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  • Writer's pictureTim and Lindsey

Gardens and Art, Darling! - Day 379-380

A restful day and then a day of Gardens and Art, Darling! Once you see where we now, I am sure you will appreciate the title!

Day 379 was quite a restful day, lots of reading, writing for me and I even had two coaching clients. The night before I had a chat with coach friend Angela, and we had such a laugh that I had two clients in one day. Phew! She hoped that I would manage some rest in between the sessions!! Cheeky!

I must admit that I got the time wrong for the first session!! The client sent me an invite via Webex, which said that the session was 11am London time, so I assumed that the session was 1pm SA time. Ah, you know what they say about assuming – ASS-U-ME. It was, in fact, 11am my time. Luckily I was available, and graciously my client was absolutely fine about the mistake. Lesson learnt. Clarify next time.

We did have a bit of a walk in the afternoon and then had a lovely evening with Keith and Cicely. Cicely Van Straten is a professional author, and her fascination with African folklore and mythology comes through in her writing. She has written primarily for children in English, and some of her books have been translated into not only indigenous South African languages and Afrikaans, but also, one has been translated into Korean!

At the moment she is writing a trilogy about a journey into adulthood in a Pan-African setting. With her passion for anthropology, she has done lots of research into the traditional African respect for nature, understanding where certain cultural behaviours have arisen from as well as taping into her own experience of living in Uganda as a child. I think some of the writing has been quite harrowing for her, the journey is not all plain sailing. We look forward to reading the books when they are published.

Day 380 we packed up and said a fond farewell to Keith. We will definitely see him again before we depart to Brazil. Our destination was Darling; however, we decided to drive inland via Stellenbosch. No wine this time! We intended to visit the Village Museum there which has 4 restored houses and gardens from the 18th and 19th centuries, depicting how people lived in those times. Unfortunately, it was closed just for this day. “Shame” (a typical reaction from a South African), I’m getting into the lingo.

We visited the Botanical Gardens and some Art Galleries instead. The Gardens were small, but delightful, with a bonsai area which is the oldest and largest public collection in Africa. A few of the trees are from the early 1940s planted by Becky Lucas.

Also, there was a large tree fern house, rockeries with drought-tolerant plants, definitely required with global warming, and a sweet vegetable and herb garden with a tomato tree, I’ve never seen one of them before. We needed a key to get into the glasshouses. One was extremely hot and humid. Crikey, I struggled to breathe in there! I need to get used to this type of climate for South America!

The Art Galleries were pleasant to walk around. Our friend Jane recommended the Red Teapot Gallery which was full of very bright paintings. I must admit we preferred one across the road which had a fantastic wooden head of a buffalo encrusted in gems and mosaics. Now, if we were buying “Stuff”, I would be sorely tempted.

Onto Darling after a lovely lunch at The Fat Butcher, renowned for its beef, but we both had salad, trout for me and fig and blue cheese with bacon goujons for Tim. Our journey was through hectares of grain fields until we got to Philadelphia and Atlantis, which were sprawling townships with a range of shacks from tin, to wood, to concrete. People and dogs were milling around, and I expect that there is little work in this area for the locals. I am currently reading “Born a Crime” by Trevor Noah. I highly recommend it if you wish to have an understanding of what it was like for a mixed race boy and a young man living during the latter part of the apartheid years and beyond. It is not only amusing but insightful. He writes a fascinating opinion that, rather than the colour of skin, it is the language which bridges the gap of connectivity. “Language brings with it an identity and a culture, or at least the perception of it. A shared language says “We’re the same.” A language barrier says “We’re different.” The architects of apartheid understood this.” It really is a fascinating book to read; what an incredible man he is, much from the influence of his incredible Mum.

So, here we are in Darling. We were greeted warmly by Janet, our new host, and immediately Tim realised that she had an English accent. She was surprised when we mentioned this as she’s been here for 50 years! Our Airbnb is lovely, we have even been given a bottle of wine. It transpires that Janet and her husband Charles have experienced staying in other Airbnb, so realise what makes a good one. We have struck gold. They have learnt their lessons well!

Prior to us arriving here, Janet had kindly informed us that The Marmalade Cat café here had a pizza evening on a Friday night and did we want her to book a table for us. Ah, this reminds us of Hogsback with the lovely Lyndsayand Peter. We turned up early to find that there was a power cut. Luckily the café has a wood burning stove for their Pizzas. Small bowls of salad, feta and olives were already on our table, part of the meal, and we thoroughly enjoyed our pizzas. Within a short while the place was full, apparently popular with the locals, we’re glad we got in early. We are here for another 3 nights, I wonder what Darling will bring? More new experiences, no doubt.

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