I recently received an assignment to book a stay on Accommodation Direct, go stay at that place, and write a review of the experience. Accommodation Direct is a new accommodation booking tool and has listings throughout South Africa and a few other southern African countries. This was a pretty great assignment. I could choose to stay wherever I wanted (with the understanding that I was responsible for getting myself there), I could bring Ray, and my only instruction was to have a good time. The only hard part, as it turned out, was choosing where to go. Accommodation Direct offers everything from low-budget backpacking hostels to expensive safari lodges (I had a budget of R5000 — about $350 — so I had to be smart), with listings all over the place. Ray and I scoured the site for a couple of days, growing increasingly confused and indecisive, until settling on a self-catering guest farm called Stone Hill in Magaliesburg, just an hour or so from Joburg. People are always asking me for recommendations on weekend getaways that are close to town and this seemed like a good excuse to try one out. Plus Stone Hill is dog-friendly — we don’t have a dog but like […]
From the Melville Cat: This is a periodic update for my fans, to tell you that I am doing well. It is springtime in Johannesburg, the weather is fine, and I am spending lots of time outside, calling to my feline friends. I especially enjoy calling to my feline friends late at night, just outside the bedroom, with long, dramatic, mournful meows. I think Heather and Ray enjoy my calls as well. Heather conducted a photoshoot with me last week, which I quite enjoyed. Here are my favorite photos from the shoot. That is all that I have to say. Heather asked me to tell you that she is going away for a week and may not have time to blog during her travels. She will update you on her experiences upon her return. In the meantime, I will be at home enjoying extra servings of roast chicken and catnip with Ray. Thank you and good day. Meeoow.
From the Melville Cat: Dear Readers, Heather often says that you are eager for news about me and wish that I would post more often. I must apologize but, to tell the truth, my life is not terribly eventful. I eat, sleep, and walk laps around the swimming pool. (Cats do not swim.) I am not as young as I once was, and don’t get up to as many adventures as I did in my youth. I have little appetite for murdering birds these days, and prefer to sit quietly in the sun. I no longer fight with the other cats in the neighborhood, as I’ve realized it’s much easier to ignore them. No fighting means no injuries, which means no imprisonment inside the blasted Cone of Shame. This is good, both for me and my humans. My fighting days are in the past. I prefer not to risk my extraordinary good looks. I also learned a valuable lesson last year when I briefly absconded — Heather insists I “ran away” although I maintain that I was just on holiday — from my Melville domain. The holiday didn’t work out as I planned, and it was far more trouble than it was worth. It was nice to see […]
From the Melville Cat: A couple of weeks ago I took my first holiday, to a place in the south of Joburg called Cattery on the Hill. I suppose you could argue that this was not really my first holiday. Last month, while Heather was away on an extended trip, I decided to take a surprise holiday without telling anyone and absconded from our house in Melville. That holiday, however, did not turn out as planned. It was precisely due to my unsuccessful first holiday attempt that this new holiday came about. Heather had to go away on another trip and decided to subvert any surprise holiday plans I might have by sending me to Cattery on the Hill. Actually, let’s face it. Every day is a holiday in the life of the Melville Cat. But I digress. Heather shut me into my crate one morning and took me on a long drive. We went onto the highway and eventually reached a beautiful place with many hills and trees. This, Heather told me, was the south of Joburg. I didn’t understand where we were going at the time and I’ll admit that I wasn’t pleased. The long ride made me car sick […]
From the Melville Cat: Heather asked me to write a blog post this weekend. Apparently my fans have been asking her about my wellbeing. She says they want to hear the full story of our move from my perspective. My initial response was, “What move?” We moved? I had quite forgotten about that. Then I thought some more and yes, I vaguely recall this. I used to live somewhere else, perhaps a month or two ago. I remember now that I was very hesitant to leave that place. I’m not sure why. But I musn’t disappoint my loyal fans. I will recount the moving story to the best of my recollection. The story begins on a Saturday. Heather woke up early but she did not open the window for me to go outside, as she usually does. Instead she loaded me into my crate and carried me to to the doorway of the Lucky 5 Star. Before she carried me out the door, she put my crate down and walked to the other room. I think she was crying. When she returned to the doorway, Heather said, “Kitty, this is the last time we’ll be together in this house.” She seemed very sad. I […]
From the Melville Cat: It’s been many months since my last post. I’ve grown tired of blogging and prefer to pass the time sleeping, or eating, or pacing around the house meowing mournfully in the night. But the time has come for me to speak. I must make a public statement about “the move”. Heather has threatened me with moving before. A few years ago she told me that we would move next door to her landlord’s cottage. But then I had a talk with Horst, Heather’s landlord, and that move was called off. Now Heather tells me again that we’re moving, and this time it’s for real. Not far, she tells me, just a few blocks up the street. But we are going to a different house, says Heather. We will no longer live at the Lucky 5 Star Commune. Heather is insistent about this move. She follows me around in the garden, taking pictures. She says that I won’t be living in this garden much longer and she wants to document me. Me in my garden. MY garden. This is my favorite spot under the giant palm frond. Sitting on MY chair, on MY deck. My answer to Heather’s insistence about this move is — to put it simply — […]
My name is Tiger and I am a happy cat in Hillbrow. Hillbrow isn’t an easy place to live, especially for cats. But I’m a survivor. When I was a baby, a man found me and took me to live in the basement at the Hillbrow Boxing Club. I didn’t like it much at first. It’s noisy at the Hillbrow Boxing Club and some of the humans there teased me when I came. But George, the man in charge at the Hillbrow Boxing Club, loved me from the start. He gave me food and let me sleep in his room. I started to love my new home. Eventually, when I was big enough to run up the stairs, I started to hang around outside near the boxing ring. I ran around and played with people and learned to hunt mice. George named me Tiger and he seemed to think I was a boy. How rude! I am obviously a lady. This is me with George, my human. A few months after I moved in with George, I gave birth to three babies. I don’t know how this happened because I think I was still a baby myself. But anyway, I had the […]
One of the best parts of traveling, in my opinion, is observing domesticated animals in different places around the world. (See my post on cats in Ghana.) Brazil has a particularly interesting animal culture and my sister and I spent a lot of time instagramming the animals we came across on our recent trip there. Here are a few highlights. My sister Susanna with some painted dogs in Rio. This shot was in my previous Rio post but I think it warrants a repeat appearance. Dogs are more prevalent than cats in Brazil but most of the cats we saw had a distinct look about them — broad, triangular faces and big bodies. Dog in a Hat, Ipanema Beach. We saw lots of cute dachshunds in Rio. Heather with Dog in a Hat. Dog in a Hat seemed very accustomed to posing for this shot. (Photo: Susanna Mason) Egyptian-looking cats in Jabaquara, a little beach hamlet near the Brazilian town of Paraty. “Anybody home? It’s Horse.” (This horse roamed freely around Jabaquara. I later saw him/her eating from a trash bin.) Chicken-crossing in Jabaquara. Cute cat behind a gate in Paraty. We spent the last two days of our trip on an island called Ilha Grande. There were dozens, if […]
Hello. My name is Fender. I’m a kitten from Hillbrow. Today started as the worst day of my life. My brother and me were hiding under a car next to the Hillbrow Boxing Club. I can’t remember what happened. I think the car ran over my brother. After the car went away I went to my brother. He didn’t move at all. I laid down on top of my brother. I don’t know how long I laid there. I waited to die. The next thing I knew, a human was standing over me and my brother. The human picked me up and I was so scared. I jumped away and ran under another car. Another human came and they pulled me out. The first human, named Heather, wrapped me up and took me to her car.