4

Catching Up With The Family

On Friday after enjoying a delicious breakfast at our favourite coffee shop, The Earl said, “I feel like going off somewhere for the weekend.”

“Where do you want to go?” I asked.  It was cold and I didn’t relish a caravan excursion.

“To the kids in Plettenberg Bay!” came his reply.  Well – why not!  It’s a whole six weeks since we saw them last.  And the novelty of having them only five hours away hasn’t yet worn off!

So we rushed home, phoned our son-in-law, packed a bag and hit the road at 10:30 am!

The drive from Struisbaai to Plett is an easy one.   There is very little traffic and the roads are in good condition.  But when we passed through George there was a congestion.  What could be wrong?  The Earl began to get anxious as the traffic police were not handling the situation very well. The road was blocked and the two officers didn’t seem to know what to do.  They were letting a few cars through and only when we got close to them were we told that if we were going further than Victoria Bay we wouldn’t be able to get through. A truck had lost it’s load of beer on the pass.   Sooo we had to turn around and take the narrow, windy Seven Passes Road.   At one point there was a single lane bridge to cross and this caused a huge congestion.  It took us two extra hours to get to our kids.   But such is life and it was all part of the adventure.  Imagine if we’d been in a hurry!   We still made it to Jubilee Farm by just after five pm.

Lauren was teaching when we called our son-in-law so she and Simon only found out we were coming at the end of the school day.  Allan cooked us a delicious lamb curry and had a fire going.   It was, to say the least, a happy reunion.

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A warming curry for supper

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Grandpa and Si in front of the fire – Gramps has the extra warmth of Roger  round his neck

Saturday was a much warmer day.  The sun shone, the sky was blue and there was not a breath of wind.  I was delighted to find that yellow-billed ducks now visit the pond in front of the house.

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This duck called out his joy with gleeful quacks

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Cheddar the cat likes hunting in the long grass and reeds next to the dam

We took the family to town for lunch.  The Table is a lovely Italian restaurant with seating outdoors.

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The Dolphin Statue in Plettenberg Bay

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Lauren and Allan at The Table

Lauren and Allan had delicious pizza, The Earl and I chicken and avo salad and Simon a Blue cheese salad.  Desserts were Creme Brulet and Fruit on sticks dipped in dark Belgium Chocolate.  Yum!

Our granddaughter, Shannon, who attends Glenwood House in George, was not home for the weekend as she had choir rehearsal all Friday afternoon and Saturday morning.  So on Sunday we had a leisurely late breakfast  and enjoyed the morning with the family before setting off to George. Shan was with family friends for the day and we visited her there before taking her back to school.   It was lovely catching up with her and The Bakers.   It was also lovely to see Shan’s school and to meet her roommate.  I am so proud of my well-adjusted granddaughter.   It wasn’t easy leaving her much loved St John’s in Pietermaritzburg at the end of last term.  But after only five weeks she is fitting in so well at Glenwood.  You go Shan, Girl!

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Shan and her roommate, Onika

After dropping Shan we went to Great Brak to see more family – Diane and Carey who live on a small holding in the mountains called Rondomooi.  For my overseas readers Rondomooi means All Around Beautiful.

And all around where they live is truly beautiful!

Carey has a workshop on the property where he builds Motor Homes.  They also grow veggies and keep chickens.  Diane is going to start an orchid nursery.

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Eggs from the Free-Range Hens

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Diane collecting eggs

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Kitty keeping an eye on things

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Lettuce growing like trees!

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Carey showing me the garden

We spent a lovely evening and morning with Carey and Diane and at 11 this morning headed back to Struisbaai.  We stopped in Swellendam to refuel with diesel and coffee!

It was a lovely sunny day and we even stopped to snap this lovely rock kestrel

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What a lovely little get-away that was.  When you retire you can do these spur of the moment things!  How lucky we are!

2

The Overberg and surrounds – Tourists in our own backyard

There is nothing like having visitors to prompt you into visiting places that are all too familiar but still exciting to explore.

