Friday, 26 September 2014

The Valley of Desolation, South Africa

The Karoo region is the Eastern Cape of South Africa is a vast region with beautiful roads, stark & beautiful scenery & interesting vegetation.




None more than the very impressive Valley of Desolation outside the pretty town of Graaf Reinet. The two places could not be more different - the orderliness of Graaf Reinet & then the vast, starkness of the Valley of Desolation.

We made the trip on a bright Winters afternoon as the sun was high in the sky. The views are simply spectacular - vast panoramas all around until we reached the top look out & walked to the view point to gaze over the almost alien landscape below.

Huge craggs lit by the fading sunlight accentuated the deep valleys & rugged landscape below.




Best of all was that we could take it all in without other people about - drink in the quiet & watch raptures working the cliffs for small mammals.

Such vast spaces & solitude are good for the soul ….

Do you enjoy places of solitude & quietness? Where is your favourite place?

Thank you for stopping by, please leave a comment so I can return the visit.

Dee ~♥~





Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Vintage Graaf Reinet in South Africa

The traditional Karoo town of Graaf Reinet harks back to another time.

The buildings testament to the towns rich & varied history.


I have Dutch ancestry & have always had a fondness for iconic Cape Dutch architecture with its white facades & symmetrical design.

Lunch in town







I love nothing more than exploring towns on foot, camera in hand & in good company.

The town is home to several interesting vintage / antique shops that we enjoyed browsing. My home is an eclectic mix of old & new patterns, textures & items,  so browsing interesting shops are always a favourite past time.


We finished off our time with lunch on the covered veranda in Graaf Reinet. It meant I could indulge another favourite past time - people watching! I love human dynamics & can while away time just taking in my surroundings.


Do you have a favourite style of buildings?

Thank you for stopping by. Please leave a comment so I know you have popped by my blog.

Dee ~ ~

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Right on trend

I do not consider myself to be a follower of fashion - I have clear ideas what I like or don't so I happily make my own choices.

I recently shared how I decided to recover my cushions for the wicker chairs in our summerhouse / shed where we spend a lot of time in Summer.

It is sited by the hedge in the garden & is a quiet place to just sit & read, have breakfast or tea with friends while enjoying the garden & wildlife.

I sewed my new cushions from a pair of curtains after the fabric caught my eye.  I was drawn to the fabric with its grey background & game / woodland type design of feathers, berries & pheasant.





Last week, I came across a ready made circular table cloth in the exact same fabric which I immediately bought to go with the cushions.


Imagine my surprise while flicking through the new Zara catalogue ideas for winter 2014 to see a very similar fabric used in their bedding?






I must say that I am rather pleased that our cushions are clearly right on trend - unintentionally on my part but being a classic design, I know we will enjoy them for some time.


Are you inclined toward woodland & classic designs?  Are you a follower of fashion & trends?

Thanks for stopping by, I always appreciate the time you take to leave a comment.

Dee ~♥~

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Hedgehog homes for Autumn

I am still chasing my tail after a very busy summer. It does not help that my students are back to lessons so time is pressing but … I have missed sharing my blog posts so hopefully some of you will be generous & forgiving of my absence.

One of the many pressing late summer jobs at home is always to get the garden tidied ahead of the cooler weather & that includes taking care of the many wildlife creatures that have made their home in our garden.

We have a huge variety of regular birds that call our garden their home. It is a secluded suburban garden with hedges & bushes for cover as well as several bird feeders to tempt them to stay.


A fledgling pigeon on our fence


A decorative birdhouse on our shed that is very pretty ….


Our pair of grey squirrels have been hoarding the nuts again - stuffing their faces then burying their stash all over our lawn. We tolerate their antics as they are regulars ….

We have several very cute robins who are quite tame & they pop close by where we are in the garden, hoping for fresh worms as we garden.  This is a new robin nesting box we have put up for them.


