Monday, 24 July 2017

Missed You Lots

After being away for a few days on our winter seaside holiday, our fur family sure missed us. Here is Minky making sure that I knew that she missed me lots. It was hard to do any work with them following you around and climbing all over you, giving you head bumps.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

White as Black

Remember the fire I mentioned on Tuesday’s post, yip the veldt fire that decided to happen on the day we decided to go on our winter holiday to the seaside. When we got home our cats and dogs greeted us like the prodigal son returning but both Minky and Paddington were covered in black soot from the remains of the grass fire.

Minky’s white chest was now a mid grey colour and Paddy a much darker ginger. Oh well they can be thankful that it is winter as the both of them would be in the bath. Not that their bath has been cancelled but rather postponed till a warmer day.

All we can now do is explore the damage along with the guinea fowl scratch at the remains. Like the vynbos in the Cape, the Protea trees and the ground orchids here in the veldt need the veldt fires to burn off all the stubble and rejuvenate the new growth.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Beach Ice-cream

No visit to the beach can be without an ice cream and a wonderful lady at your side. To prove that I have both at the beach, my babe and ice-cream here is a selfie. This is our last day of our family seaside holiday at Uvongo. The weather has been great, the kids have enjoyed themselves and us well we are relaxed on the beach with our soft serve ice cream filled sugar cones with flake and dipped in caramel.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Sunrise ANC

Strange title, Sunrise ANC, but it has nothing to do the African National Congress’ sunrise, all will be revealed below.

Okay Matthew had two requests for his holidays, one was to spend a few hours on the beach at night and the other was to see the sunrise from the beach. Last night Matthew, Bradley, and myself, had a boys night out. First we had supper at C-Bali restaurant at St Michaels just because previously when we had lunch there 2 days ago, Bradley fancied one of the waitresses. So this called for another visit so that he could strike up a conversation but sadly she wasn’t on duty. Later on we ended up in Margate but it was just about dead there.

This morning Matthew and I got up at 4 in the morning and went down to Shelly Beach to watch the ski-boats launch into the rising sun. It was impressive watch these brave men launch small little boats into the ocean. First to head out just be sunrise was the Sharks Board to check on the shark nets, followed by the fishermen and the chartered boats.

So far this post has been all about ski-boats launching into the sunrise, where does the African National Congress come in. well... Later on we went to Shelly Mall to get some shopping done and while there we stumbled upon this book for sale, Reason to Vote ANC. Now I have heard all about this best seller and have seen photographs but it was the first time I saw one in the flesh.


Thursday, 20 July 2017

Being the Tourist

They say while in Rome, do what the Romans do, so even though I grew up here, the family didn’t so while on holiday at the lower South Coast, why not do the tourist thing. This is us being the tourists.

First on our agenda was the famous Waffle House in Ramsgate for a yummy waffle breakfast. The morning was slightly nippy as the sun still had to warm up so it was hot Mocca to start while Matthew had tea, of course while we waited for our waffles.

A visit to Ramsgate Beach was squeezed in between the waffles and our next tourist stop, the Butterfly World as it was now starting to get warmer. The wind had picked up and the sea a little choppy so we didn't stay long before we were off again.

Now the Butterfly World was a little of a disappointment as it seemed a little run down. Maybe it is supposed to look like a grotto but the decor did not get a huge thumbs up from me. As for the butterflies, well there were lots and lots of Golden Piper butterflies everywhere but not a lot of other species. But for our grand daughter they were the thing to see. Along with the butterflies Rebekah was also enthralled with the tiny tortoises.

By now it was way past Rebekah’s bedtime, so Marco, Robynne and Rebekah headed back to our holiday apartment while Lynda, Bradley, Matthew, and I headed inland to the Oribi Gorge. I spent many times up here at Murchison, Paddock, Oribi Flats, and of course the two gorges. So acting as the tour guide I showed my charges the spectacular Oribi Gorge. But as usual I didn't pay too much attention to the fuel as being a tourist guide was taking a lot out of me and by now my guests were getting tired. But even though we were a little low on fuel we did managed to get back to the coast on a whiff of a oil rag.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Life’s a Beach

The weather turned out spectacular and the beach at Uvongo perfect for our seaside family holiday. Lynda managed to find an AirBnB townhouse that sleeps 6 for only R300 per night. It was a clean apartment on the 2nd floor with just a smudge of a view of the ocean but walking distance to the beach. We invited Lynda’s daughter Robynne with her family Marco and Rebekha, her son Bradley, and my son Matthew. That made up the 6 for our family holiday.

With the stress of yesterday’s fire, now is the time to let the waves wash away the muck that has already been built up this year.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

A Long Way Down

A trip down to the seaside was organised, our car packed, and off we go, a long way down to the beach. Winter is here, weather predictions looked good, what better way to spend a week on the Lower South Coast of Kwa-Zulu Natal.

We decided to take the long route down along the Oliviershoek Pass instead of straight there on the highway. And as expected the scenery was spectacular, especially at the Sterkfontein Dam just above the mountain pass down to Natal. At the dam, we saw this large Cape Vulture low down drifting in the air currents.

