Common names: Pincushion
I saw these flowers in a place where I never expected to see flowers. It was indeed a pleasant surprise that greeted me as I stepped into a room where I found myself alone, undisturbed and with my new camera in my handbag. How could I ever resist this opportunity to photograph, and photograph. I sort of knew they were proteas that are native to South Africa. I have never been to South Africa but I had a penpal from Cape Town and for more than 4 years we corresponded fortnightly, weekly and those were the days when the arrival of an aerogramme from the post was the highpoint of my schoolgirl existence.
My pen pal was a few years older than me and through her I learned much about South Africa. Of course those days of Apartheid did not really make much sense to me and Nelson Mandela was not mentioned. It was only much later that I realised what it must have been like in those days of Apartheid. Though she tried to explain, it was just explained in a matter-of-fact way and so the impact was lost on me. She also sent me many postcards that showed the natural beauty of South Africa including flowers such as the Protea. That was how I could identify this flower without much trouble and a search using Google confirmed my hunch.
Today, when I saw these flowers, memories came back and it would be nice if I could get in touch with this pen pal of mine again.