It was one of those perfect Blue Sky Saturdays as we drove away from the city, its string of cars pulsing out bad breath and loud noise. We waved them goodbye as the road stretched before us, through golden wheat fields full of hawks swooping above as, I’m sure, little mice gathered sheafs of wheat below. Or picnicked. Maybe mice picnic amongst the wheat when it’s waiting to be harvested. And play mouse cricket, with a tiny bat and even tinier ball. Whatever they were doing, I hope they were paying attention to the birds of prey above.
We went to stay at a beautiful old farmhouse on the edge of a little village with a big mountain backdrop. It’s one of those villages that is full of the artistic, the eccentric, and the trees whisper of secrets and goings-on that happen when the sun sets behind that mountain and fairy lights begin to flicker in the trees.
The owners are retired from The City Beneath the Mountain. He started a string of security businesses here at the right time, knowing it would become booming business as crime stats gripped at our throats. Before that he was a publisher, and even before that, he was a musician (while he was ‘courting’ her). They burned themselves out over 30 years of it and now live idyllic lives there, in a little piece of paradise.
We went into the village to watch the rugby. Well, G watched the rugby, while I read Huisgenoot (I’d left my book at the guest house and Huisgenoot seemed apt) and watched the people – the wholewheat family at the next table, six adults and an endless supply of children doing a very good job of ‘communal parenting’ – pizza slices, dummies, bottles and Daddy’s laps being shared.
At the next table a girl who looked young, but apparently isn’t, drank herself silly on the local cocktail, the Italian Stallion (my mother should do some cocktail naming for them), which, on tasting, contained a mixture of alcohols with, I think, Sparberry (fizzy raspberry) – alcopop to the extreme.
Then home to bed in our house with a wide passage and stories of a ghost donkey who runs down the road with its tail on fire (purely fabricated by our proprieter apparently – he says it’s the most brilliant security measure). The morning brought with it a brilliant blue sky and the still heat of the Swartland. The lady of the house persuaded G to do aqua aerobics in the beautiful pool as I sat in the shade of the wide stoep overlooking the vineyards beyond the pool.
Our proprietor busied himself playing old show tunes and languid French-sounding love songs on the piano in the depths of the cool house while I laughed at G cheating at her aqua aerobics and the lady of the house pirouhette and dance in the pool. My best bit though, the Chinese face exercises which included various sticking-out-tongue-while-raising-eybrows manouvres:
Lady of the House: Okay, now rub the tip of your nose with the palm of your hand.
G: Like this?
LotH: Yes, it’ll make you sexy.
(Snorts of mirth from Shiny on the stoep).
They were lovely and tried to get us to stay another night, on the house (and in the house, snigger). We’d have loved to, but schedules didn’t permit. With sighs we drove back toward the mountain, playing music loudly all the way to push back any creeping Sunday Blues.
Honestly, what can be better than a Blue Sky Saturday?
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