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, and settled under the trees for pizza and beer. And I took a few photos.

The setting could be the Karoo, or the Australian outback – it has the dry colours and warm dusty scents and infinite skies of somewhere old and archetypal, bleached of the modern. But I like these images in black and white.

There will be more to follow, most likely in colour, of Master Tom causing mayhem.

Monkey Sanctuary

I’ll leave it to Rob to write about burst pipes in the deep freeze of a Toronto winter, and the generosity and kindness of neighbours and friends (Andrew, Jackie, Boyd, you know who you are). Instead, a word simply to note our brief escape from the city, here on the other side of the planet, for a night away, with dinner and breakfast, at The Cradle Hotel and Restaurant in the Magaliesberg.

Accommodations, in a beautifully designed and modern, minimalist log cabin, were excellent; dinner gained mixed reviews (we suspect it was a skeleton staff for the holidays, and whoever composed the gloppy roquefort salad should either be properly trained or be fired) while breakfast, out on the sunny deck of the restaurant, with three giraffe visible through the binoculars deep in the valley beyond us, beneath some trees, was sustaining and sufficient.

On we went, at Rob’s suggestion, to the Monkey Sanctuary, where a knowledgeable and patient guide led us along a wooden walkway between trees and cliffs, including not one but two suspension bridges, and introduced us to the simian population.

Of the many photos I took, these seem to me the most worth sharing. I’ve tried, in presenting these images, to avoid the obvious pitfalls of sentiment and anthropomorphism, but I did want, if possible, to show the animals as individuals, and to give a sense of their own particular intelligence, not to mention their extraordinary agility and possession of their environment.

Nirox Jazz Festival

A couple of months ago I posted a blog, with photographs, of the Winter Sculpture Exhibition at Nirox, in the Magaliesberg, a lovely spot folded into the hills about an hour north north-west of Johannesburg.

Just two or three weeks ago we were back, this time for the Nirox Jazz Festival, a harbinger of Spring, under appropriately sunny and warm conditions.

A large, white, floating cover, like a quilt of clouds, sheltered the crowd who gathered over the course of a lazy Sunday morning to listen to the music, on a green hillside that looked down onto a meandering stream across from which was a grassy knoll where, in the shade of some trees, musicians played. There was food, wine, champagne on offer, there was South Africa’s rainbow nation gathered to listen, there were African and Afro-American rhythms in the air, and there were the children of the rainbow nation happily playing – an escape, for a day, from South Africa’s grittier realities, and an absolute joy and pleasure.

It was my grandson Tom Tjasink’s first concert.

Here are some images.

Nirox Sculpture Exhibition, Winter 2017

Winter it was – cold, wet, and muddy. But the Nirox Winter Sculpture Exhibition, spread across rolling fields and streams in the folds of the Magaliesberg, was full of relaxed, contented crowds – poking around the sculptures and installations, watching as their children played beneath the trees, filling up on the good eats from some of the Cape’s finest wine estates and restaurants. In warmer weather the scene must sparkle, with the late autumn light glancing off the leaves, the water in the ponds and streams laughing – but this grey day with its flat light had its own charms, especially for a photographer.

Here are four images.