Photoblogs

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Snowy Spacey Sutherland

Published 12/06/2012 by Saint

I’m at the Vida Cafe, love the music they play here…

You’re lucky to have me back actually after my stint in freezing Sutherland this past weekend.

Sutherland is a place in the Northern Cape Karoo region, for those of you who do not know, and it’s the coldest place in South Africa. The lowest recorded temperature was -16.4°C sometime in 2003 and when we were there the temp was close to -5°C!!

For more information on Sutherland in general, click here.

Sutherland has also been of interest to me for ages and I’m really glad I finally got to go there, because of the SALT telescope, the largest in the Southern Hemisphere, a third of which was paid for and is owned by South Africa, did you know that?  I knew we had some hand in it but I never knew we owned it.  We went on a tour that was led by a very interesting man who was clearly a scientist of some kind but who had that gift – unusual for intellectual giants – of being able to make his audience understand complex matters of science and astronomy with complete ease.  I never knew, for example, that all of astronomy that is of any interest to the astronomers is spectroscopy; without which the science of astronomy would be operating literally and metaphorically in the dark.

The tour started at the visitors centre and then we went up to the SALT telescope by car.  Snow was falling by this time, to our immense delight, so we travelled across a deserted, icy cold landscape populated with smaller telescopes dotted here and there.  The feeling was definitely lunar.  All of these telescopes are operated by computer, the smaller ones.

Then we went up to the SALT telescope:

At this stage the temperature was dropping, people!  Sjoe!

This telescope’s mirror is based on a new design, there are 91 pieces of mirror comprising the single Primary Mirror (the thing that looks like a patchwork quilt below):

Apart from the phenomenal ingenuity of the telescope itself (which is based on the design of the famous HET telescope in Texas) one has to admire the engineering that went into the building of the telescope.  Amazing. truly amazing what the human mind can conceive and build!    The reason the mirrors on the Primary mirror look like a patchwork quilt is that some are cleaner than others. They clean them with some regularity but the cleaning job itself can take three days, one whole day to get two pieces of mirror out at a time!  While we were there, two pieces were out for cleaning, so we actually only saw 89 of the 91 mirrors.

[While all this was going on my eye had been caught by a James Spader lookalike, more about him to follow]

Once we left the SALT telescope we walked into a blizzard!  I was so thrilled to be in a blizzard!  It meant more snow was falling than I had ever seen in my life!

haahahaaa most likely my American friends who have had to shovel their cars out of snow laden driveways more times than they can count are phoning around for white-walled places for me to spend some restful time in, but, ja, in Africa when we have seen snow, we’ve seen it already on the ground (in 1981 in some quantity) and never falling.  Well .. that is to say, I’ve never seen it falling…

me in blizzard (all the while plotting how to get this JS fella’s number, I was walking behind him, he’s in pic 1 below here closest to camera):

me:

I had seven layers on!  I was fucking freeeeezing but having the time of my life….

Anyway I decided I couldn’t let the JS lookalike fade out of my hemisphere without at least trying to talk to him. He was with two older men, so in this blizzard I struck up a convo with one of the older men, while JS posed in the snow asking the bloke to take a portrait pic of him.  We managed to insert ourselves firmly into the proceedings cos the older man didn’t understand what he meant by portrait and kept holding the camera the wrong way but I understood he meant the opposite of landscape so I cleared up the matter and got a cute smile from JS for my troubles…..

Long story short, we found out that JS is an organist and music teacher and when I said I’d like to hear him play he told me I was in luck cos he was playing the organ the following morning in St Michael’s church in Observatory, they were doing a Mozart High Mass piece and we were welcome to come.

We did!  and more on that later.

All in all I really enjoyed the Sutherland trip.  On Friday when we arrived in town the skies were low, grey and black and as the night pulled in the place became more and more eerie and mysterious, and of course, increasingly frigid.  We met some people at dinner and they advised us to drive up to the Observatory‘s gate and see some stars, which we did.  On the road there we switched our lights off.  The darkness was a thick heavy blanket and the stars that appeared briefly out of the cloud cover could not be called stars, so dense and many they really struck awe into my heart.  We got out of the car at the gate, the night was pitch, pitch black and  I mean, I run out of adjectives when I try to describe the cold.  Icy, frigid, freezing, none of these words quite cover it .. I’m off to check the Thesaurus…hold on…

Icy gives us this (arctic might be the closest description for the air at the gate that night):

algific, antarctic, arctic, biting, bitter, chill, chilled to the bone, chilling, chilly, cold, freezing, frigid, frigorific, frost-bound, frosty, frozen over, gelid, glacial, glaring, iced, polar, raw, refrigerated, rimy, shivering, shivery, sleeted, smooth as glass

Another thing that struck me about Sutherland was the eeriness I referred to above.  Perfect setting for a film noir thriller….  I think I need to get back there… and write one, or at least a short story.