Now that we are residing in the picturesque, fishing village of Struisbaai at the tip of Africa and a three hour drive from our former home, Cape Town, we welcome having friends to stay.   Last week Tony and Sharon were our guests for a midweek break and what fun we had.

The weather was not perfect but at least the rain held off and it was not too cold.   On Wednesday set off to visit Elim 36 km away.   Of course we birded on the way there and back!

Blue Crane

Blue Crane

Red-billed teal

Red-billed teal

Elim was established in 1824 by German missionaries as a Moravian mission station.  The grew vines in the viticulture suitable terrain so as to produce their own wine for communion. The he missionaries taught the villagers a variety of trades and skills. Thatching was a skill they mastered and to this day Elim thatchers are recruited to from all over the world.

The village is picturesque and has changed little over the years. The thatched whitewashed cottages are typical fo their homes. All the roads in the village lead to the thatch roofed church. The community, still mainly Moravian, consists of farmers, artisans and farmers.

Elim is becoming known for the export of fynbos, and as an emerging area in the production of wine.

We visited the museum which has some fascinating exhibits.

Implements from a bygone age

Implements from a bygone age

The waterwheel

The waterwheel

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We loved this cart with a licence plate!

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Typical kitchen from long ago

Sharon showing how lowly she can be

Sharon showing how lowly she can be

On Thursday, after a delicious “Early” breakfast we set off for the historic town of Swellendam wich was declared a magisterial district in 1743.   It was the fourth oldest in South Africa, and was named after Governor Hendrik Swellengrebel who was the first South African born Governor, and his wife, Helena Ten Damme. This outlying settlement was the gateway to the interior, and was visited by many famous explorers and travellers including Francois Le Vaillant a noted ornithologist (1781).

A village was established beyond the Drostdy, where artisans including numerous wainwrights, blacksmiths, coopers and traders settled. Swellendam was the last outpost of Dutch civilisation on the eastern frontier and thus the services of the residents of the town were of utmost importance.

Our first stop after a scenic drive from Struisbaai was The Old Mill Restaurant.  We wanted to sit in the garden but it had rained and the seats were wet so we settled for an indoor table and ordered coffee and milk tart.  Inside the menu we found a touching trip report written by one of the staff. They had all been taken to The Kruger National Park and surrounds to do a training course. What an amazing experience they had flying for the first time, seeing fascinating wildlife and exploring a part of our land that they’d only dreamed of. And what a lot they learned about their trade too.   The piece was written with such warmth and appreciation of every aspect of the experience.   It’s worth going to this restaurant just to read it!

Earl and Sharon next to the lovely fireplace

Earl and Sharon next to the lovely fireplace

Feeling refreshed we went to the Drosdy Museum and really enjoyed all the exhibits and re-informed ourselves of our South African history.

Sharon emerging from the Cooper's cottage

Sharon emerging from the Cooper’s cottage

Sharon thinks I should crochet a spread like this!

Sharon thinks I should crochet a spread like this!

Tony and Sharon in the court room of the original drosdy

Tony and Sharon in the court room of the original landrost

Earl wants this for his hearse

Earl wants this for his hearse

He says I can have this one

He says I can have this one

A very old Singer Sewing Machine

A very old Singer Sewing Machine

At 'The Whipping Post' restaurant (It was the old gaol) we found this stunning patio furniture which I fancy having here in Struisbaai!

At ‘The Whipping Post’ restaurant (It was the old gaol) we found this stunning patio furniture which I fancy having here in Struisbaai!

We spent a good few hours exploring Swellendam and I can recommend it as a destination especially if you have an interest in things historical.  There is also a pottey you could visit and we popped into an art gallery too.  The exhibits were interesting and if I could choose I would have take this.IMG_8776

The weather was cooling down quite rapidly by the time we left and made our way to The Bontebok National Park.  There was not too much to see but we were thrilled that we saw its star performers plus a few other creatures.

Star of the show

Star of the show

And some of his friends

And some of his friends

The flora is stunning

The flora is stunning

Southern Black Korhaan

Southern Black Korhaan

Back in Struisbaai we popped into the harbour and took a photograph of the stingrays cruising beneath the surface.

