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Travelog for: Pinky Bear

Paris, France - 30th May 2008

By: MrsC


Tanya took me to Paris!

I met a new friend called Hope, she is also a travelling bear. She travels with Tanya to promote Breast Health Awareness. We didn't get to see too much of Paris as Tanya was working... but we did see the Eiffel Tower!


...and the Seine. (Did you know, there is no major river in Johannesburg? It was a town built on greed - for gold, not practicality)


We also visited  Jardin des Tuileries, which gets its name from the French word for tiles (tuilerie), as the area was originally a clay quarry. Catherine de Médicis had a palace built here in the late 1500's with a large Italian style garden to remind her of home. The garden was one of the first parks to be opened to the public. It is also the most central park in Paris.


Sorry pigeon, I have no crumbs for you...


Here I am outside the Louvre, maybe one day I'll go back and get to see inside it! I'd love to meet The Mona Lisa


Maybe I can convince Fi to take me to some local art galleries when I get back....

* Posted May 30, 2008, 5:09 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Jo'burg, South Africa - 4th June 2008

By: MrsC

Somebody lied to me...
I was told, and I distinctly remember this, that winter in Jo'burg is DRY with BLUE skies....
What the heck is this then?


Rain, that's what!!! Three days of rain. Grey sky and it is FREEZING. Freezing, I tell you, no double glazing, no central heating and no carpets!!!!

Luckily Threadbear had a spare jersey I could borrow. Or I would have climbed in an envelope and posted myself home just to warm up...


Well, they say it will warm up tomorrow and the rain will stop...

* Posted Jun 6, 2008, 8:18 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

In bed, in a sulk, South Africa - 5th June 2008

By: MrsC

Sorry, no updates from Pinky today. She is in a big sulk and staying in bed because the temperature this morning was 5.5 deg C. I told her it would be hot by lunch time, but she just pulled the bed clothes over her head and said 'hmmph'. So I left her there!

* Posted Jun 6, 2008, 8:22 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Jo'burg, South Africa - 6th June 2008

By: MrsC

It was much warmer today, so I eventually dragged myself out of bed...yay! Blue sky!

Well you may know that I am sharing desk space with Threadbear who is on a mission to collect 500 Teddy Bears for the Teddy Bear Clinic... Well today he and Fi went off to help a friend sort out some charity donations... and they came back with this:


I was speechless. There were so many toys and some of them smelled REAL BAD! I only posed for the photo 'cause it meant sitting in the sun, but because I'm sitting in the sun you can't even see me!

I helped Fi and Threadbear sort out the toys.

Bears to be washed...


Other toys to be dealt with afterwards...oh, I may have been more gentle with my own kind, sorry you lot...


The other bears that had already been washed were also sorted into groups. The whole room was filled with bears and Fi sat down to repair the ones with split seams, no ears, missing eyes, backwards arms...

She has a funny old fashioned thing called a record player that plays huge black CD's called records...what a stupid name...but it plays the most wonderful music! She put on some records from the 1940's which she says is the best music to listen to if you need to feel domesticated. So while she sat and sewed we all danced around the room.


You know Threadbear's little brother, Buttons, is...um...er...quite handsome...

Not that Threadbear isn't ...or anything...and he sure can dance. Buttons that is, and Threadbear... of course...


Well, erm..ah..um..goodnight then. I need to go and you know...blush...blush... chat...to...Buttons... and everybody.

* Posted Jun 6, 2008, 8:49 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Toadstool Town, South Africa - 7th June 2008

By: MrsC

Yay! I am going somewhere at last! Hopefully there will be some sunshine today...

Nats has a birthday party to go to at a place called Toadstool Town .It's a Princess party. Now that sounds promising!

We are dressed and ready, LET"S GO ALREADY!

Bump, bump, bump! We had to drive on a dirt road to get there because it is on a farm.


Here we are!


We arrived just in time for a tractor ride. All the children and I piled on the back and off we went...


