Tag Archives: Johannesburg

Move over BFF, we’re talking MBF

Mind you, “Best Friends Forever” is in many ways synonymous with “Man’s Best Friend”, at least as it applies to doggie years. It’s just the lifespan discrepancy that causes heartache. Still, the joy supercedes, so we come back for more of the same magic. As our beloved old boy, Tex, gradually prepares for a graceful parting with this world, our whirlwind puppy, Quest, is developing his inborn flair for the successor role.

While Tex’s tired legs can no longer match the eagerness of his spirit, Quest’s energy is boundless. Nothing delights him more than a super social, team walk. We often indulge him at a beautiful local park, which also forms part of our morning cycle route. Here are some glimpses of this favourite playground:

Dam at Marks Park, Johannesburg

Men with their dogs – Marks Park, Johannesburg

Now for some serious opposition to the theory of dogs looking like their owners: the miniature, airborne ball of fluff (in the middle) is Max, the Pekinese who belongs to Simon, the big tattooed, tough guy! Or the other way around, depending on your perspective, as so eloquently expressed in the movie Babe – where the animals speak and their respective people belong to them 😀

Already the bond between Dave and his dog is unbreakable. Quest would forego his food in favour of a car ride, to anywhere and everywhere Dave has to go. Aside from being a tough guy (and closet softie), Simon is a talented photographer as you can see on his blog, GotMilk Photography. He took this telling pic of Dave and Quest together:

Dave & Quest – Marks Park, Johannesburg

Although Quest excels as MBF, he still has time for his own BFF, and it seems there’s some truth to the saying that “opposites attract”. You guessed it: the German Shepherd and the Pekinese are best of friends. During a break from Quest tumbling Max like a dishwasher on full speed, Simon snapped this shot of them panting under a tree:

Max & Quest – Marks Park, Johannesburg

All told, however, I’d say Quest’s priorities are pretty clear. Dave is number one. They love hanging out together, engaged in male bonding, like watching sport on TV:

Dave & Quest hanging out together

In case you’re thinking I feel left out, not to worry. I have a personal WBF, in the form our gorgeous Norwegian Forest Cat, Jina. What could be cosier than a pre-dawn cuddle under the covers, with her gentle purr vibrating beside me?

Finally, an aside, following my last post: Dave is cycling above because an old lower-back injury from his pro racing days continues to haunt him, making walking any distance extremely painful. Recent intensifying of the pain, together with loss of feeling in his foot, necessitates a spinal fusion, which is scheduled for the first week of May.

This means that I won’t be posting a host of enduro articles, since he’ll be off his motorbike for about three months. We’re still going to Cape Town for a wedding and to visit family, though, so I’ll certainly share some photo’s from the Mother City. Have a wonderful few days in the meantime, everyone! Continue reading

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Playing catch-up

OUCH! Eleven days offline following a severe lightning strike – that was frustrating. Our iPhones helped, but let’s face it, they’re not a satisfactory substitute. What a relief to be fully connected again!

In the meantime, the 2011 enduro season is well underway. It kicked off with the Enduro World Cross Country held a few weeks ago at Hartebeespoort Dam near Johannesburg. Regular readers may remember this venue from last year, but here’s a pic to set the scene:

Nomadik Tents at Enduro World Cross Country, Hartebeespoort Dam

and another to put things in perspective:

Extreme Action from the EWXC Extreme Event – Feb 2011

Fortunately, the rider was fine. Tumbles aside, it’s a great sport – one that draws an awesome crowd together amid some of Southern Africa’s rural splendour. A case in point was the recent Enduro World training tour to Swaziland. We were hosted at the lodge overlooking the magnificent Maguga Dam:

A view from Maguga Lodge – Maguga Dam, Swaziland, Southern Africa

While the guys (and one gorgeous girl – Kirsten Landman, SA’s top lady enduro racer) sweated on their bikes, the rest of us relaxed,

Maguga Lodge deck, overlooking Maguga Dam, Swaziland

enjoyed a sunset cruise,

Sunset over Maguga Dam – Swaziland, Southern Africa

and explored the local arts and crafts centre, including the phenomenal Coral Stephens Handweaving industry:

