Category Archives: Galaxy

Through the Looking Glass

Through the Looking Glass 1

This is an untouched photo. So what is it, if I haven’t been playing around post production?

Well, it’s a very rare phenomenon. Something we don’t see that often here in Cape Town. Something we thought we might never see again!

RAIN!

Specifically, it’s a close up of my window with rain running down the outside of the pane and the poinsettia in the garden in the background.

Through the Looking Glass 2

Here is a view of the syringa tree.

Of course, you would have guessed sooner if, instead of a nod to Lewis Carroll and Alice, I had gone with my alternative title: Looking Through the Glass!

Yes, we got good rains on Wednesday; one centimetre. Heavy enough to soak the garden and even raise the level of my pool a little.

Hooray!

Through the Looking Glass 3

Above is Window Pane Art!

Little Monkey didn’t know quite what to make of it. She kept wanting to go outside, as she normally does all day long, but stopped two steps out on the stoep, hanging her head and blinking her little eyes as the heavy rain drops spattered down on her. She turned round and came straight back in again!

More rain is forecast for next week. I wait with anticipation to see if any of this will finally raise the level of the dams. The total amount today stands at 20.6%. 

I have never watched the weather so much my whole life as I do now. Several times a day I check the Norwegian weather site’s ten day forecast, in the hope that rain for Cape Town has miraculously appeared there.

Through the Looking Glass 4

Many of you in the North may think the above photo is such a dreary outlook; I’m sure you are all heartily sick of your cold, wet or snowy winter. For me, it was a sight for sore eyes. I couldn’t stop looking outside, or standing at the open door and enjoying the freshness.

I’m also happy to report that it rained without my having to resort to doing a Rain Dance in a grass skirt, as suggested by one of my fellow bloggers. (Thank you Mitza!) Though I think another blogger may have Rain Danced on my behalf. (Probably not in a grass skirt!) (Thank you Scooj.)

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GOBBET

Here’s an extra little bit of information for you. We had fires raging in Cape Town a few days ago. The first I knew was the acrid smoke I could smell right here in my house. (Quick check to see there was nothing burning in the house!) It made my eyes sting and water, and stuck in the back of my throat making me cough. Being asthmatic, I may overreact to any air pollution, but still, it was bad. Looking outside, you could see that distinct yellow tinge to what looked like clouds, but was actually smoke.

One of the fires started at Skeleton Gorge above Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. At first it was thought that it was arson. Sadly a lot of fires are started this way.

However, further investigation revealed that this particular fire had natural causes; a massive rock fall. Apparently some large boulders had come loose and crashed down the mountainside, causing sparks as they hit other rocks. This was enough to ignite the bone-dry grasses and veld. Fire!

The firefighters are amazing and quickly extinguished that fire, only to have it flare up again and again over the next few days as it spread to other areas.

So the good rains on Wednesday were very welcome. Hopefully they have put out the fires for good now.

We live miles away from those fires and it was bad enough here; I can only imagine how horrible it was for the people living right there and the poor firefighters themselves.

I am surprised we have not had more fires, with our hot temperatures and the vegetation so dry from the drought. Hopefully we will get even more rain now as we head into winter and our rainy season.

But if any of you wish to perform a Rain Dance on our behalf, please feel free!

 

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Sparkies for Africa!

Squirrels 1

I often see a squirrel on my lawn, or climbing on the fence or a tree.

But this time I spotted three squirrels all at once, which is very rare. A scurry of Sparkies!

Squirrel 2

Though they all seemed to be youngsters, one of them was particularly young; so cute with his skinny little body.

Squirrel 3

They were very busy digging for food in my garden and generally scurrying around.

Squirrel 4

They look awkward walking on all fours on the ground, being much more at home climbing straight up a tree.

And after all that hard work time for a little drink; in the bird bath!

Squirrel 5

They have also drunk out of the dog water bowls on the stoep, but I haven’t managed to catch a photo yet.

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Of course, with all this extra activity going in in the garden I have to remember to double check for little grey bodies before I let Little Monkey out. Sometimes I forget.

Squirrel 6

LM spots them instantly and is off like a shot. One time it looked a little too close for comfort and I bellowed at her to stop! She skidded to a halt and her back legs collapsed. I like to think she was already stopping because I told her to and not because her legs gave way, but I guess I’ll never know. (Her back legs have been doing this for over a year now. No cause can be found; she is very healthy, just getting old.)

Still, I never thought that LM would become nearly as well behaved as my previous dog Lady, as you can see from this post of three and a half years ago; The Further Adventures of Sparky the Squirrel: Part Two.

 

post script: Many of these photos were taken through a window, so please excuse the blurry, milky appearance, or with my Galaxy phone, not great on distance shots.

 

Preparing for Winter

Little Monkey and Hair!

