Saturday, January 26, 2008

Boulders Beach. Better.

The previous pictures I posted of Boulders were messed up. I'd accidentally set my camera to tungsten and, well, too blue.

We packed a picnic and returned on a calmer day to this beautiful little bay beside the penguins, set up camp on a lick of beach reached via a crouch-height tunnel between two boulders and some clambering over some more, and swam and watched the funny birds who were quite unfazed by our presence.

Something lurketh in the deepeth. Vinceth?

With a full moon approaching, so did a very high tide. The rock we'd moved to after our beach disappeared under water was now surrounded by blue and we waded out and through the now-wet passage between the earlier boulders. Then we drove home the long way, into Cape Point past Smitswinkel Bay (below), where we visited Buffels Bay, scene of my baboon-hijacking at the age of 14. This time we saw only oystercatchers and seagulls.

And on past Scarborough (below) where the sea is always this intense turquoise. Yesterday Scarborough started to burn, down from the mountain and six houses were lost. Four firefighters received third degree burns to hands and faces, and this morning the fire choppers continue tirelessly to bomb the fire that crossed the mountain towards Ocean View.

Victoria and Albert Waterfront

We dropped my mom off for what we thought would be an interminable wait for her new drivers license application, and went off to the Waterfront to look for seals and coffee while we waited for her call.

One of the yacht basins with apartments beyond. Not a bad view.

The working dry dock at 8.30am.

Seals! yay....sunning themselves beside a catamaran.

Mine! Mine! Mine! Bloody seagulls.

Then the phone rang. Application filed successfully within three quarters of an hour. Something in South Africa works. The Greenpoint DMV had no ESKOM issues that day and order reigned.

Kirstenbosch revisited

Vince gets into the mood with a mandevilla flower at breakfast on the patio...

Later, before noon, Fern Buttress looms over the upper entrance to Kirstenbosch, where we had lunch with Mama and looked at the gardens on the lower slopes.

Agapanthus "Graskoppie", now becoming a familiar sight, but still lovely with its tight flower buds and deep colour, quite unlike the old-fashioned, pale-flowered version.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Boulders Beach

Vince really wanted to see penguins, so we went on a howly-wind day to Boulders where we were blown about by the ridiculous southeaster along with a lot of stomping, sheeplike tourists. We fled to the next door beach, where thankfully, the tourists do not venture, and crawled, climbed and swam our way to a secluded spot along with some very friendly penguins who felt the same way we do about crowds.

Ah, Tungsten setting on camera: visit this post to see pictures of Boulders in real colour!

Day 2, Cape Town style

Vince with Julie Atkinson, at Atkinson's Antiques (213-215 Long Street), where he bought something...nice.

We took our supper up Lion's Head, not to the top but to a bench with a view of the Twelve Apostles and Table Mountain. The Diemersfontein pinotage is very, very lekker. Thank you Guy and Jay: we had it with Serrano ham and fresh nectarines, with runaway brie and provita biscuits for dessert. A lady walking down the mountain checked out our spread, patted me on the shoulder and said, That's the spirit!

Welcome to Syouth Efrica, ESKOM-style

When coffee time rolled round on Vince's first real morning in South Africa, we had a power outage. One of many scheduled and unscheduled rolling brownouts to preserve what's left of our ailing grid before it is fixed in, er, 5-10 years' time.


I hauled out an ancient paraffin stove and Selina showed me how to light it without singeing my eyebrows. Bialetti pot plus Illy plus flame plus hot milk = pretty good coffee. We had it on the patio with Andre Khamel, below...

Where's my milk, man?

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Vince est arrive

Two nights before Vince arrived Guy knocked on the front door (always the better door to knock on, one finds) and presented this Orange Bag, from him and Jay, for Vince. It killed me to look at it for two days and not peek. Well, I peeked a little.

Vince's first lunch and the bag's contents revealed: biltong and droewors! - we saved the delicious Diemersfontein [thanks Guy!] Pinotage for last night - pictures to follow. With our biltong sandwiches we had a glass of Steenberg bubbly.

Beence acclimating...

Later, at Cecilia (his first day on land, after three days sleepless, he goes for a hike!), overwhelmed by corgis, or, as Vince calls them, The Caterpillars.

