Category Archives: Cape Town

A Last Fling

Kirstenbosch 1 – Flower

Haiku 253

Wander through Nature

Renew your soul with fresh air

Beauty and birdsong

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Here is another beautiful flower from my visit to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens in Cape Town a few months ago.

At the entrance to the gardens, they check you are wearing your face mask and take your temperature, before allowing you to proceed. You then use the foot-operated hand sanitiser provided and go to the window to pay.

Kirstenbosch 2 – Bird Bath

Everyone has to wear a face mask when outside of your own property; whether in a shop or on the street, driving alone in your car, strolling on a deserted beach, or walking round the vast expanse of a botanical garden.

However, I still saw people not wearing a mask once inside the gardens. I wonder if they were aware that it is illegal and if caught, you face being arrested and having a criminal record!

Kirstenbosch 3 – Stream

I had been sitting alone on the stone steps by the Bird Bath. It’s a wonderful place to renew your soul, by watching the clear mountain stream trickle by and listening to all the birds singing in the canopy above.

When two people arrived at the Bird Bath, one wearing a mask (SA by his accent) and another with no mask in sight, not even dangling round her neck (foreigner by her accent) it was time to leave.

I gave them a very wide berth and headed back to the entrance.

Kirstenbosch 4 – Mountain

There is a lovely restaurant there, where you can sit outside and enjoy the view, while socially distancing. I walked past it at a distance, looking longingly at the tables, desperate for a cup of tea and toasted cheese sandwich. I stopped and studied the numbers, but decided it was too crowded and just not worth the risk. I headed back to my car and consoled myself with my bottle of water and energy bar.

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Now South Africa is bang in the middle of a third wave, driven by the highly contagious Delta Covid Variant. Lockdown is back up to Level 4. Restaurants are closed again.

I won’t be going out anywhere for a while yet.

 

A Host of Golden –

Golden Apple Leaves 1

Haiku 251

Carpeting the lawn

Autumn hues of yellow-gold

Winter wonderland!

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Following on from my Lonely Cloud post, I present:

A Host of Golden Apple Leaves,

An adaptation of the line A host of golden daffodils, from William Wordsworth’s poem;

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Golden Apple Leaves – Tree 2

With all the colourful blossoming going on, as seen in my last post, Winter Solstice, my winter garden could pass for summer, except for a few tell-tale signs that it is, in fact, mid-winter.

The ancient apple tree, with its winter carpet of golden leaves, is one of those signs.

 

post script: Yes, I know it is confusing! It is mid-Winter here in Cape Town; today anyhow. The temperatures have plummeted, gales are howling and icy rain falls intermittently. Yet the apple tree is shedding its leaves as though it were Autumn, while next to it, the large Camellia bush is covered in buds waiting to burst forth as in Spring, and most days a Summer sun beats down, while Sunbirds sip nectar from the honeysuckle! Cape Town is beautiful!

 

Busy Little Bee

Cape Honey Bee on Honeysuckle 1

Haiku 244

Busy Little Bee

Buzz from flower to flower

Pollinate away!

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Cape Honey Bee on Honeysuckle 2

Hard to believe it is winter here in Cape Town, when the honeysuckle is in full bloom.

And bees are hard at work collecting nectar and pollen, while pollinating the colourful flowers for the next generation.

Cape Honey Bee on Honeysuckle 3

This little guy is a Cape Honey Bee  Apis mellifera capensis and is indigenous to South Africa.

 

Solitude

Solitary Walk

Haiku 242

Social distancing

Gathering for some fresh air

While oceans apart

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I took a stroll along Muizenberg beach, Cape Town. It was very windy, which was great as it blew the cobwebs away!

Yes, there are people in the ocean in the photo above. That’s about as close as I got to anyone; except when I treated myself to a latte from the little coffee shop.

I sat on the sea wall, wind in my face, as I sipped my hot coffee; just enjoying the sea view, and the illusion of freedom.

Then I slipped my face mask back on, returned to the safety and isolation of my car, and drove home.

