midden and sunbirds enjoying the variety of aloes on the hillside. The dam, stream and intermittent areas of fast flowing water at the bottom of the hill provide a welcome break after the walk. The area is planted with lawn and benches are placed along the stream.

I suspect though that Jessica was more pleased with the fact that I was now letting her take photos with my camera than with the actual plant species themselves:

IMG_20150708_142925 jessica lotter takes a photo of craig

IMG_20150708_143001 jessica and craig lotter go to montagu nature garden

Related Link: Montagu Nature Garden

So the Playhouse Took Flight… My Life 25 JUL 2015

We were bashed by some serious stormy winds for the last while, wreaking massive havoc across the Western Cape shoreline. Apart from my garden shed that had its sides ripped out of their structural railing we suffered a far more serious/comical loss – Jessica’s pink and white playhouse.

I had just returned from work on the Monday evening, and was busy with Chantelle and the kids with the wind howling outside, when all of a sudden I heard a loud noise and saw something flash past the kitchen window, too fast and too dark for me to properly make out what it was.

I immediately made my way out via the backdoor, and despite the raging wind, I instantly noted that the playhouse – which I had just recently neatly tent-pegged down next to the sandpit – was gone. This triggered a whole lot of looking over the boundary walls behind and to the sides of us, but sadly no glimpse of the missing pink and white plastic playhouse was to be seen.

At this stage the theory was either the wind had dumped it over the back wall, or that someone had helped themselves to it and then ran off, and with that in mind, I grabbed my keys and set out on a jog along the canal behind the house.

It was dark, it was cold, and it was windy. I walked up and down in both directionse (freezing because I really wasn’t dressed for this), and still no sign of the house! Next, I got into the car and drove around the block a bit, straining to try and get a glimpse of the missing playhouse – again, no such luck.

Chantelle in the meanwhile was quite surprised to find Jessica taking this all in rather well. In fact, she wasn’t bothered by the missing playhouse at all, because, according to her logic, we can now simply buy her replacement trampoline instead!

I returned empty handed, and so Chantelle tagged in and also headed out to give the search a bash, but needless to say, she too returned without a clue as to where the house might have had disappeared to.

Indeed, a proper mystery on a particularly miserable night.

However, as fortune would have it, Chantelle turned out to be the one to crack the case and solve the mystery the next day – on her way out to work in the afternoon, she spotted something rather familiar peeking out at us from the roof two houses over:

IMG_20150721_123123 play house stuck on someone's garage roof

Yup, that was definitely our missing playhouse.

Although I don’t have a ladder tall enough to reach up there, as luck would have it, a stroll around the complex revealed that a friendly handyman by the name of Dean (Handyprop is the name of the business) happened to have a very long ladder tied to his work truck and more importantly was actually home at the time I was looking for help.

No questions asked, Dean helped me recover the playhouse from the neighbours roof.

Sadly though, the little house didn’t quite make it through its ordeal unscathed. (Plus, there seems to be tent pegs scattered all over the place.)

IMG_20150721_125712 damaged pink and white keter kids play house

Right, so no more lightweight plastic kids stuff for the garden going forward – cemented down wood structures only! :P

Jessica and her Pierced Ears My Life 24 JUL 2015

Last month Jessica came to us with a request straight out of the blue. She wanted earrings. Naturally, our first response was to inform her that of course she could get earrings, but explained to her that first the people would have to make holes in her ears, it would be sore, and there might be a little bit of blood.

Not put off in the least, and because her best friends at school all wanted to do the same (if not already so), Jessica was determined that now was the time to get her very first set of earrings in her ears!

IMG_20150620_120548 jessica lotter getting her ears pierced at ralo cosmetics in the helderberg centre shopping mall

So Chantelle did some asking about on Facebook, and Ralo Cosmetics in the Helderberg Centre came up tops – in particular because for kids they use two people at once, meaning that it’s a once off piercing that covers both ears.

Sadly for us (and by us I mean Jessica), come the Saturday that we took her, only one shop assistant was available on the day – meaning she would have to endure the pain of the piercing gun shot twice.

Again, not that this put Jessica off in the least.

She was quite determined to be brave and get it done, and despite Chantelle’s best efforts to dissuade her once we arrived at the shop (truthfully, Chantelle was WAY more nervous than Jessica), Jess stuck to her guns, chose a pair of beautiful, colourful little earrings from the display, and got comfortable in the chair.

