WELCOME TO Val's Alentejo -I write about my region of Alentejo. My art ,painting, my cottages, Family life, my animals -Travels And my love for Roses- and rural country life.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Some curious things.

It's pouring with rain . Not very inviting to be outside. What should I blog about today.  I thought I might just share with you some of my collectables a few of many.   This is a Southern African Ostrich Egg.  This one is carved by the native Zulu's . If you look closely at the second photo.. you will see that there is a Giraffe carved out of the egg. It sits on my shelves with my two little chinese ivory figurines that my sister gave me over 40 years ago.  The little cup I painted with a coat of arms, next to it the tiniest little teapot I have ever seen.

This is the size of an ostrich egg.  It usually holds around 12 yolks, sometimes more.
The Ostriches feet. I wouldnt like to be kicked by that.  I have however ridden an ostrich.. such good fun.

Mummy Ostrich with her babies.   The male is the more beautiful of the two.  He is a magnificent specie , when strutting around.   In the upper regions of Southern Africa ..The farmers use ostriches as guard dogs.. yes.. First hand info.     Myself and a friend went to visit some friends up in the northern Transvaal.  We had to park the car a walk away from the main farm house.    We couldnt see any sign of anyone.  So we shouted.. 'hello' hello'..  My friend Sandra, was walking in front of me and I was behind her.. Its low lying bush in that area.    I saw her face frozen. She said to me."val, dont move".. I replied with a laugh "Why".. and at that moment a long neck came over my shoulder with big eyes staring at me.  It was a male ostrich.   We both stood still in our tracks.   They were following us.
Apparantly they are better 'guards' than dogs.  so they are trained from babies.   I can tell you dear friends.  Were we glad when we saw our friends coming to greet us.   The ostriches , went about their duty.  Something I will never forget.
Male and Female Ostich. - The Ostriches from Somalia, Ethiopia north east Kenya are slightly different  at the neck.
When an ostrich in the wild is threatened , he lies flat on the ground..thinks he cant be seen, or buries his head.
If you get too close to him or her.. they cannot kick backwards.. They kick forward and the kick can kill with one blow.
I have had this Dutch Jenevre  antique ceramic dispenser.. for over  45 years.  I love it.  Its  designed in the style of the old Dutch houses.  The cork is at the top, where possibly the Jenevre was made the old fashioned way and then poured into the jar... It is also a musical box.  When I bought it.. I was expecting to hear a lovely Dutch song, but it plays 'oklahoma'.. its always been a vocal point to chat about around my dinner tables during day's gone by.

                                        The Jenevre bottle and next to it an old antique Delft vase.  This was given to me many years ago, by the mother of one of my old friends. She comes from the region. The little relief enamel plate..is hand painted by moi.. Its about to get a new hanging space.
                                                Side view
                             I would love to know what year the ceramic bottle was made. It's from the De Kuyper distilleries.
A small collection of my shells.. Pebbles and star fish we picked up off the beach in 'Salvador' Brazil, during our sailing days . A bottle full of the tiniest little shells.   The wooden box is hand carved by the Brazilian indian's.  Its always been my hiding place for my cotton and needles .. It too has sailed many ocean's

                                  This set was handed down to me from my mother.  It's over 55 years old!
Its ' Yamasan' China.. Made in Japan.   A unique history behind this company and Japanese ceramics in general. The relief  dragon work and the gold painted head is unique. Not everyone's taste.. but it has family history behind it.
                        My mother used it once.  Its never been used again.   When you finish your tea.. you can see the beautiful face of a 'Geisha girl' at the bottom of the cup.
                                        A miniature 'Saki' set.  My grandaughters, used to love to play with it.
                                       How can they design such sweet little pots. This has a special place on my shelves.
                      In the days when one could travel by plane and carry our curios with us on the plane. I brought this magnificent hand made 'soap stone' Giraffe figurine  home with me. Its heavy , my arms were longer, when I arrived home with all I bought.  Its Made in Zimbawe.  I bought it in Durban.

Its still raining my dear friends.   I am much better from my cold. still just a little sinus.. but I am taking myself out for lunch.   I am getting 'cabin fever'

wishing you all a wonderful Tuesday.

Today, we might find out who the new Pope of the RC church will be.!



  1. What a wonderful "Show and Tell", Val. I am wondering why the music "Oklahoma" was chosen for the blue container. It seems you collect like I do....and I love seeing what others may have displayed in their homes. Thanks again for the lovely post.

