Good food and fine art at the Peech

first_imgThe Peech’s energy-saving strategy includes solar heating and grey water recycling. (Image: The Peech Hotel) When James Peech relocated from Britain to South Africa, he didn’t think he’d be opening a hotel in the middle of Johannesburg.After a lengthy spell curing their mutual wanderlust in south-east Asia, Peech and his South African partner Cassie Janisch planned to return to her homeland and settle in Cape Town. The Cape, however, did not prove hospitable to their ambitions for the hospitality industry and they decided to try their luck in the ostensibly less tourist-friendly Johannesburg instead.Luck, fate or sheer serendipity? Call it what you will. The point is that they happened to find a charming house in the suburb of Melrose, north of Johannesburg’s city centre, at a time when the owners were looking to escape a massive construction project underway next door.They saw the potential and, within a few years, their vision had been fulfilled: the construction site turned into über-trendy Planet Fitness at The Wanderers sports club, while the house and grounds nestling alongside were expanded into a tranquil and surprisingly spacious four-star 16-room boutique hotel.That the Planet Fitness complex doesn’t intrude on the aesthetic or atmosphere of the Peech Hotel is largely attributable to architect Kate Otten, whose design for the extensions emphasised seclusion: hotel guests hardly feel that they are in the biggest city in the country, just a short distance from its commercial hub.This proximity is, of course, appealing to business travellers, and The Peech boasts a 10-seater boardroom and workspace facilities for such guests. Yet judging from the diverse conversations and languages to be overheard in the hotel’s bar and lobby area, an equal proportion of the international clientele are leisure travellers.Whether it’s business or pleasure that brings them to the Peech, those who stay there soon learn a thing or two about the art of living.Laid-back and chicThe Bistro, under head chef Greg Jardim, has developed a reputation for fine dining. After sampling the sundried tomato, asparagus and fennel risotto I was happy to concur; the Asian fishcakes with wasabi dipping sauce entrenched my opinion.Then there was the duck confit served with polenta and a berry coulis, the sirloin with blue cheese sauce, the chocolate torte with Frangelico … it’s clear that Jardim and his sous-chefs are living up to their promise to create dishes that are both “laid-back and chic” with “an understated touch of sophistication”.Robert Chifunyise is kept busy as resident sommelier; the Peech hosts monthly wine evenings, at which local vintners proffer a selection of wines paired with appropriate dishes. Connoisseurs of other beverages are not entirely neglected – earlier this year the Collective São Gabriel, a multi-national group of craft beer-makers, shared some of their luxury brews. And the hearty brunch on offer every Sunday morning is accompanied by an endless supply of Cap Classique Brut from Villiera Wines.Care of the environmentThe Peech, by example, also teaches another subject: eco-living. Certified for Fair Trade in Tourism, the hotel implements a strict sustainability policy incorporating solar water heating, double-layer insulation in rooms and the recycling of grey water from baths and showers.In addition to operating with the environment in mind, Peech exercises a social conscience through charitable contributions towards the Little Eden Children’s Home in Edenvale, east of Johannesburg.What would the art of living be without the visual arts? Sculptures from various African countries are displayed in the hotel’s rooms, augmenting the eclectic decor and sleek finishes. While works of art serve an anodyne decorative function in most hotels, however, this is not the case at The Peech.James Peech has teamed up with art agent and curator Christina Wiese of Brown Spice Boutique to ensure that the hotel’s walls are continually adorned by new art works in various styles. As a result of these floating exhibitions, the hotel has become something of an informal gallery.In 2009 an environment-themed collection of photography and sculpture that also displayed fashion, industrial and interior designs reinforced Peech’s passion for ecological sustainability. Artists who have subsequently opened exhibitions at the hotel include photographers Neil Corder and Babi Prokas; Layziehound, with his music-oriented pastel images; and Anupama Das, whose geometric designs tease and delight the eye.The arts programme is ongoing, as are the wine evenings and other events. In fact, for such a calm and quiet place, The Peech is veritably abuzz with new developments – from landscaping of the already lush and leafy gardens, to plans to convert the poolside eating area into an al fresco deli.All this activity can only bode well for visitors to, and residents of, Johannesburg. As for Capetonians … well, they’re likely to feel they’ve been missing out.last_img read more

