Thanks, Tex, thanks Adam for spoiling us so very handsomely. And thanks Michaelene and Gary for sharing your joy with us.
With love as always from
Colleen & Walter
Betty’s Bay, Tuesday 6 Dec 2011
It is open season now until December 31 and people are diving for West Coast Rock Lobster, generally referred to as “crayfish”. We also name them cockroaches of the sea – to give us an excuse – kind of vermin whooshing through the kelp beds – and we need not feel too guilty while being part of the destruction of our marine resources. But while they are supposed to be rich in good cholesterol and rich in other brain stimulating nutrients (see http://www.trapperarne.com) the good home-made mayo which should go with it, might not be so good for your system and in the end shorten your life expectancy, thereby ensuring the survival of the species Jasus lalandii.
Here is the recipe for Colleen’s home-made mayonnaise which our good friend Theodorus introduced us to and as we found out our French friends are using as well.
Home-made mayonnaise for about 4-6 people
You need a hand-held blender and a tallish container large enough to accomodate the blender and ingredients. The secret is to be quick with it – seconds only.
1 large egg
2/3 cup oil of choice (neutral flavour)
1/3 cup of good strong tasting virgin olive oil
1 large clove of garlic, sliced
2/3 tsp medium curry powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp strong mustard
1/2 tsp Tabasco
Put the egg, the oil and all ingredients into the tall upright container, put the blender to the bottom, switch on, hold for 3 secs, draw upwards slowly, not longer than 5 secs – et voilà – there is your very own home-made mayo and it tastes just so good!
We are expecting Freda, her sister Marina and husband John for supper to celebrate a day of friendship and the launch of Freda’s exciting new blog-site:
http://www.freda-friends.co.za – a richly embedded blogsite “For lovers of Cape Food, Wine & Lifestyle. In search of the interesting and the enchanting.”
Congratulation, Freda – you are amazing! Walter is doing his type of staple “Ratatouille” – a veggie pot slowly and briefly cooked in an iron casserole. Nothing like you see in the film “Ratatouille” where the critic swoons over the dish that instantly recalls the days of his boyhood – such a wonderfully charming scene! Anyway – Walter’s dish is equally straight from the heart, or so he thinks. Colleen always gives him the highest praise which makes his heart smile again.
Colleen in the meantime is engaged in a task of challenging proportions: a family portrait for friends in Germany. The size of her canvas does give an impression of the proportions. It will take her the best part of four months to finish – more or less. And she loves this kind of challenge.
Our guests are late. Time to finish the blog.
With love as always!
Colleen & Walter
Betty’s Bay, Friday, 2nd December 2011
Backstage at the Kronendaal Primary School in Hout Bay where the Audrey Anderson School of Modern Ballet had its annual presentation – beginners to advanced. The School Hall at Kronendaal was filled with moms and dads, grannys and whoever else had an interest in seeing the girls perform. We were allowed backstage to capture the mood.
A friend writes to us: “Nice to have you back in the country. It was great to follow you through Europe, and now to see you back in the Cape. Thanks for blogging us about the small things and take away a bit of the scary big ones world wide.”
What are those scary big ones world wide?
The poaching of Rhino horns? 1 kg of Rhino horn sells for up to 100.000 US Dollars in the East. That is scary.
The disappearance of a stack of portable ground-to-air missiles from Gaddafi’s compound?
That too is scary.
But what he really wants to say is: world-wide we are running out of credit.
Worldwide we are consuming more than we have in the bank.
And the banks are running out of collateral.
And the states will eventually not be able to honour their long-term debentures.
That is scary.
What does it all mean?
What are we to make of this?
Will it affect us, you and me?
It all depends. Look around you at what you have.
We might have to give up things we used to take for granted.
We might have to go back to the so-called drawing board and start generating ideas. Access the powers of the mind.
Drive ourselves instead of being driven – in a metaphorical as much as a literal sense.
Imagine a world different from what it appears to be now.
Look at all our dependencies.
Try to imagine how to reduce their number.
Reducing too the number of threats we are told to be concerned with.
Forget about the environment.
Forget about Green.
The destruction of the rain forest.
Forget about the poaching of abalone on the Cape Coast.
Let them rape the coast.
Let them eradicate abalone.
Let them eradicate Rhinos. We can easily live without them.
Their loss means nothing in comparison to what might come our way.
What, what – I hear you say.
Turn away from all the hullaballoo the media are constantly regurgitating.
There is a dependency you do not want to be part of.
Look into your own backyard.
Start living sensibly.
Be good in your own small way.
Look at what you eat.
Look at dependencies there.
Cut them out.
And more of it.
You begin to see the picture I am painting.
Let it all go past you, in a Tai Chi way – take a step back, hold it and then: by gently repulsing you are deflecting it, letting it pass.
That’s more or less the idea of confronting the European crisis: not much of a help, is it.
Well, let’s put it this way: be prepared instead of being scared.
Life on earth will go on. As before. There is no end in site.
Our local padre had a nice way of putting it to his congregation: bet with me that the world will not end on the 12 of December 2012: if it does not end, you will take me to the Spur (a local chain of restaurants) the next day; if it does, I will take you.
Cheers for now. With more encouraging thoughts next time.
And with love as always
Colleen & Walter
Betty’s Bay, Thursday Nov 17, 2011
We are happy to be back after a three long months’ journey into Europe and are enjoying the simple things in life again – a long sleep after a night’s deluge, waking up to a cool but bright blue sunny sky, brunch with home-baked bread, champignons fried in butter with garlic and smoked paprika, braised tomatoes topped with herbs from our early summer garden and a drive out to the Botanical Garden to refresh our senses.
