Archive | February, 2014

A Murder of Crows

23 Feb

A suitably sinister collective noun for that oh so evil harbinger of death and doom. The stuff of nightmares and horror stories…Crows reward

Ah. That’s another myth exploded then. Up a bit, right a bit – aaah, that’s it!

This is the Pied,  or white chested, crow found – you guessed it – in South Africa. Well that’s where John found it anyway or, to be more precise, that’s where the boys found it. You’ve had a glimpse of this one before, on the West Coast farm, where John is once again visiting; this time helping his youngest to shift his belongings, in readiness for the move to Amakhala where he will join his brother.

It’s an intelligent creature that makes phone calls and sends texts…Crow making a phone call

I think this one is  female…Crow trying on shoes

As has a taste for trying on shoes.

And likes a drink…Crow turning the tap on for a drink, pity he cannot turn it off aftterwards

Actually turning the tap on when thirsty but, sadly, hasn’t mastered the art of turning the tap off afterwards. Maybe it’s a male after all.

And for my next trick…Crow's has found a rand coin on the floor

You dropped this John, here it is…Crow offering me a Rand

Now put it somewhere safe. Please.

Speaking of the Rand, when I was last in SA I was getting around 10-12 of these to the pound. Now it’s more like 18-20. That’s just not fair. Usual bad timing on my part.

Of course, there’s plenty of less tame creatures around these parts, as this pile of poo indicates…Leopard droppings

Leopard droppings.

Snakes too…can you see the worm

See it? A Puff Adder.

Quite deadly and, because of its highly effective camouflage, is prone to being stepped on. Despite being a slow mover, the puffie strikes extremely quickly, its highly toxic venom inducing massive tissue necrosis. Prompt and proper treatment can prevent death but this snake is thought to kill and maim more than any other African snake each year.

A sobering thought.

Skin of the Black Spitting Cobra on the left and Puff  Adder on the right…100_2733

Do I detect a shudder?

Fortunately, the only casualty is Tikkie the Terrier…Tikki took on a rotweiler and a pitbull and was lucky to escape with so little damage, her tail was bitten too.

That’s what you get for pissing off a  Pit-bull and taking on a Rotweiller. Poor little wounded soldier.

I promise the next post will contain  fabulous flowers, panoramic landscapes – including my latest stitched masterpiece.

Coming soon..

Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain

10 Feb

Just to let you know that the river here is almost back to normal, thanks to a couple of dryish days and some pretty efficient draining onto the land.

I’m making the most though ’cause it’s not going to last – yet more Atlantic lows waiting in the wings, bringing a possible further two inches of rain or so and yet more windy wind.

But you know all that.

And my own personal ark will continue to protect me.

Anyway, I went out today in brilliant sunshine, without the usual bundles of warm layers and serious waterproof  gear. It was heaven. Gorgeous. Not even a breeze.

But every silver lining has a cloud and, just as I arrived back, it chucked it down: cats, dogs, stair rods – you name it. Terrific. A short sharp shower, just enough to make me nice and wet before I’d made it across dog-dirt and on to the boat.

By the time I’d changed out of my totally unsuitable clothing and slipped into something more comfortable – and dry – put the kettle on and made up the fire it had stopped. Typical. Should have waited in the car.

Anyway, good time to nip out and fill the coal scuttle.

And there it was… 001

003

Whoa, never mind  silver lining, how about that?

Had to be stitched…002_stitch (2)

Bugger, didn’t even see it at first.

That twirly drier taking centre stage. How could I possibly have missed that?

But, with careful cropping and more patience than a score of saints,  it was wiped…002_stitch

How good is that?

It’s a bit of a cheat, but hey, why not? We have the technology.

River Dance

8 Feb

Normally a bit of a pussycat as rivers go, mine turned into a raging torrent yesterday…006 - Copy

Look a little closer…011

It’s running across the towpath…010

And into the field…007

Doing exactly what it should and draining onto flood plain…009

And, what do you know, there’s been talk of building here.

Are they mad?

Will they never learn?

Apart from anything else and from an entirely selfish point of view, it wouldn’t half spoil my outlook.

