This weekend was spent lazing in the bush with the odd attempt at getting some housework done. I have been waiting for the 10th of October for some time, firstly because it was the 10/10/10 ( I like numbers), and secondly because it was Oom Paul’s birthday. The folk in this area wait patiently for his birthday every year. Oom Paul is the pet name for President Paul Kruger – Oom meaning uncle. (Afrikaans speaking people generally call everybody older than themselves uncle or aunt as a sign of respect – even if they aren’t related. This used to really freak me out but I am getting used to it now.)
Paul Kruger (Stephanus Johannes Paulus Kruger) was born on October 10 1825. He wasn’t a well-educated man and only had three months formal education. He became Commandant-General of the then South African Republic , later known as Transvaal. He became Vice-President in 1874. The first Anglo Boer war was 1880 and the British forces were defeated in a battle at Majuba in 1881. At this time Paul Kruger was instrumental in negotiations with the British, which later led to the restoration of Transvaal as an independent state under British rule. In 1882, the 57-year-old Paul Kruger was elected president of Transvaal. He died on 14 July 1904. ( You can read more about him if you click on his picture.) The Kruger National Park is named after him.
I am not a political animal (or a history buff) so why, you may ask, was I patiently awaiting his birthday? Well as stories go around these parts, if it rains before Oom Paul’s birthday we are in for a very dry summer, and if it rains on or after his birthday we will have a wet summer. And I want a wet summer. So now it can rain. Please.
Today it will be 44 deg C and it’s only spring (111 deg F). Heaven help me!
At the suggestion of a friend I am trying to record all the bird species on my farm. I started yesterday and spent some time sitting in the shade of one of my Marula trees with my feet in the pool, ogling the bush with my binoculars. I also want to learn more bird calls because it is sometimes difficult to see the birds once the bush turns green.
These are the ones that I heard. There were many more calls but I have yet to identify them.
African fish eagle
The following birds sat still long enough for me to identify them visually.
Southern black flycatcher
White-crested helmet shrike
There were so many more birds. It will take a long time to record them all (and get them to sit still so that I can identify them.) I look forward to the challenge.
Picture credits: Wikipedia