Saturday, 20 June 2009

Zwartkops Raceway

There was classic car racing at Zwartkops Raceway today.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

The mood is BLUE in Pretoria....

At 16h30 this afternoon the mood was very relaxed in the long queue which had formed outside Loftus Versveld.... Bulls supporters were bracing themselves (in best possible South African fashion - beers around the braaivleis) to make it through the chilly night, to be first in line for the ticket sales which open tomorrow morning for the big Bulls vs Chiefs Super 14 Final clash next Saturday.

Click here for the official Bulls website.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Country roads...

South Africa - May the 10th 2009
Blue sky - “newborn” eye,
Land lies, veld sighs:
Renewed breath of hope.


Roadside view over Boschkop.
We love going for a "Sunday drive" and this one led us through the Boschkop area, which is east of Pretoria, to Rosemary Hill where enjoyed a lazy breakfast to celebrate Mother's Day.

Monday, 27 April 2009

Freedom Day

Celebrating Freedom Day today in Pretoria - 15 years of democracy and the peaceful passing of the elections of the 22nd of April ....
We went for a hike up the Faerie Glen "mountain" and around the little Faerie Glen Nature Reserve.
Today was just another perfect Pretoria autumn's day - we basked in the warm and glowing golden South African sunshine. Pure bliss!
What we saw: the Pretoria horizon looking west, Clematis in flower and we also came across an African Land Snail on the trail...

Friday, 27 February 2009

When it's not raining, it's pouring....

Not the most wonderful photo to post on my first time back on Pretoria Daily Photo after a LONG break - I posted it for the following reason...

This particular Plectranthus ecklloni bush is flowering for the first time in the 5 and a half years we have been living here in Pretoria. Normally by this time of the year - late summer - it would have been sunburnt and shriveled to half its size. Now it is standing at full height (about 1 and a half metres) and is sporting beautiful spires of mauve flowers - this bears testament to the cool and very rainy weather we have been having.
Gauteng, in general, has had a deluge of rain since the beginning of the year.
So far in Pretoria we have had just under 300mm for February alone, and this includes 2 flash floods (on the 4th of February we received 180mm of rain, and some parts of Pretoria got as much as 200mm!).
Link: Rain chaos in Gauteng

Yesterday Johannesburg received the worst of the rain, and there are still people (including a 20 month old toddler) missing after being swept away by flood water. Click here for the latest about the rain in the news.

For more info on Plectranthus click here

So hello from me....from a not-so-sunny South Africa!

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Moon #49

The beautiful moon over Pretoria this evening at around 17h25.

Sunrise: 06:37
Sunset: 17:46
Moonphase: Waxing
Moonrise: 14:40
Moonset: 04:07

Data from The South African Weather Service

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Spring in full swing! #48

Spring has come suspiciously early this year...which probably means we can expect a nasty cold snap soon...
I spent the last few days vascillating between enjoying the warm spring weather while working in my garden, and lying on my sun-drenched couch watching the live coverage of the Olympics (mens' swimming in particular ;) ). Life doesn't get much better than this!
Today I planted a whole lot of Arum lilies (Zantedeschia aethiopica). These are native to South Africa and are a popular shade-loving garden plant.

To read more about this interesting plant click here!

Friday, 08 August 2008

Candle in my window for Tibet #47

I remembered to light a candle for Tibet. Have you?
Candle for Tibet

Thursday, 07 August 2008

Beautifully naked.....#46

Completely bare and just the way I like them....Now that I have grabbed your attention, you'll see that I'm refering to my stinkwood trees, or Celtis africana trees, to be precise. We live in a mini-forest of 10 gigantic stinkwood trees and over the last 4 months have spent countless hours sweeping up innumerable piles of leaves dropped by them, and now, finally, finally they are (thankfully) leafless....!
This photo is for comparison purposes, for in a few weeks they will burst into spring leaf at a remarkable rate....The most vivid lime green leaves will magically appear almost overnight, and the trees' "leaf" cycle will start all over again. (I will post the next installment soon!)