IMG_20150620_120550 jessica lotter getting her ears pierced at ralo cosmetics in the helderberg centre shopping mall

A quick explanation, one form signed, and a showing of the piercing gun to Jessica, the first piercing was literally over in the blink of an eye, obviously painful, but nothing that a quick hug from Mommy couldn’t solve.

Truth be told, I was amazed that Jessica let barely a tear out (she cries quite easily, hence my shock), and just like that the second was done and dusted as well, leaving my gorgeous little girl with two rainbow-coloured gems in her ears!

IMG_20150620_120941 jessica lotter getting her ears pierced at ralo cosmetics in the helderberg centre shopping mall

Needless to say, she was more than just a little chuffed, and immediately had to let everyone know and show them off.

(This went on for more than a week at the school apparently! Also, the aftercare of new piercings was a lot worse than the actual piercing itself. That led to quite a bit of tears for the next week or two come cleaning time every evening!)

As a reward (but mainly because we still had quite a bit of the afternoon left and could do with a spot of lunch), we treated the girls to some pink milkshakes and outdoor play time at Bossa Social Cafe in Somerset West.

IMG_20150620_130235 jungle gym play area at bossa social cafe and bar in somerset west

Which wasn’t the last time we would eat out that weekend mind you.

Sunday was Father’s Day, and was delightfully kicked off with me receiving some awesome Father’s Day cookies from my girls in bed, followed by a trip through to The Bloemhof in Durbanville for a Father’s Day spitbraai lunch… the perfect opportunity for Jessica to show off her new shiny ear accessories to Ouma and Oupa of course! :)

IMG_20150621_083010 chantelle lotter with the girls and their father's day cookies

IMG_20150621_083207_1 craig lotter with his girls on fathers days

(If you aren’t familiar with The Bloemhof restaurant and guest house, this historical building is in fact a Victorian manor house which was built in 1899 by Phillipus Botha on the farm Bloemhof – and was later owned by Frank Kuffner who played a vital role in the wine industry of South Africa. These days, it is actually quite a ‘lekker kuier plek’.)

IMG_20150621_124435 father's day lunch at the bloemhof

Things to See in Germany: Tropical Islands Resort Travel Attractions 23 JUL 2015

The biggest uninterrupted indoor space on the planet, Tropical Islands Resort is a tropical theme park located in the former Brand-Briesen Airfield in Krausnick, in the district of Dahme-Spreewald in Brandenburg, Germany, 50 kilometres from the southern boundary of Berlin. It is housed in the former CargoLifter airship hangar (known as the Aerium), the biggest free-standing hall in the world. (The hall belonged to the company CargoLifter until its insolvency in 2002.)

tropical islands world's largest indoor waterpark in germany 1

Tropical Islands was built by the Malaysian corporation Tanjong in the former airship hangar known as the Aerium. The hangar was originally designed to protect large airships from the elements. It was purchased by Tanjong on 11 June 2003 for €17.5 million, of which €10 million was a subsidy from the federal state of Brandenburg. The building permit for constructing the theme park inside the hall was granted on 2 February 2004 and Tropical Islands officially opened its doors on 19 December 2004.

tropical islands world's largest indoor waterpark in germany 2

Inside the hall, the air temperature is 26 °C and air humidity is around 64%. Tropical Islands is home to the biggest indoor rainforest in the world, a beach, many tropical plants and a number of swimming pools, bars and restaurants. It is open around the clock, every day of the year.

tropical islands world's largest indoor waterpark in germany 3

On entering the hall, visitors choose between different basic admission options with different prices. Inside the hall, payments are made using an electronic chip wristband. Tropical Islands is divided into two main areas, each with its own admission price: the Tropical Sauna & Spa complex, and the Tropical World. Visitors can move from one area to the other by paying an additional daily charge. Additional charges also apply for areas such as the water slide tower, crazy golf course, African Jungle Lift, evening show and internal accommodation area. The entertainment programme comprises a gala evening show, smaller shows during the day (variety acts, kids’ entertainment) and various events.

tropical islands world's largest indoor waterpark in germany 4

Tropical Islands has a number of different themed areas:

  • The Tropical Village, featuring accurate copies of traditional buildings from Thailand, Borneo, Samoa and Bali.
  • The Rainforest, with around 50,000 plants and 600 different species, including some rare plants.
  • The Tropical Sea, a 140 metres pool with an area of 4,400 square metres and a depth of 1.35 metres designed to look like the waters of a coral island, a 200 metres sandy beach and 850 wooden sun-loungers; water temperature 28 °C.
  • The Bali Lagoon, with an area of 1,200 square metres and a depth of less than 1 metre in places, fountains, a current canal, whirlpools and two water slides; water temperature 32 °C.

