National Honeybee Foraging Week

This week has been declared National Honeybee Foraging Week, to draw attention to the needs of these important little creatures and promote the sustainability of bee farming in the country.  Please plant bee-friendly plants this Heritage Day (24 September).

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Pollen collecting on Euphorbia epithymoides in my garden on Saturday.

A flip across the Bay

Spring keeps popping her head up, bringing fair weather and the chance to sail across Table Bay on the Spirit of Victoria. After 20 years of living here, it’s still great to see iconic Mother City landmarks like the V & A Waterfront, Table Mountain, Lion’s Head and Signal Hill.  Even more so when you’re sipping champagne on a yacht.

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Visit Waterfront Adventures for more information on their boat trips.

 

 

 

 

Hanging around ….,

Every night when the light fades he appears, hanging just below the garage light in the hope of trapping bugs attracted to the glow.  He’s survived incessant downpours and the choppy South-Easter, clinging effortlessly to the strands of his delicate fiefdom.  I didn’t stop to get the make or model number :-)

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Breathless in the Giants’ Playground

Living on the False Bay coast, the annual migration of Southern Right whales to our warmer waters to mate and calve is easy to take for granted.  It’s almost synonymous with these parts and I assumed I’d more than had my share of the greater experience.

Until I headed up the Whale Coast to board an environmentally sensitive whale-watching catamaran in Hermanus this weekend that is.  And that really took my breath away time and again.

Imagine being so close to a creature weighing the same as ten elephants that you can hear it exhaling through its’ blowholes, or feel the spay as it breaches near the boat.  Like my swim with dolphins off Ponta do Ouro last year, this boat-based whale watching trip ranks right up there as a top responsible tourism interaction with the creatures that fill our oceans.

Nothing beats lobtailing, when that magnificant tail rises above the water,

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34-IMG_2653Especial thanks to Southern Right Charters and the crew of Miroshca for an incredible afternoon.

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You know you’re in Overberg country when …

….. you stop for moerkoffie* served in enamel cups at Dassiesfontein Farmstall, where they stock everything a Cape Town girl could want – wine, chocolate and flowers :-)35-IMG_2201….. you spend hours browsing through the bric-à-brac and antiquities inside and outside37-IMG_219943-IMG_217841-IMG_218238-IMG_2192

….. the locals shower one another with affection  32-IMG_2230(ok ok some do turn their back on you)34-IMG_2218….. the protected Blue Cranes shriek across the fields19-IMG_2285and the Jackal Buzzards keep a patient watch for a tasty snack from the overhead power lines.

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* Afrikaans coffee, which is ground coffee in a bag brewed in a kettle

 

 

‘Good Morning, Mr Mandela’

I did resolve not to buy any more books until I’d dented at least some of the pile of 60 still begging to be read, but when Zelda la Grange’s much anticipated book about her life as Nelson Mandela’s assistant was launched on Thursday, I rushed to get a copy.

I read it in a day, assisted by loads of tissues and if the social media is anything to go by, the first print run is already sold out.

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Those expecting loads of dirt, celebrity gossip or a tell all book are going to be disappointed.  La Grange has said in the book and in interviews leading up to the launch that it’s her story and not Madiba’s.  Instead it’s filled with ancedotes of his later years and lessons she learned from him in the 19 years as gatekeeper to one of the world’s most loved icons.

But Zelda does document the sadness of Mandela’s last days, the blunders by the government medical team treating him and she lifts the veil on the family infighting as Madiba clung to life.

She shares how, unbelievably, Mandela’s widow Graça Machel, had to get accreditation to attend her husband’s memorial service with only four of her family members allowed at her side and how at the last minute and even though she was wholly excluded from any of the arrangements, Zelda rushed around calling in favours to get accreditation for Mandela’s closest friends as well as celebrities Bono, Charlize Theron and Oprah Winfrey, all of whom had conveniently been disregarded, despite Madiba’s wishes, by those swinging the sceptre.

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Good morning, Mr Mandela is filled with courage, tenacity, integrity, tenderness and most of all love and respect.

From Bowling Green to Bowl of Greens

Formerly a disused bowling green in the foothills of Devil’s Peak and dwarfed by Table Mountain on the top side, Oranjezicht City Farm is a growing inner city farming project run primarily by volunteers, on the fringes of the City Bowl.

Interactive and child and pet-friendly, the farm’s vision is to get people to understand what they are eating and where it comes from.

Visit the popular Saturday organic market or do a guided self-harvest on Wednesday afternoons, weather permitting.  For more information on opening times and location visit the farm’s website.

The site also has a fascinating history and some of the cobbled bridlepaths remain from what was at one time the largest farm in the Upper Table Valley, occupied by the Van Breda family for seven generations.

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