Wednesday, 06 August 2008

A horny fish called Whanda... #45

Concrete artist Robert van den Berg with his sculpture, Whanda, at The Gallery at Duncan Yard, corner of Duncan and Prospect Street in Hatfield.
The Gallery exhibits fresh and funky works by young aspiring Pretoria artists, all with that special South African flavour (the artworks and the artists!).

The Gallery at Duncan

Tuesday, 05 August 2008

O gats! What happened to my house? #44

Click on photo to enlarge. Mr and Mrs Visser stand in front of the huge crack that has ripped through the foundation of their house in Lyttelton Manor. The other photos are of their neighbour's badly damaged house.

"I don't know whether I should laugh or cry", joked Tjitske Visser as she and her husband happily obliged to pose for a photo. They were remarkably composed, considering that about 15 metres away, their neighbour's house has partially collapsed, presumably due to a sinkhole, over the last three days.
"If my house had been built 5 metres closer to that side, " said Eddie Visser nodding towards his neighbours property, "it would have also collapsed."

According to newspaper reports Visser's neighbour, a Mr Danie Els, noticed the first crack appearing on Thursday last week, and then the foundations started sinking on the Friday. The Els family were told to move out of their house by the municipality on Saturday. The perimeter walls collapsed on Sunday and the other walls fell over yesterday.
When I was there this afternoon the municipality was busy cordoning off the area, which looked like the aftermath of an earthquake, with fences and barbed wire.

There seems to be some contention as to whether the damage was caused by subsidence or a sinkhole (what's the dif?). Lyttelton is built on dolomite as is most of Centurion (southern Tshwane) and sinkholes are common.

Links: Gautrain sinkhole "a wake-up call"

Ground swallowing Pta house

Monday, 04 August 2008

Old broad....#43

A Plymouth-something-or-other at the Cars in the Park yesterday.
Sorry, don't know what this old dame is exactly (as I said before I'm useless with cars...) but I know she's American and looks circa 1950s.
Anybody know what she is exactly?

Anyway I was attracted by her curvaceous lines and strawberry milkshake paint job -she's a real roadhouse beaut!

Note to self: next year take a notebook with to Cars in the Park to jot down car names and models :)

Sunday, 03 August 2008

Cars in the park #42

Today the annual Cars in the Park is being held at Zwartkops Racetrack. This event is hosted by The Pretoria Old Motor Club and is one of the biggest shows, if not the biggest, for car enthusiasts in South Africa .

We popped in at Cars in the Park this morning, well "popped in" is an understatement as we got stuck in the traffic jam of hundreds of visitors going in and again when leaving.
I never thought I'd enjoy going to a display of "old timer cars", as my little boys like to call them, and what I know about motor vehicles is seriously dodgy, but I must say it was a photographer's heaven! There were amazing shots just waiting to be taken in every direction.
Unfortunately we could not stay long as the children got more and more whiney...just too much walking for little legs.
Will definitely go back next year, a lot earlier in the day and without the children.

Link: Pretoria Old Motor Club

Saturday, 02 August 2008

A heart for South Africa #41

A photo of my TV screen. Hey folks, this isn't Grey's Anatomy - this is real life!

South Africa has just witnessed its first ever broadcast of live open heart surgery (single heart bypass) on SABC3 (a public TV channel). (Thankfully it was tastefully scheduled for after supper time.)
Wally Katzke, aged 52, agreed that his operation be broadcast live as part of a week-long campaign called the "Meet Wally's Heart Project" a project by the Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa (HSFSA).
The operation took place at the Netcare Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg and so far has been a success.

Heart disease is the number one killer of South Africans (over 72 000 deaths a year!) and 33 deaths due to heart attack a day! Shocking statistics; clearly we should be worrying less about crime and more about our lifestyles!

Seeing a heart pumping is one of the most awesome sights and a reminder of just how precious life is...

For more click on Wally's site Meet my Heart

Friday, 01 August 2008

Theme Day : Metal - Celebratory coin #40

5 million of these special coins were minted in celebration of Nelson Mandela's 90th birthday, and were released into circulation on that day, the 18th of July.