Stepping into the Harold Porter National Botanical Garden at any time of any day is always a joy. It is so beautifully and unobtrusively laid out against the mountains that one is hardly aware of the many hands continuously at work to bring nature and culture together to form a harmonious entity. And seeing that our own garden has some elements of this type of naturalness we jokingly treat the Harold Porter National Botanical Garden as an extension of our own. Others surely must have similar sentiments. It is a sign of a well designed garden that you immediately feel at home in it as if you had planned it this way yourself.
What very happy day we’ve had.
from Colleen & Walter
Betty’s Bay, Sunday 13 Nov 2011
Percy and June had asked us to be present at the baptism of their first-born son to be christened in the community hall on the Sutherland Trust Farm in Elgin, a major farming community in the Western Cape.
We enjoyed this lively event of a charismatic baptism in the rural area of the Western Cape. It involves a lot of interactive responses, clapping, singing, jiving, ex tempore prayers – a lively praise and worship service. These people over the last 300 years have been part of the development of agriculture throughout the Cape. Their ancestry is mixed with indigenous Khoi San blood, mainly on the maternal side, shared with other influences from Africa, the Far East and Europe. They are a hardy, humble people, happy and proud, full of wit and humour. Their home language is Afrikaans and as such they are very part of the Afrikaner culture. A strange fashion among coloured people is to have the front teeth drawn early in life. It is an aesthetic thing and considered attractive.
Percy and his father have been helping us around the house in Betty’s Bay for many years. They are adept at plumbing, building, painting and electrical work and over the years a friendship has developed between us. Percy and June were married the year before last and have recently become the proud owners of a small house – just in time for the arrival of their offspring – which altogether made this christening such a happy occasion.
With all our blessings for the welfare of this lovely boy –
Colleen & Walter
Betty’s Bay, November 9, 2011
We were invited by the family of Barbara and Filippo Gautier di Confiengo to spend a weekend with them together with Dirki and Katie in their home in Piedmont. Dirki had formed a close friendship with their son Carlo. Last year, in a freak accident Carlo fell to his death. Since then Dirki has become “big brother” to Carlo’s four lovely sisters.
Filippo took us under his wing: leading us to the grand market on the outskirts of Torino and later in the day to San Martino Alfieri (Asti) for a tour of the Marchesi Alfieri Wine Estate.
We collected cheeses, artichokes, mussels, tomatoes, herbs and whatnots and Katie took charge of it all to relieve Mimi and her boyfriend Marco who had been spoiling us since our arrival while Mama Barbara was away in Warsaw for the eldest daughter Anna’s graduation. Congratulations, Anna!
With no rain for last 3 months, the land was bone dry with a taste of dust in the air. Our visit was short, just the weekend and when we left there was promise of rain to refresh the land.
We would like to visit again and stay for a longer time to emerse ourselves in the food and wine culture Piedmont is famous for and for the revival of traditional approaches to food what became the Slow Food Revolution – the appreciation of slow as opposed to fast food. It was promoted here and made famous by Carlo Petrini and others in the town of Bra, a ten minute’s drive from Piobesi.
A layer of sadness was always present, but the spirit of hospitality prevailed and we felt at home in its embrace.
Thank you, Barbara, Filippo, Maria, Marco, Sophie, Katie and Dirki!
With love as always,
Colleen & Walter
Betty’s Bay, Thursday Nov 3, 2011
Socrates (469 BC to 399 BC) maintained that evil or bad actions are the result of ignorance. Through knowledge you would be able to attain self-knowledge and with that your actions, by the very nature of such knowledge, would be virtuous and and provide you with happiness.
Quite a nice idea, but we also know too well that it does’nt work that way. We all want to be happy, we think we would like to be virtuous and would like to know if that would lead to happiness.
So-called “primitive” societies – the last ones today fighting for their survival in the Amazon rain forest – have knowledge, gained and transmitted from one generation to the next and might achieve self-knowledge, virtue and happiness all at the same time. Their example shows us how tenuous such knowledge is but we know too that such societies have never been all happy. The closest a society has come to more than just a fair degree of happiness we are told were the Hawaiian communities at the time of their being discovered by European explorers.
We were invited again this year by friends of Colleen to their home in the Cévennes – to Richard and Arlette. First we met up with Arlette’s sister Eliane who lives in Montpellier and then proceeded for an hour and a half’s drive in a north-westerly direction into the mountain ranges of the Cévennes.
Eliane and Arlette (Baccuet) were born to French Missionaries in Lesotho at the beginning of WW II. They still speak fluent Sesotho!! Colleen became very fond of them while they nursed together at Groote Schuur in the early 60’s. They returned to France in the mid 60’s and two years ago, after 47 years they reconnected and the friendship taken up where it left off. Arlette married Richard Dahan, a protestant Pastor, still very active as co-ordinator of prison chaplains of the greater Montpellier area. We are delighted and privileged to be enjoying this contact.
The community of Mandagout is composed of a number of hamlets dotted along the valley and surrounding mountain sides.
The Cévennes together with the “Causses” – i. e. a group of lime stone plateaus in the Massif Central – have recently been declared a World Cultural Heritage Site.
Though thinly populated there are still agriculturalists keeping up the tradition of farming with goats, Reinette apples, chestnuts and sweet white onions.
Our hosts treated us with a tian of vegetables from their own garden and a most delicious traditional onion soup.