BIRTH IN SUBURBIA

This cow, a member of the expanding Urban Herd, gave birth unaided in the middle of a patch of Senecio flowers growing on some open ground outside some houses in the middle of a suburb.

In no time at all, two local dogs came sniffing around.

The cow was still raw.

Her udder was distended.

While she must have already eaten her placenta, the dogs seemed to be particularly interested in something in the patch of flowers once the cow and her calf had moved away.

By then she had endured enough of their unwelcome attention and nudged her calf towards the relative safety of a nearby park.

We saw them elsewhere in the town a week later: cow and calf appear to be thriving.

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GRAHAMSTOWN REMEMBRANCE DAY 2018

The day began before 6 a.m. while the morning mist still hugged the hills around Grahamstown and the sun was struggling to break through the cloud cover.

This was when a group of four pipers and two drummers gathered at the 1820 Settlers’ Monument that overlooks the town to join in a world-wide commemoration of the signing of the armistice a hundred years ago.

The annual Remembrance Day Parade took place in Church Square later that morning:

CRADOCK CLUB

Although their first bank account was opened at Barclays Bank in 1879, the Cradock Club only officially opened its doors in 1881.

Typically, its walls are decorated with hunting trophies. I have already shown you the Aardwolf, one of a pair, standing in pride of place in the Ladies Bar, but there are others scattered around, such as this Kudu:

Warthog:

As well as the stretched out Python skin, with a Springbok looking obligingly at you on the left:

Many of the rooms set aside for different activities have lead-lined decorative panes.

Some of which show the wear and tear inevitable over so many years.

While the Fourth Sherwood Foresters were stationed in Cradock during the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902), their senior officers were invited to make use of the Club’s facilities. At the end of the war they donated their leather-topped Burmese Teak mess table along with a dozen chairs to the club as a gesture of their gratitude.

Also in the Reading Room one can see the Officers’ Snuff Horn which was donated to the Club. This is made from the horn of a Highland sheep and is decorated with silver and amethyst.

Elegant wooden hat and coat hooks in the passages point to a different era of dress code.

DUTCH REFORMED MOEDERKERK: CRADOCK

Should you have visited Trafalgar Square in London and noted the graceful lines of the St Martins-in-the-Fields church next to South Africa House, you will experience a sense of deja vu when travelling down J A Calata Street (formerly Stockenstroom Street) in Cradock and see the Dutch Reformed Moederkerk rising majestically above the buildings around it. This is because this church has been built to the same design.

This is the 200th anniversary of the Dutch Reformed community. The church has an interesting history, including the fact that President Paul Kruger was christened here by a Welsh pastor in 1826 and that it was occupied by British soldiers who occupied the town during the Anglo-Boer War. They apparently used it as a look-out post and kept watch on the inhabitants from the roof.

The interior is spacious, with seating for approximately 900 worshippers.

The stinkwood pulpit is impressive.

The windmill is an appropriate motif for this area.

The church contains an impressive organ.

And beautiful pews.

We were told of an interesting situation that occurred when a member of the congregation was working on repairing the roof in recent years. Looking down, he noticed two layabouts drinking alcohol on the pavement below. He rather mischievously bellowed down the drainpipe, I see you! The two layabouts got such a fright at hearing this disembodied voice right next to them that they fled in terror!

Sadly, the potential peace and tranquillity of the interior of the church is challenged by loud music blaring from the radios of vendors that crowd the pavement outside, selling anything from butternuts to cheap sandals.

SOME EASTERN CAPE ROADS

Move off the National Roads in the Eastern Cape into the rural areas and you will experience a variety of roads and spectacular landscapes. This is the dirt road leading through bush covered scenery towards Riebeek East

Actually, the surface of this road was mostly in better condition than some of the tarred roads that are pitted with deep potholes in places. These are not visible in this view of the R61 leading towards Tarkastad, which you can see stretching ahead towards the mountains in the distance.

Narrow rural roads are characterised by low level bridges, such as this one on the road through the Baviaans Valley.

The picture below illustrates the type of landscape that some of these roads cut through.

The fleshy leaved plants near the top of the picture are Aloe striata which have not yet come into bloom.