Every morning I walk past a patch of Strelitzia on my way to the office and when there are flowers in bloom I can’t help but pause for a moment to enjoy it. The Strelitzia reginae is also known as the crane flower or bird of paradise. In Afrikaans it’s called a kraanvoëlblom and in Nguni it’s an isigude. The Strelitzia reginae occurs naturally only in South Africa along the eastern coast from Humansdorp to northern KwaZulu-Natal in coastal bush and thicket. It often grows along river banks in full sun, however, sometimes it occurs and flowers on margins of forest in shade. The inflorescence stalk is 700 mm tall with 4-6 flowers that emerge in succession in a boat-shaped spathe.
Last night’s sunset was something else. Wow, literally fire in the sky. Unfortunately, I was kept busy with visitors leaving and only got to grab my phone for a pic just before it was too late. Still striking!
I’m still here. I may not have posted anything on my blog for a month but I’m still around. It’s scary though how busy my life has become between work, family, sport (the kids’, not my own) and everything else I’m involved in. The two things that have suffered the most are my blog and exercising. And to a lesser extend Geocaching. Plus my laptop at home has packed up again. You know how it is. When it rains it pours. If it would only do that literally in our catchment areas. So I’m currently trying to wrap my head around how I can juggle it all and get blogging again. In the meantime, I just had to stop on my way to the office this morning and grab this photograph to share. Doesn’t matter how busy you are, you can’t help but stop to admire true natural beauty.
We haven’t taken the dogs for a walk on the beach in ages so this morning we gathered up the kids and the sausages and headed down to Pollok Beack. We weren’t the only ones who were enjoying the beautiful autumn weather we’ve been having lately. I left my camera at home wanting to spend time with the family, but ones there I kinda wish I had it. Snapped this pic with my phone but need to make a plan and spend some beach time with my camera in hand.
I am way behind on my blogging. Like in “get Dr Strange in here with the Time Stone and send me back 6 months so I can try to start and catch up” behind. Life is getting in the way and life is made up of work, family, kids, sport, etc, etc, etc… That plus having a teenager in the house that occupies my laptop all evening, which have now conked out for the third time in a year. The laptop, not the teenager. Freekin hell, please remind me never to buy an Acer computer again. That is if I ever have money to buy a laptop again with what Miggie’s indoor cricket is costing me. Anyhow… We picked strawberries in Hankey, in January, which is a good 4 and a half months ago already, but I would really like to share it with you.
Madele’ Ferreira has been growing strawberries outside Hankey in the Gamtoos Valley for over 20 years and for the last few years they have managed to produce strawberries commercially all year round. With over 12 hectares covered in strawberries and supplying some of the biggest retail chains around, the Mooihoek strawberries have probably crossed your lips at one stage or another, but only from the shop to your table to your mouth. Although they have had many requests from people to come and pick their own strawberries they have never been ready for the public to do so. That was until Madele’s daughter was looking to earn some extra money during the summer holiday and it was decided to allow the public to pick for a limited time only. The response? Overwhelming and so much more than they ever imagined.
I headed out to Hankey with the family in tow and two teenagers who weren’t very excited about the outing, mainly because they had no idea what they will get to do. Yes, they knew we were going to pick strawberries, but I don’t think they even knew how the fruit was grown and what you actually have to do.
On arrival we bought our punnets at R30 each and received the simple instructions. You can pick as many as you can fit onto the punnet without leaning it against your body. Pick away! And pick they did. Them and many others who arrived on just this one morning. Apparently, the farm workers could not understand why people would want to come and pay to pick strawberries in the summer sun when you can just buy them in the shop. Nobody told them that these days it’s all about experiences and not just looking at things anymore, but rather doing.
I sure hope they will open the field for picking at some stage again and perhaps on a more permanent basis as it will do wonders for tourism in the Gamtoos Valley. For now, I can only stare at my pictures from the day and remember the taste of those sweet red strawberries, most not even making it home with us.
The Baakens River flowing past the renovated Tramways Building. The Lower Baakens Valley has become a hub for activities and markets especially since the renovation of this building and the willingness of both private and public sector to invest in the area.
Every year with Ironman we like to go and watch the cycle leg somewhere to support these amazing sportsmen and women. Like last year we joined a big number of other supporters at Grass Roof next to Seaview Road as you can see them going both ways.
This past weekend was Ironman weekend in the Bay and Port Elizabeth showed off as usual. Beautiful weather, great scenery and, most importantly, excellent support. One of the things most Ironman visitors to PE comment about is the support along the course. We headed out to Seaview Road at Grass Roof and joined a couple of hundred other supporters cheering on the Ironman competitors on the cycle leg.