Arts & Crafts centre – Piggs Peak, Swaziland

Coral Stephens Handweaving shop – Piggs Peak, Swaziland

The recent Lesotho Enduro was the first national race of the season. It took no prisoners; unanimously rated as hard core. Way to go, Dave, finishing 5th in the Masters Class and mere seconds off the podium – despite “youngsters” sneaking in from Seniors, while he’s another year older with nowhere else to go 🙂

In between pit stops, we crew kicked back and took in the scenery:

Mealie field in the early morning – Lesotho, Southern Africa

Herder with goats and enduro pits in the background – Lesotho

Although there’s always the tension that accompanies extreme sport, enduro is far less demanding on us than the riders. Still, tough as it can be, I reckon this smile tells a story:

Dave Estment – Maguga Dam, Swaziland

It’s the reason we’re preparing for the Enduro World Cross Country this weekend, and the Montagu national the next – another perfect excuse for a few days in Cape Town . . .

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“Mud, mud, glorious mud!”

This was certainly the case at Madikwe Game Reserve last week. In a show of sympathy for all those devastated by recent floods around the world, Johannesburg and surroundings have been drenched in downpours over the past while. Madikwe is a mere 3-odd hours’ drive from here, and seems to have shared in the rain too.

Luckily for us, we sneaked into a window of great weather and had the BEST time. Well, probably not better than the African Wild Dogs, who made a meal of the left-over puddles:

AFRICAN WILD DOG wallowing in mud – Madikwe Game Reserve, SA

AFRICAN WILD DOGS cavorting in the road – Madikwe Game Reserve, SA

It wasn’t all rosy, though, like one morning when a Landcruiser got stuck in the mud 😀 Our ranger saved the day, so we witnessed the good deed:

LANDCRUISER stuck in the mud – Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa

BUSH RESCUE – Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa

This was the reason for venturing off-road, which caused it all – understandable really!

TRACKS UNDERWATER – Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa

Later, we struck it lucky, courtesy of more puddles, when two lionesses squatted to drink right beside our vehicle. Tell me it gets any better than this!

LIONESSES drinking – Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa

There was more magic in store, thanks to the rain. The pan was a sea of yellow flowers:

RHINO & ELEPHANT in a sea of yellow flowers – Madikwe Game Reserve, SA

This is our head-ranger mate, Marc (of my previous post fame ;-)), getting down low with his Nikon. Don’t you just love it?

MARC LINDSAY-RAE in action – Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa

As you can imagine, we had plenty to talk about at the gourmet dinner every evening:

MADIKWE SAFARI LODGE dining area – Madikwe Game Reserve, SA

I could carry on, but instead here are links to my Facebook albums, which tell a lot more: Handful of Highlights – MADIKWE, Jan 2011 Playing on the Pan – MADIKWE, Jan 2011

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Twin Anniversary and Engagement Celebration!

This is a special day for us. My twin sister Ruth was married 20 years ago today at the gorgeous Alphen Hotel in Cape Town, where she had lunch with her husband, before their party tonight. By complete chance (if there is such a thing :-)), Dave proposed to me 16 years ago today on Signal Hill, from a spot right about where this photo was taken:

TABLE BAY and ROBBEN ISLAND from SIGNAL HILL – Cape Town, South Africa

He had Table Mountain in mind, but was too impatient, or tense, to wait for the cable car queues. We weren’t aware of it then, but apparently both sites are situated on significant energy meridians. I haven’t looked into this, but true or not, it was certainly auspicious for us. That year we celebrated with Ruth and Etienne, since dinner was already planned on their behalf. We’ll enjoy ours in Jo’burg tonight, and drink a toast to them too!

I don’t usually include pics of myself in posts, but today is unusual – and being identical twins is curious to some 😉 – so here’s a recent one of the two of us together:


Heart-felt thanks to my beloved husband, for asking me to marry him all those years ago, and pressing a beautiful ring into my hands – which I almost dropped down the hillside, because Dave has the most stunning blue eyes imaginable . . . Continue reading

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Acknowledging SA Media Freedom Day

Hmm, what am I inspired to blog about today? Let’s see…

How wonderful to enjoy this freedom of expression. Imagine if it were axed?

