The Little White Duck

Who remembers Burl Ives from their childhood? I loved this song when I was a kid and now I’ve got a pond with lily pads and little green frogs. Who would’ve thought?


not quite little white ducks, but they'll do

not quite little white ducks, but they’ll do


Recently, Judy came across a letter that I wrote to her when Peter and I were living at Mboza. I’ve always been under the impression that I’ve changed so much since I was younger, that I’m a totally different person now. But when I read the letter, it was so “me”! We may change physically, we may become wiser or grumpier with age but it seems to me that you are still you, if you know what I mean.

letter to Judy_edited-2


I must admit that yes, I did weed the field, pick the veg, collect firewood and dig for water, but I don’t recall ever cleaning a chicken run.

Veg garden at Mboza, 1982

Veg garden at Mboza, 1982

Peter growing mielies at Mboza

Peter growing mielies at Mboza

digging for water in the Pongola River, 1982

digging for water in the Pongola River, 1982

Mboza digging for water2


The letter is dated the 30th October 1982. As I wrote it I could never have imagined that 9 years later, to the day, I would be giving birth to my second child.

I have been enjoying the profusion of birds in the garden of late. There is definitely a sense of summer coming to an end and perhaps the birds’ food supply is drying up because the numbers at the bird feeders have quadrupled. It is quite chilly in the mornings and evenings now, and we have even been lighting the clay chiminea when we sit outside at night. It has still been bloody hot during the day, and very dry. I’m hoping that the tropical storm that has hit the East Coast will send some rain our way.



red bishop

red bishop

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One Response to The Little White Duck

  1. Heather Hinsley says:

    Dear Cathy I am admiring your beautiful photographs and thinking that I must write to you properly one of these days. Unfortunately I’ve got a touch of bronchitis which is sore and makes you want to sleep – hope it goes soon. Otherwise it’s spring just about arrived here and the gardening work and thinking about it is a bit non stop!
    I am hoping to visit my mother this weekend in Essex as it is Mother’s Day here on Sunday, I have told her that I have been in touch with you very briefly, she was quite amazed at the ease of modern technology! Happy Mother’s Day to you and yours too! Best Wishes from (cousin) Heather

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