Surf’s up


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Which way to the beach?


 

An Ancient History Treasure Trove


Kilmartin Glen is a small village in Scotland somewhere between Oban and Lochgilphead. The Glen is home to more than 800 ancient monuments within a few square miles, and is said to have one of the richest concentrations of historical sites in Scotland.

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Starting between the 7th and 8th century candidates for King would place their foot on the sacred Dunadd’s Inaugural Stone, signifying he was now married to the land.

Last summer I was fortunate enough to visit this area with my family, all of us in one way or another tracing our Scottish roots.

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Nether Largie South Cairn is the oldest of the series of cairns found in the valley, probably dating back to the fourth millennium BC. It’s incredible to think that structures such as these still remain standing after so much time.

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The small entrance to one of the cists, or coffins, found at Nether Largie South Cairn. Was a King buried here?

Along the lane from the South Cairn to Temple Wood, even the stone walls are ancient.

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Temple Wood – or Half-Moon Wood – was so named only in the 19th century, after the planting of the trees around the circle. It is thought that the site was first used for burial around 3000BC

No-one is really sure of the significance of the Nether Largie standing stones, but it has been suggested they were erected 3,200 years ago and used to predict the movements of the sun and the moon.

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Reaching back in time

Even a year later, looking back on these pictures I am left feeling nostalgic for a time and place I have never really known.

 


To see more old things, head over to Terri Webster Schrandt’s Sunday Stills: Objects over 100 Years Old challenge.

Not so Neighbourly


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We are now on the warmer side of winter; nights are not as cold and days are getting longer. There is not long to go until the wheat starts to senesce and we begin preparing for harvest.

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We have not had any rainfall since March and it’s pretty dry, so until the drying out period for the wheat begins it’s important that we keep on top of our irrigation program.

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Power outages are normal around here. They happen almost daily and although we usually receive notification in advance, they can be quite disruptive to farming operations. When we woke up to no electricity this morning – with no prior warning – Piet contacted our local electricity supply company (ZESCO) who told him that power was out for maintenance. He then posted a question on the WhatsApp ZESCO chat group and got this response:

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Which was quickly amended to:

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Having elephants as neighbours can be rather trying at times!

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Some Odd Balls


Every Sunday Cee’s Photography hosts an Odd Ball photo challenge.

Odd Ball Photos are those great photos that you take which really don’t seem to fit into a common category. We’ve all taken them and like them, because we just can’t hit delete and get rid of them. If you have any of those type of photos, this challenge is for you.

Because of time zone differences I am too early for today’s challenge, but here’s my contribution for last week.

The pictures speak for themselves in terms of odd-ball-ness.

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A Photo a Week Challenge: Street Lights. Also: A Revamp


In an effort to motivate myself to contribute more to this blog I have decided to do a make-over.  You may have noticed the name change, from Far Out in Africa to the more appropriate and less restricting (at least I think so) I’ll Give You a Letter For That.

For now not much else will change, but I think the non-Africa posts will seem less irrelevant.

Let me know what you think.

I know the title says A photo a week, but I’m terrible at making decisions.

So I’ve included a number of pictures that ‘may’ fit with the theme, which I took during a visit to the UK to visit family last year.

If you want to play along please visit Nancy Merril‘s post, where you can read the rules and hopefully join in the fun.

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Moonset over Glossop in Derbyshire

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Small alley in Durham

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Durham flower display

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Street lights in Newcastle upon Tyne

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Crossing the Tyne Bridge, towards Newcastle

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An intriguing sculpture stairway in Newcastle

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At the Quayside Market, Newcastle

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A narrow flight of stairs, Newcastle

 

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G for Green is Go and God is Love

 

Shadows


When I first decided to take part in the Daily Post Shadow photo challenge I thought any pictures I used would have to be limited to those taken either early in the morning or late in the afternoon, when shadows are long and dramatic.

Then I came across this picture I took of these little guys, soaking up the mid-day sun on Boulders Beach in Cape Town.

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Last year I was invited to write a small story about Walking With Rhinos in a local publication.

Although the walk I was on sets off early in the morning, I was lucky it was mid winter – by 07.00am it was already pretty hot.

