Walking the Dog.

We off then, Mr Ark?

Entrance to a property on Young Avenue, which leads directly from Observatory to Upper Houghton. (Houghton is the suburb adjacent to Observatory, and is where Nelson Mandela lived after his release.

This house has a fairly interesting tale. I know a little of it. At one point it was the Iranian Embassy and then for some reason was vacated/abandoned but was still registered to the Iranian government.

A few years back, several signs appeared on what was then the front entrance stating that the property was going to be redeveloped as a townhouse complex containing around 40 units ( I stand under correction on the number).

There was much hue and cry from Houghton and Observatory residents and sometime later  the signs came down and once more, all was quiet on the Western Front. The property has seen activity in recent months and has been receiving some much needed T. L. C. Who the owners are I have been unable to ascertain, although I heard a rumour it had been bought by a large insurance company. This entrance in the photograph is fairly recent. Maybe the Iranians decided to reinvest? Anyway, I’m happy the old house will remain for the foreseeable future.

Mural on the palisade fence surrounding Sacred Heart College – just up the road from our spot.

Judith Road. The gated part can be seen in the background. The pedestrian entrance is on the right.

The pandemic and subsequent restrictions/lockdowns and the ”new” work-from-home regime has seen a notable rise in home deliveries of food and other basics. Here a motorcyclist from Checkers, a national supermarket chain, takes a much needed drink on a warm morning while waiting for the owner of this house to answer the bell and take their delivery,

No. 24

Bezuidenhout Road is a steep incline that runs North /South and is the official divide – according to the map – between the suburbs Observatory and Berea. I used to occasionally train on this road. In years gone by I lived in a flat in Berea next to the Berea Fire-station. In those days, suburbs such as Hillbrow, Yeoville and Berea, which all adjoin each other, were considered cosmopolitan and somewhat ‘cool places’ to live, and in some quarters maybe even a little  Bohemian?  I  managed a salon in Hillbrow for a short period.

How times have changed.

This once dilapidated residential property eventually became  a bank repo – we even contemplated buying it at one stage.  We decided against the purchase as it backs onto Sacred Heart College and as much as I like kids … well, okay, tolerate them at any rate – the noise during recess of a bizillion little brats children running around would have driven me (more) round the bend.  About ten years ago it was bought and converted into a Boutique Hotel.


Informal vendor and her child enjoy some early morning sunshine.

Cops n’ Robbers? Roadblock by the school. Checking for masks?

Gerard Street

Home …. let’s get some breakfast, Cindy.


25 thoughts on “Walking the Dog.

  1. love the pictures. Everything is so dressy, as to trees and flowers, just stunning.


    1. Johannesburg in general, is very ‘green’. Even the heavily built up suburbs I mentioned above(Berea, Hillbrow etc), while not as green are at least surrounded by oodles of trees.

      There are seedy areas, Yeoville, Berea and Hillbrow, for example, are not what they once were, and have suffered over the years from overcrowding and poor maintenance once democracy arrived. Some parts of these suburbs are seeing a little improvement here and there but in the main I would not feel comfortable going for a stroll.

      When I first arrived and I was single, footloose and fancy free as the saying goes, I would regularly spend Saturdays and Sundays mooching around all the record stores and book shops, grab a burger and go relax in one of several parks in the area.

      There were some great restaurants and clubs too – one was on the top floor of the Hillbrow Tower, closed now, ( the much photographed Tower you have come to love so much! Ha ha!) and there was a a fabulous Greek restaurant on a place called Kotze Street (I think?) where I took my parents when they came for a visit. We drank ouzo, danced like Zorba and threw plates. Was hilarious,
      Ah … getting mugged down Memory Lane. Nowadays, there is simply a reasonable chance of getting mugged, no matter what ‘lane’ in these suburbs you walk down. Sad.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Pretty posh area there Mr A, fancy having NM as a near neighbour guess you often met when out walking the dogs and stopped to put the world to rights?
    Talking of dogs whatever happened to the Kiwi bull terrier Argus? Haven’t heard from him in months.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah … me and Nelson were besties!
      His house is around 4kms driving distance from our spot. It was in 11th Avenue Houghton, if memory serves? I’ll check with the boss on location and maybe if we’re over that way for a delivery or getting stock I’ll make a detour and take a pickchewer for U.

      Argus upped sticks and moved from NZ over to Mud Island …. better known as the UK. He did not say why.
      That’s all I can tell you Mister B. He said he would be active once settled, but even though I keep leaving little notes on his blog he has so far not resurfaced.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I really enjoy your morning walks — even if vicariously. It’s so nice to see “summer” when all that’s visible from my office window is bare tree limbs and a few evergreens. And overcast skies. But spring is coming! Thank goodness!

