Friday 29 September 2017

Cape Town

We landed in Cape Town at lunch time and two hours later found ourselves travelling to the top of Table Mountain in a cable car, and we hadn't even upacked.
Table Mountain is mercurial - even if the skies are blue the summit can still have a white layer of cloud lying across the top like a fluffy duvet - it was totally clear, so we made the most of the opportunity, and up we went.
 Table Mountain is 1067 metres high, and I was surprised at just how exotic the area was as we stepped from the cable car.
I was excited to see these exquisite tiny Orange Breasted Sunbirds feeding on nectar from the Aloe flowers. They were totally unconcerned that I was within touching distance - for me it was magical just watching them and seeing how their iridescent feathers glistened in the sunlight.

We took a stroll around this colourful Malay area of Cape Town before unpacking at the hotel and going for an evening meal down on the lively waterfront. Malay slaves were brought to the Cape Colony from Java in the late 1600s and carried with them an intimate knowledge of spices that was to have a profound influence on Cape cooking.
We were, however, shocked at the shantytowns that we had seen on our way into the city near the airport, and the way in which so many black people still live today. Gradually some of the shantytowns are giving way to new townships built with what are known as 'Mandela' houses. 'Mandela' houses are made from brick, a big improvement from the chaotic corrugated iron shacks and wooden huts, but still very basic. They have only one small living room and two bedrooms in which eight people or more may reside. I did not take any photos of the shantytowns as I thought it too intrusive, but I will never forget what I saw.

We gazed out to sea through these giant sculptured glasses and could just make out Robben Island lying on the horizon - the spot where Nelson Mandela served 18 of his 27 years in prison.

The ocean that pounds the coast around Cape Town is our own familiar Atlantic, but very soon it will be meeting and mingling with the Indian Ocean, and that is where part of our journey eventually takes us. 

Wednesday 27 September 2017

South Africa

Three people got the correct answer - Patricia, Mary,  and Betty - well done
There were three clues:-
Vines growing in the Stellenbosch wine region beneath the Groot Drakenstein mountains - I don't believe that there is another African country that has such a reputation as South Africa for making wine.
 Coloured dots representing the colours on their national flag and the number of dots spells South Africa 

Tuesday 26 September 2017

Autumn became Spring!

Mother Nature was slowly turning her face towards Autumn when we flew away from home, but after countless hours of flying, our arrival was in a country embracing the dawn of Spring. No jet lag was experienced on either journey - our two countries sit on the same longitude and enjoy a time difference of only one hour.
Here are some images and a colour clue if you wish to work out which country we visited. 


& souvenirs carried home
painted wooden bowl
I am switching 'comments moderation' on, and will hold back all the correct answers to give everyone a chance. 

Saturday 2 September 2017

The Walk

The guests have departed, August is over, and once again my birthday has come and gone.
Being an end of August child my memories are all bathed in fields rippling with gold - scenes of harvest time, fruits ripening, and a new school year beginning. Back then crop gathering would be in full swing, but now they ripen earlier and are already safely gathered in.
We like to take a family birthday walk together and see what nature and the countryside are up to, and every year we tend to be fortunate and have perfect walking weather. 

I pride myself on knowing most of our native wild flowers, but this one growing in profusion along the canal banks was a mystery. The flowers and seed heads appeared similar to Himalayan Balsam which led me on to the correct answer. It is a member of the same family i.e the Balsaminaceae family to which the Busy Lizzie also belongs - it's name is Impatiens carpensis - orange balsam.

The wild flowers, fruits, and berries were a delight, and youngest son spotted four Kingfishers, which made his day.
Along the canal towpath we discovered a restaurant which was perfect for lunch.

Then hastened to our next destination to see a small exhibition of iconic personal belongings which were kindly loaned by Zandra Rhodes.
 via wiki
'Egg Hat'
Zandra Rhodes was made a Dame in 2015 by the Princess Royal at a ceremony in Buckingham Palace, and this is the hat that she wore for the occasion. It was designed for her by Piers Atkinson which was made using Swarovski crystals.
'Blue Haired Lady at Night' - Zandra's own artwork,
signed and dated 1982 from her private collection
'Cherry Hat'
Zandra went to afternoon tea at Buckingham Palace to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Princes Trust and wore this hat.
'Flower Hat'
from her personal collection by Piers Atkinson
'Andrew Logan Shoes'  
These were made for Zandra in the 1970s - her favourite shoes!
'Field of Lillies Gown'
Designed by Zandra in 1975.
In 1977 it was worn by Donna Summer, and used on the cover of her Album 'Once Upon a Time'.
Detail in the 'Field of Lilies Gown' 
   'Diana Dress'
One of the dresses designed by Zandra for Princess Diana, and replicated here on a stamp.
  I wonder, is this small cottage waiting here for me?