The sheen on the wings of a Hadeda Ibis

The brightness of a sunflower

The scarlet beans of an Erythrina caffra


The curve of a buffalo’s horn – with the added bonus of a Red-billed Oxpecker

The ears of a scrub hare



It is time to delve into some random patterns that might stir up memories or comment. The first is a cairngorm brooch my son used to wear on his plaid as part of  his piping uniform. These have thankfully been dispensed with as they are far too hot to wear during our summers.

Here is a detail on a canon in Fort Beaufort.

At this time of the year we scan the horizon for clouds that might just bring us rain.

After the rain comes the joy of seeing drops on the leaves around the garden.

Leaves on their own make attractive patterns too.

Lastly – part of a buffalo.


This might seem a strange description for a lone African Buffalo (Syncerus caffer) seen wallowing in the mud, walking ever so slowly towards a waterhole or grazing in the veld. The double ‘g’ in dagga is pronounced as you would the ‘g’ in ‘gold’ or ‘glory’. The term ‘dagga’ in this context most likely has its origins in the Zulu word udaka (meaning mud or clay). In fact, you might frequently see remnants of mud caked on the hide of these lone buffalo. This is because they seem to spend a lot of time either rolling in mud or immersing themselves in muddy wallows.

These solitary old buffalo are past their prime – you can usually see how their covering of hair has thinned so that bald spots appear. By wallowing in thick mud the buffalo ensure they have a barrier against both the sun and the parasites that might infest these bald spots. Here two of these old dagga boys have teamed up in the Kruger National Park to seek water. Note the Red-billed Oxpeckers on their backs – they too help rid these animals of pesky parasites.

This lone dagga boy is grazing in the Addo Elephant National Park – not far from water, yet with no other buffalo to be seen in the area. He is possibly staying in this area with soft green grass because his teeth have worn down with age and so it is easier to eat. Note his heavy boss and upward curved horns – he must have been a formidable bull in his prime.

Now he lives away from the herd. He might team up with another dagga boy. Either way, as he weakens with age – and without the protection of the herd – he will become a target for predators.

Rest well old chap.