29 June 2010

Kudu Bulls

Kudus are a common site in the Eastern Cape. Or should I say more common than lions. Yes, you can also see lions along our roads, if you look carefully. I found this out a few weeks back, after making a rash promise to give R100 to the first person who spotted a lion.

These kudu bulls were spotted near Klipfontein on the road to Graaf Reinet.

28 June 2010

Hill Presbytarian Church

Sunset this evening taken from the Donkin Reserve

27 June 2010

Flowers of the Eastern Cape #7 - The colour orange

I cannot remember a time when I have not seen a flower in the Eastern Cape. What I am doing with this project is to publish at least one photograph of an indigenous plant that is in flower, every week.
When I realised that I did not have any photos for this week, I went for a stroll around the neighbourhood with my grandson and was not disappointed. We found two plants that are quite common in this area.

Red-hot poker from the garden of St Phillips Church.

Aloe arborescens ghowing on the cliff above Albany Road

26 June 2010

Soccer fever

View of the Port Elizabeth Soccer Stadium, taken from Richmond Hill, just after Uruguay scored their 2nd goal, to take the lead against South Korea. The appeal of going to shoot a few pictures in the rain was more appealing to me and Sue, than watching the end of the game. What amazes me is that in spite of the rain and driving wind, the fans were out in full force. It must have been pretty miserable in the stadium - what people do for sport.  

25 June 2010

Pied Starling

The Pied Starlings that have taken up residence at the Nanaga Farm Stall are quite tame, but like all birds they refuse to pose. I think that they take a perverse pleasure in baiting photographers.

While the family was waiting patiently for me in the car, I was stalking these characters trying to get the perfect shot. Wishful thinking.

I must say that I prefer the Afrikaans name for the Pied Starling, it is much more discriptive - Witgatspreeu. Literally translated one could call it a White Bum Starling. Of course you could more descriptive words in the centre if you wanted to.

24 June 2010

Skywatch Friday - Ain't it cool

This was the view I had in my rearview mirror the other night when driving back from Uitenhage. It was one of those moments when I had to stop and "smell the roses" and of course photograph the sunset.

Take a trip around the world to see many more pictures from around the world, by visiting the Skywatch site.

23 June 2010

Urban poleaxe

Whenever I take pictures in the city I try to avoid the lamp poles, even though they are very much a part of the urban landscape. However, after today I will look at lamp poles differently.

We get fairly regular updates from our neighbourhood watch, on what is happening on the crime front and I was really amused by part of this mornings report:
Three out of town wanderers broke into a car in Bain Street on Saturday eve but what they were unaware of was that the owners of the vehicle were braai-ing (barbaque) close by and heard the noise, and these Capetonians were not happy about their small back window being broken. One of these gremlins took off with great haste only to be stopped in his tracks when he ran straight into a pole and landed flat on his back. Way to go pole.
When these guys run away it is at a great speed, so this must have been quite a spectacular stop. Couldn't have happened to a more deserving person. Unfortunately the other two got away, but this fellow is firmly ensconced in the Humewood police cells.

22 June 2010

Tales from the traffic - Soccer fever

Today was the make or break match for South Africa against France and I decided I did not want to miss it. So like many other good South Africans I decided to leave work early, but was a bit disappointed because I was delayed and had missed the kick off at 4.00 pm. I also had to stop in at the shops and when finally got back on the road, it was already about 4.20 pm. To make matters worse the traffic coming down Cape Road was grid locked at Hospital Road, where I needed to turn right.

And there I sat waiting. "Rats," I thought, "I am missing the match."

I then changed gears, mentally that is, and decided to go with the flow, or lack of it. The atmosphere was electric. The oncoming cars all seemed to be filled soccer with fans, dressed in their brightest supporters gear, brandishing flags and vuvuzelas, obviously headed for the Fan Fest at St Georges Park.

