Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Free Kittens

Over to Kleinmond Harbour to book for lunch the following day for my daughter's birthday.  We always go to the small blue and white fishing restaurant that overlooks the harbour.  The road to the small fishing harbour has undergone quite a transformation in the last couple of years and is now lined with interesting antique, craft and bygones shops.  This was the first sign to catch my eye.  Moms, don't say you weren't warned!

This sign was outside my favourite shop which promises and really does deliver on its name.  Wandering around in here brought back memories of my gran's collection of cutglass scent bottles, delicate embroidered handkerchiefs and silk scarves folded between sheets of  tissue paper;   my aunt's glamorous jewel coloured satin evening dresses and high heeled dancing shoes which she allowed my sisters and I to try on; my mom's precious Blue Grass perfumes, soaps and creams given to her by my dad and kept tucked away in her cupboard thereafter; her small collection of jewellery in satin-lined boxes.

I remember using a basin and ewer just like this to wash in as a child when we arrived in the starry darkness of a Karoo night at the farm of an old family friend years and years ago.  No electricity, no piped water, just a wash and change into pyjamas in front of the fire, hot cocoa and into bed, under a handmade quilt.  Freezing cold, utter peace, the knowledge that our parents were right in the living room next door, the gentle murmer of conversation lulling us off to sleep.

When I got married in the in the late sixties I couldn't wait to furnish my home with "modern" furniture quite unlike the beautiful and functional tables and dressers in my gran's home.  Now I have two of these lovely old pieces, painted with my own fair hands, and filled with my collection of twenties and thirties teacups and milk jugs.  And the seventies furntiure?  None of it lasted, but strangely enough, I read in magazines that it's highly collectible now.  Go figure.

Can't seem to keep myself out of the picture.

I so appreciate hardworking people who take such care to make small gardens where ever they can and I always feel obliged to go into their shops, so I guess it works both ways.

And so to tea at the Potter's Garden, a delightful courtyard area, filled with potted flowering and foliage plants, a splashing water feature and a small but perfect plant nursery.  Also, as the name suggests, a pottery shop with the most incredible dishes and platters.  Tea and cake in this peaceful place, cut off completely from the hustle and bustle outside, is a soothing and refreshing experience.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Paddling your own canoe

At a bright yellow hut on the grassy slopes of the lawns leading down to the Bot River lagoon in Kleinmond you can hire a canoe, paddleski or kayak and spend some quality time paddling around with seagulls and waterbirds as your only companions.  In winter that is, because in summer you'll be joined by hordes of holidaymakers.  In the meantime, the late afternoon is a marvellous time to enjoy the bright colours of the ticket kiosk and the neatly stacked boats.

Crazy daisies.  I like to think about the person who sat down with a few pots of paint and decorated the boats with these little flowers, which will somehow always remind me of the Seventies.

Read the rules!

Gently peeling layers of paint, scintillating colours and golden afternoon light - it doesn't get more attractive than this.

Number 40 and Number 53 don't seem to have been out for a long time, judging by the grass growing up around them.

Sometimes you just can't resist adding yourself to the picture.

On the way back to Betty's Bay I noticed this arrangement on the front veranda of one of the beach houses.  Possible title - Still Life with Pink Watering Can and Blue Bench, perhaps ?

Car brakes hastily applied, car coming to a standstill in a cloud of dust and me leaping out to snap this interesting shop tucked at the foot of the mountain.

And it's back to Betty's Bay for a glass of wine and a barbecue while taking in the beauty of another spectacular sunset.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Lazy Sunday morning lagoon

The Palmiet River chatters, gurgles and tumbles its way over rocks and pebbles,  through fynbos-covered mountains to end up in a tranquil lagoon on the beach between Betty's Bay and Kleinmond.   In summer the river is deliciously cool and deceptively peaceful but in winter when the rains arrive, it can become a raging torrent and a favourite destination of paddle skiers and kayakers.

In the early mornings there is no better place to stroll with a camera than on the firm sands of the beach.  Gulls float like ducks in the sun-warmed water of the shallows, rising in great flocks of agitation every now and then, disturbing the burnt sienna reflections of the rocks and boulders in the water.