Spekboom, the plant with a carbon fixation

first_imgClimate change is an increasing problem globally; and South Africa is among the top 20 largest producers of carbon emissions in the world. Reducing our carbon footprint is more important than ever. The Wonder Plant social enterprise and the Spekboom Foundation have just the plant for the job.Spekboom, indigenous to the Eastern Cape, has remarkable carbon fixing properties that have the potential to offset greatly our carbon footprint. (Image: Bradley Dennis)Mathiba MolefeThere was a time when it covered vast sections of the landscape in the Eastern Cape, spreading for kilometres in every direction. But today, as a result of overgrazing farm animals, spekboom, Portulacaria Afra, is limited to small patches scattered loosely throughout the province.Indigenous to South Africa, spekboom is considered by some to be a wonder plant of sorts. Given its remarkable ability to draw large amounts of carbon from the atmosphere, it is no surprise that it is regarded so highly.With climate change a growing problem worldwide, there are widespread efforts to reduce our carbon footprint and impact on the environment. Tapping into the under-utilised potential of local flora such as spekboom may be part of the answer.Most of South Africa’s energy is still generated by burning coal and this, coupled with the country’s energy- and carbon-intensive mining and industrial sectors, made it the thirteenth highest producer of carbon emissions in the world in 2008, according to data collected by the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Centre (CDIAC).This also makes South Africa the largest producer of carbon emissions on the African continent, with more than 460 metric tons of CO2 produced in 2011.According to the Spekboom Foundation and the Wonder Plant social enterprise, spekboom can absorb nearly 10 times as much carbon dioxide per hectare than any tropical rain forest on the planet.Offsetting carbon emissionsBradley Dennis, a conservationist from the Samara Private Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape, said “fortunately, environmental awareness is ripe and many people and organisations are actively working towards counteracting these threats.“One such way to combat these emissions is through carbon sinks.”According to the Spekboom Foundation and the Wonder Plant social enterprise, spekboom can absorb nearly 10 times as much carbon dioxide per hectare than any tropical rain forest on the planet.This is because spekboom functions differently from other plants in that it continues to photosynthesise during the night, thanks to its ability to store solar energy. This, together with its ability to grow in some of the country’s harshest conditions, makes spekboom the ideal plant to help offset our carbon footprint.“The plant is extremely water-wise and requires very little attention. It can tolerate long periods of drought,” Dennis explains.“And best of all, besides being very attractive and blooming wonderful little pink flowers, it is easy to grow.”Organisations such as the Spekboom Foundation and Wonder Plant offer members of the public easy access to this amazing plant, so you can play a part in actively lowering South Africa’s carbon footprint.“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now” – an old Chinese proverb. Above, volunteers planting spekboom saplings at the Samara Private Game Reserve.Get involvedThere is an old Chinese proverb that says “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now”.If you would like to get your hands on a spekboom plant, support local business and reduce your carbon footprint, you can visit either the Wonder Plant website or the Spekboom Foundation website to find out how.“Making a difference, even if it’s as small as planting a tree in your backyard, has a bigger impact than one realises,” says Dennis.Play Your PartAre you playing your part to help improve the lives of those around you through your everyday actions? Do you know of anyone who deserves recognition for improving South Africa and its people?If you do, then submit your story to our website and let us know what you are doing to improve the country for all; we want to hear it.If we don’t get actively involved in creating a better future for South Africa, then who will? Step up and play your part in our country’s journey to greatness.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

Survey results highlight roles of women in agriculture

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Women are active advocates for agriculture and successful business owners interested in filling leadership roles, according to a new Farm Bureau survey. A majority of those surveyed, 91%, also believe there should be more women in leadership roles in the industry. More than 3,000 women completed the informal survey online, which was conducted to determine the goals and achievements of women in agriculture.“Women play a vital role in modern farming and ranching,” said Sherry Saylor, an Arizona farmer and chair of the American Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee. “We hope to use the survey results to drive our program of work and also to give women their voice and help them make even more of an impact in their communities.”More than 50% of women surveyed have started their own business that’s still in operation; 25% have not started a business but indicated they would like to do so in the future. Respondents cited prioritizing and finding time to accomplish tasks, acquiring financial support and marketing plan development as their top business challenges.Respondents ranked communicating effectively, inspiring and motivating others, and managing conflict among the most important leadership skills for women in agriculture.Another topline finding of the survey was that 75% of respondents are leaders at the local level, 50% are leaders at the state level and 26% are leaders at the national level.All women who are farmers, ranchers, farm/ranch employees, employed in agricultural businesses, pursuing ag-related higher education or supportive of agriculture in other ways were invited to participate in the survey.Full survey results, including comparisons to the initial “Women in Ag” survey (conducted in 2015), are available online at fb.org/women.last_img read more

