29 December 2010

Ghostly walkies

With our Wellington (New Zealand) guests and Stephen and Robynne, we tried to go for a walk in Silvermine but the Southeaster was so black that we decided to give the New Zealanders a break from bad weather and decamped to Constantia Nek which is not so high up. Richard helped Dawnie Dog through the cars and wild SANParks vehicles that hurtle down the mountain roads. Alexander is on the left. We left the road and climbed up and up ... and at the top we encountered this ghostly creature ... who seemed to sense where I was and tried to grab me ... but I got away! Some of the endemic Table Mountain Watsonias (Watsonia tabularis) looming out of the mist. The area where we were walking was once a pine plantation but the pines have recently been felled and the area is returning to beautiful mountain fynbos again. You can see some of the felled pines on the right. Despite the no entry sign Richard and Robynne walked off into the mist, the city of Cape Town somewhere far far far below them, and we just blindly followed, although Dawnie doesn't look too sure about it all.
Luckily we didn't all fall over the edge as the sign suggested, and lived to see this strange parasitic plant - an Ink Flower (Harveya pauciflora) that turns black and inky when it dies. Apparently early colonists used them as a source of writing ink. (We have mentioned this flower before in this blog.)
We got to the waterfall which was falling very picturesquely, and had tea. This is Jan with a rock for his mother-in-law whose rock was stolen - and Lydia, Alexander and Robynne.
Robynne and Stephen with the monster that turned into Richard, who then tried to mesmerise us with his scarf, but only Dawnie was impressed.
The rest of us just set about texting or finishing our tea on the rocks.
Jan with his rock.
There were lots of these little yellow lobelias (Monopsis lutea).
Dawnie and I were grateful for this short dip in a mountain stream, even though we were not at all hot what with the air conditioning being turned on to maximum strength.
On the way back we came across this Light from Africa ceramic studio, but as it didn't say "tea and scones", I pushed on resolutely, tail in the air ...
through the remaining pine plantations back to the cars at Constantia Nek ... where Lydia and Jan bought some delectable looking fruit before we headed on home.

28 December 2010

Boxing Day

Boxing Day means lots of sweeping up and laying tables, and food and lots of potential tidbits although this year there are not so many small kids around at my level as Arti and Gabe went to Greyton.
The Alpha cooked some ham in the Weber - yum yum yummmmmm.
The serious volley ball players: Vini from Brazil, David from Germany, Phil from Jozie, Simon from here and Richard from Wellington New Zealand. (Alexander, Edmund and Dominic escaped the camera).
Beth sent the Food Lady some "Cath Kidston" paper serviettes from England so she tried to be creative with a pink and blue theme to match the serviettes. Margie bought a kransekake which lent a Norwegian air to the festivities.
Richard and Lucy pulling a cracker. (Which just finishes Dougal off!)
Josie came too - with a bow in her hair - and Dawnie Dawg was just so happy to see her. (As usual she ignored us all!)You can just see me in the bottom right of the photo. I was a bit nervous because a water polo ball kept flying out of the pool at a million miles an hour, spraying water in all directions, and the volleyball escaped every so often too, so it was best to keep to cover when you are as small as a scotty.
"Les girls" - Anna, Sophie, Kerryn, Clare and Caroline.
Jan the Dutchman from Wellington, New Zealand, Grahan the father of Amber and the fierce red ridgebacks and Lydia from Wellington, Julia and Sue on the rug and Norman having a snooze in the late afternoon sun. Katherine, human sister of Honey and Pippin is on the other rug.
Dougal found it all too much!

