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.


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.


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


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.


Happy, hot dogs take respite from the glaring sun.


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





In the Eye of the Beholder

Arachnaphobes beware. Spider pictures! (only at the end of this post though)

For more creepy pictures pop over to the Daily Post (if you dare) to have a look at the other entries in this week’s challenge.

I’ve been under cover, so to speak, during the last month or so and have not felt up to doing much at all.  The reason? The Sun.  A quick trip to Johannesburg, a visit to a dermatologist to check on a dodgy mole on my chest and the subsequent treatment (read Torture) he prescribed has confirmed to me that The Sun is Not Your Friend! Do not trust the Sun!

The cream, which I have to apply twice a day,  draws out any pre-cancerous cells that may be lurking below the skin’s surface (and which were made that way by the sun), turns them a fetching shade of bright red and then kills them. Once dead, these cells change into dark brown, oozing scabs before they fall off.

Until recently I thought my skin was relatively clear and blemish free and I’ve always tried to be diligent about applying sunscreen – usually only when we have been on holiday though, not every day. But the way those initial little red dots have amalgamated to cover my entire face and neck, making me glow in the dark, has been a sobering reminder that applying sunscreen as part of our daily routine is vital for all of us, and could be life-saving. This treatment is painful and inconvenient but it beats the alternative. It’s sunscreen every day and large hats for me from now on.

One of my Muslim friends has kindly lent me a burka to wear if I venture outside             (I have to avoid all exposure to the sun during my treatment) but it’s hot and uncomfortable under there and I’m avoiding any outings if I can help it.

I was going to share a couple of selfies (sans burka) to illustrate but decided it just looks too bad. That shiny red face is not a pretty sight –  even Tikkie barked at me when I got home from town the other day! (and if you really want to see, this is what it is like)

So instead I am posting a couple of pictures which I took with the new macro lens Last Born gave me for my birthday.

I think this is a wolf spider, a member of the Lycosidae family and, although many people find spiders creepy, these ones are harmless to humans and I think they are beautiful.

This little guy had just crawled out of his burrow when I came across him the other evening and he obligingly stood still just long enough for me to get a couple of shots. I couldn’t decide which was the best, so have included them both.



A Day At The Beach

I’ve recently been on a trip to the UK to visit my family. Now that I am back home I’m pretty busy with boring stuff like catching up with work I missed and don’t have much time for blogging. I am posting this in haste while the Daily Post Photo Challenge: On The Way is still current. This post is also my entry into this week’s Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge.

I took these photos over the Bank Holiday weekend a couple of weeks ago. First Born and his wife had recently moved over to the UK from South Africa and they wanted to do some exploring, Archie (Last Born’s hyperactive dog) needed an outing and my Dad wanted to show us one of his old childhood haunts – as a child he would cycle from his home in Manchester to Ainsdale Beach – so we all piled into the vehicles and drove to the seaside. An hour or so into the journey someone shouted “there’s an elephant!” Wishful thinking I thought but sure enough, there was an elephant deep in the wilds of Merseyside! IMG_5920 As tempting as it was to turn off to have a look, we continued with our original plan. IMG_5222 IMG_5903   IMG_5853 IMG_5328 IMG_5498 IMG_5368 IMG_5387 IMG_5443 IMG_5867 Hopefully soon I will be up to date with my work and will have time for the more important stuff in life, like getting back in touch with the World of Blog. Until then, Happy Thursday.

Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge (Day Five): Rustle Crow

This is my final entry in the Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge. I have had a lot of fun taking part and I would like to thank Cee from Cee’s Photography Blog for asking me to join. Cee is a very active blogger and she always posts something every day. She also runs various daily photo and writing challenges and offers helpful advice and encouragement to everyone who takes part – I don’t know where she finds the energy! If you haven’t already, I recommend that you pop over to her site to have a look at her work – her photos and accompanying stories are beautiful.

Colonialist’s Blog is my nominee for today. He describes his home as being “on the edge of that pond called the Indian Ocean” and I have to admit I am a little bit jealous of that! I enjoy the humour on Colonialist’s Blog and hope that you will too.

Rustle Crow

Rustle was born in December 2007 in a nest on the top of the internet mast at the back of our garden.

It was the rainy season and a particularly violent storm had caused some damage to the mast, cutting off our internet supply (this happens every year!), so we called in the internet people to come and fix it.

One of the internet men climbed onto the mast, got half way up and then came down again. He declared that the problem had not been caused by the storm but that he could see a crows nest at the top and that this was why we had no signal. He had come down to fetch a stick which he was going to use to destroy the nest (and in the process kill whatever was in it).

Luckily for Rustle, Last Born was visiting us for Christmas and he was having none of that! He donned a backpack, shimmied up that mast and was back down again with a baby crow safely tucked in his backpack before the internet guy could say “No! Wait!”.

It's a long way up there!

It’s a long way up there!

I don’t think there is an easy way to determine the sex of a crow, but it was decided that the chick was a boy, so he was named Rustle (had it been a girl, her name would have been Cheryl).

Rustle in his new, less elevated, home

Rustle in his new, less elevated, home


He was quickly tamed and soon became a member of the family, keeping us entertained with his antics. He even got his own Facebook page.


Like all birds, Rustle loved to bath and we always kept a dish of water handy for this.



Having no windows in the house, the problem was keeping him out of the house when he was wet!


Once Rustle grew up he left home. I was quite sad about that, but at the same time pleased that he was able to live his life as a wild bird, not locked up in a cage forever.

We are often visited by crows in our garden and when we do I always go outside and call his name, wondering if one of them is Rustle.

Is that Rustle up there?

Is that Rustle up there?

A couple of weeks ago while driving around in the fields taking photos for this post I came across some crows feeding on peanuts that had been dropped by the harvester.




One of them broke away from the crowd and flew towards me, banking and swooping over my head. I like to think it was Rustle saying “hello”.



Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge (Day Four): Motion

Thank you to Cee from Cee’s Photography Blog for inviting me to join in this challenge. Please pop over to her site and have a look at her beautiful, inspiring pictures .

“The rules of Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge require you to post a photo each day for five consecutive days and attach a story to the photo (It can be fiction or non-fiction, a poem or simply a short paragraph) and then nominate another blogger to carry on this challenge. Accepting the challenge is entirely up to the person nominated, it is not a command.”

I would like to invite scrapydotwo to join in today. scrapydotwo writes interesting stories and posts beautiful pictrures about South Africa and New Zealand, in both Afrikaans and English (Piet helps me with translations and my Afrikaans is improving – a little – as a result!). Have a look at her blog – you will be glad you did.

My post today is linked to The Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: Motion.

Where thou dwellest, in what grove,
          Tell me Fair One, tell me Love;
          Where thou thy charming nest dost build,
          O thou pride of every field! – The Birds, William Blake

I don’t think I have ever seen so many Yellow Billed Kites at one time as I did on this wintery afternoon.

1-4. Yellow Billed Kites catching flying ants



The dogs loved seeing them too!


Storks moving in for the summer.


And for a bit of colour, roosting European Bee eaters.

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