Groundspeak Weekly Newsletter – January 5, 2011

first_img SharePrint RelatedGroundspeak Weekly Mailer – May 4, 2011May 4, 2011In “News””The Geocaching Year in Review” A Geocaching.com Lost & Found VideoDecember 28, 2010In “Lost & Found Stories”Log your Will Attend for the Geocaching 20th Anniversary CelebrationJune 24, 2019In “Community” Happy New Year!2010 was an exciting year for geocaching! On March 8, we hit a huge milestone – over one million active geocaches listed on Geocaching.com. In the 10 months since, more than 260,000 geocaches have been added to the site.Last year also marked the 10th anniversary of geocaching and the 10th anniversary of Groundspeak. We celebrated these milestones with Groundspeak’s Lost & Found. The celebration launched the weekend of April 20-May 3 – the 10th anniversary of the first cache placement. Geocachers honored the occasion by hosting 10 Years! events around the world.As part of Lost & Found, we also wanted to discover some of the “lost” stories of geocaching. Our film crew traveled to capture the 33 amazing geocaching stories featured in the Lost & Found video series. Geocachers also submitted their stories on Geocaching.com.And since Geowoodstock was in our own backyard, Groundspeak hosted the Lost & Found Celebration just outside Groundspeak HQ. We had such a great time meeting thousands of you that we’re going to do it again in 2011 at the Groundspeak Block Party.We hit another milestone on 10-10-10, when the geocaching community broke a record. 78,313 separate Geocaching.com accounts logged a cache in a 24-hour period, blasting through the previous record of 56,654 accounts.So, what’s in store for 2011? We plan on continuing to add great features and functionality. Our goals for this year include improving the quality of the game and taking geocaching “beyond the box.” We’re looking forward to what we can accomplish over the next 12 months with your assistance. If you have an idea that might make geocaching even better in 2011, please post it here.Thank you for a wonderful 2010 and cheers to happy and healthy geocaching in 2011!Share with your Friends:Morelast_img read more