Today is Media Freedom Day here in South Africa, kicking off the Right2Know Week of Action campaign. The objective is to lobby our government to “Stop the Secrecy Bill! Let the Truth Be Told!”. The bill is before Parliament as I write. It could “have the combined effect of fundamentally undermining the right to access information and freedom of expression enshrined in the Constitution.”

If you care to add your name to the list, which includes such luminaries as Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nadine Gordimer and Prof. Kader Asmal, click here: Sign On!

To offset the sombreness of the message, here are two pics to remind us that it pays to look up. I shot them just over our road this morning, to share a taste of the Jacaranda trees that are blossoming everywhere. Please excuse the imperfect focus – it was a bit windy:

JACARANDA TREE IN BLOOM – Johannesburg, South Africa

JACARANDA TREE IN BLOOM – Johannesburg, South Africa

And here’s a quote to go with that: “An optimist is the human personification of spring.” – Susan J. Bissonette

On that note, I’m rooting for the Secrecy Bill to be stopped!

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Introducing our new websites!

Wow, there’s some impressive free website building software on the net these days. I decided to get with the program last week, choosing www.wix.com for our studio site, mainly because it’s photographer friendly. And – how essential is this, ladies? – colour codes perfectly with our branding, which is the brainchild of my super talented stepson, Michael. Apart from a technical hitch which has proved most frustrating, creating the website was astonishingly simple. All ‘click, drag and drop’ with no programming required.

A little background info: OV&P Studio is a division of our company Outdoor Video & Photographic. Based here in Johannesburg, we’ve reopened the studio which we ran for a number of years, specializing in modeling portfolios for the likes of Figures Models SA. More details and a selection of images, including our product portfolio, are available on the website. Here’s a preview, starting with the Home page, which features my stunning stepdaughter, Terri-Lee:

OV&P STUDIO Website – Home Page

OV&P STUDIO Website – About Us Page

OV&P STUDIO Website – Modelling Portfolio

OV&P STUDIO Website – Specials Page

OV&P STUDIO Website – Product Portfolio

OV&P STUDIO Website – Studio Page

OV&P STUDIO Website – Contact Us Page

To view the portfolios and animation, please visit the site: www.ovpstudio.com.
Big thanks and credit to www.wix.com! Terri-Lee chose another major player in free website software, namely www.yola.com, for her site: http://terrisinteriors.yolasite.com/. Take a look! She offers fabulous interior decorating, based in Port Elizabeth.


Strangely enough we were simultaneously struck by a similar inspiration, only to discover it afterwards. Perhaps something’s going on in our collective consciousness . . . do you have a new website to share too? Continue reading

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Daytona’s Debut Xtreme Enduro X

Time for some more bike action on the blog!

As mentioned in my last post, Dave took part in the Xtreme Enduro X at Daytona, here in Johannesburg, on Saturday. Talk about a hectic ride! He landed hard from this high drop-off during the first heat, damaging his ankles, which are still painfully swollen:

DAVE ESTMENT – Daytona Xtreme Enduro X, Sep 2010

Of course he continued – to win his semi-final convincingly. Unfortunately his chain came off twice in the final, contributing to a fourth place finish. Here are two more battle scenes, the first showing Dave (racing for Team Pro-Action KTM) fighting it out with Justin Hawley, who took a well-earned gold in the intermediate class:

JUSTIN HAWLEY & DAVE ESTMENT – Daytona Xtreme Enduro X, Sep 2010

DAVE ESTMENT – Daytona Xtreme Enduro X, Sep 2010

Meanwhile among the pro’s, masterful mayhem ruled. This is the start of one of their heats, showing Jade Gutzeit (#2 on the left) and Louwrens Mahoney (#3 on the right):

PRO CLASS START – Daytona Xtreme Enduro X, Sep 2010

Jade was leading their semi-final when his bike gave in. Accordingly disqualified from the final, he requested to ride anyway (for no position). The rest of the field agreed, gleefully insisting he did fifteen push-ups prior to starting. No problem for Jade. He not only complied, but raced on a borrowed bike to an unofficial fastest time.

