Roscoe

My name is Roscoe. I was born in 2002.

When dad is cross with me he calls me: “Rascal”.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier x Boerboel they say.

Dad says I’m a mixture of whatever was going around the area over a period of time.

When I was young I quickly grew bigger than my dad’s size 8 shoe.

I was born into a large litter and from a young age was a bit of a loner.

My mom was very cheeky. I visited her a year after leaving home and she shouted at me!

I think my dad had a hard time with her mood swings.

I look like my dad but have my mom’s chest design.

My sister Jessie is thinner than me. Who knows where she is now.

My first playmate was an Airedale.

My life-mate is Charlie. She is now in dog-heaven.

I really miss Charlie and so does dad. But we make up for it by loving each other even more.

One day soon I will show you a video of how well I can swim and bite a swinging tyre.

Adiós.

PS – when I got big I had a girlfriend called Zille: click here.

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Obrigado Brazil

As with my trip to Thailand many years ago, I have some low quality photos that were scanned (low quality again) a year or two after my return.

Why hide them away? No good reason; so let’s have a peep.

I seem to recall the trip was in 2003 (my passport is presently with the authorities so enable a compulsory VISA for my next trip).

It was a long haul on SAA (our struggling national carrier) from Durban – Johannesburg –  São Paulo – Rio de Janeiro. Well, a long haul in those days as I was still a “junior” traveller.

The photo below was taken at the “old” airport in Durban before my departure.

 

I first stayed in a hotel, 2 or 3 stars, not far from Copacabana Beach in Rio. I took the photo below from my expensive room that I do not remember at all.

 

Prior to my departure I read about a biker gang that took over the city, although I cannot easily find any reference right now to that incident. I also watched the movie City of God (2002) Cidade de Deus (original title) three times after returning home – a good movie: highly recommended.

I did the usual tourist things like stopping in at the first bar to sample the beer.

 

Next of course was the beach to see what all the hype was about re: bikinis on Copacabana and Ipanema.

 

It was a quiet day on the beach, but Google does help one see what I missed.

 

But who cares about bikinis when there was an opportunity to pass some time with some fellow anglers.

The highlight in Rio was Cristo Redentor. The statue is 39.6 metres tall, including its 9.5 metres pedestal, and 30 metres wide. It weighs 635 tons, and is located at the peak of the 700 metre Corcovado mountain in the Tijuca Forest National Park overlooking the city.

I felt a sense of calm and stood in awe of this magnificent creation.

 

The view from the top of the mountain lovely.

 

I built up some courage a few days later and made my way via coach 150 kilometres to Angra dos Reis, where after I caught a local ferry to Ilha Grande.

Like all “good” coaches and taxis, there were the usual stops at “friend’s” shops along the way, usually the priciest along the road (mark-up to pay the driver and his boss no doubt).

The cans of Skol on the ferry, as seen in the photo, made me feel a lot safer among the locals, none of whom spoke a word of English.

 

I used the town of Vila do Abraão as my base camp on the island.

Lonely Planet gives a brief summary as follows: “The fabulous island retreat of Ilha Grande owes its pristine condition to its unusual history. First it was a pirates’ lair, then a leper colony and, finally, a prison for some of Brazil’s most violent and deranged criminals. All that remains of those days are some half-buried stone foundations, but the island’s unsavory reputation kept developers at bay for a long time. Consequently, beautiful tropical beaches and virgin Atlantic rain forest (now protected by the federal government) abound on Ihla Grande, and there are still only a few settlements on the island. Vila do Abraão, the only town of any size on Ilha Grande, was itself a sleepy fishing village until 30 years ago. Recently, there’s been a steady stream of new pousadas and bars popping up, but this palm-studded beachfront town with its tidy white church is still incredibly picturesque, and remains small by mainland Brazil standards. Except for Abraão’s lone garbage truck, fire engine and police vehicle, cars are not allowed in town, so the only transport here is by foot or boat. The village comprises a few dirt roads, and everybody congregates down near the dock and beach at night. On weekends and during high season it can get a bit claustrophobic in Vila do Abraão, but you can easily escape the crowds by hiking a few steps out of town in any ­direction.”

 

The photo above was taken from the room of the first pousada (inn) that I stayed at.

 

To say life on the island was laid-back does not do justice to just how relaxed life there appears to be.