Tips from SXSW: Filming with Your Camera in Motion

first_img3. Make a Plan Before You Shoot on the WaterThe biggest scene in the pilot, the end scene, was set on a boat in open water at sundown (and we filmed in 20-degree weather) so the safety, logistics, and planning was top priority. It became evident pretty quickly that all the shots on the boat were going to be done handheld. Tripod for boat-to-boat shots can work if you’re on calm water and have plenty of time, but we had planned the scene for magic hour with about 30-minutes to get what we needed between sunset and dark.Strang stresses efficiency in all scene and sequence setups as the best way to move quickly between shots. This is especially true when filming against the elements and trying to work in the narrow periods of sunrise or sunset for cinematic magic-hour lighting.4. When in the Wild, Stay on FootWe had a number of scenes that were shot hundreds of yards from where a car could get to, so we were migrating the entire production on foot most of the time. Now, that’s not too challenging in and of itself, but when you want to do any kind of dolly movement that far off the trail and have a skeleton crew, you’re adding some significant setup time. For all the walk-and-talks through the woods, we kept [the camera] on Steadicam so we could get the camera where it needed to be quickly and minimize how much equipment we had to haul by hand into the woods.To get another cool shot (video below), Strang actually had his Steadicam operator on the back of a golf cart (which were plentiful on the island). Similar to the pickup setup, the filmmakers used the golf cart to get a backward-looking shot of their subject riding out on a dock before doing a step-off to follow the character down the pier on foot. 2018 SXSW Film Festival’s Ben Strang shares these 7 tips from his original thriller series for shooting with a camera in motion.All images via Beast.It’s strange to think, but there was a time in cinema history when a simple left-to-right camera pan was considered an incredible innovation. Today, cinematographers have a full range of camera motion at their disposal, but not all movements are created equal.We chatted with filmmaker Ben Strang about his SXSW Independent Episodic pilot BEAST, an adventure/thriller set against the Chesapeake Bay’s eerie marshland islands, about how he was able to work with his camera in motion while on location in challenging production environments. 5. Innovative Rigs for SpeedTo get a stable moving shot in front of the kid on his bike, we used speedrail to build a safety frame in the truck bed and then strapped the Steadicam op to the frame so the arm could be safely supporting the camera off the back of the truck. It took about 30 minutes to build the rig, and once the op was strapped into it he couldn’t move, so we did all the bike shots we needed in one go.Working primarily with a Steadicam on land, Strang and his crew had their hands full keeping up with their character on his bike. While they always preferred to stay on foot, when forced to use their pickup truck and golf cart resources, they had to build out a DIY harness for both stability and safety. The rail bar contraption harnessed the Steadicam operator while the rest of the crew had room to pile in behind him.6. Understand the Theory of MovementOn a theater screen, it takes your eye much longer to intake the image’s visual information than it takes your eye when you’re watching on a phone, so you literally can (if it serves your film) edit slower and move the camera slower when you’re shooting something meant for the theater or a big TV than you might if you know your project will be seen mainly on iPhones.Since BEAST is premiering at a film festival but is ultimately intended for television, laptop, and smartphone viewing, Strang was in an odd position regarding moving shots. Different camera movements (and different editing choices) may look good on one format while feeling overwhelming on the other. Ultimately, Strang and his team decided to shoot for the theater screen and big TVs.7. Only Move the Camera When You Need toWell before we shot BEAST, I decided with my editor and DP that we wanted the show to have a stillness about it that captured the atmosphere of the island and let camera movement reflect the energy of the kid disrupting this quiet world. So in the drafts of storyboards that I did before production, we figured out when the camera absolutely needed to move as a point of emphasis and when the camera absolutely shouldn’t move.Strang asserts that “both movement and stillness can have a loud effect.” Which I think is a profound statement because if you know why your camera is doing what it’s doing (and have storyboarded it out that way), you can let the motion and movement (or lack thereof) tell the story the best way possible. According to Strang, it’s also helpful once you start to feel comfortable with your static shots to scratch some more complicated and time-consuming movement “as long as the visual language is what you wanted all along.”For more information on BEAST, check out the website and Instagram for updates on its post-festival run.For more filmmaking tips and tricks, check out some of these resources.SXSW Discussions: 7 Tips on How to Develop a Digital DocuseriesNavigating the Challenges of the One-Take Short FilmInterview: 7 Filmmaking Tips for Creating Retro ’80s Actioncenter_img 1. Storyboarding Is CriticalFrom the very beginning, we knew we were going to be putting the camera in some challenging locations, so it was top priority for me to storyboard the project way in advance and to have the editor on set with us so we could — as we ended up doing — throw the storyboards out when we were strapped for time and still come away with shots that communicated the right ideas/emotions.When you start adding extra elements like movement and motion to your shots, a concrete outline of what you need to do to capture the right footage is absolutely key. Strang also talks about the nerve-racking schedule they had to keep while battling things like sunsets — knowing what you need to get by a certain time based on your storyboard is critical.2. Use What’s Available for MotionWhen you’re planning moving shots, you want to be thinking about WHY the camera’s moving in the first place so you can come up with a communicative way to move it and so you’re not just moving it for the sake of moving it. Is it tracking with a moving subject to add energy to the frame? Pushing-in to emphasize a character’s emotion in a moment?For the majority of BEAST‘s production, the team was in a remote location on an island with very little access to the outside world. This meant that they had to improvise many traditional camera movement setups using whatever was available. Strang’s favorite shot (pictured above, video below), shows how they captured their subject riding a bike at a high speed toward the camera by strapping their Steadicam operator to the back of a pickup truck.last_img read more

WATCH: McGregor in awe of mural showing him punching Mayweather

first_img“F**king hell. Unbelievable,” McGregor said, with a huge grin on his face.Whether or not McGregor could indeed pull off the upset remains to be seen, as the two enigmatic superstars are set to clash at the T-Mobile Arena in Paradise, Nevada, on Aug. 26.  Khristian Ibarrola /raSports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next MOST READ WATCH: Firefighters rescue baby seal found in parking garage Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Cayetano to unmask people behind ‘smear campaign’ vs him, SEA Games Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ 1 dead in Cavite blast, fire World’s 50 Best Restaurants launches new drinking and dining guide Heart Evangelista admits she’s pregnant… with chicken Serena Williams cheered by netizens after answering John McEnroe’s backhanded compliment What ‘missteps’? LOOK: Netizens abuzz over confirmed McGregor-Mayweather boutOne of the most vivid and graphic forecasts came in the way of a colorful mural showing the Irish sensation clocking the undefeated pound-for-pound boxing great with his patented left straight.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutA clip of the 28-year-old UFC lightweight champion seeing the artwork for the first time has become viral on social media.As seen in a one-minute clip, McGregor is completely in awe upon entering the boxing gym and seeing an illustration of himself against the legendary Mayweather. Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ LATEST STORIES Now that the Conor McGregor versus Floyd Mayweather Jr. mega-fight is finally a done deal, fans are constantly offering their predictions left and right.ADVERTISEMENT View commentslast_img read more