Monthly Archives: July 2012

Concrete and Water

Just some pictures I thought were interesting while walking along the beach.

The stark concrete was a total contrast to the sea rushing in gently leaving a gentle foam in it’s wake…


Posted by on 29/07/2012 in Photo, South Africa


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Photos of derelict building

Managed to get old photo so you can see what it looked like not too long ago!!

This was until not too long ago the children hospital in Durban. It was to have been demolished some time ago but has been left to deteriorate to the state that it is in now.

I would have liked to have taken photos inside the building but the security would have none of it 🙂

All this is a stones throw from uShaka a major tourist attraction which is all nice and clean…


Posted by on 24/07/2012 in Envioronment, Photo


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Sell our souls for a pot of gold…

It is quite strange to read in the local newspaper that the department of environmental affairs has no intention of lifting the ban on 4X4 vehicles being able to travel along the beaches even though it has been proved that travelling below the high water line ensures that there is no environmental damage to the beach. Currently 4X4’s can be used to take tourists along the beaches as this is a big source of income in the area.

BUT on the other hand……..

The KwaZulu-Natal environmental affairs department has now  approved a very controversial dune mining project to South African company Exxaro KZN Sands. The mine would be located in Mtunzini and the adjoining Umlalazi nature reserve.

What makes this approval even stranger is that Exxaro KZN Sands is now in bed with the Australian company, New Tronox Group.

Investigations have revealed that the  New Tronox Group was formed from a bankrupt corporation which allegedly managed to polluted 22 states in the United States of America (not quite half of America but pretty close!) with nuclear waste, wood poisons, rocket fuel, mining, waste oil, and gas.

The mine would be situated a mere 100 metres from the coastal resort town which generates most of its income from ecologically-based tourism.

Now from my side of the fence, it would seem that the executive GM of Exxaro Mineral Sands, Trevor Arran, has blackmailed the government by saying that the KwaZulu-Natal north coast region would suffer economically and lose more than 1000 jobs if the government denied the company’s application to open the Fairbreeze mine. And of course we know that there is an election coming up shortly and the ANC government needs to create a few jobs as quickly as possible to lured the voters back. Mr Arran does not dwell on the negative side of what the mining is going to do to an entire town or the nature reserve located along the coast.

Barbara Chedzey, chairwoman of the Mtunzini Conservancy, said: “Exxaro (has) not carried out a full review of the jobs lost should rehabilitation fail at Fairbreeze. Such failure of rehabilitation at Fairbreeze is very probable given Exxaro’s poor record of rehabilitation at the Hillendale mine.”

I managed to get hold of some photographs that the Mtunzini Conservancy took of what the area looks like after Exxaro had mined the dunes at the Hillendale mine.

Supposed to be rehabilitated!

Valued between R1.4bn and R2.4bn, the Fairbreeze project aimed to extract heavy minerals such as titanium, zircon, rutile, and leucoxene. Profit over conservation?

According to the Mercury newspaper the mine was expected to have harmful impacts on Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife’s well-known Umlalazi nature reserve, the Siyaya coastal forest and the Twinstreams environmental education centre.

The local population living in Mtunzini will not benefit from any job creation as the majority of job will be filled by the very people who were involved in the dune mining near Richards Bay. And if memory serves me well, there were just over 300 people involved in the mining and not thousands as Exxaro and would like us to believe.

It is also sad to think that at the beginning of 2012 there was a conference in Durban relating to global warming and how South Africa was lauded for the steps it was taking to combat global warming. Now the government is willing to approve the dune mining even if Exxaro has a track record indicating that they cannot deliver on rehabilitating the dunes after they have taken all the minerals they want and lined their pockets with the profits.

And the saddest of it all is that they got permission to continue with the mine even though not all the required authorizations (environment impact studies etc) are in place.  Various parties, such as provincial agriculture, environmental affairs and the rural development department all rejected the initial basic assessment report that Exxaro submitted last year. Further objections from the residents of Mtunzini and environmental groups such as the Wildlife and Environment Society of SA have also had no effect on permission to mine being granted


Just musing!


Posted by on 23/07/2012 in Envioronment, Musings, South Africa


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Of boats and things…

I was drawn to the tangle of masts and lines on the one side and the calm water on the other.

here was this mighty catamaran with this little dingy between the pontoons…..

the white of the catamaran did give some problems with exposure but on the whole came out Ok?

here I tried playing around with HDR to bring out the color of the containers but personally I think it could have been a little less.


