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Saturday, 25 April 2015

Doreen.

Doreen that's the name of the scale model steam engine pictured below. 


While my friend Jane and I were staying at Lemon wood, we went to a place called "Pigley Wigley", I kid you not that's it's name. One of the tourist spots on the Natal Midlands Meander.  


There was a time when the smallest "Dorp" (village) was connected to the national railroad system. The South African Railways was a state owned railway with thousands of kilometers of railroad track covering the whole country. Until the 1970's most of it was used by steam trains except the mainlines between major cities which was electrified.
  

By the 1990's most of the branch lines had closed. In most small towns you will still find old forlorn and dilapidated station buildings, a sad reminder of the golden age of steam.


I still remember the excitement of my brother and I (we lived in Durban, early 1950's)  when our parents took my brother and I to visit my mothers grandfather who had a farm near the small town of Donnybrook in  the East Grigualand land area of southern Natal. We loved to ride on the "Donnybrook train". Today the trip by car would take you 3 or 4 hours, back then it was an overnight journey, nothing beats sleeping on a train. These trips were made two or three time a year and could hardly wait for the next one.



On the side of the side of the locomotive is the emblem of the South African Railways. During my lifetime I have traveled thousands of kilometers by train.

One of South Africa's tourist icons is Rovos rails passenger steam train a five star hotel on wheels. Google Rovos rail and see for yourself.  

Cosmos flowers.

The cosmos season only lasts a few weeks here, but while it does there are thousands of photo opportunities.

Click to enlarge.


I can almost imagine fairies dancing around this flower.


They appear suddenly in the 2nd week of March and by the 3rd week of April the show is over.


You hardly ever find these flowers out in the open fields but always next to farm and country dirt roads.


Profusion or prolific doesn't even begin to describe the the billions of these flowers that line South Africa's highways and byways in autum!

Monday, 6 April 2015

Lemonwood cottages.

A couple of weeks ago a friend and I spent a weekend at a small holiday resort on the "Midlands Meander", in the Natal midlands. The Midlands Meander is a tourism promotion entity which promotes tourism in the area between the towns of Mooi River and Howick on the N3 highway heading east to the harbour city of Durban. Howick is about 40km eat of Mooi River.

All sorts of artist and crafts people have settled here, you can buy hand made furniture, pottery, leather work, paintings, etc., etc.You can have you're pick of the kind of accommodation or holiday you would like to have, from five star hotels and spas to very basic camping facilities. My favourite place is the second hand bookshop at "Piggly Wiggely", promise you that's the place's name and more about that in the next post.

It covers a huge area and as you travel on the winding roads through lush farm lands you see signs directing you to Wedding and Conference resorts, I counted about six, (it's the in thing to have your wedding at one of these places), Golf resorts, health spas, beauty spas, you name it they've got it.

My friend and I choose one of the smaller and cheaper places called Lemonwood at R325 per person per night, (less than $30 US dollars).Two bedrooms two bathrooms, loung/dining room and fully fitted kitchen. You do you're own cooking, (if you don't feel like cooking there are restaurants that cater for every taste, and pocket, in every direction). The cottages come with bedding, towels, crockery, cutlery, etc. You don't have to clean up or make your bed as the cottages are serviced every day, just bring your own food and drink.

Click to enlarge.


A view from Lemonwood, looking over lush, intensely cultivated farm land.


The road leading into the resort.


One of the smaller cottages.


The cottage we stayed in, large swimming pool right in front.


Indigenous forest behind the cottages. Lemonwood is part of the Dargle conservancy. A conservancy is where the land owners get together and protect the fauna and flora of an area, like in the Dargle distrct.

Google Natal Midlands Meander, a great place to spend some time.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

A different angle.

A cosmos flower taken from the side.

Click to enlarge.


Did not know how it would come out when took this photo.

Friday, 3 April 2015

Cosmos

Went out at sunrise yesterday and took these photos. Getting to know my new camera.

Click to enlarge:


A flower of a vine growing among'st the ripening maize.


Cosmos.


A weed, one of the few good things to come out of our 2nd War of Independence, (Boer War 1899 - 1902). Came with British imported horse feed from Argentina. 

Took the British Empire, at the high't of it's Imperial power, three years to defeat a handful of peasant farmers.


Cosmos flowers come in white and purple, and various shades of pink.