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The Cape Garden Route is justifiably reknown all over the world, and our trip there this week reaffirmed her worthy reputation. Despite recent flood damage in many places, the countryside is looking beautiful. A very dear friend with terminal pancreatic cancer asked me to tell a story at the Hermanus Golf Club. We had a wonderful evening together, sharing Shackleton, wine and dinner looking out over the course onto the mountains. The following day we drove the Garden Route to Port Elizabeth, loving the verdancy and particularly the abundant dairy farms along the way. Overnighted at the airport hotel for an early flight to Durban, to tell stories at Mount Edgecombe Country Club over lunch, then fly back to PE. A Zulu taxi driver had much to say about his perceived opinion of the youth, the ANC in KZN and general work ethics. Having been in Howick the previous weekend, I couldn’t help wondering when/if the roadworks along the N3 and N2 will ever be completed?

In Jeffrey’s Bay, we enjoyed chatting to farmers from the Free State who used to live in Jeffrey’s Bay, but went to their daughter’s farm at the onset of Covid. We all know what happened – three weeks became six months became two years, so they decided to stay full-time on the farm.
Sedgefield dances to its own drumbeat, and we were asked to speak from 1-2pm, I presume between lunch and an afternoon nap? Investec kindly came onboard and partly sponsored the events. Knysna Hollow hosted a wonderful session, before dinner with old friends who had come through from Oudtshoorn. In pouring rain we spoke at Zoox, outside Plettenburg Bay, overlooking polo fields. In Knysna we were hosted at One on Bollard B&B, a beautiful establishment offering superb hospitality, amenities and breakfast. The rugby match against England on Saturday evening was almost too much for my shattered nerves after the French game… I was sitting with David Spence who played a few games for Natal when we were at University, and for 70 minutes we were convinced our World Cup run was over.

On Sunday, we drove back along the Garden Route to St Francis Bay to speak at the Brewing Company. A lively, enthusiastic audience where we were made to feel most welcome indeed. The Brewery usually hosts music events, so Linky was unsure as to what sort of response storytelling would receive. Spent the night in Wilderness, hence the title of this blog.
En route home, we chose to leave the Garden Route at Swellendam, and swing inland along Route 60. My soul swam as we drove through magnificent farming country – dairy and fruit farms eventually giving way to wheat and sheep. Plenty of Blue Cranes, and Ostriches along with other birdlife.
A fantastic week in every regard.

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