Big Hole by night

Now that I’ve started writing this, I realise that without a “before” photo, this “after” photo won’t mean a huge amount to anyone. But, for the record, suffice to say that if it were taken a few weeks ago, the majority of this particular photograph would have been taken up by my big tree, which fell over in high winds earlier this month.

I now have a Big Hole to rival Kimberley’s Big Hole (this is a reference to Kimberley in the Northern Cape and not Kimberley on Sea Point Main Road) (although she does also have a big hole) (allegedly).


My garden minus the big tree, yesterday evening.

While I was taking that photo, I took a couple of others – one with a smaller, barer tree that we can now see and another which captured a rare visit by a zebra to our garden.

What? This is Africa, you know?

Holiday Highlights

Although it pains me to say it, the 2009 Kids in Tow Tour is slowly but surely drawing to a close. And – as with all holidays – it’s had its ups and its downs. Fortunately, the highlights have far outweighed the negatives and – because I blog for myself as much as anyone else and I find myself with a few rare spare minutes – I think I should list them. That way, when I get back home to Cape Town (which apparently got washed away while we were here), and it’s grey, cold, wet, depressing and my zebras have gone missing, I can quickly and easily refer to this post and remind myself of the great time we had here. Which will cheer me up for all of 3 seconds. My brain is not easily fooled.

Let us begin:

  1. The embarrassingly uncomfortable Michael Jackson Tribute in Trafalgar Square.
    This, in fact, deserves (and will get) a blog post all of its own. Rarely have I seen a group of people looking more awkward in their own skins. Apart from the one lass in her polka dot skirt, floppy hat, white tights, cream fishnets and crocs, who was making all the others even more self-conscious.
  2. The worst landing ever at Ronaldsway Airport. Not a highlight per se, but it was just nice to be alive after it. 
  3. Reliving my childhood watching Alex and my Mum heading up to the farm together to collect the milk. A reminder that it’s sometimes the really simple things that mean the most.
  4. Every visitor to the cottage being invited to come and have a ride on Alex’s shed bus. For those of you who are uninitiated in the ways of the shed bus, it’s basically a shed with two chairs inside which stops at local Manx villages, Constantia Pick n Pay and the Waterfront.
    No ticket required. If you want a trip, just turn up and you’ll get an invite. Or ten.
  5. Silverdale Glen, with its Victorian water-powered roundabout. I have rarely seen anyone so ecstatic at such a unique playground feature. Bouncing with excitement. Shaking with exhilaration. And that was just my wife. The boy was beside himself.
  6. Our little girl’s First Birthday. She had cake in the garden and then went out on her first ever boat trip. I’m happy to report that the cake remained within her despite the somewhat lumpy sea conditions beyond Port St Mary breakwater. 
  7. Finally getting Mrs 6k to the summit of Cronk ny Arrey Laa. That’s a hill on the West coast of the Island with stunning views – especially at Sunset time – and it was always my intention to get engaged there. To whoever I was going to get engaged to. However, when the big moment came, I was 6,228.23 (thanks Google Earth!) miles away in Hermanus and I thought the romance might have been lost by the drive back to Cape Town International, a 15 hour trip to the Island via Amsterdam and Manchester, a drive up the shoulder road together with the worry of the weather being a bit crap when we got there. Although, I suppose we could always have taken the shed bus.
    Still – all’s well that ends well and it was nice to finally get up there yesterday evening, albeit that the sunset was more pretty than spectacular.    

And there are still 5 days remaining before the (literally) long haul back to Cape Town. It seems to have passed like wildfire, but at the same time (as is the way with these things) I can hardly remember details from the beginning of the trip. That could be down to old age or red wine though. Or, more likely a bit of both.

And – as a bit of a disclaimer – I’m not mentioning the obvious stuff like seeing family and friends. That should go without saying. Although I just said it.

Photos still available (and being regularly updated) on the only official 2009 Kids in Tow Tour flickr set.

Table Mountain Silhouettes

It was cold and dark and wet in Cape Town yesterday. All day.
Now it’s cold and dark and wet again, but at least one third of that is due to it being night time. 

The cloud has been thick and grey and low. I’m quite sure that Table Mountain does still exist, even if we can’t actually see it. This information is especially important for pilots and aviators of any kind to remember. I’m still wondering if once we get clearer weather, we’ll find Air France 447 sat on top of it. Although I’m not wondering this ever so seriously, if I’m honest.

Meanwhile, a reminder of warmer times up the mountain: December 30th 2007 to be exact. We were up the mountain that day with the same couple that we visited today for an indoor braai (believe it, because it’s true), so it seems reasonable to step back 18 months and enjoy one of my most very favourite pictures.

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Which is fully explained here and fully illustrated here.

There were flashing lights all over Devils Peak as we drove back into Cape Town this evening. I don’t know why. Suffice to say they looked like emergency vehicles rather than Christmas lights, but I can’t elaborate further just now because I’m all out of elaborative details. I could make some stuff up, but I find that often gets me into trouble, so probably best to wait for the newspapers to tell me what happened tomorrow.

One final word: this was a big relief after I watched this last night.

Mud & Sunsets

It’s been a great afternoon. About half way through the Bulls versus Crusaders Super 14 semi-final, with the score a tantalising 27-23, Mrs 6k decided that it would be a good time for us to take the kids up to the local school field, let them run around and let me not watch the end of the rugby. Her plan was extremely successful on both counts.
But I’m glad we went. The kids enjoyed the mud on the churned up fields after the morning school rugby games and I booted a properly shaped ball around, chased Alex and took photos of the sky and the mountains.

I was even allowed to look up the Bulls score on the way home. Result. Literally.  

I was working hard on the first Peroni of the weekend when I glanced outside to see a completely orange sky. Now, I’m very used to blue, quite used to black with tiny white dots in and sadly, becoming used to grey again, but orange is still a bit of a novelty.

Quickly grabbing the point-and-shoot camera – mainly because I wanted to take photos and it’s the only camera I own – I ran outside, climbed on top of the braai, pointed and shot. I should probably inform readers at this point that we have a built-in braai and it wasn’t a Weber or one of those rubbish disposable things. That would have taken a monumental amount of balance or made absolutely no difference to my overall height whatsoever. Or both.
No, our braai is pretty big.
Fortunately the sky is also pretty big and I was able to not miss on a number of occasions. This probably being my favourite hit.

Although I quite like this one too. You can see the whole lot of them on flickr and make your own decision.

And once again, I must remind you lovely people that taking good photographs in Cape Town isn’t difficult. Most of the work is done for you. So yes, despite the fact that I think some of these are “good”, once again, none of them are exceptional. And, once again, I’m left wondering if I can at least partially overcome the paucity of my talent by buying a better camera.

The alternative, of course, is to spend that camera money on beer, and then see if my creative abilities are augmented by imbibing (what I calculate to be) about 1,000 bottles of Amstel. Being a scientist, I am tempted by the idea of exploring both possibilities as fully as possible.