tropical islands world's largest indoor waterpark in germany 5

Tom Scott also recently featured Tropical Islands on his popular Youtube channel, giving you a bit more of how exactly this giant waterpark managed to come and be:

I guess you’ll have to travel quite far to find something else quite this out of place! :)

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tropical islands world's largest indoor waterpark in germany 7

tropical islands world's largest indoor waterpark in germany 8 bali pavillion

tropical islands world's largest indoor waterpark in germany wasserfall lodge 9

Related Link: Tropical Islands | Wikipedia | Youtube

Things to See in France: Millau Viaduct Travel Attractions 22 JUL 2015

If you suffer from a fear of heights, then perhaps the best thing would be to not travel to the tallest bridge in the world (and 12th highest), France’s Millau Viaduct. (If you are however not afraid of heights, then you should definitely make the trip!)

millau viaduct cable-stayed bridge in france - tallest in the world 1

The Millau Viaduct is a cable-stayed bridge that spans the valley of the River Tarn near Millau in southern France.

Designed by the French structural engineer Michel Virlogeux and British architect Norman Foster, it is the tallest bridge in the world with one mast’s summit at 343.0 metres above the base of the structure. It is the 12th highest bridge deck in the world, being 270 metres between the road deck and the ground below.

millau viaduct cable-stayed bridge in france - tallest in the world 2

The Millau Viaduct is part of the A75-A71 autoroute axis from Paris to Béziers and Montpellier. The cost of construction was approximately €400 million. It was formally inaugurated on 14 December 2004, and opened to traffic on 16 December.

millau viaduct cable-stayed bridge in france - tallest in the world 3

The bridge has been consistently ranked as one of the great engineering achievements of all time. The bridge received the 2006 International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering Outstanding Structure Award.

What’s particularly interesting here is the funding model. The bridge’s construction cost up to €394 million, with a toll plaza 6 km (3.7 mi) north of the viaduct costing an additional €20 million. The builders, Eiffage, financed the construction in return for a concession to collect the tolls for 75 years, until 2080. However, (and this is the part I like) if the concession yields high revenues, the French government can assume control of the bridge as early as 2044.

millau viaduct cable-stayed bridge in france - tallest in the world 4

The project required about 127,000 cubic metres of concrete, 19,000 tonnes of steel for the reinforced concrete and 5,000 tonnes of pre-stressed steel for the cables and shrouds. The builder claims that the lifetime of the bridge will be at least 120 years – giving you plenty of time to pop along and see it if you haven’t yet gotten around to it! ;)

red aston martin dbs in front of millau viaduct cable-stayed bridge in france - tallest in the world 5

Related Link: Millau Viaduct | Wikipedia

USA Sport Stadium Funding Sport & Health 21 JUL 2015

Naturally, sports stadiums in the United States are big. Very big. And very expensive too, partly because they keep seeming to try and one-up each other when it comes to newness and features.

miami marlins baseball stadium united states of america usa

Of course, everyone knows that there is very big money in American sports, one just has to look at the salaries earned by top NFL football players, NBA basketball players and MBA baseball players to see that. But what is surprising however is a lot of their mega stadiums aren’t actually self-funded – instead, the trend is very much to get the hosting cities to pay for everything!

John Oliver’s research team over at Last Week Tonight with John Oliver took a look and came up with some very surprising (and infuriating) information on the topic:

Obviously here in South Africa we have our own stadium problems thanks to the 2010 FIFA World Cup (which was, admittedly, AWESOME!), but that said, it is rather nice having such a beautiful stadium like Cape Town Stadium around.

I just wish it hadn’t cost quite as much, and somehow become a little more self-sufficient and a little less reliant on my tax money!

Related Link: Youtube

How NOT to Store Passwords Tech News 20 JUL 2015

British presenter and tech personality Tom Scott (whom I’m quite fond of featuring here on my little blog thanks to his likable personality and way of clearly and concisely explaining things) joins up with Computerphile to bring this great 10 minute video on how software developers should not be storing passwords.

The fact is, most of us in the trade would probably have implemented pretty much all of these erroneous methods at some point in our careers! (I know that I certainly have)

Definitely worth watching if you are in charge of writing some or other access-controlled system.

Take away points: Passwords should never be encrypted using a two way algorithm. Passwords should be uniquely salted in order to get differing hash values.

