Saturday, June 11, 2011

Natal

In January this year, Tam and I went down to my niece's wedding through Natal. It is an area that I used to farm in and we hadn't been back for about twenty years. It was good to reminisce but I was amazed to see how it has changed.
Accompaning us was Snoopy who has been our car mascot for a good many years and has travelled in the many vehicles that I have owned both here and overseas.



Here we are heading off with Snoops.

Passing through small towns on the way.





We came across the Buffalo River in full flow as there had been heavy rains throughout the season.



Here in another town with a pedestrian on the road.



We came across quite a few of these creatures oblivious to the traffic.



We decended into the Tugela River basin and into this town called Tugela Ferry because in the early days there was no bridge and they had a small ferry which took cars and people across the river.



A road side market in the town.



Arriving at the river with its single lane bridge.



Crossing the river.



Going up the escarpment on the other side. Tam was a little nervous as there is a shear drop and the road weaves along the side.



After a long drive we arrived at the dairy farm of our niece's husband to be.



A lone bird of prey circling above.



The venue for the wedding.



The organist playing while we wait for the bride and groom.



The bride arriving.



Taking the vows and making the commitment.



The local girls doing a wedding dance.



The happy couple heading off to the reception.



On our way back Tam was determined to go and see the sea as when we went to England she was only 11 and had distant memories of the Natal coast and the Indian Ocean. Although we lived on the coast in England the english channel just didn't have the same ring as the ocean.




Gazing out over the sea.



Running from the surf. It was very early in the morning as we had a long trek back.



We travelled back in a big loop through another town where I had been doing forestry in my earlier years and is in the middle of nowhere. The area around has a great history in the development of South Africa, It is where the Boer War and the Zulu wars were fought. The name of the town is Babanango. This is the supposed story of how the town got its name . Babanango is built on a high hill and the whole area is undulating with hills and valleys. The mist comes in from low lying clouds and within minutes one can't see very far in the mist. The story goes that a child was herding cattle when the mist came in and he got lost. The child's father went looking for him. Now in Zulu ,Baba is father and nango is here and as the father was calling the child answered Baba nango, father I am here. Thus the name . The hotel was the watering hole for the people around and it became well known as the person that owned was a man called Stan . A flamboyant eccentric who had many a story to tell. His bar was adorned with memorabilia from the area and from the film Zulu which was filmed in the area. Unfortunately he has moved on to the happy hunting grounds.



Here is another picture of the area.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The fireplace

Winter is arriving soon. Our usual method of keeping the house at a comfortable temperature is, in Summer we keep all the doors and windows open to keep cool and in Winter we close them all and wrap up in a blanket .We only have a few days of cold, thankfully. For the last couple of years we have been thinking of getting a fireplace. As our house is a timber frame design, putting a brick fireplace in would have been a big project. The alternative was to get a metal free-standing one, but the prices in the hardware shops I felt where a little high, so was backed off from buying one. The other day we went into Builders Warehouse to get some paint and to our delight we saw they were selling off the old stock for half the price and there they had a fireplace which was exactly what we wanted. So I bought some face bricks and Tam started to build the base. The table in the front, Tam made for Brionys' 60th birthday, which was a couple of weeks ago. She made it out of scaffolding planks that we had laying around. Here below is the finished product. The temperature outside was 30 C so it was nice and warm inside , we will wait patiently for a cold day. In the meantime we have been collecting firewood from around the property.

Tam also made me a clock with our family crest on which I think is absolutely brilliant.


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Beetles and Bugs

Here are another couple of pics of creatures that visit us.
The tiles that it is walking on are about 10 inches square (25cm).
It has a pattern as if it had been painted on.

Below is a month with very similiar markings.
I don't think they are related.

These grasshoppers arrive when the rainy season starts,
there are clumps of them all over the place they move enmasse
and the birds don't eat them so they are obviously not very palatible.


A couple of mating millipedes which come out with the rain.
We call them chongololo's. Which is an African name.



A stick insect which appears every now and then.
We put the apple there to give the size comparison.
We have had slightly larger ones.

Here is a wasp carrying a spider quite a few sizes bigger than itself.
It is a bit cruel, The wasp stings the spider, but the spider does not die
it is paralysied and the wasp then lays its eggs in the spider and when they
hatch feed off the spider.

A monster looking beetle.

This is a bag worm which builds a cocoon on the
side of a tree.

This is a spider which is alive and related to the one that
had been caught by the wasp.

A mythical looking grasshopper which looks
half unicorn.


A centipede hiding in the corner it is about
6 inches long(15cm).

This strange looking creature lurking under the rock is
actually a fungi the tentacles are about 8 inches(20cm)
long. When we first saw it we thought we had been invaded
from outer space.

I am always amazed at the variety of insect there are.
Over the years I have seen some very strange creatures.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Residents


A frog on a lemon


A chameleon trying to hide



A gecko looking for some bugs


A lazy lizard


What you looking at ?




A Mozambique Cobra which was caught by the dogs luckily they were't bitten that time. Not so fortunate the second time. Told in a previous blog.


Can you see me now??


Well I'll be off , don't bother me.


Inside the cave at the back of the house.


Who is hiding in there??

A swallows nest.


Roots of a fig tree growing on the top of the kopje (hilllock) above the cave.