Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Finding sanctuary

For so many years I have been wanting to go to Mountain Sanctuary Park. Friends that went and raved about it have divorced while I am still getting my shit together to book and go. It's not even that far, I don't understand what the delay was other than procrastination.

Of course as soon as we check in and they say: It's a bit of a steep climb I know that I have been dazzled with pictures of water pools and streams and failed to realise it was in the mountains, despite the name Mountain Sanctuary Park, duh! Pay attention, sweet thing. 
They also tell us that because there has been the drought there is no water in the pools. What? We just passed the Buffelspoort Dam and it sure was full. Okay, so I am not going to see any of those amazing sights you have on your website, hmmm. I don't really care. The quiet is so wonderful - die stilte. 

As soon as our things are in the cabin we take the hike to the rapids, it's just after noon and it is very hot, I am grateful I brought a hat. The only sound I hear are my shoes dislodging the stones on the gravel as I walk. When we stop I can hear the birds, insects, baboons calling and my stomach rumbling. We don't see another person. Even when we go to the West Pool there is no one. We only see the soles their shoes imprinted in the sand. We sit in the shade on a rock and enjoy where we are. A deep breath and a prayer of thanks.

The baboons are getting closer and their grunts are intimidating enough to make me want to move on. We go across the rocks, up above the pool and on the way back we see the baboons in the tree we had been sitting under. Yes, your territory, I understand. 

The swimming pool at Mountain Sanctuary Park is an oasis, a beautiful spot and with the sun going down it is a remarkably romantic setting. 

Although there is electricity in the cabin we don't switch on any lights. We sit outside and watch as more and more stars are revealed in the darkness. Wonderful. I cannot imagine the sky able to support the weight of all those stars. It takes one's breath away. 

Next morning we are up early, we had planned on being out before the sun crept over the mountain but really what's the rush? So then to the pools (with no water) in the east. Yes, one can imagine how magnificent it must be when each hollow is filled with water. Imagine how the river splashes from pool to pool, the water clean, clear, cool and refreshing. Exactly as per the photographs on the website. Sigh.

After that, past the reservoir and climbing, climbing (not that steep really). I keep thinking I can't go any further, it's too hot and we still have to go back but I want to see want is beyond that ledge, and the next and the next. Until we peer over one and discover water. Not like the discover of water, duh. The grotto, the water source, that has trickled down the narrow crack between the rocks and cut itself a groove across the stones, that followed the easiest path down the hill. Refreshing. Sat here for awhile, and ate our breakfast. Cheese, biltong and nuts. 

On the way back, we didn't want to rush it, so we climbed up onto a rock and wondered why we were alone, where is everyone? The sun on your face and clean air, really, who needs anything else.

But back we must go, and back home too.

Met a couple going up as we were going down, the girl looked happy, the guy looked grumpy, and sunburnt.

Baboons never the camp, gosh, but they are big. Apparently there are two groups that often have a territorial fight, tearing trees down and scaring the campers.

Ai, on the dirt road driving out thinking we should have booked for longer. So lucky to have these moments and experiences. 

Do what you want to do

Do what you want to do, go where you want to go for your birthday.  My niece chose Gold Reef City. They went on every ride they could, they were even prepared to queue, no problem. Dumbo, dinosaurs, Flintstones, teacups, hot air balloons, bumper cars, safari train, and so on. We crawled across the old steam trains and visited the petting zoo. We had lunch out doors and were entertained with dancing - what great rhythm, what a wonderful vibe. Then back for more rides. Eventually we were all exhausted and had to take the train to the exit because we couldn't take another step (although, of course, we did). What a fabulous day we had.

There is still something so magical about the carousel. I wish it were for adults too.

Ginger biscuits below, strawberry jam on top

A quiet moment on a country lane, Buffelspoort

Vegetable garden

All I want to do is have my own vegetable garden. Stuffed with healthy veggies, so we pick something fresh for our evening meal every day. Our plot for vegetables is 2.5m x 5m, we have prepared the soil and are waiting for the first rain before we stick those eager seeds into the ground.

Layers and levels

Leaving the FNB Art Fair I captured these images. I loved the reflections, and the layers it created. Looking at that building I felt as though I was looking at the future, although looking at the traffic grounded me again.

It's art!

Another year has gone by and we're back at the FNB Art Fair. I don't know why I keep going back. All the white walls made it feel quite stark. I felt that the artwork really 'popped' (ha, ha, I am using the word I hate so much) in the galleries that had painted their walls pinotage, lime and blackish-blue. Anyway, I go because I want to see the art and be inspired and feel refreshed. Thanks.