Louwrens won first place, giving a great demo on how it’s done! This is him in action:

LOUWRENS MAHONEY – Daytona Xtreme Enduro X, Sep 2010

These pics show some more of the drama:

Daytona Xtreme Enduro X – Johannesburg, South Africa, Sep 2010

Daytona Xtreme Enduro X – Johannesburg, South Africa, Sep 2010

Daytona Xtreme Enduro X – Johannesburg, South Africa, Sep 2010

Special mention too to the only lady rider, Kirsten Landman, who rode excellently!

KIRSTEN LANDMAN – Daytona Xtreme Enduro X, Johannesburg, Sep 2010

By the end of the day, we all had filthy faces but loads of fun 😀 Great job on an awesome event, Greg & team, and WELL DONE EVERYONE!!

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Seasons take their own sweet time.

SPRING LEAVES – Johannesburg, South Africa

It’s taboo to turn your head while doing a shoulder stand. Not because of bad form, but you could injure your neck. So I do it slowly, persuaded by persistent puppy whimpers outside our sliding door. Quilla’s furry little face looks perplexed. My morning yoga sequence is clearly strange. Easily reassured, she bounces off to join her brother’s assault on the sprinklers. Crystal droplets spray over two tumbling bodies, glistening against the sky. That’s when I notice it. The brilliant lime green of our most seasonal tree. It’s the one I photographed three months ago, in its autumn splendour. Winter has passed, the young leaves whisper. Spring is here, in her own sweet time.

Quotes to consider:

“In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy.” – William Blake

“To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.” – George Santayana

“And you would accept the seasons of your heart just as you have always accepted that seasons pass over your fields and you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief.” – Kahlil Gibran

“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven” – The Seekers (from the song “Turn! Turn! Turn!”)

“Autumn is a second spring where every leaf is a flower” – Albert Camus

To illustrate that last quote, here’s the Autumn image of this same tree:

AUTUMN LEAVES – Johannesburg, South Africa

. . . and two pics of the puppies, to show you how quickly they’re growing!

QUILLA about to bound off following her brother’s lead

QUEST plotting his assault on anything that moves, or doesn’t Continue reading

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Serving humanity on Mandela Day

Nelson Mandela turns 92 today. What better way to honour his contribution to the world than by participating in Mandela Day, declared ‘Nelson Mandela International Day’ by the United Nations last year. People across the globe are performing 67 minutes of community service today, in tribute to the over 67 years that Madiba devoted to public service and striving for social justice.

It was awesome to see him attend the World Cup final here in Johannesburg, along with Morgan Freeman, who portrayed him masterfully in the movie Invictus. In the words of this iconic actor: “Madiba doesn’t want a day of celebration. He asked that we spent 67 minutes on that one day in service of humanity.”

Still in South Africa, Morgan Freeman waved off a group of motorcycle riders on Tuesday, at the start of their road trip in support of Mandela Day. Although not riding himself, he is taking part in the event, which has traversed South Africa, from the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg all the way to Cape Town. This is the final day, being spent erecting a fence at the AIDS Response centre in Khayelitsha, convening at the Cape Town City Hall, followed by a press conference at the One&Only Hotel at the V&A Waterfront.

To set the Mother City scene for you, here’s a photo showing the One&Only Hotel (marked in red) in close proximity to the Greenpoint Stadium, which has been the setting for much World Cup jubilation over the past few weeks!


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Rhino horns belong on their heads!

How does a human stoop so low as to slaughter an animal simply to feed their own greed?

It appears that a cartel of poachers has been doing exactly this, close to Johannesburg, by raiding the Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve by helicopter at night. They’ve been killing rhino’s, hacking off their horns with chainsaws, and leaving their young distraught and defenceless, if not dead too.

Game rangers took many hours to find the nine-month-old calf of the most recent victim. He has been moved to a camp with other orphaned rhino’s, in part to alleviate his trauma and loneliness, which rhino’s have been rumoured to die from.

About six weeks ago a pregnant rhino and her calf were massacred in the same reserve, for the same reason: to supply the illegal market for rhino horn. A single one is said to fetch around $1,000,000 in China.

There are no adult rhino’s remaining in this park now, but for the record, here is a photo of a youngster that Dave took some time ago:

WHITE RHINO – Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve, South Africa Continue reading

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