These commemorative coins are already hard to find as they are being snapped up by coin collectors everywhere. This one was kindly loaned to me by Paul, my corner shop owner.

Link - The Mandela Coin: The frenzy is unleased

Link to see other Metal Theme Day photos from around the world:
Click here to view thumbnails for all participants

Thursday, 31 July 2008

Pretoria fresh produce #39

This is what I bought at my corner shop yesterday.

1 box of 15 naartjies (mandarins) R10.99
1 box of 16 guavas R10.99
1 box of 16 avocado pears R25.99
1 box of 13 papinos R12.99

TOTAL = ZAR 60.96 (US$8.31 and Euro 5.31) for all that lovely fresh fruit!

South Africans don't generally realise how lucky we are to have such wonderful local produce so readily available, and so cheaply.
Right now avocado pears (high in essential fats), citrus and guavas (both high in vitamin C) are in season - marvellous, as that's just what one's body needs to survive winter!

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Corner shop #38

The corner shop in my road.

Lately I've been buying most of my fruit and veg from this shop - not only is it just up the road, but the prices are excellent too.
The shop stocks everything from fresh strawberries to Hubbly Bubblies and cigars!

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Coral tree #37

The Coral Trees (Erythrina lysistemon)have just started flowering. This one stands outside the CSIR (The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research) in Meiring Naude Road (North Entrance, Gate 3) in the suburb of Brummeria.

Blue skies and sunny weather (especially in winter) are the hallmarks of Pretoria. Pretoria's high altitude (around 1300m) ensures a year-round temperate climate, arguably among the best in the world.

Monday, 28 July 2008

Phehella's children #36

The children of Phehella Day and Night Care Centre enjoyed their outing to the Teddy Bear Picnic concert yesterday.

Phehella (a place of safety for orphaned and abandoned children, based in Silverton) was founded by Grace Maloka (pictured above). Grace was herself abandoned as a child and she says it was this experience that inspired her to start the centre. In 2006 she was awarded the title of Tshwane Woman of the Year for her work in the community.

Her vision for Phehella:
The creation of more Phehella houses for the purpose of caring for orphans, neglected and abandoned children, AIDS orphans and abused children. All funds that are received are used for the needs of the Phehella Day and Night Care Centre and its children. Phehella Day and Night Care Centre cares for the children under its protection, gives them an education and assists in the development of their skills. Phehella Day and Night Care Centre provides the funds for the children’s education as long as they live at Phehella. Phehella take children in under the age of twelve and cares for them up to the age of eighteen. Phehella educates their children in the Christian faith.

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Teddy Bears' Picnic #35

The annual popular Teddy Bear Picnic Variety Concert was held at the Pretoria Botanical Garden today, and was once again thoroughly enjoyed by young, old, hundreds of teddies and other soft toys too.
There was a chance to win prizes by entering your favourite ‘Teddy’ in the Teddy Bear Competition, and ‘Spare Teddies’ were collected for donation to The Teddy Bear Clinic for Abused Children.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

New lines being laid #34

Eish*! Yesterday we had a power cut from mid-afternoon to about 20h45 - probably due to Neotel digging up the neighbourhood. All around deep trenches are being dug and Neotel's bright orange fibre-optic cables are being laid.
Neotel is now a reality and South Africans are looking forward to soon being serviced by this, SA's second fixed-line telecoms service long last some competition to Telkom.

*Eish : (pronounced aysh) An informal South African interjection expressing amazement, wonder, amusement, surprise, or shock.

Link: Neotel

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Signs of Spring! #33

The first signs of spring in my garden...

The jasmine is already flowering...
The masked weavers have started building their nests...*
The clivia buds are making their appearance...

A little early this year?

