SCENES FROM THE RIETBERG …

… commonly called Mountain Drive above Grahamstown. We first look down on the N2 as it passes through fossil-rich shale cuttings as it bypasses the town on its way to East London in one direction and Port Elizabeth in the other:

A little further on we can look down on the back end of the 1820 Settlers Monument (simply known as The Monument) and its beautiful surrounds with Grahamstown stretching out below:

Now we can zoom into one of the older suburbs:

When we look over the hill on the other side, we can see the Southwell valley stretching out before us – an area of private game reserves, dairy farms, pineapple farms and mixed farming:

These scenes give you another glimpse of where I live.

EAST FORT HOUT BAY

The East Fort Battery was constructed in Hout Bay 1782 – 1783 by the French Pondicherry Regiment, who had taken control of the Cape in 1781 from the fourth Anglo-French War.

The site includes four ruined buildings and a battery of eight 18 pounder guns.

It is known that these guns were used on 15th September 1795 to foil the possible entry to Hout Bay of a squadron of British warships. HMS Echo, a 16-gun ship-sloop, actually entered the Bay and drew fire from both East and West Forts forcing it to withdraw. The ship then sailed on to Table Bay where, after talks at Wynberg, the Dutch surrendered and the British took control of the Cape Colony.

After this encounter, East Fort was not used again for military purposes. At the start of World War II an observation post was erected near the battery of guns to keep watch for possible German invaders.

CAMPING IN THE KAROO NATIONAL PARK

Readers sometimes ask what it is like to camp in our national parks. The picture below shows our campsite in the Karoo National Park. Our trailer is in the foreground and our vehicle is parked next to the tent. Each campsite is supplied with a bin for rubbish as well as an electricity point – that you can see attached to the lamp post on the right. We use electricity for lighting and boiling the kettle. Less clear in the background on the right is a braai stand.

Having access to electricity meant that I could also use my laptop to download the many photographs I had taken each day. The braai stand is to the right of the number 9.

We pitched our tent facing away from the traffic and so that we could enjoy this view through the trees. The latter provided shade during the day and hosted a number of birds, which I enjoyed watching.

While one can braai on the stand provided, I generally cook on a gas stove or use the camp kitchen. This is the kitchen, built in a typical Karoo style.

Here is a view of part of the interior of the camp kitchen showing the sinks, a microwave and a toaster. In addition there are two-plate stoves, a fridge and a freezer for the use of campers. On the left of the window is a hot water dispenser – very useful indeed. Like the ablution blocks, the kitchen is kept beautifully clean throughout the day.

Lastly, once the cooking has been done and darkness falls it is pleasant to sit back in one’s camp chair and to reflect on the day’s sightings with a goblet of wine. Here is yours truly with a campervan in the background.

A RANGE OF PATTERNS

Whenever I scroll through my photographs I am surprised at the number of patterns that jump out at me. At the risk of boring readers with yet another lot, I have a few more to show. The first are raindrops on the grass. There is a great delight in these shining drops for we received some unexpected rain last week – enough to green up the grass on my unmown lawn and to give the flowers in the garden a ‘lift’:

After the rain comes sunshine and these patterns shining on the side of our swimming pool caught my eye. The pool was filled with grit and leaves after the rain:

Thanks to the ongoing drought, it is a while since I have been able to enjoy large marigolds in the garden. None of the many seeds planted this year have shown a sign of sprouting. Nonetheless, I enjoyed finding this picture in my archives:

I have shown several Eucalyptus trees of late; here is a closer look at the leaves of one of the trees growing around the corner from where I live:

Next is a picture regular readers may be familiar with. This is Bryan, the angulate tortoise that came to live in our garden for some time until eventually the desire to travel on overcame him. I love the pattern on his shell:

Lastly, I cannot resist adding this stained glass window:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NANAGA FARM STALL

Many years ago there was a tiny farm stall on the side of the N1 between Grahamstown and Port Elizabeth where one could buy the most delicious pies ever. It expanded to include a tea garden set among a variety of trees and bushes … the small car park was never empty unless the stall was closed. Nanaga (meaning ‘naked mountain’) was the place to stop and drew motorists like a magnet. It was the quality of those pies, you see. Tragedy struck: the farm stall burned down! A new one arose from the ashes – slightly larger this time and equally popular.

So popular in fact that the stall has moved to much safer premises where there is plenty of parking; a beautiful garden with tables where one can enjoy a break; some basic playground equipment; a restaurant for those wanting a sit-down meal; and of course those pies! Depending on the season or the time of day, one sometimes has to queue for a pie … or a rooster-koek … with plenty of other fare to catch one’s eye whilst waiting.

These days one can also refuel one’s vehicle on the premises and an express outlet has been built. No matter the expansion that has taken place, Nanaga remains the place to stop. Their pies fly off the shelf along with delicious coffee, fruit juices, biltong, a host of tasty home-made treats, newspapers, and even a variety of gifts if you need one.