PORTRAIT OF A GIRL

Drawn by Ceridwen, aged 10.

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AGED WOOD

Everything grows old with time. Everything wrinkles and decays. Some things take longer than others. Some age gently and beautifully. Some reach a point of inward decay. No matter what, there is beauty in ageing if one cares to look. This thick plank has reached a point of no return, yet as it crumbles it provides a home for beetles, lizards, ants and wasps.

This wagon wheel holds a wealth of stories beneath its metal rim that still holds fast even though the wood has shrunk and wrinkled over time.

The inner hub is flaking, flecks of paint remain on the outside, yet the spokes hold firm like muscles straining with every tendon.

Breaking point is reached and the sawed felloe sections no longer meet in places.

EXPLORING AT TSITSIKAMMA

Apart from the boardwalk to the Storms River Mouth, walks through the forest, and swimming at the small sandy beach, there are a number of other things to explore at Tsitsikamma. These pictures come from one short walk to the rocks near the start of the Otter Trail.

The cracks, ledges and striations on the rocks beg for exploration.

Small stones, worn smooth by the action of the sea, tiny bits of wood, seaweed and shells also call for attention.

The patterns on this shell proved to be irresistible.

There is driftwood aplenty.

You may have noticed a tin on the bottom right hand side of the first picture. This is what it looks like from nearby. Where did it come from? How did it land up in the ocean? How long has it been there, being tossed by the waves?

Obviously long enough to have become a home for a colony of molluscs.

YOU WILL PARK THIS WAY!

Drive into any car-park and you are bound to find vehicles parked facing this way or that – depending on the direction the vehicle was being driven when an open bay was found, or perhaps on the apparent ease of departure after the shopping has been done. I usually prefer nosing into a bay that will allow me to leave without reversing, if such good fortune makes one available when I arrive. Even though most large car-parks have painted arrows to indicate the smooth flow of traffic, drivers tend to ignore them if they spot an open bay nearby. You cannot do this in the army, it seems.

A soldier opened the gate to the car-park for us and enquired about our purpose for visiting the regimental headquarters. A form had to be filled in and signed, the time of our entry noted carefully. There were a couple of bays open and we headed towards one of them, only to be confronted by another soldier gesticulating wildly. He pointed to a bay against the perimeter wall – on closer inspection it turned out that the bay we had been heading for was reserved for one of the ranked staff. As we were nosing into the ‘appointed’ bay we were again called to book by the said soldier: we had to reverse in!

It was then that I took note of the large yellow arrows painted in every bay.

Indeed, all of the vehicles in the car-park were dutifully parked facing outwards – according to those large yellow arrows.

I couldn’t resist asking for an explanation as we were about to leave. It is very simple, I was told: if the vehicles had to be evacuated in a hurry this could be done with ease and in an orderly fashion as no reversing would be required!