Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Beach walk at Sedgefield before a quick stop at the market for blue skies organic salt. Studio busy with holiday tourists and the canvas for the Etosha commission on the easel. An underpainting of two blue-grey mixtures. Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Umber, as well as Cobalt Blue and Burnt Sienna. Dashes of Cerulean Blue adding depth.

Fabulous dinner. J9. Chef Coreta. Amuse-bouche of Chev, melon, Parma ham and dill served with Ghost Corner Bowline. Grilled halloumi, roast tomatoes, on a bed of butter lettuce served with ‘Courageous’, dry land barrel fermented Chenin as the starter and a main of Kingklip, pancetta, Parmesan, dill in a Champagne and cream sauce. a selection of wine that included Colmont MCC, Miss Lucy, Radford Dale Chardonnay,  Driehoek, Oak Valley and Newton Johnson Family Vineyard Pinot Noir. Tarte au Chocolate as a dessert served with Doran Vineyard Shiraz. 

Via’s are hosting my art and painting demonstration as part of the Greyton Art Walk. I have a collection of my small paintings, as well as a few of the silk scarf wearable art range for something different.

‘The Walk the Experience’ gives access to various artists studios and homes, providing insight into working methods, techniques and inspiration.
My early run took me out onto the trails through the hills outside the Village. Taxing in the extreme!
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Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Small Cape-sugarbird painting and two new scarf designs based on the Irises and Foxgloves and the abstract seascape from Pringle Bay. Hours grappling with the enforced software changes as Apple eliminate third party software.

Buffel’s dune walk, beach and graffiti. Calf muscles a tad unhappy with the soft sand and steps. Not nearly as unhappy as my bum muscles after their first ride back on my mountain bike! Clavicle complaining at the abuse of the short Red-bridge, White-bridge loop through old Belvedere. 
Studio worked well for an intimate dinner at the long-table. Great weather helped.
Howling winds, and patches of rain. Perfect weather for a Boeuf bourguignon. That Julia Child favourite, but using the recipe from Plate that has the beef marinaded overnight and cooked on the bone. Not the prettiest of dishes, it was delicious. Served with a rich sweet-potato gratin and green beans, not forgetting the compulsory crusty bread for the sauce. 221 Cuve from Alvis Drift worked fabulously.
Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Studio busy with tourists and a new banner up against the black of the building site next door giving some visibility for the studio. 

A small painting of Cape Sugarbird, and two canvases prepared for the Greyton Art Walk next month. I will be painting there for a couple of days and need the canvases dry enough to travel. 

Resupply of paint a tad extreme. Cyan, an unknown ‘primary’ colour. Both in acrylic and oil paint. 

Axe Hill Machado, the Portuguese word for ‘axe’. 35% Souzão, 30% Touriga Nacional plus dashes of Shiraz and Tinta Barocca from Carlitzdorp is big, generous and chewy. Not quite the wine I would have chosen for a hot summer afternoon. However, it pushed the sun into the shadows and with a rich gorgonzola couldn’t be faulted.
Mountain bike back from its service With new cycling shorts to add that extra layer of bum-protection, I’m hoping that my collar-bone won’t protest too much.
Great to see the paddle steamer back at its mooring, after almost submerging earlier in the year. Summer sunsets wouldn’t be the same without the paddle steamer crossing in front of the apartment.
Blood sugars settling back to less scary levels. 
Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

‘Etosha Study’

Oil on canvas 45cmx25cm

Greenish, white clay of the ‘Great White Place’. Pale-golden colour of the grasslands against blue skies. The green-grey from Cobalt Blue and burnt Seinna, mixed with Cerulean Blue. The white-grey a mixture of Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Umber. Also the grey mixture I used for the elephant.

Chef Hirsch crafted (another) fabulous dinner. Avo, pea, mint with smoked salmon, blue cheese crème fraîche and capers. Followed by ‘moqueca’, a Brazilian fish stew, served with spinach-cauli noodles and crusty bread for the delicious ‘soup’. Which I did manage to mess down my shirt and trousers. Something I couldn’t even blame on diabetic ‘shakes’, as my sugar levels weren’t totally crazy. Fryers Cove Pinot Noir served with the moqueca.

