28 April 2015

Rumbles and rambles at Rhodes Mem

On Sunday morning we went on the April Scottie Walk at Rhodes Mem.
I found a very nice lady with a packet of delicious snacks, and decided to spend the rest of my life with her. Well, at least someone appreciates me!
This is Maggie-May, the mad, bad Lad's sister.
And this is Dougal. Quite a handsome chap. I took a bit of a shine to him. Maybe he reminded me of my late and oh so lamented big brother.
A Scottie tête-à-tête. I was just telling Dougal what a clown the Lad is. Laddie got cross and snapped at Dougal.
And Haggis snapped at Dougal too. I think they all identified that he was the best looking and were jealous.
Everyone goes soft over the puppies ...
even Laddie - his tail furiously wagging.
And talking of wagging - is this a wag of wheatens?
It was hot and dusty - but still pretty spectacular when we rounded the edge of Devils Peak and surveyed the fog-enveloped city below.
On the way back I chased butterflies with Maggie-May and Kirby,
and we came across a chocolate border collie with a bandaged paw. Laddie really has a thing for border collies!
Eventually I had to say goodbye to my new best friend,
'cause we wanted to show Maggie-May and Kirby where the deep dark forest from last month's walk was.
But luckily we some more biltong snacks before we left so all in all, it was a thoroughly good walk.

20 April 2015

Fame - and some Parisian scotties

I was very privileged to be mentioned in a lovely blog that the Food Lady follows called Stopping by Woods. Click here to go to the post and see my name in lights.

Walkies on the edge

Today we walked with Paul and Pauline again - seems ages since we saw them. We set off in the shade up the zigzags and then veered left towards Oppelskop.
It was a lovely cool autumn morning.
The Food Lady is borrowing Kerryn's mom, Sue's camera so things are looking up a bit ...
This is a Bergtontelbos (Gomphcarpus cancellatus) being eaten by an African Monarch (Danaus chrysippus) caterpillar.
Suddenly we emerged into the sun - the Lad's ridiculous tail well up.
Tea on the precipice at the Oppelskop ruin. Pauline, Paul, Me, the Lad's ears and the Alph - and the shadowy presence of the Food Lady on the Alph's back.
Pauline coming round the corner and back into the deep dark shade.
This is just my kind of walk because I love heights and balancing on the edge - and there are some pretty scary edges here - hence the lead!
A big, bold and beautiful Guernsey Lily (Nerine sarniensis) growing high on the cliff.
All pervasive was the sweet scent of Box Phylica (Phylica buxifolia) which even the humans could smell well. (Although the humans love the fragrance, we actually prefer the scent of fire-starting-bergie poo - which is in no shortage around the lower slopes of the mountain.)
This is always a good path for ericas - like this Red Erica (Erica abietina subsp. abietina) which is endemic to Table Mountain.
We reached the saddle of Devil's Peak and were keen to carry on up as there was plenty of dog activity up here - possibly because so much of Table Mountain has been closed to walkers after the big fires last month. But the Food Lady said it was time to turn back as it was starting to get a bit hot.
On the way back we saw this Waboom (Protea nitida) with a dead flower, a bud and a flower in full bloom - all on the same bush. The fynbos is really rather strange!
The hot slog home.
Then lunch with Phil and Kerryn who bought Harvey back to spend the week. Lad will be happy. You can see me under the table.
Poor old Lad had a bit of a tummy upset that afternoon - but he has fully recovered now.

19 April 2015

Wild walkies

Dear Coco
This is rather a belated letter but we had no internet connection - not even a cellphone signal - where we were in the bush.
We started off with a night in the big bad city with Luna, David, Gordon and Streak. David and Gordon gave the Alph an early birthday gift - another Scottie called MacDoorstop. You will soon meet him.
We went for a walk in the park nearby with Luna, and bumped into some friends of David and Gordon who have this husky-cross dog that reminded us a bit of Hudge - and funnily enough he comes from Arniston where I think Hudge came from too. (We heard later on that Hudge had died - so very sad - our Wednesday walks just wont be the same without him.)
The weather in Johannesburg was lovely and warm, and it is green and beautiful. Look at all the cosmos flowering.
On Saturday we drove to the Kruger Park and met up with Phil and Kerryn in the tented camp at Punda Maria where we spent two very happy nights. Here are some of our visitors that you would have LOVED to chase Coco!
Kerryn made sure that we were first in the queue to get out in the morning.
On Monday we drove to our next destination - Bataleur Camp. En route we stopped for tea and banana bread (from Gordon) at Babalala.
It had just rained and this intriguing Bobbejaan Stert (Xerophyta retinervis) was flowering just near Bataleur camp. The plants can survive for months without water, and when it rains, within a day they start flowering and sending out new leaves.
We saw lots of amazing things - like impalas fighting,
and a leopard in the grass who thought it was invisible.
Kerryn and I couldn't wait to add our leopard to the chart of animal sightings.
Beautiful sunsets at the dam,
and beautiful people!
Stunning birds:  this is the Alph's photo of a Lilac-breasted Roller.
All too soon it was time to say good bye to Phil and Kerryn who went on to Olifants camp, and we drove up to Pafuri in the very north of the Kruger Park, where we met up with Louise and Richard, Sarah and Martin, and Lex for the next leg of the holiday - a walking trail. This was our tent for the next three nights. Ultra luxury in the bush!
We walked with Rhodes and Andrew - the trail leaders - through groves of baobabs,
and in an incredibly beautiful Fever Tree forest complete with elephants and buffalo, sawing leopards, nyala, and lots and lots of other animals and amazing birds.
And we paddled in the Limpopo and the Levuvhu Rivers. Louise had a quick dip with her clothes on and the Alph had a dip with his cozzy on - apparently crocs don't attack peeps in shallow water but I wasn't taking that chance! Besides I wasn't sure about where this river started and who had done what in it upstream.
A farewell photo of the trailers and the camp staff.
We drove back to Johannesburg for a night with Duncan and his two Irish Setters, Darcy and Gulliver. Here they are meeting MacDoorstop.
After a lovely early morning walk in the Johannesburg Botanic Gardens - you can see the Hillbrow Tower in the background - we hopped on the aeroplane,
and hurried home to you. (This is the photo that Phil sent us of your walk with him and Kerryn in Tokai Park while we were on our way home.)
It was lovely to get back to you and introduce you both to MacDoorstop. I hear you had a fantastic time with Leticia and Simamkele - and you certainly look rather plump Coco. Diets start tomorrow all round...
love from the Food Lady xx