Across the road a crowd of pedestrians had gathered on the sidewalk outside Dagwood's restaurant, where they could see the big screen. They were getting progressively more and more excited and suddenly they exploded into loud cheers. Bafana Bafana had scored their first goal.

Their initial cheering was soon drowned out by motorists sounding their horns and passengers blowing their vuvuzelas from the car windows. Added to the general cacophony was more cheering and shouts of glee from drivers and passengers alike. One elderly fellow, wearing a bright yellow supporters hat, gave me a big toothless grin as he drove past.

Suddenly there was a gap in the traffic and I drove off.

When I walked into the sitting room at home Sue told me I had just missed the first goal. "I know," I replied, "but experiencing the atmosphere back on Cape Road when that goal had been scored, had been well worth it."

South Africa may have been eliminated from the World Cup, but Bafana Bafana did it in grand style, by beating the French 2:1.

Tuesdays Trees #22 - Aloe Speciosa

We have a wide variety of aloes in the Eastern Cape and they are not always easy to identify, especially where the habitat overlaps. After much research I concluded that these are the aloe speciosa, as opposed to the aloe pluridens. This is based on the assumption that they were not in flower - the aloe pluridens flowers at this time of the year, whereas the speciosa flowers in August/ September.

These are located just outside Alicedale.

21 June 2010

Donkin facelift

The revamp of the Donkin is coming on nicely, thanks to the vision and initiative of the Mandela Bay Development Agency.

We had an early start on Sunday morning, after responding to a false burglar alarm and were able to enjoy the sunrise and the area with a bus load of Chilean supporters.

One of the aims is to make the area more user friendly, by opening up the view, landscaping the gardens and creating places to sit and chill out. The buildings have been well renovated and the area around the lighthouse has been repaved with flair and colour. 

When the project is complete the Donkin will also feature a number of sculptures by prominent local artists, which will be part of the Donkin Art Journey. The first statue to be installed is one by local sculptor Anton Momberg.  

Work has come to a stop since the start of the World Cup Soccer, but visiting the area one is able to get a good idea of where it is going. If you want to read more about the project you can visit the MBDA website by following this link. 

20 June 2010

Let the games begin

The World Cup Soccer is in full swing and like so many people from around the world, I have been following the games, even though the mere mention of the acronym FIFA causes me to break out in a rash.  This is perhaps why I have enjoyed the way the recent Kulula advertisements have rubbed FIFA up the wrong way. 

The FIFA lawyers did demand that Kulula withdraw their advert, but this merely prompted Kulula to broaden their campaign. The best being their April fools claim that they registered the sky as a trademark. Not all of the sky, just the sky between 10 thousand and 33 thousand feet, because that is where they operate. So if anyone, including Fifa shows a picture with some sky in it, they will be in contravention of the trademark.

Photographed flying over Port Elizabeth below 10,000 feet

If you enjoy good advertising and humour, here are some links to follow:

Go for it Kulula, you have my support.

19 June 2010

Flowers of the Eastern Cape #6 - Aloes

The quest for flowering plants continues. The task is not difficult as there is always something flowering in the Eastern Cape and this time of the year the area comes alive with aloes.

This one was photographed at Nanaga near Port Elizabeth.

17 June 2010

Skywatch Friday - Edge of the World?

The world is flat? Well it certainly looks like it may be. Actually this is a road that goes over the top of one of the highest points at the Mountain Zebra National Park.

So while we are at the Mountain Zebra National Park, let's check out and enjoy one of the mountain zebras.

For more great pictures from around the world visit the Skywatch website 

16 June 2010

Tales of snow and lions

This week has been marked with high winds, driving rain and snow in the mountains of the Eastern and Western Cape. It has also been very cold and we have heard that we are experiencing the coldest winter in 50 years.

With today being a public holiday the family jumped into the car and set off to see if we could find someof that snow. The first decision was which direction to take. We decided on Grahamstown, because there had been a heavy snowfall there, but of course the likelihood of any snow still being around was very remote. If not, we would still enjoy the drive we reasoned.

