Thursday, 24 December 2009

'Twas the night before Christmas...

 ...when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter's nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
"Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes -- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night."

Sunday, 20 December 2009


Here are some pics I took at Big Bay last weekend. The wind was HOWLING which made walking on the beach less than ideal. But the wind surfers and kite surfers were in their element.

These were taken around 7 in the evening, which is a gorgeous time of day, especially in the heart of Cape Town's summer...

How's this pic below? I was focusing on the kite surfer in the foreground
so at first I didn't notice the guy in the background, suspended mid-air!

 These dogs aren't mine but I kinda wish they were!



This cat was hanging around the parking at the beach, 
leaving its paw prints on the vistors' cars


Saturday, 19 December 2009

Tweet this

Last weekend I abandoned my kitty and home to house-sit for friends in Table View. A swimming pool and DSTV sweetened the deal so I was there like a bear to make sure the pets were all taken care of. Of course, with two dogs and three cats in the mix, a little animal drama is to be expected and sure enough one of the cats brought home a baby bird on the first night I was there.

Luckily the kitty got so carried away with happiness at his treasure find that I was immediately alerted to the situation, enabling me to snatch the baby birdie from certain death via torture before consumption. I reckon the bird was blown out of his nest by the hectic wind, as he didn't have a scratch on him. But you know how it is... these guys are super sensitive and traumatised birds rarely survive though they take forever to head towards the light and the Big Nest in the Sky waiting beyond.

This guy was tiny!!! Not sure what type of bird he was, but he seemed to be quite greenish. Straight away, I bundled him into a little tupperware dish where he sat trembling and teetering On The Edge, so to speak. Throughout the night I kept checking on him, hoping that he had passed away peacefully and without too much drama. But the little guy hung in there. I couldn't believe my eyes the next morning when I opened the lid of his container and he stuck his head out, beak wide open, noisily demanding breakfast! I tried feeding him some bread soaked in water, but I had no idea if I was feeding him the right stuff or right amount. Plus, the noisy little guy had piqued the other animals' attention, which made it even harder to feed him. So I decided to seek 'professional help' and took the bird over to SANCOB.

They're also based in Table View and even though they deal more with the rehabilitation of coastal birds, they were lovely and accommodating. SANCOB was happy to take the bird and feed him a proper breakfast before passing him on to experts. Who knew?!?! So next time you have a bird emergency, don't forget that SANCOB can help you out. They ask for a really tiny donation in exchange, but it's worth it considering the amazing work they do. They're really an awesome bunch - just ask all those rescued penguins!

Friday, 18 December 2009

Sizeable breezes

So I spent yesterday in Langebaan, a quietish little town about 120km out of Cape Town, up the West Coast. The road to Langebaan is long and pretty much runs parallel to the coast, and in true West Coast style, the landscape is covered in rugged fynbos. On the way to Langebaan, it's hard not to notice the four enormous wind turbines that dominate the hillside just outside Darling and so, with time on our hands, a visit to the white monstrosities was in order. It was definitely worth it.

The dirt road leading to the wind turbines is guarded by a locked gate, but thankfully the wind farm care-taker was only too happy to let us in.

The wind turbines look huge from the West Coast road so you can imagine how incredibly massive they really are up close. Each of the four wind turbines stand at 50 metres, towering above like something out of H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds. And the sound the turbines make is nothing short of eerie. But cool, very cool.

What impressed me about the wind farm, other than the sheer size of the turbines, was the incredible alternative to conventional energy generation they afforded. According to the care-taker, one wind turbine has the capacity to power a small town. At the moment, the wind farm is home to only four turbines but you can imagine the limitless potential many more would have. (California's San Gorgonio Pass wind farm boasts over 3 200 wind turbines!!!) It's an incredibly environmentally friendly alternative, although the initial cost is quite hectic. Apparently the four turbines cost around 84 million rand to set up!

