Busy down here

Agulhas is busy. Really busy

I recently heard someone remark the other day that Cape Town seemed quieter than usual over the holiday period this year. I’d noticed that too.
Not here though.

We only arrived in Agulhas yesterday, but wow: it’s busy. Really busy.

Even the internet is overloaded and slow like if you were at a concert or a sports event, or just on Cell C.

I’m sure that I have mentioned on here sometime previously that it’s really difficult for businesses to cope with this once off seasonal demand.
Cape Agulhas is a wonderful place, but you have to want to come here. It’s not somewhere you reach accidentally. It’s not near a big airport or transport hub. It’s not on the road to anywhere else (in fact it’s a good 100km-plus off the road to anywhere else). It’s a trip you have to decide to make. And so the two weeks or so around Christmas is the only time this place sees any major action.

That’s just how I like it, of course: it’s why we spend so much time here. But it does make it very hard work for the tourism-related businesses here to make things work. Fifty weeks of the year, they are just trying to survive on the meagre scraps provided by a trickle of geographically-curious visitors; but then they are expected (and required) to upscale for the annual invasion of the Christmas fortnight. The campsites are full, the towns are buzzing, the queues are… noticeable.

And the local restaurants have invested and really stepped up to the challenge this year: the wine shop now has a wine bar and does picnics, the fish and chip shop – an institution – has built a posh extension and can seat many more people, the Twisted Fork has rebranded as the Crafty Pig (and I even saw customers in there), Seagulls has renovated its downstairs restaurant area, Pot Pouri is now huge and has a double-storey gift shop, and Zuidste Kaap has done absolutely nothing, because that’s just how they roll.
With the investment comes a degree of risk, of course: the fish and chip shop was packed today, but on a drizzly Tuesday next July – probably not so much. But I’m sure that the owners and manager of these businesses have taken all this into account when making their decisions. And I’m delighted to say that they were all happily making hay yesterday.

I need to go to bed now, to mentally prepare myself for the very real possibility that that there might be someone on my beach tomorrow.

I haven’t dared to warn the beagle. But then it wouldn’t understand anyway.

A break from the blog

It’s been a busy year on the blog.
Just how busy? Well, you’ll have to wait until the 31st for that post.

At this of year, people are out of routine, and in my experience, that also includes blog reading routine. Visitor numbers always tumble during the Christmas and New Year period. And fair enough – too much of a good thing and all that.

So I’m going to give myself a little break as well. But if you are a regular reader who is still a regular reader: don’t panic. I’ve pre-written a few posts to ensure that you don’t go unsated. This one, for example, was written on Christmas Eve (remember all that time ago?) and (if you’re reading this) has been published by the magical WordPress elves.

As ever, my disclaimer for these sorts of chapters applies: if there was/has been some huge disaster, war or terrorist incident in the intervening period, please don’t hold it against me for blogging about something completely inane – I really wasn’t to know.

I’ll be back when all my pre-written posts have been exhausted, and if you haven’t read this (and if the world is still here), you may never even notice the difference.

Ex Mass

I say this every year now, but it counts every year.

I’m not a religious person. From that point of view, Christmas means nothing to me. But as a time to wind down after a hard year at work, as a time to spend time with loved ones, as a time to reward my kids for their hard work and effort this year… well, suddenly it’s everything.

Whether you are celebrating for religious reasons, for personal reasons or even if you’re not celebrating at all, have a wonderful day today.