    There seems to be a considerable number of “gated” homes in your neighborhood. Is this for safety or uppitiness?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pretty much all homes over here have walls and gates of varying height.
      The gated areas within the suburb itself I have discussed before, and there aren’t that many already established suburbs that closed off certain streets to road traffic. Every gate has a pedestrian gate by law.
      It’s a security thing rather than uppitiness,( walls and gates on private residences) and it’s been like this ever since I arrived and was probably like this before as well.
      I think some of it is necessary but some of it is driven by fear.
      To be fair, though, if someone like John Z or Prof T was living nearby you wouldn’t want the likes of them just waltzing up to your front door ringing the bell at all bloody hours! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. 😄 Hah! So let me get this straight. Or bent. 😈

        John Z and I could not swing by and at least take you—although some accost?) you out for a couple of pints… give or take extras? I mean, what could POSSIBLY go wrong?


          1. Walls and gates add to the privacy of the residents. I would imagine that most properties where the front garden is open to the world gets used very little, whereas a property like ours which is relatively private gets used all the time and is incorporated into the house as much as the back garden.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. I can totally appreciate what you are saying Ark regarding privacy increasing the use and enjoyment of being outside with friends and family, in your own yard(s), gardens, mice-maze with cheese, etc. 😉

            My paternal family once owned about 400-acres of land near Galveston/Hitchcock, Texas for raising/selling cattle—ca. 70-80 head of cattle—just 4-miles inland of the Gulf of Mexico. A primary state highway gave gate-access to it just before a large bridge over a bayou feeding a large bay… which led out to the Gulf. Anyway, a PUBLIC boat ramp was right at that bridge as well as a Bait Shop/Coffee Shop owned by my/a paternal grandmother’s family of sisters. All this to say…

            Because there was so much public traffic there—bordering our family’s land—Ark, the non-stop TRASH from a constantly littering public we had to weekly clean-up on our fences, floating down on our portion of the bayou, and frequent trespassing boaters onto our property was never-ending for 3-4 generations! 🤬 My aging paternal family eventually sold the entire 400-acres to a mega oil refining company (Amoco Chemical) for millions of dollars. :/

            The public trash once littered/dumped all around has now simply changed (I presume) from a trashy public to a corporate chemical trash/pollution. Is that any better? Hah! 🙄 I seriously doubt it. So yeah, there are most definitely good reasons for walled, impassable privacy for a cleaner environment! There will always be a segment of the general population who don’t care, are trashy, and will destroy Nature, right? Pros and cons I guess.


          3. Re: The trash. NOW you understand why I don’t want bloody Arsenal supporters knocking on my door all hours that God Yahweh/Jesus
            Jurgen Klopp made!!

            Seriously, although our property is off/away from the road our street still gets a far bit of traffic – pedestrian as well as motorized and thrown/dropped rubbish does accumulate. As our local council is not the ‘Finest in the Land’ we all have to do our bit and clear up the street ourselves. Some pitch in others don’t.
            It’s part of being conscientious I guess.
            So, once a week I send the wife out with a a luminescent hazard jacket, rubber gloves, dustpan and broom and within half an hour all is clean once again.
            And I even make her a cup of tea afterwards.
            I’m good like that!

            Liked by 2 people

        1. Grrrr, and sorry for my red-neck grammar up there. I was interrupted several times while trying to type and lost my train of thought each time; then accidentally hit the Enter-key. I seemed to have lost several things mentally, physically these last two years. 🤦‍♂️😄


          1. I guess so—at least I’d hear that from football strikers and midfielders all the time in my days of pro ball and semi-pro ball in the U.S. 😉 I loved trying to get in their heads as well.

            For example, if a shooter or shooters kept missing high or way wide of goal, I’d turn to them and bitch/yell them out for not keeping me engaged, working, saving, etc, in the game. “WTF wanker (or player name)! Would you PLEASE shoot on target! You’re boring me!” 🙄🤨 Some of the English lads would respond: “You really know how to make it tough for a guy, don’t you? 😉

            Liked by 1 person

  4. Gated complexes are very common on the Gold Coast, the crime here is not particularly high but the oldies seem to gravitate towards them, most of them are for people in their 50’s or over and some for retired people only. I cannot blame them as f—-in dogs in suburban streets bark at each other and anything that moves. I love dogs but….my old cat makes wee meows and does not want to rip me apart.

    Nice pictures Ark, gives one an insight of the area with how picturesque it is.

    Liked by 1 person

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