So much for getting back into regular posts. I’ve learned my lesson: the spirit is willing, but life happens, so I’m not making any rash promises. Or New Year’s resolutions, for that matter.
Like last year, I had an unexpected request to work in a spot that meant a road trip and, again, The Husband happily came along for the ride. Well, actually, he did the driving. I pointed the camera at various things.
A lone tree standing out against the golden stubble of harvested wheat.
The bales of hay for much-needed fodder, waiting to be collected and stacked.
There are wind farms everywhere: on every road and virtually around every bend. I can’t make up my mind if they’re fascinating, benignly waving their arms at one, or a blight on the landscape. The turbines are huge. In the bottom, left photograph in the collage above, you will see a turbine blade on the ground – the portable toilet and the picnic gazebo – give one a sense of how long it must be: turbines can have a diameter of 40 – 90 metres.
Our destination was the seaside, mostly holiday village, of Paternoster.
The sea was brilliant; the colours, exquisite, but the wind howled. The apparently calm sea was very deceiving.
Then, the morning we were to return home, a dog barked. At 4 am. It was a very agitated bark. Neither of us went back to sleep, so an hour later we resolved to get up, pack and hit the road.
Good thing, too, because an hour or so after we were back in McGregor, we were fighting fires. Literally.
The Husband, Jan Boer, and a few other locals monitored the fire that was across the road from our house. As I was taking this picture and the one below, the wind suddenly changed and the fire jumped the fence into our plot and vegetable garden.
I turned tail and ran back home and unceremoniously dumped the camera. Friends and neighbours arrived from everywhere, including friends en route to a wedding. They were late.
Every bucket and hole-free receptacle was dragooned into service. Cool boxes, catering equipment and dustbins were passed from hand to hand and every available tap was used to fill them. Our outside kitchen (about which I have not yet written…) was invaluable. It’s amazing there wasn’t more soot all over the stoep floor and all over the house.
Our two hosepipes were already in use, dousing the flames across the road. An hour and a half later (which felt like a day) after it jumped the road, the fire was under control, the fire service was on the scene, and the camera was retrieved from the tree under which it had been deposited.
The hosepipes came back blistered and burnt. Small price.
And the aftermath: incinerated telephone lines, charred, smoked vegetables (a new trend?) and homes unscathed. Mercifully. Dust and moonscapes.
Within a week, even though there was no rain, the reeds in the vlei across the road, were sprouting.
Thanks to that barking dog, we were home to fight that fire. So began the festive season for us, and it was gone in a flash.