Out and about in the Maboneng Precinct

Streets of Maboneng

I haven't been to the Maboneng precinct in almost two years, oh my word, it was such a wonderful surprise. It had a totally different vibe. It had always felt to me like a girl going to a matrix dance in fancy dress, now it seems to fit better and feels more at ease. It was vibrant, expressive, brimming with colour and creativity. I wished I had brought my real camera, with the zoom lens, I would be able to get the close-ups, shots where they would not have the awareness of being photographed and I would have had a wonderful selection of portraits. Well, I will have to come back.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Naked Lamingtons

On a day when I didn't go to work

I took a day off work and browsed through Everard Read, and at Circa they were still setting up the exhibition for the evening, First Thursday.

Would have loved to explore Keyes Art Mile but it was still so busy with labourers, construction works and store managers all trying to get things done. Laying the tiles for the stairs, paving the sidewalk and fitting lights etc. I wasn't sure if the scaffolding was going up or coming down, supports were being carried in and out, hmm. I am rather going to wait for the ta-da! moment when everything is complete. 

Drove the short distance to Delta Cafe for lunch then walked around in the community vegetable garden before stumbling upon Bamboo Palace. Good chat with the guy there; sorry I didn't get his name. Anyway, lovely and eclectic collection of furniture, paintings and nic-nacs. Inspired to paint some furniture myself (but nothing really comes of it).

Before you know it it's late afternoon and I pop into the River Cafe (Sandton Field and Study centre) for an early supper. Then a walk along the river. 

On the other side of the river, a stream really, amongst the trees and boulders, and within the fenced boundaries of the park, are groups of homeless or vagrants soaking up the last warmth of the sun before the cold of night creeps into their bones. Is it an unwritten agreement, by mutual consent, that they will remain on that side of the stream while on this side suburbans walk their dogs, jog or play ball with their children?

Wish it would rain

©journeyalonganordinaylife - 2016

Friday, 23 September 2016

Summer in a crate

Found this crate in the basement, home to a dried-out paint roller, and thought: hmmm, I know what you could rather be doing this summer. So, onto my patio and a whole lot of plants dumped into it. Love it!

What a lot of fun

I come back from a visit with my family and my nieces have changed my background image on my phone. They have also taken several, I mean more than 20, photographs of their soft toys and 2 of their dogs. I guess it's easier to photograph the soft toys than the restless dogs. I am sure they had a lot of fun, and I had a good laugh when I found them in my gallery.

A day in the long grass

Early one Saturday morning we leave for Dinokeng. 

Honestly, about 6kms to go and the traffic is diverted off the highway because of an accident. Argh! It takes forever to get onto the offramp then down the other side and back on the highway. It's hot, but we have plenty of water and we are listening to all the callers on 702. 

Dinokeng. Let's just say we won't be back. Driving in thick bush all day with little likelihood of seeing anything in the long grass. Must be hell in summer, hotter still and even less chance of spotting anything. We also made the mistake of thinking that the Elephant Wateringhole would actually be a watering hole with or without elephants but it isn't. Don't follow these signboards unless you are looking for a fenced off area where you can braai a chop and go to the toilet. But before even that let me tell you what happened - I didn't follow the map so ended up on a 4x4 track that was getting more and more difficult to manoeuvre and the only way out was going back or down a 30° incline, through a sandy dip, or sand pit, depending on your view. Yes, we choose to go back the way we came. First gear up the hill, all the way. Argh, again ;-) Our map flew out the window and no one realised until we had to decide west or south and could not find our piece of paper that would reassure us we were making the right choice. Argh, yet again. Just take me home country road, I am done. 


Wednesday, 21 September 2016

A summer holiday

My brother sent me this photograph of us on the beach with mom so many (many) years ago. 1970something.

I remember that summer well. My parents had given me a camera and I had photographed everything at strange angles, so the horizon leaned steeply to the left or right in the pictures, and everything looked as though it might slide off the edge. I thought it was fabulously creative but my parents didn’t agree. 

Remember this was back in the days before digital, when you had to wait for the film to be developed and prints done before you could view your photographs. The way you share then was to meet with you friends and hand the pictures round in the circle while you explained them. Those were the days my friend...

Meanwhile in my own garden

I have been off to this place and that place (more about that later), meanwhile in my own garden everything has been celebrating spring. Flashing a lot of colour and basting in the warm weather.

Wrapped up

So, it’s the end of winter and before I pack away the blanket I knitted last winter I decide to finish it, something I failed to do for two seasons.
 I wanted the border that wraps around to be quite broad but ran out of wool right at the end so there’s this change of colour. Not very subtle but this was the compromise to get it done without unravelling an entire circuit. It really it a most comfy blanket, and such lovely colours.