Tuesday, March 29, 2011

No ordinary Monday!

Flowers on the windowledge at Zewenwacht Wine Estate.
This past Monday was no ordinary day...not in the ordinary sense of it being 28 days into the month of March, or in being the day of the week singularly referred to as a 'blue' day.

I did see plenty of beautiful blue flowers in my garden on this particular Monday but it also happened to have been the one and only day of the year that I can legitimately lay claim to as being my own, although when the opportunity presents itself, I do manage to hijack one or two others as well (Mother's Day being one of them).

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Who's joining me for a helicopter flip around Cape Point?

No, unfortunately I'm not the pilot...or maybe that's fortunate from your perspective?  I would have asked Carol from Facing 50 With Humour as she hold's a helicopter pilot's licence, but she's just got back to the UK from France and has caught her Hubby's cold, so I felt it would be too much of an imposition.  I have, however, ensured we have a really handsome young pilot to escort us.  He unfortunately declined to have his photograph taken, so you are free to imagine whoever you'd most like to have sitting at the controls, OK?  But please don't get so wrapped up in your little fantasy that you forget to look out of the windows to admire the spectacular views you're about to see and, I don't mind adding, for which I've had to dig deep into my pockets to fund.  So, please...hop on board and buckle up!  Put on your headphones.  I think it's best you sit back and enjoy the flight without my interjecting too often to point out sights.  That way, you can focus on what interests you.  Besides, it's too noisy trying to shout above the sound of the rotor and the pilot needs to have access to the radio to make his calls.  Sure you're comfortable enough?  Cameras at the ready?  Right...we're OFF!
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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What do you call the block a blogger gets?

Baby squirrel in our Willow tree.
Writers have it easy!  Yes, Carol (@Facing 50 with Humour) and, Karen (@ Out of My Mind)...I am referring to you, two, too!

For anyone who hasn't yet discovered either of these wonderfully gifted, talented writers, you don't know what you've been missing!  PLEASE DO POP OVER.  I guarantee you will not be sorry you did!

OK, back to MY BLOG now...Have you noticed, every time writers want to cop-out (opt out) they latch on to the dread disease, professing they are suffering from writer's block.

Strangely, this is not a medically verifiable affliction.  It's not like a germ actually manifests itself in their bloodstream or anything.  Furthermore, it's something they always self-diagnose.  They don't actually go to a doctor to be told, after careful examination, that they have contracted writer's block!  Yet, when a writer announces that he/she has fallen prey to this scourge, everyone around them retreats into a sympathetic huddle, discussing this malady in hushed whispers, as though the mere mention of it will cause the writer to explode into a fitful rage, which I suppose they often do (No, Carol and Karen...I'm not including you, as I'm sure neither of you has ever thrown a fit!)  

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Monday, March 21, 2011

Did you catch a glimpse of the Supermoon?

The moon, like a flower
In heaven's high bower,
With silent delight
Sits and smiles on the night.
~ William Blake ~

Approximately once in every 18 years, the full moon appears larger and brighter than usual.  This is because its elliptical orbital path brings it physically  closer to the earth than at any other time and it therefore appears to be up to 14% larger.  My husband, keen to test out  a newly read-up technique for taking great moon photographs, was out there trying out various options.  I hovered about, drinking in the sheer brilliance of this perfect, creamy orb, whilst  silently ducking beneath my garden's foliage  to discover different perspectives and angles from which to view the perigree moon, requesting, 'photograph it from here, please...and here...and here!'.  The air was perfectly still and for once, silence, so seldom complete in an urban environment, enveloped the scene, adding to the beauty and mystery of the moment.  I asked myself why it is that I don't venture outdoors more often to view the night sky.  I have no reason not to do so...what is your excuse?  

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I must go down to the sea again!

Scarborough, near Cape Town.

I'm not and never have been a 'beach-goer' in the traditional sense .  I've never liked getting sand in my eyes, ears, nostrils and mouth.  I dislike its grittiness.  Perhaps it's because my childhood years were spent in landlocked Zimbabwe (then known as Southern Rhodesia).  We used to go to Beira in Mozambique, for long weekend breaks occasionally.  It was little more than a fairly primitive coastal resort in those days...hot, white, sandy beaches and sheet-metal rondavels that served as the 'luxury' accommodation...otherwise, I think you just pitched a tent right on the sand itself!  In any case, I have vivid memories of lots of sand.  It seemed to get into everything!  [Beira has subsequently grown into an imposing city, which I've never seen.]

I remember getting very badly sunburnt and eating an entire bag of mint humbugs, which all came out in an unstoppable projectile of sticky black goo at bedtime, much to the consternation of my parents.  It was undeniable as to who had pigged down the missing bag of humbugs!  I guess, with early beach memories like these, it's no wonder I'm not that wild about spending too much time, 'on the beach,' California Beach Babe style!