Owls hooting before dawn. Seagulls screeching in alarm. Gentle rain for my morning jog up the Welbedaght hills. Coucal’s calling encouragement from the bushes

Rump skewers with Smokey béarnaise sauce. Simple. Deliciousness. A green salad of gem-lettuce, avo, parmesan shavings and pine nuts. Added crunchiness. Perfect.

Orthopedic Surgeon happy with how the bones in my clavicle are healing. A complication with a bursa on my elbow that needed draining and is now trapped in a compression sock for three weeks. The cortisone injection a tad painful. Messing with my blood sugars.


Moqueca (Brazilian fish stew)


INGREDIENTS

1kg skinless firm white fish fillet (such as snapper), pin-boned, cut into 3cm cubes

1/3 cup (80ml) lime juice

1/4 cup (60ml) olive oil

1 red onion, thinly sliced

1 green capsicum, thinly sliced

1 red capsicum, thinly sliced

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 short red chillies, finely chopped

2 cups (500ml) fish stock

400g can chopped tomatoes

270ml can coconut milk

1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil (see note)

6 large green prawns, peeled (tails intact), deveined

Coriander leaves, to serve

Spinach-cauli noodles, to serve

METHOD

Step 1
Place fish in a large ceramic dish and toss with 2 tablespoons lime juice and 1 teaspoon sea salt. Chill for 30 minutes to marinate.

Step 2
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook onion for 3 minutes or until softened.

Step 3
Add capsicum, garlic and chilli, then cook, stirring occasionally, for a further 5 minutes or until capsicum is softened.

Step 4
Stir in stock, tomatoes, coconut milk and coconut oil. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook for 20-25 minutes until slightly reduced.

Step 5
Add prawns, fish and marinating juices, then cook for a further 8-10 minutes until the seafood is just cooked. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons lime juice and season to taste.

https://www.taste.c

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventure

Decided I wanted to do a companion painting for the Irises and Foxgloves. A square format, so not a traditional diptych. A tad concerned that the square canvas i was able to get is a tad small.

Unexpectedly the painting of the nature garden in Montagu that has been in our kitchen for years is off to its new home in Port Elizabeth.

From the ‘Plate’ cooking book, a lemongrass, sesame oil, chili, soya sauce and spring onion marinade for rump steak. Amazingly, I found all the bits amongst the various shops in our small town. Cooked over a hot fire, the flavours were subtle and delicious.

Suddenly. It’s my birthday. Incredible that 365 days have past. The wind howling, with a few spatters of rain that make the fire, and a glass of red-wine, that tad special. Of course my sister and Dad Sterley are no longer with us.

Carpets and rugs, filled with magical stories of Afghanistan. The rich madder red vibrancy of the rug from the carpet bazaar in Angoy, on the Tajikistan border. Delicate silks from Turkistan weavers. The luxurious pile of the sheep wool carpet from the market in our Kabul compound. That magical prayer-rug (that I’m sure I paid too much for) from our favorite carpet shop in Shahre-naw, Kabul. This while surrounded by my paintings from that incredible time.

From my diary …

Today the world is white! Snow is falling and this part of the world is beautiful.

Landing in Kabul through thinning cloud produced a landscape of brown and white. Snow drifts piled against buildings uniform in their drabness of the city much larger than I expected. It has some 2 million residents, 30 000 taxi’s, 200 000 cars and zillions of bicycles! Twisted aircraft wreckage lines the runway and it was with some apprehension that I stood in line to confront the fierce olive fatigued immigration officials. Certainly I did not expect the smile that greeted my announcement that I had no Visa, nor the friendliness of the driver that brought me here to my home for the next while.

The Great Masud road leaves the airport, a double lane highway along which you rocket at speeds constrained only by the fearlessness of the driver. Lanes don’t exist and where necessary the other side of the road becomes additional lanes. On one side, a single row of shops in various state of ruin run alongside the road with cultivated fields behind them. The other side has more elaborate structures long abandoned by groups such as Hoechst. There are obvious signs of repair with beautiful stone walls, interspersed with high security compounds. Unexpected colour from massive brightly painted trucks. Works of art in this mono chromatic landscape, laden with goods from Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Iran.

The UNOPS offices are in a run down apartment block. Inside, they have been renovated providing comfort enough when the electricity is working, but outside they look appalling. There is a new compound being built, the first phase of which will be ready for occupation in a few weeks. This will not include me as I take up responsibility for the rehabilitation of the University woman’s residence building. Well, that’s today’s story! From this table I can see children skating on the ice, and a few hardy people are flying kites. A landmark I was told I would find here.

The UNDP guest house (where I will stay this week) is a massive house, built on four levels with marble floors, chandeliers, a sweeping staircase and décor that jars my every sense. My room is comfortable, too hot with the heater and freezing without it, but there is a common lounge and dining room looking out to the garden.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

‘Soli’

acrylic on canvas 50cmx50cm

‘Take a deep breath, and settle yourself down.’

With grateful thanks to Soli and the many hours of companionship on our daily journeys to Worcester when Mum Sterley was ill.

The comment on the recipe (Plate) ‘the best osso bucco of my life’, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. We tried to emulate the conditions, with a night of storms and a fire warming the apartment, as well as aromas wafting down the staircase into the street. While the dish was delicious, the sauce was simply sensational. (The French part of Marlene van Der Westhuizen?) Organic rye, from Il de Pain French, an attempt not to trash my blood sugars too much!

Prince disturbed by the wind hammering the windows. A tad surprised that we didn’t wake to swamped boats in the Estuary. Storms giving way to sunshine fun.

A tad clumsy about the place with my one arm. Fortunately only messing things rather than breaking them. Left handed editing cumbersome and frustratingly slow. Must be wine time.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

‘Unicorn 2’

Oil on canvas 1,5mx1,5m

A few tweaks, and a couple of significant changes to the composition of the Rhino.

I decided to leave the tempestuous background, with its rough texture alone, as a contrast the smoother dust in the foreground.

Grateful for the collector who commissioned the painting. Loved the opportunity to work at that scale.

I. Remarkably, no blood! Hugh walked my bike out to where Clare could collect me home before Terry could get me casualty and the operation to fix my ‘properly broken’ clavicle. Fortunately, no complications, and while my blood sugars have gone crazy, they have sent me home after overnight observation. Six weeks, or so, my penance.

Hospital is not without its humorous side. The care I received was of the highest standard and professionalism.

A shared ward with a Dutch tourist who tore a knee ligament, and not only was a heavy smoker but had an absolute phobia about needles. Getting him prepped was a lesson in physiological counseling and slight of hand that was the envy of many magicians.

A nonagenarian woman, cranky in the extreme wanted go for walk outside, throwing he walking frame across the corridor as she doesn’t need assistance. Despite her recent knee surgery. She also decided on her midnight stroll, after insisting on coming into the wrong ward that I was occupying her bed and should be removed immediately.

An early morning tussle with e grumpy man who tried to leave the hospital to go home despite not being able to move unassisted and nobody at home to take care of him. Apparently he couldn’t get the USPGA on his TV screen.

I slept a bunch.

Norval Foundation

Brief shafts of sunshine through low clouds, natural spotlights highlighting the colours of ‘Wind Scuplture lll’ in the sculpture garden. Definitely best viewed from the warm comfort of the Skotnes restaurant.

Enjoyed the Collector’s Focus exhibition and wondering through the David Goldblatt exhibition, was transported back to my brief, terrifying, stint working at Grootvlei gold mine. While intrigued by the Yinka Shonibare CBE exhibition, Tradewinds’, I struggled to be engaged.

Scrumptious lunch. Beef bone marrow and sumac salsa, followed by beef flat iron with tomato Brodie and green beans. A glass of Skotnes red blend.

Rowing boats in a clients house

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Rose stopped past the studio to see the painting of the Oyster Collectors that I painted from her photograph

Erica’s in purple and pinks between banks of grey salt-bush alongside the paths through the Forest. Enough rain to turn trails into rivers that extra element of fun.

Colours swirling on the canvas for my painting of the Heads. Getting a tad lost in the water of the estuary.

Easter treat damage limitation with a run to the bottom of Phantom Pass. Ile de Pain, hot-cross bun with its apricot jam glaze and icing sugar crust (52grams of carbs) probably wasn’t sensible.

Bunch of people visiting which gave us the opportunity to try a couple of different places in our part of paradise. The late afternoon ferry out to the rebuilt Featherbed restaurant for their forest dinner. The building spectacular, and while the food might not be memorable there was plenty of variety, even for a diabetic.

Parmesan crusted kingklip, with a chilly/butter stuffing at Fatfish, looked amazing and was delicious. No less so than the tempura-prawn salad, with a great selection of wines by-the-glass.

Sold

Oil on canvas 20cmx20cm

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Beach walk with wild seas to soothe battered souls. The graveside committal for Dad, simple and sensitive. He rests, overlooking the golf course and across Montagu.

The Kalkveld Lounge at Zandvliet. Stylish, comfortable, fabulous wines and a tasty cheese and charcuterie platter (the olives were frighteningly salty), with a view to the arched gables of the Cape Dutch Homestead. There is not much to criticize. Particularly, with the excellent service from Leslie, the Lounge Manager.

The gallery space, carved from long buried concrete wine tanks creates a heightened sense of anticipation. The discovery of the amazing. Confined, intimate contact with the artworks.

Marsanne, France. ‘French Door’, a small, acrylic and charcoal on 300gram paper SOLD, amongst a bunch of paintings and scarves on a busy week in the studio. The ‘Pushing out the oars’, scarf sold out.

Our introduction to the trendy ‘Poke’ (pronounced POH-keh), one of the main dishes in Hawaiian cuisine. Poke means “to slice or cut” in Hawaiian and refers to chunks of raw, marinated fish — usually tuna — which is then tossed over rice and topped with vegetables and umami-packed sauces.

Clare did tuna and salmon, with black rice (carb clever noodles for me), carrots, peas, mushrooms, peppers, onion flakes, spring onion, avocado, pineapple and toasted sesame seeds. A light cerviche of lime and soya for the tuna and salmon bits. Tasty and colourful on a fabulous summer evening. (Photo credit: Craig Smith)

Summer. Haviananas. Cracked heels. A diabetic nightmare. Particularly for one who hates shoes anyway.

French Door

Acrylic and charcoal on paper

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Air reverberating with the sounds of helicopters heading to the fire front, the news that one of my collectors homes had burnt down. 3 generations of memories lost, and my paintings.

Blood sugars suddenly trampolining all over the place (7.8 mmol/L -3.8 mmol/L) after a month of being stable. Averaging 6.0 mmol/L with a standard deviation of 0,7. Diabetic carbs at 23grams, well within the 50 gram range. Particularly noticeable an hour after exercise, with cycling creating the biggest swings. Dehydration with the onset of warmer weather?

‘A Pair of Kings’. A small painting of the King Protea on the studio table that reminded me of Van Gogh’s ‘Still Life with Two Sunflowers’ painted in Paris, 1887.

After the contortions to create the small works my shoulders and hands are straining with the demands of covering the large surface for my painting of dolphins. The rough canvas blistering fingers already a tad sensitive from not concentrating when changing hot braai grids on the Kamado Jan for the slow cooked fillet.

The Forest. Full of magic. Roses of every hue, perfuming the world. Ghost tendrils. Air plants in the setting sun. Timeless laughter with excellent wine and an exquisite dinner under a star filled sky. Woodcutters Cottages, another gem in our part of paradise.