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Summer at the Southern tip of Africa. January already gone and one scratches around for direction. The garage is filled with boxes of books and five crates of my paintings, recently returned from Durban. Oh yes, there’s no shortage of things to do, but urgency melts away under the glorious sun. So here’s a fitting little summer poem from that melancholy Englishman Philip Larkin.

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Long lion days

Start with white haze.

By midday you meet

A hammer of heat –

Whatever was sown

Now fully grown,

Whatever conceived

Now fully leaved,

Abounding, ablaze –

O long lion days!

J H Pierneef’s Station Panels are cornerstones of South African landscape painting. They were placed in the old Johannesburg Station as adverts to travel the country.

But did these alluring places ever really exist? And how have they changed?

Taking up the invitation to travel 80 years later, Carl Becker set off to find out.

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