Wednesday, 28 September 2011

There she blows!

Every year between June and November I spend a goodly part of the day standing on the veranda and staring at the sea until the little squiggles start to dance in front of my eyes and everything looks green when I go back inside! The reason? Whales! The Southern Right to be precise, so called because they were the 'right' whale to hunt. They have a lot of blubber, they float when they are killed and they swim close to the shore, 'good' reasons to hunt this noble mammal almost to the point of extinction. When whaling began five centuries ago, there were an estimated 300 000 Southern Rights and by the end of the 19th Century, 99% had been killed. In 1940 they were finally given protection and today there are 10%-15% of that number. Although they are increasing at around 7% per year, they still face dangers like collisions with ships, entanglement in fishing nets, pollution and starving to death due to over fishing in the Atlantic.

A mother and calf

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Go Bokke!!

It's World Cup time and our Boks are hard at work in New Zealand, hoping (together with the entire nation) to bring the cup home..........again!! To date, we have played three games, and won all three, one very convincingly against Namibia (87-0) and one only just against Wales (17-16, eish!) So, at the moment, it is not impossible to imagine us winning the final on October 23 in Auckland. However, between now and then there is a huge amount of rugby to be played, beer to be consumed and bets to be made. I was watching the game this morning against Namibia and suddenly the picture squeezed into the corner while an advertisement for deodorant appeared with the endorsement 'Official deodorant of the Springboks' and a few of our brave lads holding the ball. That made me chuckle, honestly. I can understand beer and cars and even airlines being fairly official, but deodorant? Does it make a difference in the scrum when a face is buried under an armpit to suddenly think 'I hope my deodorant is working!'? And where does it stop? Half our team is held together with bandages and electrical tape, I wonder if the words 'Official sponsor of electrical tape to the Springboks' will be added to the packaging?
Our team by Denese Lups/Rugby 15

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Aerobatics West Coast Style!

Inland from us is the Langebaan Weg Airforce Base. At least twice a week, more if they are practising for an air show, we are treated (subjected?) to our own private display of aerobatics that turn my stomach just to watch! There are usually four, but Rob has photographs of sixteen roaring, twisting, diving, rolling and climbing aircraft. To me, they are little red and white planes flying too darn close, but according to Rob (who can tell what the plane is simply by listening to the engine!), they are turbo prop Pilatus  basic trainers. They use the abandoned WW 2 airstrip just next to our village to line themselves up and then hurl themselves around while I stand waiting for their wings to touch and for them to spiral out of control towards either the sea, or the houses. The fact that one of the pilots is a young lady makes it worse!! Surely she should know better, what do her parents think when they watch her? Do they remind her each time to 'Buckle up, remember which hand is right, your watch is on your left hand remember, don't get too close to the chap in front and phone me the minute you land please!'


Sunday, 11 September 2011

Caravans and Creatures!

One of the perks of reaching retirement (apart from aching joints and high blood pressure, not to mention sagging skin, a widening girth and several visits to the loo during the night), is the fact that we can head off on a mid week break out of season, thereby avoiding school holidays! So, seeing that the weather was perfect and the timing was right, we decided to pack a few essentials, load the dog and head off for a few days in Gemsquash our trusty old caravan! Why Gemsquash you ask? Because she is a real gem, but a bit of a squash with the 3 of us on the bed. We did take Alfie's bed with us last time, but he prefers to guard us closely at night! So Rob surfed the net for small, out-of-the-way camping and caravan parks, and he came up with a winner! Situated just 6 kms from Montagu, it had everything.........and we were the only people there! For us that's a bonus!

Nearly there!

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Beehives and Blomme!

My last blog was about weather, so it seemed logical to follow on with the seasons, well, Spring anyway. Towards the end of August and into September, our countryside literally explodes with colour. Our wild flowers are well known almost world wide, and we often see tourists hung about with cameras, bending over a perfect "blom" (flower). Sometimes we see a wife or husband, sitting in a field of daisies, squinting into the sun, swatting bees and sneezing, while the spouse fiddles with the camera and implores the partner to 'say cheese!'

Rain Daisies on the side of a road