South Africa, dear land…

I find it difficult to process what is going on in South Africa. My parents always voted against the Nationalist Party Government. I followed in their footsteps and when the whites had the opportunity to go to the polls to vote for/against the continuation of apartheid, my whole family voted for its abolishment. We delighted in the release of Nelson Mandela and had high hopes of a better future for all.

The lustre has faded and those first heady years after 1994 have disappeared.  My simplistic view was that we would all work hard and pay our taxes uncomplainingly to a democratic government. In turn, the government would improve the lot of previously disadvantaged groups in our county and we would try together to right the wrongs.The focus would be on the black communities and the main areas of improvement would in access to proper medical treatment, clean hospitals and clinics, children would be able to go to properly equipped schools and be taught by caring and competent teachers, communities would have clean, running water, functioning electricity and so on. In short basic needs would be given priority.

What a dismal failure that has turned out to be. The hospitals are filthy and the majority of staff uncaring, children are hungry and have to be taught under trees in the heat or cold after walking for miles to school without any shoes. Our politicians are corrupt, stealing out of the mouths of babes, the elderly and infirm. I could go on and on.

Two weeks ago the water meter was stolen from outside our offices. This meant water gushing down the street and no water in the offices. We had the damage repaired privately after the Municipality failed to respond. A Municipal worker jokingly told us that the meter would be replaced in a year or so and we should enjoy the free water in the meanwhile. I didn’t laugh as, from all accounts, he was close to the truth.

A week or so thereafter, the copper from our telephone and internet lines was stolen, so we had to operate via cell phones and mobile data for over a week. The Telkom technicians told us that they are inundated with problems relating to theft.

We sent a parcel to clients in December 2015. It arrived on the 31 March 2016 – three months to get from Pietermaritzburg to Johannesburg via the postal service. We now use private couriers – no wonder the Post Office is bankrupt.

Crime is all an all time high with endless farm attacks and robberies. Our present drought is exacerbated by leaking pipes, ailing infrastructure, inadequate dams. And don’t get me started on Eskom.

We have a deceitful president who flouts our constitution and has a “get out of jail free” card,  permanently affixed to his jacket by a bunch of merry men and women who are no better than he is. To me, all of the above indicates failure. Failure by the government to deal with crime, to look after its citizens and manage state owned enterprises which are drowning in debt and inefficiency.

Something needs to change, something has to give. We cannot allow ourselves to stay on this potholed road to nowhere.

In the words of  Nelson Mandela

“If the ANC does to you what the Apartheid government did to you,

then you must do to the ANC what you did to the Apartheid government.”

I hope and pray that voters in the coming elections heed his advice.

Cape

Sunset in the Cape

Travel Theme : Camaradarie

Animals are perfect examples of how

differences can fade

and camaraderie triumph.

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So pleased to meet you.

“Animals are such agreeable friends―

they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms.” ― George Eliot

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Sharing dinner

“Animals have come to mean so much in our lives.

We live in a fragmented and disconnected culture.

Politics are ugly, religion is struggling, technology is stressful, and the economy is unfortunate.

What’s one thing that we have in our lives that we can depend on?

A dog or a cat loving us unconditionally, every day, very faithfully.” – Jon Katz

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Grazing together

“Animals are reliable, many full of love, true in their affections, predictable in their actions, grateful and loyal.

Difficult standards for people to live up to.” ― Alfred A. Montapert

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Just loving the peaceful life

“We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals…

In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear.

They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.” – Henry Boston

Travel Theme: Frame

I enjoyed finding photos for this theme .

Hanging a frame at a party is so much fun – guests have a great photo opportunity as well as a keepsake to remember the evening.

Photo: BWP Pieterse

Photo: BWP Pieterse

At Lake Eland in KwaZulu-Natal, there is a unique Church which is often used for weddings. It is rich with atmosphere and enhanced by a framed cross.

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Church

Sometimes the frame is more important than the content – this building was abandoned many years ago and, as it ages, it provides some interesting photographic opportunities.

An abandoned building

An abandoned building

 

Polesden Lacey

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Polesden Lacey

Polesden Lacey is situated in Surrey, England. Mrs Margaret Grenville bequeathed the property to the National Trust in 1942 in memory of her father whom she adored.

She was the illegitimate daughter of William McEwan, a very wealthy Scottish brewer. Mrs Grenville rose to be highly influential in English society and entertained royalty, prime ministers, ambassadors and business people. She could boast the friendship of King Edward VII.

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Flowers

The Estate has remained mostly intact since the Middle Ages. When Mrs Grenville bought the property in 1906, she and her husband, Hon.Mr Ronald Grenville, employed the same firm of architects who designed the Ritz Hotel to attend to the upgrades and changes which they wanted. As Mrs Greville was a very wealthy woman, money was no object. 

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The Main house

A section of the upstairs portion of the house has been occupied by the National Trust. However, they have relocated and the rooms are going to be restored to their former glory. These were mostly used as guest bedrooms by Mrs Grenville as well as staff quarters.

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The Saloon

Weekend parties took place in the Saloon and on the afternoon when we visited, a pianist played the piano which added to the atmosphere in the lovely old house.

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My granddaughter, enjoying the summer sunshine at Polesden Lacey

The grounds are beautifully cared for by the National Trust and the gardens are amazing. There is a Rose Garden, a Lavender and Iris Garden as well as a Winter Garden and a Summer Garden.

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Surrey

When I visited the house, this Afternoon Tea Dress was on display. It was recreated by a group of volunteers who used a photograph of Mrs Greville wearing the dress.  34 volunteers spent 2000 hours over a period of 2 years on the project.  

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Recreation of Mrs Greville’s Afternoon Tea Dress in the Tea Room

I hope to go back to Polesden Lacey as it definitely deserves more than one visit. There is so much to explore. Apart from its historical interest, guests can picnic on the lawns, go for walks and wander around the manicured gardens and absorb the atmosphere of this beautifully maintained Estate.

Travel Theme: Paint

These photographs were taken in Newtown which is situated in Johannesburg’s inner city.

As the land was rich in clay, the area was used for brick making in the past but it has now evolved into a place of creativity, art and culture thanks to the implementation of urban renewal.

As a result theatres, galleries, cafes, craft markets and clubs have made Newtown their home.

Photo BWP Pieterse

Photo BWP Pieterse

Photo: BWP Pieterse

Photo: BWP Pieterse

Photo: BWP Pieterse

Photo: BWP Pieterse

Photo: BWP Pieterse

Photo: BWP Pieterse

“I believe that in the history of art and of thought

there has always been

at every living moment of culture

a will to renewal.”

E Ionesco

Weekly Photo Challenge: Change

I can’t conceive of cooking in a sunny place like Florida

because my motivation comes from the changing seasons.

That’s why I decided to live in New York.

Daniel Boulud

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Autumn leaves

You must take personal responsibility.

You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind,

but you can change yourself.

That is something you have charge of.

Jim Rohn

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Golden trees

To be interested in the changing seasons

is a happier state of mind

than to be hopelessly in love with spring.

George Santayana

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Summer at the river

When the seasons shift,

even the subtle beginning,

the scent of a promised change,

feel something stir inside me.

Hopefulness? Gratitude? Openness?

Whatever it is, it’s welcome.

Kristin Armstrong

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Filtered sunlight

For me it was sort of career suicide to work in color,

but I did it because I perceived myself

from an early stage

to be interested in seasonality –

the changing of the seasons –

that’s what I deeply loved.

Joel Sternfeld