Robins return

After last year’s sad loss of one of the resident Cape Robins (who was killed by a rat trap) I’m over the moon to see another pair hopping around my garden.   They’re elusive as always until you turn on the sprinkler.

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Sunbird Magnet

It wasn’t even up for half an hour and the double collared sunbirds found the new sugar water feeder.  They’re always flitting in and out of our garden, but I suspect that after the recent devastating mountain fires, a lot more wild birds are turning to gardens for food.

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Later, gregarious little White Eyes, a Cape Bulbul and even a Cape Robin stopped by. The photo quality isn’t great, but for now I am taking pictures through a closed window, afraid of frightening them off.

Libraries Connect People to Each Other …..

It’s the theme for South African Library Week which runs from 13 to 21 March and reminds me a lot of the blogging community too :-)

In celebration, a quick phone pic of some of my favourite books and some still waiting to be read.

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Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.
- Nelson Mandela

Explore the Elements

There are still a few days left for all of you Travel Photobloggers out there to enter UK-based travel company Thomas Cook’s Travel Photoblogging Challenge.  The aim is to showcase the elements and your own unique interpretation of the four categories, Earth, Water, Fire and Air, so dig into your travel pic archives and get those entries in.  There are also some great prizes to be won.

Huge thanks to the uber talented Jude of Travel Words for nominating me.  Her posts are always a delight to read and a wonderful reminder of my childhood in England.

Be sure to study each category description carefully.  And with that, here is my submission:

Earth:  Represents the hard, solid objects of the earth. Associated with stubbornness, collectiveness, physicality and gravity4-IMG_5166

For EARTH I selected one of my favourite pictures taken in Ponta do Ouro in Mozambique.  Life is so carefree in Ponta that children abandon their bicycles and bags at the water’s edge to play soccer on the beach after school.  For all of us, Earth is what holds us up, the foundation for most things.

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Water:  Represents the fluid, flowing, formless things in the world. Associated with emotion, defensiveness, adaptability, flexibility, suppleness, and magnetism 3-1873

Just as Earth is solid, water is the fluid, ever changing essence of life.  Without water, the seals and birdlife around Pelican Point Lighthouse off the Namibian coast wouldn’t survive.

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Fire:  Represents the energetic, forceful, moving things in the world. Associated with security, motivation, desire, intention, and an outgoing spirit

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Dune 45 at Sossusvlei in Namibia represents Fire for me.  Blow by the wind, the dunes are ever changing in form and ignited in the sunlight to huge, glowing embers of copper and ochre as they spread across the parched earth.  The dunes are best climbed in the early morning before the sand heats up enough to scald your feet.

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Air:  Represents things that grow, expand, and enjoy freedom of movement. Associated with will, elusiveness, evasiveness, benevolence, compassion, and wisdom 4-07-IMG_1054Birds are synonymous with freedom of movement and this elusive breeding pair of African Black Oystercatchers photographed at Cape Point, a species of high conservation, highlights the need to be free to grow and continue the circle of life.

How you enter:

  • Entrants must follow the online ‘Explore The Elements’ instructions to create their own blog entry.  Those entry instructions form part of these competition terms and conditions.
  • Only one entry per person is permitted. Multiple entries will be invalid.
  • Entries must be received by Thomas Cook by no later than 23.59 on 16 March 2015.
  • To qualify for entry, entrants must also nominate 5 of their fellow bloggers within their blog post.

My five nominations are:

  1. Janaline’s world journey
  2. Scarlet Nguni
  3. Sliding Sideways 
  4. A Glass Half Full
  5. Herman van Bon Photography 

Don’t feel obliged to join in, but best of luck if you do :-)

Finding beauty in disaster

We thought it was all over.  The skies had cleared, we could breathe properly again and the ash that whirled around like snowflakes seemed to have settled after some gentle, welcome rain.  Then Hell’s furnace erupted again.

Barely a day after firefighters stopped the blazes that ran rampant across the Southern Peninsula for four days, more fire broke out, this time at Cape Point, Cape Town’s southernmost extremity.  As if on cue, the wind picked up reaching galeforce by evening and fanned the blaze across more precious hectares of fynbos and nature reserve.  Weary firefighters and volunteers were pulled back into the fray. Out at sea behind Kommetjie lighthouse, a long trail of smoke blowing from Cape Point resembled a low cloud bank, which looked like an angry bruise as the sun set over the ocean.  It was strangely beautiful, despite the tragic circumstances. 03-IMG_7298 05-IMG_7307Behind me, as the fire rescue choppers returned to base before nightfall marred their visibility, Noordhoek and Hout Bay recovered from four days of flames that saw properties damaged and families temporarily evacuated. 19-IMG_7387

My World on Fire

An eerie apricot glow hung over Fish Hoek this morning as the sun tried to penetrate thick smoke layers after three days of raging fires that gutted vast tracts of the southern Peninsula.  Fuelled further on Sunday by howling winds that dispersed hot ash across the surrounding mountainside, firefighting teams and volunteers had to work around the clock to try and contain several fires scattered across Noordhoek, Muizenberg, Boyes Drive and surrounds.

The devastation looks like something from an apocalyptic movie.  Large parts of Silvermine Nature Reserve have been reduced to a smouldering wasteland on both sides of Ou Kaapseweg, where entire ecosystems of fynbos and the small animals that habitat this endemic flora have been decimated.  Very little would have survived the blaze as it greedily devoured the largely dry reserve, urged on by the gusts of wind.

Yesterday evening as fire still raged along Chapman’s Peak, firefighting crews worked to contain the blaze.

36-IMG_7234Here a firefighting helicopter stops to collect water from the Clovelly wetlands to douse a blaze near Peer’s Cave.

26-IMG_7199 07-IMG_7167 05-IMG_7123 03-IMG_7100Ou Kaapseweg was finally opened to traffic yesterday as dense smog enveloped the Noordhoek valley.

06-IMG_7166It’s a really sad day for this beautiful part of the planet.  Grateful thanks to all those who worked round the clock to prevent further devastation.

On Nut mornings

My first daylight impressions of Bangkok were from my son’s 17th floor apartment in On Nut.  I was mesmerised. By the monks in saffron robes and the Thai way of life.  By the endless zig zagging of overhead electricity cables and the traffic that never stopped flowing. Ever. I slept with the curtains and window open so I wouldn’t miss a daybreak and woke before everyone else to watch this scene play out every morning. I still long for those mornings sometimes, even surrounded by all the beauty that is Cape Town.IMG_4661 IMG_4671