A Travellerspoint blog

South Africa

CAPE TOWN [and how to avoid World Cup fever]

We left England on the May Bank Holiday weekend, during a gap in the volcanic ash clouds, but in the rain - hoping to find some remnants of the summer sun in Cape Town. But, alas, we had to endure 10 days of torrential rain before we could enjoy the lovely warm, balmy winter days, which Cape Town can be so good at.
Cape Town is rampant with soccer fever with the FIFA World Cup just around the corner. Most cars sport national flags and mirror socks [which may be a South African innovation?!]
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The new stadium at night looks just like an alien spaceship that has gently settled on Greenpoint!
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Home is where the heart is
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Our little nest we had built in the outside bedroom/backroom was full of the carefully stacked boxes of books; but left little space for us to live in.
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We had already decided to rent a bigger storage unit, so that we could move even more of our boxes, to give us more breathing room. So while Jamie's bakkie was available, and he was still in Cape Town, Jamie and David took several carloads of stuff out to the storage unit and spent the day moving the already stored stuff from the old cage into the new garage-style unit. Our previous return home had been marked by several crashes, and true to form, within days the hot water geyser leaked, flooding the tool shed. Soon after that, the swimming pool salinator packed up, needing replacement. Then it was the turn of the electric gate motors to pack up, followed by the telephone, car radiators, and then the final straw, the computer crashed! So many repairs and replacements later, and with much lighter pockets, we have decided to try and figure out how to break this jinx on our returns home!

We were anxious to meet the latest family member, Benjamin Mark Duk. Claire flew down from Grahamstown to help Judith for a week, so it was very good to get to see her as well.
Judes and Mia

Judes and Mia

Claire and Gaby

Claire and Gaby

Rob and Ben

Rob and Ben


Ben had arrived earlier than expected; in fact Jude's water broke while spending the weekend in Hermanus, and they had to rush back for her elective Caesarian section, before the planned date!
With many of us together in the same space again, Granny treated the family to lunch at Constantia Neck restaurant.
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Simon and Ingrid are very busy developing their fledgling publishing businesses. They expressed the need to have a dedicated office instead of conducting their business from the upstairs room of the house, which isn't professionally ideal. So it was agreed that they take over the outside backroom/grannyflat, as a new office, and we would move our bedroom upstairs. This would give us more space, but it does mean tricky trips down the stairs at night to use the bathroom.

We received a formal invitation to Ingrid’s first book launch: The Real Soccer Fields of SA. The author had also given instamatic cameras to a bunch of school children, and asked them to photograph what soccer means in their lives. The results were on display [strung between two ladders] and some of the photos were included in the book.
Photos on display framing some of the soccer players

Photos on display framing some of the soccer players

The panel of invited speakers

The panel of invited speakers


Simon posing next to their official banner

Simon posing next to their official banner

IMG_2395.jpgJamie and Lis

Jamie and Lis


Jamie and Ingrid practising blowing the vuvuselas!
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The launch was well attended, and well organised, and the kids played soccer and wolfed down the snacks!
Impromptu soccer practice with a tennis ball!

Impromptu soccer practice with a tennis ball!

Sandi had to fly to Joburg for the day to attend a Council meeting, but the next day we decided to catch up on some local culture by going wine-tasting for the day. The six of us set off for Klein Constantia and Buitenverwachting estates in Constantia.
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It was a lovely day relaxing with our kidz, and we finished off with lunch at the Brass Bell, being splashed by the breaking waves!

We managed to delay Jamie’s return to Ubuntu, Jefferies Bay, by tempting him with the Sunday night special at the Blowfish; after all, who can resist “all-you-can-eat-sushi” [for £12]?
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Then it was time to bid a sad farewell to Jamie, as he had to head back to take over the running of Ubuntu for the winter surfing season. Elisna stayed behind in CT for another 10 days to show their friends how to manage and run the new African Heart backpacker lodge in Observatory. They worked very hard for several months transforming the Greenhouse, where we had practised for so many years. We were impressed and enchanted with the changes; new en-suite showers and toilets, sunny stoep in the front. Elisna has painted dramatic African graphics on the bedroom walls and her speciality mosaics adorn the mirrors. All-in-all it has a funky, vibey feel, and is a busy place most of the time!
The outside does not look very different apart from the fence

