Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Monday, February 8, 2016

Garden services at rest

With the Walmer Township so close to the airport it's nothing strange to see cattle or goats grazing in the area around 3rd Avenue and Allister Miller Drive.  Normally, in between people complaining about it, there are jokes about the garden services at work.  Natural garden services that is often more effective than the municipality when it comes to maintaining some open spaces.  Last week I had to drop something off at the airport and found the goats taking a break from their verge maintenance duties.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Looking down the Baakens Valley

The other afternoon I went for a stroll along the paths in Wellington Park.  Wellington Park is a section of Settlers Park up on the hill on the Walmer side.  Parking is just off 5th Avenue, Walmer from where a circular path takes you around through vegetation made up mostly of Fynbos species.  This section is safe with many Walmer residents taking later afternoon walks along the paths with loved ones or their dogs.  The paths give excellent views up and down the Baakens Valley with this one looking down the valley.  Settlers Park is in the middle, Walmer on the right and the apartments off Ring Road near St Georges on the left.  The Knysna apartment building in South End is visible at the bottom of the valley.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

St Peter's windows

Just imagine what these windows of the St Peter's church ruins would have looked like with stained glass windows in a beautiful historic church compared to this.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Paddling on the PE beachfront

Port Elizabeth offers so many water sport and activity opportunities.  We really are super fortunate to live on Algoa Bay with everything it offers.  Check out this YouTube video of MyLifeInTransit and his dad going paddling along the Port Elizabeth beachfront.  Along the way they came across a pod of dolphins which can only be described as a magical experience.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Riderless Horse Memorial

The Horse Memorial has always been one of my favorite monuments around Port Elizabeth.  Not just for what it looks like, but more importantly for what it stands for.  Port Elizabeth was the main port of entry for horses and mules used by the British forces during the Anglo Boar War (1899 - 1902).  During the war more than 300 000 horses died in British service.  The people of Port Elizabeth was very much aware of the plight of the horses and after the war fund were raised to put up a memorial to commemorate the horses from the war.  Not to remember fallen soldiers on either side, not to celebrate apartheid as some political parties want their followers to believe and not to even commemorate the actual war.  To remember the horses.  The plaque on the monument says:

THE GREATNESS OF A NATION
CONSISTS NOT SO MUCH IN THE NUMBER OF ITS PEOPLE
OR THE EXTENT OF ITS TERRITORY
AS IN THE EXTENT AND JUSTICE OF ITS COMPASSION

Perhaps in South Africa we need to take this to heart more often.  In this case I mean for each other, our friends and families for strangers for our animals, for our environment, for our country.  But that isn't what the post is about.  

In April 2015 the Economic Freedom Fighters, Julius Malema's EFF, decided to vandalise the memorial because of their perceived perverted idea that it celebrates something linked to the Apartheid era and pushed the soldier giving the horse water over.  The monument wasn't about the soldier but about him showing the animal compassion.  Compassion these hooligans didn't show the memory of these horses.  The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality promised that the memorial will be repaired and the soldier returned to its place.  Ten months down the line and it still hasn't happened.

I stopped at the memorial this week and felt sad. Sad for the fact that the horse looks so lonely with nobody showing him compassion.  Sad that this unfortunately is also the state that our country seems to find itself in.  Sad that promises made to return the soldier seems to be just that.  Promises.  Something we are used to in South Africa and something we are going to see a lot more of over the next few months as the local elections approach.  Referring to signs that has been appearing over the beachfront lately aimed at the major and pointing to the lack of service delivery I want to say, "Hey Danny, fix the horse and bring back the soldier."

Why do I feel so passionate about it?  Not just because of what the memorial stands for but also the fact that it is one of Port Elizabeth's most famous historical memorials.  One that thousands of visitors to the city pass while on their tour of the city.  One that gets photographed by these tourists.  One that in the past have been used extensively to promote the city and its historical and cultural diversity and now is everything but that.  One that now tells a sad tale and is effecting the city's tourism image.  I really hope the soldier will make his way back to the horse some time soon and that more unfulfilled promises isn't just made in this regard.     

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Heading home after a day at the beach

We went for a late afternoon walk on the beachfront last Saturday and at one stage walked behind these two ladies with their kids heading home after a day at the beach.  I'm not big on people photography but I love this pic.  Perhaps I should try more of it.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Inter house athletics

It is summer and schools have started so it means that it is athletics time.  Over the last week and a half I attended both KidZ' inter house athletics meets.  First it was Chaos Boy who is in DF Malherbe High School and had their inter house day at the NMMU track.
 
A week later Drama Princess, who is at Newton Park Primary School, had theirs at the Oval in Richmond Hill.  A day like this brings back lots of memories as I loved doing athletics as well.  The smell of the tartan track, the noise (I'm probably getting old) of the different houses trying to outdo each other on the stands, the sound of the starter's gun, the bell for the last lap, the cheering when the athletes come down the final stretch, plasters being wrapped around feet, the smell of Deep Heat.  Ahhh, the good old days of being young and fit. 
 
 
Up to last year Chaos Boy had no interest in sport but he now seems to really enjoy athletics.  He took part in all the track numbers running 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m and the 1500m.  He's first place in the 200m was a HUGE surprise for all of us.  Most of all himself.
 

He ran a close second in the 1500m and another surprising performance with a second in the 400m which was the last event for the day for him.  By then his tank was truly empty and I think that may just be his number if he gets to train a little and do it on a full tank. 
 
Drama Princess, as some of you may know, is the sporty one in the family and if she had to be a Spice Girl she would have been Sporty Spice.  She's not much of a sprinter, like her dad, but won the 1200m by about 150 meters over the second place.
 
She may not be a sprinter but it didn't stop her from participation in the two short sprints (as she's still u/11) and hurdles.  Jip, she's the blondie in the left hand lane.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Kings Beach and the giraffes

Beach-goers and bathers on Kings Beach under the watchful eye of the harbour giraffes

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Splish Splash

A late Saturday afternoon walk along the beachfront and the water looked very inviting.  Unfortunately we were on our way to friends for dinner and I didn't have my costume on.  
I did have my camera though.