Tag Archives: crochet

Napier

It’s a long weekend in South Africa, with today (Monday) being National Women’s Day. I decided to spend it in Napier, a small village two hours from Cape Town, on a personal retreat – just having a break from my usual routine and my senile delinquent cat. I brought my crochet, beads, books, laptop (for podcasts), and a hot water bottle. I’ve stayed at a quirky and ancient little guesthouse called Napier All Sorts. It’s on an enormous erf with a farm at the back (so far I’ve only seen sheep), a vegetable garden from which I’ve been encouraged to pick my own peppadews and spinach, and a craft and coffee shop at the front.

Centenary memorial built June 1938, and also commemorating the Ox Wagon Harvest.

House built in 1912 (not old to many of you, but old enough)

In between the crocheting and reading and, yes, some Netflix, I took myself for a walk on Saturday afternoon. I didn’t go far but it was a beautiful late-winter’s day and I was glad I’d made the effort.

Spring is on the way

The NG Kerk, whose bells (and possibly ideology) dominate this little semi-rural village

I had not felt the need to be particularly sociable but thought I should make an effort to be friendly so spent an hour with Leon on Sunday morning in the shop and then being shown how he makes his pewter chess sets in his workshop downstairs (fascinating!). He himself has interesting stories to tell about his life, but the real shocker was being shown his collection of war memorabilia. I was not prepared for that.

There were medals and documents and uniforms and guns from both sides of the Boer War, the First World War, and the Second. My grandfathers fought in the First World War, one for Britain and one for Germany. They were both conscripted, as far as I know. My paternal grandfather moved to Switzerland in the early 1920s and then left for South Africa in about 1933 because he could see trouble brewing. As a German national, he would have been called back to Germany, this time to fight for Hitler, and he was having none of it.

I’ve been reading a lot about the Second World War, and also my ex-husband is Jewish, so perhaps that is why I nearly fell over with shock at seeing an original Nazi flag pinned to the wall, pictures of Hitler and his cronies, SS uniforms, a lot of swastikas, and a framed document signed by AH himself.

Sunday was also sunny but chilly and the wind was more insistent. I wandered off through some farmland and tried to let the strong breeze blow the cobwebs out of my mind.

Later in the day, tucked up cosily on the couch with a hot water bottle and a stiff Laphroaig (neat, no ice), I considered what a strange life we human beings have led on this little rock revolving round the sun in a single universe beyond which there is a galaxy of inumerable more.

I picked up my crochet hook and carried on with my rainbow jersey.




blankets and bikes

Turns out that waiting for plaster walls to dry out thoroughly is terribly boring. Can’t make progress in bathroom or bedroom until they’re good and ready, so I’ve been painting some wooden furniture in the meantime and am about to embark on the wooden window frames. So, nothing to show you today. EXCEPT for New Blanket, which I begun about five years ago and then somehow abandoned….

new blanket 1

I crochet while I work my way through all four seasons of House of Cards. I’m in love with Kevin Spacey. I always was and I always will be.

Something else that’s been occupying my thoughts while in renovation limbo: a BMW GS 1200.  I’m not going to say any more about it right now, except that it looks like I’m going to need my own helmet…

bike

Franschhoek

Franschhoek is a small town in the winelands of the Western Cape and one of the oldest towns in South Africa (established 1688). 75 kilometres from Cape Town, it takes us just over an hour to drive there.

franschhoek 1 franschhoek 2

and yes, it truly does look just like this !!

We met Elizabeth and Vince in Oudtshoorn who told us about the Franschhoek Village Market, and now we drive out there every Saturday morning to join a very mixed and friendly bunch of traders under the trees, organised by Elzahn and Elsanu, mother and daughter team. There’s lots of fabulous food and wine and craft beer, and some beautiful local handcrafted work.

Some pics, to give you an idea of the prettiness of the setting, and the lovely weather (yes, it’s officially winter here, but we still get a bit of sunshine).

