Where to start? During September Melanie Brummer came down for her annual teaching stint, as always, a wonderful breath of fresh air. Mel is invariably fun to have around, she brought colour and much joy back to the Pinkhaus. A group of about 18 women, ranging in age from 17 to 70 had a ball dyeing and printing to their hearts content under Mel’s expert guidance. We discovered that the poppies in my garden made gorgeous designs when we used the heads to stamp with. Mel brought a friend with her, an artist from the Magaliesberg called Dawn Hiles. Dawn spoilt us with delicious meals every day – succulent Karoo lamb chops, stuffed with feta and baby spinach and delicately spiced fish dishes served with unusual combinations of vegetables and herbs from the garden. We managed to go out dancing every night they were here which I enjoyed immensely – helped to loosen my body up after so many months of feeling like a tightly wound clock. Mel is returning again early next year but more of that later. Photos of the workshop are in the Gallery on the Arts and Crafts tab, under Mel’s workshop 2012.
At the end of September Andre’s friends from Ulysses Motorcycle Club in Pretoria and the Far East (Rand, that is, not China) organized a Memorial Run for him which I attended. It was so good to see all our biking buddies again and to ride on a bike (thanks Mauritius!). As we wended our way through the countryside around Pretoria and stopped at some of Andre’s favourite watering holes we met up with friends, some of whom I hadn’t seen in over twenty years. We shared fond memories of my husband, who so loved motorbikes and the motorcycle community. The guys from Ulysses spoilt me with their kindness, they had thought of everything. Cloth badges commemorating the day were handed out to everyone who joined the run and a dear friend, Hugo, had made the most perfect aluminium urn for Andre’s ashes. We all ended up at the Lemon Tree in Cullinan for a long lazy brunch. Finally all the bikes assembled in the car park and revved their engines as a final farewell – it was incredibly moving. Maybe only petrol heads will understand. I have to say thank you to them all and especially Elsabe, George, Mauritius and Rita who organized everything. The Memorial Run can be viewed at http://www.facebook.com/#!/events/228870193907898/
I returned home to a batch of baby goats who’d been born in my absence. My lovely Paprika had given birth to a huge ram, called Peri; Choi had twin girls called Parsnip and Turnip and finally Nougat, a bonny ewe born to Lolly. Choi had been traumatized by the whole process of giving birth to her twins and refused to feed them so it was back to bottle feeding again – four times a day in sometimes very inclement weather. All the kids are blossoming and I love the way they call whenever they hear or see me. Cooper has become the finest looking ram and still has the sweetest nature. He loves to play with me, leaping and skipping sideways around me, then tossing his head like a wildebeest – guaranteed to make me laugh. He has the loudest voice I’ve ever heard and if he loses the rest of the flock (usually when he’s too engrossed in eating something or fallen asleep when they move off) instead of looking for them he just stands where he is and bawls plaintively. My neighbours on adjoining farms have all commented on Cooper’s voice- it reverberates around the valley like a donkey on steroids braying!
As I mentioned in my last blog, the chickens have overrun the garden and started making nests everywhere. As a result of this there have been clutches of chicks hatching out left, right and centre – I cannot keep up with them anymore. The largest clutch live in a flowerbed next to the gate and are known as the Driveway Chicks, they hang around in the shade under the cars in the middle of the day. A couple of them have been taken by hawks and one was even snatched by a Pied Crow.
I’ve been scattering some of Andre’s ashes around a few of our favourite mountain sites and took some up to Huisrivierspas in October. We’d always enjoyed riding up and down the Pass on the bike, it has some wonderful sweeping bends and tight corners. A friend and I drove up there one day and I cannot remember ever seeing that part of the Klein Karoo looking so beautiful – the veld was amazing. Flowers of every colour, shape and description painted the landscape and extraordinary trees covered with huge pink flowers stood sentinel all along the road to Oudtshoorn. We stopped at Eight Bells for a late lunch on the way home, a colonial style hotel set in magnificent gardens and rolling lawns at the base of Robinson’s Pass, a lovely way to end what had been a special day. Other friends have planted a tree in their garden in Andre’s memory and I have scattered some of his ashes there too. It’s fitting that he should be everywhere- he loved to travel.
In November two of Andre’s friends spent a few days helping me out by sanding and varnishing all the windows in the house and cottage – a HUGE job. It was good to have them here every day – for the first time in months I felt like cooking and was inspired to start gardening again. I’ve also started yoga classes on the Island twice a week which are marvelous – my body is learning to relax again. I love lying on the lawn next to the river, trees gently swaying overhead and the occasional duck waddling through the class.
There have been a number of visitors and guests at the Pinkhaus over the last couple of months – a friend from Cape Town whom I hadn’t seen for 35 years, friends from Holland, friends from Pretoria and a group of bikers from Plettenberg Bay who had booked in, only to discover that we knew one another. Right now the house is full of family from around the country and the UK – it’s VERY rowdy!
Melanie is returning on February 28th 2013 to run a four day workshop. We have planned it to fall in with the PROE MOSSELBAAI FESTIVAL which will be running at the same time. The Pinkhaus is going to be included on the new Fragrance Route which is being established in this area – places of interest including galleries and restaurants will be featured in this new tourism venture in a bid to draw tourists up towards the village of Friemersheim. I’m excited about the whole project and have a number of plans and projects for the Pinkhaus underway. I’ve already started with having an open house one day a week for creative people to come and ‘do their thing’ and from next year will start advertising these days in the local rags. The area around here is so lovely – it’s inspiring to work in such a serene environment. Will keep you all updated with developments.
So – to see what is happening next year have a look under the Proe Mosselbaai tab – details and costs of Mel’s classes are listed.
Till next time- and hopefully it won’t be quite so long!