First meeting: my son’s son

Early in November, I was in Cape Town on business. Jonathan and Hayley had just flown in from the UK with Gabriel, the last of our three grandchildren to be born within a miraculous twelve month period. We met up, together with my mom, for dinner in Constantia, and a few days later visited them at their rented holiday cottage in Simonstown.

These are a few photos.

Johannesburg Parkhurst

I took a nasty fall, last month when we were in Clarens – my heel flew off the wet iron edging to a step in the paving, and I landed heavily, one hand up in the air still clutching a jar of cherry jam I’d bought, and the other trying to break my descent. I had the Leica – fortunately in a protective pouch, as it was drizzling – on my belt, on the side on which I fell, and it was only when I sought to check the camera, some hours later, that I realised it wouldn’t start up properly. An error message came up, several times, and my heart sank. Like me, the Leica had taken a helluva bang.

I removed the battery, and when the camera relaunched, delicately assisted the lens barrel to project, and after two or three tries – again, like me – all seemed well enough, although, in my case, the bruises persisted for a week or two after.

This morning, with my mom returned to Cape Town and our house returned to peace and quiet and relative sanity, Rob and I betook ourselves to Fourth Street, in Parkhurst, for a spot of lunch and a stroll up and down what has to be one of the funkier little ‘hoods in Joburg.

I took the Leica with me, and I took these images, more with an eye to spotting any signs of damage than to making images or art. And I have to say I like what I see – not just the Leica doing its job as wonderfully as always, but the images too.

See what you think.

Rhinos of Pilanesberg

We saw, as the saying goes, more rhinos on the day we spent in the Pilanesberg with Mike and Karen Thompson than you could shake a stick at. Not that I would want to shake a stick at a rhino, assuming I had one.

We saw these beauties on our way out of the reserve, after a day of wildlife spotting, across the river and far away, and then as the dirt road climbed the hill there they were, peacefully chomping, close enough to…

Well, anyway, here they are then: four images of the Pilanesberg rhino.

Impala dominance

After Clarens, and much wining and dining back in Johannesburg, Rob and I drove Mike and Karen, Hayley’s parents, to Pilanesberg, for a day of game watching and conversation and getting-to-know-each-other-better. We had a simply lovely time together, with two wonderful people.

At the very beginning of our game drive, on the far bank of the first dam, we came across this pair of male impala, duelling for dominance, while a harem of females browsed unconcernedly nearby.

The ground was arid, a dull sandy orange, much the same colour as the animals; the light was flat and the action was far away. Even with my 70-300mm zoom, equivalent to 450mm with the crop factor of the Nikon D500, I had to crop the images severely to get these pictures, and the absence of contrast posed a further challenge.

I was fascinated by the interlocking ironmongery of the horns, however, not to mention the strained bodies of the contestants, and so I offer these images not as great photos but simply as reference to the experience of watching this struggle in the wild for dominance and females.

Golden Gate, Free State

Golden Gate # 8

 

Here are a few images of the stretch of the Maluti mountains, outside Clarens in the Free State, known as ‘Golden Gate’ for its imposing cliffs and rock formations, which glow golden in the afternoon sunlight.

I can’t say any one of these images completely knocks me out, but cumulatively, perhaps, they may give you some feeling for the rugged grandeur of the location.

Of course all of us were up there – the family I mean – admiring the view and taking photos, so there will be a post of family pics to follow.

 

Gabriel and Thomas at Urbanologi

This blog’s title might be a bit of a misnomer, but in this age of whoppers, fables, barefaced lies, from Presidents on down, its what you get, right.

Fact: these photos were indeed taken at Urbanologi, the watering hole and yummy eatery downtown on Fox Street where, just last Saturday, the Fishers (me, my mother, Jonnie, Hayley, Gabriel), the Tjasjinks (Kathy, Gareth, Thomas), the Thompsons (Mike, Karen) and the one and only Pazdro (Rob, to me and to her family and friends) gathered for tapas and beer, the former with a decidedly South African inventiveness and flair, and to say our goodbyes.

For the English Fishers were leaving next day for Singapore, en route for New Zealand, while Rob and I were lined up to take Mike and Karen to the Pilanesberg Game Reserve, and my mother, as a birthday present from the Tjasinks, would be off with Kathy to have a mannie and pedi.

So it was that the much heralded, much longed-for visit of the UK branch of the family came to a happy and sad end, and I took a few photos.

So: these photos, though taken indeed at Urbanologi, have little if anything to do with the place, focusing almost entirely – as they should do – on the two grandsons. Oh, and the Fisher parents.

Here are the grandchildren, trailing clouds of glory.

Clarens

Like the weather – rain coming down in a steady deluge today in Johannesburg and Pretoria – the last few days have been full indeed.

Thursday, Jonathan and Hayley and grandson Gabriel arrived in Joburg after a stay in Cape Town, with my mom in tow, a few hours behind Hayley’s parents Mike and Karen, who had arrived overnight on a flight from London. Friday morning we were on the road to Clarens, a charming little village set against the backdrop of the Maluti mountains, in the Free State, and the next few days were filled with family time, which translated means braaivleis, wine, coffees and lunches in the village, and a little sightseeing, including a drive up to the magnificent Golden Gate and views over valleys and rock faces, and of course my mom’s 86th birthday on Sunday.

Safely back in Joburg last night – with dinner for all at our house this evening, a night out together tomorrow at Coobs in Parkhurst, lunch at Urbanologi on Saturday, and for us, a trip out to the Pilanesberg game reserve with Mike and Karen on Sunday.

Which is a round-about way of saying, you shouldn’t expect too much by way of blogs or photos at least until the weekend after the next one.