Seven of us set out on Wednesday to traverse Moonshine Pass (accessed from Vogelgat Nature Reserve) but unfortunately Max retired early as she had had a very long walk on Monday and did not feel up to the steep climb. Luckily for the rest of us it was not too hot, but we still took around five and a half hours to complete the 11 kilometres. The well-maintained paths and excellent views ensured that we had a comfortable and enjoyable walk with abundant fynbos along the way. Once again, we saw the unusual Dilatris viscosa. The pool at Quark provided a welcome respite for some, and we were lucky to see the pair of Verreaux’s Eagles and hear a couple of Fish Eagles on the way down.
It is now two years since I started blogging. I seem to have written an awful lot of worthless stuff in my 117 blogs to date and have published hundreds of photographs. I still enjoy doing it, however, and will therefore continue. I thought that I was doing quite well when I had ca. 3500 hits in my first year, but its obviously getting better, as I have had around 13000 in the second year. Walks, photography and family still dominate and I include a photograph for good measure.
We chose a warm day to tackle this ever-popular walk in the Kogelberg behind Kleinmond. There were 12 of us who set out from Fairy Glen and we soon found ourselves in luxuriant new vegetation caused by the recent good rains. Despite this, it was obvious that we were still walking in an area that was devastated by fire some two years ago, with a great deal of floral rehabilitation still due to occur.
A profusion of flowers and beautiful views kept us spellbound throughout. We had thought to tackle the climb up to Perdeberg from Spooknek, but the warm weather put paid to this idea and we returned to Fairy Glen instead, with some wobbly knees evident by the time we had negotiated the long and steep downhill sections. All agreed that it was a good outing and we will reconsider another day there in April next year, in the hope of seeing some Erica pillansii. The standout flower of the day was the magnificent Dilatris viscosa, which most of us saw for the first time.
A two hour walk along the contour path above Hermanus Heights today, saw 13 walkers enjoying a mountainside much rejuvenated after the recent good rains and able to view a really magnificent range of wild flowers. Specials included the rarely seen Ortholobium thomii, Brachysiphon acutus and Agathosma bifida. Many thanks to Sandy Jenkin for identifying most of the plant species.
A photographic outing to Gabrielskloof Wine Estate in late 2010 was an interesting opportunity to get the feel of a new and exciting project in the Overberg just east of Bot River. Impressive vineyards and olive orchards grace the hillsides to the east of the farm headquarters. Their produce is transported to the modern underground cellar where a delicious range of wines is produced. There is also a fine restaurant and wedding venue on the estate, testifying to a dedicated and innovative management team.
In March 2007, I asked my cousin, Simon Stone, to paint a portrait of Renee. He was still living in Knysna and we spent some time at his studio, so that Renee could sit for him. I utilised my time photographing in the studio and really enjoyed the experience. Simon is a wonderful artist and I relished the opportunity to get close to his work and get some idea of what makes him tick. The portrait was a great success and hangs proudly in our sitting room, but the photographs that I took have never had any exposure, so I thought to give my readers some inkling of his work through my blog. You may gather, from the images of recovered fishing sinkers, that Simon spent a lot of his time diving and he also enjoyed painting his collection of sinkers. He had thousands of them!
Cape Dutch architecture is characterised by many things, but the ones that caught my eye on Sunday, whilst visiting some show gardens, were the gables and courtyards at Beaumont and Houw Hoek Outspan. The former are certainly the most visible aspects of this building form, whilst one needs to get closer in order to appreciate the latter.
Yesterday we visited some of the gardens on show in the Elgin/Bot River area. We were fortunate to travel with Liz and Garth and our first stop was at Beaumont, where we had coffee and scones courtesy of Nicky Beaumont, whilst enjoying the Victorian garden and views over the dam that fronts the main homestead.
Our next stop ws at Wildekrans guesthouse at Houw Hoek, a beautiful spot with a wonderful garden filled with sculpure by Wilma Cruise. Barry Gould, architect and co-owner with his partner, Alison Green, is something of a garagiste and I could not resist buying a case of his 2006 Cab Sav/Merlot blend. From there it was a short hop to the garden and nursery at Houw Hoek Outspan. We were able to stock up with some miniature alstroemerias and hope that they will soon be brightening our garden.
Midday was looming, so we next drove to South Hill, in the Elgin Valley. A wine and food pairing was our main focus and the wine was good enough for us to leave with the back of Garth’s wagon well stocked with a selection of Kevin King’s excellent wines.
Our final visit was to the garden and nursery at Keurbos, before returning home via the Highlands road. The only thing that marred our day was a dusty detour through Karwyderskraal, caused by some stone throwing around Hawston, which resulted in the road being closed.
At South Hill we had sampled some duck with their MCC wine and this reminded me that there was a frozen duck in our deep freeze. Garth thought I was joking when I said I was going to roast it, but two hours after our arrival at home it was on the table and, together with Garth and Liz, we devoured every last bit of it!
We were thrilled when Gil and Lizzie decided to visit from Brisbane and even more so when they asked if they could spend a few days with us. It was great to see them again and show them around Hermanus. The whales came in on the act and performed beautifully, so much so that we were able to see around thirty of them off De Kelders in crystal clear calm seas, and all within a few hundred metres of each other!
Then on Tuesday it was Rob’s birthday and we all got together for a family reunion at Chris and Gill’s home in Newlands. Unfortunately, by the time I took this photo, Anthony, Dee, Camilla and Tash had vanished, so are missing from the group. It was great to see all the cousins again.