20 May 2013


We arrived for this walk with coats and jerseys but it soon became apparent that it was going to be hot! This little Aristea was also confused as to the season of the year. On the walk were Sue and Honey, Kate and Greg, Florian - and - yes! Thea! Welcome back mother of Boris.
Flowering too were lots of spectacular hot Rooi Pypies (Gladiolus priorii).
Florian spotted this little hairy beastie. He is now on iSpot awaiting an ID.
We went to Bertie's Balcony for tea, but it was too hot so we found a little patch of shade and all huddled into it. The Alf, Greg, Kate, Florian, Thea, Honey and Sue. Honey was mostly good but she still gets a bit antsy at teatime - but we really don't mind.
The parting of the ways. Becase it was so hot, some of the party decided to turn back, but Thea, the Alf, the FL and us two scots carried onwards and upwards towards the Amphitheatre, turning left just before getting there. (See route map.)
The Food Lady says that 2013 has got to be the Year of the King Protea. 
The humans found lots to exclaim over, but you can see me hotly slogging along in the shade of the restios.
Spectacular views over False Bay - with Anaxeton laeve daisies in the foreground.
Some Anaxeton laeve flowerheads are white,
and others are a hot strawberry red. (But of course, being a dog, I only have the Food Lady's word for this!)
Looking down Spes Bona valley and out to Hangklip, a weird rock monster profile on the left.
In the shadow of the Food Lady: an Irish Terrier, a Boston Terrier and two Scottish Terriers.
Views over Long Beach,
and views over False Bay -
then down to Nellies Pool and a dip for me in the Eau de Vie.
The heat eventually got to Dougal on the long hot trudge back and the Alf gave him a diggy piggy back. He should have had a swim in the Eau de Vie with me.
Can you see my tail sticking up in front?

18 May 2013

A poetic Mother's Day walk

Pauline and Paul came with us this morning, and we met Sue and Honey at the top of Rubbi Road. The Alf has a bit of a sore back so we didn't want to undertake anything too arduous and the Food Lady thought this would be a gentle little stroll up Slangkop. So up the Gum Tree Avenue we all slogged, and out onto the side of the hill.
Some interesting Rusty Sage (Salvia lanceolata) plants grow here.
Up we climbed, looking back over Kommetjie and Chapman's Peak.
There are always lots of flowers up here - like these Erica abietina and Metalasia plants,
and what someone once dubbed "South Africa's national flower". Getting closer to Ocean View. We often wonder why there is no path that bypasses this road - as on an old map the Food Lady has it shows a link, but we never see it
and have to brave the racing cars on the Misty Cliffs road. Honey was not happy. And Dougal got some Devil Thorns in his paw.
But soon we were off the road and back on the path - which is now part of the Hoerikwaggo Trail. It was quite misty, and the spiders webs were all glistening in the sun - like this Euprosthenops web over some vygie leaves.
There are beautiful views looking southwards over Scarborough and we had to stop for tea to admire the view. And a very very sandy path! Not too good for sore backs Food Lady!
Tea and champagne! (It was Mother's Day after all! - and it had been the Alf's birthday a few days ago  so lots to celebrate.)
Tea view looking north to Table Mountain.
The Alf, Paul, Pauline, Honey and Sue.
We were reclining in the shade pretending to be dassies.
Lachenalia punctata (previously L. rubida) grows here in great profusion and the peak of its flowering is in May.
Oxalis luteola.
Fynbos heavyweights: Metalasia (left), a huge bush of the endemic-to-Table-Mountain Serruria villosa and a bush of Staavia radiata.
          Candlewood (Pterocelastrus tricuspidatus).
Cobra Camp looming into view.
Cautiously now - too many snake words up here - Cobra Camp, Slangkop, a Scot can't be too careful ...
A view over Noordhoek beach and Hout Bay in the distance - from the old radar station.
Paul getting an angle on the Slangkop Lighthouse. It is the tallest cast-iron lighthouse in South Africa and has one of the brightest lights, with a range of  61 km. It first lit up in 1919, and is still in use today.
Mmm, don't think much of the graffiti here.
And take a peek and lookee what we have here! A peke in the fynbos.
Walking down the mountain in the warm May sunshine, filled with champagne ("beaded bubbles winking at the brim" and all that) and admiring the misty view, the Food Lady was moved to quote (thank the pope that Phil and Simon weren't here to be embarrassed!) from Ode to Autumn - "Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness ..."
"... to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells."
A late autumn Tritoniopsis dodii -  normally finished flowering by April.
Back to the Italianate church at the top of Rubbi Road,
and the cars, and exciting presents for the Food Lady and the Alf.
Back home and relaxing.
"I didn't want any flowers, I only wanted
To lie with my feet turned up and be utterly empty."
(with apologies to Sylvia Plath).
 And a Mothers Day lunch with seared tuna and Lismore viognier. End of any thoughts of productiveness for the FL!

