Monday, December 21, 2009

Celestial Blues and Singing Pinks

I think that my favourite place of meditation at Temenos  is a place so small that, if you're not careful, you might even miss it.  Walk along the gravel path past the crumpled pink silk rock roses.

From a distance all that can be seen is a white octagonal structure with long, narrow arched windows picked out with light blue paint.  Intriguing and worth further exploration.

Skirting these striking purple daisies ...

... and finding a tiny shady dell with an inviting garden chair placed just so, encouragement to relax for a while on a hot day.
But now, visible beneath a window, is a small notice board and it reads Temore - Inner Temple of the Heart.

When I opened the door of the chapel, nothing prepared me for the rush of heavenly blue that engulfed me.

The sunlight pouring through the stained glass landed on the blue floor and bounced off the blue walls.

There are small benches at the back of the chapel, absolutely necessary for sinking on to so that you can immerse yourself in the uplifting, celestial hues all around.  The sense of peace and tranquillity that envelopes you is something quite extraordinary. 
On the floor, an engraved painted lotus flower with a votive candle in the centre.

Exquisite blues, gentle amethysts and tender pinks.

I only realised later when I was arranging my pictures for this posting how I had been influenced by the pinks and mauves of the stained glass windows.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Country lanes

Wandering along the quiet roads and lanes of McGregor with my camera, I lapse into a blissful state of contentment, unconscious of time, frequently coming to my senses just in time to avoid tripping over a pothole or the uneven ground.Small wonder with scenes like this.

 The tree with the bright red flowers is a flamboyant (I think, I hope) and here is a close-up of the flower.

At the end of a lane, an early blossoming orchard of apricot trees.

Keeping a watchful eye on all who pass, this dignified ginger and white beastie refused to make friends.

Afternoon shadows dance across the soft coloured cream and blue cottage with its matching spiked potplants.
These cement-lined furrows are part of the lei water system which irrigates the gardens of McGregor and provides a soft bubbling background for birdsong and insects.

 Purple wisteria tumbles over the fence of this little cottage in a fragrant, colourful shower.

A cottage frontage so perfectly elegant that it just has to be a small antiques boutique.

This picture of the red vine leaves was actually taken during winter several years ago but I included it to show how there is alway colour in McGregor no matter what time of the year it is.

A guest house named Oblivion and there have been times this past year when I could have done with some of that.
The night watch.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The story of Temenos

Temenos is a sanctuary of tranquillity and beauty set in the country village of McGregor.  The beautiful gardens offer little corners and refuges tucked away behind rose gardens, near tinkling water features or where ever a quiet spot for meditation, rest and renewal presents itself.  People come here to embrace the silence, meditate within groups or by themselves.  Should you need guidance it is there.  Should you need solitude you may have it.  All this in the most fragrant and exquisite of gardens grown from almost bare veld by the hard work and vision of its owner.


The duckpond, its inhabitants currently catching up on their sleep, while the yellow weaver birds continue nest building at a frenzied pace.

One of the colourful inhabitants of the pond taking advantage of the empty space.

Fresh flowers picked from the garden by the staff adorn the various statues and fill the vases in the guest cottages each day.

It's difficult to resist another picture of those scintillating geraniums.

To my mind pea hens always look rather distrait, like society hostesses not sure of the guests' names.

This is Picasso, an early morning visitor each day, who jumps over the open stable door of the cottage and shares coffee and rusks.  Breakfast completed, he then settles down for the first of many naps of the day.  Although we felt extremely honoured on the first morning, we gathered that he had his rounds each day and visted at least two or three other cottages.  Not such an honour after all.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Meeters and greeters

The thing is, you see, when you arrive at Temenos (of which more later) , you are greeted enthusiastically by a whole band of unusual hosts.  There's an aristocratic but aloof looking peacock ...

One of his wives perched on the wall in front of your cottage, trying not to look too interested ...

A little duck whose curiosity is far more apparent and extends to an inspection of your home to be ...

and this little speckled fellow who paddled across the pond full steam ahead to inspect us for himself.

Once the inspection was finished we could turn our attention to the gardens around us.  Small white Cape cottages with thatch roofs hunker down amidst olive trees, lavender and rosemary and a riot of colourful indigenous plants.  Yesterday-today-and-tomorrow bushes and fragrant roses add to the delicious heady scents all around.

Gravel paths wind between cottages and flowerbeds.

And finally the door to our cottage, with yet another seemingly bored looking visitor.

Baskets of lush pink geraniums dotted amongst some of the flowerbeds.

The tranquil duck pond in front of our cottage with some of its residents taking an afternoon nap.  The island in the centre is home to dozens of yellow weaver birds busily making new nests, mainly it seems from strips of bamboo leaves which they tear off the stems with surprising strength.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Arriving in McGregor

 My husband was going to attend a workshop in a small country town called McGregor and I decided that for once the office could look after itself.  I would go with him and wander around the village with my camera, at my leisure, returning to our beautiful lodgings for refreshment and rest whenever the need overtook me.  And was I glad that I did!

McGregor is a tiny mid-nineteenth century village nestled at the foot of the Riviersondereind Mountains.  It's a peaceful place of  whitewashed and thatch roofed cottages.  Cold water bubbles along irrigation furrows and wisteria and jasmine scent the air with their heavenly fragrance.  Blossoming fruit trees, bougainvillea, roses and lavender provide patches of colour and birdsong is the loudest sound to be heard.  Largely and thankfully undiscovered as yet, the road into and through the town is tarred but the remainder of the roads are still dirt. The preserved architecture is largely Cape Dutch with few modern buildings to spoil the appearance of the village.

This is one of the views from the far end of the town, where interestingly enough, the road just comes to an end, perhaps in some way accounting for the isolation of the village and its subsequent preservation.

While driving around, the light suddenly became extremely dramatic and this scene had me leaping enthusiastically out of the car.

And, speaking of dramatic, I don't know what words I could use to describe this wisteria, so I think I must let the picture speak for itself.

Imagine that you owned the key to this blue door.  Imagine unlocking that door, pushing it open with your baguette and winebottle-laden basket and then imagine ...

 Finally, as we were looking for our accommodation we saw this - tender pink daisies and sharp-edged grey stones, a striking combination.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Meet our charming guide

As we entered Rustic Art we were greeted by this beautiful moggy who appointed himself our guide for our tour, picking his way delicately around the exhibits or springing up onto them when he felt our attention needed to be directed to something special.

The owners of this fascinating emporium have gathered together an eclectic collection of the icons of yester year.  From oil tin covers, tyre and street signs ...

to kitchen tables, petrol pumps and mirrors ...

interesting tablescapes,  a celestial blue platter and an ancient truck...

... buckets, straw brooms, ancient sewing machines, typewriters and kitchen scales.  Is that an Illovo Syrup tin I can see at the bottom on the right?

Joko Tea, a sign from all our childhoods, an old meat grinder and what surely looks like a healthy crop of wheatgrass.

Flower spattered urn and the sought after enamel teapots.  The little figurines sitting next to the alarm clock perhaps remind us that time is fleeting, to live in the moment and make the most of our share of it.

And, finally, a fond farewell to our charming guide.  He seemed to say "Come back and visit again some time soon, you all".  And we certainly will.


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