I know that some people don’t consider South Africa’s own cultivar –Pinotage – to be “real wine”, but I have to say that I have done some rudimentary research and as far as I’m concerned it ticks enough of the boxes to be real wine, because it is:
an alcoholic drink made from fermented grape juice.
Yeah, there was one box and they got it.
It’s not my favourite red: a decent Bordeaux blend or a nice Shiraz gets top spot there. However, I have been sampling some Uitkyk (basically pronounced “Ate Cake”, for you forrenurs) Pinotage from 2015 and it’s really rather good.
In fact, I was instantly transported to picking wild blackberries up the Scholaby Road in Colby on Isle of Man with my very first mouthful. Incredibly evocative and ever so specific.
Uitkyk also do a really good brandy, which instantly transports me away from reality from time to time, as and when required.
It was all going really well. Far too well, now I look back upon it.
I’d fixed the shelves in the boy’s bedroom (although I did use my swearing quota for the month while doing so), I’d been to the gym and nailed a reasonable cardio workout, I had even gone and done the odd jobs I had promised to do at the mother-in-law’s place.
I deserved brandy and football.
But the brandy is (apparently) alcoholic, and I’m trying to be a good boy as far as alcohol goes this week. It’s one of those things I try to do every now and again that (sadly) does actually make me feel a bit healthier and ever so self-righteous. I’ll miss it, but at least there’s still the football.
And then came the threat of loadshedding. On a football night:
As I write, the threat hasn’t materialised, but if it does materialise, the first you’ll know about it is an abrupt
end to this post. My zone is scheduled to go off for the whole of the first half (and some of the second half) of all of the Europa League quarter finals. That would almost certainly mean having to dip into the May swearing allowance.
We’re glamping, it’s apparently glamorous camping and that’s actually not a bad description. Full review to follow, but think big tent that’s set out like a full-on self-catering chalet. And think this view off the front deck:
So much nature reserve, such blue skies. Magnificent.
Today involved a hike through the valleys towards those mountains, some brandy tasting at a distillery in the middle of nowhere, a bit of swimming in the dam at the top of the hill here (and some drone play) , and – still to come – an evening braai.
Tomorrow involves the two hour return to Cape Town, after some pony trekking and lunch on the Breede River.
The land on which Mount Nelson Hotel is now situated was granted to Baron Pieter Van Rheede van Oudtshoorn. This land was known as Oudtshoorn Gardens (at this time, the term ‘garden’ was used to describe a small farm). Baron Pieter returned to Holland and while there, was appointed the new governor of the Cape. However, he died en route back to Cape Town, and Oudtshoorn Gardens was subsequently subdivided and sold. When people died aboard a ship, they were normally buried at sea, but Baron Pieter van Rheede van Oudtshoorn was kept in a lead-lined coffin and preserved in brandy for four months until his ship reached Cape Town. He was buried with ceremony, and his tombstone can now be seen on the outer wall of Cape Town’s Groote Kerk.
How fortuitous that there was a lead-lined coffin and several (or more) litres of brandy available on board for this purpose. Was that a regular cargo, I wonder, or did someone suspect that Oom Piet was going to pop his (quite literally, one would imagine) clogs?
There’s little information as to how he died, and there’s certainly no evidence to suggest that this is what happened to him, but when I go, I think that drowning in a lead-lined coffin filled with brandy would be both pretty cool and rather practical.
He probably would have tasted great upon arrival in Cape Town.