Naturally, a good few bottles of Skol made me feel like a local within hours.

As luck would have it, on the weekend I was there, a music festival with some well-known Brazilian singers / artists was about to commence.

 

The Festival of Music and Ecology in Ilha Grande was an unexpected surprise.

During this festival, known and unknown local musicians offer free Brazillian music performances to the public. These shows are free, and can be seen in the village of Vila Abraao. The first part of this festival is held on the main land, at the wharf of Santa Luzia, but during the first week of July, the festival comes to Ilha Grande (may change from year to year).

 

Prior to the concert, some of the artists and fans gathered in a local bar where I sat, and played their instruments. Certainly an unforgettable part of the trip, listening to the lovely tunes and watching the camaraderie unfold.

 

 

I moved to another “inn” and recall two things from my stay there:

  1. an old man and his young lady  “friend” keeping me awake at night
  2. not taking my eyes off my fresh fruit salad bowl at breakfast every morning in case the old man caught me looking up and wondering what the hell was going on

 

I took a few boat trips around the island.

 

A few visits to Lopes Mendes Beach of course.

 

I even tried my luck at body-board surfing.

 

The island is mountainous with narrow gravel paths where one would no doubt get lost. So it was beach to beach (town to town) via boat.

 

I recall hearing the song Zombie playing when leaving the island. There is more to the story (yes, why would I remember the song). It has stuck in my head since then.

Next stop before returning to Rio was Paraty, which apparently means “river of fish” in the Tupi language.

An “old town” with cobblestones, horses, carts and churches. The new town with all the mod stuff.

I did a canoe trip in the mangroves and was surprised to be told that a fish we back home call “bait” is considered a delicacy in Paraty.Brazilian: Mullet (Mugil brasiliensis).

The trip leader also ranted non-stop about:

  1. corruption in Brazil
  2. Brazilian footballers only wanting expensive cars and blond girlfriends

The bicycle I hired did not fair well on the cobblestones in the old town.

 

It also did not have a 4×4 facility to help on the gravel sand and rocks.

 

Yes, I did discover the Caipirinha and sample a good few.

Also I discovered that you can eat your salad before your feijoada shown below.

 

Lindo maravilhoso!

Andy’s veggie burgers

After a recent visit to McDonald’s, I thought I would test how good their veggie burger is by making my own.

The rear of the Imana Chakalaka soya mince gives an easy to follow recipe, although I pretty much did my own thing.

I added curry powder, dhania, cumin, mustard seeds, garlic, ginger and mixed herbs to rev up the flavour (buy from Spice Emporium for savings and a wide selection).

Onion rings were placed in between the raw patties; all on a glass casserole dish greased with olive oil.

My old faithful Weber was used to cook the patties using the indirect method.

Hickory wood chips were used to smoke flavour the patties with an artificial bacon flavour.

 

To finish off: Portuguese rolls, a slice of cheese, tomato, lettuce, low-fat salad dressing a good helping of Veri Peri of course!

My guinea pig in chief gave me an 8 out of 10 for effort and flavour, although I don’t think she has scored any previous meal higher than 7.

The patties tasted even better the next day!

Durga Puja, the Worship of the Hindu Goddess Durga, Returns to Calcutta, India (part 1) by Ron Mayhew Photography ~ Seeing & Learning Through the Lens

Ron is my latest favourite photographer:
http://ronmayhewphotography.com/
http://ronmayhewphotography.wordpress.com

Ron Mayhew's Blog

The Durga Puja (Pujo in Bengali) is celebrated in various parts of India in different styles, but not on the grand scale of the Festival in Calcutta. This year’s celebration will be starting in a few weeks. I attended and photographed Durga Puja in Kolkata in October, 2011.

The days are long. The heat and humidity are oppressive; the crowds, claustrophobic. The sights, sounds, and smells can be overwhelming at times. In spite of and because of the difficult conditions Durga Puja was truly an experience of a life time.

Below is the first of a two part post on that event.

To be in Calcutta, now officially named Kolkata, India, for the Durga Puja was an amazing experience and a photographer’s dream. The Puja is the worship of the Hindu goddess Durga when she revisits earth for four days each year in October. The wife of Shiva, Durga has four children: Lakshmi, Saraswati…

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My first big stove

I have used a mini-stove since 1998. It is now 2012. Is that 14 years?