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Lockdown Rules for South Africa

Wear a face mask at all times
Keep two metres away from anyone
Sanitise your hands at every shop entrance

It was easy to maintain the legal two metres apart here at the beach, as most people were way off in the distance. Even so, we all wore our face masks; it is the law outside of your own home, even when driving alone in your car. You are allowed to remove your face mask temporarily to eat or drink, as long as social distancing from strangers is maintained.

 

Hope

Spiky Red Flower

Haiku 241

A New Hope – Because

Not all spiky balls are the

Corona Virus

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I spotted this unusual flower at Kirstenbosch Botanical gardens, Cape Town, South Africa.

After a year spent mostly at home, I ventured out one morning to wander round this most beautiful of places.

It did not disappoint.

 

Clouds!

Cotton Wool Clouds 1

Haiku 222

As empty as clouds

Cotton wool brain, stuck inside

Corona effect

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Cotton Wool Clouds 2

I was watching these fluffy cotton wool balls drift by one morning, as I sat outside having my cuppa. Though these particular clouds would not bring rain, we’re doing all right in Cape Town this year.

The dam levels are at 99.7%! Can you believe it?

These water reserves have to last us over the coming hottest summer months, until the next rains fall, a good six months away.

Three years ago in 2017, after lower than average rainfall several years in a row, the dams were at 37.6%. The levels dropped as low as 19% before we got rain.

Back then the whole world was pointing fingers at Cape Town and saying we would be the first major city to run out of water, on Day Zero.

Cotton Wool Clouds 3

I am very happy that we did not run out of water. By drastically rationing and re-using water, we averted disaster. The people of CT still do this, which is why the dams have filled up again so quickly; it’s not as if there have been really good rains recently. In fact, 2019 was quite dry; but by collectively altering our behaviour, we have triumphed.

So I could watch these fluffy clouds serenely, knowing that though they will not produce rain, the dams are already full!

 

A Winter’s Tale

Egyptian Geese on Rooftop

Haiku 216

Winter’s not quite done

Freezing rains and gale force winds

A sting in the tail!

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What are you two Egyptian Geese gossiping about? The cold snap? Yes, it hit out of the blue and the temperatures plummeted. But you’re alright. Feathers are incredibly warm!

There’s been snow on Table Mountain and temperatures of 2 degrees Centigrade recorded. Brrr Even the local resident Dassies on the mountain were rather confused by it all. – See here in a Local news clip.

Our coldest and wettest winter month here in Cape Town used to be July. Now it seems to be August. Still, at least it means that all the cold rain is filling up my swimming pool – and the dams, which now stand at 88.7%.

This is enough to last us through all those dry summer months to come.

I don’t mind the cold and the rain; it won’t last. Already the sun is hot when I go outside, even though the air is freezing! Such a conundrum here in South Africa. A cold country with a hot sun!

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post script: For those of you who are interested, the variegated plant with purple flowers that I posted on Friday is actually a Periwinkle, Vinca major ‘Variegata’. Scooj got it and many others had good guesses.

 

Anticipation!

Camellia Bud 1

Haiku 204

Camellia Buds

Branches laden with bounty

Anticipation!

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Camellia Bud 2

It may be the middle of winter here in Cape Town, but this is the time of year that my Camellia really flourishes.

Camellia Bud 3

I’ve recently posted a photo of a large camellia flower, but the buds are enormous too –

Camellia Bud 4

Already weighing down the branches, even before turning into those massive flowers.

Camellia Bud 5

In between the severe Cape winter storms, these sunny days are idyllic.

Camellia Bud 6

And my large Camellia bush is a very welcome splash of pink in the green garden.

 

Yellow

Yellow Honeysuckle

Haiku 200

Low hanging sunshine

New flowers and golden leaves

Winter’s all Yellow

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Yellow Syringa

The colour of winter in the Cape:

Yellow honeysuckle enticing the Sunbirds’ return; Syringa berries and golden leaves ready to fall; Apple Tree leaves, capturing a sunbeam;

Yellow Apple Leaf

All these make a glorious golden winter time.

 

post script: Here’s a lovely acoustic clip of Donovan singing his iconic hit “Colours”, beginning with the line Yellow is the colour of my true love’s hair.