Yzerfontein Revisited - A Celebration Of Our Freedom
We’ve benefited from a month of short weeks and long weekends. According to someone who has limited holiday time, if a worker took their leave on the 14th of April, they would use eight days of their annual leave, but they’d only clock back in at work on the 20th day after that on the 2nd of May. How’s that for the economical use of time?
A housewife’s work never ends, so I only learned of the Public Holiday at the last minute. There was no chance of us spending the time sulking at home. For Easter, we’d gone North and camped in the Karoo. May is a month of Champagne weather, and we had to make the most of it. The West Coast beckoned.
I bet Mr Putin didn’t realise his war in Ukraine would influence our diesel fuel price, and it did. Families have to think twice about travelling to far-flung places, and we all have to economise and therefore gravitate towards destinations as close to home as possible.
We fetched the Honey Badger in the dark. A sure sign winter's on its way. This time we had all our ducks in a row. Bicycles and recharged gas cylinders loaded. It was the weekend, baby, and we were ready to roll.
We could leave home earlier to stretch the weekend, enabling us to stop en route at the fabulous Bosjes farm. The gardens have grown since we were last there and are spectacular. Fynbos and other indigenous plants and shrubs have survived summer’s heat and turned into colourful autumn coats. I loved the grasses planted all along the pathways.
The recently opened Spens, a delicatessen, is, like the chapel, an architectural masterpiece. The domed deli/bistro’s roof, interestingly supported by skeletal wooden beams, keep one’s eyes travelling skywards while the large floor to ceiling windows beckons one to turn to admire the walled garden. It left me speechless. I love that the owners have created a little Babelon’s Toren here in the backwaters for all to admire and enjoy. Bosjes is the dreamy vision someone had, and now it’s been realised.
The menu was small, and we kept our lunch light. We both enjoyed our crunchy toasted ciabatta open sandwiche. We took a box of dainty delights to nibble during the drive to Yzerfontein. Chocolate and Vanilla Macarons, a chocolate brownie, and Pasteis de Nata. I can’t live without them!
Our servers were delightful young ladies eager to assist. On display and for sale are a selection of exciting jams and preserves, homebaked bread, and confectionery. I was interested to know whether the preserved Spicy Peaches were savoury or sweet, neither of the ladies could answer me.
I find it regretable that an establishment of that calabre, known and admired for the upliftment of the local farming community failed with this aspect of their training. Would it not be to the benefit of the staff and the establishment if the team in a restaurant, deli or bistro knew precisely what they were selling and could make informed recommendations to clients? I want to suggest that every item sold or presented on a menu should be regularly served to the staff, the ingredients explained, especially when menus are changed.
Some of the items on the menu like specialised cheeses, cured Italian meat, herbs and saladings are foreign and exotic and unattainable in a disadvantaged community. I do think the social and educational advantages would outstrip any financial considerations.
Fortunately, forewarned is forearmed. When we made our reservation on Monday, we could pick one of four available sites. The chances were good that we’d have neighbours all around us. Not a bad thing, the thought of having company appealed to me, and I’m sure Butch was delighted knowing he’d have company when he was alone tending his fire.
There were approximately twelve campsites in our section. Lo and behold, we were encircled by our own. A veritable Worcester-by-the-sea! We were cheerily welcomed and felt right at home once we’d set up our chairs and tables. The sun was still high as fires were being lit. Hippie sounds of the sixties washed over us pleasantly, almost enticing me to do the twist!
Butch and I sat at his braai fire with drinks in our hands. A good one this time. I moved closer to the flames as the night chilled and when it was time to serve our perfectly grilled steak, I couldn’t resist suggesting we remain right there at the fireside. Butch served the carved steak on a wooden board (plankiebraai) served with generous dollops of delicious Chimmichurri. This one was finger-licking-good. The corn wrapped in tin foil and cooked near the coals were slightly charred, al dente and syrupy sweet. Divine. We agreed this was the way a braai was meant to be enjoyed.
