Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Tubular Bells

When I was contemplating a title for this post the words "tubular bells" came to mind but somewhere in the dim and distant recesses of the past I remembered a song by the same title.  Wikipaedia, ever informative, confirmed that Mike Oldfield had a debut record album by that name in 1973.    So, thank you Mike.

I found this succulent plant Cotyledon Orbiculata tucked away on the edge of the garden border, almost overshadowed by the flashy proteas and grasses.  The pendulous, tubular, salmon-coloured flowers have a magnetic attraction for many of the little birds and bees which populate our garden and many's the afternoon I've tried to catch a shot of them hovering next to and dipping into the blossoms. 

An interesting fact I found in my Ecoguide Fynbos by Colin Paterson-Jones and John Manning is that "the flower stalks were used by early hunters as a flute to mimic the call of a young klipspringer, luring the adults within arrow range".

The sculptural leaves are thick and fleshy and vary from silvery gray to green.  Each leaf is outlined in red  and more or less covered with a powdery white bloom, which prevents excessive water loss caused by the fierce summer sun.

 I always knew the plant by its popular name "Pig's Ears" although some books call it "Dog's Ears".  Either way it's a valuable little groundcover in hot areas and reminds me of a green rose.  How I do miss my my rose pots left behind in Cape Town.  Everyone told me that they wouldn't survive so close to the sea and unfortunately they were right.  The only one I brought with me, a beautiful little red rose, given to me by my sister for an anniversary present, is very unhappy and despite plenty of TLC I don't think it's going to make it.  Ah well, the lavenders and geraniums are flourishing.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Fans Forever

The title of this blog should really be called "Nailing your colours to the mast".  The owner of this little cafe can't be anything other than a Province rugby follower.  Rugby is the national winter sport in South Africa and if you live  here you are, by default, a Province fan through thick and thin.   And, sometimes it seems to be though a great deal more thin than thick.

I caught a glimpse of bright blue and white stripes as I was driving through the small light industial area of a nearby town called Kleinmond and made a mental note to return and investigate at a later date when the weather was sunny.  The colors of Province are white and blue and its emblem is the Red Disa, one of South Africa's most beautiful fynbos flowers.

The owner also seems to be a keen gardener and the colorful annuals planted out in the various striped blue and white containers would indicate an interesting and perhaps quirky character.  I would love to know who worked to make this inviting scene and I must get up the courage to revisit and make the acquaintance of the owner. 

The "S" on the washtub in the above picture stands for Stormers, which is what the Cape Town team is called once the Annual Super 9 Rugby League Tournament commences.  This team draws not only from Cape Town but from the whole of the Cape region, when the various franchises from all the different provinces, as well as teams from Australia and New Zealand, compete against each other in the spirit of sportsmanship and ferocious rivalry.  Traditional enemies (apart naturally from Oz and New Zealand) are the Kwa-Zulu Sharks and the Blue Bulls from Pretoria.

There are a fair number of ex-Gautengers living in the Cape whose enthusiasm and devotion to their team knows no limit.  You can always tell a Blue Bull fan by the huge blue flags, complete with bull horn logo, fluttering from car roof and windows, as well as the interesting variety of headgear decorated with said bull horns.  Not that the Stormers are any less adorned in variants of blue and white and, in true South African spirit, both lots of fans fire up the traditional braais outside the stadium before the matches, when  boerewors and beer are obligatory - nothing as girlie as steak, salads and wine.

Here in the peaceful country, however, the Province / Stormers potplants are staging a quiet  takeover of  the space of the business next door - wish I had a neighbour who would surprise me with some stealth gardening!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Does a fish need a bicycle?

Had a good giggle when I noticed this little scene at one of the gas stations in Kleinmond, the nearest small town to Betty's Bay.   It brought to mind the feminist slogan "A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle".  Doesn't that bring back memories!

Friday, February 3, 2012

One to dig, four to watch

Consternation this morning when we discovered we had no water.  MDH (my dear husband) had an appointment in the city at 11h00 and, running late as usual, only stepped into the shower an hour before he was due to leave.  Anguished cries from the bathroom as the last of the water in the pipes ran out while he was washing his hair and no water left in the hot water tank, due unfortunately to my shower much earlier in the morning.  Definitely a case of the early bird catching the water!

After rinsing with the water left in the kettle, an anxious call to the municipality established that the water in the area had been turned off due to a leak in the pipes of the house opposite and that repairs were being organised even as we spoke.  An hour later and the yellow digger arrived with loud clanking, the beeps of reversing lights, four blue overalled workers and one digger driver.

In the city I wouldn't even have looked out the window at any commotion but here in the quietness of the country it was an event worthy of wandering outside to check out the activities.  I'm hoping for water reconnection in due course - there are mounds of washing to be done.

Such are the excitements of village life!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Sunset Collector

I'm becoming something of a sunset connoisseur, in fact I now have hundreds of images, from the gentle and unassuming ones to the magnificent and spectacular.  The slightest hint of pink or gold light shining through the windows has me running to the dining room where the camera is always kept and then out one of the numerous doors to wonder around in a happy daze. With eyes fixed on the gorgeous scense in front of me I tend to be a bit careless about where I'm walking and end up doing a lot of tripping and falling but in the garden it's usually onto grass so it's okay. 

From my bedroom balcony a panoramic view

I'm fascinated by the shapes of the leaves against the sky and how the edges are gilded in gold

I've learned to turn around from time to time to capture the views behind my back.  The soft light on the house transforms the colors of the walls from pale yellow to "Just Joey" shades.  This was my dad's favourite rose and I've planted one wherever we move to.  I'm not sure if it'll grow so close to the sea but I'm going to stick it in a big terracotta planter and hope for the best.

It's very difficult to finish that last urgent email or spreadsheet when the sunset shines so seductively into my office ...

... so I don't even try !


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