-  Diary of an Adventure   -  Hemel and Aarde Valley

The wind that has pounded us for the past few days is now dancing across the tops of the pine trees, looking for new mischief. The skies, layered with different grey storm colours, showing off their charcoal shading. A bit like they do their Turner act, only this time highlighting how inadequate my charcoal technique is.

Certainly not beach weather, forcing us to sit reading in front of the fire, trying out various bottles from the local wineries. Polly, not impressed with the popping of the burning wood, and even the cows, which we can hear in the lower fields, aren’t around to keep her entertained.

Easter Sunday found us down in Hermanus for a cappuccino and an excellent three cheese, double baked, soufflé breakfast at the deli. We managed a short walk along the cliff path. Far enough for Polly to play with a young golden retriever in the tidal pool. Short enough to escape back up into the folds of the valley before the holiday crowds emerged.
I managed to kick my toe against one of the chairs. Hard enough to leave it a dozen shades of purple, resembling the Raka Pinotage in my glass, but no blood.

The lodge where we are staying has glass doors opening to every possible view, and while the weather is stopping us from enjoying the porch which wraps around the house, we are still able to sit at the table and enjoy the views. It’s perched high enough up the hill, to be at a hight with the stone pine branches which is amazing. Everywhere are yellow Cape Honeysuckle and blue plumbago.

Fredy and Edith came up from the cottage to spend a few days with us and Dad and Mary also managed to squeeze in a night before their next trip to Zim. With the clouds lifting, we were able to enjoy the veranda during the day, walk up along the mountain and watch the sky full of stars in the evening.

Being brave, adventurous souls, we extended our range of lunch venues to some of the highly recommended estate restaurants. Heaven excellent. Creation somewhat a work in progress, and our virgin deck (La Vierge) still a favourite.

Back in the vineyards, the front garden is showing off its late summer colour, while the garden under the pine trees is still struggling under the weight of tree roots, sea sand and too much sun and shade. The moles have decided its a fine place to build new tunnels and each morning there are great new mounds of sand pushed trough the few bits of lawn. Inviting a new sport for Polly!

Lunch at Clos Malverne, still superb, before the trip to the airport and the flight to Juba Town.

In his time Jan has been an electronics, nuclear and power system engineer, a strategist, a humanitarian and an artist. A career path linked by creativity and innovative thinking. Initially trained at the Johannesburg College of Art, Jan has won numerous international awards and has exhibited nationally and internationally. He can be found in his studio ‘Jandreart’ located at Thesen Harbour Town, Knysna.

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