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.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The end is in sight

On the last morning of our trip we did a final drive around Calvinia.  My long suffering husband, with great patience and no visible signs of irritation, would stop the car every time I saw something I couldn't resist.  Such as this ...

... or this

... and even this.

In contrast to all the orange daisies and other wildflowers, these miniature cacti are the type of plants that flourish during the long, dry and hot summer months.

Finally we came upon this interesting looking sign and although it was a Sunday, the owners very kindly asked us in and invited us to browse.  This was probably the most fascinating part of our whole trip, so the picture below will set the scene for the last day of our wildflower trip and also introduce you to our magnificent self-appointed guide.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Beware of the dog ...

... but be really afraid of the cat!  This gorgeous creature kept a wary eye on me as I walked up and down the street, leaning over hedges and peering through gates.

An old Cape wagon - what tales it could tell of times long past.

Dainty and delicate as an iced wedding cake, a pink house with white "broekie" lace and green roof.  The term "broekie" means panties and would refer to the lace edging around the kind of old fashioned garments which little girls would have worn.

Detail of one of the gable of the pink house.

I'm a gable fan, as you may have realised by now.

Also, a door fan - especially of colourful, old, weathered ones like this.  Can't resist asking "what's behind the green door?"

More glimpses ... and more daisies

We found our cottage and after settling in, I left the rugby fanatics gathered around the TV and took off with my camera for a satisfying saunter.  First, a pic of our blue and white B & B, Die Lodge.

When I spoke in an earlier blog about the orange daisies growing everywhere and anywhere, I wasn't exaggerating.  Crammed behind the open gate ...

Growing up through the bricks on the verandah of our cottage ...

Floating in an old cast iron container outside a restaurant ...

and lying in a forgotten bunch on garden table.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Basking in the sun

After driving through fields of multi-coloured flowers we came into the small village of Calvinia, situated at the foot of the dolerite topped Hantam mountains and next to the Oorlogskloof River.  This is an arid area and the spring flower show depends on whether the rains are plentiful.  This year we had arrived either too early or too late and there weren't that many to be seen, but the town more than made up for the lack of flowers. Small houses in traditional white wash and dark green painted woodwork nestle amongst the more modern pastel painted cottages.

A general dealer's shop, familiar to the childhood memories of most children who have grown up in small country villages.

A pretty and surprising sight - roses blooming at the end of winter.

Bath al fresco,  surrounded by orange daisies.

Die Dorphuis (The Town House) a Victorian green and white striped cottage.

The bright flashy orange daisies line pavements, street corners and anywhere they can get a toe hold.


Monday, November 16, 2009

Pieces of gold

The next day we set off early for Calvinia but first we had to make a stop at one of the local church halls to sample pancakes, Hertzoggies (little jam tarts topped with an egg white and coconut mixture) and to buy knitted gloves with the fingertips cut off to enable photography to continue in the cold.  Apparently owls sleep in the blue gum trees around the church and we were lucky enough to see one directly above us as we leaned against the car,devouring our sweet treats.

Next was the flower reserve outside Nieuwoudtville where drifts of orange-gold Gazanias were scattered all around.

We had to pick our way through very marshy and muddy fields to get to the flowers and looking through my camera lens instead of at the ground, I stepped into a pothole and took a spectacular tumble onto the field.  I later read something about porcupines digging for bulbs, but am not sure if this was what had caused the hole. Seeing I was down there anyway I decided to stay in place and concentrate on the flowers closest to me.

This turned out to be a good idea because I noticed a tiny flower which I would otherwise have missed.  To appreciate how exquisitely small it was, you would have to realise that it was about one-tenth the size of one of the Gazanias.



 Just as the eye needs a rest from all that orange and yellow you come upon clumps of white Gazanias looking pure and unsullied by mud or insects.

Finally, as we left, we came upon this koppie (little hill) with its balancing boulders formed over time by the cooling and weathering  of the of the magma forced up from below ground.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The twilight hour

And so we came to our last evening in Nieuwoudtville at that magical pink and gold time when people head for home and the animals settle down for the night ...

and the ducks play "follow my leader" home.

 A classic Cape country scene - windmill and bare tree branches silhouetted against the amethyst sky.

Tomorrow we would be on our way to Calvinia.

A last meander

A last saunter around the village back roads and a somewhat prickly incursion into a hedge garnered some worthwhile scenes.


 The last rays of sun warming an old farmhouse.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Ruins in the sunset

We had read about a ruined village just outside Nieuwoudtville and were intrigued enough to take the extra time at the end of the long day to go and take a look.  As we jolted along the corrugated dirt road we began to see the remains of sandstone structures glowing in the late afternoon sunlight.

A glimpse through spring blossoms to the fields of yellow cats tails beyond...

Brushing past the flowering branches ...

to see the sun glowing through a window in the remains of the tall gable.

A completely different view from the other side of the gable.

The village was built by early trekboers who found a large plateau of sandstone with several springs on it.  They built their houses from the golden sandstone and the beautifully packed and placed stones stand as a tribute to their skills.


And finally, the tenacity of nature can only be admired and marvelled at.



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