Posted by on 17/07/2012 in Photo, South Africa


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Photos next to the water

I was traveling with my daughter the other day when we decided to have a quick look at my favorite bird hide just in case there was something to see. Although it was noon and the light very harsh I took my camera along and managed the following pictures.

Purple Gallinule (Parphyrio porphyrio)

Cape Teal (Anas capensis)

Southern Crowned Crane (Balearica regulorum)

(from the back showing unique plumage)

Canon 500D

Canon 55-250mm lens

Manual settings



Posted by on 17/07/2012 in Envioronment, Photo, South Africa


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Coast visit 2

While walking past some fishermen I noticed some fishing line which had been discarded on the beach.

There are signs up asking the fishermen not to leave any bait or fishing line as it it detrimental to the eco system. But then I suppose they have never had to rescue birds or fish caught in a tangle of fishing line…

All these were taken while walking along the beach. The wind was blowing quite a bit which made it pretty difficult to keep a steady aim. Thank goodness for SR which helped a hell of a lot!

(I am now saving to get a bigger lens – would get me a lot closer)


Posted by on 12/07/2012 in Photo


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Visit to the coast

Been spending some time at the coast and playing around with my camera.

Tried my hand at doing a sunrise, which is totally new to me. It was actually nice getting up while it was still dark and seeing loads of people already out walking/jogging/sitting around and doing their own thing.

Boat waiting for launch before sun rise for some deep sea fishing

Actually it was still very dark at this stage but I think the lighthouse did help a bit here

and very quickly the sun was up and the day had started.


Posted by on 11/07/2012 in Photo, South Africa


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Winter Pudding 6







When I was very young I used to often spend my holidays visiting my grand parents in what in those days was a small rural town, Harrismith in the Free State Province in South Africa.  It is situated on the banks of the Wilge River (Willow River) and in the winter time it gets bitterly cold there. I fondly recall the old coal stove that was forever heating up the house and the water as well my grand mother whipping up some Sago pudding to warm the innards as well.

It took me some time to actually eat it as we were told that it is made of frogs eyes that were collected in the Wilge River! But finally that aroma wafting out of the kitchen was just too much to resist.

Sago pudding is a sweet pudding, made by boiling sago with either water or milk and adding sugar and sometime additional flavourings.  It is made in many cultures with varying styles, and may be produced in a variety of ways.

In Malaysia, sago gula melaka is a sago pudding made by boiling pearl sago in water and serving it with syrup of palm sugar (gula melaka) and coconut milk.

In the UK, ‘sago pudding’ is generally made by boiling pearl sago and sugar in milk until the sago pearls become clear, and thickening it with eggs or cornflour.  Depending on the proportions used it can range from a runny consistency to fairly thick, and can be similar to tapioca or rice pudding. I prefer it to be on the thicker side but you can experiment to find which you prefer.

Serves 6

1 litre milk

1 cinnamon quill

cardamom pod (optional)

90g (1/2 cup) sago

70g (1/4 cup) sugar

60g butter

1/4 tsp (1ml) salt

4 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp (1ml) grated nutmeg

1. Bring the milk and cinnamon quill (and cardamom pod if you are using one) to boiling point in a 2 litre container

2. Add sago and cover the dish – leave to soak for at least 90 minutes (or overnight)

3. Whisk

4. Pre-heat oven to 160°C

5. Bring the milk mixture to the boil and thoroughly whisk the mixture again for at least 2 minutes – ensure that the sago is completely translucent (this is where the frogs eyes come from 🙂 )

6. Remove the cinnamon quill and cardamom pod and beat the sugar and butter into the warm mixture

7. Allow to cool slightly – whisk eggs, vanilla and grated nutmeg together and whisk it quickly into the cooled-down mixture


For a lighter, fluffy texture, separate the egg whites and yolks.  Whisk the egg yolks, vanilla and grated nutmeg together and then into the cool-down milk mixture.  Beat the egg whites separately and lightly fold into the mixture

8. Pour into a buttered 2 litre dish

9. Half-fill a larger shallow dish with water, and place your sago dish in it to create a bain marie

10. Bake for 90 minutes until firm and golden brown

11. After baking, spread approximately 1/4 cup apricot jam gently over the pudding.  You can heat the jam somewhat to make it easier to spread, or simply dot the jam over the top. It must be smooth apricot jam.

This can also be baked in individual ramekins.  As a variation, you can place a teaspoon of apricot jam in the bottom of each ramekin before pouring the sago mixture on top.


Posted by on 02/07/2012 in Food


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