Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year... a time for reflection....

Max looks ahead and wonders what the future holds....

A very Happy New Year to all our blogfriends, and may 2009 be a very special and happy and fulfilling year for you and your loved ones.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A gem on the coast

Today's post is not strictly Port Elizabeth. We are staying at Port St Francis, which is about 100 kms from Port Elizabeth. This shot was taken from the view point above the Port this morning, showing Seal Point, the lighthouse and the village of Cape St Francis. In the foreground is the nature reserve between Cape St Francis and St Francis Bay. This is definitely one of our favourite places on the planet.

Monday, December 29, 2008

34 Degrees South

One of our favourite places to eat out is 34 Degrees South at the Boardwalk. It has a nice ambiance, a good menu to choose from, good service and a great view. Today was no exception and the Cape Salmon was superb.

Update - 34 Degrees South closed down and has been replaced with a Spur.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Last rays of the day

View of the Bay from Callington Street, Richmond Hill, with a container ship catching the last rays of the day.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Taking a flip

Many holiday makers are taking the opportunity to go for a helicopter flip. It leaves from Something Good and heads out to Cape Recife and returns to land with a flourish. Part of the new Radison Hotel can be seen in the bottom left hand corner - it is reminiscent of the old Trust Bank architecture.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Water Sports

Another beautiful sunny day in the Bay, the water sport capital of South Africa.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Surf's Up

Today is the first Christmas in years that it has not rained in Port Elizabeth. It was in fact a perfect sun-shiny day. Though the beaches were fairly quiet this morning, the surfers took the opportunity to make the most of the waves at Something Good.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Everybody loves a dolphin

Domino and Dumisa playing to the audience at the Port Elizabeth Oceanarium.

We wish all our friends and visitors a wonderful Christmas and a fantastic New Year. Thank you for all your support and messages over the past year.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Leather Lane

Looking down Leather Lane from Municipality Road, towards the Russell Road Cemetary and the Dutch Reformed Church, in Campbell Street. The grave of James Langley Dalton, who was awarded Victoria Cross, after the battle of Rorkes Drift, can be seen at this cemetary. I will feature his grave in the new year.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Under new management

The cinema complex on the corner of Havelock Street and Rink Street shut its doors a while back and it is nice to see that it has reopened under new management. This shows that there are still people who have faith in the future of Central and are willing to make a commitment.
We haven't been there yet, but will make a point of going there soon.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

St Phillips Guest House

The St Phillips Guest House is one of the more upmarket guest houses in Richmond Hill. It was built in 1912, as the rectory for the St Phillips Church. It is situated in St Phillips Street, alongside the historic St Phillips Church.

World Cup Soccer Stadium #2

When one embarks on a project such as this you need some serious equipment to get the job done. This "giant" crane is used to lift the the trusses into place. To get an idea of its size, look at the guy standing at the base of the crane. Yesterday's picture of the stadium shows the crane towering over the structure.

There is a great deal of activity as the construction team prepare to put the next truss in place. From my observations it seems to take about a week to put one up. The crane truck is dwarfed by the crane.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

World Cup Soccer Stadium Update

The Soccer Stadium is beginning to take shape nicely. We have watched the progress, as the team has put up the roof trusses, over the past weeks. This has been a slow process - I imagine it is like putting together a giant jig saw puzzle. Now that they have started to put the cladding on the roof, one can get a good idea of what the final product will look like.

The people working on the roof give a good idea of the scale of the stadium

View of the stadium, which is situated alongside the Northend Lake, from Richmond Hill.

Friday, December 19, 2008

On a clear day...

This is the spectacular view from our daughter's bedroom door in Richmond Hill, on one of those lovely crisp days when it has rained, and cleared and everything is crystal clear. In the foreground you can see the fish farm near the harbour, beyond that a ship approaches port, and beyond that St Croix Island floats on a shimmering horizon.
We are actively involved in neighbourhood patrols, spending several hours in the middle of the night each week, trying to take back our neighbourhood from drug dealers, pimps and thieves. On days when we wonder why we put up with the crime around us, we look at views like this and are reminded that it is worth it, and we are encouraged to continue our efforts.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Old Port Elizabeth #4

Row of cottages in Ivy Street, along the Donkin Heritage Trail in Central on a clear ans sunny day.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Old Port Elizabeth #3

This well maintained settler cottage was built circa 1863 in Ivy Street, Central. It along with many other cottages of the time, can be seen on the Donkin Heritage Trail.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Old Port Elizabeth #1

Looking down on some of the older buildings in Govan Mbeki Avenue (formerly Main Street), built in the days when this section was still known as Queen Street. These buildings stood on the beachfront in the old days and everything behind them is reclaimed land.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

