A family divided…

…by choice.

It’s been ages since we’ve been down to Agulhas, and the cottage probably needs a good clean and check-up, and certainly deserves some more electricity. But this weekend looks very cold and wet, and Mrs 6000 likes warm and dry, so she will be staying home with the Boy Wonder and I will be taking our daughter down to the stormy seaside for a couple of days.

The beagle will be bedding down, sloth-like, here in Cape Town.

The first thing to be packed in the car was a big bag of fresh firewood, and burning that is something that I’m very much looking forward to. The second thing to be packed was a couple of bottles of decent red wine, and drinking that is also something that I’m very much looking forward to.
As is dodging between the showers and getting some South Atlantic sea air and exercise on the beach.

The drive down might be less pleasant, but it’s a means to an end, and the end will hopefully be quite fun.

More from there tomorrow.

RELEASE THE KRAK… er… oranges.

Great news via Fin24 that the EU restrictions imposed on South African citrus exports last month have seemingly been overcome – at least temporarily. This means that most of the containers stuck at ports in the EU have now been released.

As I was informed by an insider from the local citrus business, this new legislation was simply put in place to protect give an unfair advantage to EU (Spanish) citrus farmers, anyway. And the SA citrus business is a kinda big deal, so it’s great that things have moved on from this wholly unnecessary impoundment.

Excellent, then. But this post still wouldn’t be happening were it not for one line in the press release from the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, who have, by all accounts, done a surprisingly spectacular job of negotiating this deal. And having achieved that, spokesperson Reggie Ncgobo then dropped this absolute belter of an adjective into his statement:

Sure, he could have gone with “productive”, “constructive”, “useful”, “beneficial”, “rewarding” or “worthwhile”, ALL OF WHICH WOULD HAVE WORKED JUST FINE but no. He’s not messed around with anything so disconnected from the subject of the consultation, and he’s hit us all with “fruitful” when describing their meeting. It’s funny, because the meeting was about fruit.

Boom! Mic drop!

Not since the Department of Basic Education told us that putting new equipment into school yards was more difficult than many people realised and “wasn’t child’s play” has there been such a witty, on-the-ball Government spokesperson. And that even includes Sputnik Ratau (crazy name, crazy guy).

Well done, Reggie.

Ladismith and the R62

A quick post with some recommendations based on what we did and where we stayed on our 30 hour overnighter into the Klein Karoo.

Stay: Mymering Guest & Wine Farm
A chilled, tranquil, beautiful place with friendly people, homegrown wine readily available and some lovely chalets. Nice hiking on the doorstep, nature everywhere, and some stunning night skies.

Eat & Drink: Gypsy’s Gin Bar
More of an experience than a drink and meal. Masood (from Liverpool) and Letitia (Cape Town) settled in Ladismith after wandering the globe together. They’ve created a weird and wonderful place in “a town that doesn’t like change”. Over 150 different gins to try, and then Masood’s home cooked curries to enjoy. It felt like a meal at a friends’ house more than at a restaurant. An amazing place.

Eat & Drink: Diesel and Crème
American themed diner (and motel) in Barrydale that does the best milkshakes and burgers around. Instagram heaven (I resisted) with all the vintage signs, stained glass and roadhouse-themed décor. Part of a touristy strip on the edge of Barrydale, which also features some pretty tacky places peddling overpriced Africana to the buses passing through.

Go: We had business in Buffelsdrift (not a euphemism), and so literally took a Sho’t Left off the R62 about 20km before Ladismith. There’s nothing actually to do here, but there is the Buffelsdrift Conservancy:

Buffelsdrift Conservancy is a 1,600 hectare privately-owned cluster of properties, guided by a land use policy intended to preserve the indigenous flora and fauna of the area. The conservancy has invested in small herds of hartebeeste and zebras and hopes to introduce other species in the future.

It’s a beautiful place to drive through: we saw kingfishers, herons, Namaqua doves, weavers, sunbirds, bishops, baboons, ostriches, mousebirds, springbok and a booted eagle, and we weren’t even trying.

Do: Platform 62 Market
The second biggest thing in sleepy Ashton, after their new, unfeasibly large bridge.
Lots of art, local produce, LOADS of wine. Gin and brandy tasting, a pig called Fanie, and a big stream train outside.

Obviously, there is a lot more to see and do along Route 62, and on the way there. The stunning Dutoitskloof, the Nuy Valley, Robertson, Montagu and Barrydale, and beyond that, on towards Oudtshoorn. It’s an incredible road to drive with some amazing scenery, and we were reminded again of just how lucky we are to have all this “just up the road”.

Looks Familiar

Back from a couple of days away and a bit knackered after a long drive. Lovely little road trip though with some great food, wine and experiences.

So here’s a quick snap taken this morning to demonstrate the power of the iNaturalist app to an interested party.

It’s an LBJ – or, if you use the app – it’s a Familiar Chat. Oenanthe familiaris.

The owner of the property on which were staying has seen loads of these birds every day for year. But he never knew what they were. A quick snap and search and now he knows.

We were also able to point a tiny, cute Neddicky out to him, perched on one of his vineyard posts.

Nice to share.