    1. Thank you Meggie, I didnt know what to blog about. It is nice sometimes to see what our blogger friends homes are like.
      It's always puzzled me, why the Dutch jar plays "Oklahoma" things sometimes have no explanation.

  2. some really neat things. i like that dispenser shaped like a building. :)

    1. Thanks Tex.
      The old ceramic dispenser is one of my favorites.

  3. Dear Val, A whirlwind tour around the world. Africa, Delft Country, The Far East, and then a carved Ostrich egg. Oh, what fun.

    1. Hello Gina.. thank you for your comments. Yes, some of my memorabilia collection from around the world. I like to look at them.. then i go back in time to when i bought them or they came into my life.. and do a little day dreaming.

  4. Dear Val, what a lovely collection you have there. I wonder where you keep it all. If you're anything like me they get stashed in all kinds of nooks and crannies - there's only so much I can put on show. I loved the delft pottery and those giraffes are wonderful. I had to laugh at the story of the ostriches although I'm sure you didn't at the time. We've got lots of snow here Val and its absolutely freezing. Not in the mood for blogging right now but hope to perk up in a few days. Have a good week.
    Patricia x

  5. Dear Patricia,
    I am sure that you are really busy with your studies. The weather is also depressing.
    I went out for lunch today.
    I have an alcove with 4 shelves and my knick knacks are all on there. I have lots of space for them. That was my intention to make one laugh.. you can imagine the fright i had when the ostrich put its neck and head over my shoulder.. ohhh.. i thought i was going to die.):

  6. Que pena Val, seu blog está em inglês e eu não tenho o tradutor! beijos!

    1. Obrigada Maria Luiza, pela sua comentario.
      Desculpa. Eu So escreve em Ingles.
      Esta post, mostra algumas curiosidades de minha coleçao. .. Alguns doados de minha mai, e outros mais velhos ..que eu amo muito.

      Um grande bj. e obrigada..
      Uma semana feliz , para ti em Brazil de mim em Portugal.

  7. Hi Val, I feel I have travelled around the world with you in the last few moments. How wonderful to have beautiful and memorable pieces from such different places. I'm not sure I would have liked meeting the ostrich so close up.
    Sarah x

    1. Hello Sarah,
      I am pleased that you enjoyed my post and reading about some of my curios collected from my travels.
      I have many wonderful memories.
      Those ostriches were trained, however I was stopped dead in my tracks.

  8. Dear Val - I love your carved ostrich egg. I previously imagined that they had one big yolk. They do seem to be rather aggressive birds, and as you mention particularly the male ones. I remember a male ostrich behaving rather badly at a wild life part, and was jolly glad that there was wire netting between me and him.
    In Scotland they also use birds to protect the barrels of whisky at the Chivas Brothers distillery. they have about 100 geese, and if anyone goes near they make the most terrible racket and run at you in a very threatening manner.

    1. I too love my carved egg. We have broken and eaten many of them on our weekend 'reserve outings'.. colonial old style. We never thought to bring the egg with us.
      The birds are very agressive. If they are tamed, which some are..then its ok, but still one has to be aware of their power.
      Geese are also used in many homes in S.A. mainly on the smallholdings just outside of the towns. I was knocked over by one , when taking my daughter to piano lessons. He wouldnt get off me, until the teacher came out and called him. Also an agressive bird.
      Thank you for your comments Rosemary.

  9. What a great collection. We visited a zoo once when we were abroad in France, I think, the ostriches had escaped from their enclosure and chased me and the OH quite some distance!

  10. Dear Val, you have had a very adventurous life! And you have ridden on an ostrich - who can top that? Love all your collectables, especially the giraffes who are so graceful. Hope you enjoyed going out for lunch. xx

  11. Good morning, Val! I just looked at all your little treasures... we collect so many little things as we go along... every object has a little story and might be of special significance to us.

    I remember having a little petticoat, which I used to wear when I was little. It was the only thing I had left from my childhood, and kept it in a draw. I treasured it for years.

    When I came to live in England, I left my bedroom as it was, hoping to find everything as I had left it. Unfortunately, when I returned, everything had gone from my room. One of my sisters had my desk, another had taken my bed to her villa... even a clock I had bought for my dad sat on my brother's bedside table, at his house. He also had all my books and his ex wife now owns all my music, obviously all my university text books (I had so many of them!) and... my little petticoat... must have been binned, as no one had a use for it.

