25 November 2012

Two Scots, two dams and some tortoises

This cool, but not wet morning we set off from the Brooklands ghost town parking off Red Hill Drive with Sue and Alice and Maddy. We arrived rather late because the Food Lady was worried about a fox terrier in the road at Simonstown, but luckily some kind ladies picked him up and took him to Darg. We set off up the path in the most glorious fynbos - just Scotty height for hunting, and what did we bump into but some friendly Scottys called Bonnie and Wallace.
But don't try your luck with Dougal you two - he can only take so much intimacy ...
The paths here are nice a flat and sandy for Dougal who  is still not quite back to his old self, but very much up to a walk. This is the bird-pollinated Table Mountain Watsonia (Watsonia tabularis).
We enjoyed a sedate dip in the Kleinplaas Dam, but it was rather chilly. The dam was quite full today - just look at the marker out in the middle. 
And just for comparison, these photos from previous visits to the dam in Dec 2011 (left) and June 2012 (right) show the same marker.
Watching a lone swimmer in the dam. The Food Lady said he looked like Louis Pugh.
Looking back towards Simons Town over the Kleinplaas Dam.
Sue, the Alph and Dougal stepping it out in the white sand and white Cape Snow.
A little hopper thing in a Cape Snow (Syncarpha vestita).
And an orchid with squinty eyes:  the rather unusual Bloumoederkappie, Disa purpurascens.
Tea in the chilly breeze - with Sue, me, Maddie, Alice, the Alph and Doog.
Dougal back on form hunting Cape Spiny Mice. (But not with any success I might add!)
Maddy and me tormenting tortoises. This one got well slobbered on before we were hauled off.
Then down to another dam - the Lewis Gay Dam.
What is this monster rising from the murky depths? Yikes ...
and a spooky hand rising from a plastic buckets at the disused waterworks ...
but Dougal was too tired to play monster games! Tired but happy on the short trudge up the road to the cars.

22 November 2012

Missing out in Cecilia

After our walk around the block, they left us with some delicious marrow bones - nyummmmm - and Patrick the Painter with some paint and coffee, and went for a walk in Cecilia with Sue and Pauline.
Well. What did I miss? A curly forest fern - Todea barbara maybe?
I missed seeing fairies in these dangly grass flowers.
I missed tea in the shade of a Rooiels (Cunonia capensis).
(The growth tips of the Rooiels look like spoons hence the English common name Butterspoon, and so Alice told us, if you snap the base of the "spoon" open, a buttery yellow liquid oozes out. Amazing!)
I missed seeing the Alph sitting in a grassy patch of Corn Lilies (Ixia polystacha),
ranging in colour from mauve to
white (and many other colours too, including yellow).
I missed hunting for mice in the yellow-flowering grass
and amongst the alien Red Valerian (Centranthus ruber).
I missed walking back to the car park down the cool  river under the trees. (Even though some of them are bad alien trees drinking all the mountain's water like these Eucalyptus trees.)
I missed seeing the friendly car guard who colour co-ordinates with the cars.
But I didn't miss the heat!
And it was fantastic when they came home again! Later on they had some wine - a present from some friends who came to dinner the other night - called Four Paws. And even though the pawprint on the bottle is meant to be a cat called Pablo, we all know that cats retract their claws so it can only have been a dog paw print! Woof to that!