The outside does not look very different apart from the fence

The inside courtyard

The inside courtyard


David's ex-consulting room

David's ex-consulting room

Sandi's ex-consulting room

Sandi's ex-consulting room


Tania's aromatherapy room

Tania's aromatherapy room

What used to be the Schoolroom is now the communal kitchen

What used to be the Schoolroom is now the communal kitchen


One of Lis' beautiful mosaics in the shower room

One of Lis' beautiful mosaics in the shower room

One of Sunet, the manager's, paintings on sale

One of Sunet, the manager's, paintings on sale


A beaded lion head trophy on the wall

A beaded lion head trophy on the wall

We were also introduced to some new eating places in Cape Town: Sidewalk Café in Vredehoek and the Eastern Food Bazaar in the city [a delicious range of Asian foods for R20-R30 a plate = £2.50]. The joys of having cool kids who know the good eating spots! We ended up going back to the Eastern Food Bazaar with our other dear friends, David and Paddy, to sample the yummy food at this quaint venue. David and Paddy

David and Paddy


And of course, no trip home is complete without a few forays to Mainland China, a favourite haunt of ours, which is also much loved by Janet and our young 'uns.

The next week was devoted to preparations for the new office. So with yet more packing and moving, we started a blitz-renovation. Six of us scraping, fixing and painting [Tania came to help] had the place looking spruce in a few days, and they moved into their pristine new office a few days later after new underground telephone line, door intercom and computer network cables were installed. Simon had painted the walls deep purple when he used it as a bedroom, so the walls need several coats of paint to neutralise it, but in the end it was a sparkling white room, with their vibrant orange and blue logo design across one wall. Then a bit of digging to lay flagstones on the lawn [it gets wet in the winter], and Readhill & Mousehand looked great, and was once more open for business! Sandi did a space-clearing before they started up again - just for good measure.

We spent a lovely leisurely Sunday with our dear friends, the Morrises, at their home playing Rummicub and eating divine food. Later we all walked their dogs through the fynbos above Camp’s Bay, watching the clouds swirl around us and the moon rise over the Twelve Apostles.
Sandi, Dalene and Guiness with the Twelve Apostles in the background

Sandi, Dalene and Guiness with the Twelve Apostles in the background

David, Dalene and Ian playing silly monkeys

David, Dalene and Ian playing silly monkeys

David and Ian with Camp's Bay in the background

David and Ian with Camp's Bay in the background

IMG_2482.jpgThe back of Table mountain shrouded in clouds

The back of Table mountain shrouded in clouds

Pretty unnamed fynbos

Pretty unnamed fynbos


Emerging protea bud

Emerging protea bud

Dried-out protea flower

Dried-out protea flower

In our continued search for a place to practise later, we decided to follow a few leads by taking a day to visit the pretty village of Stanford, as well as the Institute for Sustainable Living near Stellenbosch. Unfortunately neither of these places held any potential for us.

While at home, we enjoyed some of the familiar things that makes home, home:
Strelitzias in the garden

Strelitzias in the garden

Ha-di-da's on the Mead

Ha-di-da's on the Mead


Cuddles with Gobbelina in the kitchen

Cuddles with Gobbelina in the kitchen

Giving Daisy milk treats

Giving Daisy milk treats


Simon's game den under the stairs attracts a clutch of moggies!

Simon's game den under the stairs attracts a clutch of moggies!

Amber keeping a wary eye as usual

Amber keeping a wary eye as usual

Addy, our faithful housekeeper, stepping out in her best

Addy, our faithful housekeeper, stepping out in her best

Near the end of our time, we had a special family supper at home with much fun and laughter.
Tania, Sandi's beautiful sister

Tania, Sandi's beautiful sister


We spent a lot of time eating very good food in CT - both at home and elsewhere! Janet and Tash, her daughter, our "heart family" members joined us, and since it was a Friday evening, they blessed us with shabbat prayers before we enjoyed the delicious challah they brought.
IMG_2534.jpgIngrid and her friend, Gillian

Ingrid and her friend, Gillian

Rebecca demonstrating her hair straightening tool

Rebecca demonstrating her hair straightening tool


IMG_2552.jpgTania enters the fray

Tania enters the fray

Janet enjoys her hair curled!