Which at the moment…004 - CopyIs not quite the norm…002 - CopyFortunately, the new landing stage is still above water – though only just…003

Much more heavy rain and that might not be the case.

A couple of the early shots were taken into direct sunlight and came out in black and white.

I liked the effect so, as you may have noticed, I played around with the rest of them – worked better with some than others.

Today sees the river receding some but the wind has come out to play. That will of course help dry out the ‘dry land’ – ready for the next lot!

You’ve heard it said – I won’t need much rocking…

Well looks like I’ve got plenty!

Crikey it’s rough out there…001 004

Quite a chop!

I have been known to say to those contemplating a life afloat “know that the elements will impact so much more on your life…”

Well, told you so this is one way they do just that.

I’ve had many messages from concerned friends who fear for my safety – even offering me an alternative place to stay. Thank you for that but I’m fine. Really.

In any case I must be vigilant and keep a close eye on things – ropes etc.,  so couldn’t desert the good ship Hobo even if I wanted to. And I don’t.

I bet there’s some people in Somerset that would be glad of an ark right now..

SA Sunrise

6 Feb

John also sent these pics, which I thought deserved a post all of their own…

100_2589100_2588

Especially after I stitched them together…100_2588_stitch

Like so.

Nice eh? Apart from that pole taking centre stage.

I tried to take it out…100_2588_stitchBut don’t have either the expensive software or the knowhow to do this properly.

Still, it has softened it a little.

Will let you decide which is best: the real thing or the doctored image?

More from Bongo Bongo Land..

6 Feb

Clearly, Boatbloke is suffering…100_2587

But is bravely bearing this hardship in order to bring us images from far away places.

Places that aren’t currently battered by wind and rain, waterlogged, muddy, murky, cold or devoid of colour.

Places where wild flowers like this… 100_2576grow by the roadside.

As I write, the rain is once more hammering on the roof, topping up the river and forming lakes of diluted mud on already saturated ground…010

007Ground I have to walk over squelch/wade through to get to the car, often with a trolley full of shopping/coal/gas or whatever. Sometimes making several trips too, for fear that too much weight  will make me and/or my load sink into the bowels of the earth, never to be seen again. Happens to my wellies regularly. They are a bit big for me so, when they get stuck in the mud, I walk right out of them. And that’s real nice.

Last night’s winds made being on board boat pretty exciting. Talk about the boat that rocked!

To steal something a friend and fellow liveaboard posted on facebook yesterday – When my boats a rockin’… it’s just really windy outside.

I liked that, sums it up nicely for Hobo as well as Bella!

Cooking utensils that hang in the galley were doing synchronised swinging like bizarre and demented pendulums.

Anyway, enough of that, John has been on the road again…100_2596

Taking Conrad to Amakhala, a game farm in-between PE and Grahamstown, where he is due to start his new job.

One that looks like it might be a bit exciting…100_2620

Lots of these strange beats about…100_2615

This is his house…100_2608 (1)

And this lives in a pool out back…100_2606

Bugger…

100_2607 (1)Brings a whole new meaning to owning Crocs.

Meanwhile, his younger brother Geoffrey is serving out the couple of months notice necessary at the farm I featured in a previous post, before joining Connie.

He hopes to bring along their own menagerie – Tikki the terrier,  breeding rabbits, tame crow, cats and chickens. Can’t help but wonder how they’ll get on with Mr Croc.

John is currently staying with a friend at Knysna, by way of breaking the journey back to Bot River and the bus. Rudi has a super place just up the hill out of town, where he works on his sculptures, farms worms, has millions of Macadamia trees and all sorts of other stuff going on. He also makes damn good coffee and a pretty mean stir-fry.

It’s a long old drive – PE to Bot River – which we have done straight through before now, but not such a good idea if you are the only driver.

John is due back towards the end of March, so almost halfway through his stay already.

By then, it should be spring here so my tropical flower…100_2577 (1)will arrive when all this nasty weather nonsense is a dim and distant memory. We hope.

But for now we soldier on regardless down at the funny farm…016We handsome beasts…003Even a little formation feeding…001We might not be so scary or exotic as those in the southern hemisphere but we are made of stern stuff, BB included.

And, for sure, as happy as…014All of us!