Saturday, 25 August 2012

Tracks and Tunnels!

Yesterday we went for a drive in a northerly direction along a lovely road that runs next to the sea before heading off on a meandering journey through vleis, farm and flowers before re-joining the sea at the little coastal village of Elands Bay. However, because we were heading towards the sun, all the flowers were facing that way too, and we had to keep peering in the rear view mirror to see how gorgeous they actually were! Anyway, because the road meanders so much, it has several bridges  across the railway line that runs from Saldanha Bay to Sishen, a long straight track that covers 861 kilometres.

As far as the eye can see in both directions.

I used to be terrified of trains, the noise and the size and the power turned me into a gibbering idiot. I remember my mum asking the Station Master at Ealing Broadway Station to please tell me that the trains wouldn't hurt me! Now I love them, I wave to all the drivers and get quite annoyed if they don't hoot and wave back! So every time we passed over the bridges yesterday I stared in both directions to see if anything was coming. Because we had Alfie with us (of course), we headed off the main road at Elands Bay to let him have a run and a drink (and other things) and parked close to the tunnel entrance/exit (depending on which way the train goes!). As we were standing there, a bakkie arrived and a chap leaped out and climbed down the embankment and into the tunnel where he began to hit something with a long metal tool that he had. So, naturally, we stopped him on his way out to find out exactly what he was doing!

The Bobbejaansberg Tunnel.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Tortoise time!

I think that I have mentioned the fact that we can have all four seasons in one day? This last week has certainly proved that, and if that is true, then we have had four years worth of seasons in the last few days! So, yesterday we decided that as the weather was being kind, the wind had dropped to a tiny tickle and the clouds were fluffy and benign, we would go for a little flower spotting. The fields around us are beginning to burst into colour, even though they have been battered with the rain and freezing wind that we have had. Our bougainvillea took the full force of the wind one night and several branches stand naked now.

Next to the road, bright and beautiful.

So, timing our drive so the the flowers would be open towards us, (and the sun), we set off along the back road that leads to Saldanha, and we were not disappointed! Patches of colour in the form of bokbaaivygies (Dorotheanthus bellidiformis) and rain daisies were flowering next to the road, and the vivid red malvas were beginning to open.

Like jewels in the sand!

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Wild, Wet and Windy!

I know that it's a bit soon for yet another blog, but I just had to share the weather with you! We have literally had all four seasons in the last thirty-six hours, with a cyclone thrown in for good measure! (Well, it felt like one.) I decided to show you the Weskus version of snow in a field, so we went for a little drive on Thursday and saw just what I wanted. Look, white with snow hey?

Snow Weskus style.

I cannot tell a lie, so I have to admit that you are looking at a field of flowers! These are Rain Daisies, or Dimorphotheca pluvialis, to give them their correct name! We have had lots and lots of rain, so the flowers are expected to be good this year, and this is a start.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Winter Wonderland!

When people think of South Africa, the word 'sunny' usually comes to mind. Well, think again! It's snowing over most of the country, in fact we have just heard that it is the first time that snow has fallen in each of the nine provinces at the same time. In Kwa Zulu Natal some roads have been closed, leaving people stranded between towns. In areas that don't usually experience the 'cold white stuff', work has come to a stand still while people rush out to frolic and throw it about and generally behave like children! Rob's daughter Angie, who lives in Johannesburg, sent us this picture of her with her work mates, look at the snowball! When this was taken, it was a chilly minus 2 degrees! And that was at 3 o'clock in the afternoon!

Angie (second from the left) sent us this pic. Thanks Angie!

Sunday, 5 August 2012

'B' is for ..............Boomslang!

We have spent the last week peering out of the 'office' window across the road at the neighbours house. More specifically at the wall of the house. And more specifically still, at the ledge at the bottom of the wall where the stone cladding stops and the plain wall begins. And the reason is this, see below!

Look at the huge eye!