    I love my family and I know thay loved me, but I couldn't help feeling like someone who's died or has been deprived with tabgible links with the past.

    I still feel sad about it, but my family constantly show me so much love, I had to forgive the. In the end, I thought, things are just things, but love is the real treasure!

    PS: I love your Delft bottle. My bedroom is filled with white and blue China!

    I am still sick, but I quite like being at home.



  12. That is sad Anna, that you didnt get some of your own things from your bedroom.
    When someone in the family pass on.. strange things happen. I myself passed through a difficult stage..and also another when my parents died.
    What i have shown, I have kept with me all this time. But i gave up so so much.
    Sorry to hear that you are sick.. I am still not 100% from the flu. I feel really tired still.
    Your bedroom sounds beautiful, and sure it is.
    Muito Bom Dia.
    Val x x x

  13. Dear Val . another post today show to me one part of your life !You have tranelled so much and you brought so beautiful things !
    I liked your little treasures and I am glad that you kept your mother"s things ! The weather here is so confused that we don't know what we must wear ! One hour sun , then clouds and the next it is raining ,all this in a morning !
    Have a nice day !

  14. Dear Olympia,
    Thank you for coming over to see my post.
    Our weather is just the same. Today we have a little sun..but the ground is wet and its freezing. I still have winter clothes on.
    wishing you a great day.xxx

  15. Hi Val. I'm sorry to hear you weren't feeling well, but glad you are doing better. That is some egg and the pictures of mama and babies is spectacular. Many years ago we went down to So. CA to Disneyland and a Safari place where you drove through in your car to see all the animals. The kids were in the back seat and all the sudden a huge ostrich started pecking on the window at my son. He was about 4 years old and it really scared him, but we got a good laugh out of it. He was such a sweet little boy and I guess the ostrich knew that.We are having 80 degree weather here today..Happy Wednesday..Judy

    1. What a cute story about your little son. When i read your blog Judy, I always think about him. He must have been so frightened.
      I am much better.. but still with slight sinusitus.
      The ostrich eggs are amazing.
      thank you for coming over and leaving your nice comments Judy.
      xxx val

  16. Hi Val
    What beautiful treasures you have - I especially like the carved egg - if it was mine it would be broken by now I am not safe around precious things.

  17. Hello dear Val,

    so many lovely things you are collecting!
    -please watch out for the Ostriches ;)

    Enjoy your lunch! I hope the sun will visit soon!

  18. Dear Val,
    You always come up with such interesting posts. Your treasures all have a story and as you say, remind you of the time and places you acquired them.
    That story about the Ostrich was very scary. It reminded me of a time when the children were young, when we were at a park where Emus roamed freely. We were sitting in the car eating our sandwiches when they all converged on us and started pecking at the windows, just as Judy described. Later as we were walking around we saw an emu grab a sandwich from a man's hand as he was eating it! He had just said "they're intelligent creatures". We always remember this and joke about it whenever we see an emu:)
    Thanks for sharing your lovely pieces and the stories that go with them.
    Keep warm and look after yourself.

  19. The Dutch ceramic dispenser is lovely, Val, and I LOVE the miniature "saki" set. Blue china is my favorite, and for some reason blue tea cups are always the prettiest to me. The giraffe figurine is so sweet. You have many wonderful gifts from traveling. Every time the girls travel, they bring me back something. Now, I just have to find a special place for them, like you did. About my post, the path less traveled, I didn't write the phrase. I was given this by a friend many years ago and kept it ever since. Have a blessed Thursday, Val, and isn't it beautiful that we have a new Pope?
    ~Sheri at Red Rose Alley

  20. Such wonderful stories and memories with your collections. The ostrich story was wonderful because you were rescued and terrifying! Not something I would want to mess with! Very fun post. I hope all is well.

  21. Hi Val, Your collections are marvelous and this post was so packed with information. I loved reading it. I was also impressed with the fact that you have ridden on an Ostrich, how exciting. That must have been a huge thrill. I was also surprised that they contain many yolks, I always just assumed that they had one big yolk. Very interesting . . . thank you for sharing.
    In regard to the comment that you left on my blog, I love hearing this . . . it is good for my soul. I love drawing and the pleasure it brings me and now that I am blogging it's fun to share my drawings with all my dear blogging friends :) Thank you for the very lovely compliment.
    Have a wonderful day.
    You're a sweetie pie.
    Your blogging sister, Connie :)


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