Tuesday, October 28, 2008

erratic blogging

Hi, I am shocked to see that it is almost 3 weeks since I last posted, I don't know where my life is rushing off to, but I feel like I am trailing behind! One thing that has been happening is the arrival of our son, his fiance and their daughter from Sudan, along with friends and family from around the world, and they are getting married on Friday. So we are having a great time getting to know the visitors and showing them around, and of course it is wonderful to see the kids again.

It is SOOO great getting to know our granddaughter, who was a pink blob the last time we saw her, and is now an amazing little person with a strong will and delightful nature.

On Saturday we went off to the much anticipated airshow, and had a great day of ooohing and aaahing over the aerial antics, while simultaneously keeping an eye on energetic grandchildren at ground level, and getting pretty sunburnt and wind buffetted into the bargain.

Last week I went out with the plein air painting group, and had a fabulous time ferretting around in a steam train graveyard, I took enough photos to fill a blog for months! So as usual, I emerge from the whirlwind, wondering where to start when it comes to posting photos.
Perhaps I should start with one or two of each of these events, and then if time permits, I will enlarge on them later.

The airshow was great fun. Even the little Miss Millie was fascinated by the helicopter display. Since she lives near a runway in a war zone, I guess this is par for the course as far as she is concerned!

There is something very bizarre about watching 3 large noisy machines, decked out in camouflage colours, dancing gracefully together through the sky, to the strains of Bolero.... really cool!
This year's airshow included a real action packed mock hijacking display, with fake baddies attacking a fake tourist bus, holding hostages, firing automatic weapons and throwing grenades at the special task teams and dog units sent in to catch them. A sniper in a police helicopter mopped up and the medical rescue helicopter airlifted the "casualties" to hospital. The crowd loved it, but as a tourist, Miss Millie's mom found it a bit un-nerving that the South African audience were watching this as if it is an everyday occurence.... which it practically is in some areas!
What none of us realised at the time was that a real life drama was going on during one of the displays, and one of the helicopters was diverted to track down some thieves who had been spotted breaking into a home, and were being pursued by the home owner, before taking cover in thick bush. One of them was arrested, while the other two got away!

Even with all this excitement going on, little boys have a short attention span, but boredom and impending nagging to go home were skillfully dealt with by grandpa, who bought a toy helicopter in the nick of time, and bought us a few extra hours of enjoyment in the process!

For me, the highlight of any airshow is always the formation flying. I adore the artistry and skill of aerobatics, but when it is combined with the precision and teamwork of flying close together at high speed, it makes for breathtaking displays.

The Apple Express is narrow gauge steam train and a very popular tourist attraction in PE. In its heyday, it was run by the railways, and had a few pristine engines to choose from. Sadly it was allowed to get into a sad state, and was eventually rescued and taken over by a private enterprise. These enthusiasts struggle along, trying to keep it viable, whilst working hard to keep the high maintenance trains going. In the old Apple Express yard, all is now ruin and decay. the buildings are falling apart..........
and several old trains are rusting away on a siding.
Whilst this is a great shame, it also gives rise to wonderful photo opportunities, and I will do a post sometime on some of the images I took while we were sketching the trains.

Thursday, October 09, 2008


PE has a reputation for being the "4 seasons in 1 day" city.... so rapid changes from 1 extreme to the other are no surprise to us. Funnily enough, our climate is actually relatively mild, in terms of heat and cold, we never get snow and whine if it goes below 6 degrees C, likewise if it is hovering at 30 degrees C we are swanning around feeling the heat, so the label might be a bit misleading.

Having said that, it is true that in PE, we get into the habit of dressing in layers, that can be peeled off or added on as needed, because we never quite know what the day is going to turn out like. Yesterday seemed like a standard, slightly drizzly day. As a point of reference I have included this picture of how a normal rainy day looks from our dining room window, taken around this time last year....

But yesterday around 9am, after the sun had already been up for over 3 hours, A belt of mist came across and it suddenly got so dark that the streetlights came on. It is the first time I can remember that happening in the morning, since we got here 30 years ago, it was VERY dark.

We couldn't see the little church down the road at all. Even the street lights were barely visible!

It cleared slightly, and the cold front was clearly visible curving across the sky, with a tumbling mass of clouds below it on the horizon.

As you can see from the grass in the park, it has been quite dry lately.This was taken at 9.18 am, just as the heavens opened in earnest, thunder, lightening, the whole 9 yards.

By 9.47 the park looked like this....

Throughout the day there were warnings on the local radio station of high winds, hail and heavy rain, road closures and traffic accidents, as we followed its progress across the region. Today it is cold and very windy, and the mop-up begins! So much for spring ..... Think I'll curl up with a book, a cup of coffee and a couple of cats on my lap..... !

......Nothing like a bit of escapism when it seems that the world around you is going completely mad! In the midst of all the hectic activity in our lives, running from one art exhibition and neighbourhood watch meeting or late night patrol to the next, we woke up one morning recently to find our State President had been fired... Now don't get me wrong, he was pretty useless, and spent so little time in South Africa that he was totally out of touch with what was going on here, but in comparison with the alternative, he was a way better proposition. It has been nothing short of disgusting (not to mention a little discouraging) to see the ANC wrangle and tangle, with no regard for the country that elected it, in order for a few leaders to get themselves out of legal hot water, and establish their power bases. With the unbelievable situation in Zimbabwe dragging itself out to the North of us, and the economy free-falling, it seems like the former sane and stable part of Africa is on the brink of becoming like the rest of the continent.

But wait, who is this knight in shining armour we see riding over the horizon? And he seems to have a jovial companion in a purple robe......
Looks like former defense minister Mosioua Lekota and Archbishop Desmond Tutu have had enough! They have taken a stand against what the ANC is doing, and have spoken out against all the members who are so busy chasing their personal agendas at the expense of the Nation. Good for these courageous men, all strength to them as they try and turn the tide of political self interest that is sweeping our nation!

In the meantime, kettle is on, where's my book? ..... come kitties.....