Saturday, December 24, 2011


Christmas for the last few years has been rather sad for us ever since our elder daughter, her husband and the grandchildren emigrated to Australia.  I miss the crowded chaotic day, the present opening and sitting around the table talking and eating far too much. 

Since moving to Betty's Bay, however, the sadness has been tempered by the beauty and tranquillity of our new home and the beaches, in particular this one appropriately known as Silversands.  We've had an unstressed and peaceful lead up to the day, far away from the insane traffic and chaos of last minute shopping at the malls, the happiness of an all too brief visit from my brother in law and his wife, and best of all our younger daughter will arrive on Tuesday. 

Happy Christmas and all the best for a New Year filled with good health, happiness and peace and may the beauty of nature comfort and console you

Monday, December 19, 2011

A Good Ending

One of the things we enjoy most in the early evening is walking down to the beach at the end of the road for our daily fix of sunset splendour.  After a really hot day, the chilled salty air and wheeling clouds of seagulls in search of the perfect roosting place for the night, are better than any tranquilliser ever manufactured.   

Going ...

Going ...


Then we walk home, enjoying the silhouettes of the fynbos sharply etched against the sky.

And without fail, we turn to each other and say "Aren't we lucky?"

Friday, December 9, 2011

Dawn to Dusk

Sometimes the morning begins like this ...

... and ends like this ...

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Rainbow Promises

Our visitors to the Cape are often disappointed if the weather on a particular day doesn't turn out the way they'd hoped, but we tell them that all they have to do is wait, because sooner or later you'll get what you want, be it rain, sunshine, overcast or howling winds.  That's how mercurial the Cape weather is!

Today was just such a day.  A little mist hanging over the mountains, rain showers, golden late afternoon sunshine and suddenly a beautiful rainbow, glimpsed from the tall window in the stairwell. 

I sometimes surprise myself at how quickly I can find my camera and dash back in time to catch a special moment and this was a fleeting one because a few minutes later the rainbow had melted back into the dark clouds.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Where my heart is

In the end leaving the old house wasn't as sad as anticipated.  The weeks of packing, cleaning up, giving the garden its final grooming and watering the roses for the last time, followed by the exhausting day of the actual move, went by in a blur.  When we handed the house over to its new owners it was just a house, the things that had made it our home for so long were no longer there and I knew that I wouldn't be looking back.

By Friday evening all our possessions had been delivered to our new home in Betty's Bay and we sat out on the verandah at sunset drinking a toast to the start of our new life.

The next day my husband and I had to go back to Cape Town on business and while we were away my two lovely daughters and my darling sister descended on the house, unpacked boxes, arranged furniture and made up the beds.  Whenever my sister asks me for a favour she always begins the question with the words "Above and beyond, my dear" and this was certainly above and beyond anything one sister can do for another.

My two gorgeous daughters relaxing after their hard work

After nearly three weeks of hard work and frustrating struggles to get the internet up and running, I'm happy to report that the house is looking like it belongs to us.

The paintings still have to go up and that's going to be a difficult task in itself; there's very little wall space so we're going to have to be highly selective, but the many windows, each affording beautiful views, will make up for having to pack away so many pieces.  Some window blinds and curtains need to be bought but by and large the views are too lovely to hide.  Rugs and a nice old kitchen table and chairs are on the list but those are minor details and there's plenty of time to think about them.

The Aussie daughter had to return home after a week but she fell in love with the place and plans to bring her husband and our two grandsons over next Christmas.  It was wonderful for her to be able to see our new home and  with the help of What's App we're keeping her well abreast of all the progress.  Before she left, we celebrated in true South African style with a braai ...

... and watched the magnificent sunset.

We had lots of doubts whether we were making a wise decision moving from the city to a small seaside village but, settled in now, as we gaze at the mountains all around us and walk on the beach at sunset we know that this was right for us.  No more traffic noises, emergency vehicle sirens, house or burglar alarms, just the sound of the sea and wind and the surprisingly loud singing of the hundreds of birds attracted to our beautiful garden.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Trial Run

This afternoon we're leaving for Betty's Bay to spend the weekend in our new home.  There's only two beds, a teeny fridge, microwave, and two chairs in the house but you can see above what's waiting for us in the garden.  We're clearing out of our recently sold home so that the youngest daughter can host friends from Johannesburg while we're away.  Fortunately they're not of a partying age so we don't have to worry about huge parties in our absence!