Little Monkey is shedding again; getting her new winter coat.

Judging by the amount of hair coming off her at the moment, I guess it’s going to be a cold winter.

Are you thinking snow blizzards and Beasts from the West (our weather comes from the south west) like the UK has had recently?

Unlikely. Here in Cape Town it rarely goes below nine degrees – centigrade!

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post script: Yes I know many of you will have shaggier dogs that moult way more, but this is still a noteworthy amount of hair from one brushing of a short-haired dog with no undercoat in a hot country!

Also, I love that she has her little front teeth! She is my only rescue dog to have good teeth like this. All the others had worn their teeth down to the bone by chewing; perhaps on wire cages, chains or stones. Those dogs would also have had poor diets most of their life and therefore worse teeth to start with. 

Little Monkey is lucky. Even if she did come from a rescue centre, she has never been on the streets fending for herself.

 

Mystery Post Six

Narwhal

What is this?

The spiked tusk of a Narwhal, the unicorn of the sea, surfacing in the ocean?

Dolphin 1

Oh wait, it looks more like a dolphin.

Dolphin 2

Or maybe an ice sculpture of a dolphin?

What is it really?

Leave your best guesses in the comments below and I’ll supply the answer in my next post.

Can you believe it’s been a year since my last Mystery Post? Have fun!

 

A Shaggy Dog Story

LM 2

Here’s my very own Shaggy Dog.

LM 1

My, what big ears you have Mr Wolf!

Twice a year Little Monkey has a bath.

She hates it!

LM 3

The only thing that makes bathtime bearable is –

LM 4

The treats she gets afterwards!

LM 5

Nom Nom Nom

LM 6

Hey Mum! Come give me a tummy tickle!

LM 7

And after all that hard work, a little nap in the sun.

LM 8

Finally dry enough to come back inside.

All Done and Dusted – and Fluffy!

 

post script: LM’s last bath was in March! Even though she is not a stinky dog, I really think the minimum number of washes is two a year. Now she smells so fresh and her coat is even softer. She is getting lots of extra cuddles!

post post script: A Shaggy Dog Story is a very long winded kind of joke with a pointless punchline.

For example: This is the shortest Shaggy Dog Story I know; one my Dad used to tell me.

One dark and stormy night, two men were crossing a bridge. And one man says to the other, “Antonio, tell us a tale.” And the tale ran thus. One dark and stormy night, two men were crossing a bridge. And one man says to the other, “Antonio, tell us a tale.” And the tale ran thus. One dark and stormy night, two men were crossing a bridge. And one man says to the other, “Antonio, tell us a tale.” And the tale ran thus. . . . 

You get the picture!

 

Angel of the North

Angel of the North 1

This is the Angel of the North.

It is a steel sculpture standing 20 m tall, with a wingspan of 54 m and completed in 1998. Beneath its outstretched wings coal miners used to toil underground for two centuries.

Unpopular when first built in Gateshead, in Tyneside, it has since grown on the locals. It is one of the most viewed pieces of art in the world, seen by more than one person every second; 33 million in a year.

You pass the Angel when you travel between Newcastle and Durham. I travelled this route four times by train, from Scotland to Yorkshire, and to Aldeburgh, and back again, on my recent UK trip.

The first time I totally missed it, even though I was looking out of my train window for ages. I think I caught a glimpse of it rapidly disappearing behind me, but I didn’t get a photo.

Angel of the North 3

On my return up North, I was ready with my camera, but unfortunately I was on the wrong side of the carriage. Still, this is the shot I got.

What do you mean, you can’t see anything?

Angel of the North 4

You see that blur there? I’m pretty sure that’s the Angel!

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On my second trip down South, I travelled by train with my daughter DD, while my daughter Pix drove.

Pix snapped a great shot of the Angel as she passed by it in the car.

Angel of the North 2 – photo credit Pix

I don’t know what happened that third time I passed the Angel, but on the return trip it was pitch black, as our train was running five hours late. Yes, five hours! We got back to Edinburgh at 1 am the next morning; total journey time 15 hours! – but that’s another story!

So, I hear you all ask, how did I manage to get the superb photo shown at the beginning of this post?

Angel of the North 1

You’re not going to believe this, but I found it in a loo!

There was a poster of the Angel put up on the wall inside the toilet on the last train I rode on. I got out my trusty Galaxy cell phone and snapped a photo.

Mission accomplished!

And if it wasn’t for the tell-tale bolt in the sky you’d never know!

 

Wanna Play Ball?

Sparkle

Wanna Play?

This is the picture that presented itself to me early one morning, as I sat at the table eating my breakfast at my sister’s in Yorkshire.

No-one else was up yet. For some reason, Sparkle, my sister’s dog, seemed to think I’d rather throw the ball for her than eat my cereal!

Yes, of course I got up and threw her ball for her!