Two dogs and a bookclub Christmas dinner

The bookclub weekend without scotties went very well despite the fact that we were left behind. This is De Noon welcoming all the ladies and their spice to her house, Kleine Perle, near Pearly Beach.
This is Magnum. A bit of a rangy Jack Russell who has the same tendencies as me - scratching. Bad dog! Stop scratching! (At least he is doing it outside.)
They went for a walk and found this delectable grasshopper thing (FL says its a male Saw-backed Locust) that hitched a ride on the Alpha's trousers - looks scrumptious.
Here is Sue and the Alpha relaxing at the dam while Alison does a spot of sweeping. De Noon looks a bit dubious about it all.
De Noon is a bit freaked out by this beaded cow. Just like Dougal who is freaked out by the fluffy bear in the Alpha's consulting rooms. I think I would have been a bit distracted by the gumboot Christmas tree base - boots are for chewing not pot plants.
Magnum looking embarrassed because the humans were about to consume a magnum of champagne. I hope they had done their book talking before they tucked in!
Interesting walkies through the veld. Feeling envious!
And here is De Noon showing the way home along the limestone hill near the house. Pearly Beach and Dyer Island in the background.
And for the Food Lady I include this photo of the False Dodder (Cassytha ciliolata) because it has lovely red Christmassy berries that remind the FL of mistletoe. It is, weirdly, a parasitic member of the Lauraceae which includes such plants as the Avocado and Stinkwood.
For more about this weekend without scotties, click here.

08 December 2010

Queen of the Castle

My castle was carried in and put up by some really nice men who I absolutly loved. This is me watching the goings on. Sometimes life is a bit of a yawn! Then a whole lot of kids arrived with Gabriel and Arti - my human cousins. It was lovely. Fun and games and scotty-eye-level food and soft tartan rugs to lie on in the shade.
This is Sophie, another human cousin, who came in the afternoon to play on my castle too.

06 December 2010

A brilliant walk

Today were back in Silvermine doing the same walk as we did on Wednesday, but it is such a lovely walk that we were quite happy especially as it was deliciously cool and breezy - perfect for Scotties - AND ALICE came too. This is Alice and me standing on Steenberg Ridge looking back across to Muizenberg. Dawndawg also joined us, as did Sue and Joana from Portugal and Thea without Boris. Dawndawg is not so sad anymore and can be quite assertive these days so every now and then I have to sleep on her bed to remind her of the pecking order in the house! Here she is on Steenberg Ridge looking across to Table Mountain and Devil's Peak. The first thing we saw was this brilliant, flame-coloured Mountain Dahlia (Liparia splendens) which is indeed very splendens (Latin for 'to shine' or 'be bright or radiant') even if it is not a dahlia at all. Apparently the word Liparia is from the Greek word liparos which means shining or brilliant.
We were walking along the ridge when I was recognized! Fame at last! This is Helen who also has a blog that the Food Lady likes to read. It is called WalktheCape. It was exciting to meet her in the real world. We noticed that she didn't have any dogs to protect her (I gather she has catsssss) so we hope that one day she will join us one of our Sunday walks. We would really like that.
Another brilliant and shining flower - this time a bud of the Orange Ixia (Ixia dubia).
Thea, Joana and Sue looking back to Steenberg Ridge that we had just walked along.
And even higher up we could see over Steenberg Ridge to the dam - and almost to Cape Point.
The tip of the Constantiaberg mast is meant to be the highest point on Table Mountain. Dougal was very busy trying to kill mice - as usual without success. These fynbos mice are much more difficult to catch than rats. We had tea at the top in some rocks that were protected a bit from the wind. You can't see me in this photo because I am deep in the fynbos. But you can see Dougal, Joana, Sue, Thea (also deep in the fynbos), Dawndawg (also with just her head sticking out) and Alice.
Then we started down the other side. You can see Hout Bay coming into view.
Some more bright and shiny flowers - some pink mesembs - probably the Altydvygie (Erepsia anceps) - and the new buds of the Red Crassula (Crassula coccinea).
A happy Dawndawg.
Sue and Thea with the Constantiberg mast above. Quite an achievement to have been up there!
On the way back we bumped into lots of dogs including these Great Danes that Dougal had to stand on tippy toes in order to get a good sniff of!
This little ivory-coloured orchid, Eulophia aculeata, was growing at the edge of the path. It is quite common in damp places and occurs from the Cape Peninsula right into Mpumalanga. And that concluded another brilliant walk!
We weren't even tired when we got home and helped the Food Lady do some gardening by trying to rid the garden of all lizards, geckos, skinks and mice. (Not very successfully but not for lack of trying.) This is us on full alert - listening and waiting ...
Then Dougal pounces into the middle of the flowers - splat ...
and I went in to finish off but sadly, it got away. Ho hum.