100_2055100_2062100_2058100_2049100_2050100_2048

…me with Elizabeth (Rob in the background), Virginia with her leather bags, Kim with cotton jerseys and ponchos, Kelvin photobombing, and Judy (the curry lady) looking at my beanies.

Franschhoek gets tourists from all over South Africa, and quite a nice bunch from overseas – Americans, Swedes, Poms, Brazilians, French, Germans, and the Far East. With the South African Rand in the crapper, the foreigners are happy to support our economy, and how happy we are to encourage them :-)  I had a very rude Taiwanese woman on Saturday who seemed to think I should give her an 80% or 90% discount, but rudies like her are few and far between. (She didn’t get the discount, by the way, I would rather have stuck my crochet hook in my eye than sell anything I’ve made to her!)

The pillow cases are doing particularly well, and I’m waiting for Gareth to call to let me know I can collect my new screens (elephant and rhino). Pics soon. They’re going to be stunning :-)

In other news, I am busy packing up my flat and moving to a new house, next week – 3 June!  The date is looming and there is much to do. So much, in fact, that I am  unable to think about it. You may recall my expertise in procrastination. I have a PhD in it.

And a shout-out to some people in particular (if you are still reading this blog and haven’t given up on me) – Vardi and Fiona, sending you both multi-coloured hugs, and lovely Lisa who I met at the Somerset West Country Craft Market. xxx

back to business :)

It looks like the most disruptive part of that messy business is behind me, so I’m back home and getting back into a productive work routine.

I’ve found knitting has helped me keep calm, especially since I am really really slow at it….  I’ve been trying out different hat patterns so my knitting ladies have samples to work from.  (I have another one on board now, and I didn’t even have to look for her, she found me!).

knitted hats

I also fitted in a pair of shark slippers for the girlfriend of a customer’s son, who is having a birthday today and is mad about sharks. Her boyfriend is treating her to a shark cage diving expedition… some people are craaaaazzzy.

shark slip 2     shark slip 1

Apparently they were all ecstatic about the slippers, but I have to say I wouldn’t make them again in a hurry. Too fiddly for my liking!!! I like more instant gratification.

I have also been sewing, which is fast becoming my preferred activity right now. I have boxes and boxes of leftover bits of fabric from Suzette (who makes cushions) and decided to make them up into patchwork bags.  I love mixing different colours and textures, but what I love most is making something useful out of someone else’s discards.

patchwork 3   patchwork 1 patchwork 2

They’ll get a lining and a bit of velcro to close but nothing fancy because I’d like to keep the price as low as possible. They’ll be coming to the Rondebosch Market with me on Saturday, so we’ll be keeping our fingers crossed for another sunny winter’s day.

52 hours of train

So, Karen and I did the train thing to Johannesburg and back a couple of weeks ago. It’s 26 hours one way (from Cape Town, remember!) People said, “Are you insane? Why don’t you just hop on a plane?”, but we knew better.  We knew better because we’d made the same trip about 15 years ago, when we had small children and husbands and unpleasant jobs. That trip gave us uninterrupted peace and quiet, and ever since our code phrase for “my children are driving me mad” or “I never want to lay eyes on my husband again” or “what a foul day at work” or “the next person who asks me what’s for supper will get punched in the face”, has been “I wish I was on that _______ train….”

MISCELLANEOUS 2110

So we did it again.

It was fabulous. Even better than the first time.

Karen packed a massive hamper full of good food and coffee, enough to feed the entire train. We had books, music, phones, ipads, and crochet, but mainly we relaxed. Karen spent most of her time relaxing, actually, relaxing and looking out the window and resting and sleeping and dozing and reading and napping. And a small amount of crochet.

After my first big rest, I was happy to get some serious work done. We can’t all have a salaried job, after all!

I made nine hats. I cheated a bit because I didn’t use any patterns, so they went pretty quickly. The one with the five horns is my favourite.

train hat 6 train hat 2 train hat 3 train hat 4 train hat 5

I need to do a proper stock-take tomorrow, my market bags have got all mixed up and I don’t know how many hats are in each one. It could go one of two ways — bad, or very bad.