Sunday, 22 June 2014

A visit to South Africa

It had been a while, so we took our vacation this time in ...

Our first African sunrise in about ten years! This was over Angola somewhere, heading to Cape Town.

We started by meeting some friends at Vergelegen Wine Estate for breakfast and I re-discovered my love for mountains! They are just so awesome. I want to climb them all....

No trip to a wine estate is complete without an obligatory tasting. Not too much was bought, as we had just arrived and I still had a number of miles to drive.

Doppat Se Gat, a popular surfing venue, looks wonderful today! 

As can be seen by all the surfers about.

We spent the night at Kleinmond and were welcomed to Africa the following morning by this beauty.

And a girl just had to go for a walk and dip her toes in the sea! Apparently a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do...

Tsitsikamma (Storms River Mouth) is a magnificent place to stop. We have stayed here on many occasions before and it is always delightful.

It was Aloe season and they were simply beautiful.

Under Milkwood, with no apologies to Dylan Thomas and his radio drama/play.

Arriving in Sea View, an aptly named outlying village close to Port Elizabeth, we were greeted with rolling waves with the spray blown back.

Later the wind died down and it was much calmer, as this single wave shows.

We are not going to be able to all be together at Christmas time, so we decided to celebrate Xmas in May!

And this guy made a fool of himself (again)!

Of course, the kids enjoyed playing with their new toys...

No trip to Port Elizabeth is the same without going fishing and here I am filleting some of the rewards of an earlier trip to the rocks.

Brothers In Arms.
Together for the first time on over twenty years!!!

As was the whole family - thanks to all for coming and making it such a special time.

My dear children - well offspring, as they are kids no more.

Some sunsets were absolutely amazing, as this one - promise there is no editing of the image at all, beyond cropping out some of the edges.

We also visited my better half's family, this was taken in Kenton On Sea.

Outside the house there stood this magnificent aloe tree, with lots of birds flitting in an out looking for nectar, shade or food.

I spent an awful lot of time on these rocks and gullies while growing up. Boy - what memories!

And - amazingly enough - another aloe!

Every pizza restaurant you go into provides a bowl of chopped garlic and ground chillies, for free. Wish that English restaurants would do the same!!!

Along the way back to Cape Town, we passed over the Bloukrans Bridge, which boasts the worlds highest bungee jump.

And were lucky enough to see some idiot throwing himself off!

Cape Town. My, oh my, what an astoundingly beautiful city. It really ought to be engraved onto the Bucket List of every person at birth. This is a shot looking from Clifton, across to Camps Bay, with the Twelve Apostles behind.

Kirstenbosch Gardens is South Africa's premier National Botanical Garden and it has some truly magnificent displays of flowers. This is one of the many pincushion proteas.

I liked this little one. No matter what direction the branches grew, the cones were alawys directly upright!

So many Ericas abound too. Fynbos is the world's smallest biome, but the world's greatest in terms of species diversity.

The Gardens also boast a glass enclosed arid garden and these little beauties were in there.

There were plenty of my favourite birds - crested guineafowl - wherever you went. In the Garden they were quite unaffected by all the human traffic around them.

I managed to get in a flying visit with a very dear friend, such a pity there wasn't more time for friends. Next time, I guess.....

Rolling waves, colourful seas, mountains across the bay. Man, oh man, the Cape is an awesomely beautiful part of the world.

The final cup of coffee before heading home. Gee whiz, but South African cafes certainly know how to make a good cuppa!

It was time to head home and resume our lives in the UK.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Spring Garden

Exbury Gardens is famous for its azaleas and camellias.
On a recent outing, I took these photographs and thought to share them with you. Below are some of the things that caught my eye - I hope you enjoy them as much as we did as we wondered the garden delighting in all it had on display for us. There isnt much narrative. A picture is worth a thousand words!

There are always lots of azaleas.

I have never managed a good close-up, showing the colours correctly. It has always eluded me till this attempt.

There are a few streams running through the garden that have been sculpted into picturesque scenes.

At the bottom of the garden is the Beaulieu river where there are some wilder areas including this grassy edge.

I loved the way the bark, ivy and moss combined to make this image. 

A little island of tranquility!

Reflections on the pond.

The resurgence of this fern gives us a promise of what is yet to come.

 I seemed to have a "white" flower day...  The geometry of this one was amazing.

There were yellow blooms in clumps wherever there was wet ground.