30 July 2011

Cape Glossy Starling

The glossy starling is one the many striking birds of the African bush.....I love that bright orange eye. These are fairly widespread through Southern Africa.

28 July 2011

Skywatch Friday - Silver Sunset

The start of sunset taken at the the van Staden's Wild Flower Reserve.

Drop in at Skywatch to see more great pictures from around the world.

26 July 2011

Crocodile tears

Seeing a crocodile in captivity gives one a good opportunity to really appreciate it from close up, but I am sure it would be much happier cruising around in a river, than being kept in a stagnant little pond.

24 July 2011

More black and white - Sculpture

A different look at the at the sculpture, by Anton Momberg, at the Donkin, where public art has taken on a new meaning.

23 July 2011

Wide open spaces

When travelling back back from Johannesburg in April we decided to take the back roads. It always makes such a pleasant change from driving along the the main highways. I just loved the wide open spaces alongside of the Gariep Dam with the muted colours and the tall grass waving in the wind.

Unfortunately there was a dirty mark on my lens so most of my pictures were spoilt and not having any programmes to clean up the marks I will have to be content with this one.

21 July 2011

Skywatch Friday - Shark Rock Pier

Shark Rock Pier is probably one of the most photographed attractions in Port Elizabeth. But then it is not surprising because it is so photogenic in its many moods.

Visit the Skywatch site for many great pictures from around the world.

18 July 2011

Winter wonderland

The road from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town is not called the Garden Route for nothing. At almost any time of the year there will be a profusion of flowers of one kind or another.

It is now the turn of the Ericas. Though they are blooming along the road these were taken at the van Staden's Wild Flower Reserve this weekend.

14 July 2011

Skywatch Friday - Something Good

Last Saturday morning I decided to brave the winter chill and photgraph the sunrise and headed for the site of a former roadhouse called Something Good, at the beach front. There were no clouds about to give the sunrise character, but I felt that this photo more than compensated for that. This was one of my gems.

You can enjoy many more photos from around the world at the Skywatch site.

13 July 2011

Bushbuck treat

I just love the Eastern Cape. You never know what you are going to see when you go around a bend, like coming across these bushbuck recently while driving on a country road.

These animals are usually very shy and it was nice to be able to stop and watch and photograph them at our leisure.

10 July 2011


Africa is full of many wierd and wonderful creatures. One of my favourites is the meerkat. They are such curious animals and I enjoy the  characteristic way they stand on their hind legs and survey the scenery.
But do not be fooled by the fact this is such a sweet looking little fellow - look at the fang sticking out. There is a good reason why the sign on his cage carries a warning to keep your fingers out, because he bites.

09 July 2011


This Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill looks angry to me, but may be he is not. This guy was photographed some time ago at the African Dawn Wildlife Sanctuary, near Thornhill.

07 July 2011

Skywatch Friday - Blushing clouds

What I like about sunrises is that they are unpredictable and you never know what delights are going to be presented to you, when you set out. The colours also change so quickly that within seconds you can quite easily miss some of the subtle nuances, painted across the sky. I am not sure what brought this on, but the other morning the clouds were blushing. It did not last long, but they were definitely embarrassed.

For many wonderful pictures of the skies from around the world, visit the Skywatch site.

03 July 2011

Winter sky

St Phillips Church seen from our front garden on a chilly winter's morning. I love the many different moods we get in the mornings at Richmond Hill.

02 July 2011

Time for a change - Black & White

I have decided to give the good old monochrome a try. This scene was taken at Kings Beach.

Take heart - there is life after a heart attack

On Tuesday morning I headed for the consulting rooms of my cardiologist, for my two yearly heart checkup with a feeling of apprehension. It has been two years since my last check up and I have not had a cholesterol test in between and I am full of uncertainty.

First thing that happens is that I have my blood pressure tested.

"Perfect," says the nurse. Some of my apprehension immediately drains away.

Next I have to remove my shirt and I am connected to the ECG, with a skimpy fishnet vest holding the cables down. I then have to walk on the treadmill until my heart rate gets to 150. The only problem is that mine won't go beyond 148 and with the extra speed and time I end up huffing and puffing like a steam engine.

I am relieved when I am allowed to stop. "Any pain or any discomfort? she asks.

"None," I gasp.

"Oh dear," the nurse informs me, "the screen has frozen." I watch as I regain my breath, while she reboots the computer and then calmly announces that the records have not been saved.

"Does that mean I'm in for seconds?" I ask.

"Yes," she replies sweetly.

"Mmmmm," I think as I get back on the treadmill, "I hope this doesn't mean they are going to charge me double."

The second time round I am firmly into my stride and I get to 150 with no problem and no huffing and puffing.

Soon I am with the big man and I have to take off my shirt so that he can listen to my heart. With that done his first question when he opens my file is, "Are you still on the bunny food?"

"Yes," I reply. I know he is checking up on me. When I went for my first check up three and a half years ago I told him I had completely changed my life style and eating habits and like any good, if somewhat cynical, cardiologist he had replied, "That is good, if you are able to sustain it." I never knew that he had written it down.

Then while impassively reading my ECG he asks, "Do you know you have an arrhythmia?"

"No," I reply, "What is an arrhythmia?"

"It's an irregular heart beat," he replies, pointing to a few blips on the ECG print out.

"What causes it and do I need to be concerned," I ask, the apprehension now being replaced with worry.

"Any number of issues," he says, "but in your case it is probably scar tissue caused from damage to the heart, after your heart attack. We need to do an ultrasound to check it out."

I am ushered into another room and again take my shirt off and I am made to lie on a bed, while the ultrasound is conducted. I am disappointed that I cannot see the screen.

After a while I am facing the big man again. He looks at the ultrasound printout and announces, like he cannot believe it, "There is no scar tissue and there is no narrowing of the arteries. In fact your heart is very strong."

He then shows me that the irregular heat beats completely disappear when I was going at full pace on the treadmill. "Does that mean I should spend my days running around at full speed," I innocently ask.

He does not get my perverse sense of humour and replies, "No, that means this arrhythmia is not a problem, but because you had a heart attack, I am going to prescribe a mild beta blocker."

"That's a relief," I say.

He looks at my cholesterol test and announces, "Excellent, it is 3.6."

I smile and now start to relax.

He concludes the consultation with some reassuring words, "I am very happy with your result and I am not in the slightest bit worried about your arrhythmia. See you in two years time."

I leave the consulting rooms on cloud 9. My fanatical eating habits have paid off. Now what I have to get more fanatical about is exercising, so let's see what I can achieve over the next two years.