O joy, business travel

Business travel is fun, ne? Take Monday, for instance. Up at 4.30 in the morning, to drive to the airport (drive, because the blerrie Gautrain workers are on strike), attend two (good) meetings with the Western Cape government, go for a (very good) lunch at a brand new restaurant on Bree Street, then head back…

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The Ale House

We headed out, last Sunday, Kathy and Tom and Rob and I, to the Magaliesberg, to our favourite bush-pub, the Ale House – only to find it had moved. How does a bush pub move, one might ask? Very slowly? Anyhow, we tracked the place down to its new home, on the road past Hartebeespoort,…

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Johannesburg Art Gallery – Seven Images

JAG – the Johannesburg Art Gallery – is, as I’ve mentioned in a previous post, a once-grand edifice, marooned like an old freighter on the manic reef of downtown Johannesburg. You enter (for free) through a turnstile, and as you do so, the last survivor of the shipwreck emerges from the wheelhouse beside the door,…

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Tuinhuys, in Black and White

Tuinhuys (the Garden House) is the Cape Town office of the Presidency, a lovely piece of architecture with a history that goes back, as everything does in South Africa, to slavery and colonialism. It was from here that FW de Klerk declared the end of apartheid; it was from here that Mandela, Mbeki, Motlanthe and…

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Reflections on Tillmans

The work of Wolfgang Tillmans, a German photographer, seems perfectly housed in the downtown, chaotic, teeming environment in which the Johannesburg Art Gallery has washed up, like a shipwreck on the beach after Fukushima, faintly radioactive. Much of Tillman’s art is seemingly artless – and sometimes, in his work, to my eye at least, art…

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Sea Washing

On the north side of the quay, just across the way from the Cape Grace Hotel, is the Victoria Basin, and a dry-dock where Taiwanese trawlers come to have their paintwork and their bodywork done – like elderly ladies at a beauty parlour. It is a study in contrasts. A contrast I like even more,…

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Life goes on, and then it gets better

It has been a busy week. Last weekend we were in Cape Town, Rob and I, staying in Constantia with my mom: high tea at the Cape Grace Hotel, on a perfect afternoon at the V&A Waterfront, was a treat for us all. Sunday it was brunch with old friends Ian and Pam at the…

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Spotted Eagle Owl

We were returning from the far side of the Madikwe Game Reserve, after dark, after a long drive to see the wild dogs. As we neared our lodge the ranger shone his light on this owl – a Great Eagle Owl, he said. I checked the SASOL Birds of South Africa yesterday, after processing this…

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