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letting nature back in

nature and nurture in suburban spaces

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Heritage

Remembering another solitary Christmas: Botswana, December 1999

There was a time when we wished for solitary Christmases when we had to take our holidays over Christmas and we chose to be away in remote places. But of course this year, a solitary Christmas is thrust upon us. Not having a choice is a different matter, and for many of us it is distressing or at the very least disappointing not to be with family and friends over the festive season.

Continue reading “Remembering another solitary Christmas: Botswana, December 1999”

Making cold process soap at home

By making your own soap at home, not only can you customise the soap that you use every day, but you also reduce packaging waste and eliminate the use of parabens, surfactants and other undesirable chemicals.

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Ouhout: An adaptable and tenacious survivor

The holiday association of shrubby Ouhout trees lining mountain streams and hiking trails meant that we were delighted to find an established Ouhout growing in the garden when we moved into our current home some years ago. The Afrikaans name, used also by English speakers, ‘Ouhout’ literally means ‘old wood’, and even young plants have a woody gnarled appearance.

Continue reading “Ouhout: An adaptable and tenacious survivor”

Botanical images: Inspired by vintage prints and cards

Botanical art has a classic appeal. There is something essential about the clean accuracy of a detailed depiction of a plant that has been chosen to represent its species, coupled with the aesthetic qualities that emerge from the union of technique, artistry and natural beauty.

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Shifting the focus when back in the now

Holiday escapism, even virtual holidays down memory lane, oftentimes involve wilfully ignoring inconvenient truths. So back home in the now, the hard realities in the news preoccupy me once again as Covid-19 infection rates escalate across significant parts of South Africa.

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Richtersveld redux: Reviving remoteness and the great out there

The Richtersveld is a reminder of vastness out there while the pandemic constrains us. Our (cancelled) three-week trip to three nature parks would have started in mid-May, so instead of actually going away, while under continuing lockdown I reminisce about a previous trip out into nature. Continue reading “Richtersveld redux: Reviving remoteness and the great out there”

Learning from animals in these times: Cats and music in a world where love survives

Starting at midnight tonight it is South Africa’s turn to go into lockdown to try to slow down the transmission of the Covid-19 coronavirus disease so that our fragile health services might be less overwhelmed. Our government is acting decisively in the face of unimaginable challenges and we are all wondering how we will cope. Continue reading “Learning from animals in these times: Cats and music in a world where love survives”

Finding resilience and fragility

Across the globe we are facing the uncertainty and challenges associated with the Covid-19 pandemic. Here too in South Africa a State of Disaster has been declared as the number of people who test positive for the virus increases by the day. Continue reading “Finding resilience and fragility”

Following the coastal path at Onrus

The coastal path at the settlement of Onrus meanders through fynbos vegetation above the rocky shoreline. On our recent visit we enjoyed the sea air, wonderful views of the kelp-laced ocean swells and breakers, and walking among the diversity of plants and birdlife. Continue reading “Following the coastal path at Onrus”

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