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  • Writer's pictureTim and Lindsey

Marmite, Marie and Shirley - Day 342

We are now back in South Africa after a delayed flight from Windhoek. Our journey led us to some Marmite and Marie and then we met Shirley.

A lovely drive through green rolling hills to Ladysmith. We could have been in England if it wasn’t for the give-away small palms, monkeys, plus the occasional person walking along the side of the highway.

We stopped off at Pietermaritzburg for a comfort break and, through good ol’ Google maps, found a café called Rosehurst with excellent reviews. We hit gold again. What a find. It looked like an ordinary 1930s double fronted bungalow, yet when we walked in, there was a maze of small rooms selling antiques and quirky gifts. An elderly lady with bright orange hair (my kinda gal) directed us to the café at the back of the place which led to the most beautiful pristine Victorian garden. A lovely young lady, a gentle soul, handed us the menu and pointed out the specials. Marmite and Marie Milkshake? Surely not. She said it was her favourite.

The menu was certainly original; it was a shame that we weren’t here for lunch. We treated ourselves to a snack – Banana Bread in a Glass and a flat white coffee for Tim (sounds intriguing) and Grilled Pear Scone and Lemon Ice Tea for me. I thought that would be quite light. At the last minute, I changed my mind. Hey, part of our travels is to experience new things. I like marmite, so let’s give this weird milkshake a go. Our drinks arrived first, a dainty cup of coffee, beautifully presented for Tim and my milkshake with two Marie biscuits (similar to Rich Tea in the UK) stuck together with what I thought was chocolate. Of course, it wasn’t. It was marmite. I hesitantly tasted the drink….mmmm surprisingly nice. A very slight hint of tangy Marmite with the sweetness of the biscuit. Who would have thought to make a milky drink from these ingredients? Unfortunately, the creative chef was not working today. We would have loved to have met her.

Our waitress then bought our so-called snacks to the table. Tim’s was a large knickerbocker glory glass with banana bread cut into cubes, oozing with caramel sauce and fresh cream on top. Mine was a scone cut in half with lashings of thick clotted cream with hot grilled wedges of pears and a hefty drizzle of maple syrup. OMG, it was gorgeous! I needed a walk after eating and drinking this overload of dairy and wandered around the beautiful garden. The main garden had neat beds of flowers and bushes and a manicured lawn. On the left was a narrow passage with an old outbuilding converted into one unit selling old books and another selling vintage clothes. Oh, I was sorely tempted, especially a long sparkly dress for just £7. Not really appropriate for our current lifestyle.

Time to travel for the next two hours and the journey was plain sailing. We arrived at our Airbnb, I knocked on the door, and this elderly lady with a beaming smile greeted us. Shirley welcomed us into her home, introduced us to her husband Mervin and daughter Louise and we got chatting. We mentioned the café Rosehurst to them, and immediately they all chorused “What a delightful place”. Its reputation has spread far and wide. Shirley showed us her lovely garden. Tottering around the lawn was a large Hadeda Ibis spearing the grass with its long beak looking for grasshoppers. She told us that just a moment ago a large bird of prey, a Gymnogene, came swooping down and took a small cat from the garden! She seemed very relaxed about the whole thing and said that the cat wasn’t hers.

Shirley then walked us around to the Airbnb. Plain white walls with very tasteful pictures and ornaments, a piano in the lounge (it’s been years since I’ve tinkled the ivories), a simple, yet stylish kitchen, and bedroom with 6 beautifully made baskets on the wall. And it had a hairdryer! Yay! What a delightful place. Shirley then showed us some great information on where to visit for the next few days and even went and got a book for Tim to borrow about Rorke’s Drift. Tim’s Dad used to have the same book. She looked after us so well that I couldn’t help myself and blurted out that it was like coming and visiting family, we have picked very well so far in Africa.

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