Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Hanging Gardens of Linden...thanks to Stanford!

What a transformation...
How was it achieved?
Here is the story...

The gate intercom rang at 7.50...
Stanford and Sidney had arrived.
And earlier than expected.
A good sign in modern times where punctuality
does not seem to be a prerequisite.

Together they were going to change this blank wall
into a hanging succulent garden.

Stanford wasted no time and got to work immediately.

Sidney deconstructed the pallets and prepared them for their new purpose.

As a workman you need to have a well balanced tool...

Time for teamwork...

And using recycled materials.
From the wooden pallets to the plastic waterproofing.
I am in awe of people who can see another use for goods
that are usually thrown away.

Just to make things interesting,
he had to work around our fish pond

The last part of the prep work before adding...

bags of potting soil to make a welcoming "home" for the plants

Almost time to plant.

And as for the plants...
a range of indigenous succulents.
Makes it easy to maintain and not too much water is required.
Because Stanford has worked for a garden service,
he also knew which plants would do well in this corner.

This is not as simple a job as I thought it would be.
It took them almost 9 hours to complete!

But we are VERY happy with the final product.
(Well not quite final, as I have asked Carolyn to make
some pottery pieces to make it unique)

Contact Stanford on 083 9790971.
 He will come out, offer ideas and quote on the installation.
Each installation is different so I have avoided mentioning the cost of ours.

And my cat slept through the entire construction,
unusual as he is often keen to see what is going on.
I hope that he approves of the finished product.


All images are the copyright property of  and may not be used without permission
Follow me on Twitter: @davidbatzofin
Visit my Facebook page:
Travel & Things has it's own Facebook page:

A satirical look at Blogging...with apologies to Caroline Hurry

 Caroline Hurry, editor-in-chief of,
wrote words of truth about “our” profession.
 I took it upon myself to respond.
Read what makes her a great writer,

21 tips to make your travel stories enticing…
especially for those to lazy to actually get off their couch 
and venture out.

1. Forget a basic outline!
Just start writing and if the various aspects come together good,
 if not...tough.

2. The narrative will take care of itself.
NEVER talk to the locals, 
as they never have interesting stories to tell. 
More importantly DO NOT do any research about your destination.

3. Always add family members into the story. 
 Your readers will hang on every word about their experiences.
Really, they do.

4. Repeat, repeat and, if all else fails...
Why bother to try and find a fresh angle to the story. 
Most places have been written about before and will be again, 
which means there is nothing original left.

5. Not too many details please.
Your reader can get that information online. 
Travelling as a writer is not the same as writing as a tourist. 
Never be specific.

6. Never compare yourself to other travel writers.(it will just depress you) 
Continue doing what you do best and write in your own style.
Me in between Caroline Hurry and Bruce Dennill,
both of whom were instrumental in my writing career. 

7. Use as many cliches as you can fit into your “word count”.
Remember lodges always “nestle” at the foothills or
 “perch”  atop a mountain with “breathtaking views.” 
Originality is overrated.

8. Always be upbeat, even if your spouse has almost been electrocuted in a spa bath. 
It might not happen to another guest so why mention it. 
Only spoils the holiday of other guests to that hotel.

9. Do not read, I repeat, do not read! 
Reading does nothing for your writing skills and it takes up valuable TV time.

10. Never add any historical or political angles to your story. 
If you don't care... neither will your readers.
Unless you get paid for research.

11.Compare EVERYTHING.
Humewood Beach in Port Elizabeth is as beautiful as the beaches in Brazil.
And if it isn't who is going to write in and complain? 

12. Your job is not to entertain or educate, just report.

13. Write, write, write:
You have to write even when – especially when – you don't feel like it.

14. Paint with paint.
Words? Visit landfills to give your reader the smell of a place.

15. Specialties are for Doctors and surgeons;
 If you want to stand out, use big words.

16. If you can't afford to travel,
walk around your suburb and write about that. 
You can always do a trade exchange for a cup of coffee with a local restaurant.

17. Don’t give up.

18. Use adverbs and flowery descriptions. 
Verbs? Who needs those?

19. ALWAYS end with “I can't wait to return to…” 
Readers expect to see that.
If YOU want to go back, they WILL want to visit

20.There MUST always be pictures of food.
Just because!

21. Never read your article once it is finished, 
just email it off to your editor
 and let him(or her) deal with it.
Kate Turkington gave me my start in travel writing.
And for that I will always be grateful.

"Travel & Things" was an entrant in this competition.
Not a winner, but one of 24 travel Blogs that entered


All images are the copyright property of  and may not be used without permission
Follow me on Twitter: @davidbatzofin
Visit my Facebook page:
Travel & Things has it's own Facebook page:

To blog or not to blog? Is that REALLY a question?