Just before reaching the coast we received news that there was a large veldt fire outside our home. Why did this had to happen while we away? Are our fur family safe? Was the house alright? Do we turn around and head back? These were the questions screaming through our thoughts. Thankfully our neighbours and the Roodekrans Neighbourhood Watch jumped into action. Our home is still standing and all our cats and dogs have been accounted for.

With the stress of the fire and that we took much longer driving down took its toll now let our holiday begin.

Monday, 17 July 2017

10 Minutes Apart

The sunsets are awesome here in Africa, they are forever changing and no one are the same even with from the same vantage point of my deck 10 minutes apart.

Every time you look up the sky and see the clouds, sunrise, or even sunset, you will never see the same one again, time is ever changing every second unless you are a Time Lord then time is a wibbly wobbly, timey wimey thing.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Not Far Away

Last week I reported on the raw sewerage that is flowing into the stream near us. The one sewerage leak that falls under the jurisdiction of City of Joburg has been reported to the right people but it is the bigger blockage which is overflowing that seems more difficult to find the right people to report it to from Mogale City. Lets hope that both leaks can be sorted out soon.

The both spillages flow into the stream at the source of the Crocodile River. Here the stream is called the Muldersdrift se Loop as it flows through a steep gorge and down 2 waterfalls before reaching the Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens. After flowing though the Bot Gardens it forms the boarder of the elite Featherbrooke Estate before it leaves the urban sprawl and joins up the Bloubank Stream and becoming the Crocodile River.

Now today’s post is about this stream, the Bloubank Stream, and the tranquil Nirox Sculpture Park which is situated in the armpit of the Bloubank stream. Now you won’t think that this place started off as a trout farm with the surrounding farming putting a lot of strain on the stream.

All that has changed as Nirox has become the beating heart of the Cradle of Mankind with landscaped gardens and waterways. Looked after by the Nirox Foundation, Nirox serves as a residency for both local and international artists, with concerts, exhibitions, events, and private functions thrown in, normally at a price but twice a year they open their gates in a Summer and Winter Exhibition to the public. And it is at the Winter 2017 Exhibition that Lynda and I found ourselves once again at Nirox Sculpture Park on a beautiful Highveld Sunday sitting on two deckchairs, surrounded by art and beauty just breathing in the splendour not far from the maddening crowds and sewerage.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Liquor Drive Through

Now I have seen it all! Don’t drink and drive but you can buy your liquor without leaving your car. I kid you not; only in Krugersdorp are they so advanced that they can have a liquor store drive through. I suppose Monument Liquor Warehouse will state that they don’t promote drinking and driving but a more convenient way of buying your liquor from the comfort of your car.

Friday, 14 July 2017

Red Flower

Here is the post to all the unknown plants in our garden, and Lynda and I do have many, most of we don’t have any clue of what they are. Call us ignoramus if you want but we are trying. We are not anywhere near botanists or a horticulturist like Lynda’s dad but we do love our South Africa garden. It is a beautiful garden with lots of indigenous trees and plants overlooking a beautiful Protea forested veldt that drops into the deepest gorge in Gauteng and still within city limits. And did I mention lots of birds and creepy crawlies like caterpillars which become butterflies.

Doing image searches on the internet sometimes comes up fruitless or in our case flowerless. I am not even sure that this is a flower but searching for “Red South African Flower” did not even help one iota. You get stacks of the wrong type of flower and only once did the right flower come up on a Route 62 site but they never gave a clue of what it is.

So Jurassic Park looking red flower in my garden, you can hide your identify from the internet, but I will find out who you are.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Lazy Afternoon

After yesterday’s long post, just for my friend Gary who only likes long posts and not my short ones, hey Gary how about a short one again? No! Well if you share yesterday’s post about the raw sewerage flowing into the Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens, then I promise after today’s post on our cat Tiger, having a lazy afternoon in the winter’s sun, I will do longer posts, I promise. Look no fingers crossed behind my back. See even Tiger agrees as he is tired of all this camera in your face when you are trying to have a cat nap.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Raw Sewerage into the Botanical Gardens

They say that the grass is greener on the other side but it is usually because it is over a septic tank. In this case it is not far from the truth.

I moved to the Roodekrans area of Johannesburg last year because of the beautiful views into the kloof above the Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens and the very rare flora that is found here and nowhere else. It was these wilds inside the city limits that attracted us to move here in the first place. Soon it became apparent that not all was rosy as it looked or smelled.

Soon after moving to Roodekrans, we found itinerants living up in the kloof, knowledge of which the estate agent and seller kindly hid from us. Some of these itinerants were religious people coming for the holy waters of the 3 springs that are the source of the stream which eventually becomes the Crocodile River. It is this stream which flows down the magnificent waterfall and through Botanical Gardens. Some itinerants are digging into the sides of the cliffs, for what we can only speculate as there is no gold in these hills so say the police to whom I report it to. All of them cut down the Protea trees for firewood and dig up medicinal plants in a protected biodiversity area that can’t be quickly replaced.

