World Penguin Day

I think I’m losing my sense of humour and today was not a great day but since it’s World Penguin Day here are some photos of the African penguin colony at Boulders Beach in Simonstown. They haven’t always been there – in the 80’s some school children found a few eggs, showed them to their teacher who, thank goodness, realised this was a great find.  The rest is history.

These guys are world famous.  No Cape Peninsula tour is complete with a visit to the colony – and the tourists love it. Some days in peak season it actually gets a bit too crowded. No-one knows exactly why these endangered penguins chose this area but the large boulders after which the beach is named provide them with shelter and they love making nests in the bushes that surround the beach.

I didn’t realise it was Penguin Day until late this afternoon – if I had I would have gone to spend some time with them. They’re so cute they might have lifted my mood.

7 penguin

2 penguin

3 penguin

4 penguin

6 penguin

Sunset on the prom

After the drenching rains of last week, we’re back to normality for April – sun and not too cold, and … NO WIND!

Today was especially lovely and after a meeting at the V&A Waterfront I detoured to Mouille Point to watch the sun go down next to the lighthouse (which is not called the Mouille Point lighthouse, by the way, but the Green Point lighthouse, because the Mouille Point lighthouse used to exist near what is now Granger Bay but was demolished  yonks ago. But you knew that, right?)

The Promenade was full of joggers, strollers and lovers; the sea was as calm as a lake, kayaks and sunset-cruising yachts completed the picture of a city where no-one seems to work because it’s just too darn pretty to stay indoors!

I’m becoming unsatisfied with my camera phone but it still does a better job than my regular camera at this time of day.

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NEW trees and sail ship

There’s a magnificent tall ship moored right next to the Table Bay Hotel and it’s open to the public but there were too many people queuing so I decided to abandon that idea.

I’ve been co-opted to organise a school reunion (more on that later) and in the process of tracking down some people I discovered one of my old classmates is a great photographer. Check out his work here.

The day it rained waterfalls

Waterfall

This really is my photo of the day.

I’d heard it would rain today but the intensity of it took me by surprise. Within a couple of hours the garden was flooded, roads were flooded, blocked drains overflowed, cars broke down and the usual ‘first-rain-of-the-season-cape-town-idiots-driving’, and everyone was moaning big time.  The closer you were to the Table Mountain range the more it rained. I know it’s the end of summer but this is very early, these storms are for May and August, not April. April is supposed to be Still Fairly Nice.

Anyhow, after being very grumpy about my car aquaplaning through a flooded road with the water coming up to the top of the wheels and subsequently sopping wet inside (again!), I had to listen to people raving about the many beautiful waterfalls cascading down Table Mountain. The sun was coming out and the light was glistening on the water and it was soooo lovely… blah blah blah.. I’m surprised the ravers weren’t crashing their cars from being distracted by the waterfalls and using their phones to call the radio or tweet about it.

So off I went to my meeting at Kirstenbosch and ‘lo and behold, the mountain above Kirstenbosch had … waterfalls! I stopped and took a few pics. It’s too far away for my phone camera to do it great justice but here’s the biggest one.

The curator of Kirstenbosch told us that today they measured 272 mm of rain compared to the average of 111 mm, so don’t tell me this rain is normal for this time of year.

As I said, it really is the photo of the day because I posted it on Twitter, and my personal Facebook as well as the company FB page.  So it’s gone totally viral*.

And now it’s pouring again. I don’t know how the dog keeps it in, she’s hardly been outside today.

Oh, and I won 2 bottles of wine in the meeting raffle. I’ll review it tomorrow.

*not really

Weird trees

We’re used to seeing trees growing at strange angles here in the Cape but these trees are especially odd. At the end of the Alphen Trail is a woody area with pines and among the trees that mostly grow normally are some that seem to have had a bad start in life and never quite came right. I’ve walked there many times but only noticed this very recently. It was getting dark so the photos aren’t quite award winning but you get the picture anyway.

The only explanation I can think of is that at some point these trees were overcrowded by others which are now gone.

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Supermarket rip off

Sugar

Checkers

How often do you see this? Do you look at prices carefully?

Buy a one kg packet of this sugar and it costs, let’s say, R12,00, so 2 packets would cost R24.00. But buy the 2 kg packet of the same sugar and it costs R25,00. This is not a huge rip off but it annoys me because the supermarket is taking us, consumers, for fools and goodness knows where else they do it. Not to mention that the bigger packet should be cheaper than 2 smaller ones because the packaging has cost less.