Piratical behaviour in Avery Avenue

Early on Sunday morning we went for a walk around the block. The neighbours in Corsair Crescent had not even woken up and turned their lights off! Dougal has not been himself lately and he had to go off to see Lucy the vet and she found he had a heart murmer and a few other things so he is off walks for a few days while he gets better SO as today is hot and summery, while the Alph went to fetch Patrick the Painter, the Food Lady took us on an expedition around the block. Or did we take her? We seemed to be leading the way most of the time.
Hadedas on the corner of Avery Avenue and Corsair Crescent. We don't mess with these birds, besides, they provide Dougal with his favourite green, dead snail-scented cologne for rolling in.
Saying hello to my biological mother and brother - and the BBJ* - and them saying hello back.
Just checking to see if there are any CATS down the drain ...
This is where Maggie the Irish Terrier and her scruffy Jack Russell brother live - a most magical garden. Bark bark bark bark bark bark bark BARK BARK
Dawnie is allowed off the lead which is a bit unfair because we have to be on leads. Here she is waking up the dogs on the corner ...
and I have to take out my frustration on Dougal's lead! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. The spoil sport Food Lady won't allow us to go and bite the noses off those flea-bitten dogs through the gate! GRRRRRRRrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.
A really nasty French lady lives here! But her mosaic sign is lovely.
We negotiated around Corsair Crescent, past Barbary Way (the original farm that used to be here was called Barbarossa and so now every street has a piratical name) and then into Skilpadvlei Road where there are lots of lovely old oak and plane trees (but no more skilpads sadly as I LOVE to chew on them). Here is where my best friend the ADT Bicycle Patrol guy hangs out. Dawnie likes him too because she finds delicious things to eat around his hut. We hope its just the long grass she likes to graze on.
More barking at the end of the road - there are irritating fairies and squirrels too. Much more barking! And with all our raucous singing and barking, the whole neighbourhood was now awake and all the lights switched off. So we are doing our bit for global warming after all.

*Jessie, the Bad Bitch from Johannesburg.

18 November 2012

Steekgrass and Spanish wine

"Hello hello hello - what is it to be - food or a gentle stroll for an old dog?" Sorry Dawn, you can't come because we are going to Daisy for the weekend. But the Food Lady has a juicy bone for you.
Our favourite breakfast spot at the Red Windmill - but there is a change of management and our best breakfast is no longer on the menu. No more brie and poached eggs with salmon. And some new dogs - Jack Russels all, who were quite polite to us.
A roostery theme. And a very clean plate!
OMG. What is this! (The Food Lady thinks an Alpaca.) Looks a bit like a bleached bouvier with a long neck.
Then we arrived at our most favourite beach place in all the world - Daisy cottage!
We got a bit of a shock when we jumped out of the car joyfully - into a monstrous patch of Steekgras. Dougal jumped straight back into the car. (We spent some time removing all the needle-sharp grasses from me later.)
The Alph did a lot of fixing in the bathroom and repaired the taps and replaced the washers. They also repaired the blinds which are looking a little bit tatty.
We were confined to barracks because of the steekgras but I didn't mind as my favourite thing to do is shoot the breeze from my eyrie. 
When all the repairing was done, we repaired to the beach and the Alph had a swim at Papkuil,
while the Food Lady botanised and entemologised (this is a Lunate Ladybird) in the dunes,
and Dougal and I got stuck into some serious molerat hunting.
That evening we had a gentle walk along the beach of Suiderstrand,
the Food Lady likes to do a bit of beachcombing and botanising - this is the large egg case of the endangered Spearnose Skate   
and these are some Silene crassifolia flowers that had all opened in the evening light.
The Food Lady and the Alph enjoyed some wine from Jane from Spain.
Getting the braai going while we tried to avoid picking up ticks and steekgras!
The Alph decided to burn some of the steekgras that the Food Lady had pulled up. Jolly good too.
The next day we went for an early morning walk in the misty dunes behind the house. We found a new path marked out with sticks that we followed,
past flowers like this Crassula dichotoma in the sea sand, 
and this totally weird plant is Galium tomentosum which is related to the weed that sticks to our long Scotty beards in the garden called Goosegrass.There were some good rodent smells and the odd thrilling siting of a fat little mouse skittering into the bushes too.
Tea time on a misty beach.
Then back to business!
A pyjama shark all snagged up in nylon. Poor beast. There are lots and lots of these sharks that fisherman pull out and don't put back but leave them on the beach to die because they think they are bad biting sharks but in fact they are completely harmless.