11 March 2013

Umbrellas, spiders and things

Today Louise joined us on the walk - negotiating through the Argus Cycle Tour traffic from Obs to get here. Thea, Sue and Honey also came. It was quite warm - here they are removing jerseys - but not too hot or windy, which was good for the cyclists, Richard and Brett, Lucy and Richard, Pete and Ian and all the others peddling mightily below us. 
Thea and the Alph waiting for the flower watchers to catch up.
Louise and Sue swishing through the tall grass and restios - us scotties completely hidden in the undergrowth.
Back lit red Tritoniopsis and lots of ericas,
like this dainty erica which looks a bit like Erica nudiflora but the Food Lady is so confused about ericas that she has (almost) given up trying to identify them.
There were lots of Garden Orbweb Spiders (Argiope) with webs glistening. This one is probably the Common Banded species (Argiope australis) with characteristic zigzag stabilimentum. 
And this fat but agile Bark Spider (Caerostris)
left its web when we got too close and hot-footted it across its bridge-line on  black-tipped feet. This brought to mind the sumptuous words of Alexander Pope: 
"The spiders touch, how exquisitely fine! 
Feels at each thread, and lives along the line." (Essay on Man, I).
Up and up we wended, 
while me (on the lead because I was too enthusiastic about chasing smells and made the Food Lady shout and scream because she thought she had lost me for ever) and the Alph waited.
A tea spot on a carpet of vygies. Constantiaberg in the distance. The Alph, Sue, Thea, Honey and Louise under the red umbrella. Me and Doog were investigating baboon smells. 
There were lots and lots of Yellow Lobelia (Monopsis debilis) flowers growing on the path,
which eventually joined up with the main road to the dam much to Sue's relief as she was in a hurry to get back to the cars and the Food Lady had persuaded her not to turn back. Dougal checking under each bush for rodent activity.
A delicious swim in the dam followed. Tails up! 
Honey saying goodbye to Louise, and Sue saying goodbye to the Alph who was about to follow Thea's lead and plunge into the dam too. 
And this is just to remind the Food Lady that the walk back down the river to the lower carpark does NOT take 20 minutes but more like 40 minutes. I hope you weren't too late Sue! 

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