And did you know the poet N P van Wyk Louw was born there?

here’s his poem Ballade van die Nagtelike Ure:

Ons liefde het uitgeblom

tussen elfuur en kwart oor twee –

hier sit ek onder die dagbreek

half-nugter en verlee

op koel stoeptreetjies êrens

waar ek ‘n blink waterkraan sien

in die ure van die donker dors

tussen twaalfuur en smôrens om tien.

Om elfuur was jou liggaam

die honger en dors in my,

as jou skewe papier-kalot

ver deur die danssaal gly.

Om twaalfuur was jy ‘n ligte brug,

‘n hoë, gevaarlike gang

bo my klein verwildering

tussen pyn en sterwe gehang.

Om eenuur was jou hare

vir my vingers ‘n bose strik,

en jou lyf soos swart stil water

en jou asem soos ‘n snik.

En nou het die môre my

oor die rand van sy glas gemors

op die stoep by die kraan wat blink

in die uur van die donker dors.

Beautiful piece of work – how’s that line: “en jou lyf soos swart stil water..”!  Sjoe!!

well, the entire thing actually took my breath away.  Like the night air in Sutherland.

Randoms on Saturday, Supermoons, Where I Have been, and Sobbing in the Movies!

Published 05/05/2012 by Saint

OK so I typed this whole thing and lost it.  Basically what I said was:

 

I went to Primi yesterday and got served my soda water and lime (my latest addiction) in a beautiful Bacardi glass which I had to have.  The waiter looked at me oddly when I asked him to ask the manager if I could buy it (wonder if he wondered whether I might be short of glasses at home)..  manager looked at me even more oddly but he said he’d give me the glass (I think he might have wanted to be rid of me) so I bore it away happily.  Here it is:

Pictures do not do it justice…. LOL!  #lovemyglass.  I think I’m going to paint it with glass paint…..  Anyway…

Last night there was a super moon. I smsed Jess to tell her to look outside at it and apprised her of its status. She asked me how I know about super moons, etc, and cos it’s long been a standing joke between us, I wrote back to say “I know everything!”.  She lolled.  We lolled.  Nice to have small things making you lol!  Especially between parent and child, mother and daughter.

In recent weeks I’ve been on a Pastel training course, I went to see Titanic in 3d with my sister and a friend and we all howled like monkeys.  I’ve half heartedly looked at the dating site but I haven’t paid to join so no one’s a fan. Oh I did get one request from a bloke who looked like he had recently escaped from the backwaters of the Virginia mountains telling me he needed me to be the mother of his children, and he wanted lots of them…  I never told him I’d recently had my womb hauled out, I thought it safer to edge carefully away.

Oh ja and if you wonder why my blogs have been so scarce it’s cos I have been unfaithful and fallen in love with another site, Pinterest.  You can follow my pins here :  http://pinterest.com/saintcoll67/ and if you have a Pinterest account please drop me a line and I will follow you, assuming I find your stuff interesting but if it’s just fashion and cliche’d nonsense please leave me out.    I love Pinterest!  So addictive!

What makes you cry in Titanic? If, indeed, you do cry?

In other news still,I’m finding various very trivial things very amusing, not sure if have gone mad, will get back to you on that but for instance there is this one bloke we know who keeps saying “and what have you” as an end to his sentences and I find myself battling to keep a straight face when we get to “what have you” number 65…..

Diet going OK, we’ve been a bit naughty but my weight is keeping level, not losing anymore so need to step it up.  I’ve started doing my art again; I bought a black book, with black pages but was disappointed to note that it doesn’t show pastels or gel pens up very well, I’ll have to paint in it I think.  Anyway here is one of my offerings (in line with my past life as a Hippie)

Oh ja!  and my friend Lyndatjie (Froggie) has made me DVDs of the last 8 seasons of QI!  I cannot WAIT to collect them and I’ll be able to perve in unrestrained luxury over Mr Alan Davies, my latest celeb crush!

Now get your arses over to Pinterest and remember you can only join if invited so if you want me to invite you drop me a line!

Picture Blog

Published 07/04/2012 by Saint

 

 

terribly sorry I’ve not been in touch for a while; what with one thing and another….