In the summer time when the weather is fine

It is a beautiful day and the Bay and the start of the holiday season. Pollock Beach was quieter than the other beaches today, with no wind and clear skies. Out in the ocean too far away to photograph, were two hump backed whales making their way acroos the Bay and far in the distance was a school of about 2000 dolphins in a feeding frenzy.
For some beautiful photos of whales, dolphins and other animals in the Bay visit the Raggy Charters website.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Skywatch: Pearlised clouds

In all my years of watching clouds, this is something I have never seen before. When fetching our kids from the airport recently, we were greeted with shimmering pearlescent clouds as the lowering sun caught them at just the right angle to create irridescent colours across them, and we went home gasping at the sight of emerald green clouds. To see more Skywatch photos, go to the site and follow the links, you'll see wonderful photos and meet a great bunch of people from around the world!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

For Brenda....

This is for regular reader and ex-PE girl Brenda, who lived here a while back. We featured a "Then and Now" of her at the house in 1949 (now now, it isn't gentlemanly to do the maths!) recently and she wanted to see how it looks now, so here you are.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

derelict beauty.

I loved the graphic quality of the play of light and shadow on these derelict train sheds at the narrow gauge train station.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Swartkops river mouth

Standing on the freeway last weekend, looking seawards, this was the lovely view that we saw of the sea mist rolling back from the Swartkops River Mouth.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Eccentric plant pot.....

....or, making the best of a bad situation! This tree on a sidewalk in Mackay Street, Richmond Hill that was cut down has regrown, leaving the rather odd stump surrounding the new tree. Someone with a quirky sense of what is stylish decided to "beautify" it!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Community get together...

Richmond Hill and Central have earned themselves reputations as the crime hotspots of Port Elizabeth. To a degree there may have been some justification for this, but that is rapidly becoming a thing of the past. The activities of the Richmond Hill Sector Crime Forum have made the area an uncomfortable place to commit crimes in, and there has been a marked drop in crime stats recently. This is because the community, instead of isolating themselves behind bars, have joined forces to act against crime, and the positive spinoff of this has been a great increase in neighbourliness and community spirit.
This was particularly evident today, at the final meeting of the year, which was held at Richmond Park in the form of a community picnic. The kids had a ball, and a certain dude in a red suit also showed up and gave them tractor rides around the park.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Enjoy it while you still can.....

Despite a huge amount of opposition from local residents, and despite the fact that much of the land they plan to use is an historic burial ground for the Mfengu people who lived in Richmond Hill in the 1800s, the PWD and Police seem determined to go ahead and erect a 4 storey eyesore on the site next to this lovely historic building. They will effectively block most views of it, as well as casting the park into shade for much of the day. The arrogance and patronising attitude of the officials who attended the public meeting last night was unbelievable. It seems that, 14 years into democracy, little has changed in some departments!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

An invitation......

...something a bit different today....

instead of an actual photo of PE, here is a photo of a painting of PE!

Looking down Parliament Street towards the bay. Oil on canvas, 750x950mm.

I have been invited to exhibit in an exhibition in a private home, along with a group of artists whose work I have great admiration for, so if any of you are going to be in PE this weekend and are into art, here is an invitation for you:

Art Exhibition

5-6 December 2008 09h00-17h00

15 Providence Place, Old Seaview Road

Enquiries: Hannalize 0823736510

Tea Garden


If you are not going to be here, but would like to see more, I have posted some of the new paintings on my art blog.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


At the Eastern edge of Port Elizabeth runs the Swartkops River, and there is a delightful little village on the bank of the river, overlooking the city. This part of it has changed little over the years, as you can see from this photo of our French friend, Gaston, fishing there back in 1959. But over the hill, it has grown a lot, and stretches out towards the East, with shops and garages etc.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Fire in Albany Road

Albany road seems to be an interesting road, recently we featured floods there, from a burst pipe...

Yesterday, as I often do when I am wandering around the house, I looked up to check the view through the front window, and there wasn't one! I checked the side window to see if a mist was coming in but it was bright and clear... so I realised I was looking at a fire in the valley.

Luckily the fire department were already there....

And the smoke was soon joined by clouds of steam as they hosed down the surrounding vegetation.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Addo 3 .... felicitous feline find....

One of the things we were determined to find on this trip to Addo were the lions. We checked in regularly at the reception to see where they were being spotted, and drove those roads, scanning carefully. All in vain. But then, travelling along a section of road we were not really supposed to be on, because our car is not a high clearance vehicle, we got to see a cousin of theirs, and were absolutley ecstatic....