You can see how dry it is here in winter... but still very beautiful.


On our ride we saw an old windmill.


And people learning to horse ride. I'd like to ride a horse...or maybe a pony...


I even had a turn at driving the tractor! Okay, I was just pretending, I am not really big enough to drive this thing...


Whoohoo! What is next?
Hmmm, what is this? Something to eat? Oh. My. Goodness. This is quite delicious and dripping with sweetness. What is it?

A KOEKSUSTER! WHAT A FUNNY NAME..ha ha ha... This is a traditional South African sweet treat. It is made from doughnut dough which is braided then deep fried and then dipped in a cold syrup mixture (I can feel my arteries clogging with each delicious bite)..But oh, I just can't stop!


Right, I'd better work off some of those kilojoules or I'll be too heavy to ever post home. Nats, want to come exploring with me? Good, let's see what we can find.

Lots of old farm implements...



A what? A farm cat? Don't let it get me....eek!


Old wagon wheels...


An old building...


Interesting... stables...horses? No? Ponies? Where?


Are you sure there is a pony at the top of these stairs Nats? Seems like a very odd place to keep a pony...


Oh, I see, the steps are to help the children get ON to the pony. Can I ride with you then?


Well, there you have it! My first pony ride! I want to go again...

OOOOHHHH! Look at this...


I'm getting a good seat quickly, before all the children get here...


Hang on a second, I can't reach anything. Much better!


Oh, it is time for games first. We dance and play 'pass the parcel'. And we hunt for treasure... what enormous fun!

Time for cake!


And finally, home time for a rest. Natalie shares her party pack with me on the way home. What a great day it turned out to be. I'll tell Buttons all about it when I get home....

* Posted Jun 10, 2008, 5:17 pm Last edited Jun 10, 2008, 6:50 pm by MrsC [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Teddy Bear Central, South Africa - 9th June 2008

By: MrsC

I am so tired.

Well you know that Threadbear lives in this house too and that he is on a mission to collect 500 bears.. well every spare paw in this house has had to help with tying bows and fixing missing parts so that no bear gets left behind...

Teddy Bear Central, as the lounge/sitting room has been renamed, was in a complete mess and Fi has a scrapbook class in the morning so we had to tidy it up. It took us almost all night to get those bears to behave and sit nicely. Look at them all. Dozens of them.


I'm going to bed and I am going to sleep for a week. I have a new friend sharing my bed. Her name in Fiona just like Fi! I'll introduce her to you soon.

* Posted Jun 10, 2008, 5:46 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Jo'burg, South Africa - 10th June 2008

By: MrsC

Today Fi let me join her scrapbook class.

This is the page they were doing:


This is how they take over the whole table....it is full of paper and rulers and photos and glue. If they each had a table they would still fill it up this much!


One of the ladies was celebrating a birthday so the others organised a champagne breakfast.


Well I skipped the champagne, but I certainly had breakfast!  :D Yummy, most delicious!

* Posted Jun 10, 2008, 6:47 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Jo'burg, South africa - 11th June 2008

By: MrsC

I had a boring morning listening to Fi shout at her PC because the internet kept hanging and she couldn't upload her photos to Flickr. After an hour she gave up and went to tidy Natalie's room which looked like a hurricane had swept by. Like I said...boring!

Then we had a little excitement in the late afternoon. Vicki came by to visit and brought two TVs with her. They wanted to meet Threadbear...Honestly. You'd think he was some kind of celebrity the way they went on. They managed to stop and say hello to Fiona and I, before they went off to fawn all over him. Grape Ape is the monkey and Emil is the ASS oops, I mean donkey.


Vicki also brought three bags of bears..oh my aching paws, more work! That poor washing machine never stops.

Ha! No sooner had they all left, than I cought Fiona making eyes at Threadbear. What is it with all these girls throwing themselves at his paws? Buttons is WAY better looking. And she had BETTER keep her paws off him!

I can already see she is going to pester me all night asking questions about him. She has that look in her eyes. Dear me, there may be trouble ahead...