Disa Falls
Now we're off to check out some penguins...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

With wings of angels

Air France Flight 45 has taken off two minutes ahead of schedule from Seattle and is heading NW in the direction of Calgary en route to Paris. It carries precious cargo: a French Canadian soul loved by me and known by a Dominican black cat as Beence. But that's a long story.

Beence will arrive in Paris with less than two hours to spare before transferring to his inbound African flight. May his tailwinds be sweet.

(I say that about Ben the labrador, too...)

01/16/08: 8,000 kms later:

Air France Flight 994 en route to Johannesburg left its gate forty-four minutes late: is that because it was waiting for Vince's luggage and paraglider to be transferred??? They will fly over Africa in daylight, missing the beautiful electric storms on the horizon that accompany nightflights but seeing the beautiful northern desert.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Corgi wrasslin'

Maggie: I'm going to strangle you, Ted!

Maggie: You taste funny, Ted!

Ted: If you touch me there again, Maggie, I'm going to bite your nose off!

Maggie: Ted, you idiot, we're running off camera. How can we be famous if we're off camera??

Maggie: Act natural! This is a money-shot, Ted!

Ted: This is exhausting.

Maggie: You smell funny, too.

Ted: This isn't funny!

Hey! Hey! Hey!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Geknelde land

Aloe cooperii in front of our house, possibly the last unfenced, unwalled, unelectric'ed, unlasered house in Cape Town. And possibly, from the front at least, one of the safest, because it is so exposed. Burglar bars? Of course we have burglar bars. You think we're crazy???

As I write my father, armed, chats to our security company which has arrived, summoned by his pressing the silent panic button to test its efficacy. The result of another possible attempt by the Patio Gang at Jay and Guy's next door.

Agapanthanus "Purple Delight", purchased last week (and planted by moi a few days ago) from Kirstenbosch, loveliest of botanical gardens.

The other side of the house is a bird paradise, or was till the corgis arrived. Razor wire is hidden in the living wall of exotic and indigenous tree and shrubs that provide food and shelter for the birds. Its snip-snipping earlier this week leads one to the unhappy conclusion that More might be needed. Not more wire, but More.

Corgi Bath

The miserable Maggie being given an oatmeal bath to help her itchy tummy.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Ben the Brave

Last night after midnight Ben barked out on the dark lawn. I switched on the floodlights. My dad went out and called Ben back and sent him back to his doghouse. Ben obeyed. This morning we found the razor wire over the gate to the greenbelt neatly snipped.

Long live Ben!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Silvermine Crags and Reservoir

Another phonecall from Marijke, another walk in the mountains. We headed for Silvermine again, but turned towards Constantia this time, rather than the Kalk Bay side...

And they're off!

The wind was so strong that walking on the ridge of the Crags was a wobbly affair. Taking close ups was out of the question. I need to go back for the flowers... Marijke spotted a beautiful clump of opened and opening Crassula coccinea, with a spectacular view over the Constantia vineyards and the rest of Cape Town. It was a 360 degree viewfest. Stunning in every direction.

Below, the view north all the way to Devil's Peak with Tokai plantations right below us, destined for the chop. I used to ride there loooong ago on my borrowed horse, Cromwell.

Turn your head to the right and the view stretches east over False Bay to the Hottentots' Holland Mountains.

Continuing on the ridge, the path is not much used and half hidden in the fynbos, making tunnels for the low dogs.

Looking down into the basin we'll walk down to later.

Honeycombed sandstone, also home to little rock gardens I'd like to return to to photograph.

Looking back the way we've come.

Mickey and Marijke.

Suddenly we entered a field of sheep: what I call these white everlastings. Name to follow.

After a loop, a stint on a gravel road, we were at the reservoir, unrecognizable since I'd seen it last in my mid teens. Then it was in the shadow of an old pine forest, now cut down and replaced by keurbooms. A suspiciously American (read neat, low-risk/trip-hazard, taming-the-wild-places) boardwalk wraps around it with little bridges, and...braaivleis places of rock. It is very well done. I cannot wait to have a braai there! Best of all: deserted, except for a lone swimmer in a wetsuit doing laps in the choppy water.

My favourite: waterlilies. The only thing not windblown.

The dogs led us to a swimming hole. Canine Heaven.

Maggie the Mudpig.

At the other end of the reservoir I encouraged them to rinse off.

Ted the Adventurer:

...and the path home.