Why do Bloggers Blog?
Is it an addiction?
Is it a need for recognition?
Do we do it for financial reward?
The answers can be summed up as follows:
Yes, Maybe and NO
Yet I and many others like me continue to share our thoughts and photographs,
with people all over the world.

picture from Google images
My late mentor,John Gregg introduced me to country music in the early '70's.
As a result I tend to see my life in terms of the lyrics of country songs.
 encapsulates my career path currently.
Listen while you read and judge for yourselves.

I have been asked about my blogging on many occasions,
And I thought I would take time to give you, my reader, some insight.
The "story behind the song" to speak. 
I often try to look for something different...
hence these traffic lights.
Take time to stop and smell the roses...
In 2006, I stood on the summit of the highest freestanding mountain on our continent.
and to prove how South African I was I sang a Steve Hofmeyr song!
 I did it to raise money for charity.

I was back there in 2014...
This time it was too cold to sing!
Again for a charity. 

This is so true...
During my travels I have met some wonderful people.
Some who have stayed in my life and others who have moved on.
My best traveling companion has to be my wife,
 who puts up with my need to photograph anything and everything I see.
She has learned over our years of travel together that luggage does not get unpacked 
until I have taken pictures of "the room"... 
I was lucky enough to meet Jim and Jo Matson during a trip to Botswana.
Thanks to a really noisy Italian guest on a game drive vehicle,
 I asked to be moved and they kindly allowed me on their vehicle.
Although they live in the USA, we have kept in touch via email for more than a decade.
We have since shared several wonderful adventures on their visits to Africa
All being well we will see them again in August 2016...

As a result of my Blog, I often get to interact with "celebrities"...
some of them who take themselves FAR too seriously!
Local actor David Vlok is NOT one of those...
He was one of the drivers on the 2012 Total Economy Run that I Blogged about.
Although he and his team did not win, he got into a lot of photographs.

Photo by Jo Matson
My favourite bush hat that was lost in the Sabi Sands game reserve for 4 days.
It had been with me for 12 years and we had shared many adventures and experiences together.
I was totally devastated by the loss 
and had resigned myself to the fact that I would never see it again...
However, much to my surprise,it was found by a British couple 
on our very last game drive together. 
One of my favourite places to heal body, mind and soul.
Lake Heritage at Heia Safari Ranch in Muldersdrift near Johannesburg.
I have been visiting the property since 1976.
This is the "things" part of "Travel & Things"...
I enjoy acoustic music and I have covered competitions as well as musical events.
I did try electric rock, but it was too loud.

 I have Blogged about wrestling as well as cage fighting events
 Now I can add boxing to that group of contact sports.

I have been able to fly in helicopters to get shots.
Like this one of Lake Heritage. 
I have been up close and personal with a variety of wildlife.
Both exotic... 
and local... 
My love of wildlife has allowed me to visit some spectacular game reserves and witness most of the species that Africa has to offer.
HOWEVER...Pangolin still eludes me.
The number one on my "Wildlife Bucket list" was achieved after 47 years of bush visits,
 when early in 2013 I witnessed a kill.
I try to get down to the sea on occasion.
My wife enjoys getting her toes wet while I take photographs. 
The lyrics of a Zac Brown Band song have been running through my head:
"I've got my toes in the water,
my ass in the sand"...
Want to hear the rest of the song?
Use this link:

Even beach "rubbish" can make an interesting image.
And, of course, add that something different to a Blog posting. 
My job as a Blogger can be dangerous...
More people are killed every year by falling coconuts than by sharks!
This one landed close by while I was working... 
I also get to witness different cultures at work and at play.
These Sega dancers kept me entertained on a recent trip to Mauritius. 
But best of all...
I get to work from home...a lot...
and that means I can watch the bird life in our garden
This Cape Robin is a regular visitor.

Image by Joe Dreyer
Over the past 5 years my Blog has evolved. I have added audio clips,
like this interview I did recently.
Rodney Steyn, owner and director of Jamala Madikwe
had this to say about this bushveld "jewel"

And the photography has improved...  

My own radio program adds another layer to my Blogging.
Broadcast once a week it has become the audio extension of "Travel & Things"
To find the podcasts of all my shows, use this link

"Take me home country roads"?
Not just yet...
too much travelling still to do.
Some critics complain that we (working writers/bloggers)
 have to write glowing reports about the places we visit.
Yes, we are hosted by the various entities that send us to wonderful 
and exciting places both locally and internationally, 
it is my credibility as a writer that is on the line,
and I would therefore write truthfully...or not at all.
This posting is a case in point:


All images are the copyright property of  and may not be used without permission
Follow me on Twitter: @davidbatzofin
Visit my Facebook page:
Travel & Things has it's own Facebook page: