Diary of an Adventure

Cape Town Adventure

The fire at Jakes on the Common welcome on a rainy Cape Town day. Books, wine, good food (grateful for the diabetic sensitive menu option) and easy company, insulated from the stormy weather. Energized, tranquility, looking through the fresh spring leaves of the ancient oak trees.

The building of the Norval Foundation is as impressive as expected. Vast gallery spaces for the large works of art. Most of which I found, disturbing.

They were changing exhibitions which was a tad disappointing as we could only access two of the galleries. The sculpture garden, impressive. My red face the proof to heed the warning about protecting yourself against sunburn. Even on a chilly spring day.

Prince still didn’t manage the crashing sea noise. Full moon. Spring tides. Howling winds. Beach not inviting. He did manage to walk to the Green Door. An achievement in itself.

The wind blew us back to Knysna. Roads busy with holiday traffic. Green, golden and yellow after the rains. We passed the ‘solar challenge’ cars – struggling into the wind – sandwiched between the hurtling steel of impatient road users.

Diary of an Adventure

Cape Town Adventure

Waking to the ringing of church bells, after the evening call to prayer ended the day. Soulful comfort carried on the wind lowing out of clear skies.

Our Airbnb accommodation in Fishhoek, spotless and comfortable. Within easy walking distance of the beach and a short commute to Lesa and Alan’s new home in Kommetjie. Special times, particularly with the changes ahead.
https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/16188719


Kalkbay. Unexpected installation art of butterflies against the wall at the Olympia Cafe. Flights of fantasy. The art galleries less exciting.
Good food at Live Bait, the sea at our feet with a spectacular sunset. The service beyond terrible.
Hole in my hand trying to catch a wine glass that I somehow managed to knock over. One of those, double bounces that ended up in spraying glass shards across the floor. At least there wasn’t wine in the glass, and the blood didn’t add to the mess.
Newstead Wine Estate on a day of storms. Blazing fire that touch of magic. The meticulous vineyards evident in the delightful Sauvignon Blanc and the bubbles full of joyful abandon. Fresh bread, cheese and a crispy walnut and pear salad made for a fabulous lunch.
Van Gogh sitting on my shoulder as I fought with the sunflowers in my painting ‘Sunday Commute’ of the old man on his bicycle. Thrilled that it’s Sold and will be heading to its new home in France, together with the painting of the Irises.

Diary of an Adventure

Cape Town Adventures

 

Portrait of Donavan, ’Story Teller’, safely delivered to its new home.

Stunning walk along the valley of the Berg River dam in the shadow of the towering Drakenstein mountains. Necessary after an evening of marvelous food and great wines. The final evening at Ruben’s before they move to a new location in Franschhoek.

drakenstein

Tim and Sarah’s apartment our base for a few days in Cape Town. The city a new playground. Particularly as its situated in the heart of the rapidly developing creative hub. Easy and uncomplicated.
Dinner at the Chef’s Warehouse, situated in a heritage building on the foody Bree Street. Be warned that bashing your head on low doorways is a risk and the small stools at the long tables can be a challenge.
Chef Liam Tomlin has been a favorite since his time at the Culinary Studio in Franschhoek where he taught me to use a knife without leaving chunks of my fingers on the slab. The Tapas menu, an opportunity to sample not only a range of food and flavour combinations, but it’s a visual delight that shows his craftsmanship and mastery.

Truth, is still a delight. However, be warned that wanting to add sugar to your coffee is greeted with horror. Almost as much as asking for hot chocolate!

Back in the studio, the admin list is almost at an end and it’s time to mess about with paint.

The rain has arrived, settling in for what feels like a damp few days. Did manage to get a jog in. Necessary after the indulgent few days in the vineyards and Cape Town.

I have been a tad distressed at the unpleasant ‘foot odor’ emanating from my shoes after a year or so in havaianas. I tried changing socks a couple of times a day, with little improvement. This until I realised that my running shoes smell disgusting after a year of jogging! Hopefully the washing machine will sort it.

Diary of an Adventure

Vineyard Adventures

Warm late summer days in the vineyards. Fish Eagles calling from blue skies. Unhurried dinners watching the stars come out as the evening cools enough to warrant a rug for that last glass of wine. 

Polly up in the early hours, disturbed by the bushbuck wondering through the garden.
‘End of the Season’ Oil on Canvas. The cottage full of the smell of linseed oil and wet paint from my canvas of the harvest in Stellenbosch.

As the harvest nears its end and the vines begin to change into their gold, maroon and yellow colours, so our time in the cottage runs down.
Skies shrouded in smoke. Air tainted with charcoal. Red sunset, pales as fires rage. Flames visible from the vineyards, burning from Tokia across the Constantiaberg. Devastating. 
The blue seas at Hermanus calming after the drive through burnt mountains. Crews hide in the shade thrown by their fire trucks, legs sprawled between empty food containers, while smoke coils into the superheated skies. 
The unusual sight of a Cape Cobra on the patio. Efficiently caught by a couple of crazy guys who moved the sofa, behind which it was coiled, and calmly picked it up by the tail before dropping it into a cloth bag. Not something for the faint hearted!
On the weber, slow-roasted halved brinjal with ribs, using the Blue Sky organic salt, it’s chilly bits adding a gentle zing to the brinjal. Brinjals are not on my favourite list, however as they were featured in the Taste magazine, and cost almost nothing, it seemed with a try. The unlabeled Spookfontein red blend was great, however the Chardonnay (not my favourite wine) from Lismore Estate in Greyton was sensational.
On the easel, a painting of Elephant Dual that was damaged when we moved from Tanzania. A few adjustments needed to fit the different sized canvas. 

Slow-roast halved brinjal on the weber

Ingredients

2 medium brinjals

Olive oil

Basil oil

Blue Sky organic salt, it’s chilly bits adding a gentle zing.

Parmesan cheese

Instructions

1. Prepare an Indirect fire on the Weber: A medium fire (300 C) is needed. About 45 minutes from lighting.

2. Prepare the Brinjal: Cut the stem end and bottom off the brinjal, then cut it in half lengthwise. Score the flesh with a knife, cutting deep into the flesh but not through the skin. Cut diagonal lines going about an inch apart, then turn the brinjal around and cut again so you have a diamond pattern. Rub salt into the flesh and let it stand for 30-45 minutes. Then rinse off the salt, and pat dry with a paper towel.

3. Roast the Brinjal: Brush the flesh with olive oil and cook face-up on an indirect fire with the lid on for 35-40 minutes. 

4. Let the Brinjal Cool: Let the brinjal cool for 10 minutes, finishing off with a scattering of basil oil and parmesan cheese.

Diary of an Adventure

Vineyard Adventures

On emerald grass, dusted with gold, stark ribs of garden sofas, squat beneath heavy skies, braced for winter. Maison, for their season ending lunch. Probably a tad too much wine, well anticipated by Terry and Hesta with Nicholas driving us.

An unexpected afternoon of sunshine, demanded a braai. My lack of practice evident in a fire that was too cold to give any colour to the steak, while mushroom skewers were cremated. Patient, tolerant, friends and Black Rock the antidote.

With rain sheeting down, sorting cupboards in the studio seemed a good use of time. Interestingly, there were more electronic bits to sort than paint supplies. Filing of painting pictures organized and old discs and drives cleaned and tossed. The paintings from Juba removed from their travel wrapping, and the print of Mina’s portrait prepared for her.

Lunch with Dad and Mary at Willow Creek on a stormy day. Mountains tinged with snow. Perfect weather for the excellent oxtail Terry prepared, accompanied by Crozes Hermitage. The heat from the fire making short work of the wine.

In the garden, clivia’s are starting to bud and the first of the camellia’s are in bloom. Wild Irises, spots of whiteness amongst the foliage. Lush after the first of the winter rain. The sage is still flowering, attracting sunbirds who somehow manage to cling to storm tossed stems.

Truth Coffee Shop should be on everyone’s list of Must Stop places in Cape Town. Being served excellent coffee by attentive staff in a setting that resembles a ‘League of Extraordinary Gentleman’ film set turns the experience into entertainment. The Croque-Monsieur on a wet, cold day should be mandatory.

As part of International Design Capital, the Castle of Good Hope was the setting for Karmers. Amongst the exhibits, spots of design flair. Casually discarded against the stone of the castle. Unexpected brilliance.

De Grendel, for their very good Pinot and excellent bubbles, watching the storms across the mountain. A charcuterie platter to nibble on as we watched the distant activity in the harbour that could, with wine fueled creativity, been sailing ships of the first settlers.

