28 June 2013

Finish for always about Dougal and me and all those times

I am a bit bewildered at the moment. Dougal, my friend and big brother has gone. He was breathing badly in the night and I called out to the humans to come. They did, and tried to help him, but he was panting and panting and the Food Lady put him in her bedroom. I got on the bed and then Dougal tried to get up too and the Food Lady lifted him and we all tried to comfort him but he breathed and coughed worse and worse and then he lay still and there was lots of crying. He lay and lay and didn't get up, and then the Alph covered him and wrapped him in soft blankets and they carried them to the kennel when it got light, but there was no Dougal there anymore, just a cold body. They dug a big hole near the shed where Dougal and I go hunting for lizards, and put the empty body inside and covered it up. I don't understand. I tried to call to him to run to the garbage truck coming up the road, or to chase the pesky Jack Russell from down the road away, or to shout rude words at the postman's motorbike, but no Dougal came and I don't know where he has gone.
Dougal walking with the Alph on Table Mountain.
I am like Boots, the Scotty in my best book Thy Servant a Dog when his hound friend, Ravager, goes to sleep and doesn't wake up and Harry with Spade "digged and put under like bone." Boots says "Please, this is finish for always about Ravager and me all all those times. Please, I am very small mis'able dog ! ... I do not understand ! ... I do not understand. !"
The Food Lady suggests you read this poem on the blog, but I don't understand it becuase she and the Alph and our two human brothers gave us their hearts and we don't want to tear them, its just that we don't live as long as them. I just do not understand ...

25 June 2013

Devils Heaths and Redbeard Proteas

This Sunday morning we walked into the dark and wild forest with Alice and Maddy and Pauline. First, we had to cross the river - Alice and Maddy and me first, without a fear in the world,
then Dougal and Pauline, hesitating.
Up on the contour path we were aware of swirls of mist and sprites,
and we found the path up to Devil's Peak - ancient and mossy,
and really spooky. Yikes and jeeps, what is that disappearing round the corner?* Wait for me Maddy, my protector and revered big friend.
Scottie-eye view of the path - all strewn with fairy dust and skirts.
And casting our eyes upwards, craggy misty edgy mountains.
Dougal looking a bit nerve wracked - contemplating the monsters of thunder and wind.
We had a quick tea on the path - Pauline, the Alf, Maddy Alice, Doogs and me.
And the Food Lady photographed this Mountain Anemone (Anemone tenuifolia) starting to open.
Then we finished the ascent up to the Saddle - expecting whipping wind and freezing cold,
but we were pleasantly surprised. There was not all that much mist, and flowers everywhere - and lots and lots of different ericas. These are Table Mountain's endemic Berry Heath (Erica baccans).
And Blinkblaar Tolbos (Leucadendron xanthoconus) bushes in shades of silvery green and red.
And the humans were excited to see the critically endangered Devils Heath (Erica abietina subsp. diabolis) starting to flower.
A hairy Fire Heath (Erica cerinthoides).
We crossed the Saddle, all lit up with flowers - these are Red Heaths (Erica abietina subsp. abietina
and crossed some streams
and some flowers were a bit crossed too - like this unfurling Waboom (Protea nitida).
On the zigzag path we came across this old but interesting Redbeard Protea. They are extinct on Table Mountain now and this is one that escaped from a planting of Jonkershoek Redbeard Proteas many years ago when foresters were keen to improve on nature. Go to iSpot for more.
Dougal hurrying down the path. He is going a bit deaf but he could still hear some barking dogs below and was eager to catch up with them.
Looking up to Platteklip Gorge.
Back down on Tafelberg Road. We walked along a bit while we waited for our lift, and Dougal chased a mongoose over the road - pulling the lead out of the startled Food Lady's hand. Luckily for him there were no on-coming cars!

*with apologies to artist Thamae Setshogo.

