Monday, March 23, 2015

African paintbrush.

So the weeks fly by.
We spent some time working at a mystical house on the coast. There are Khoisan shell middens close by and the wild birds in the garden all have pet names.

Then off we trundled to my favourite farm.
I had forgotten that pigs were so soulful.

So inquisitive. So hairy.

Roosters pick their way through marguerites and yarrow.
The silkies have Easter card chicks.
The cats and the dogs are as lazy as ever.

Closer to home, I found another golden orb spider - on her golden web.

And at home, even though Autumn approaches, magical flowers bloom.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015


Ou Kaapse Weg was opened a few days after the raging fire and as I drove down the mountain I realised the full extent of the devastation. It is complete.
Road signs blistered and listing, barriers down. I could not and did not want to stop. Next to the road were knots of people pointing and taking photographs.
I couldn't wipe the image of the charcoal tortoise from my mind. All the animals and insects lost... the Nitidas were flowering the last time I drove that way.
On the other side, Tokai forest was burning and helicopters were going to and fro, dumping water on the flames.

People do strange things in strange weather.
It seems to peel away your good manners. Road rage abounded as often the only route onto the peninsula was the old Main Road, for years now the victim of never-ending roadworks. Stop and go. Shouted obscenities and seething tempers, as the ash rained slowly down.

At work, our leading lady and then our director fell suddenly ill. Our runway set was swept by high winds - the hangar doors blowing off every few days. The succulents were nibbled down to their roots, by small striped field mice.

We prepared new sets and then had to break them down again, without being shot. Fourteen days of wondering if we would continue. It left me with a feeling of severe deflation.

But let me share some wonderful things!

I came across a large area of sandy veldt that had Brunsvigia Orientalis bulbs in bud and later, in flower. In Afrikaans Seeroogbossie... it is so beautiful that your eyes hurt from looking.
I know the plant (unprepossessing - flat, straplike leaves hugging the ground) and I know the dry flower head - often used as a hanging decoration in West Coast beach houses.

But this...

At a farm further down the Vissershok road, there was the nest of some small bird in a fever tree. Cleverly lined with the feathers of a much bigger bird... and a bit of blue twine.

And then, in our garden, a golden orb spider.

Lovely creature.
What I thought was a clever mend is called the stabilimentum. It's also the reason why orb spiders are known as writing spiders.

And early this morning - a groundhog day - back to work in the moonlight. In a dip in the Malanshoogte road, there are swallows swooping and diving.