This house is looking forlorn and empty, having been divested of most of the things that made it our home.  Numerous trips out to Betty's Bay during the last two weeks with both cars loaded up with paintings, over a thousand books (no exaggeration) and all the possesions too precious to leave to the removal firm.  I'm no hoarder but it was staggering to see how many boxes of china we packed, just for a start.  Every chair and sofa in the house is being reupholstered so apart from dining hairs and a lone Morris chair, any visitors sit at the dining room table or on the carpet!  The actual move is on Thursday week and it can't come soon enough. Saying goodbye has been heartwrenching but now that the house is nearly empty we've begun the process of letting go.

Meanwhile in our new garden the Watsonias are blooming, the pincushion proteas are flourishing and the king proteas are putting on an imposing show.  The sound of the sea will soothe our sleep tonight and we'll awaken to birdsong in the morning. It's going to be interesting ...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Reason to Rejoice

The text message arrived out of the blue :

"Hi Mom

How would you like some extra help with the move?"

Would I just! And from the oldest daughter who now lives in Brisbane with her husband and my gorgeous, shooting-up-like-beanstalks, grandsons.  She's arriving in Cape Town on 8 November and will stay for ten days helping with the move to the Betty's Bay house.  If that isn't love, giving up ten days of your precious leave to assist with relocating the aged parents, I don't know what is.

We move on 10 November and I aim to have all the possessions boxed up and ready by the time she arrives so we can have a relaxing two days before the move.  We'll be sleeping on mattresses in the stripped down house with very few comforts but at least there'll still be hot showers, takeaways and a slap up celebration dinner to look forward to.

Life is good !

Friday, October 14, 2011

Seller's Sadness

So much has been happening in our lives during the last three months that it's been difficult to know how to describe it.

We've lived in our big old house on the slopes of Table Mountain for sixteen years.  It's been fun living near a large city in an area buzzing with life; restaurants, coffee shops and book shops and beautiful parks all around, but the time has come to make the move to a quieter and less stressful way of life.  We've always dreamed of a seaside cottage out in the country and for many years Betty's Bay seemed to be a good choice.

So the house went on the market and a few stress-filled months ensued.  Keeping a home in immaculate order, ready for viewing at extremely short notice, at all times of the day is exhausting.  Then there were the show house days with prospective buyers trooping through your beloved rooms and describing how they would decorate, leaving you feeling as if you've been discovered in your underwear.  Anyway the right people came along at last, a nice couple with young children, and the deal was done.

In the meantime we found an interesting house in Betty's Bay, a row back from the sea, so we can still hear the waves and see the ocean from the first floor balconies, but not have to contend with seaspray covered windows.  It's set in a beautiful fynbos garden with magnificent mountain views from every window.  I'm going to have to learn a completely new type of gardening but it'll be a lot less labour intensive.

During all this upheaval, a flat had to be found for the youngest daughter who has been living back at home during her Masters year at Stellenbosch University.  After several nail biting weeks we found a neat little place in Greenpoint, a vibey area (a term beloved by estate agents) close to the Waterfront and the beach, so she'll be able to move in just before we move out.  Moving day for us is mid-November and we're now in the throes of packing up all our possessions.

Do we feel said about leaving?  Yes, this has been a happy house for us.  My first daughter was married from here and I remember occasions like my fiftieth when I made a birthday speech with a tiny new grandson cardled in my arms.  Then there were wedding anniversaries and birthdays, parties and friends to stay.  Sad times when the daughter and her family emigrated to Australia and both sets of grandparents passed away.  The consolation of the younger daughter returning home after ten years in London to stay at home while retraining for a second career, from opera singing to philosophy!

I will miss the days when the city bowl baked in the heat of summer; the times when the wind blasted around the house tumbling potplants and garden chairs; the rains of winter when the garden transformed into improbable shades of green; the soft balmy nights sitting outside in the dark, watching the chain of twinkling lights as crazy people made the new moon ascent of Lion's Head.

In the early mornings when I take my coffee out to the verandah I listen to the sounds of the city waking up while wild ducks and hadedas fly overhead and I hear a rooster crowing in the tiny farm on the slopes of Signal Hill.  The salty fresh air drifts up from the harbour, the fog horn booms its mournful cry and my heart is sad.  I know I will miss this place very much.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Pink Profusion

For a few short minutes the gloom of a cold, rainy Cape Town afternoon was unexpectedly broken by sunshine breaking through the clouds. 