A walk in Tokai

Today’s walk took us to the Tokai conservation area again. Part of the forest has been removed so that the fynbos can regrow but alien vegetation is creeping back – lots of work still to be done. We like walking along the inside paths where you can better see the plants and Vida loves running on the sand. Today we even saw cranes but they were too far away for good photos.

Fynbos, Forest and Mountain

Fynbos, Forest and Mountain

Vida  loves it here, things to smell, space to run
Vida loves it here, things to smell, space to run.

Walking towards the pine forest

Walking towards the pine forest. Several bridges over the stream that zig-zags the area but there’s no water at the moment.

Stupid sign, dogs don't read and anyway it was all scrunched up on the ground

Stupid sign, dogs don’t read and anyway it was all scrunched up on the ground

As can be seen, this is not a natural forest

As can be seen, this is not a natural forest

Pretty light

Pretty light

Different light when you turn around

Different light when you turn around

Then our friends joined us

Then our friends joined us

Thinking time

Thinking time

Playing time

Playing time

A lot of work is needed to remove the alien invasive plants but it's still pretty

Anything surrounded by these beautiful mountains is lovely and we’re so lucky to have open spaces like this minutes from busy suburbs.

Only 364 days until my next birthday

Birthday doodleI tried to avoid this day but the fates were against me, it still came around. They should add birthdays to those infamous 2 things you can’t avoid: death and taxes.

The day started just after midnight when I realised that because I have a Google+ account I get a Google Doodle with a personal birthday greeting – this was awesome and I saved the picture, see above.  They should have included some wine, clearly Google isn’t noting my habits as much as they think they are.

At the crack of dawn my sister was the first to call and we had a lovely long giggly phone call which set the tone for the day.  I like talking to my sister early in the day while she’s still sober, it gets tricky as the day progresses. I discovered I was out of regular Colombian blend and had to make do with Amarula flavoured coffee.. oh well, special day and all. I get my coffee from Anthony’s in Loop Street – nothing fancy, no trendy prices or attitude, just genuine coffee lovers and good freshly roasted quality.  A floral and gift delivery from Irish Pat arrived while I was still in pyjamas.

I was inundated with Facebook birthday messages .. the most I’ve ever received since I signed up and a treat was that many of them were genuine personal messages, not just an arbitrary happy happy (I do that sometimes, sorry, I’ll try do better in future). Even Sarah found the time in her busy Australian trip which I am following on this blog and loving every moment of it. Her entries are mostly short and make for an easy but interesting read. She’s reaching the maudlin part of her trip now so it’s time to come home.

My buddies Caroline, Heather and Philippe announced they were popping around after work so I went to get a few bottles of vino and snacks, as well as an overdue gift for Phil whose birthday was last month (see Princess Vida’s blog entry). I always see things I want to photograph at the mall and today I indulged myself a teeny bit. It’s a nice mall with very good quality shops, even the supermarkets, but the people are so bloody pretentious I want to just laugh in their faces. I’d love to take pics of some of them but I dare not, they’re bound to know I’m not a talent scout.

I forgot to take photos of my snack platters. I got nice gifts. We had fun. The dogs didn’t break anything. Vida got a few tidbits when I tidied up. Paul called at 3 minutes to midnight.

There's a massive parking lot but some people can't be expected to wait and walk.

There’s a massive parking lot but some people can’t be expected to wait and walk.

Birthday crap pies

Pick n Pay will be hearing from me about these. Billed as ‘savoury mince pies’ we renamed them ‘air pies’.

Birthay Nora Mirror

Dumbest mirror in town – my gay friends will love this!

Birthday flowers

Can only be in this pretentious shopping mall to see flowers individually protected like this. They are proteas for petes sake, tough as boots! R40 for 4 flowers.

Birthday Amy Biehl

Merlot made in Robertson, should be interesting – to be opened another day. The proceeds of this wine go to the Amy Biehl Foundation. See link below.

Amy Biehl and the Foundation created in her name.

Disclaimer

A note to all accidental visitors:

I am not a photographer and do not claim to have any particular skills whatsoever in that department. I have enormous respect for those who can see the potential in a scene and can create a great photo. Good photography is an art, in my opinion.

I am just a happy snapper, I have no special lenses or accessories, my camera is very simple and it's usually best to leave the setting on auto.

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