Sunbathing on the sand is, however, quite different from taking a long stroll along the water's edge in the early morning or evening; or intently examining all the fascinating life-forms hidden or lurking in rockpools.  Quite different, too, from hunting for shells and bits of washed up flotsam; or from sitting on a rock, in silent contemplation right beside crashing, churning, foamy waves...delighting in the thrilling intensity of it all!   Oh, yes...I do love the sea...the changing moods and colours, the  sights and smells, the thunderous roar of the eternal ocean!

So, let us pretend...

The day has opened up bright and sunny, but with Autumn approaching the Southern Hemisphere, this can cause the weather to become unpredictable.  By the time we reach this very attractive, rocky, coastal stretch near Cape Town, at around midday/early afternoon, the wind has picked up and there are quite a few clouds looming.  Nothing too dramatic.  Just enough to chill the air and add a touch of moodiness to the panoramic seascape  we've come to admire.
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A Study in Orange with my New Garden Assistant!

I do not actively seek orange shades for my garden...however, I do have orange here and there for a deliberate touch of brightness and to lend an element of surprise!
My daughter's pup, Romeo, apparently loves orange and has recently discovered the joys of gardening alongside me!  The closer he can get to the action (underfoot, in my lap, on my back!), the more delighted he appears to be!

I have two raised planters which my husband assembled using an old outdoor garden bench and table.  They require new top dressing and will be planted up with spinach and lettuce in preparation for the cooler weather ahead. 
Romeo took his job very seriously, wildly digging up all the soil after I'd denuded the beds of the old plants.  He then moved across to get busy in my old planted-up wheelbarrow.  I persuaded him to leave the last remaining carnation, as it's still flowering and has a lovely scent.  He seemed hesitant, as he was sure I'd said 'dig it all up!'  For a moment, we had a mental battle, but he conceded defeat...
...when I suggested we rather water the rosebush growing in one of the pots alongside and told him he could sniff and lick off all the droplets from the petals...before actually devouring the rose...
...just as soon as I'd first taken a couple of pictures for my memory bank! 
This is his (and the beetles!) favourite daisy, so he asked me to take a close-up picture of this, too!  Fortunately, they're a little on the prickly side, so he avoids actually eating them! The roses that he can reach, aren't so lucky! 

Yes, Romeo is still with us, keeping me on my toes!  He and Toby have finally become good pals and we're able to take them all for their daily walk on the field, in relative peace.  Up till now, I haven't been able to easily capture any of their playful antics on camera, as with all four of them rushing/charging around gleefully, it's quite a handful.  Toby has his 1st Birthday on Wednesday and Romeo is now just short of 5 months old.  Almost, ALMOST house-trained...but still not quite there!  We took them all to our Vet for their annual shots and deworming, yesterday.  It was quite an exercise in control, but thankfully, went quite smoothly.

While we were there with our four, a distraught elderly couple arrived with their DOA (dead on arrival) 13 year old dog that had tragically drowned in their swimming pool.  It was a harsh reminder that, as responsible pet owners, we can never take for granted that our water-safe pets will not suffer accidental drowning, when we're not around to keep an eye on them.  The following is a very good article to read on this subject...


Monday, March 14, 2011

My Adopted Greenhouse Bromeliad Puts on a Magnificent Display!

Flowers... are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty outvalues all the utilities of the world.  ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1844
 While our daughter was still a student at university and living in a little off-campus flat of her own, we gave her this bromeliad (her first 'houseplant')

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Monday, March 7, 2011

Time to say Goodbye! [Final on Massingir Excursion]

Journey's End!  The Mozambique border post at Giriyondo.  From here, we cross back into the Kruger National Park, back on South African soil.
There is an expression, 'All good things come to an end!'  For those of you who have been along from the start of this journey, we have finally reached the end.  Today is our last day.  I thought we'd mainly concentrate on bird sightings, but please don't feel limited by this suggestion.  As always, keep those eyes pealed in case you spot some larger wildlife.  By now, you've learnt that 'whilst in the bush' you need to pay attention to everything, otherwise you could very easily miss out on seeing quite a lot.

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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Painted dogs? [Part 5 of Massingir Excursion]

Rarely seen, the Painted Dog is on the endangered species' list.  It occurs solely in Africa.

Painted dogs?  Yes, you heard correctly.  Their impressive sounding, scientific name is Lycaon pictus.  More commonly, they are known as the African Wild Dog or Painted Dog.  They occur solely in Africa, most commonly in grasslands and lightly wooded areas, preferably deciduous in type.  They are a highly threatened species, now on the endangered list.  Whereas their numbers were once in excess of 500,000 these have dwindled to a mere 5,000 largely due to loss of habitat and hunting.
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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Gentle Giraffes [Massingir Part 4]

"Don't you think you've given those elephants at the waterhole enough attention, already?  I'm over here.  I've been watching you for ages.  If you follow me, I'll lead you to my friends..."
"Come along then!  I haven't got all day, you know!"
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