Not that I'm complaining about the rain, you understand, because it's worrying how little has fallen during our supposedly rainy season.

The prolonged warm weather has thoroughly confused the plants, particularly the roses.  Two weeks after their end of July pruning the rose bushes are covered in green shoots and delicate new buds.  Oak trees down in De Waal park are sporting a display of luscious green leaves.

However, the Cape May bushes which should be covered in delicate white flowers are sulking. 
Not cold enough for them, alas.

So it looks as if it might be hosepipe bans and bucket carrying once summer properly kicks in.  Ah well, as long as there are pink geraniums ....

Monday, August 15, 2011

Gilded Splendour

Waking up early in the morning on the particular day you've decided to sleep late sometimes brings an unexpected reward.

Sometimes you're dazzled by unexpected delights if you're going to be the one who goes through to the kitchen to make the morning tea.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I'm Back

After my long flirtation with Instagram I'm back to blogging, despite being riddled with guilt  for this neglect.  During my period of absenteeism I find that Blogger has undergone so many changes and revamps that I feel quite lost and left behind.  So, I'm going to start off gently and post some of my iPhone pix to prove that I have been busy with my photography albeit in a different medium.

Instagram is the THE most addictive photosharing app on iphone.  It's the work of a couple of seconds to upload pix after spending some enjoyable time editing them with one of the dozens of photography apps from the iTunes shop.  Forget Photoshop, for sheer fun and spontaneity there's nothing to beat an iPhone and IG (instagram).

The IG community is friendly and enthusastic and it's easy to gather followers who give feedback on your pix.    As you begin to follow other photographers, it's wonderful to see pictures posted by people all over the world, from Russia and the Far East or Europe and the Americas. IG walks are organised by groups of people from the same towns and it looks as if Cape Town will soon have a group of its own.

So if you have an iphone and you enjoy "shooting from the hip" I urge you to give the IG community a try.  But be warned it's addictive.

A final word :  The photographs you see on my blog are all taken by me.  The cami21 watermark is what I use for my pix on IG.  Just saying ...

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

My weekend in pictures

Unbearably hot weather and the year end tax preparations put paid to our usual weekend jaunts but last Sunday, this was sight that greeted me when I went downstairs to collect the newspapers.  An effort to venture out had to be made so we decided to lay low for most of the day and go down to the V & A Waterfront around five thirty to try and get in a bit of photography.

On the way we noticed a couple of blondes jogging along the beach ...

... and a little girl dancing for joy in the waves

The Waterfront is a working harbour so apart from the usual shipping activity, there's always lots a lot going over the weekend.  Crowded restaurants, boat trips around the harbour, checking out the dozens of barking and complaining seals lounging on their special landings; music of every description from small jazz groups, marimba bands and traditional dancers there's plenty of space and benches on which to sit under the green trees dotting the paved surfaces.  Sunbathing on the quay is popular ...

... little kids get their faces painted ...

... while their parents enjoy sundowners.

... and tugs bustle about, herding the large ships into berths so snug, you can only marvel at the skill of the pilots. A huge hospital ship drew up along the wharf, its decks full of ambulances, jeeps and equipment necessary for its mission of mercy.

Did you know that South Africa has four Nobel Peace Prize Winners ?  From left to right they are Chief Albert Luthuli, our beloved "Arch" (Archbishop Desmond Tutu), ex-President F W de Klerk and that South African (and world) icon, ex-President Nelson Mandela.

The seagulls kept a watching brief on the crowds below. Incidentally this photo is also one of my own but I post under a different name on Instagram.

 While the U S Army Brass Band played a selection of catchy numbers in the Amphitheatre, a portrait artist worked on commissions, oblivious to the comments of helpful onlookers

Also in a world of their own, this young couple huddled on a bench in the golden sunshine seemed to have important matters to discuss.

The pedestrian bridge over part of the harbour swung open to allow the impatient hordes to cross over to another part of the Waterfront, where the ferry leaves to take visitors over to Robben Island.

... and then closed to allow an elegant boat to glide to its mooring in the yacht basin.

We walked past this diner with a lone patron chatting up the girl behind the counter ...

... and long queues of people waiting to buy icecreams, while little kids fretted over the important choices to be made

Our visit ended with an early supper at the Cape Town Fish Market.  Sushi and crisp white wine - the perfect choice for a harbour visit.


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