Worth remembering!

username password login screen

Related Link: Youtube

Birds Paradise in Robertson (2015-07-08) Photo Gallery 19 JUL 2015

With Montagu our home for a week, every day was an adventure out and about in the Robertson, Ashton, Barrydaly, Montagu area. Our first real outing was to Birds Paradise, an exotic bird breeding operation in Robertson, one which does so well that they’ve even opened quite an impressive visitors centre, featuring a restaurant, kids play area, crocodile pit, and views of quite a large number of different animal and bird species!

IMG_20150708_121449 craig lotter and jessica at birds paradise exotic bird breeder in robertson

We headed out nice and early, arriving in time for a nice breakfast (on the premises) before grabbing our entrance tickets and heading in to see the birds.

And birds they have by the dozens.

Exotic birds from literally all over the world can be found here, and it is a absolute explosion of colour and squawks. However, these guys are bird breeders, meaning that birds are kept in breeding pairs in relatively small cages, bare to allow for easier capturing of the birds.

Honestly, it is not something that I could really enjoy at all, seeing as I am very much against the keeping of birds as pets in the first place. (Plus, I’ve been to the fantastic dome aviary that is Birds of Eden before – once you’ve been there, you can never really look at birds in cages ever again!)

IMG_20150708_115349 green bird at birds paradise exotic bird breeder in robertson

Still, the girls were entertained by all the colours on display, the tame owl in the curio shop was a hit, there was a massive variety of animals and birds to see, and Jessica was particularly excited to take her very first photo – using my phone, and pictured below:

IMG_20150708_115118 jessica lotter's very first photo

And of course, the play area was a great way for them to burn off all the energy following our stroll amongst all the birds.

IMG_20150708_125907 emily lotter on trampoline

Needless to say, such a large variety of things to see made for quite a bit of photos on the morning!

Related Link: Route 62 Birds Paradise

Springbok Pie at Platform 62 in Ashton (2015-07-07) Photo Gallery 18 JUL 2015

On our way through to Montagu for our little holiday at Rainbow Glen, we drove past an interesting little spot in Ashton, fronted by a rather large and impressive historic steam locomotive!

IMG_20150707_134126 decommissioned locomotive at platform 62 in ashton

Platform 62 is a tourism centre associated with Route 62, and hosts impressive antiques and wine sales sections, as well as a restaurant area.

IMG_20150707_134140 at platform 62 in ashton

There’s an outside eating area as well, stocked with all kinds of kiddie activities, guaranteed to entertain the little ones. Chickens run wild (which you can buy feed for if your kids are into that), and then of course there is Fanie die vark (Fanie the pig) who wanders about both inside and out!

(As it turns out, both Jessica and Emily were more than just a little terrified of Fanie the pig!)

IMG_20150707_140019 fanie die vark pig at platform 62 in ashton

Something however to look out for at the restaurant is definitely their delicious springbok (venison) pie – definitely worth every penny! :)

Related Link: http://www.platform62.co.za/

Rainbow Glen in Montagu (2015-07-07) Photo Gallery 17 JUL 2015

We enjoyed one of our first holidays away together as a family (just the four of us) this July, with a four day long adventure in the Montagu area.

IMG_20150709_103348 emily lotter at rainbow glen accommodation in montagu

We were originally booked in to stay at the Montagu Springs resort, but Chantelle got a little spooked when Andy and Albert returned early from their break a lot less than impressed, plus some of the information we were receiving from Montagu Springs in regards to their warm pools wasn’t helping either. So instead, Chantelle made a last minute switch to Rainbow Glen, a quaint little self-catering guest farm setup run by a family of rock climbers (Montagu is after all heaven for South African rock climbing!).

We rented the Garden Cottage, which although being a little sparse and not particularly modern, housed the four of us easily enough, with access to a great little braai lapa, a big lawn for the kids to play on, kids toys like slides, a trampoline, and a jungle gym, a rabbit hutch, a chicken coop, and a cool little paddock with two horses roaming about in it.

Jessica immediately made friends with some of the other kids staying there and what followed was a particularly enjoyable week away from home and work.

IMG_20150709_102048 kids feeding horse at rainbow glen accommodation in montagu

We built each day up around a primary focal point (Robertson Birds Paradise, Viljoensdrift River Cruise, and Montagu Guano Cave) and spent quite a bit of time driving around and taking in the sights of the Robertson, Ashton, Montagu, Barrydale area – made particularly easy by the fact that we got a great mobile data signal throughout plus a Google Navigation app that works really, really well!

IMG_20150710_090838 feeding the rabbits at rainbow glen accommodation in montagu

Even the odd power break or two couldn’t quite dampen this great week of out and about with the family! :)

Related Link: http://rainbowglen.co.za/