|Winter ….. Ah! Winter ….. what does one do to break the boredom or beat the dreadful cold of winter? …….. Move to George ! ! ! ! ! granted a few and far between coldish days, mainly when it rains … but man what a lovely place to live … warm sunny days and cool evenings.
But let’s get real - - - - -- the month began with a really terrible hot gale, winds blowing at between 60 and 100km, with forest fires and smoke everywhere for 3 days. Two houses actually burned down. Just a kilometer down our road the forest was also ignited and burned profusely, which meant the thick smell of fire was right through our house and lungs. To say nothing of the awful dust that settled everywhere. We knew that the Outeniqua pass had been closed due to the fires but could never have imagined what it was like.
A week after things had settled down, we took a drive to Oudtshoorn. It was our intention to do the historical building walk, but they were digging up the streets and it was very noisy, so we decided to take a 20km drive out towards the Cango Caves, as there is a beautiful waterfall somewhere on that road ….. we missed the turn and landed up at the caves where we had lunch and spent some time in the museum which was very interesting. Did not go into the caves as one of us is not so keen on the confined space. However it turned out to be a really nice day. Visited the Kango winery on the way back to get some more Sherry, …. been rather heavy on the trifle this last month.
Going over the pass to Oudtshoorn there were just miles and miles of devastation, hard to work out how much forest, vegetation and little animals might have burned. For as far as the eye could see there was just black burned mountain and charcoaled rocks. We took the old Montagu pass on our return trip, and that brought us much closer to the burned forests, protea and aloe’s which in some places were still smouldering, and allowed us to look up the mountainside to the complete devastation.
The first Saturday of the month was a really miserable day weather wise, overcast and cold rain, but thank goodness for the rain! The fires that were still smouldering were at last put out. In answer to an advertisement in the local newspaper we attended a workshop for IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), as we thought we might learn something helpful with regard to the digestive system – and we did. The seminar was held at Fancourt, “not that that had anything to do with our attendance”, however it is really cool – about 150 people attended, and they really treated us well, serving tea and a lovely brunch. The workshop was given by Novartis, hosted by Gerry Rantselli – TV personality, talks by a Gastroenterologist, Dietician and a Stress Consultant, and all for free.
Slowly, slowly we are finding some really good restaurants – slowly mostly ‘cause they cost a lot, but the figure can’t take too much too fast either. We have settled on a rather old fashioned hotel that serves a lovely Sunday lunch and has a resident piano player, and have also discovered a cute Turkish place with a lovely atmosphere. Suppose it may be a good thing to add at this stage that we have finally made contact with a cell group, bible study and even considering an Emmaus Reunion too.
Some things that have filled our otherwise “lonely boring winter days” go like this …… long walks on the beach at Herolds Bay, watching the crashing sea as the tide comes in breaking high on the rocks, ……. counting and enjoying the playful dolphins. …… watching the cute little dassies and monkeys along the roadside. …… visiting the strawberry farm for cheesecake and ice-cream. …… eating hot chips on the beach at Victoria Bay while watching the young people surf high on the waves. ……. sitting in the absolute peace and quiet at the beautiful Garden Route or Botanical Gardens Dam with the wonderful water reflections and bird life. ……. attending lectures on ….. the Antarctic