The tip of Africa

Ages ago we spent a whole week in Agulhas, but as the Food Lady has been rather boring lately, she never managed to help me update this blog - one of the tiresome things about not having opposable thumbs and a working knowledge of the qwerty keyboard. Anyway - here are some highlights. Firstly, our usual stop for breakfast at the Red Windmill (sadly not as good as it used to be) and a hello to the two alpacas that live there.
Then it was out with the broken and rusty fridge, 
 and off to the Struisbaai Municipal Dump where we left it in the capable hands of the local dogs and their friendly helpful human. Maybe this is the fabled southernmost "tip of Africa"?
While we were in the area, we thought we would have a spooky stappie on the self-guiding Spookdraai trail.
Some interesting plants with leaves arranged like a box -  Euchaetis meridionalis - a member of the buchu/citrus family.
Looking down on Agulhas.
A limestone cave requiring exploration ...
Slalagmites and tites and pillars. Mmmm but not much rodent activity here.
What is this spooky thing?
Eish! A legless horse. Distinctly unsettling. Dougal beating a hasty retreat before things get out of hand.
Yet another wonderful sunset. Yawwnnnn.
A close encounter with a seal. Great excitement! We saw this one back into the sea. Just checking to see its stayed there.
One morning we were joined by a manic staffie that Dougal rather fancied, but the feelings were not mutual - and nothing is more pathetic than an infatuated dog.
A Euprosthenops "dazzle" spider on its glistening web - with an amazingly constructed bolt hole.
Paul and Pauline were staying close by and they joined us on several walks. Here we are in the Agulhas National Park behind Suiderstrand - with views over the Soetanysberg.
The place was full of these tiny white Hunter Snails.
Lots of pretty little Muraltia plants.
Making our way down to the beach for tea.
Me having a dip in the crystal clear water.
then running to catch up with the Alph. Pauline close behind.
There are lots of wierd and wonderful goggas here - like this Click Beetle (Aliteus)
 that was giving us a hairy eyeball ... but apparently they are harmless.
Pauline and the Alph discovered a mutual interest in whisky.
Uh oh! Breakdown! One shredded fan belt. Luckily we managed to call up Paul who had the elusive no 15 spanner that no-one else could find so while they were doing a temporary repair,
we checked out the repairs on the lighthouse,
and then went for a stroll on the rocky shore where we nearly lost Dougal as he blended in so well with the lichen.
The Food Lady had fun watching the cormorants,
and some cute little Yellow Canaries.
The next morning, we went for another walk with Paul and Pauline, starting from the back end of Suiderstrand - the area the Alph calls "Kakville". Come on Dougal! Hurry up!
It had rained that morning and the clouds were rather impressive. Here is Paul being impressed.
On top of the Sand Dune above Suiderstand there are these limestone areas that are a bit hard on our paws.
Because of the morning rain, all the fruits of the vygies were open - looking like brown snowflakes.
A Phylica all entwined with False Dodder (Cassytha ciliolata).
Lime road.
Tea overlooking the wreck of the Meisho Maru.
Down again through the limestone pot holes.
The official start of the Rasperpunt trail is from the wreck. The Alph left us here as he needed to get home to meet Simon who was coming all the way up from Cape Town to bring a new fan belt for the Land Rover.
On the way back along the beach, past the enigmatic visvywers (fish traps or fish weirs), the weather started closing in on us ...
but we just managed to get home before it really started raining. We had a wonderful fish and chips lunch (the Food Lady shared some of her fish with us!) with Simon before he left again.
On Saturday we had another long walk in the Agulhas National Park. We found more chalky snails on Wahlenbergia neorigida  plants.
It was a long and quite rough slog up to the funny signal-stick at the top of the Sandberg.
And the horseflies were biting hard!
We could see Zoetendalsvlei in the distance.
The limestone road home was very long and very hard,
and we were glad to get back to our pondok -
where we had beano biscuits and the remains of the fish and chips and the humans had special gee and tees.
The Alf finishing his repairs.
On Sunday, we had a last walk along to Pietie se Punt, past the Seepampoen/Tonteldoek (Arctotheca populifolia) daisies on the beach,
and the middens where you can see that Perlemoen Poachers have been eating perlemoen for many centuries - but I don't know how they poached them in those early days before gas. Maybe THIS is the southernmost tip of Africa!
On the way home we had coffee with Meg
from Southermost, the Southernmost Guest House in all of Africa.