Sunday, November 28, 2010

Saturday in Pictures

The DSLR continues to gather dust as the days go by.  I'm having such fun with my new phone which accompanies me where ever I go - not for the phone itself, you understand, but for the Hipstamatic App.  Even Saturday chores and errands turn into photo opportunities without the hassle of carrying a heavy camera and lens around.

The day began with breakfast and coffee at The Waterfront, along with half of Cape Town, due to the rather chilly and misty morning.  Once again we mused over the difference in lifestyle today compared to our "youth".  The concept of a shopping mall being a destination choice of so many people at weekends  is quite amazing, but then again, The Waterfront is not just your average mall.  Apart from the usual glamorous hotels,boutiques, restaurants and the book, music and coffee shops, it's situated in the middle of a working harbour tugboats, large vessels and sleek ocean going yachts lie at their moorings while the piercing cries of gulls mingle with the sound of the chatter and music at waterside restaurants.

Next stop was the plant nursery to stock up on petunias for the wind battered and sunburnt garden.  Powerful South Easters (the prevailing summertime winds of the Cape) and days of crushing heat once the wind stops,  have flattened all the spring annuals and scorched the roses.  Watering becomes a daily chore necessitating an early beginning to the day to finish before the heat sets in.

Driving back into town, still clicking away with the camera, the sight of Lion's Head, which has a steep climb up to the peak and a popular moonlit hike once a month. From our backyard we can see the twinkling torch lights of the hikers in the dark as they wind their way up to the summit.  On a whim we to took a drive up to Signal Hill which lies to its right.  As Capetonians we seldom visit the well known tourist sites other than when showing visitors around.  I'm sure it's the same for most people who live in popular tourist cities but, just occasionally, we need to be reminded how lucky we are to live with a mountain in our backyards and the ocean surrounding our spectacular Cape Peninsula.

The view from the top of Signal Hill is quite staggering.  It begins with Table Mountain itself, the city centre and suburbs nestling at its foot, and sweeps across the harbour and the never ending blue expanse of the sea and then around to the Atlantic suburbs crouched at the  base of  The Twelve Apostles Peaks and the beautiful azure beaches, lined with white sand and dotted with sun worshippers.  The spectacular panorama  temporarily silences visitors as they emerge from their cars to marvel at the sight.  Everyone who arrives is drawn to the viewing platform where the faint sounds of the city and sea drift upwards

I concentrated on taking pictures towards Table Mountain and out over the city as the glare on the seaward side made it impossible to see the the tiny camera screen.  Another visit at sunset perhaps, with the SLR and tripod.

The mountain to the left of the picture is Devil's Peak ...

... and the dot on the right top of Table Mountain is the upper station of the cablecar.

Lion's Head - different angle, different lens.

On the way home our usual route was closed off due to filming activity near our house, a serendipitous event as we had to take a detour along this jacaranda lined street, with its lavender carpet of fallen blossoms.

After getting home I walked down the road to sneak a peek at the filming activity and on the way back I stopped to enjoy some of the tiny scenes which often go unnoticed around us.

Monday, November 22, 2010

A New Love

There's a new love in my life!  All three members of the family  were due for upgrades to their mobile contracts.  Husband and daughter tried to persuade me to follow their lead in opting for a shiny new iPhone, but despite all their persuasion I stubbornly steadfastly refused to buy in to the craze for all things Apple, my old phone was perfectly efficient and reliable. But THEN, oh then, I snapped off a few pix on one of the sleek, streamlined beasts ...

... and just like that, I'm a believer!

Off I went to the cellphone shop the next morning and now, even as I type this, I'm waiting with great excitement and anticipation for the call telling me that my new "baby" has arrived.

I'm just blown away by how fresh and exciting the most ordinary subjects can appear in the flick of  a lens, the choice of a filter and the merest touch of a shutter.

The colours are extraordinary and there's such excitement seeing how unexpected and varied the results can be.

I've been going through a bit of a low spell in terms of photographic inspiration but now it's like discovering photography all over again.  Even a humble lemon from the fully laden tree in the back garden becomes a source of inspiration.

Stay turned for more experiments!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


After the numbness and sorrow of goodbyes I look up at the eternal majesty of the mountain, as gossamer clouds drift across its sunlit face and I find the strength to say "I can do this, life will go on".

Friday, November 12, 2010


The final day of our Australian vacation arrived and in an effort to alleviate the feelings of sadness, Gabs, Alain and the two of us decided to keep ourselves busy until the time we had to leave for the airport.  Some of Gabs' friends had recommended a visit to the Redlands IndigiScapes Centre, Australia's first environmental centre for indigenious plants and this turned out to be a tranquil and enjoyable haven.As we emerged from the environmental information centre, this brightly coloured mural caught my eye.

In addition to over a kilometre of walking trails through tall shady trees and over wooden bridges, demonstration garden "rooms" offer different themes, including coastal, scribbly gum, formal, wildlife attracting, grey gum, waterwise, rainforest, wetland and creek vegetation.  

I imagine that deciding on a garden plan, according to the particular area in which you live, is a much easier task than just looking at rows of different plants, with no idea of how to put them all together, especially if you're horticulturally challenged, as I am.

Did you know, according to Wikipedia, that there are 700 kinds of eucalypts growing all over the Australian continent?    Most interesting to me is the scribbly gum, named after the "scribbles" on its bark.  The Scribbly Gum Moth lays its eggs between the layers of old and new bark and then the larvae burrow into the new bark.  When the old bark falls away the zigzag tracks are revealed!


Some of the eucalypts have stringy bark, hard furrowed bark or flaky bark which can be peeled off in ribbons or fibre-like sheets .

Several ceramic bird baths are tucked away in quiet shady corners

I love the different textures - solid, engraved blocks of stone, the smaller pebbles and fallen leaves and the green algae carpet of the pond.

Smooth metal chains and rough wooden planks

Recycling taken to extremes?

Tender curls of the new leaves of the Bird's Nest Fern.

This is Lilly Pilly (Syzigium luehammii), a name I became obsessed with - it kind of rolls off your tongue and you try to fit it in to casual conversation - did you enjoy the Lilly Pilly jam etc?  The fruits are used for making jam and in tarts and cakes.  We bought a bottle of the liquer home with us - dropped into a glass of sparkling wine, it adds a beautiful deep crimson to the bottom of the glass.

Crouching tiger ...?

... not so hidden frog!

After scones, cream and Lilly Pilly Jam (see how casually I drop that name in) we drove to Wellington Point for a final look at Moreton Bay.  Perched out on the tip of a peninsula, the Point is bordered by water on both sides.

Imposing Moreton Bay Fig trees line the esplanade.  At low tide you can walk out on the sand spit to nearby tiny King Island.

Dance of the Moreton Bay Crabs.

Sting Ray art

Wellington Pier

Back in Cleveland there was great excitement in the park outside my daughter's home when this baby koala was sighted in a tall tree.  I was touched to see how many people walking through the park stopped to marvel at this little creature and their concern for its safety - it was very young and the parents were nowhere to be found.  Standard procedure is for someone to phone the Koala Bear Rescue Service and Alain did so immediately.  Even more admirable was how swiftly the Service arrived and took the little bear to a sanctuary.

And all too soon it was time to say goodbye

The human kind of farewells are too painful to record and all I can say is that there is nothing quite so agonising as saying goodbye to your daughter and grandchildren, knowing that it will be several years before you are likely to see them again.  There is a particular kind of pain and sadness to live with when your family live on another continent.


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