Saturday, September 27, 2008

The great gales may have ripped tiles off the roof, but the accompanying squalls of late seasonal rain in the Cape Peninsula have endowed us with a sumptuous spring. The clivia this year are the best and most abundant I have ever seen in my garden. They don't last all that long, so a picture was mandatory to remember them by. Double-collared sunbirds are ecstatic under an intense blue sky today, glissading streams of notes from the trees after a week of heavy showers. The front yard is a bit dispirited, generally shady with two big trees erupting from a bricked central bed, and it's difficult to find anything that will thrive there. That will have to be my next mission for the summer.

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Bonjour tristesse

No, not a 1960s New Wave movie actress -- Francoise Hardy perhaps? -- but my granddaughter Juliet, at Camden Lock during our recent London jaunt, her first ever trip abroad. Gosh, I never realised how many shoe shops there were in and around the West End. Or clothing stalls in Camden Lock market. I needed a new pair of shoes myself after the apparel adventure. Still, Julie finally came up with a cool leather-style jacket and a pair of ankle boots that apparently gained her supercool status among her pals. And I did get to Forbidden Planet for a book buying spree.

Downsides: seeing off Julie's many admirers, or chancers, who popped up every time my back was turned. Just about everywhere. And given the value of our rand (1 pound = 15 rand), we did a lot of gasping in horror: R50 for a coffee! R30 for a busfare! And so on. In general, transport and food prices seem to have risen exponentially. Clothing, books, music, DVDs and entertainment, reasonable. However our accommodation was a beautifully appointed four-bedroom house in Acton, free, thanks to an internet house swop. They got my two-bed pad on the mountainside in Fish Hoek, near the beach.

Am enthused by the internet thing. Paris next ( had to turn down a nice central apartment) , or Rome (ditto).

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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Breaking news

They don't call it the Cape of Storms for nothing. After a mild, not to say serene winter, September 1 marked the first day of spring, ushered in by an almighty gale and a deluge that battered our little town into submission. The catwalk that runs from the beach along the rocks to Sunny Cove station was savaged by raging waves that hurled concrete paving slabs around like playing cards. Not to mention what was left of the old changing room. A reminder that the sea must be treated at all times with extreme respect.

Not that this lesson was taken by the merry souls who celebrate the official start of spring every year with a dip. With the temperature not much above freezing, in they went to frolic in enormous swells that continued to chuck the furniture about after the storm. They were out in a flash. No deaths or injuries but, as one survivor put it, "It was instant brain freeze." Yeah, well, better than being flung against the rocks.

The catwalk was pretty dangerous that day. I picked my way among scattered paving until a big swell sneaked in and sent me scurrying up the grassy bank to cling to the lifesaver's platform. Retreated and squished home on the road.

Today I was sunbathing next to the pool. Glorious. Gotta love the old Mother City.

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