A lot of Johannesburg residents like myself are very proud of the Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens with its astonishing waterfall set in a stunning landscaped garden and not to forget the Black Eagles that nest there in the cliffs. Well sorry to burst that bubble as like the saying goes it is green because it is over a septic tank. Yes raw sewerage is flowing at a steady rate directly into the stream that flows through the Botanical Gardens.

Just under a month ago during a Joburg Photowalkers hike into the kloof above the Botanical Gardens, a raw sewerage leak flowing directly into the stream was discovered and duly reported to the City of Joburg, and today I was tasked to take a walk down into the kloof to see if anything has been done about the sewerage leak. What I was hoping to find was that the leaking sewer pipe had being repaired but sadly this was not the case as nothing had being done to rectify the leak. As you can see in the very top photo of this post, that the grass is very green grass by being fed from all the pollutants this has been going on for a very long time.

While we were down here in the kloof, we decided to walk up past the Manie Mulder Waterfall to check on the conditions further upstream and on the 3 springs which form the source of the stream. Along the way we saw itinerants living in hovels dug out into the sides of the cliffs and even had the pleasure of witnessing an exorcism of a demon possessed person in the stream by 2 priests. I kid you not. I did not take any photos of the exorcism but I asked a lot of questions about the plastic covered person standing naked in the stream.

At one of the springs, we sadly watched a woman with a baby on her back drink and collect holy water from the rubbish littered water source that was sweeping out of the rock cliffs. I have been told that these holy waters bring in bus loads of people and I wonder if polluted water have healing powers that I don't know about.

But the worst was yet to come. To our horror we found a major sewerage pipe blockage which was overflowing into the stream above the source where the woman and her baby were drinking from and where the demon exorcism was taking place. This sewerage was flowing at a steady pace down a small valley between Jarrah Street and Albida Place, Breaunanda, a suburb of Krugersdorp in Mogale City, into the small stream that then flows through the kloof, over 2 waterfalls and into the Botanical Gardens below before becoming the Crocodile River.

Forget exorcisms, tree cutting, and squatters, now I was so filled with mixed emotions, from anger to crying in shame for the human race. I could handle the religious fanatics even with their associated litter but the raw sewerage flowing into this beautiful kloof was the last straw. Time to make a stink about this, like that Aussie song How can we sleep when our beds are burning? The first raw sewerage leak was reported to the City of Joburg and yet nothing was done, this new bigger leak will be reported to Mogale City but unless we all make some noise, I expect nothing will be done.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Cold Cats

Forget about Hot Dogs, this morning a cold wind blew through and the dogs refused to leave their heated dog house and the cats, well the cold cats have to cuddle up where ever they find a warm spot.

Monday, 10 July 2017

Hurry Up and Wait

I thought I just had 1 appointment today but when I woke up I realised that there was another 2 that slipped my mind that need urgent attention.

So what was expected to be a slow quiet day turned out to be a rush from sunrise until just after 3pm. I never had much time to even think between all the rushing around but I did manage to take this photo while waiting in the queue at the municipality. Today reminded me of my army days of hurry up and wait. Hurry to the first appointment and wait in queues, then hurry to the next only for the process to be repeated.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Anthony Kilkenny

Thank you Anthony for coming over for the weekend and doing maintenance work on my house. Much appreciated boet, and now for a refreshing Kilkenny.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Pumber's Mess

Finally I get access into the roof above my bathroom and find a home owners nightmare. Surely this could never have been done by a qualified plumber, what a mess with 3 different pipes put in a way similar to that 80s computer screensaver, remember that one with all the pipes? From galvanised, to copper, to polycop pipes all assembled into a mess of pipes.

Friday, 7 July 2017

The Other Side

This is view of my home from the other side of the kloof. Somehow you can't see the scale of things that is seen from my deck but this is a rare view to me. Somehow the Protea trees don't seem so many from this vantage point. I wish I can get this area protected and stop the itinerants moving in, as they dig for gold in the sides of the cliffs, dig up medicinal tubers that are thousands of years old, and not to mention cut down the Protea trees for use as firewood.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Cat Nap

Help! I am surrounded by napping cats, tabby cats, grey cats, all sorts of cats snoozing everywhere even here where I want to sit, is Bebe napping. I know that it is cold but surely you all can go outside and play. Cap naps on the sunny window sill, cap naps on the chair, and cap naps under the blankets, all these cats are trying to keep warm and not spend too much energy only to run around at night and keep me up.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Cat Calendar

Cat Calendar

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Stormy Sunset

The day started overcast and later the skies cleared to the usual winter skies of a weak sun gleaming down from pale blue heavens. It was late in the afternoon when I first heard the rumble, I was sitting behind my desk, I wasn’t sure what I was hearing as we don’t normally get storms in winter. Looking out of the sliding doors towards the west and the setting sun, the sky was orange and clear yet still the rumbling grew louder.

I walked out onto my deck, I then I saw the dark clouds of a storm coming in from the south. Interesting times for a winter’s storm. The storm turned out to be a fizzle, more noise than action.

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