Friday, April 23, 2010

Sunset Splendour

It was one of those evenings when I just happened to glance out of the window and notice that the clouds and light were lining up for a spectacular show.  The long zoom got screwed on to the camera double quick and I wedged myself between chair and window and placed the camera at just the correct height, resting on one of the cross bars of the window for stability.

Looking down towards the harbour. the pink and gold clouds were massing over the distant Durbanville Hills.  The red and white structures in the foreground are several enormous cranes which have been moved into the docks recently and are actually quite an eye-catching element in the landscape.  No idea why they've suddenly appeared.  The regrettable grey structure slap-bang in the centre of the picture is a shopping centre (fair enough) with a block of apartments above - why oh why and where were the city planners?  This is a fairly old building but apartment blocks are springing up all over the city bowl area, often with little regard for beautiful views. 

A little later, from the verandah, I could see the last of the clouds slowly fading away behind Lion's Head.

And next thing, the velvety blue of evening was upon us and the frail silvery moon was rising above the delicate tracery of the pine trees across the road.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Colour of Excitement!

When I see even the tiniest dot of red in the distance I'm like a woman possessed.  No matter the distance, the discomfort or the dire state of my knees, I have to investigate.  There was an old iron structure next to the red chair (no photographic potential) but my ever-patient husband very kindly trudged ahead and moved it off to one side.  So, dropping  ungracefully, to the ground and lying on my stomach, this was the result.

The getting-up-off-the-sand process was no more pretty and somewhat resembled a giraffe at a waterhole, but we'll draw a veil over that, and go on to the next picture.

Many, many pictures followed, as I found myself snapping away happily from different angles, leaning inside and looking through the structure.  No, I didn't try and climb up.  I would have liked to but I wasn't being paid danger money by the cold drink company.  Finally, I found an unusual framing for the distant group of houses.

On the long trek back to the bridge I noticed this line of green dustbins heading off into the distance, making an image almost as pleasing as the lifesaver's chair, I thought.  It made me think of stumbling through a distant desert looking for water and finding trashcans instead - ah, the despair.

And now for the slog back across my own particular desert to the bridge over the lagoon.  Just as scenes from my childhood were beginning to flash past my eyes (yes, I know that's a bit dramatic, but it was hot) we crossed the bridge, bought cold drinks from the boat hire kiosk and collapsed on to the benches to recover.  All in all, a most satisfying morning.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Following Paths

On the way home after a long walk in the hot sun I saw this road winding down towards the distant blue sea. The feet were complaining and visions of  ice cold drinks were dancing in front of my eyes but I really had no choice other than to take a "short left" as we say here.

I was rewarded pretty soon by a glimpse of pink amongst the fynbos and further investigation revealed this exquisitely pretty pink protea with its faintly lavender centre.

Who would have expected to find a tortoise crossing sign in the middle of the fynbos?  I've picked up small tortoises from the middle of the road to save them from speeding motorists, a frightening experience on a highway with a 120km per hour speed limit and only the flashing hazard lights on your car to warn drivers to slow down.

The view at the end of another long walk, this time a cliff walk from the Palmiet Lagoon ending up on Kleinmond Beach.  The tides were extremely high the whole weekend and the waves were thundering in like locomotives, crashing onto the beach, covering any walkers in a cool veil of seaspray.  To the left of this picture is a lagoon where the Bot River ends its journey from the mountains and mingles with the seawater rushing in from the ocean. 

We crossed the bridge over the lagoon and this is the view, looking towards the mountains. 

The long trek back to the bridge across the pristine sands.

Blue sky, inky blue lagoon water, warm white sand and bright sunshine.  There really isn't anything to beat it.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Waiting for Dolores

Every morning my neighbour Dolores scatters breadcrumbs on the pavement opposite her house to feed her growing flock of pigeons.  When I went downstairs to get my newspaper this morning there was one impatient customer waiting ...

After making tea, I looked out the window and there were now two waiting diners.

