What I do at lunchtime

This years winter has been particularly freezing, the coldest in 20 years so they say. And I believe them. Daily, Anisa and I have to cope with more than just work issues but keeping warm in an office that faces north and feels like a fridge to any visitor. We have blankets, drink bottles of boiling water, use hot water bottles and reluctantly turn the heater on (yes, being the environmentalists we are ;-)) when we border on hypothermia. Lunchtime is my one opportunity to finally warm up – so its either a 9km run or 15km mtb ride in our lovely Umgeni Valley reserve. It takes exactly the full lunch hour for me to finally feel my toes… but there are the other benefits of course.

The favourite view of the valley. I usually ride the 14km loop along the main access road into the reserve and then skipping down onto the single track 'dwarfs dawdle' that runs along the top of a dolerite cliff.

 

The contrast between winter and summer never ceases to amaze me. 3mths from now the valley will have transformed into another sensory overload of redeeming greens.

 

Passing my favourite cabbage tree, 4 years ago it was left for dead when the fires came through. Interesting to see how the indigenous bush bounces back whenever hit hard.

 

The approach to dwarfs dawdle. If you look closely you will see the track running along the edge of the cliff.

 

Hello Zeb! I am always amazed at what I see on my lunchtime runs or rides: 3 little pigs - mother warthog and her tribe, golden mongoose, quails, mt reedbuck, duiker, blesbok, the wildebeesties, black eagle, fish eagle, shrew, cold baby porcupine, puff adder, giraffe, dung beetles, jackal and a glorious variety of wildflowers (spring & summer). On some occasions one zeb in particular, will join me on the homeward run. So I am never alone.

 

A ride along the edge

 

Some things aren't so nice. Another unscrupulous development. Over the past 6 years I have watched helplessly as greedy developers throw up arm barrack style housing developments. This latest one is right on the edge of the reserve and will certainly end up messing up the only freshwater supply to the rustic camp below, not to mention having irreversably lost another pocket of land that could just have easily been utilised for conservation and not money making purposes.

 

From a distance it looks all good, sometimes its best just to see it that way..

 

Snow sprinkled mountains in the distance, a blesbok in the foreground. Umgeni valley is literally being squeezed to death. Across the way lies and ever expanding informal settlement, behind me, a rampant elitest housing develop of some 800 units and expanding. Where can our blesbok go?

 

Glorious aloes. Almost lighting the way, distract me from my worries about what will be left.

 

Much warmer and usually more cheerful, I return to the 'fridge'.

Bridget Ringdahl

Pedaling has been natural to me since the tender age of three. Cycling is practical, fun, it gets you to the corner café, across countries, continents, keeps you fit and is by far the most efficient and environmentally friendly transport option around, being virtually carbon neutral.

I live in Howick, KwaZulu-Natal which is great cycling country, within 10 minutes I can be bouncing along some of the finest single tracks in the province.

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One thought on “What I do at lunchtime
  • Every winter lunchtime I thank my lucky stars that the sun streams in through my Northfacing windows onto my desk, computer, hands and cat! This does mean, however that I don't sit outside eating my lunch for very long, because it is the nicest time of day to be working - that's a pity. Quite astonsihing the difference that aspect can make to winter warmth and general good cheer. I…

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