Timol after moving in soon “suggested” that a large conventional type stove would better suit her cooking style and needs.

Now, to avoid missing out on her next mutton curry, steamed fish, chutney chops, creamy beans curry, Marsala breakfast toast, bread and butter pudding, chicken curry… I thought it best to rush out immediately and invest in a brand new stove.

This was a frightening experience so I initially opted to only go one size up; to a large mini-stove.

However, the shopping experience got the better of me and I was soon eyeing out a sturdy black Defy 621.

As usual, I spent a lot of time trying to save a few Pounds, Dollars, Rands, Bucks.

I thought it was going to be a toss-up between Makro and Game, two major retailers.

Not to be!

Makro refused to budge on price and Game offered to beat any written quotation (by a measly ZAR 10).

I was not impressed at all. I mean, let’s face it – I was buying my first BIG stove and parting with my hard-earned money.

Luckily I then remembered Dave Ray in Sydney Road, Umbilo.

 

Before going to the store, I spoke to Kessie (031-2062038/9) about getting a “good deal”.

Kessie beat Game and Makro’s prices with ease!

Very smooth – no catch.

Unfortunately, when I arrived at the store I did not ask for Kessie and got sweet-talked by another salesman.

He gave me a good deal but I know Kessie would have done better.

 

The payment and loading at Dave Ray was quick, and it was not before long that the new stove was at home in the kitchen.

If I had purchased the stove from Game, then I would have had to pay at the store and drive a further 40 kilometres to the warehouse to collect. No thanks.

Now what to cook as the “first meal”…?

I opted for a lovely skinless chicken from Siraj Butchery in Stanley Copley Road. They are becoming really competitive on price and quality.

Some fresh garden herbs, olive oil, white wine, black pepper, lemon juice and whatever else tickled my fancy were gathered together.

 

Liquidized and then rubbed into the inside and outside of the chicken. Marinaded for about 6 hours.

 

Into the Defy oven.

 

Roasted to perfection.

 

Served with plain pasta (coated with light herbs, olive oil, pepper and salt).

 

Hints:

  1. If you need to buy appliances or lounge suites give Kessie a telephone call at Dave Ray. He will surely beat some of the major retailers in Durban on price and delivery
  2. Don’t cook the chicken too long and use tin foil to avoid it drying out
  3. Enjoy

A Tail of Dogs

John Unger just wanted a friend to take a nice photo of him and his 19-year-old dog, Schoep, before it was too late.

He (John) said: “I decided to use my energy not to focus so much on what I was feeling but to give my dog the best life I could. In the process, I helped myself, too.

We give animals as much as we can; in return, they give us their all, no matter how little or how much we give them. I have given Schoep as much as I can, although it was very little at that time. He has always given me his all.”

Read the full article here where John explains how his dog Schoep (both pictured below) helped him through a difficult patch.

Like John and many other people through the ages, I have also been blessed with some really close forgiving companions who love (loved) me unconditionally.

Whether I came home at 03h00 in the morning or even a few weeks later, I was always greeted by a broad grin and wagging tail.

The unconditional love given by a dog is not fazed by bad moods, absence, shouting or any “bad” behavior that a fellow human being would crucify one for.

Charlie, a little lady, joined me in 1999.

Photogenic from day 1.

A good swimmer in the pool.

Trips to the beach in the utility van were always appreciated.

Charlie enjoyed relaxing on the veranda chair.

When inside, she shared the couch with Tiga the cat.

Charlie was the only dog that did not annoy Tiga, who was a fussy boy that “moved out” of home after staying with me for 5 years!

Charlie enjoyed playing with plastic toys that squeaked. She loved tossing them in the air.

Brighton Beach January 2011: a few months before she passed away.

During early April 2011 Charlie was diagnosed with severe / advanced Cancer and passed away a few days later without whimper or complaint. She made her way to a corner at the bottom of the garden and lay down for her final rest.

An Angel left earth that day.

Like John, I also have my own story about how Charlie helped me through a difficult patch. That’s all for another post at another time.

Love your Angels (dogs) back while you have a chance.

The tribute to Charlie video can be viewed here.

“Our animals shepherd us through certain eras of our lives. When we are ready to turn the corner and make it our own…they let us go.” Author Unknown