Diary of an Adventure

UN Leadership Training

UCT Graduate School of Business

Quiet contemplation. One of the values around which the UN Leadership Training is structured. Recognizing that they have a room full of frazzled field people who need space in coming off their ADHD lives. Within the fantastic facilities of the UNCT Business School, courtyards, gardens, art and the myriad of corridors rough the former prison, a natural maze in which to loose oneself.

My single expectation of the course, as highlighted on the Board of Truth, against which sessions are measured for relevance and application to our jobs, is to ‘Change the Paradigm’ – You can’t get different results if you keep doing things the same way. ‘If you don’t know where you are going, any road will do’ – Alice in Wonderland.

We have a small, moldy cottage, on the steep slopes of Signal Hill in De Waterkant. Trendy, beautifully restored and a short walk down the hill to the Business School. The lawns next to the sea at Moullie Point for Polly’s walks. An abundance of coffee, wine and eating options.

The Piano Bar has a comfortable, if narrow, terrace from which to watch the sky turn ultramarine blue. A menu of interesting, tasty, snack options to keep the wine company. Music and people, a constant swirl.

A fascinating discussion by Dr Ramphele on leadership in Africa and the entitlement, rather than responsibility models. Challenging us to affect a Mindset Change in Leadership, as it’s in our hands to make lots of small changes that have a collectively large impact.

A whole new view of leadership based on Steward Leadership (being the best leader you can for the world) that looks at Leadership Maturity.

Jazz by the UCT Jazz Ensemble at the Mahogany Room. An intimate jazz bar that, although new, has the feel of jazz masters woven into the fabric of the walls. Good wine, at an affordable price, was unexpected and the sound quality excellent. Great music, the tenor special. The absence of Cape Flats jazz influence in the program, a disappointment.

Structured model of leadership behaviour, a neat package in which to look at the different traits required in different aspects of the organisation. Contrasted against the loose, seemingly disconnected role of Art in leadership. Emphasizing the Trust aspect of leadership. A mirror of our chaotic, changing, unpredictable worlds that run contrary to set targets and systems. Beneficiaries, and what should be our focus often lost.

Not sure I’m any further forward in integrating Human Centered Design with the dimension art brings to sustainable decision making.

The different aspects of art and Africa were extended into a noisy evening at Gold, which included drumming (participatory) and dance, enhanced into food flavours, colours and textures.

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Diary of an Adventure

Vineyard Adventures

Vineyard Adventures
25 January 13

A day of sorting the studio, packing the new wine fridge, which is a tad small, probably perfect? The new, lemon green Weber is ready for action, waiting for Fredy to arrive from Switzerland and Coreta from Knysna.

Polly is recovering from her surgery and although moving with much less pain, tiers easily and stares at us with huge eyes. Short walks in the vineyards al, that is possible for now.

The cottage garden is suffering in the heat and wind. Even the rugged agapanthus are taking strain and many of the vineyards are showing signs of heat stress. For all that, the drive through to Stellies was stunning where we enjoyed excellent sushi at Genki’s.

On the patio, with Francolin’s and their chicks visiting, Terry’s superb terrine, accompanied by bubbles and Bein Merlot rose. Perfect on a scorching day. The question, being implemented by the ever patient David. What is the optimum length for the wind paddle of the wind chime?

Dentist sorted, we stopped at Wild Peacock for a pre-lunch cappuccino and a haircut. Jordan Estate for a stunning lunch, the valley golden in the sunlight. Dad and Mary drove down from Montagu and Hesta managed to join us. We made a fair amount of noise, the Syrah was very good, and the lemon and poppy seed soufflé with vanilla, outstanding.

Stellies Views
Oil on Canvas

Stellies Views
Oil on Canvas

Mum’s for a brief visit after a morning in the Regional Office. Lesa and Alan came across for one of Mum’s table-groaning meals and it was great to see Lesa so rested after her trambolic year and recovered from the fall from her horse.

To counter the triple assault of searing summer temperatures, sea sand and pine tree roots in the garden, I’m going to try planting in cardboard boxes, sunk into the ground filled with potting soil. By the time the cardboard has disintegrated the plants should be established enough to to withstand the roots. We stopped at Delios to see what garden bench, urns and other elements could be used in some of the areas where the plants are struggling.

Twelve Apostles, where Polly is welcome with her own menu and the blue sea stretches to where it falls off the world. A few seals to keep us entertained while we enjoyed a glass of wine and a light meal before dragging ourselves back to the cottage for a well earned nap.

My painting, confined to the wooden garden furniture!