When beauty is in the detail

Cape Town – I spent a couple of hours in paradise this week.

Well. maybe not paradise exactly, but it is a gorgeous piece of Cape Town.

I was invited to spend some time with Groot Constantia’s winemaker Boela Gerber, and so a gorgeous late summer Wednesday was spent on the country’s oldest wine estate rather than eating lunch at my desk.

I’m on a steep learning curve in the world of wine and the kind PR people who represent Groot Constantia thought I could up my game a little by spending some time there. Boela took me on a tour of the vineyards and we did some tasting of his fine wines sitting outside at Jonkershuis, and I did learn a lot.
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The simple joys of camping

Cape Town – A friend – a women of strong views – is adamant: she will not go on holiday to any plac

The evening braai over the Dutoitskloof mountains.

The evening braai over the Dutoitskloof mountains.

e where she cannot plug in her hairdryer.

And I know what she means. The daily shower ritual is as essential to me as breathing. The day simply does not begin until I have stood in some hot water, done my face and put in some earrings.

And yet there is something to be said for unhooking oneself from the daily rituals.

One way to completely unhook is to go camping.  Continue reading

How much is too much for a good school?

Cape Town – Every week I am supposed to write a column.

And this week, it appeared that my ideas folder had run dry.

That’s partly because I am much pre-occupied with the dreadful, all consuming task that besets the parents of Grade 7 pupils: the finding of a suitable high school.

We did some research and went to some school open days last year (on the sensible advice of a friend, who said that helps ease the pressure when you hit Grade 7) and have found a school we love – and our son has been given a place there. Continue reading

Can you do vitiligo, Joseph Fiennes?

In the summer my son Jak turned four, he started to develop strange white patches on the skin of his neck.

Over the course of several weeks, the patches spread to his chest and right arm.

The paediatrician was a little flummoxed and put in a call to a dermatologist. It was, she said, vitiligo.

And so began our journey with a rare condition that most people know nothing about.
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Who is the real idiot behind the wheel?

This week I was waiting on a pavement in the Cape Town CBD, waiting for a lift.

A car moseyed up one-way Long Street, slowed, stopped. Reversed ten or twenty metres, made a right turn and proceeded on its way. Luckily there were no cars right behind it, and all was well.

I smiled, thinking: “Only in South Africa…”

And it is amusing, in its way.

But really it is indicative of all that is wrong on our roads, where this festive season 1 755 people were killed.
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Here’s to 2016 – without magic

Our two new kittens.

Our two new kittens.

Cape Town – If conventional wisdom is anything to go by, 2016 is going to be a bad year for me.

The year is only two weeks old and already our family has been hit by irritating, unforeseen or worrying events.

On a visit to the beach, our venerable travelling backpack was stolen while we were in the water, and along with it my purse (complete with driver’s licence, ID book and bank cards) and cellphone. (I know, I know, dear reader. What was I thinking? I was thinking I had two children with me who wanted mochas after the swim and the coffee shop was at the other end of the parking lot, and just this once I would take it all to the beach with me. Self-evident moral: never let your guard down).  Continue reading

How to fail at being middle class

Tigger asleep and blissfully unaware of her unvaccinated status. Picture: Renee Moodie

Tigger asleep and blissfully unaware of her unvaccinated status. Picture: Renee Moodie

I took my cat to the vet yesterday, for her vaccinations.

Now this is not unusual – but it is for me. This cat has not in fact been vaccinated since 2005 – and neither had any of the other late lamented animals in our house.

When I confessed this fact to a group of friends, there was a pause and a small intake of breath all round. Continue reading