Baden, Western Cape.

A view over Baden

Baden Resort, showing the cold pool, the club house, some chalets and the camping areas

Kathy and Martin were waiting for me at the arrivals barrier in Cape Town, ready to drive me the two-hour journey to Montagu and Baden. I felt a little paranoid to discover that John had left as I was arriving, but I needn't have worried, he was off to Bloemfontein to compete in the Confederation of Hunters Associations of South Africa's Interclub Competition. There were 32 teams competing and John had been chosen for team C of the Cape Hunt. This was wonderful for John, considering his terrible motorbike accident. He has recovered so well! In the competition, the Cape Hunt's A team came first, John's C team came 10th, and their B team came 17th. It looks like some sorting of the teams needs doing - or maybe it was just down to John's expertise!

John (in front with the white jeans) with his fellow team-mates.

The weather at Baden was lovely and Eric and I even managed a dip in the hot spring. The wonderful thing about life in Baden is that little changes. Although, that said, one major change I noticed is that many of the apricot trees have gone, as John has diversified into sheep and lucerne. The price of fruit has been steadily falling and both sheep and lucerne give immediate and sustained returns, so it makes economic sense.

There's not a lot of wildlife there, on the edge of the Karoo, but we did see buck, and some fresh baboon spoor, although fortunately not the baboons. There was also the cobra in Louise's kitchen that Eric went to dispatch at nine o'clock one night - a normal event in life on a farm in South Africa!

Ouma Kitty (Alta's mother), Ouma Emily (Richard's mother), Richard and Alta, the benefactors of the feast that was Sunday lunch!

Carine, Martin, Richard and Kathy and a tiny representation of the vast Sunday lunch.

Baby Richard with Louise and Eric enjoying Sunday lunch. Unfortunately, 
John was missing, as he was shooting in a competition.

I felt a sense of belonging as I was welcomed to Sunday lunch at the main house, where four generations of Knipes sat around the table. I was also invited to dinner with Lorna; with John and Louise; with CJ and Miemie; and to drinks with Martin and Carine. I felt very privileged. We had such fun, I definitely want to return, perhaps next time with David. Thank you so much Kathy and Eric, and everyone at Baden.

Cheers from me, Miemie and Kathy, while enjoying Lorna's wonderful spread!

From the left: Miemie, CJ, Eric, Kathy, JC and Lorna, all enjoying the kudu, 
as only CJ knows how to cook it.

I also enjoyed spending some quality time with Richard and Louise.

Now, after all that food, I definitely need to go on a diet before Tammy's wedding in Perth next month!


More Good Things to Eat in South Africa!

From the left: Sean, Me, Sherry, Viv, Gary and Lindsay.

On Sunday, we went to dinner with Jane and Sean's lovely neighbours, Viv, Lindsay and Gary, and another friend, Sherry. We had such a good evening. Lindsay made two wonderful meat loaves, served with mashed potato, peas, gravy, and a tomato and basil salad. Delicious! This was followed by ice cream and Viv's home-made butterscotch sauce, which solidified on impact with the ice cream. Yum!

The sauce was so more-ish that Sean scraped out the jug!

Jane, not to be outdone, snatched it from him and finished it herself. I must say, I was quite envious!

Tuesday was book club night. Once a month, Jane and friends meet to discuss the books they have read and enjoy dinner together - although it appears that more wine is drunk than books are discussed! Anyhow, the evening was a great success and I, for one, enjoyed myself immensely. I do hope I get to go again next time I am visiting Jane.

From the left: Jane, Caroline, Heather, Tracy and Heather.

Tomorrow, I am off to Cape Town to stay with Kathy and Eric. Lucky Me!! - although I will be sad to leave Jane, Sean, Shannon and Jordan, as I my stay with them has been wonderful.


Forest View Inter-House Swimming Gala

The year 3 swimmers show style, while their team-mates cheer them on.

Shannon astride her 'horse' in the seahorse race.

On Friday, Jane and I went to Shannon's school inter-house swimming Gala. I was really impressed with the organisation. The gala was held for the children from reception to grade three and every child had to compete, whether they could swim or not - there was no ducking out!

Shannon leads her team out for the next race.

There were regular races for the swimmers and fun water-races for the non swimmers. Every child jumped into the water without fear and they all climbed out without the aid of steps - no mollycoddling here! All the children had great fun, as was evidenced by the joy on their faces and the enthusiasm with which they competed. The gala was well supported by the parents and each family provided a plate of eats for tea.

Shannon follows her team out, ready for a race.

The gala was competitive, with points being displayed on a board, so everyone knew which team was winning. This was such a refreshing change from the nonsense that is allowed to prevail in UK now. There, competition is not allowed, everyone has to see themselves as a winner whether they put any effort in or not. ...and I am sure the nanny government would baulk at the notion of insisting every child participate. What about their human rights to be namby-pamby drop outs?

Shannon exhibits style as she carries her umbrella across in the relay.

Shannon's house, Kudu, came second. She wasn't the least bit traumatised. All it did, was to make her more determined to help her team to win next time!


A Night to Remember

From the left: me, Brian, Jane, Billy, Lynne, Sean and Judy (Lauren kindly took the photo)

We had a splendid evening at Billy and Judy's house yesterday.Their daughter, Lauren, cooked us a magnificent meal and that, together with the wine, put us all in such good spirits that we hardly stopped laughing all evening. It was great to catch up with Billy and Judy after so long, and we were so happy that Brian and Lynne could be there too. We do miss family and friends, now that they are scattered all over the world, and we savour those precious moments when we can be together. We were only sorry that David wasn't with us. He would have really enjoyed himself!

Me with Brian

Judy and Lauren

Brian and Lynne

Sean and Jane

Billy and Lynne

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I couldn't resist this one!