Later still, I went downstairs to water the garden and the crowd had now swelled to seven.  Tisk, tisk, restaurants really should open on time!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Escape from chaos

This evening I'll be on my way to my beloved Betty's Bay for a weekend away from the building site that used to be my home.  On the road I'll see the eternal mountains sweeping gracefully down to the sea.

There'll be blue sky contrasting with the beautiful golden rock of the cliffside and clouds drifting over the mountain tops.

 There will be no jackhammers, no drills, no grinders sending clouds of red dust into the air, no black plastic sheets all over the carpets.  No blobs of concrete and mud or endless jugs of iced water for the workers to combat the heat. I won't have to shout above the cacophony, spend time on the phone arranging deliveries or lose my temper during the numerous road traffic lane closures as our freeways are upgraded for the Soccer World Cup in June.

This weekend the only sounds will be the crashing of waves, the plaintive call of the gulls, perhaps the bell like calls of a pair of oystercatcher birds  and the sound of the wind through the grass.  Instead of the smell of dust and mortar there'll be the salt tang of the ocean and fragrance of the fynbos.  Perhaps the crackle of a log fire, as the evenings are starting to cool down now.

 Best of all, there'll be lots of sleep and plenty of photography.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

On the Boardwalk

I'd been intending to go out just before sunset with my camera but a strong disinclination to move from the deck lounger and abandon my book, delayed me until I realised that the sun was disappearing fast.  It still surprises me how quickly I can grab everything I need and hurl myself into the car when needs be.  To the west the sun dazzled just above the edge of the mountain.

A boardwalk meanders its way down to the beach, convenient for visitors but also necessary to protect the fynbos, large and small.

A close up of one of the white flowers from the shrubs on the right.

These are the sort of tiny plants that the boardwalk protects.  Several weeks ago I was thrilled to discover one growing just in from the side of a road.  I set up tripod and camping stool, got my sister to hold a piece of cardboard to shade the flower from the sun and deflect the wind.  All that trouble and now the little suckers were springing up everywhere.  They really are small, no more than half to three quarters of an inch in length.

Returning up the boardwalk I noticed how the return view is often as good or better than the one which initially attracted me.

Occasionally I had to step off the boardwalk to let people and their dogs, out for their sunset walks down to the beach, pass by, and this is when I noticed this interesting plant.  I'm not sure if it's the white flower shown above once all the small pieces have fallen off.  I'll have to consult the fynbos book.

Leaving the carpark I noticed the distinctive silhouette of  a stone pine tree backlit by an apricot-flushed cloud.

The last gleam of the setting sun gilding the distant ranges and leaf tips of the fynbos before slipping behind the mountains.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Coffee Society

Newport Deli at the Mouille Point end of the Promenade on the beachfront, is one of the breakfast places to see and be seen.  It is pretty good to sit out under the umbrellas, savour the salty sea air, sip a cup of cappucino and perhaps toy with an almond croissant.

The reflections in the deli window, layer upon layer, in glassy complexity - difficult to see what's inside and what's outside.

A change of scenery and on to another place where we enjoy "doing" breakfast and coffee, the plant nursery.  We needed to find a few punnets of what would probably be the last petunias to plant up for the end of summer.  I hadn't realised how fragrant these flowers are until I returned home late one evening and this exquisite perfume pervaded the air as I walked up the stairs.

The name says it all and, yes, the icecream sold here is sinful.

To wax philosophical for a moment, I believe that that visiting a plant nursery is one of the most uplifting experiences when you're feeling low.  Watching people buying trees and shrubs that will only attain maturity once they themselves have passed on;  seeing couples planning first gardens together; or flat dwellers buying herbs for small balcony gardens is to realise that no matter how sad and uncertain life may be at times, people still plant gardens and believe that it's a good and worthwhile thing to do.  That is a statement of hope and belief in the future and I'd rather do that than stress, as television programmes and sensational articles would have us do, over the date when the the world is due to end.


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