Saturday, September 22, 2012

Mountain Passes of South Africa!

I am blessed to have one of those dads that does not allow himself to stagnate --- physically, mentally and technologically! When cell-bricks first came out (oops, cell-phones) he was one of the first to sign those inevitably fine-print riddled cell-phone contracts. His business, Autolink, was one of the first independent car dealerships to have their own website -- in 1994 -- triggering a cross-country trend. His highly competitive involvement in racing yachts also allowed for much gadget-buying and brain-stretching with GPSs and the like, and most recently, his GoPro cameras! Even his mountain-biking and 4x4ing involve the GoPros --- and, most memorably - as only grampas can do - a GoPro video of his and Layla's ferris-wheel adventure at the Waterfront. Oh yes - and don't forget the video of Lloyd, the vegan llama who violently snubbed my dad's offerings of biltong with literally litres of the most vile green slime, from head to foot. And then still had to walk the three longest, foul-smelling kilometres back to the caravan to soap the trauma from his skin and memory. Ah! Such is the life of the intrepid, camera-wielding adventurer!

The last year has taken my dad into a whole new creative space, and the culmination of many, many hours of adventuring, filming, researching and editing, is his new website, 'Mountain Passes of South Africa'. (A little bit of background to my dad and his love affair with his Landcruiser: when I returned from the UK in 2006 to find my dad the very proud owner of a 4x4, I was aghast, appalled, ashamed. You see, my dad brought us up as nature purists (aka 'nature snobs' - though for which I am still incredibly thankful):competitive dinghy sailors who looked down upon the wild, noisy motor-boaters and hikers who scorned the lazy, motorised Sunday jollers who we viewed as almost abusing nature. But - the flip-side to this story is that 4x4ers are generally great respecters of nature and eco-enthusiasts, so I have had to revise my previous opinions! My dad's passion for seeking out the more remote mountainous beauties of South Africa is good to behold. It relaxes him immensely, and has inspired his writing and film-making --- pushing his previously unrequited creative needs. Additionally -- and very proud I am -- he brings an incredible about of enjoyment and inspiration to readers of South African travel and adventure mags like Go!, Getaway, Weg!, the Landcruiser Club and many more. So... without further ado, I am off to take a squizz at his most recently uploaded mountain pass adventure - the Pakhuis Pass in my beloved Cederberg!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Spring Into Action!

Spring has arrived --with a rainbow of feathery flourishes, oodles of hope and the most gentle of sunshine. Feathers? What have feathers got to do with the price of eggs? Everything. But, this is a little secret I'm hiding for a few more weeks. So, hold both your thumbs and wish upon a zillion stars for me - because... (*deep, excited breath/sparkling eyes*): this may just be IT for me!

My Spring Diary:
Layla + Nate when they were 18 months old! Nothing better than cousin-cuddles!
1st September: At long last, after more than a month of conjuring up wildly happy hats from feathers, faux birds, silk and lace for Home Of Hope's Spring-themed charity fundraiser, it was time to party-with-heart! With Layla being spoiled by her Aunty Mandy (new Hello Kitty leggings and veritably drowning in aunty-kisses) and co-entertained by Nate: her somewhat Tarzan-esque cousin, I headed up the coast to Blouberg's 'On The Rocks' --- a restaurant, um... on the rocks. Of the less crowded end of Blouberg's beach. And with a view that, um... rocks one's world! The event raised R43 000! (And 103 extremely rowdy, untameable ladies who jabbered relentlessly through all the speeches, but who gave copiously from their deep heart-pockets!) The Home of Hope deserves its own blog post --- but if you have money (even R20 a month, on debit order), toys, clothes or time to gift them, please contact me or them directly (via their website.) I'm going to be teaching the little ones 'creative developmental play', basic literacy and art. And --- more critically-than-even-oxygen, loving them. Get loving, guys!

The view from Pakalolo's, on Blouberg's beachfront.
I was WAAAAAY too early for the function --- and my Facebook status that day says it all: 
  I'm grabbing a luxuriously solitary coffee at my old haunt on Blouberg's beachfront to sit and simply soak up 'my' mountain, and revel in my wild passion for this city that never ceases to delight and inspire me!

2nd September: Church. And then a spontaneous ice-cream -------- and then garlic-riddled lunch at Blouberg'd Primi Piatta. Glorious. Deliciousindulgentextravagant ---- well, just plain YUMMY!

3rd/4th/5th September: My mommy-brain can't remember... (A joke/truth I have probably told too many times already: when Layla was delivered via frighteningly dramatic C-section, the surgeon was in such a mad rush that he took out my brain instead of my placenta. Ya, well no fine...)

6th September: Beckoned seducingly outside by the suddenly warm sun, Layla and I made today #1 of our Gardening Adventure (though I knew I had to, tragically, hold a funeral for my two bonsais which died in this epic Cape winter we just had...) BUT: (my time's running out at the keyboard) our time was cut screeeeeechingly short by Layla's discovery of a sudden inundation of termites ---- of Biblical proportions! 7 minutes of Gardening Adventure Day #1 in total. And no tiny-tree funeral.

Time's run out.