Good Morning

When both we, and the abundant bird life, have stripped our fig trees, we know that the seasons are a changing. It all happens at once here, ripe figs, brinjals and tomatoes. Fortunately the almonds, also harvested this week, can be treasured until the next 2023 harvest. We do our best to hoard marinated brinjals, tomato passata, and fig jam, for the year ahead. Despite our handy “catty” (catapult from a Villiersdorp street vendor) and cup of acorns, we seem incapable of scaring the birds away.

Anticipating the cooler evenings that autumn brings, I took a trip to our local butcher on Saturday morning seeking beef shin for this week’s group of mostly Jozi gals. This group of friends walked the Green Mountain Trail last year, and have returned to walk the Blue Mountain Trail.

Chef and chief housekeeper, Annie Olckers, makes  Ossobucco Bianco from The River Café Blue. The Sauvignon Blanc and anchovies (instead of tomatoes) give it a different taste altogether. Annie has kindly saved us from a feline war by taking home Basil and Sage, who you met a few weeks ago. Our firmly entrenched Kitsy was having nothing of this cute little twosome moving in and she has, I am afraid to say, gotten her way. While we are very sad, Kitsy, Annie and Annie’s eighty eight year old Mum are all delighted.

Our Green and Blue Mountain Trails are now open for the 2022/3 season. Come August, we are expecting magnificent post fire fynbos. Book here

The changing seasons seem to also bring the Grey Heron to our side of Houw Hoek more. This Sunday morning we were circled by a pair which brought great happiness as the solitariness of this bird can be saddening. The Grey Heron has for us always been a symbol of my father’s passing, four years back. Sightings bring joyful memories. According to the data of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), 2019, the global population of Grey Heron stands at 500,000-2,500,000 mature individuals.

Pausing enables a learning of the multitude of connections that surround us. Last week one hiker, Michael Eddles, took a close look at my father’s 1945 Rugby Senior A, Rondebosch School photograph and pointed out his father-in-law, JPG Du Plessis, the stepdad of his special wife, Colleen. When checking the guest house register a couple of years back, I discovered that the Johannesburgers overnighting, were at that time living in our X- 127 2nd Ave Melville home. The mystery of coincidence is surely that, on that occasion, you allowed the time for discovery. It begs the question of how much we might just miss when rushing about.

We will be heading to Langebaan Beach Cottage for our Easter weekend. It’s the simplicity of the cottage and the refuge it provides against the afternoon winds (making Langebaan internationally famous for kite surfing) that we love. What is also exciting, is that I know we have a large jar of Marmite in the grocery cupboard. If you too have forgotten the taste due to post lockdown shortages, the Guardian calls it a “yeasty, salty, soy sauce-esque flavor with the consistency of old engine oil”.

Book here for your own west coast weekend.

Sending love for a special, whatever your particular, holiday time, contemplating and allowing time to take in your surrounds.

Husain and Hasan Essop’s Facing Qiblah 2009 is a favourite quietening image. This work was shown at a Goodman Gallery show entitled HALAAL ART, in 2010. It is a dream of mine to own one of the edition of eight but in the meantime the image included in the invitation (15 by 21 cm) suffices, hanging in my workspace.

May love and chocolate abound,

PS: Have you tasted the Ou Meul Hot Cross buns? Game changers.

PPS: I am super well kitted for a beach weekend as artist Patsy Groll has gifted me a BUTTONWEAR swim hoodie.  I suspect people wear them all over Cape Town, post their cold water therapy swims.

PPPS: If you perhaps know the location of an original Facing Qiblah, please let me know, I would love to see the work in reality.