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Such a beautiful harbour

Such a beautiful harbour

On Friday Sharon and I made the most of the most glorious morning and walked to Agulhas.

View on our walk

View on our walk

The men met just over an hour later and we did the compulsory standing on the southern tip thing, took a scenic drive to Suiderstrand and then had breakfast at Potpourri.

Our Southernmost Friends

Our Southernmost Friends

Me with the Agulhas rocks in the background

Me with the Agulhas rocks in the background

It was a lovely end to to a brilliant visit with our friends.

0

Struisbaai Holiday Day 8 Die Vet Viets Vriende depart

Before I launch into today’s news – some more pictures from last night.

Three delicious Weber Chickens for supper

Three delicious Weber Chickens for supper

My name is Cloete - Riaan Cloete - our 007 doing a good job of the washing up

My name is Cloete – Riaan Cloete – our 007 doing a good job of the washing up

Nico doing a creative job of the drying up.

Nico doing a creative job of the drying up.

It was a late night again last night and for some reason my back was giving me trouble – I badly need my back guru but he is 250km away!   I might have to resort to a local chiropractor or physio-therapist if it doesn’t improve.

The Fabulous Fat Fiets Friends were up before us and started preparing for the final ride to Bredasdorp and as far as they could get toward Swellendam as Francois’ dad would come with a trailer to collect them at 12 noon.   It was surprising cool this morning with thick cloud cover and a chill breeze blowing – lovely conditions for cycling but not good for fishing so Earl’s plans in that regard were cancelled.

The kids made coffee and had rusks and seed loaf for breakfast

Having a quick breakfast before the final cycle

Having a quick breakfast before the final cycle

It was still cool when the kids headed off but the cloud cover was almost gone and it looked like the day would warm up.

And off they go

And off they go

Farewell Amazing Amiable Awesome Adventurers

Farewell Amazing Amiable Awesome Adventurers

We felt quite flat once our new young friends and cycled off in the distance.   The house was eerily quiet and so I turned the Christmas C.D. up loud.  Earl gave me a quick back massage and I then took a long hot bath.  He went off to do some chores and at 9:30 I went for a leg wax.

On my return I wanted to tidy the house and asked Earl to check the vacuum cleaner which hasn’t been used for centuries.  It was ‘stukkend’ and even my Maguiver husband could not fix it.  So we dashed off to Bredasdorp to purchase a new one – a necessary appliance, I think, if you are going to spend more than a weekend at the house.  We found just the right thing in 10 minutes flat. When we got back into the car Earl said, I just want to drive down the road a bit to see how far the kids have got.   He did some calculations and guessed that they would be about 15km from Bredasdorp toward Swellendam.   “They would have had breakfast at the Wimpy and then hit the road,” he said.  And he was right – we found them loading their bikes onto Francois’ dad’s trailer.  It was great to meet Mnr Potgieter.   “I bet you’re glad to be rid of them,” he joked.  “Now they’re my problem!”

The kids had been most relieved to meet Papa before they had a steep hill to climb and the temperature had risen to 32ºC.

Last Goodbye

Last Goodbye

Marianda, Kathrin, Riaan, Time, Nico, Francois

Marianda, Kathrin, Riaan, Tim, Nico, Francois

Cheers Guys and a bright, happy and adventurous future to you all

Cheers Guys and a bright, happy and adventurous future to you all

To all reading this blog – Nico in addition to being a brand new Architect is also a member of a band called Streets of December – Look out for his CD.  Good luck in your musical career too, Nico.

We waved our friends goodbye then headed back to Struisbaai. We stopped, of course, to snap at least one bird.

Juvenile Jackal Buzzard

Juvenile Jackal Buzzard

Because of my back pain and lack of sleep the past two nights I decided to have what my aunt calls a Nana Nap” and didn’t wake up until 6 pm!  Earl put the new vacuum together and cleaned the house then cooked mielies which we had with left over chicken for supper!

Tomorrow the family arrive – so more fun and games to follow in the next few days!