Janet enjoys her hair curled!

Simon and David went to Silvermine nature reserve to walk up to the Elephant’s Eye cave, while Sandi and her partner in jols, Janet, spent their farewell morning in Claremont, sipping a strawberry daiquiri and window shopping.

There are such beautiful views over Cape Town and lovely fynbos; By Gosh we do live in a beautiful part of the world!
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Fynbos ericaceae


IMG_2573.jpgIMG_2575.jpgInside the cave, all the plants were growing on the roof!

Inside the cave, all the plants were growing on the roof!

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The view out across the Cape Flats

The view out across the Cape Flats

Proteas in the wild

Proteas in the wild


Finally on Sunday we shared one last lunch at Olivello with Simon and Ingrid before heading for the airport with heavy hearts. We do so miss our beloved friends and family when we're away.
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We boarded our BA flight back to London thanks to the cabin crew who, for some reason we never enquired about, were not striking! As much as leaving makes us weepy, we were however relieved to make our escape 3 days before the Soccer fest started.

Posted by davidsandi 06:41 Archived in South Africa Comments (0)

DIE VOORKAMERFEES

DARLING

sunny

On Sunday 6th September we attended the Voorkamerfees in Darling with Janet, Paddy and David, Si and Ingi and Shana and Gillian. The festival started a few years ago with support from the Nederlandse Art Council, with the idea of show-casing local and international talent in a unique setting. Each artist or group is hosted by a home in the small country town, and patrons are bussed in local taxis to three of the venues for a half-hour performance in each. We queued up for a taxi to take us to the first voorkamer.
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We were entranced by the famous SA singer Amanda Strydom who sang for us with such passion.
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Then off in the taxi to the next voorkamer in the “Coloured” area of town.
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Here we were regaled by a young Zimbabwean with the story of his flight from a desperate Zimbabwe with his friend Jacob, who he lost to the crocodiles of the Limpopo, and how he struggled in Joburg and eventually became an actor in CT. It was a sad story but told with such passion and humour that one could not help enjoying it. We bought one of his little “wire-and-bead” Jacobs as a memento, and he now sits on the dashboard of our van.
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The third act was a lady from UCT who played beautiful classical guitar.
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While waiting for our last taxi ride we found a lovely patch of arum lilies, and could not resist capturing our friends, the Lilleys, in the Lilly field.
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By now we were simply glowing with culture, so we found ourselves a spot to spread out and enjoy the splendid bring-and-share picnic under the trees, before heading home.
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Posted by davidsandi 04:51 Archived in South Africa Comments (0)

THE HIGHS AND THE LOWS OF OUR CAPE TOWN VISIT

all seasons in one day

Arriving back home was quite eerie; while it was lovely to be home, it was quite interesting to see the house differently arranged, according to Simon and Ingi's [a.k.a. Ping] style, as is the garden. Although they were apprehensive about our opinion of these changes, they had nothing to worry about, as we were happy, and all was good.
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It was strange to come back from a gloriously abundant [florally speaking] UK summer, straight into a wet Cape Town winter. Simon and Ingi, the skatties, planted Sparaxis bulbs to surprise, and Sandi's favourite pansies were in bloom in the front bed to welcome us!
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As it was David’s birthday, the family gathered for tea to welcome us.
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Although Jamie and Lis couldn't be there for this occasion, they arrived in time for Sandi's birthday, so the MamaSan had her brood all around her at last.
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Another cat, Tai Chi, has joined the family, making a total of five furries in situ.
And here she is - practising to be a surfer dudette on Jamie's boards!
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The three "new kids on the block" having din-dins on their own
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but granny Amber won't eat with the rabble!
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Daisy, our other matriarch, refused to be photographed, but we had to sneak in this old shot of her just to complete the furry fam bit.
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The younger ones take great pleasure in chasing the two older ones, which involves much yelling and waving of arms from all of us! Punjab, the pâté prince, decided to start spraying all over the place, as he was probably unsettled too. Simon and Ingi insisted on us having their master bedroom [i.e. our old room] in the house, and moving into the granny flat, which is packed to the rafters with our boxes. Not what we had planned, as we had intended to move into the granny flat, but very kind and thoughtful of the darlings. So there was much to-ing and fro-ing, as we daily retrieved clothes and belongings from each other's rooms! No wonder the cats were confused and both T'ai Chi and Gobbelina perched on high vantage points to watch the crazy antics of their humans.
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The things that were wonderful were:
• Seeing family and friends again
• Looking at the mountain every day
• Winding up the cuckoo clock
• Eating out in CT
• Eating abundant sushi at the Blowfish
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• Drinking cheap, but good Goatshed red
• Seeing a new direction develop for the Greenhouse
• Getting David’s new driver’s licence just in time before we left again
• Comparing one’s freedom with the existence of colleagues
• Meeting two of Jamie's new puppies, Mowgli and Kong
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• Having a lesson with Anton on the lawn in Kundalini yoga
• No deterioration on David’s hearing test
• Celebrating both our birthdays and wedding anniversary at home.