I drifted off to sleep with the soothing sounds of Tom Jones’ Cracklin’ Rose. Just after 22h00 all was quiet.
We were not going to overdo it, but we rode out of town and went for long walks. A times we also sat and listened to the sea, or children's laughter while playing and we loved the gaffaws and tales being told all around us. It’s effortless to let your listening ear go for an eavesdrop when you are close to the neighbours with only a tent and hedge separating you. You "meet" the most interesting people that way! Stifling giggles or commenting when the punchline was good takes some doing, though.
We indulged, after one of our cycles, and had the most delicious cinnamon buns ever! The Bakery in Yzerfontein is renowned for its bread and this melt in the mouth treat. Smothered in creamy frosting, no one can be blamed for licking their fingers. There are no bad reviews for this decadent treat.
Seated next to me were two farmers who, for 15 minutes, couldn’t stop waxing lyrical about their bakkies (trucks). All the vehicles parked at the bakery were called bakkies. So we had Porche bakkies, Freelander bakkies, Land Cruiser (SUV) bakkies, Mercedes bakkies, the latest million dollar Discovery was also a bakkie. The weird blue BMW with low profile tyres was a platbakkie (flat truck). I learned about jagbakkies, plaasbakkies, dorpsbakkies, new bakkies and "fugged" up moertoe bakkies (hunting trucks, farm trucks, town trucks, new trucks and useless trucks).
A most extraordinary conversation! We all departed at the same time. I witnessed the one guy getting into his bakkie, parked slap bang in front of the shop obstructing the pavement. All that time his Jack Russell (plaashond) sleeping peacefully on the seat.
Billy arrived to spend two nights with us. Thrilling for Butch, who had a partner who shares his love of rugby and the Stormers. They could watch the match uninterrupted and criticise the referee or linesmen, all they liked.
I was on kitchen duties, and for supper, I served delicious slow-braised lamb shanks in an exciting Thai inspired sauce. Different flavour combinations on old favourites.
Billy, a keen fisherman, tried his luck on Sunday. Unfortunately, there were no bites. He returned to prepare a scrumptious full English breakfast.
The weather kept improving, much to our surprise, which called for sundowners on the beach on Sunday. With a bag of snacks Father, son, and the old goat set off to pick the perfect spot on the boulders to watch the passing parade of dogs, families, surfers riding a left break barreling almost to the beach, bodyboarders and anglers. We had a golden sunset on mercurial waters at the end of a perfect day.
The weekend came to an end all too soon, and it was time to pack up and return home but not before we took a detour to find and explore Koringberg.
A tiny hamlet on the top of a hill between Piketberg and Mooreesburg.
The missionary settlement was established on the farm Brakwater in 1923 after a disagreement with the NG congregations of Piketberg and Moorreesburg. The village was initially named Warren’s Camp after the railway stop.
The town has become popular with urbanites who want to experience village life in the country. The Berg River and Misverstand dam are located in the vicinity.
It does not appeal to me, and I couldn’t find any redeeming features like other small, fashionable arty towns e.g Riebeeck Kasteel, Darling, Nieu Bethesda, Prince Albert even Villiersdorp, Mc Gregor or Greyton.
We stopped for a quick bite at the ever-popular Dessert Rose farm stall on the N7. Although we'd only been gone for three nights we could see the Boland was turning into its autumn coat.
This time we unpacked, not knowing when we’ll be able to slip off again. The Honey Badger is going in for a service, and Butch is in the throes of finally retiring. We have a To Do list as long as my arm. But I’ll catch up with you later and spill all those beans.
“Some birds are not meant to be caged, that's all. Their feathers are too bright, their songs too sweet and wild. So you let them go, or when you open the cage to feed them they somehow fly out past you. And the part of you that knows it was wrong to imprison them in the first place rejoices, but still, the place where you live is that much more drab and empty for their departure.”
― Stephen King, Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption
“Let there be justice for all. Let there be peace for all. Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all. Let each know that for each the body, the mind and the soul have been freed to fulfill themselves.”
― Nelson Mandela