Friday, April 30, 2010

Skywatch Friday :

We've had drizzly rain for days but has cleared now - thank goodness - and the sun is shining once again. I think we are in for more rain this weekend - all this rain is going to make our winter rather cold .. !! Highveld winters are bitter! :(

Anyway, the drizzly days were similar to a couple of days we had in Ireland last October .. and this is one of those days .. when we visited Croagh Patrick in County Mayo.



Croagh Patrick is a holy mountain named after St Patrick who is said to have spent 40 days fasting and praying for the Irish at it's peak in AD441. If it hadn't been so wet and slippery we would have climbed a little of the way up - 2 510 ft (772 metres) - the photo above shows the mountain shrouded in cloud and the photo below shows the view from St Patrick's statue overlooking Clew Bay. There is a chapel at the top of Croagh Patrick, built in 1905 at a cost of $100, and took 12 men six months to build with materials drawn up the mountain by donkey or horseback.



For more spectacular skies around the world visit Skywatch

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Up, close and personal ...

... that's what you see when on the Xstrata Treetop Walkway in Kew Gardens in London ..



... a treetop walkway is exactly what it is ... a platform walkway built at treetop height ..



One of the mum's, whose son does karate on the same day as Bradley, was saying yesterday that she and her hubby are flying off to London today .. which made me think of our last trip - to Ireland, stopping off in London for a few days on our way home. On one of the days, hubby and I visited and walked around the most beautiful Kew Gardens. I love gardens, so this was special for me!!!! On our walk around we came across the treetop walkway and climbed the steps into the tree canopy, 18 metres above the ground ..



Quite a unique experience walking at the same level as the tops of the trees ..


.. where all along are 'pausing' areas with small plaques such as this one which reads "89 million trees in England live in fields, hedges, orchards, gardens, parks and streets" ...


There is also a lift for those who cannot climb the stairs ...

At the base of the walkway is a replica of a fallen tree to show how a tree 'works' with a simple diagram and explanation for children ...


On the board is a quote by Lucy Larcom :
"He who plants a tree plants hope"

Wish we were flying off to London like the 'karate mum' and her hubby .. !!!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Monday, April 26, 2010

Bunratty Folk Park ....

.. at Bunratty Castle, Co. Clare, is where 19th century Irish life is recreated ... and hubby and I visited the Castle and Folk Park on a day like today ... cold, cloudy and rainy !! Today - this weather - reminded me of our visit ...

I have, some time ago, shared with you, Bunratty Castle and I do remember promising to share the Folk Park. I also remember promising to show you all the inside of the Castle but that will have to be another time ..


After visiting the Castle, hubby and I walked through the rain until we came across this cottage, the home of a farmer from the rich lands of the Golden Vale of Limerick and Tipperary Counties ..

... went inside .. and found the 'farmer's wife' preparing a huge apple pie by the warming fireside ...

The home-made apple pie was being prepared for the tea room situated behind the pink cottage ... we would have loved to have tried it with our very warming hot cup of coffee ...

After our coffee, we walked up to the village ... the rain had stopped by then, thankfully ...





Of course there has to be a pub in every village - open to the public and 'loved by visitors and locals alike' ...
Onward .... passed a very wet donkey being petted by school girls ..

.. another group of school girls were ahead of us going into the lovely little church - moved here, stone by stone from Ardcroney. I was interested that the girls wore long skirts and wondered if they were their 'outing' dress code. No .. was the reply .. "we wear them all year round!"

They seemed to enjoy their outing and all made a B-line for the Church bell's rope which was pulled by what seemed to be all of them !!!! The bell tolled continuously !!

Leaving the girls, and the church behind, we passed a small field with deer - and real antlers/horns - have never seen them before!! Real Bambi's and Daddy Bambi's !!!

Turned down a lane to the vertical mill ..

.. then onto the horizontal mill ..


.. to the last building, Bunratty House, a late Georgian dwelling built in 1805 the 'type occupied by minor gentry in the 19th Century'. The house below is the home belonging to the Hughes Brothers who started the dairy industry in the 1800's .. I love that one .. it's how you would draw a house ... rectangle, triangle roof, chimneys with smoke curling out, rectangle door and square windows !!

Behind Bunratty House is courtyard filled with 19th Century farm implements - Talbot Collection ...
Making our way back to the entrance/exit we passed these 'Traveller Wagons' - main type of transport used in the past by ethnic Irish folk ..
.. and then haystacks, which I have also never seen before except pictured in story books ...
I can just imagine Little Boy Blue sleeping against this one !!
A fascinating place and well worth the visit !!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Weekly Winners : 17 - 24 April

Monday : Had a very busy day yesterday ... houseful of family !!! .. and wasn't able to finish putting up my Weekly Winners .. not that there are many photos .... 'cos ... the week started with lovely warm blue skies ...


... and then the wind blew ... scattering more leaves around the garden and pool ...


.. then the rain came ... and stayed ... and stayed

.... lovely weather for a good glass of Pinotage from Doolhof Wine Estates in Wellington ... "A burst of chocolate/mocha aromas, rich black cherries, coffee and almonds" .. now how can you resist ? !!! ... especially with an alluring label like this one ..


A week's worth of photos wouldn't be the same without one of our gorgeous grandchildren even though he is one tooth less !!

For more Weekly Winners visit Lotus' blog

Friday, April 23, 2010

Skywatch Friday :

From our front door ... in the late afternoon, the other day ...



... I went to the front garden but can never get a whole rainbow in the picture because of the trees and house ...



... is this Noah's dove looking for dry ground ?.. I think we're in for a wet weekend !


For spectacular skies around the world visit Skywatch

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Franschhoek Motor Museum #1

With the magnificent backdrop of the Franschhoek Mountains, the Motor Museum is a fascinating place, where there is a private collection of about 320 cars of which about 80 are exhibited at any one time (cars are rotated to give them equal viewing) - in these four 'warehouses' on either side of the main building in the centre ...


Wandering around on your own is not permitted but they have guides taking small groups to each of the warehouses. Once inside you can walk around freely but are asked not to touch the cars or stand on the white boards under the cars.

Our guide was this very knowledgeable young man on the left ... ask him any question and he knew the answer ... and with him is the oldest car in the collection - a Ford Model A dated 1903 !!

So as not make this post too long .. I will do a couple of posts with some of the cars spanning 100 years ..
'Golden Oldies' first - I love the old vintages! This is a motorcycle from 1905 - Mars Carette
Smart little one below ... but I didn't get it's name ..
.. or the name of this Ford ... snazzy little car .. imagine bumbling along the narrow roads with the canopy down on a lovely warm summer's day, with hat tied on and scarf billowing behind ..
The famous Model T Ford ...
This one below reminded us of a programme we used to watch on TV many years ago with John Boy and family who lived in the depression years in America .. we both have forgotten the name of the series, which always ended with them going to bed and each member of the family said goodnight to each other ... does anyone remember ? ...



Bugatti : 1930 ...
Beautiful .. aren't they ? ...

Photo below - unfortunately the AC on the left is not quite in the picture because I was more interested in the cute little green car called a Dixie !!! But I should have taken a full photo of the AC as it had a fascinating story. It is a very rare car - there are only 2 or 3 (hubby would remember!) in existence and a group of car 'people'/enthusiasts came out from England recently to study the car - every inch of it - taking it's chasis number etc !! They have also asked that if ever it is sold, they would like to be told of it's whereabouts at all times! A very rare car indeed !!
Watch this space for more ...