Tag Archives: Western Cape

Spier Craft Art market

Late last year I joined the Craft Art Market at Spier. It’s a permanent set-up on the very exquisite Spier wine farm in Stellenbosch (the “wine route”) and run by Sue Heathcock Projects. There are 32 makers/traders in total, designing and producing an incredible range of handmade items.

Some of my new colleagues are Zimbabwean, so I have learnt how to say Hi, how are you? mhoro, wakadii?“, Thank you “ndatenda“, and Please cover for me, I’m going for a smoke breakndokumbira undivhare, ndiri kuenda kunozorora” in Shona. Okay, the last phrase needs a lot of practice and I have a long way to go. I’m pretty sure that what I come out with is more likely to be along the lines of I’ve just seen a spaceship landing near the railway line or Please help me, there’s a dead frog in my underpants. Whatever it is, everyone just smiles and nods their heads.

These photos really don’t do the place any justice. Part of the estate is wetland, so there are ponds and ducks and reeds; there are also restaurants, wine tastings, gift shops, coffee shops, play areas for children, and masses of huge trees with beautifully maintained lawns and garden-scaping. Naturally, being part of the “hospitality industry”, everyone has taken a huge knock when it comes to the consequences of lockdowns and bans on international travel. But we persevere, and there seems no end to peoples’ creativity and adaptability.

And, in the end, that’s what keeps us all going, isn’t it? It’s a little late but Happy New Year to all of you :)

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.




when a negative is a positive

Results of covid test yesterday = negative. Praise be. Result SMSed at 7.00am today. How efficient is that! (I had it done through a private company, not a government institution). AND also good news, my mother (at 84) has finally been given a time slot for her vaccination this week. Here’s our very own Tannie Evita** showing how things are actually getting done in the Western Cape.

My suburb has been without electricity since 10pm last night, it just came back on at 10.15am. It wasn’t useless old Eskom and loadshedding for a change, just scheduled maintenance by the City Council which, let’s face it, is great and what we pay such high rates for. But not when it runs four hours over schedule and PEOPLE NEED COFFEE. I knew some of my neighbours have gas (they’re campers – weird, I know, I’ll never get that, but it takes all sorts) so I resorted to staggering up and down my road when the sun came up in my fluffy gown and furry slippers, whimpering and bleating pathetically and clutching an empty thermos. Two of them came to the rescue and, once my caffeine levels had been restored, I was able to spend some time making a list of the things I ought to spend my Sunday doing. They may also have thought that my appearance lowered the tone of the neighbourhood, but that’s not my problem.

Now that the electricity is back on, and the sun is shining and the birds are singing, I had another look at the list and tore it up. It included ridiculous things like “continue tidying garage” and “weed garden” and “clean car”. None of those things can be done properly with one hand anyway, so I logged onto Facebook and immediately purchased a vintage wrap-over leopard-print jacket that I am convinced I can’t live without. I’m also going to put my walking shoes on and go for a brisk stroll in the park.

** Tannie Evita Bezuidenhout is South Africa’s Dame Edna (although funnier, in my opinion).