I have been feeling disconnected from my farm and my garden of late, and I can’t help thinking it is the result of seven months away from the view out the huge 3m x 3m (10 x 10 ft) window of The house that Jack Built. I dream of one-day-when-I’ve-got-my-life-in-order going down there between guests and waking up to the view, lingering over morning coffee and … Taking a holiday at the bottom of my own garden, so to speak…

The  house in high autumn The longing has been reinforced of late by looking at many ‘best of 2006’  pics, and it is from there that I have selected these. To begin with, a photo which gives some idea of my vantage point for many of these photos: often they are taken leaning out through the big window or from just outside the house.

Winter%20reflections Mid- June here, and serendipitously this swamp cypress stays green long after all other trees have shed their leaves. The tracery of branches reflected in the water and the openness of the ground beneath the trees mark the clarity of the winter.

06Jan25%20Green%20reflection Six months separate these two shots; ‘shades of green’ is the name for the garden that flashes through my head at this season. But it really does sound pretentious… so last year I checked what it would be in Sepedi, the local African language: “Mebalabala ya Botala – Many colours of green.” Perhaps more romantic to some, but even more pretentious as a name!

Dawn%20on%20a%20frosty%20morn Leaning out of the window to the right on a frosty autumn morning. Cold nights and hot, sunny days are the perfect recipe for intense autumn colour, provided here mainly by Acer palmatum, Liquodamber styracifolia and flowering cherry.

Sunrise%20after%20first%20rains%2025%20Aug%2006 We are three weeks shy of four years since I took this photo, the caption tells me… I detect blossoms and a wiff of spring!

autumn%20perfection First light across the water was what I lived for – whether from my bed in the sleeping loft in summer or over coffee and in front of the heater in winter. Can you blame me for feeling a little lost?

2%20July%2005 Coffee, and a heater, anyone?

autumn%20rain%204 Or perhaps afternoon tea whilst we wait for the storm to pass?


 On the other hand – if you come in spring a glass of champagne might be more in keeping with the celebratory mood…




  1. ” I dream of one-day-when-I’ve-got-my-life-in-order going down there between guests and waking up to the view, lingering over morning coffee..” Sounds like a great plan. I like the view through a multi-pane window, and what a view this one has!

  2. Absolutely beautiful Jack! You might give yourself that treat and have that special retreat in your own getaway. What a gorgeous world you have created. A treasure to have that water. I so enjoyed visiting. ;>)

  3. Is this real? Are you tricking us, Jack? These images look like beautiful paintings. This is what came to my mind first – paintings. I remind myself where you live, and I get amazed even more!

    • You are right, Tatyana – our mountain is in many ways not typical of Africa at all, with a softer, kinder climate. But soon I will write my blog on aloes, with some pictures taken only 20 minutes away, and it is rugged Africa in all its glory!

  4. Jack, The sense of loss and longing in this post is so poignant. Is there any kind of ritual you could develop that would help to reconnect you to this view or one equally lovely in a different way? Perhaps a once-a-week early morning walk with a place to sit and sip your coffee and enjoy the view?

    • Jean, I really do want to get to the point where I spend a few nights a month down there, or just take my laptop down and work from there. My Taubie dog agrees: whenever I go there she follows me, spreads herself in the sun on the floor and looks at me accusingly.

  5. Absolutely beautiful … each and every photo is just a delight for the eyes! I spent ages scrolling up and down drinking in every image … my favourite has to be the misty Autumn shots. I don’t see Autumn colours here, so that’s probably why I kept going back to those photos. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Fabulous photos! I can imagine what it must be like to experience such stunning sights in person. I definitely would make time to reconnect with this magical place.

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