*unfortunately this male masked weaver was out to lunch when I took this photo

Saturday, 19 July 2008

A wintery Pretoria #32

Almost forgot about the photo today...
This is what Pretoria looks like at dusk - very hazy (smoggy) and brown - a typical Gauteng winter photo....not very attractive.
View from Cussonia Road over the N4 highway (Witbank highway) leading into Pretoria.
On the horizon you can just make out Klapperkop, the Telkom Tower and the Voortrekker monument, the bigger buildings in the middle of the picture I think are University of Pretoria buildings. (Notice the CCTV camera pole next to the highway. A lot of those have gone up all over the place recently. Security preparations for 2010?)

Friday, 18 July 2008

Happy Birthday Madiba #31

South Africans are celebrating Nelson Mandela's 90th birthday today!

Nando's has a special campaign on for today only: If it's your birthday today you get a free meal....Nando's Madiba Special

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Strelitzia study #29

Eeek! No photo for today but had to post something...
Well, if you are a regular, by now you should be able to tell that I am mad about anything botanical... I also love painting plants so here is a shot of my attempt at a strelitzia - watercolour painting in progress.
Will do my best to get out tomorrow!

All over South Africa botanical artists are feverishly preparing their submissions for the Kirstenbosch Biennale 2008, which opens on the 9th of September at Kirstenbosch, Cape Town.

Link: Kirstenbosch Biennale

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Jacaranda street #28

A sun-dappled tunnel formed by old Jacaranda trees, Nuffield Street in the suburb of Rietondale.
Many older suburbs' roadsides are graced by these beautiful South American trees, that are now a declared invader species (they are no longer allowed to be propogated or grown).
I grew up in the shade of two big Jacarandas and I will always love them, as I love my Jacaranda City.

I took this photo at around lunch time today. Yes, the Jacaranda trees still have their leaves, although they are yellowing now. And yes, that is an ice-cream man coming down the road on his bicycle - we do still eat ice-cream, even in the middle of winter....and yes, the sun is shining again! Yay!

Monday, 14 July 2008

Medicinal garden #27

Huts decorated with Ndebele murals in the traditional medicinal garden at the Pretoria Botanical Garden.

Link: Pretoria Botanical Garden

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Freedom park #26

A "slice" of view over Freedom Park, where every element is symbolic...

This morning we woke up to a very foggy Pretoria. A Sunday morning drive took us to Freedom Park, where we were greeted by a friendly security guard and then met by a guide who then gave us a full tour of this new memorial park. Probably due to the "bad" weather we were the only people there, except for two tourists, and we quite felt privileged to have had this special and hugely symbolic place to ourselves for a while. (Unfortunately I only had a long lens with me.)
To read more about Freedom Park please click on the link to the official Freedom Park website below.

This photo is to give those who know Pretoria an idea where Freedom Park is situated: On Salvokop, just south of the Pretoria CBD, between the M1 and Nelson Mandela Drive, the southern gateway to the city. Sandwiched between the Unisa buildings and the Voortrekker Monument, the Freedom Park is the new major landmark on the city skyline.
(On the left (spiral of poles which are lit at night) is Freedom Park, on the right middleground you can just make out the main Unisa building and at the back is the Telkom tower.)
The Freedom Park official website

Saturday, 12 July 2008

The beguiling okapi #25

Visitors to the zoo yesterday getting a closer look at one of the two okapi males.
The Pretoria zoo received the okapi (named Shamba and Melaku) on loan from the San Diego Zoo in October 2006.
These highly endangered animals originate from the Democratic Republic of Congo (central Africa). It is estimated that only around 10 000 exist in the wild, although numbers are said to be dwindling rapidly due to habitat destruction and the bush meat trade.

A curious, velvet-coated okapi...

National zoo gets rare okapis
Okapi-Between Legend and Science

Friday, 11 July 2008

Hog Kiss #24

Red River Hogs at the National Zoological Gardens this morning. These two younger ones (hoglets?) were enjoying each other's company while the rest of the herd were tucking into brunch.
Red River Hogs come from central and western Africa.

Finally some wintery weather...A front swept into Pretoria overnight bringing freezing cold and cloudy weather.
This morning at the zoo the animals were all more active than usual, trying to keep warm. One of the giraffes was even shivering, and looked very unhappy. No warm South African sunshine today!