Category Archives: Festival

this little piggie went to market(s)

Thank heavens it’s Monday. Jam Tarts did two markets this weekend and all I can say is that I’m ready for some R and R.

The Harfield Carnival was a mixed bag for us – the intermittent downpours and high-force winds didn’t bring anyone any joy, but in the in-between bits it was wonderful: Karen completely sold out her rice-bag pillowcases and shorts, plus one customer sent a mail ordering a further ten. We felt Karen deserved the day off yesterday – so she could stay home and make more. hahaha

Yesterday was the Kirstenbosch Market, always a pleasure to be there! The weather had sorted itself out, and the steady flow of holiday shoppers and tourists was very welcome.

You’ve seen a zillion pics of Jam Tarts’ stuff, so I’m not going to bore you with more.
Here is other stuff: we all fell in love with these meerkats, made from jacaranda wood. Gran bought a whole family of them, I think.

We had a new neighbour, Carolyn from Car-o-Shop, who makes car seat covers at incredibly reasonable prices. Since crocheting a car seat cover is going to take too large a chunk of time, I think I’ll ask her to run something up for Mini-me. I’m thinking lime and shocking pink zebra stripes…

Dear friend Lara came to visit, with three lovely boys in tow. She’s good like that. The boys loved our owl monsters, and Max and Noah took it upon themselves to name any owls who had made it to the market without name tags. On the left in the middle, you can see a little turquoise chap who became “Snowflack”, and I had meant to put him in my basket to take home with me. But alas, I got distracted – and Snowflack got purchased by a complete stranger.

Lara tried on a button bangle and it looked so nice that I gave it to her as an early xmas present.

The only reason she is covering her pretty nose is because she’d just smeared thick white sun protector on her face – the South African sun is a real killer, so take note and take care. Seriously.

Last but not least, here is our amazing mountain in the background. The Kirstenbosch market is held right across the road from the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, and the entire area is – what can I say? – like paradise. Life would be very flat indeed without our Table (no pun intended).

To be continued…

PS. I finally returned the fixed-up stool to my across-the-road neighbour. Seems I had timed it just right because her mom was visiting her at the time, and was overjoyed to see it – she says she remembers her gran sitting on it in the kitchen back in the day. So it belonged to my neighbour’s great grandmother.


Macon, spam and Nazareth House celebrates 130 years

I’ve had intermittent internet access for the last two days, mainly due to ISP changes and related problems. For a brief window yesterday, I was able to read and reply to comments on my blog, then nothing, then I was granted a bit of facebook time, then again nada. No gmail at all. Today was Lights Are On but Nobody Home until about 4pm. Judging from my stress and irritation levels, I’ve clearly become addicted to all things online. It’s taken me over four hours to feel a sense of balance returning.

I met Karen for a late breakfast this morning, in an attempt to take my mind off the above. We decided to try a new place in W——-, which I will not name, nor will I return. It wasn’t that they tried to hide the fact that no cooked part of a pig will be served on the premises (everyone is entitled to their own reasons and religions), the problem for me was that they thought macon would be an acceptable substitute. I first heard of macon from a Muslim colleague a few years ago and, frankly, I thought he was pulling my leg. Macon??? Really??? He himself said it was pretty horrible and that he’d rather stick pins in his eyes than eat the stuff. All I can say is that I have never ever seen anything so revolting on a plate, and that’s saying something because I was once at a very trendy new Asian restaurant in New York (I know, me!) and was served a patty of raw minced tuna submerged under a 5-inch layer of stinky oil. It was so vile that even the intrepid and image-conscious person I was with described it as “intense”. But given a choice between the oily tuna cowpat and the plastic-y sculpted organ-pink slice of macon, I’d pick the fish any day.

And while I’m going on about something already, what is it with all the spam? Sex Dating and Gratis Sex? Five or six comments a day…. sigh. Do real people really and truly click on those links? Trashing them isn’t enough, they just keep coming. I wish I could make them stop.

Finally, let me finish this post on a happy note. I visited Nazareth House in Vredehoek after the macon episode today, and what an amazing experience it was. Built in 1930, the buildings and grounds are superbly maintained, and the view across Cape Town and the harbour would make property developers drool. The staff I met were so so nice and professional and organised, and I cannot wait for the 2-day Fun Fair next week to celebrate their 130 years, and raise some much-needed funds.

Jam Tarts is going to be there with bells on!

To be continued…

Tulbagh Weekend Part III

There was one thing about the weekend in Tulbagh that wasn’t much fun at all – Saturday’s weather.

We woke up before dawn to the sounds of a hurricane ripping through the world outside. Well, at first I thought it was a hurricane because it felt like the house was about to be scooped up and whooshed off, and the wind and rain were like demons unleashed from the depths of hell. (I was a bit scared, okay?!)