* Posted Jun 11, 2008, 10:28 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Out and about, South Africa - 13th June 2008

By: MrsC

I spent the evening consoling Fiona. I had to tell her that Threadbear already had a girlfriend. She was devastated and cried all night. Eventually I just went to sleep, I couldn’t listen any more… honestly, he is really no big deal.

To cheer her up Fi took us  with to her beautician, Claire, this morning. We had to drop the children off at school first, but the power went off, so there were no traffic lights working. What a nightmare. It took 45 minutes to go 6 kilometers (3.7 miles). Of course, as soon as we got  the children into the school grounds the traffic lights came back on! Well we eventually got to meet Claire, she let us sit on the treatment chair.

Then Claire asked if we wanted the same done as Fi...


We were about to say 'of course!" till we found out Fi was having her eyebrows waxed...aaarrrrggggghhhhh! Stay away from my fur you crazy woman!!!!

We decided to have a pedicure instead, Claire told us to choose a colour nail polish that we liked...wow! So many choices...


I of course, chose pink... such a lovely colour, and it goes with my...well everything I suppose!


Once we were all prettied up, we got back in the car and headed off to Fi's friend’s post box for her (Fi is the unofficial postmaster general among her friends!) She collects all their post for them. No one gets street delivery, it all goes to post boxes like this.


Fi's post box is at the main Post Office in a huge shopping centre, so that is where we headed next...

She parked on the roof to show us the view.

It is funny that on this side it is all farms but directly behind us it is all urban (but a great big wall blocks the view of that)


This is part of the shopping centre. It is called Northgate - there is also a Westgate, Southgate and an Eastgate oddly enough. All service the four corners of Johannesburg, with dozens, probably even hundreds, of smaller shopping centres in between and a few other massive ones too. Because of the crime in Johannesburg, people feel safer in big shopping areas rather than at little corner shops. She says this is a false sense of security!


This is the Coca - Cola Dome again that I saw on my very first day in South Africa.. This weekend there is an extreme motor show. Guess we won't be seeing that then.


We did a bit of shopping looking for "Bear spares", don't worry I am not falling apart! Threadbear needs them for all the bears coming into Bear Central. Lots of them are damaged in some way or other

Fi left us in the car and went to a shop for something secret…I wonder what it is…

When we eventually got home, she said she thought I may be feeling a little homesick, so she had bought me a little treat from the German bakery…

…that made me cry a little because I do miss my home, but I am having so much fun that I want to stay here a bit longer.

* Posted Jun 13, 2008, 5:11 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Farmall, South Africa - 13th June 2008

By: MrsC

This afternoon, Fi’s son Shane, had an away soccer match. We chased the bus all the way to the school. Luckily we have been to the other school many times because we kept getting stuck at traffic lights... This was less exciting at the last away match , where we didn't know where the school was and we kept losing the bus!

We sat and watched for a while… they ran up, they ran down, they ran up, they ran...


Of course we got bored and had a wander around the school. If you look between us you can just see the Dome that we were at this morning. I didn’t realise that we are so far away! You can see the Dome from  miles around because it is so big and because it is quite high up.


The school is on a farm and on farms you need these… I wish I could have a ride on it, why are my legs so short?


This is the school hall. It doesn't look too impressive from the outside but inside it tiers downwards like an arena.


Aha! Fiona dared me to ring the bell…but there was a padlock on it! Obviously someone got tired of it ringing when it wasn’t supposed to!


There is a river running through the school property, but it is fenced off to stop the children getting to it I suppose. It also stopped us getting to it… Pity, it is so hot this afternoon, I could do with a swim.


Oh well we’d better get back to the match, it is about time for Shane’s team to play. Phew, I need a drink after all that walking...

* Posted Jun 14, 2008, 2:15 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Houghton, South Africa - 15th June 2008

By: MrsC

Yesterday was one of those funny days where so much was happening there was no time to photograph it all. Lots of visitors came to the house, first off the breakfast crowd. Fi and some friends have a 'breakfast club'. They used to go out for breakfast, together once a month. Then someone had a 'wise' idea that each family should host breakfast at their home once a month instead.

