The @#$%^&* insurance company "only" took three weeks to authorise repairs and would only let me have a hire car for 30 days, which meant a quick trip to Boksburg to collect the bike. By this time I'd given up the will to keep fighting and really didn't want to foot the bill for another week, so I've at least got wheels. Been here 5 weeks now but still not tired of the view........
............and while nothing I've experienced so far can beat the west coast, some of the sunsets have been impressive.
When I hooked up with Richard and Wendy the other day they came back to share one of Suzelle's braai pies - Google it for the recipe - and Boon took a sneaky shot.
Was bumbling around the neighbourhood the other day and found this spot above the N3 looking down on the dam.
And what is it about boats that forces you to take dozens of pics and struggle to find one to use.
Went up to a local birding spot in the hills above "Maritzburg that used to be great, but is no longer. However this lady had constructed her golden orb right across an old road. Pity the male wasn't around to show the size difference - he's not much bigger than her head. How do you make love to a golden orb spider? Very,very carefully.
It's not called the "Last outpost of the British Empire" without reason. This is the Lion's River Polo Club about 10 k's up the road from Midmar.
And: "I say we're having a spiffing game of polocrosse today what."
Would appear I'm not the only one who appreciates the view - three brand new Merc's lining up for a photo shoot.
As the birdlife around here is a bit sparse I trundled down the road to Albert Falls dam in search of a more lively atlassing spot. Naturally enough I ended up doing the scenic route which involved an unintentional 100 k detour and was heartened when dam finally came into view, even though it was somewhat obscured by a raging veld fire.
Whilst the birds were good, the butterflies were even better but they all seem to have attention deficit disorder so are virtually impossible to photograph - the exception being this Small Orange-tip which paused for all of a micro-second or two.
In the same spot where I first introduced Jo to them nearly 20 years ago was a little flock of what I assume is their descendants, the now idiotically named Black-winged lapwings.
Have been putting out scraps for a while which promptly disappear overnight and eventually located one of the three ferals that hang around here in the storm drain across the road. As he (I'm assuming) is the smallest I've tended to favour the little fellow but he still considers me "the enemy" and scarpers under the van whenever I move. The big brown ears and tabby pelt makes me think his DNA may be more closely linked to an African wild cat than the others.
Met up with Richard, Wendy and Bill at the Pmb Botanical gardens and Richard insisted I include this, apologies. The avenue of plane trees was planted almost exactly 110 years ago and is quite a spectacle.
Came across these in a patch of grassland and Richard was kind enough to enlighten me that they are Pink Plumes or, get this, Syncolostemon densifloris and I had to write it down as it was forgotten by morning. Apparently traditionally used as a love charm but it doesn't work.........
Had to get all arty with the sun giving these psychotria leaves a silver lining.
Saw a tree aloe at the gate that I assumed was barberiae and was informed by my learned colleague that this particular species was now known as "whatever it was". Next day I received an email saying he'd made a mistake and it was actually tongaensis. Great heavens above the man is actually mortal!
He's not awol, this is the downstairs stateroom con and there's another above it.
10 species from an eight hour trip may not seem productive but most of them would never be seen from land. The big gee-whiz things like Indian yellow-nosed albatross are really amazing and always create a stir no matter how often you see them.
Going through the list the next day I was amazed to find three lifers among them, two of which I have seen before but never noted and a delicate little Black-bellied storm petrel, not much bigger than a swallow. It gets it's name from the black stripe which is odd and as I'm still waiting on a picture from Richard I had to lift this from the web.
As it was still quite dark when we left things like this monster car ferry went unnoticed ...........
As I'd never been before I found myself drawn to Hilton College and found another piece of England dumped in the Midlands...............
...............and on the way back noticed that the berg had been dusted overnight - can't wait to get back to sane temperatures closer to the coast.
Took a drive to a far corner of the dam for a stroll and on the way met this fine fellow, a Long-crested eagle. Hard to look regal when when wearing a jester's hat.
Some mornings are so perfect you just want to make a puzzle of them.
Very early a couple of Sunday's ago people started arriving to punish themselves with a biathlon of varying distances dependant on age. Watched the smallest doing a 1 km run and a 5 km cycle but interest soon waned.
Then last Sunday a familiar overhead roar had me leaping out of bed to see this majestic beast serenely floating by. The one type of flying I haven't yet tried - perhaps if I'm still around next weekend.........
Having the BM here has been edifying as soon after I bought it I noticed a leak on the left cylinder. After removing and replacing the exhaust manifold six times I finally figured out that that wasn't were the leak was. Fortunately I had access to one of the finest workshops on the planet and the assistance of a very old and dear friend Alan Jones. I'd convinced myself that it was a blown head gasket and was busy stripping it down when he commented that the leak was a long way from the base of the head. Some seconds later I stuck a finger down the spark-plug hole and discovered that it was loose which was probably the most welcome thing that has happened to me in a very long time, thanks buddy.