Things which were not so good were:
• Packing up the practice at the Greenhouse, 6 months after we had spent so much time and effort leaving it in good order, and 25 years after we had started it
• Not having enough time to really enjoy CT as we had hoped
• Sandi’s home PC which crashed, had its innards replaced, but never really woke up from its long sleep
• Sandi’s colour laser label printer which jammed, and has not yet recovered, in spite of several visits to the repair shop. Not ideal in the middle of product production time [very stressful as there were lots of bespoke remedies and product orders requiring personal preparation before we left again]
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• Having to share one car between 4 of us after Simon overheated the Carina, and it was out of action for a week
• Sandi dashing off to Johannesburg for two Professional Board meetings, and the politics that always accompany such events
• Finding 2 London congestion charges in the post [£182] along with a lawyer’s letter of demand
• Noticing how the cost of living has increased sharply in SA since February
• Both of us having flu [again!]
• Having to deal with practice taxes etc
• David dropping a concrete slab on his finger, while repairing the driveway.

Gastronomic highlights included many good meals enjoyed in the company of dear friends and family:
• As-much-as-you-can-eat Sushi at the Blowfish
• Shabbat with the Morrises [Sandi had flu and regretted not being up to her usual hungry self to enjoy the feast]
• Lunch at Constantia Neck with Granny Gaby and the family [without Sandi, who still had flu]
• Our favourite Chinese fare at Mainland China
• Shabbat with Janet and Tash
Sandi cuddling Janet's little dog Boebie

Sandi cuddling Janet's little dog Boebie

Simon will drink anything out of a nasturtium leaf!

Simon will drink anything out of a nasturtium leaf!


• Indian supper and pizzas cooked by Simon and Ingi’s friends, in our kitchen
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• Lunch at Fyndraai near Franschoek with Bernard and Jeanne Brom, and a lovely walk through the vineyards of the estate
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Dew drop on a vine stem

Sun setting on the Franschoek mountains

Sun setting on the Franschoek mountains


• Lunch at The Goatshed, Fairview Estate - our fave cheese and wine destination
• Lunch with Madel, our boys' 1st Montessori teacher, and long-time family friend
• Supper with David and Paddy Lilley
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• Mia’s first birthday tea - the youngest Duk/Nye family member
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• Sandi’s birthday dinner at Magica Roma, our home-turf Italian delight
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• Greek supper at Marika’s with Ian and Dalene Morris
• Many gourmet delights prepared by Sandi at home - for birthdays, anniversary, and just to feed the mob
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• Addy, our beloved housekeeper’s, famous samp and beans a.k.a. gnushu
• A celebratory lunch for nephew Greg’s birthday at Tania [Sandi's sister], Rebecca, and Grandpa Jack’s home.
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• We also had a spectacular picnic in Darling, but more about that in the next posting.

What a celebration-filled month!

One crisp and sunny Sunday afternoon Dalene and Ian took us for a walk in the Tygerberg Nature Reserve [its existence hitherto unknown] where we walked among Bontebok, fynbos and had stunning panoramic views of Cape Town, while sipping chilled Veuve Clicquot and eating choc-dipped strawberries. Those Morrises sure are stylish!
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So, all in all, the Nye roller-coaster experiences continued, but we decided to test our philosophical bent and patiently accept that: "It is what it is", and just get on with it. Home is however truly where the heart is!
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Posted by davidsandi 04:48 Archived in South Africa Comments (0)

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