Wednesday, August 31, 2011


By the end of 1914, a whopping five million carats worth of diamonds had been extracted from Kolmanskop just outside Lüderitz in Namibia. After World War I, when the diamond fields were all but depleted, the town began to dwindle and was finally abandoned in 1954...

I came across these amazing shots by Spanish photographer, Alvaro Sanchez-Montañes, depicting the half-buried ghost town that appears to be drifting slowly into the Namib dunes. Nature, once again laying claim and being the ultimate victor...

All photos by Alvaro Sanchez-Montañes

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Brothers of Industry

They refer to one another as 'Brother Antiquarians'. Their store can be found in Carpinteria, California. When not into reclaiming, repurposing and sustainability, they sign off their letters endearingly, with 'Industrially Yours". Initially involved in assisting their mum, the brothers developed a penchant for the trade and today are fully-fledged restorers, hunters and gatherers. Being rather fond of this sort of aesthetic, I could easily help a brother out...

More here

Monday, August 29, 2011

Through the Looking Glass (Number XIII)

The thirteenth in the Through the Looking Glass series of photographs...

Gigi Cifali / Absence of water (via Pinterest)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Brighton Beach Memoirs

Flew back into Baltimore late Friday night -  just by the skin of my chinny-chin-chin. As I type (before the power goes on the fritz), so Hurricane Irene is beating down against the windows and the trees outside are practically bent over double... 

With a 9 hour stop-over at Heathrow, I caught up on a variety of magazines courtesy of WH Smith, and one particular photo shoot in Vogue left a lasting impression. With a bent toward mod and starring Brighton, Dover, actor Sam Riley and that heavenly creature, Natalia Vodianova... I found myself desperately coveting the Prada dress and green python coat. Exquisitely photographed by Marcus Piggott and Mert Alas.

All from Vogue

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Off with his Head

The extraordinary bronze head from the Somnium Series by Andries Botha. Currently at CIRCA on Jellicoe in Johannesburg...

Photographs by Craig Strydom

Monday, August 22, 2011

Travels Through the Karoo (Graaff Reinet)

"Surrounded by the Camdeboo National Park, Graaff-Reinet, the heart of the 'Great Karoo' – Place of Thirst – is a boundless and mysterious area covered by vast sheep and game farms, where broad plains roll away to distant koppies and multilayered mountains that seem to touch the indigo sky. Listen to the silence, breathe in the aged earth and the Karoo bossies (which conjure up the taste of Karoo lamb!), and gaze at a startlingly clear horizon that seems drawn at the other end of the earth. Our clear night skies are studded with countless stars; even other galaxies are visible with the naked eye, offering some of the best star gazing in the world. Fossils of some of the earliest forms of one-celled life have been discovered here, indicating that life has existed in this region for three billion years. The richness of pre-dinosaur fossils in this region is world-renowned."

We stopped in for tea and some Springbok biltong...

From the dining-room
Rather extraordinary find - an old pharmacy window (NFS)

A ceiling... yes ceiling made from dorings (thorns)
our parking place at Kuilfontein
Words from here

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Olyven Houdt Farm - Stilbaai

Stilbaai - a sleepy hamlet on the Southern coast of the Cape and home to my parents-in-law - has a rather fascinating claim-to-fame. During the peak of summer, the waters are practically 'sardined' with blue bottles (also known as Portuguese men-of-war), so one has to be very careful while swimming (especially when a strong 'Easterly' is blowing). Mercifully, it was mid-winter when we arrived and rather than being exposed to the perils of the sea, we were charmed by a rather extraordinary olive farm on the outskirts of Stilbaai. My sister-in-law is in charge of the Press Room Cafe and cooks the most delectable meals (I witnessed the lamb shank being prepared and it looked mouth-watering). The sun-washed stone buildings and rustic interiors are so authentic that for a second, I was teleported to the heart of Provence...

Detail on the W&T Avery Scale

The early buds of Jasmine 

Japanese Koi 

Boules, anyone?


Jamón - (real-deal) and the award-winning olive oil

Little bundt cakes

A rather curious piece of wood

Read more about Stilbaai here

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Prone to Hazard

Sunday. Dinner with my father in the Eastern Highlands of Mpumalanga. The phone rings. Allow me to translate:
"Is dit erg?" (Is it serious?)
"Vragtig?" (Really?)
"Oh, God" (Oh, God in both English and Afrikaans)
I open the curtains to see the veld (field) around us ablaze. Flames ten foot high on three sides lick the sky. It’s winter and the entire countryside is a tontledoos (cinderbox). No problem. Like in any other first world country, I will simply call the Fire Dept. No chance of that. The phone is engaged. God Gert! (Holy Moses!), is all I can think. No time to think. No time for first world, third comparisons. Have to act. And make it quick. A boer maak a plan (a farmer makes a plan). We decide to divide and conquer. My dad directs the operation. Our moffie (sweet) neighbors chip in. My husband makes good use of the garden hose. I pack up the cars. My daughter transforms herself into a hysterical water bucket factory line. I yell out to my dad,
“What do you want me to save?”
“Nothing”, is his retort, “let the whole bloody lot burn. It’s all kak (rubbish) anyway!”
He’s never been good that way. Finally, after an hour, we manage to tame the fire. Close call. The phone is still engaged. Welcome to Africa.
Monday. We’re on our way to Kwazulu Natal. The weather is becoming more ominous with each mile. Snow? No way. It doesn’t snow in Africa. Famous last words. Before we know it we are driving through a blizzard. A confused goat on the side of the road blinks. Visibility is zero. This is completely and utterly unprecedented. There’s no salt on the roads. In fact, there is no salt anywhere. And snowplows? Well, they’re about as commonplace as the Dodo.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, we get stuck in snow and are spectacularly t-boned by a speeding doos (box) who’s only ever seen snow on a Xmas card. Nice one lady! The police take an hour. (Maybe it was them on the phone with the people from the Fire Dept.) We wait two-and-a-half hours for a tow truck to arrive. Hemel aleen weet (heaven alone knows) how we dodged being moered (annihilated) by the other bliksemse (darn) sixty-seven cars that fokked (missile-ed) past. My daughter, who is still hysterical from the fire, is now permanently hysterical.
“I thought you liked snow, my darling?” But that doesn’t work.
She strips her moer! (untranslatable).
My stepfather has developed hypothermia from no windows. Poor man, he is having flashbacks from WWII where he contracted frostbite. 
Finally, we are forced to endure the night in a motel without electricity or luggage. To call it godforsaken is a compliment.
Brandewyn (brandy) and soetwyn (plonk) is all that is available. Decide to put Alcoholics Anonymous on my speed-dial...

The dreaded fire all around us

A very un-South African landscape

The car being lifted onto the tow truck

graffiti-chic (NOT) on the motel pub walls

Rather shell-shocked and in need of a drink

Hitched a ride with the tow truck the next morning to Harrismith. My daughter and I squashed sideways into the rear.