-  Diary of an Adventure   -  Vineyard Adventures

The rain in the vineyards dissipated early enough for us to enjoy the gardens at Babylonstoren. A tortoise wondering along the pathway bounded by the plessage of layered quince tree branches. The precision of the gardens, amazing, even if its hard to get excited about vegetables, herbs and fruit.

Looking to see if the last remaining poppy seed heads contained any late seeds, we met up with the garden curator, Gundula Deutschlander, who kindly invited me into her kingdom and seed store. Rows of carefully labeled seed jars, containers of drying seed pods and a bewildering array of vegetable seeds, that made me think of Joanne Harris’s book ‘Blackberry Wine’. I left with a magic packet of Shirley Poppy seeds, originally from her Mothers garden, for the garden at the cottage.

Cosecha restaurant at Noble Hill offers a menu of Latin inspiration that has flavours bursting through your senses, with subtle undertones that provide a great platform to their wines. There is little artistry to the making of the guacamole, however, the taste makes this an item not to be missed. We were welcome to sit with Polly under the umbrellas overlooking the dam, and we didn’t get near the dessert section of the menu.

Time to cut back some of the exuberant growth in the garden, sorting edges into something that my Virgo heart can live with, and hauling in pine needles for mulch and edging. The sun chasing me.

Roger here from Switzerland, hand made chocolates from his children and days of enforced relaxation without a car, which he has taken to see Dad in Montagu. Hesta and Mark joined us for a scrumptious lunch under the trees, with the wine cellar conjuring bottles of liquid magic.

On the easel in the studio, a canvas of circles against a pale background like some sort of abstract that lost its way in too much wine. Pincushion protea in the cottage garden the subject, the pale under painting to give life to the subtle colours of the protea. Great to be working in a larger canvas again, although my hands are cramping from all the work they are being asked to do.

At the cottage, sitting gently on the patio enjoying the cool air and listening to the birds as they engage in their version of Hunger Games at the bird feeders.

New Year’s Eve with lights coming on across the valley, bubbles and conversation, with laugher amongst friends seeing out the year.

Cavalli, a new horse breeding estate that has a fabulous restaurant, gallery and wine from its own vineyards. The gardens consist of miles of carefully planted indigenous fynbos, whose fragrance is rejuvenating. The modern buildings that look out over the Helderberg have environmental sustainability at their heart, sit gently in the landscape. Textures, light, elegant, harmonious are characteristics of the building that are echoed in the splendid food. The wines are accessible and we could have spent another zillion hours drinking wine, captivated by the view. That this is possible, while at the same time having access to the master works of the Cavalli collection in the gallery (No Rose-Innes, is a disappointment) and being challenged by a wide range of visual art seems unbelievable. Excellent in every way and bound to become a favourite.

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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