PS: Jill Trappler will be teaching at Wildekrans Country House through the weekend of the 4th, 5th and 6th of February. This art workshop will focus on Exploring Touch. Book here for one of the eight spaces.

Good Morning

The Michaelis School of Fine Art 2021 Grad Show has now closed. You can view the art works of the fifty two graduates online, a privilege to visit and a privilege to revisit here at home. I love wandering the halls of Hiddingh Campus before Christmas. It’s the closest I’ll ever get to being an art student. This year was a little different with a more compact showing, intensely curated in one corner of the campus.

My take away is a strong sense of searches for identity and hope, and cries to take better care of our world. Peeking into the heads of these mostly twenty-something creatives, is an immersion into contemporary thought. In the words of graduate Ruby Wheeldon “..I can learn that my current perception of what the future will be is in fact not set in stone, and that there are multiple ways of creating a far more hopeful future”. I am still puzzling over Ariel Taverner’s Purposeful Prettiness. Daniel Tucker’s From What Remains, stopped me in my tracks. A body of work “of ecological concern – specifically the relationships between people, industry, and the environment. .. a critique of industrial scale agriculture and irrigation in the Overberg region”. Daniel’s catalogue includes Sophie Cope’s compelling Hope in the Aftermath. Central Tableau is pictured above. I do hope Daniel Tucker’s From What Remains will be shown again somewhere.

When I find myself waiting to see a doctor (happens) or lawyer (seldom happens), my mind ponders on why in career counselling,  no one advises that these two professions wait for nobody, one always waits for them. Living at Wildekrans Country House (the medical rooms and home of Dr Taylor in my childhood days), brings many delights right to our door. Last week we were visited by a Max and Tania. After some chats we discovered that Max is the son of artist Leigh Voigt (Lulu phezulu). And that Max’s father is Harold Voigt, the oil painter of many extraordinary still lifes. Harold can be seen here below resting under our Melaleuca tree in 2015. Max is an architect living in Cape Town while working “in” San Francisco. He lent me a beautiful book on his father’s work. It refers to a quote his Dad found truth in, by Churchill: “that we start by shaping our dwellings and afterwards our dwellings shape us”. Beware the dwelling you choose and shape.

On the Day of Reconciliation, we learnt about Tabula Rasa and the Groenlandberg wines of Oak Valley. Christopher Rawbone Viljoen spoke passionately about their family’s care of the lands of this diverse farm backed up against the Groenlandberg mountains. Tabula Rasa means a clean slate, an approach without preconceived ideas. Our Green Mountain Trail walkers are privileged to walk through this farm that focuses intensely on Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. We tasted the Tabula Rasa CY548 2017 and CY95 2017, strikingly delicious and different. These are the two single clone, single vineyard, components of the Groenlandberg Chardonnay. Similarly the Pinot Noir 777 and 115, make up the Groenlandberg Pinot Noir. We tasted the 2018. All of this in the great company of Christopher and his mother, Madeleine, together with the Melting Pot’s Thai Steamed Fish, Five Spice Roast Duck Breast and Coconut Panna Cotta. Treat yourself to this farm’s food and wine tasting experience pool side. We have one or two last minute spaces available on our 10 January 2022 Green Mountain Trail. Book here.

Yesterday I took this pic of the anticipated 2022 pear harvest on our neighbour Dave’s farm. Dave Evans turned eighty this weekend, Paul Cluver turned eighty two weeks ago, Niekie Rust turns eighty in January. Treasured friendships with these three farmers, all born into the time when America joined the Second World War.

In a last of 2021 yoga at sunrise, our reading was the late American writer and artist Agnes M Pharo’s, What is Christmas?

It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future.

It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace.

With love,

PPS: Mark Steyn’s (2011) comment amused me. The Agnes M. Pharo? A writer of such eminence that even the otherwise open-to-all-comers Wikipedia has no entry for her.

PPPS: You can read Renee Rust (wife of Niekie)’s beautiful account of her month and a half at Casa di Simonetta here.