Careful Where You Step!

Recording and reminiscing; with occasional bokdrols of wisdom. Possibly. Random, un-chronological memories after marriage, children and sundry other catastrophes. My pre-marriage blog is vrystaatconfessions.com. Bachelorhood! Beer! River trips! Beer! bokdrols – like pearls, but handle with care

Shit Birders Say

. . and that I wish I had said . . “To a person uninstructed in natural history, his countryside or seaside stroll is a walk through a gallery filled with wonderful works of art, nine-tenths of which have their faces turned to the wall” – THOMAS HUXLEY – English biologist “Bird-watchers are tense, competitive,Continue reading “Shit Birders Say”

Wikipedia – A Good Story of the 2010’s Decade

Every time I see a new bird I look it up and learn all about it, its scientific name and which other birds its related to. Just recently Steve in Aussie sent me his picture of a ‘Bush Stone Curlew’ nesting on an island in a parking lot. That immediately reminded me of our waterContinue reading “Wikipedia – A Good Story of the 2010’s Decade”

Explorer 15. Galton

Francis Galton, (1822–1911) was an English polymath, geographer, meteorologist and much else. We are mainly interested here in his 1850 expedition to Namibia. For the rest – and there is a lot of it! – refer to the sources at the bottom. Grandson of Erasmus Darwin and cousin and contemporary of Charles Darwin, Galton isContinue reading “Explorer 15. Galton”

Swinburne, the Lost Valley and Nesshurst

First we went to Swinburne, to Jenny (Mapp) and Steve Cleverley’s Hound and Hare on the far bank of the Wilge River, across the old 1884 sandstone toll bridge where we had launched a canoe journey many years before; There we watched a bunch of large blokes with odd-shaped balls shove each other around, playingContinue reading “Swinburne, the Lost Valley and Nesshurst”

We’re Famous!

Us Blands have published a book. One of us was the author and one was the photographer. OK, it was tenth-cousin Hugh that actually did both! Mind you, I do play my small part in keeping this particular trappist monastery afloat by testing eyes there mahala every second month! Who’da thunk I’d ever help theContinue reading “We’re Famous!”

Explorers 13. Chapman

James Chapman (1831-1872) – our first South African-born explorer, hunter, trader and photographer. Enough Swedes, Scots and Frogs, here’s a homeboy! Again, if you want really accurate history, you’ve stumbled on the wrong place – but check the sources! A son of James Chapman and Elizabeth Greeff of Malmesbury, he was educated in Cape TownContinue reading “Explorers 13. Chapman”

More Books Coming!

Janet spoils me! She got me a beautiful book written by legendary Botswana character Cronje Wilmot back in the fifies – reprinted recently. And now two more coming! One by legendary Botswana character Lloyd Wilmot – Cronje’s grandson: . . and yet another book by the amazing Veronica Roodt: . . and here’s Janet theContinue reading “More Books Coming!”

New Best Book Ever

I have not been this excited about a book since Tramp Royal, by Tim Couzens. Well, Trader Horn’s The Ivory Coast in the Earlies, and then Tramp Royal. My own The First Safari by Ian Glenn just arrived and it’s beautifully made; a real old-fashioned book, hard cover complete with elegant dust jacket, map, realContinue reading “New Best Book Ever”

Explorers 12. Baines

(John) Thomas Baines (1820–1875) – was an English artist and explorer of British colonial southern Africa and Australia. He was most famous for his beautiful paintings – especially of ‘Baines Baobabs’ and the mighty Falls, Mosi oa Tunya. Apprenticed to a coach painter at an early age, he left England aged 22 for South AfricaContinue reading “Explorers 12. Baines”

sort-of Explorer 9. Barrow

I have ‘explored Africa’ by being flown in a Cessna by a local pilot, picked up in a Toyota by a local guide and cooked for by a local chef, so whilst all our explorers were shown around by locals, when the ‘locals’ are actually officials of the colony and they’re taking you to establishedContinue reading “sort-of Explorer 9. Barrow”

Explorers 8. Burchell

I’m exploring the explorers who were lucky enough to see ‘Africa In The Earlies.’ Before the anthropocene. Before plastic. This guy is one of the best. I mean, just look at his wagon! It even beats my kombi! And my 1975 Bushman Tracker1 Off-Road trailer! William John Burchell (1781-1863) – naturalist and explorer, was theContinue reading “Explorers 8. Burchell”

Explorers 7. Wahlberg

Johan August Wahlberg (1810 – 1856) was another Swedish naturalist and explorer. He traveled in southern Africa between 1838 and 1856, especially in Natal and South West Africa, sending thousands of natural history specimens back to Sweden. The journals of his travels are generally brief and objective (and I haven’t been able to find themContinue reading “Explorers 7. Wahlberg”

Explorers 5. Levaillant

I love reading about these early explorers, so I decided to write short sketches on some of them. Here’s my fifth, perhaps the most flamboyant and famous of the bunch. His accounts, like mine, may occasionally need to be taken with a pinch of salt, but his contributions were definitely huge. His main researcher –Continue reading “Explorers 5. Levaillant”

Aitch’s Unused Ceramics

. . raised a whole lot of money for Udobo School. Udobo is a pre-school in Montclair for the special kids of Montclair. Udobo – the name is isiZulu for fishhook – needs to raise funds to keep going and Aitch’s unused ceramics helped. Anne Snyders of Udobo set her kids to painting them, varnishedContinue reading “Aitch’s Unused Ceramics”

First Cuckoo in 1913

I was thinking about the seasons and how we look out for our first Yellow-billed Kite every year around Spring. We also love hearing the first Piet-My-Vrou and other cuckoo calls. Richard Lydekker (1849 – 1915) was an English naturalist, geologist and writer of numerous books on natural history. In fact, about thirty books inContinue reading “First Cuckoo in 1913”