In the evening,  we even see some bats feeding on the wing through the hedges which is interesting as they must roost somewhere locally.

Last night, as we were eating in the conservatory, we saw our regular pond frog hop past to nibble on tasty bugs en route to the garden fountain. He has been seen regularly for some years so we know he must live in our garden.

Our garden - front & back has had regular hedgehog visitors for some years. We have seen them making their way around late at night & I even rescued an ill one & our local vets nursed him back to health then returned him to a suitable home.

Our local farm shop had this hedgehog home made for us. It is rather large & was tucked under our front bush because we know that passing hogs visit it as the food disappears & we often see signs of the leaves being moved around. We also made the entrance smaller by nailing on another wooden batten as we found a small neighbouring cat could sneak in for the food.


However, we decided on a smaller home with an easier lift up roof & dutifully moved the larger home to our back garden, where we tucked it under our far corner hedge where I rake the fallen leaves each year for the blackbirds to dig about in.

We bought this well made hedgehog home from a local Shropshire maker - ktnestboxes. I met Katie & she takes great pride in making several kinds of nesting boxes & wildlife homes.


The mealworms were gobbled up overnight so we topped it up again this morning


The lift up roof on the new hedgehog home for the front bushes where hogs regularly visit


A sign we have on the roof of the house - visitors often comment on the house & ask after the hogs


The front hedgehog house - tucked securely under a very large bush where passing hogs have been seen several times late at night



The hedgehog house in the corner of our back garden has already had a visitor as the mealworms were all gone & the leaves have been disturbed.I always rake fallen leaves into this corner under the hedges & it seems to encourage lots of creatures to visit over Winter


I hope you share your space with some interesting creatures too. Do you feed & provide shelter for any wildlife?  Our hedgehog story is also at a-hibernation-home-is-needed

Thanks for stopping by, I always enjoy your comments

Dee ~♥~

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Interesting architecture in Aberdeen ...

I want to share some of the varied & interesting housing styles in the little town of Aberdeen.
 
I confess to having a great fondness for Cape Dutch architecture - the elegant & symmetrical gables are so striking that they are easily my favourite house style in South Africa.

My own family history dates back to the Dutch settlers who arrived in The Cape as Dutch East India Company settlers & moved northwards with time.
 
Aberdeen has a long Dutch history

The Early Days

Aberdeen's early history dates from 1675 when Simon van der Stel received overtures from the Inqua Hottentot tribe (Khoisan) asking him to engage in barter, as they had cattle and sheep. Heykon, their chief, persuaded the Cape government to send Ensign Shriver to buy cattle from this new source. The meeting of the two cultures subsequently took place about 30km north west of the present town of Aberdeen in January 1689.

The Dutch influence is still very evident in the many Cape Dutch style houses in the town. The style is marked with gables that rise elegantly in front or to the sides.












 
Many of the homes have long verandas that wrap around them for shelter from the Karoo summers which are scorching hot. They have always been a cool place to sit & enjoy cooler evenings & chats with friends & neighbours.
 
Many Aberdeen homes have metal roofs with interesting details.



 Several homes still have original shutters to keep out the summer heat & the winter chills .


Interesting details on the verandas


 A popular style with curved veranda roof & gates onto the 'stoep'




Wide dusty streets with only the main road tarred





Lovely Victorian details







Modern walls with cacti that are well suited to the hot, dry climate



Old & modern - side by side









Curved roof with interesting details

 











The long, dusty roads lead out of the town towards the fabulous Camdeboo mountains



Windmills are a common sight ...


.... the church is at the heart of the town - its skew steeple is an interesting feature as it is the tallest church steeple in South Africa  


It is an interesting town with an interesting mix of people - some who have spent their whole lives in Aberdeen, others who have escaped the fast pace of modern life to enjoy the laid back lifestyle.

Do you have a favourite style of home from the photos? I hope you have enjoyed this visit with me ...
Dee ~♥~