Wow, what a flurry of activity, starting with Fi waking up early to clean the house quickly (I have mentioned that two young children live in this house?) Then the cooking begins and setting the table. Ooohh! The smells... My tummy was rumbling like mad with the bacon fumes! And black cherries on waffles are my new favourite meal. Fi said I'd have to learn to make them myself if I wanted them more often. No sooner had we cleared up than another lot of guests arrived.... and then another lot! Eventually they all went home and more friends came over for supper.

Fi told me that her husband's grandmother (they don't see eye to eye) once commented (not positively) that the house was like a hotel, with all the comings and going and meals on offer. If you ask me, it is more like Paddington station!

Any way, today was a lot more relaxed. We slept in a bit and then we all had a yummy Father's day breakfast.

After that we climbed into the car, got strapped in and set off for Fi's Mom. We were whizzing down the highway at 120KPH (about 75MPH) when she took these photos so excuse them if they are a bit fuzzy...

First up is Sandton City. Remember I went there recently?


There was a large police presence on the roads because it is a long weekend here. South Africa has a shocking road death toll.


This is a typical sight... usually they are even more overloaded. (This was taken on the way back home - you can see the sun is starting to set)


Fi's husband drove past her Mom's off ramp and she wondered what he was up to... he was taking Fiona and I on a little tour! First we drove up a steep winding hill.... (see the tall walls and electric fence? Very typical in Johannesburg)


We stopped at the top to look down...


We are in a part of Johannesburg called 'Upper Houghton' (old wealthy area) If you look behind us you will see a large group of buildings. That is Killarney where Fi's Mom lives. It used to be a predominantly Jewish area, but with everybody immigrating these days (or dying off... it was also full of elderly retirees!) it has become just as cosmopolitan as the rest of Johannesburg. At one stage it was also quite an exclusive suburb and some of the blocks of flats have been very well maintained. Most were built in the 1920s or 30's and were designed in an art deco style.


The part we are looking down on here is lower Houghton, and somewhere down there is the house of none other than the most famous South African, Nelson Mandela. Fi is sorry she doesn't know exactly which one...


Jo'burg is recognised as an urban forest (the largest in the world.)You can see that clearly, behind us! Wall to wall trees...and believe me when I tell you that under the canopy of trees, it is wall to wall houses too...


The road that we are on is called The Munro Drive, it is a National Monument and is listed on the very important sounding "One Hundred Places of Outstanding Cultural, Historical, Architectural, and Natural Interest in Johannesburg" (which sadly reads like a list of places to avoid in Johannesburg if you wish to live to an old age)


On the way back we passed St John's College. A very old, internationally recognised, Church school. Fi's Granddad went there a long, long, long time ago. I bet there was no electric fence in his day...


Then we popped out onto Joe Slovo Drive, which up until recently was known as Harrow Road.Yep, the name change thing again! Joe Slovo was a "struggle hero", an anti-apartheid activist, and the street was renamed in his honour to commemorate the tenth anniversary of his death. This is a new bridge that was built across the road. There are a lot of these bridges, which are very cleverly designed. They are put in place at the side of the road and then swung over into place by a crane to minimise traffic disruptions. A massive one was built at the side of a highway and swung over once, which was quite an engineering feat.


This is a memorial for those in the South African Scottish Regiment, who lost their lives in the Great War. It stands in front of the head quarters of the 'Transvaal Scottish' (who haven't changed their name even though the Transvaal is now known as Gauteng Province)


Our next stop was Fi’s Mom, where we had that delicious carrot cake again that Fi makes. Her piggy brother had THREE slices!

* Posted Jun 18, 2008, 12:23 am [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Zoo Lake, South Africa - 15th June 2008

By: MrsC

When we got tired of sitting around at Fi's Mom, we all got back into the car and took a little drive down to the Zoo Lake (so named because the 'river', more like a stream, that feeds it, runs through the Zoo which is adjacent to the Lake.)


