PS: walk a three day guided hike from 20 December on our Green Mountain Trail, experiencing fynbos, passionate guides, country food, Paardenkloof, Paul Cluver and Beaumont Wines. Book here

Good Morning

Palimpsest is a (hard to say) word that I have learnt from art reviews. It is commonly defined as “a manuscript in which later writing has been superimposed on earlier (effaced) writing. In other words, a palimpsest is a multi-layered record.”

The works of William Kentridge are filled with palimpsests. A few weeks back I drove to Rome while visiting Chianti. The main purpose being to visit Simonetta Palazio, who restored, now our, Casa di Simonetta. Of course, while there, I took a walk to the Tiber River to revisit William Kentridge’s TRIUMPHS AND LAMENTS (2016). Perhaps I confused the bridges, but the work was nowhere to be seen. The city grime and moss have possibly once again overlayed this 500m space. Through kentridge.studio you can relive this exciting project. Kentridge says “This was done in the knowledge that over a few years the images would fade away. The wall would darken again, through natural ageing, pollutants, graffiti; leaving a ghost of an image and a fading memory.”

I had dinner that night with Flavia Ricci at La Cisterna in Trastevere. What a joy to be in the company of a a born and bred Roman, in Rome. Flavia high schooled in Trastevere, just around the corner from the spot she chose for dinner. Seeking hiking trails South Africa, she walked the Green Mountain Trail in 2019 and has stayed in touch. Flavia had their signature Carbonara, me the Papardella zucchini flowers. It was undoubtedly the best pasta I have ever eaten.

Wildekrans Country House is in itself a palimpsest, having been layered by a multitude of owners since its first in 1811. Our projects only reflect the layers of the last twenty two, of more than two hundred years. Too many projects to list, but the first that come to mind are reusing, my mother, Roma’s rose supports on the front elevation to support wisteria (pictured), taking out the old pear orchard but leaving six behind, adding a sculpture to the garden in most years, this year repainting the shutters in their rich historical black green.

Having myself mastered in project management, finding the straightest line between A and B used to be my thing. Not so, when your life partner is an architect of the old school, carefully considering what went before, before installing new overlays. Living with Barry and art has balanced my inexhaustible search for efficiency. In the words of artist Wendimagen Belete “art can liberate new ways of seeing”.

In 2015 Site_Specific, a group of artists dedicated to land and nature art in South Africa, left this work (pictured above) as a gift, after a week of art making here. The image is of us five Green girls photographed in 1963, and used in 2007, to label  a Wildekrans Cap Classique. This, in celebration of our family’s consolidation to Houw Hoek, through my father selling Keerweer Farm, home to Wildekrans Wines.

There are a multitude of reasons for you to immerse yourself in the layers that make Wildekrans Country House what it is. Use our space this holiday to inspire fresh perspectives on your 2022, and to find the nostalgia in you. Have a close to nature holiday walking in the Biosphere and eating straight from the veggie garden. The 19th Century farmhouse has an urban sensibility while syncing with it’s history. Our address book for a great few days here includes Liberty Books (read), Compagniesdrift (eat and wine taste), Kogelberg Biosphere (walk in the fynbos), Wildekrans Country House (cook and live with art), De Rust Estate (eat and cider/wine taste). We have “Boris Johnson” special rates for the days of business we have lost in the latest shutdown. Book here

Times feel so very difficult. I am trying my best to believe The Hollies’ all I need is the air that I breathe. More compelling is the Moody Blues’ I’m looking for a miracle in my life. Instead, I am banking on Ilan Shamir’s ‘Advice from a Tree’

Feel the wind and the sun
And delight in their presence
Look up at the moon that shines down upon you
And the mystery of the stars at night.
Seek nourishment from the good things in life
Simple pleasures
Earth, fresh air, light

With love,