Partly because we needed to get down there and check everything was OK. Party because “intra-provincial travel for leisure” was allowed again. Partly because we just needed escape from Cape Town. And yes, partly because there was a family birthday.
We couldn’t really have wished for a better weekend. The weather was incredible, prompting walks along the shore, photography and late night braais. Not bad for the middle of winter. And the fact that our place was built to withstand the worst that the South Atlantic could fling at it meant that it had done exactly that: it was all in good, ship-shape condition. In turn, that meant that we had plenty more time than we thought to just relax and chill out.
We used it wisely.
Even as the weather closed in on Monday evening, we stayed out and about until the very last minute, grabbing every last bit of sunlight:
And even when the weather was scary, stormy and windy the next morning, I still managed to get out and get a PB for 10km, despite being off road and on shore for much of the distance. Chuffed. (Spoiler: the World Record is still very much intact and in absolutely no danger from me. I are not fast.)
More photos (you may have seen a few of them over the previous few days on here) are now up on Flickr. Some decent stuff in there, though I say it myself – remind me to tell you about my epiphany at some point.
Around lunchtime on December the 22nd, a veldfire ignited near the parking lot in Suiderstrand. With the southeaster blowing hard, the fire quickly spread and within half an hour, one building was completely destroyed. If it weren’t for the quick reactions of the Working On Fire helicopter from Bredasdorp, it could have been a lot, lot worse.
We weren’t down here then, as we were spending Christmas with family in Cape Town, and it took a while before the panicky messages on the whatsapp groups – in Afrikaans, nogal – began to make sense and I finally worked out that our place was not in immediate danger. It was a horrible few minutes. The point of ignition was only 100m from our front door, and had the fire started 24 hours before, it would have been blown directly towards our place.
The wind has been pumping since we arrived down here, and it was only yesterday morning that I managed to get the drone up to survey the scene from above and see just how lucky some houses were to escape serious harm.
There are plenty of melted gutters and lots of damaged paintwork, but nothing that can’t be repaired after the festive break. Not so much for the burnt-out home though. It’s a sad and sobering sight.
If one is looking for positives – and at this time of year, one should always have a glass half full – it was that this was the only casualty, and that no-one was injured or killed in the fire.
The village reacted well, with plenty of people on hand to assist where possible and great communication. And we’ve all renewed our knowledge of evacuation procedures and emergency numbers, which is never a bad thing.
Usually, you try to avoid camera movement when you take a shot. But it turns out that there’s this thing called ICM, where you – are you ready for this? – intentionally move the camera when you take the shot.
They should mention that in the name.
It takes a little bit of practice to manage your exposure (careful now) and other settings*, but when you have ‘togged a location to death, it’s something a bit quirky and the results can be… “interesting”. And because you are not paying for film, you can experiment to your heart’s content.
Here’s one I did earlier (last weekend):
I know it won’t be to everyone’s taste. I’m not even sure it’s really to mine, although I do like the simplicity and it really does provide a rather different take on a very familiar place.
The white line is hugely important and perhaps I should have made more of it.
It’s not really Rothko, but can I see something of a background of a Turner there somewhere? Maybe.
I’d like to see a bit more structure in my next efforts.
* for example, this was f/36.0 and 1/4″ – barmy numbers!