Cee’s Fun Photo Challenge: Fire or Season of Summer

I love fiery red and orange colours. Here is my contribution.

A Fiery summer daybreak in the East Cape South Africa.

dramatic sky daybreak Eastern cape


A hopeful bird waiting for insects to flee a veld fire


voel brand

Fire in a fire place





Weekly Photo Challenge: Container

When I was in Arusha ,Tanzania in March this year, we visited the Shanga workshop for physically disabled people.

I was amazed to see what these people could do with very little means and technology. Empty glass containers of all kinds, shapes and colours are used to make beautiful new containers, ranging from wineglasses to water jugs and saladbowls

Empty glass bottles ready to be recycled

S 10

After recycling new wineglasses ready to be sold.

G 17


Weekly photo Challenge: Relic

It stands lonely and neglected in Jeppestown Johannesburg among other recently restored buildings. The date  1899 declares it s age and the broken windows and crumbling facade confirms it. It is the Cosmopolitan Hotel.


The hotel  was built just before the Anglo Boer War in South Africa at a time of financial growth due to the discovery and mining of gold in the area.   This building is the only surviving building of a well known firm of architects of the time, the brothers Arthur and WalterReid.

Read more here.

I do hope this beautiful old building can one day be restored to its former glory.



Winternag ( Winters night )




O koud is die windjie

en skraal.

En blink in die doflig

en kaal,

So wyd as die Heer se genade,

lê die velde in sterlig en skade.

En hoog in die rande,

versprei in die brande

is die grassade aan roere

soos winkende hande

Walking through the dry winter veld with the cold breeze against my cheeks reminded me of the poem Winternag by Eugene Marais ( published 1905 )

He is known as one of Afrikaans ‘s greatest poets and writers. He was a political rebel, a poet and journalist. He studied and wrote extensively about nature and travelled extensively.  In his short life ( he died at the age of 65 years) he wrote many poems, but this is the one that came to mind as we walked through the bare cold veld yesterday.

(Read the full text and English translation here )

At present Pretoria is in the grip of a cold front, bringing icy winds and very cold weather. The weather in winter here is very dry causing cold frosty nights and sunny days with brilliant blue skies. As a result the veld dries up and becomes a rich tapestry of browns, yellows and rusty colours.

Trees stand bare, their branches decorated with sharp white thorns which seem to point to heaven. Seeds and dry seedpods hang heavily laden with the promise of spring and new life inside their dry shells.  Occasionally amongst all the browns a white or coloured flower or seed presents itself as a surprise pop of colour.

I felt priviledged to be able to walk in God’s beautiful natural garden and took these photos to share with you.


Chocolate Before Breakfast?

Saturday 8:00 am.

I find myself in the kitchen clutching an empty chocolate wrapper in my hand, realising I ate the chocolate before breakfast like a sandwich. The reason ?



She must feature as one of the world’s biggest hoarders you will probably think, but no not me , the previous owner of my new home.

When we first viewed the property the estate agent casually mentioned that there is a small storage space underneath the house.

“Just big enough for your grandchildren to play in” she said.

I peered into the opening, saw a few boxes in the dim light and didn’t give it another thought.

Much later when I saw the floorplans of the house I realised that the small space  is actually a fully fledged cellar consisting of  two rooms linked by a narrow corridor. However the only access is through a hole just big enough to wriggle through, if you are  willing to contort your body like Houdini.

I moved into the house in November last year. I knew the previous owner had left some stuff in the cellar, but little did I realize the extent of it.

On Saturday as I had the gardener to help me I decided  this  is the clean up day.

He climbed into the hole and started handing me  whatever he could find.

Out came:

Many empty boxes, with lots of packaging material inside.

Paint tin after paint tin, most of them so old that the tins were either rusted or left with blobs of thick paint lying at the bottom.

Gardening equipment, insect sprays, fertiliser, pots, a broom, a garden hose, potplant soil, garden stones and more.

Electrical equipment, big rolls of electrical cables unused and some still in packaging, many screws, some rusted beyond repair, strange and unknown light bulbs.

Wooden planks and a whole heap of rusted scrap metal.

A forlorn looking piano stool which had me wondering who spent many hours on it learning to play the piano.

Two brand new children’s chairs with the price still on them. I wished they could tell me why were they bought and never used?

Eventually it looked like this next to my house. Do you still wonder why I ate the chocolate before breakfast?


Many backbreaking hours later and after calling in the assistance of my sister and brother in law it was all sorted out. Two loads were taken to the tipping grounds, the cellar was sweeped and cleaned and now I am the proud owner of a clean storage space.

All was not bad though, for amongst the debris of another person’s life I found a treasure. An old blackened copper container was lying under the dust and old boxes. It cleaned up nicely and now has  pride of place in front of the fireplace holding firewood ready for those cold winter evenings.

koperbak  1