 

The intervening days have been quite eventful, packed with interesting doings, good food, my birthday the Eagles in concert in Cape Town!!! (My birthday present from my sister!!!), moving house, etc.  I’ll put some pics up cos I’m too busy mucking about on Facebook and I also have to do some work later…  this photo is so blurred cos the Cape Town South Easter was howling!  Pic 1- My ticket!!

The night sky through the stadium roof:

weird angle of stadium from the bottom!  Unreal piece of engineering this stadium!!

 

me in Granny mode! They laughed like drains at me and couldn’t even hold the camera still!

 

me again:

 

and a sweet pic

 

 

and foul but hilarious:

 

Making Our Marks….

Published 15/02/2012 by Saint

“Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin
Dance me through the panic ’til I’m gathered safely in
Lift me like an olive branch and be my homeward dove
Dance me to the end of love”

My son Richard recently had a tattoo featuring a quote from the world of dance [as he is a dance instructor] and I suggested this one to him cos I am a devoted Cohen fan.  He has not really been introduced to Cohen as such so he did not go for this one.

He had this done instead which I think is really beautifully done and I like the quote too……  It says for those of us who may not be able to read it:

“if the perfection of movement is the purpose of our lives,

then I must be close to death,

for I cannot imagine a

movement more perfect than this”…

The letters are actually all straight and the ‘writing’ is beautifully done.

have you got any tattoos?  Share them with us if you please?  I’ve been thinking of having one done for ages.  The only reason I haven’t had one done so far is I am not sure (a) what design I would go for (not wanting to go down the road of dolphins, fairies and such although I do like those creatures and I do believe in fairies… I like unicorns, fantasy art, some gothic and dark art, some quotes, horses, pit bulls, Moby, my children, the internet, my nickname Saint which is really an extension of me; my alter ego as it were, so surely that should be featured somewhere…  and (b) where I would put it.

If you have got a tattoo, what was your motivation?  Where did you have it put on your body?  How old were you when you did it?  Will you have any more?  Do you admire skin art or not?  Is there an age limit for tattoos and if so what is it?

 

Suggestions and discussion would be enjoyable.

 

I Vant To Be Left Alone

Published 09/02/2012 by Saint

I have never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude. We are for the most part more lonely when we go abroad among men than when we stay in our chambers. A man thinking or working is always alone, let him be where he will. – Henry David Thoreau

I like this photo of me.  I’d just come out of a summery warm sea and I  like my beach bum appearance.  If I had money I’d live by the sea, take long walks on the beach with my dog and greet passers-by in a friendly yet reserved manner.  I’d enjoy chatting to strangers on buses, or in queues, I’d read a lot, teach myself something about physics, keep on blogging and stay in touch with all my online friends while leaving all but very few of my real life friends/family behind.  In fact I haven’t really GOT any friends, having assiduously avoided same for years.

Perhaps I really am a hermit kind of person.  Like my mother.  She’s never had any friends, kept herself very much to herself, socialising and living only with my sister and her friends.  There’s something very appealing to me about aloneness, the idea of being self-contained and not having to get involved with others.  I had a boss who used to go for midnight drives on the beach in his Jeep.  When I heard that I realised that’s exactly the kind of thing I’d like to do – keep on experiencing life as I want to, going where I want to, writing about it if I want to, and growing and developing my brain in my private time by reading dictionaries and encyclopaedias like my Uncle Ted does.  Of course, these days we have Wiki …..

What is it you’d like to do – that you know would make you very happy?

Some pictures

Published 27/01/2012 by Saint

 

 

Small photoblog….

Circe, just love this one by Waterhouse…

 

Another Waterhouse, this one always reassures me when I feel odd, because of the tempestuousness of the sea and the calmness of Miranda who’s sitting watching it

 

Love colourful things!

 

The appeal of this pic lies in the suggestion of dreams, and also there seems to be an element of longing in it…

 

This picture of domestic peacefulness and serenity is lovely – beautiful light…

My sister and I in Coffee Bay, Transkei, in 2009

 

“People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.”
Mother Teresa

 

“Promise Yourself …

To be so strong that nothing
can disturb your peace of mind.
To talk health, happiness, and prosperity
to every person you meet.

To make all your friends feel
that there is something in them
To look at the sunny side of everything
and make your optimism come true.

To think only the best, to work only for the best,
and to expect only the best.
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others
as you are about your own.

To forget the mistakes of the past
and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
To wear a cheerful countenance at all times
and give every living creature you meet a smile.

To give so much time to the improvement of yourself
that you have no time to criticize others.
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear,
and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

To think well of yourself and to proclaim this fact to the world,
not in loud words but great deeds.
To live in faith that the whole world is on your side
so long as you are true to the best that is in you. ”
Christian D. Larson