Seems the four turbines are part of an experimental project to determine if wind-power really is a viable option. The power generated by the turbines is already being trickled into the main power grid. I'm not sure how long they need to think it over, but considering the mess the planet is in and the dire need to reduce climate change, there's no time to lose.

So next time you're in the area why not pay the wind turbines a visit? It's really interesting for kids and grown-ups alike. And remember, don't be put off by the locked gate - it is open to the public. I think they're just keeping the place safe from vandalism by asking visitors to sign in. I think there may also be wild animals in the area, so perhaps the gate is there to keep them in. Or out. Or whatever.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

C'mon guys, seal that deal

Copenhagen Climate Change Summit
December 6th - 18th 2009
Hong Wang, China

 Cai Shi Wei, China

Marco Valentini, Italy
Pamela Campagna & Thomas Scheiderbauer, Spain
Ulas Ugur Pinar Akkurt, Turkey


Friday, 11 December 2009

Ho ho ho and all that

'Decided to embrace the impending Christmas season by putting up my Christmas tree.

Must say, I love my tree. It's gold and glitzy - a tad kitschy - and gorgeous. It's also a fairly minimalist tree, which means NO decorations, so putting up the tree is a cinch. It's the lights, however, that complicate things. And when I finally switched the lights on, I discovered that the pack of 50 clear Christmas lights that I bought on sale in February are of the flashing ilk. I personally don't like flashing lights but can't for the life of me figure out how to make them stop. But 'tis the season and all that, so I'll risk the seizure.

Stalker view

The gold blur in the background is said Christmas tree



Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Good vibes

Things have been a little heavy for a while now (unemployment is such a buzz kill)  so I reckon it's time to lighten things up. Here's a post about everything and nothing. No negativity here! 

So my dad recently upgraded to a new camera. This was great news for me as he gave me his 'old' camera. For many moons now I've been perving over digital SLRs and I'm pleased to announce I finally GOT ME ONE!!!! I'm really chuffed. It's a Canon EOS 300D and I'm so in love with it. I foresee a long and happy future with my beautiful new toy. I've been playing around with it a bit - here are a few of my favourite pics:

 Jeep at Eaglevlei Wine Farm

  Cue cliched cat pic

 Ducks in a row, at Groot Constanta

Different angle of Groot Constantia quacks

 A random kid and his dog

My friend Karen,
whose birthday we were celebrating at Groot Constantia

I love the control it offers the user. Compact cameras are a lot like Microsoft - they assume you don't know what you're doing and try to do everything for you. I hate that. But not my little baby. No. That's not to say my little Sony compact camera is to be kicked to the curb, but SLR is obviously first prize! 

Anyway, been keeping an eye on all this Fifa World Cup stuff and I must say, I am very willingly letting myself be swept up in the momentum of excitement. Last Friday was a glorious day for Cape Town when it hosted the Fifa WC draw. I was so proud of the Mother City! The vibe was fantastic! (Not so sure about Ms Theron's outfit though. Just saying.) 

The weekend started on an exuberant high note and ended equally wonderfully at The Killers concert. God, I love those guys! Brilliant show! Val de Vie Wine and Polo Estate was a stunning setting for the concert but turned out to be a less than ideal venue logistically. One access point to and from the wine farm?!?!? Traffic was a nightmare - some people sat in their car for up to four hours waiting to get out. Insane! But yes, The Killers. Fantastic!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I snuck my little compact camera in (see, it still has its uses) but once it got dark it took rubbish pictures. So here are some of my photies plus a couple I pinched from News24 (Thanks News24, please don't sue me.) 

 Beautiful clouds littering the sky above Val de Vie

 Before the concert 

 Love those pink dusk skies (random dude unknown)

 And now here are those News24 photies I mentioned...

This photographer had a MUCH better view than I did

Brandon Flowers for President

Anyway,on that note I'll wrap up now. Off to write my letter to Santa before it's too late! 

P.S. Have you added your name to the Seal the Deal campaign? Check it out and make a difference at Copenhagen. More info here too. Oh, and here as well!

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