Saturday, May 30, 2009
Friday, May 29, 2009
I've a weekend ahead of me full of family, birthdays and friends. The whole of Monday I'm spending, work-related, at the famous (of Rivonia Trial fame that is) Lilliesleaf in Rivonia. The week thereafter I'm off to Cape Town for the book fair...and to get another perspective on everything. And I mean everything.
Right now though I'm reeling and grappling at the Seattle in Clearwater. There's a helluva lot of people here, more than I've seen in months. All of this while an icy cold front heads this way. It should hit Johannebsurg by tomorrow afternoon with the temperature expected to drop below zero - for a change. I'm enjoying the drama...I think.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
It's an extraordinary Sunday evening and my heart's had a warming. Not to mention the pub's 80's music...
So what's special about Sabie? It's not hard to put your finger on it: it's the only place that I've thus far travelled to in the world where the air is always pungently pine-scented, and hazy with firesmoke, atmosphericly surrounded by mostly forest-covered mountains. This is a quaint forest town built on wood and always has a sense of being filled with foresters and their houses. The fresh pine-scented air immediately launches you into a high, it feels otherworldy and harkens to a both a pace and way of life long fogotten by the majority of the South African population. If that's not enough, you're likely to go weak at the knees because of its beauty, also the fact that it's vegetation is all lushly exuberant and exotic because everything flourishes in the Lowveld clime. And the folk here are strangely black-eyed beautiful as if they were born from coal. My best is the fact that this is a town, because of the altitude, of perpetually flaming, roaring hearths and pine wood smoke.
Graskop, Hazyview, Nelspruit, Pilgrims Rest, the caves and countless waterfalls, forests and God's Window are all within a 50km radius. just beyond that is the Kruger National Park and Mozambique.
Monday, May 04, 2009
Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.
Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune,
Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing,
Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms,
Strong and content I travel the open road.
The earth, that is sufficient,
I do not want the constellations any nearer,
I know they are very well where they are,
I know they suffice for those who belong to them.
(Still here I carry my old delicious burdens,
I carry them, men and women, I carry them with me wherever I go,
I swear it is impossible for me to get rid of them,
I am fill'd with them, and I will fill them in return.)
You road I enter upon and look around, I believe you are not all that is here,
I believe that much unseen is also here.
Here the profound lesson of reception, nor preference nor denial,
The black with his woolly head, the felon, the diseas'd, the illiterate person, are not denied;
The birth, the hasting after the physician, the beggar's tramp, the drunkard's stagger, the laughing party of mechanics,
The escaped youth, the rich person's carriage, the fop, the eloping couple,
The early market-man, the hearse, the moving of furniture into the town, the return back from the town,
They pass, I also pass, any thing passes, none can be interdicted,
None but are accepted, none but shall be dear to me.
Sunday, May 03, 2009
Beyond all our expectations Louis and I've had a fantastic weekend in a special and friendly, but off the beaten track part of the country.
Breakfast at Marico Memoir's Bistro and our visit to Groot Marico was rounded off with a most unexpected tour through the Herman Charles Bosman Living Museum.
Ancient, gentle and soft-spoken Oom Jan Lemmer, who could so easily have crept from between the pages of a Bosman book, led us through the open air museum. That's where the farm-school where Bosman taught has been faithfully recreated brick-by-original-brick by the Herman Charles Bosman Literary Society after it fell into ruin at Heimweeberg. I'm experiencing experiencing incredible pangs of 'heimwee' right now...and on a number of levels.
Jen (see pic) tells us that she left Johannesburg about nine years ago where she was running three security companies! "The rats won," she says, before deciding this far and no further before heading out here with her young son, whom she has - wow - home schooled.
Breafast 'Benedict', which included plunger coffee, was two poached eggs and bacon on scones drowning in sumptious Hollandaise sauce (R45).
Sigh. It's almost time to begin the five hour journey back home, all along the N4. I will be back...the Groot Marico district has messed with my emotions and tugged on my sentimentality.
Marico Memoir's Bistro, Groot Marico: 014 503 0926 or email@example.com
Friday, May 01, 2009
Also well worth a visit is the Marico Bosveld Dam and Bird Reserve, where Louis and I toasted the setting sun and loved a handsome ridgeback and a cutesy jack russel.
Now, as I sink into a bath I can hear rain slapping the thatch, quite unusual for this time of the year. We're staying in a guest house on the farm Kleinplasie, which can accommodate 10. We're here all alone, absolutely and pleasantly amazed that it's only costing us R130 each per night. What extraordinarily good value for an exceptional venue. I smell of fire smoke and 'braaied' meat.
that is so heavy with atmosphere,
so strangely and darkly impregnated with
that stuff of life
that bears the authentic stamp of South Africa.
- Herman Charles Bosman 'Marico Revisited', one of South Africa's best known shortstory writers, who wrote many wonderful stories about the Marico and its people.
Groot Marico is past Rustenberg, the other side of Swartruggens and on the N4 to Zeerust, then Botswana and Namibia.