July 2020, and the plague marches on

The reason I am writing about each month is that I finally downloaded all my phone photos to my laptop. It’s not a pretty picture. There were almost 4000 of them since the end of March alone, about half being dogs and food. Dogs in the same position either on indoor couch, outdoor couch, or bed. Food being home-cooked, seldom photogenic, and becoming more and more boring every day.

South Africa finally reached the ‘peak’ of Covid-19. Hospitals were stretched to their limits and the mortality rates shot up. Not as high as Europe or the US because we planned well and we have a young population, but it was frightening. One of my lockdown inmates lost his father and had to fly to Johannesburg for a small family cremation and returned home the same day. The planning of the timing, obtaining a special police travel permit, and how to work around curfew – it was all a bit much for something as simple as a 2 hour flight, and he had to do all that whilst grieving at his sudden loss. We waited for 10 days to see if he had picked up something nasty at the airport but nothing came. Not a good 10 days.

And winter … oh, yes, another month of raging Cape winter storms. One day it’s warm and clear and sitting outdoors is a no-brainer, the next day trees are falling on roofs or cars, or blocking major roads. My ceiling survived the second bad storm but not so the wall separating me and my neighbours. Well, luckily not the entire wall, just the top few rows of a small section but it wasn’t amusing at all. Apparently the entire wall will come tumbling down one of these days but for now we’re ignoring it and hoping for the best.

Officially, spring is from September but our vegetation doesn’t follow the calendar so July heralds the start of the flower season. The sight of flowers and new growth made me think I should grow vegetables. A bit late, I know, but hope springs eternal and all that so I started with tomatoes – using seeds from store-bought tomatoes, large ones and the medium sized Rosa. I thought pots would be better than open ground because of the dogs. Bad idea, my pots were too small. I eventually transplanted them into the ground, protected with barriers from dogs, and am now, in December about to harvest a decent and gradual crop. More pics to come.

A few July pics, followed by the usual link to my crowdfunding campaign which is going rather well but needs constant boosting if I am to achieve my final goal. You are thanked in advance for any contribution, no matter how small.

Pano on a crisp wintr’s day – Constantiaberg mountains with Tokai garden in front.

My one and only aloe – watch how gradually the flowers drop. They are sucked empty by birds in the space of 2 weeks. The birds are impossible to photogragh – they’r tiny and fast, but oh so beautiful, mostly double-collared sunbirds and starlings.

This is what happens when you try to dry tomato seeds without first removing them from bits of tomato. The compost heap loved this!

Two memories – the precious and well-travelled Art Deco Limoges cups my mother gave me. The fluff of my wedding dress which I finally gave away this year when doing a big declutter of clothes and other things.

About Francoise Armour

I run a small touring company (Tours du Cap) at the bottom of Africa, to show visitors the beauty and vibrant culture of the country I have lived in since my parents brought me here from France as a child. I enjoy taking photos and wish I had learnt to do it properly. I enjoy writing but don't do enough of it. I enjoy walking in the mountains that surround me and I marvel over the views and the flowers and the amazing rock formations. I have a small, cute, clever, black dog of indeterminable breed, named Vida, who reminds me regularly that walking and getting out is not only for when tourists want it.

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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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