24 June 2013

A Father's Day adventure walk

Father's Day today and we took the Alph on a Hout Bay walk with Sue and Honey and Florian and Pauline. We all piled into the Land Rover at East Fort, including Honey who was a bit surprised to find herself in the back with Doog n me but she pretended to be really cool with it and all was well. Then we drove along Chapmans Peak Drive and parked at the end of the free pass area. After watching a flurry of fishing boats beetling off into the deep blue sea, we huffed and puffed up the mountain
past some spiders
and some hot chocolate proteas (Protea lepidocarpodendron) - also known as Black-bearded Proteas,
till we got to the contour path. We then turned left and walked back towards Hout Bay.
The Waboom proteas are all opening up now,
and it was all craggy and cold and perfect.
Even some winter-flowering bulbs are popping up like this Gladiolus maculata
that smelled like Roget & Gallet Carnation soap according to the FL.
On and on we walked and the path got more and more precipitous.We stopped for tea but the Food Lady forgot to take a photo so
we took one when we arrived at Blackburn Ravine. Honey, Sue, the Alf with me n Doog on leads as the Food Lady can't handle us and heights, Pauline and Florian. 
We found a Pill Millepede which the Food Lady got quite excited about as the last one she saw was ages away in the Kruger National Park. It was rolled up in a tight ball and eventually rolled right off the path before I could get a good crunch of it.
Then, instead of just going along the path, they decided to brave the ladders and rushing rivers and climbed half way up Blackburn Ravine.
We then turned left at a junction and walked along another precipitous path under waterfalls,
and around sharp corners. No wonder Florian is looking a bit worried!
We even saw a petrified puppy in the cliffs.
Me being a rock climbing dog.
Back down and on the road we met some other dogs including this shaggy beast
which made the slog down bearable.
But very soon we were on the grassy slopes of the East Fort
which are the remains of an old fort that was originally built in 1781.
We hope the Alph had a happy fathers day.

A wet and wintry walk

At last. I have had a bit of trouble getting the Food Lady to help me put these photos on my blog as she has been rather busy with other stuff. She is a bit of a bore these days - nose always in the computer looking at places in faraway Cornwall and Wales. (She is planning on deserting us and the Alf for 3 weeks in September if she ever gets this most complicated and complex and time-consuming and angst-creating UK visa sorted out!) Now I need to do a bit of catching up and I am not sure our collective memories will be up to the job! Anyway, two Sundays ago, on the 9th June, we had an early start as it was Olivia's 18th  birthday brunch so we had to do a short walk so that they could get to it on time. We decided to do a short circuit at Silvermine Dam. Sunrise from Ou Kaapse Weg.
We met Grant and several young trailblazers waiting to go on an adventure, and Grant said that we scotties could become honorary trailblazers too. We would like that and look forward to some adventuring.
Sue met us there, with Honey, but Paul and Pauline were having burglar alarm troubles and said not to wait so we set off up the splashy wet path.
We branched off the path to the spectacular lookout point over Long Beach, and as you all know, I do love a good lookout point!
We decided to have a short coffee break  
with us dogs on leads as it was too precipitous for the Alf and the Food Lady to cope with. We can't quite understand why they are so nervous, as our track record of chasing dassies and baboons in precipitous places is pretty good - after all, we are still here to tell tales of exciting chases.
Down we came,
and I think that Sue should be on a lead too! She and the Food Lady were trying to identify some large dark bird with red legs. (Unsuccessfully - although the FL thought it might be a Pale Chanting Goshawk but they don't seem to occur here.)
Come on, come on! You are being left behind oh Food Lady.
Just a quick shot of these pretty Rice Heaths (Erica lutea).
Another spectacular view - coming back on the Amphitheatre Path. We bumped into Paul and Pauline who had sorted out their burglar alarm and joined us.
Silver and gold Slangbos (Seriphium plumosum).
Pretty pink Zyrphelis taxifolia daisies.
On the way down we met a lot of dachshunds - but they were quite snooty.
There were lots of frog noises along the path back to the cars as it had been rather rainy and everywhere was watery ...
which we all rather enjoy and spent a lot of time sniffing and listening - putting off the evil hour when we had to go home.
 They all then went to Olivia's party in the winter sun - here is the birthday girl with a friend, Brindi, having a lot of fun while we sat at home in the kennel,
and Rupert dug up the lawn at the party,
and Charlie went for a swim.