On the way granny announced that she would give R5 to the person who sees the snow first. Ethan immediately saw snow, but of course that was an effort to extort R5 from granny.

Grampa immediately raised the odds. "I will give R100 to the first person who sees a panda bear!"

This prompts a family debate about the likelihood of seeing a panda alongside the road, so grampa reluctantly decides to change the odds. "Ok, make that a lion." As an after thought he adds, "Make that a growly lion and not a smiley one."

So, what are the odds of seeing a lion alongside the road to Grahamstown? Not totally impossible, if the cat proof fencing, bounding the many private game parks on the way, is any indication. We have often seen eland, wildebees, zebras, blesbuck and impala in the area. And lions? Never.

As expected the snow had melted long before we arrived in Grahamstown, but we had a good lunch and then drove to a viewpoint outside the city and behold there in the distance was snow. If you look carefully (very carefully) at this photo you will see snow. Those white specs on the mountains in the distance...........you may want to try a magnifying glass.

We decided to go home via Alicedale and had not travelled very far when Jason, my son-in-law, said, "There's a lion!"

"Not possible," I think to myself. The car came to a sudden stop and we all baled out and sure enough, there was a lion.

"It's a smiley lion, not a growly lion," said grampa. 

 "It's a lion," granny replied not agreeing with him, "pay up."

After a brief debate on the nature of the lion, grampa reluctantly brought out his wallet and paid up. There are some arguments he reasoned with himself that cannot be won.

I still think it was a smiley lion. What do you think?

14 June 2010

Tuesday's Trees #21 - Pine Trees

This pine tree just happened to be at the right place at the right time, on Signal Hill, Cape Town.

10 June 2010

Skywatch Friday - Big game, big skies

Look beyond the elephants and voila we have the sky. This scene was taken atthe Addo Elephant National Park.

Join the team at Skywatch for more great photos.

09 June 2010

Flowers of the Eastern Cape #5 - Plumbago

The plumbago grows in great profusion throughout the area. I found this one early on Saturday morning growing on the cliff off Whites Road, opposite the Opera House. Unfortunately the light was not so good at the time and I too lazy to go back when it improved.

However, when we get closer the image gets better.

Up close and personal it is really striking.

08 June 2010

Tales from the traffic lights


I look in my rear view mirror at the traffic light and observe the woman in the passenger seat of the car behind me, holding a mirror while carefully plucking the hairs from her chin, with a pair of tweezers.

"No," I think, "I am seeing things." I look away and then take another look. But it is happening. All the while she is chatting to the driver.

Just as the traffic light turns green, she completes her task. She studies her tweezers and deftly wipes them off on her ample bosom.

Is this common practice or should this be done in the privacy of one's home?

07 June 2010

Tuesdays Trees #20 - Blues Gums

Bluegum Trees reaching for the sky at Alicedale. They are not indigenous, but are quite striking.

06 June 2010

Sunrise at Shark Rock Pier

Sunrise this morning was spectacular, with the flags of the countries that have made it to the 2010 World Cup Soccer blowing in the breee (more of a howling blizzard than breeze).

03 June 2010

Skywatch Friday - Sunrise......Sunset

Sunrise over Algoa Bay this morning, viewed from Callington Street in Richmond Hill. Haven't done this for a while and really enjoyed the walk.

My contribution to the World Cup Soccer - a new soccer ball sculpture at the exit to the Port Elizabeth Airport, photographed this evening. This is the sun setting on sanity for the next month as World Cup Soccer fever hits South Africa.

Visit Skywatch for more great pictures from around the world

01 June 2010

Flowers of the Eastern Cape #4 - Oxalis Polyphylla

This weeks selection of still flowering plants are from the oxalis family, a perennial that grows all along the coast from here to the Cape Peninsular.

They range in colour from rose to lilac and white, with a satin sheen to their petals.