Katherine and her escapades - Day 375
Updated: Dec 8, 2018
Today is very much focussed on my friend Katherine and her escapades around Stellenbosch. Well, I never!
I met Katherine networking in about 2011 and very quickly recognised that we had complementary skills and our values about work and life were very similar. This led us to form Career Ambitions in 2012 and to work together until last year when Tim and I knew that we were destined to go walkabout. So why am I writing about Katherine?
We are currently staying with her lovely Dad, Keith. He reminds me of my own Dad, there are many similarities, both verbal and facial expressions; it is uncanny! Yesterday he took us to Franschhoek via Stellenbosch. I was amazed how pretty Stellenbosch was, with its attractive Cape Dutch architecture, white buildings in streets lined with oak trees, neat vineyards on the outskirts and beyond that the mountainous nature reserves of Jonkershoek and Simonsberg. Keith directed Tim down a few side roads, indicating various places of interest. There was one place that I was very curious to see. It was the Serruria ladies residence at Stellenbosch University. Serruria means “blushing bride”, and I am sure Katherine will be blushing when she reads this.
When Katherine was at this prestigious University back in the early 80s, young ladies were not allowed out in the evening unless they had written permission from their parents. Also, it was not until 1978 that jeans were acceptable to wear!
Keith pointed out a window above the doorway and informed us that this is where Katherine regularly climbed out in the evening so that she could go out with Donnie and then, somehow, climb back later in the night! How she did it, I have not a clue! I do remember Katherine and Donnie telling us both this story, so it was funny to see the actual place. And Katherine seems very refined now!
We then travelled onto Franschhoek, another pleasant town. This had many people milling around the upmarket boutiques and cafes, however, no stopping for us. We were going to La Petite Ferme for lunch. Keith used to come here with his wife and three daughters, so another place from Katherine’s history.
We were taken to our table and had a fabulous view over the valley to the Franschhoek Mountains. As we sat down, Keith looked a bit perturbed. It transpires that since his last visit the place has been taken over and changed from a homely ambience to a chic restaurant. I assured him that they probably had heard that we were coming – I mean, we are so well-groomed and classy!!
Our meal arrived, and I was relieved that Keith’s Ginger & Chilli Pork Belly together with roasted pumpkin purée, apple tarte tatin, black salted crackling, edamame beans, hazelnut praline dust with apple cider reduction was the best he had ever eaten. Tim’s Slow-roast Lamb wrapped in aubergine with thyme polenta chips, cinnamon brandy raisins, mint meringue and parmesan snap was succulent; however, his carrots were near enough raw. He did point this out to the waitress, but no replacement was delivered. And my Duo of Line Fish with black rice, avocado spuma, smoked tomato dust, grilled pineapple and potato scales (otherwise known as crisps!) was delicious. No pudding for us, we managed to waddle out to the garden, full to the brim, to allow our food to digest before returning to Franschhoek to visit the museum and monument.
The air had got slightly muggy by the time we walked to the monument. Sadly, because of the water restriction, the area was not in keeping with how Keith had last seen it. No colourful flower beds or neat green lawn. I thought the actual monument was beautiful. It was completed in 1945 and dedicated to the Huguenots, French Protestants who were persecuted back in the 16th – 17th century. Just over 200 Huguenots managed to migrate to South Africa by the late 1600s and settled in this area. A plaque in front of the monument described the symbolisation; three arches representing the Holy Trinity, the sun for righteousness and the central female figure personifies religious freedom with a bible in one hand and a broken chain in the other.
Tim and Keith crossed the road to the main Huguenot Memorial Museum while I popped into a perfume museum. It seemed strange that this was located here. The small room smelt divine and was full of perfume bottles of various shapes and sizes. There was some fascinating information about Chanel and how the famous No. 5 perfume was created. Celebrity perfumer Ernest Beaux created over 80 versions of aromas and presented these to Coco, numbering each one. And, of course, it was number 5 that she loved. He had added aldehyde, not usually used in perfumery and this gave it the pièce de résistance.
I joined the two men for a quick look around the main museum. Perhaps it was the fumes of the perfume or the large glass of wine with lunch, but I couldn’t absorb any of the details exhibited. Oh well. We eventually got back, after a stop for an afternoon drink at Boschendal, another place that Katherine loved to go and would have liked to have got married there if she had won the lottery. But it didn’t exist in those days!
And in the evening, to finish a delightful day, we had a wonderful Skype with Katherine and Donnie for an hour. It was lovely to hear their news, share what we thought of their homeland and had a few laughs. Wonderful.