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Boomslang and other assorted visitors

23 Dec

The Boomslang

Yesterday, I was sitting with the old leg up, as per doctor’s orders, when I heard a sort of scuffling noise outside the bus. At first on looking out the window I saw Sasha, next doors’ dog, seemingly having a mad five minutes – as animals sometimes do. When I focussed though, the picture changed and I realised that she was attacking a snake. Biting it on its back to be precise.

“Snake” I yelled and John was off like a shot, grabbing his snake-stick on the way. He raced round to the side of the bus where all the action was, shooed Sasha away and got a grip of the snake with said stick.

John in snake mode

I don’t recognise snakes and am in awe of them. It could have been a Black Mamba for all I know. My heart was fair thumping and I feared for John’s safety though he did seem to be in control and know what he was doing.

Kerfuffle over, John told me that it was a Boomslang (literal translation tree snake). Whilst the venom is pretty deadly, they rarely attack unprovoked and its fangs are right at the back the mouth. They can, however, open up their mouths to 90 degrees, which may not be the flip-top head of a Puff Adder, but enough to shoot the deadly juice.

Given that Sasha was trying to bite it in half, this must have been one thoroughly pissed off pussy-cat.

Later, when John had returned our uninvited guest to its natural habitat – a tree, but far from the bus – we debated from where it had come. Seems in cooler weather, they hole up in the nests of Weaver Birds – two of which we have hanging from the tree right above the bus. If this was the case, it might well have dropped down onto the bus roof as it warmed up and from there just slithered down to the ground.

The stuff of nightmares and James Bond movies eh?

I didn’t see a single solitary snake when here last year but am still vigilant when outdoors as I have been told there are many around and about. Given that I’ve now seen two, in as many weeks, I am inclined to believe this. My eyes are permanently peeled.

On a less dramatic note, the neighbours’animals have adopted us. The afore-mentioned Sasha, together with her companion of unknown name and dubious pedigree, now run to greet us as we arrive home in the car. Sasha sleeps under the bus as if protecting us from intruders. It’s all we can do to keep her from moving in.

Our favourite black and white cat

Sasha and roadkill

Also a couple of  cats – a ginger, and our favourite black and white – come to visit. The latter has just had kittens, as yet unseen and hidden in the bush. Best it stays that way probably…

I think it’s cupboard love though. They get the scraps from the braai and the odd glass of milk. Not to mention a go at the road kill we picked up on the way to Kleinmond the other day – a guinea fowl which is destined for the pot.

Pregnant and hungry little lion

Guinea head

Don’t Guineas have amazing heads? Just look at the colours.

Up a Gum Tree

23 Dec

Crazy elevated canopy

It was love at first sight when, last year, I first clapped eyes on this particular species of Eucalyptus. I think it’s a Sugar Gum, though not sure; there are many, many species of Gum it seems. It’s that crazy elevated canopy that does it for me.

I have dubbed them Clarice Cliff trees, for obvious reasons if you are familiar with her work, and I love them to bits. As I do her stuff in general and, for that matter, the entire Deco period.

They are all over the place here and I have developed a passion for them. None is safe when I have the camera to hand.

John has been dragged, kicking and screaming, into this (probably unhealthy) obsession of mine. Car journeys are never to be the same again as we vie to spot the best specimen. It is “I-Spy” with knobs on. And, if we spot a good one, we risk life and limb by stopping on the shoulder in order to capture its image, in the hope that this one will be The One.

I have built up quite a file of said photos since my arrival here in November (sad I know) but still I search for that perfect shot. I’ve not achieved it yet though, be assured, I shall keep trying.

Next thing – I want to try is painting them. Can just see a very washy sort of water colour image in my mind’s eye and hope to be able to translate this into a picture/pictures. Would work extremely well as a mural too, I reckon,  if you had the right sort of space in which to create one that is.

As it is, my photography isn’t brilliant but practice makes perfect. At least I will have something to go on when I start on the painting. Of course I will need to acquire some sort of painting kit – I had one of those kids’ tin boxes and a jam-jar in mind to start with. No sense in laying out a fortune if it turns out my artistic talent is imaginary and, in reality, I am useless. It could well be the case- – we shall see.

Clarice Cliff trees

I’m sure there’s plenty of worse things in the world to be fixated on but this is definitely my kind of Christmas tree.

Speaking of which, do have a good one.