Posts Tagged 'sedgefield south africa'

Home Gallery and Scary Bathrooms

The upstairs gallery is so full we've had to squash stuff into the corners under the eaves - and Gavin is off to Vietnam on Monday to get more.

The upstairs gallery has been such a hit that it has expanded – into the rest of the house.

The growth has been a huge relief financially, but living and running a shop in the same space is probably better suited to a family much neater than ours.

I had an email from a Johannesburg couple in January saying they were coming down on holiday in March and would love to see what we had for sale. I gave them our address and phone number and promptly forgot about it.

Most people phone to say they are coming which gives me a chance to shove dirty dishes into a cupboard and make the beds. The Joburg pair had a GPS and the first I heard from them was their voices wafting up from the garden.

They were lovely, raved about the house and gallery, and bought enough to pay our mortgage for two months. My pleasure was marred by sheer terror that they might need the bathroom. It would have been Hobson’s choice. The downstairs bathroom which has not changed one iota since I did this post, or the upstairs bathroom where the boys had performed their morning ablutions (a lot more horrible than you can imagine).

This used to be our lounge - still is in the evenings.

Nude Gardening and Pogo Sticking

The last of the holiday neighbours left in the middle of the night, and I’m not entirely sure that it was only to avoid driving in the heat of the day.

We’re a family that lives in isolation for 10 months of the year and some of our habits may have moved slightly beyond accepted social mores.

Gavin uses the outside shower in summer and often, as he strolls inside naked to get a towel, he sees a patch of garden that needs watering. Nude gardening has its niche no doubt, but for holiday makers sipping a morning coffee on their deck it might be a bit startling.

Thomas treats neighbours with a mixture of hostility and overriding curiosity. He insists on endlessly pogo-sticking right next to the boundary wall. It might not be all that restful to have a small boy’s head peer at you at regular 5 second intervals as you adjust your bikini straps.

Bat Bite!

The evening summer heat means wide open doors and windows at dusk – and Vlad the Fruit Bat swooped right into the dining room last week.

Catching a trapped bat, with radar on full alert, is no easy task. Top tip, using a towel as a throw net works eventually.

He was pretty calm when caught, until I rudely exploded a high powered flash in his little rodent face. He sank his savage fangs (ok, very tiny teeth) into Gavin’s finger and wouldn’t let go until we took him outside and let him fly off into the dark.

Googling rabies is not for the weak stomached and Gavin went off to the doctor next day to see if he needed a shot. Rabies is not endemic to our area so hydrophobia  and mouth frothing are not in Gavin’s immediate future, thank heavens.

Summer days, drifting away. . .

Six weeks of summer holidays, and it’s back to school on Monday. The boys are depressed, they thought the break would never end.

I feel sorry for them, my favourite day of school was the last day ever. When someone tells me the best years of their lives were their school days, I just know we’ll never be close friends.

Today was hair cut day in preparation for the return to school uniform. Shorts, no shirts, and long sea-stained hair are over – at least until the April holidays.

Yesterday . . .

. . . and today.

Coastal Holiday Season

Sedgefield has been under siege since the beginning of December and there is no sign of a let up. The town goes from a population of 6000 to 50 000 overnight – and those 44 000 want to shop, and eat, and drive, and swim. . . .

The view from my desk is usually of a lone fisherman and a seagull or two, now there’s so much to look at I’m not getting any work done at all.

We’re in the midst of a heat wave and everyone wants a patch of sand and access to the icy sea. The cue at the beach front ice cream seller never seems to diminish, and the cars stream past our house until well after sunset. We sit on the deck, with a glass of cold white wine, and watch them trundle by. For some reason it just seems interesting.

Gavin pretends not to notice the nubile parade of bikini-clad girls moving in packs to the sea. And of course, it goes without saying that I never notice the young surfers with washboard stomachs.

In a couple of weeks it will all be over for another year, bread won’t be sold out before 10am and we’ll be able to buy toothpaste again. I’m looking forward to peace descending, but I know I’ll miss the endless buzz of holiday activity.

Hard to believe, but for 10 months of the year this beach is virtually unoccupied.

Post Christmas Pink Champagne

It’s all pastel shades here today – the sea is turqoiuse, the left-over Christmas champagne is pink, and the sun is hazy yellow.  Christmas dinner is eaten, presents unwapped, the recycling bags are full for tomorrow’s collection. Today started with an icy dip in clear sea water at 7am, and lunch on the deck has just been finished. It’s days like this when it’s great to be alive.

Happy Christmas to everyone all over the world!

Christmas table before ham and turkey carnage.

If you squint a little, the Vietnamese Healing Buddha looks a little like Santa. . .

Herold Winery


Absent blogger.


The pic above goes some small way to explaining the absence of this coastal blogger. Nope, I’m not in need of an intervention, and my slack posting has no real excuse – it’s just the time of the year and being frantically busy selling silk lanterns and Buddhas. I’ll fill you in on the business side in a few days, until then, here’s a must do for anyone in the area – a visit to the Herold winery at the top of the Montague Pass.

Herold winery is a small, low-key wine farm high up in the Outeniqua mountain range, not a traditional grape growing area at all.

Thirty minutes drive from the Wilderness coastline, this boutique winery has a unique micro climate for growing grapes. The cooler coastal conditions mean both the Sauvignon Blanc and the Pinot Noir, with their slowly ripened fruit, produce fantastic wines.

The winery is small, and the infrastructure is quite basic and rustic, which makes it all quite special. The tasting takes place in a corrugated iron shed with a fireplace in the winter,  and in a stone-walled courtyard with benches and thick cushions in the summer.

The hostess was great, very knowledgable about the wines and generous with allowing us access to the ice-cold bottling room and showing us how the labels are applied with a hand-turned machine.

The wines are delicious, the scenery is superb, and the kids had a ball wandering around the farm. A great family outing, with alcohol buying involved, what more could parents with kids on long summer holidays need?

Herold Winery

Wine workers applying the labels with the hand-turned machine.

Bottling room - damp, cold, with wine-soaked stone floors.


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