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Hills, Views, Caves, Stones, Bones and… a Space Turtle?

2 Mar

Our roving reporter is on the case again, sending more shots from his latest visit to the the west coast of South Africa.

They went walkabout into the wild and wide open spaces…100_2720_stitch

Around and about the area where Geoffrey currently lives and works.

They went up in the hills…Southern skies lodge from the hill opposite

And above the Rooibos tea fields…rooibos 1_stitch

They walked and climbed in the sweltering heat, which he said reached a staggering 47 degrees C on occasions, swimming in reservoirs to cool off.

John said he thought it was a bit hot!

They kept an eye open for caves, knowing the signs and getting a feel for finding them…100_2813

Large…bushman's cave

A bushman’s cave.

And small…caves, large and small

Complete with bones, this one. Click to enlarge and have a poke around.

They had a sleepover in one of them…100_2804


A room with a view…

100_2779Especially on a misty morning…cave 2_stitch


But sadly no paintings to be found.

Been said John’s a bit of a caveman. Like father like son, I’d say.

Geoffrey douses the fire…

dousing the fire

Where they cooked up sausages and drank  beer. No stomach churning bush tucker trials here, though it’s hardly glamping.

There’s lots of these…100_2761

And these…100_2774

Not sure what either are called but some are found only in this area.

And here’s the space turtle…

Rocks eroded into wierd shapes, space turtle

Or, if your imagination is a little jaded, rocks that have eroded into weird and interesting shapes. 

I don’t expect there’s too many of these about. What do you see?

Speaking of rocks…100_2493

A rare collection of treasures…Nature table R

I imagine the bulk of these were collected by the boys but if I know John, he will have had a hand in a few of them.

He loves all that archaeological stuff. Hand axes, digging stones and so on. John just has a knack of stumbling on these relics and cannot go anywhere without bringing back nature’s souvenirs.

He will spend hours perusing these in museums. We have some fun days out.

We have some back at the bus too – spoils from previous years – obviously irresistible to the John.  

Even back in the UK, we’ll go for a walk and he’ll end up with a pocketful of bits and bobs. Sometimes he even picks up washers, nuts, bolts, rubber bands or other such useful items, which he hands to me like presents to be cherished. And I do,  of course.

Maybe it’s a condition with a name – like Tourette’s. But quieter.


Unlike me, John is very much a morning person and captured this…Klipspringer at dawn

Klipspringer – a small African antelope – at dawn.

Some of the panoramas are 2/3/5 or more pics that I’ve stitched together. That really is such clever software.

Now John knows I can do this, he is taking snaps with stitching in mind and I look forward to the next batch.

This one has to be my current favourite…view 1_stitch


Don’t forget, you can click on any of these images to bring up to full size. A further click will enlarge that particular area of the photo, should you wish to see even more detail.

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


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.