03.05.2010 - 06.06.2010
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?!]
The new stadium at night looks just like an alien spaceship that has gently settled on Greenpoint!
Home is where the heart is
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.
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.
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.
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.
Jamie and Ingrid practising blowing the vuvuselas!
The launch was well attended, and well organised, and the kids played soccer and wolfed down the snacks!
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.
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]?
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!
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.
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.
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:
Near the end of our time, we had a special family supper at home with much fun and laughter.
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.
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!
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.
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.