Watership Downs Syndrome Home
(Blessed with an extra Chromosome)
((In my opinion, anyway ...))

Hi folks; I'm Andrew.
This is to be a site where people lucky enough to have encountered Downies can share the joys they have experienced.

About time I updated this site ..... We (Emma, her Mother, Sharon and I) have just come back from a week-end in Hogsback - a beautiful unspoiled piece of nature in the Eastern Cape.

Sharon wanted to go down there for the Holographic Repatterning Association of SA Annual Conference, so I decided it would be great for Emma & I to go along, and explore Hogsback. The weather was great - a bit chilly at night, but we had an open log fire in the cottage which kept us warm, and the days were cool but clear. The cottage was gorgeous - a rondavel affair with thatched roof and two bedrooms and a bathroom with lots of hot water. Ours was the "Top Cottage", right up the hillside and surrounded by trees. Early in the mornings, there is a mighty chorus of bird-song, and monkeys frolicking in the trees !
Top CottageOur Lovely Cottage !
We arrived there early on Friday evening and went to the Hogsback Inn for supper, then had an early night, 'cause we were all knackered from the trip. Sharon was busy with her conference all day on Saturday and Sunday, so Emma & I went for some beautiful walks in the forest on Saturday morning. On Saturday afternoon, we were on our way to pick up Sharon from her conference, but we were a bit early so I went down the "road" (I use the term loosely) past the Hogsback Inn to see where some good walks were supposed to start. The roads are in a pretty shocking state there, and I found a really sharp rock sticking out of the road just past the Inn, or to be more precise, my two left tyres found the sharp rock, and were so surprised, they both burst !

Luckily I was only doing about 20 km/h at the time. I limped back to the Inn and fitted my spare, then spent about an hour finding someone who could lend me another spare. Eventually, a lady on Sharon's conference lent me her Jetta "Marie Biscuit" spare, which sort of worked. Unfortunately, she was leaving for Grahamstown on Sunday afternoon, and wanted her spare back before she left. So I spent Sunday morning finding alternative arrangements; I finally found a wizened old man called "Hogsback" who is sort of the local scrap dealer. He had a couple of old 2nd hand tyres, and I found a 196/65X15 Dunlop which fitted my rim - my tyres are supposed to be 195/50X15, so this tyre was about an inch bigger in outside diameter, but it would fit.

Next, I managed to borrow tyre levers from Rory, who runs the Hogsback Inn. He helped me take off my broken tyre and fit the Dunlop (a major mission !). He had a little tyre pump which plugs into a cigarette lighter, but it wasn't strong enough. Then another chap who was hanging around the Inn said he had a compressor at his place down the road, so we all hopped into Rory's bakkie and went there and managed to pump up the tyre. Then back to the Inn where I put the wheel back on my car and at last, I could give the lady her spare wheel back and relax and enjoy the rest of the week-end.

Of course, every cloud has a silver lining; in this case, it was that I wasn't prepared to drive to Jo'burg on dodgy tyres with the family in the car, so we had to stay an extra day. I couldn't do anything on Monday, it being a public holiday and all, so we had to stay an extra day. Luckily, our cottage was free for Monday night, and the kind owner even gave us a discount for the extra night !

Anyway, back to the holiday. On Sunday, in between finding and fitting old tyres, we joined the conference for a walk in the forest with Tim, who explained about eco-economy as we walked. In the afternoon, we went to see the "Eco-Shrine" (see http://www.webfactory.co.za/ecoshrine/) - a huge outdoor sort of sculpture, where the artist gave the conference people a talk, while Emma and I explored the area. On Sunday evening we made ourselves supper which we ate by the open fire. then we read for a while and had an early night 'cause there is no radio or TV or anything there ! (Nice !)

On Monday morning, we went out for a walk in the forest again and got lost and wound up following a really difficult path down to the base of the "Madonna and Child" waterfall.
Madonna and ChildThe Madonna and Child Waterfall.
We meant to visit "Big Tree" - an 800 year old Yellow Wood, but we took a wrong turning somewhere. The walk we eventually took wasn't all that far, but very steep, and took quite a while, what with having to assist Emma and all. Then we went for lunch with Carol and Dennis; friends of Sharon's from some years ago. Dennis is in the process of making his plot self sufficient; He still has some way to go, but it appears he's on the right track ... It was a great afternoon, and Emma had fun playing with Baggins, the black Labrador, and she fed the chickens as well. The chickens are there to keep the bugs at bay in the vegetable plot; much more eco-friendly that pesticides.

Then, after lunch, Sharon wanted to take us to see the Labyrinth which she saw the previous day while I was wrestling with rubber. The labyrinth was quite amazing - an enormous round maze laid out in stones. We took a couple of photos, and then back to the cottage for supper and another log fire, and packing.

We left on Tuesday morning early and went to Alice, the nearest town, and found that the one tyre shop there didn't have my size, so we decided to go south to King Williams town. There were about 8 tyre shops there, and one actually had suitable tyres. So I drove my car onto the ramp and unloaded the boot and found that I left the special key for the lock nuts back at the Hogsback Inn ! Luckily, the tyre shop owner knew the chap at Midas motor Spares across the road, and he had a special socket which sort of did the job. From there, we had an uneventful trip back home, apart from seeing an incredible sun-set somewhere between Bloemfontein and Winberg.

All in all, a wonderful week-end in spite of the challenges !
See the Gallery below for more pictures ...

Email me at " smotter@usa.net " with your tales and pictures.
Worthy contributions will be incorporated here.

NB : All Dismal Jimmy stories WILL be trashed !

Click here for Holiday Snaps

Here is a snapshot of my little blessing - Emma ...

Well ! Who would believe I'd finally update this site ? Well now I'm listed on DOWNSWEB.COM so I'd better pull my finger out ! I'll update in greater detail soon, but in the meantime, here's some new photo's ...

I asked for E-Mails and intended to post them here. My thanks to all the people who sent some beautiful messages and sincerest appologies for not posting them. I had PC problems recently and had to format my hard drive and very cleverly lost all the mails in the process, I pronise it wont happen again.
Little Waif & Stray
Emma looking like a homeless person ...

Emma with Grandma's new dog
Emma with her Grandma's new dog, Nico ...

Emma with Grandma's new dog again
Emma teasing Nico with a stick, or possibly Nico teasing Emma with a stick ???

Here, as promised, are some of the letters I have received in response to the site ...

Here are some more Photo's ...

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