The mouth of the lagoon is open to the sea and the rise and fall of high and low tide are marked by the marine growth on the rocks.  At the top of the outcrop is a stone cross, one of the many to be seen along this coast.   When I first visited Cape Town as a young girl my father told me about these memorials to the  numerous fishermen swept off rocks or the fishing vessels lost at sea.  All these years later the hymn For Those in Peril on the Sea  brings those images back to me

Perfectly composed images lie in the sand at the edge of the water, just waiting to be noticed.

And pawprints let you know that this is one dog's favourite place.

It takes some persuasion before Cassie will let go of her rubber ball even though she prances around eagerly begging for it to be thrown again.

Back from the lagoon, across the highway and looking out towards the sea.  We decided that a short hike would be in order.

A little further on and the path began to to rise steeply and fall alarmingly and I decided that there were far more important matters to be attended to.  Like taking more pictures.

And yet another.  After all, we were on holiday, weren't we?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Sunset Connoisseur

Sebastian is a connoisseur of sunsets and whenever he visited Betty's Bay, considered the deck railing the best place from which to view this spectacular event.  A ginger and white cat of fiery and feisty temperament,  tailess due to an accident of some kind, he belongs to my nephew's girlfriend and is one of the most widely travelled cats I've come across.  Adopted in Gabon,  he accompanied his mistress to South Africa, then to America, back to South Africa and is now adapting to the snow in Vancouver.  Somewhere in between all that I believe he made a trip to France !

The humans, on the other hand think that the heated pool, with a long, ice-tinkling glass of something delicious to hand, is pretty hard to beat.

Driving around that morning a couple of amusing signs caught my eye.  First of all, this one which I'll translate,  warns motorists to drive slowly because of the little baboon baby on board.

And have a little consideration for our slow moving inhabitants, including the photographer with the painful legs, I hope.

A rather panicked little creature ushering her brood over the road puts me in mind of the various scholar patrols that used to rush my children across to school many, many years ago.

And although I couldn't stop in time to take a picture of the penguin sign, I did get a shot or two of these suave and dapper little characters, in their sleek tuxedos, who are part of the small protected colony of African jackass penguins, here in Betty's Bay.  There is also another colony at Boulders Beach in Simonstown and the enjoyable thing there is that you're quite likely to find a penguin surfing in to shore on a wave beside you.

Have you ever noticed what huge feet these little birds have?  By the way the "jackass" part of the name is easily understood once you've heard their unmelodic, discordant brays.

Have a thought for the photographer who is absolutely thrilled exhausted after being left to walk around in the heat all day.

However, that exhaustion is easily soothed with a dip and a medicinal potion.  Aah, it's a hard life.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Seeing in the New Year

Well, I'd set up my camera and tripod on the deck of my sister and brother in law's beach house in good time for sunset on the final night of the old year, but it looked like we weren't going to have one of the spectacular sunsets we'd got accustomed to over the previous week.  This view didn't exactly look promising, with enormous clouds drifting over from the north-east, threatening to hide the setting sun.

Then I noticed that a definite orange glow was starting to creep over everything and the sun suddenly burst forth from behind the cloud cover.

The swell had strengthened and now waves were crashing into the rocks in front of the house.

The light changed from orange to pink gold as the sun dropped into the sea, staining the waves with brilliant colour.

Lower and lower it it went ...

Lighting up a fountain of waves ...

Until all that was left was a faint apricot brushstroke of colour.

Welcome 2010, a new chance to start afresh, do better and be kinder to all we meet.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Goodbye to Temenos and McGregor

And so we came to the end of our stay in the peaceful retreat of Temenos and left the village of McGregor, most reluctantly, it has to be said.  A few fleeting pictures as we left include a posy of pink daisies and dark blue lavender at one of the shrines in the gardens

A mother duck quacking her way through a profusion of daisies in pursuit of her duckling, happily paddling in a lei water furrow.

Strolling along one of the dusty roads in the later afternoon this glowing diamond light of cobalt and ruby caught my eye.
The stained glass fanlight window of a Victorian house, framed by white wood work and a honey-coloured wooden door, show off an intricate lotus blossom pattern.  When did we stop making such exquisite entrances to our houses?

The colour I remember most from my visit, pink in all its hues, soft, saturated, sizzling, muted, or bold.

We left McGregor rested in body and spirit and ready to face the remainder of 2009.  I hope that 2010 will be a year of peace, happiness and prosperity for everyone.


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