Eek-toll!

“In the Cape we have the beautiful mountains, but in Gauteng we have e-toll.”

These were the joking words of the pilot who flew passengers from Cape Town to Johannesburg.

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The e-toll road system provides road users with a vastly improved network of roads and I for one am glad to have the improvements. In the light of the above I don’t mind paying the fees but  Oh dear…… the administration of the e-toll system …… EEK!

Shortly after the e-toll system was activated I received an account in the post.  Five printed pages in colour for the full amount of R21.50 to be paid at one of the e-toll booths or online on the website .  ( The paper, ink and postage must have cost much much more than R21.50 I thought )

That was when my close encounter with the e-toll adminstration system started.

The website did not allow me to pay as I am not a registered user with a registered account. So off to the shopping centre to find an e-toll booth I go. There it was in the middle of the centre decked in bright orange and black, boasting about the ease of payments and registering an account in bright bold letters.

That sounds easy I thought and joined the queue of waiting customers. The queue consisted of about 7 people and I was under the impression that within 15 minutes or so I would reach the front and be able to register and pay my account.

One hour later and almost no movement in the queue. People started chatting, some grumbled about the delay, others joked and some just sighed and waited patiently. The attendant tried to explain by blaming the slow system which made matters even worse.   After 90 minutes it was my turn at last, only to hear that I am not able to register an account at this booth but  can pay outstanding fees.

a Week later I visit another e-toll office to try again to register an account and buy an e-tag. This time the attendant told me their system is offline and to come back later. I left with the shouts of an irritated customer following me outside. An hour later I returned.

Yes the attendant said we are online again but the system is slow . It is trying though!”

This time I was lucky and left triumphantly. Now I am the owner of a pre-paid e-tag and will hopefully not receive ridiculous accounts anymore.

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The following day I  opened the postbox to find six different e-toll accounts all for the same amount of money which was allready paid.

I wonder how long it will take before the administration, the waste of paper postage, ink as well as manpower cause the whole system to collapse.

What do you think?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Family

Apart from those who are related to us by ancestry or marriage, I feel  anyone can have a family if we are prepared to live, love and laugh together.

Maybe it is time for those who don’t have family nearby to build new families in this way.

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Walking Update 17: Change of Plan

No more boring walking on the treadmill, while staring at a wall and dreaming of faraway places.

Now I am able to go walking with a friend. Together we decided to attempt our first walk of the new year in the beautiful  Moreleta Kloof Nature Reserve.

On arrival at the gate we  had to sign in to ensure that we return safely. The first sight which greeted us was that of zebra tranquilly feeding on the green lawn surrounding the old farm house which is currently a restaurant and events venue.

The zebra seemed to be unaware and undisturbed by our presence allowing me near enough to take this photo.

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This reserve  nestles in the foothills of the Moreleta Kloof  in the midst of suburban houses, shopping centres, businesses and schools. It is  92ha big and  home to various small game species including Springbuck, Zebra, Blesbok, Impala and Ostrich.  Walking routes have been marked out, catering for everyone from the Sunday stroller to avid hikers. The routes vary in length from 1.5 to 3.6 km showcasing all that the reserve has to offer

Today as it is our first walking attempt after a long time we decided to  take the 1.5 km route. We set out, armed with my camera, waterbottles and lots of enthusiasm. Soon we were huffing and puffing as the route took us on  a steep uphill curve ending at a lookout point complete with a bench for the weary. From here we could look down in the kloof. Over the trees and rolling hills, suburban houses peeped out in the distance.

The veld was full of flowering plants ranging from a startling purple to yellow and soft creamy flowers.

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We  saw  the indigenous  suikerbos bearing these beautiful flowers etched against the bright blue sky.

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On the downward path we encountered more zebra, blesbok, ostrich and a tortoise feeding on the lush green grass.

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The route took us across the Rademeyers Spruit through a dense wooded area and curved back to end at the old farmstead. Here  we rewarded ourselves with a cool refreshing juice for me and coffee for my friend, sitting on the wide verandah in the cooling breeze.

We will definitely be back for more and longer walks and count ourselves blessed for having discovered this gem in the city.

Hallo Again

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January 2014.

A new year, a new beginning.

Time to start living, loving and laughing again.

After being absent from blogging here for some time, I am trying to start swimming in the mainstream again. It is now four months after my husband passed away suddenly and time for me to resume a semblance of normality.

The past four months have been a roller coaster of emotional and physical changes. Our family home of thirteen years has been sold. A lifetime of memories had to be sorted through, some was discarded, some donated, some sold and others were kept.

I bought and moved into a new smaller home where I have to rebuild new memories, new dreams and a new normal.

I have to come to terms with the fact that I am not one of a unit bound by marriage anymore. Having to face life on my own scares me terribly!

However I know I have to find new dreams and goals for the future.  New relationships must be  formed and old ones strengthened and cherished.

When my daughter gave me the wall hanging with the words “live love laugh”  on it I knew I will make this my goal for the new year; to live love and laugh every day as much as  possible within the circumstances. I know I will still miss my husband every day and will mourn him for many years to come.

In the meantime, time waits for no man and I have to use the time left for me to the best of my ability.

So I will try to swim in the mainstream of life again. Some days I might feel like drowning and on others hopefully I will feel as if swimming is a pleasure again and in the process I hope to become a stronger, more compassionate and wise person.

I invite you to join me on this journey as I write about life.