Oh look! Boats! Please may we have a boat ride?


The two of us were sitting peacefully, enjoying the view...


And the nasty geese got closer, and closer...


Okay, time to leave! Dump the bread and run!

Heh, heh! Look what we found!


Red boat or yellow? Red of course! It is nice and pink inside!


My hero!


Okay, it's not quite the Titanic...but my heart will go on!!!!!


Okay, goose, have some bread...just leave me alone now...


That dreadful monstrosity on the horizon is not a stack of Lego; it is in fact the Johannesburg General Hospital. It was built in the 1970s which explains the concrete ugliness. The three tall buildings are the Nurses Residence. Fi used to live in the one on the left...on the 13th floor. The old hospital was so beautiful....


Hey! Not too close... it's a lovely day but it's not hot enough to get wet...


Oh, how pretty! A rainbow...

Fi says she remembers that fountain in the 'old days' when it used to be higher and fuller.


Oh Help!!! Pirates!!! Johannesburg IS a terrible place...you can't even row a boat in safety... Unhand me now you scabby seadogs!


Thank you, Natalie for rescuing me and comforting me. Row us back to shore!


Ah, the boat house. Safety at last... oh no, another killer goose!!!!


This is a very famous restaurant called Moyo, on the lake side. It is an African experience more than a restaurant. There are a few branches through out South Africa.


The waiters were a little odd though...so we had an ice cream instead and went back home...


On the way we passed this...


Then it was back on the highway...do we have these in our country?


We definitely don't get this! My goodness, what an intense sunset!


* Posted Jun 18, 2008, 1:28 am [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Jo'burg, South Africa - 16th June 2008

By: MrsC

Well today I witnessed a national institution: The Braai (known in other countries as a barbeque).

The following are valid reasons to have a braai: the sun is shining, there is an important sports event, there is a non important sport event, it is a special occasion, there is more than one person that needs to eat, there is a power failure, it is a day of the week that ends in 'y'. Yep, they pretty much use any excuse.

This is how a braai works:
The woman/women go into the kitchen and prepare a selection or all of the following: potato dish (baked, creamy, salad-whatever), garlic mushrooms, sweet corn, salad (a few types preferably), garlic bread, rice, desert ( a few if possible), tea, coffee all other drinks.





One man braais the meat while drinking a beer. Any other men will form a crowd around him. They will stand and gossip talk about important things like cars. The man will call the woman from the kitchen for another beer, braai tongs, a dish to put the meat on, another beer etc.


The woman will set out all the food that she has prepared: plates, cutlery, glasses, serviettes...

Several decades later the meat will be ready and lunch is served!

Everyone congratulates the man on the wonderful meal he has cooked. He takes full credit. They eat too much red meat and slather butter on everything.

The woman clears up the table and they have dessert.

In this case, milk tart, another national institution. It is baked custard in a pastry shell with cinnamon on top. (Fi cheated, this is a store bought one.) But, Hmmmm...it was yummy!


Then they all lie around wondering why so many South Africans die of heart attacks.

Fi insists that I tell you that all characters in this story are typical stereotypes and in no way reflect on her husband! And she only lets her family have a braai on rare occasions... with strictly controlled butter rations...ha ha ha!

* Posted Jun 18, 2008, 8:21 pm Last edited Jun 18, 2008, 8:24 pm by MrsC [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Military Museum, South Africa - 17th June 2008

By: MrsC

As a special treat Fi and her friends took their children to the Military Museum as they are all 'army' mad (and it is mid term break).


Now you may wonder what a country at the very bottom end of Africa, continents away from the rest of the world would have to fight about. The short answer of course, would be mineral wealth. European Settlers arrived, discovered how fabulous it was here, decided they wanted it and needed to take it away from the Zulu's (who'd already spent plenty of time warring against other local tribes to reach the top)


Then the Afrikaans people (an offshoot from the original Dutch Settlers) decided they were sick of British rule and wanted to be independent. The British didn't care much for that idea and it led to...


