27 November 2009

What we've been up to...

Life has been interesting here, even in the absence of walks. We have met a human cousin grown up a bit - Vincent - who is not very interested in us. But we are quite interested in him especially with possibilities that chocolate cakes just might slip off his plate. His dog brother in England is a large black Labrador called Jethro so I think he is not too sure of us short scots.
With Opie Dopes staying we have had a great many visitors. Here are Dougal and Gabriel sizing each other up. Dougal has been really really good and has not as much as lifted his lip to any of the kids. Now Opie Dopes has gone back to Greyton, and life is rather dull again. Roll on Sunday!

14 November 2009

Hoerikwaggo trailing in the rain

Stay at home again! Sue won a prize that she shared with all the non-wounded walkers - a trail and an overnight stay at the no-dogs-allowed Slangkop Tented Camp in Kommetjie. After a hellova lot of organizing and many phonecalls and emails, this weekend was decided upon, and then the heavens opened! So we scotties didn't mind missing out too much as getting soaked through is not really my idea of fun. They decided to go ahead with the walk, and met up in the drizzle at Red Hill Road with two very charming SANParks Mandatory Guides called John and Sukile, and all the supper and sleeping gear was put in a bakkie to be taken to the camp at the other end. Sukile and Caireen are in this photo.They then all set off along the road to the Kleinplaas Dam - Sue, Richard, Lucy, Caireen, Sandy (who has a PhD in Oceanography) and Lisa (her sister who was visiting SA from London and forgot to leave the British weather behind when she came), the FL and the Mandatory Guides. The patchy sunlight became light drizzle, then a heavy drizzle... but the Foodlady was very happy to see a few of these unusual little orchids, Disa purpurascens (bloumoederkappie) around, and a stray ray of sunlight just lit up this bloodroot flower, Dilatris corymbosa.Some astonishingly large caterpillars were decimating the watsonias along the path - apparently the larvae of the Pine Emperor Moth. By then it was VERY wet and I am glad to report that at this stage we were curled up at home in warmth and comfort.
They eventually got down to the Slangkop Tented Camp where they changed, had lukewarm showers and got down to some serious tea, coffee, cider and wine drinking! Here are Sandy and Caireen in the Lapa. The Alpha Male and Wyndham joined the soggy walkers for more drinking and joyous times in front of a fire that Sukile made. Here they are inspecting the accommodation in the camp with Sue. Sue and Caireen thawed out and ready to party the night away...and Lisa and Wyndham in front of the fire...and Lucy and Stephen. Richard dealing with the most delicious looking sosaties... wish we'd been there as sosaties beat tea and dog biscuits any day....
The Foodlady says Thank you Sue for the most fantastic - if a bit soggy - experience in a very beautiful spot! Just look at the Slangkop Lighthouse in the stormy evening light. Beneath the domes are very cosy and comfy tents we hear where a good night was had by all to the steady dripping of the rain and the crashing of the waves...

02 November 2009

Walking to the Waterfall

Today we walked up Rooikat (all these cats that we never see!) Ravine to Cecilia Waterfall which is a good walk because you are guaranteed a few dogs on the way. Not quite as doggy as the Newlands Dogwoods, but good enough. Dougal had a bit of a stand-off with two black snauzers so he was happy. Looking back towards the path we were going to walk along we were a bit alarmed because it looked like it might have slipped down the mountain, but luckily it hadn't.
Sue was there today, and Richard and Lucy (so Dougal didn't have to be the alpha male today as our Alpha is still off walks because of his tendonitis) and Caireen was back after a hellovalong break! Josie, another Maltese came along too but she thinks she is a human and treats us with disdain. See what I mean.
We had tea under the waterfall, and I tried to make friends with Josie, but she wasn't interested.
The Food Lady saw lots of interesting plants, including this splendid Liparia splendens, the mountain dahlia (which is not a dahlia at all but a pea). We came out into the newly cleared area which is starting to look less like a volcano blast site. There were lots of good, good smells... and some orchids and bulbs coming up on the cleared slopes, like this not-quite-open Moraea bituminosa. The flowers only open after midday and die by the end of the day.

And this Acraea horta butterfly on some Quaking Grass. The males are a beautiful dark orange. This butterfly is full of cyanide and it is thought that it gets the cyanide directly from its host-plant, the Wild Peach, Kiggelaria africana. You can smell the cyanide if you crush a leaf. (The anti-herbivore defence system of this tree seems to have backfired on it because by providing the acraeas with a means of defence against predators, it contributes to the success of its chief enemy.)