You can spend your whole life in Africa and not see one of these in the wild. Caracals are shy elusive nocturnal creatures, and have been made even more so because they have been hunted by farmers to the point where it is very rare to see one. This one posed obligingly at the side of the road, obviously reluctant to give up its warm sunny spot in the soft sand .... we were over the moon, and it really made up for the fact that the lions again eluded us. Anyway it gives us a good reason to go back soon!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Addo 2 ... It's not just about the big 5.....

These busy little creatures are dung beetles, and are synonymous with Addo Park. It is cute to see road signs all over the place warning motorists not to drive through elephant dung, and stating that dung beetles have right of way on all roads!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Guess where we are today?

Addo Elephant Nationl Park is only 40 minutes from home, so it is the ideal spot for a short weekend getaway.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Green Piece!

Yay Yippee Yay!! It is appropriate to feature a photo from Central today, because last night saw the inaugural meeting of the Central Sector Crime Forum. It was well organised and a strong and committed committee was chosen, with the aim of eradicating crime and grime in the area. The Chairperson is Ken Denton, who owns the majority of the buildings in the area. We are really optimistic about this initiative, and wish them all the best in their endeavours to reclaim our historic gem of a suburb.

We have featured Havelock Square in Central before. It is one of the picturesque and vital little green areas in the heart of the city. This is a view of some of the lovely old villas that surround the square.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Patterns of light

The ubiquitous MacDonald's golden arches create an abstract pattern with the colourful lights reflecting on the railings of the Dolphins Leap Centre at the beachfront. This shot was taken by our son, from the balcony of The Mediterranean, one of our favourite seafood/sushi hangouts!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Promenade at night

While we are hanging around the beachfront at night, here is a view of the promenade at Humewood, taken by our son on one of his visits home.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Bayworld in the dark...

Is the sun setting on PE's dolphin shows? There is much debate at the moment... our two remaining Indian Ocean Bottlenose dolphins, Domino and Dumisa, are terribly inbred, and HAVE to be separated before young Dumisa (Domino's daughter and sister!) reaches breeding age, which is due soon. There have been debates raging about the viability/ethics of capturing a wild dolphin to add to the gene pool, but as yet nothing has been decided... so the future hangs in the balance for this popular PE attraction.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Alternative transport

People from overseas, who visit South Africa for the first time, are often surprised at how Westernised and 1st world our main cities are. But don't despair, around the next corner, you may come across a sight like this and be reminded that you are indeed in Africa! You feel like you have entered a time warp, the pace of life for these guys ambling down the street is so different to that of the motorists behind them, huffing and puffing about being slowed down in their frantic rush to get wherever they are going! Personally I love the reminder that life wasn't always about deadlines and tight schedules!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

another neighbour.......

Another of the wonderful wild animals to be found at the Kragga Kamma Game Park is this cheetah. To be honest, he is not as wild as he looks, and cheetahs from this Park have appeared in a number of movies, including the brilliant Duma, one of our favourites.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Look who lives on our doorstep....

One of the cool things about Port Elizabeth is that we have a number of Game Parks and Lodges within the city limits, where you can experience the wonders of African wildlife, without travelling too far. This mommy rhino and her baby live at the Kragga Kamma Game Park.

Friday, November 21, 2008

the end of an era

Two of the busiest art galleries in PE are currently holding their final exhibitions, before closing.

The delightful Cuyler Street Gallery, owned by Tossie Theron, has been doing great things for PE artists for the past 13 years. Tossie is taking a well earned rest, and has sold the gallery to the owners of the Ron Belling Gallery, who apparently plan to keep it as a gallery, and open a coffee shop there too.

On the other side of town, Heidi and Frans, of the Kuhne Boekkooi Gallery in Charlo, are relocating to Nieu Bethesda in the Karroo, and tomorrow will be the last day that the gallery is open. It is sad to see them go, but Heidi will be continuing to promote the arts with her digital newsletters.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Boats and bad service

Fishing boats viewed from the deck at the Oyster Catcher Restaurant at the Port Elizabeth harbour.
As far as restaurants go, the Oyster Catcher has a great ambience, which is unfortunately spoilt by poor service. As a customer one does not expect to be kept waiting for an interminable period before being served, then when your food finally arrives and the hunger pains are gnawing at your innards, having to wait for the cutlery, which the waitress painstakingly wraps in a serviette. The wait is extended while she pauses to chat to her collegues and the food gets cold and congeals on the plate. No one seemed to have any interest in removing the glasses and bottles that accumulated in vast numbers on the table. As most of our group were finishing their meal, the last person received his food.

But for good company and a good view I may not have stayed as long as I did.

Com'n Oyster Catcher you can do better than that.