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Now back to Cape Town, where wedding guests play a genteel game of croquet while waiting for the bride and groom to appear after family photographs

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Walking back to the car one evening, after an extended Sunday lunch at The Brass Bell, we came across a micro pig playing with a dog in a children’s play ground.

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Happy, hot dogs take respite from the glaring sun.

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Our shadows briefly rest on the Zimbabwe bank of the Zambezi River, a fleeting reminder that this used to be home.

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One Liner Wednesday – Fairy Garden


After the rains last night the fairies came out to play.

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“Few humans see fairies or hear their music, but many find fairy rings of dark grass, scattered with toadstools, left by their dancing feet.” ― Judy Allen, Fantasy Encyclopedia

 


 

If you would like to participate, feel free to use the “One-Liner Wednesday” title in your post, and if you do, you can ping back here to help your blog get more exposure. To execute a ping back, just copy the URL in the address bar on this post, and paste it somewhere in the body of your post. Your link will show up in the comments below. Please ensure that the One-Liner Wednesday you’re pinging back to is this week’s! Otherwise, no one will likely see it but me.

NOTE: Pingbacks only work from WordPress sites. If you’re self-hosted or are participating from another host, like Blogger, please leave a link to your post in the comments below.

As with Stream of Consciousness Saturday (SoCS), if you see a ping back from someone else in my comment section, click and have a read. It’s bound to be short and sweet.

Unlike SoCS, this is not a prompt so there’s no need to stick to the same “theme.”

The rules that I’ve made for myself (but don’t always follow) for “One-Liner Wednesday” are:

1. Make it one sentence.

2. Try to make it either funny or inspirational.

3. Use our unique tag #1linerWeds.

4. Add our very cool badge to your post for extra exposure!

5. Have fun!

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Shelob, the Hairy Field Spider


If you are afraid of spiders, you might want to skip this one.  However, knowledge is power and learning a little more about these fascinating creatures may help you to overcome your fear.

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Winter, such that it was, ended overnight. We woke up one morning with the electric blanket on and went to bed that night with the air conditioner set to its coldest.

The heat is debilitating (it does not lend itself to any form of work!) and on top of that it is very dusty and dry – the bush looks like it will never recover and seems to get browner by the minute.

Out walking yesterday morning I noticed an encouraging sign; one lone green tree, an interloper peering out through the grey. The rains can’t be far off now and I’m really looking forward to that.

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When I got home and looked closer at the picture I had taken and noticed something else.

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Do you see them?

So, despite the sweltering heat and in the name of science I called the reluctant dogs and we all traipsed out again to get a closer look.

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And closer ...

Closer

And closer ...

And closer …

Closer still

Closer still

What lives in these messy nests? Looks like it could be a spider so, much to Piet’s disgust (he’s quite happy to face down a charging buffalo but the sight of a tiny spider will have him cowering and yelling for me to save him), I decided to take one home to open up and have a look.

I put the nest inside a plastic dish and the first thing that happened was a whole bunch of tiny spiders rushed out, waving their legs at me in indignation. It was like a spider village in there! They were mostly jumping spiders (Salticidae) but there were also a couple of other species, too small for my aging eyes to recognise.

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Most of those little black dots are spiders

A tiny salticidae

A tiny salticidae

On opening up the nest the first thing I  saw was a wasp nest. I find this interesting as often wasps predate on spiders, usually using them as a food source for their larvae, and I wonder what the relationship is in this case. It must be quite disconcerting for the spiders to live together with an animal which may be eyeing them out as a meal for its offspring!

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Next I found a nest-within-a-nest.

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And inside this nest was Shelob — the true boss of the place! She curled herself up and pretended to be dead, which made closer inspection a lot easier than if she was scurrying about trying to escape.

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I asked for help with identifying this spider from the Spider Club of Southern Africa Facebook page and was informed  that ‘Shelob’ belongs to a family of spiders known as Araneinae , or orb spiders, and that she has a delightful common name — Hairy Field Spider.

Shelob, the Hairy Field Spider

Shelob, the Hairy Field Spider

Hairy Field Spiders are not harmful to humans, but Piet was not sure that releasing Shelob into the rose-bush which grows under the light outside the lounge was a good idea. I know she will do good, helping the geckos and frogs to catch the mosquitoes that will come when the rains finally begin.