The gazebo that Tina had put up in her garden and decorated with turquoise silk, crimson ribbons and silver brooches like an Moroccan wine bar had disappeared completely. The chairs (wrought-iron so quite heavy) had been blown across the garden into the fence. Ceramic bowls and purple cushions lay randomly scattered. The hammock was a rag. The rain belted down and the wind shrieked like a thousand banshees. Tina howled and shook her fists at the sky. The cats and dogs trembled under the bed. I put the kettle on and made coffee. What else, really, was there to do? (It turned out that there was actually something else to do, but it seems that Tina is quite used to cleaning up dog poo and it doesn’t faze her any more.)

Things didn’t look good. I drove into town at 8h30 where I was to set up the Jam Tarts stuff in Church Street, but clearly that wasn’t going to happen. All the other traders had been moved to the church hall round the corner but Tina’s extremely kind sister, Susan, came to my rescue – she runs a shop (the Marmalade Angel) from her house in Church Street, and suggested I use her garage to set up. We both doubted that anyone would even see me, let alone actually walk up the driveway at the side of the house to get to me. But they did!

The Tarts ended up selling loads of things and having a really excellent day. I truly wish it had gone as well for the other traders, but apparently the church hall was pretty empty because people didn’t know about it. The lousy weather also meant that people in Cape Town and surrounding areas who would have driven to Tulbagh for a lovely sunny Festival day no longer wanted to venture out.

By Sunday the bad weather had cleared up. I could finally erect my gazebo. Or not. I had managed to leave behind a crucial piece of the structure, so no gazebo for me. I made do by stringing Anne’s bunting across the bushes and hanging my light fittings and bags from the trees. Blankets and shawls were cleverly arranged along the wall (Rob’s idea). Seems someone managed to get a pic of him doing just that:

One last highlight: a sweet lady from Namibia bought a necklace from me, and also seemed keen to buy a crochet flower brooch. She eventually decided against the brooch but as she was leaving I remembered that we once offered a free brooch to the first 20 purchasers at a Kirstenbosch market, so I ran after her and pinned the one she liked onto her bag. She was so pleased that she made her husband walk up and down Church Street two more times, waving at me as she passed, and the third time he surrendered and hauled out his camera and took a photo of the two of us with the flower! It turns out it was her 60th birthday so, in honour of that, I took a pic of Naomi myself:

It’s funny how there are some things one never forgets, even if they seem relatively inconsequential at the time. I have a feeling I will never forget giving Naomi that flower.

To be continued…

Tulbagh Weekend Part II

…as I was saying, I stayed with Tina for the duration of the Festival.  She lives with two dogs and three cats in a magical cottage at the far far end of a farm a couple of miles out of Tulbagh. I say “magical” because Tina is an artist in every way – her home, her work, her clothes, her sense of style, her gorgeous eccentricity, her personality and perspective on the world. She makes magic, she sees magic in everything – she is magic!

I first knew Tina when I was 19 and she was 22; we were part of a group of friends living in Braamfontein (Johannesburg), young, foolish, risk-taking, trying to get a grip on who we were and how we wanted to live.  (None of us got it right, by the way – it seems to have taken a good twenty-five-plus years for some of us to even get close.) We lost touch, moved cities, married, demarried, developed new careers, grew up a bit – and found each other on facebook a year ago  (gotta love facebook).

Here are some photos I took of Tina’s home.  They convey her sense of the exotic and the baroque far better than I ever could with words.

The bedroom I slept in:

An early self-portrait:

Reflections of fantastical visions:

And a tiger mirror from Paraguay that I covet:

Tina’s house was part of the art exhibition side of the Tulbagh Spring Arts Festival.  Ribbons and signs along the road indicated the way and, once visitors arrived, they could follow the ‘golden nuggets’ through the garden and round to the gazebo for snacks and a wine-tasting.

As we say in South Africa, local is lekker!

To be continued…


Tulbagh Weekend Part 1

There is so much to tell about my weekend in Tulbagh that I won’t do it all in one shot.

There are peacocks everywhere in the town, and they strut around and shriek at each other as if they own it. I was met by these three lads as I arrived.

Tulbagh is a 90-minute drive from Cape Town, in a rich, lush valley surrounded by extraordinary mountains: The Obiqua, the Witsenberg and the Winterhoek. You can see the snow on the top of  some of the peaks – that means it’s still bitterly cold in the early mornings at this time of year.

And so every dog must have his own pair of pyjamas to keep warm. Here are Tina’s dogs, Marduk and Maya the dachshund.

I was lucky enough to be able to stay with my friend Tina for three nights while the Spring Festival was on.  Tina lives in a cottage at the end of a meadow at the end of a very long dirt road at the end of the town… and I will have pics of all that tomorrow.

Just to say for now that I (and Jam Tarts) had a wonderful weekend in a wonderful town, despite some unpleasant weather on the Saturday. I have SO MANY new ideas bouncing around in my head.

To be continued…