Being a British Colony, South Africa was obliged to lend a helping hand in this war...


And then again in this one....


Then they had a problem with the neighbours (with a little Russian interference)...


Quite a lot of action hmm?

Of course during the Apartheid era they were always on alert for the 'Swart Gevaar' (the Black Danger).

As a result there was compulsory Military Conscription. All men did two years each. The boys in Fi's class at school (1988) were (much to their disgust) the last intake of compulsory military training to do two years (1989). Then it petered down to one year and then it ended all together.

Anyway, here are a few photos from the museum in no particular order (we were running after a crowd of 7 and 8 year olds remember?)

First off, a brilliant intellectual mind Jan Christiaan Smuts (Fi remembers her Grandpa saying was remarkably clever man he was - high praise from Grandpa who was a pretty smart man too!) Read the link to see all of his achievements, including being the Prime Minister twice.


Here is evidence of his military achievements:


Here are the two of us on a tank...


...and a really old fire engine (Fi's favourite exhibit by the way!), called a 'Merryweather'.


Fi found a room full of military musical history that she had never seen before on any of her previous visits... maybe it is a new display.


Me hitching a ride on a cousin of Bokkie...


The Springbok was sculpted by an Italian prisoner of war...


Talking of POW's here are the boots and uniform of a Russian POW from the Border Conflict. Naughty Russians, interfering in affairs so far from home!


And here is another Springbok, called Nancy, she was a mascot for the South African Scottish Regiment in Europe during WWI

"During the battle of Delville Wood, a shell exploded in the transport lines close to where Nancy was tethered at the Quarter Master Stores.  Nancy took fright, bolted and broke her left horn against the wall.  This horn began growing downwards at an angle.  The doctors didn't know much about veterinary sciences and weren't about to set it.  Thus, the horn was allowed to continue growing.  To her honour, a gold stripe was added to the Murray Athol tartan coat strapping that Nancy wore."


Up, up and away!


Fi says she needs one of these mounted on her car... (I think she is joking...)

Phew, it is quite a walk around this place, one of the Moms let me hitch a ride...


The sign says no PEOPLE on the tank, don't worry...


Sing with me, ‘In the Navy, you can sail the seven seas, in the Navy... ‘ What? Surely you know the Village People?


Meet Mark...


He's a torpedo...


I'd make you sing 'Yellow submarine' with me, but your singing skills are clearly dodgy, and this submarine is clearly not yellow...


Are we cleared for take off?


What exactly do you mean by 'hold onto your knickers? I'm a bear I am not wearing anyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy……..


We didn't break it! Honest, it was the gazillion kids that have played on it...


Hop in, I'll get us home in no time, it will be a little drafty though...


Time to go home, it is getting rather cold and dark...

Wait a second, what is this?


Fi says to tell you that the memorial stone was laid in 1999, but the statue has been up top there for as long as she can remember (old stuff she remembers, breakfast she doesn't!) Read all about it here

Here is the Angel of Peace, a little closer.


* Posted Jun 18, 2008, 10:06 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Northcliff, South Africa - 18th June 2008

By: MrsC

There was much excitement today! Fi went to the Post Office and came back with a large parcel from Russia...

We were dying to see who was inside...


Then we thought, hang on, the box is too big for a TV, this is clearly a parcel for Threadbear so we called him over to open it...


As we suspected! More bears! From Kristl


Well we left Threadbear chatting to the new arrivals and headed to the dentist..yikes! 6 month checkup...

Natalie, very bravely went first to get it over and done with... she had a little company though! Go on Nats, open your mouth!


I climbed up to the side to get a better view of what was happening... nice teeth Nats!


Oh good, no holes in anyones teeth, now lets get out of here before he asks me to open wide....

* Posted Jun 18, 2008, 10:27 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

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