Saturday, 11 December 2010

CAPE TOWN Dec 11th
It is not altogether surprising that I have been through a small dose of food poisoning/general stomach upset. What is remarkable, given the generally animal-infested, insect-ridden, dusty-floored and water-infected places I have stayed so far ( with apologies to Jakkalsbessie, the Taylors and the Boyd-Moss family ) is that it has not occurred before. It is a bit of an irony that I have copped it at the cleanest, neatest, tidiest, least animal-infested location I have stayed in, which also comes with the purest tapwater.
It may well have been the snack I had at Simonstown. This came as I was returning from a recce of the penguin colony at Boulders Bay, which I reached via Hout Bay, on the Atlantic coast and the road over Chapman’s Peak to Fishhoek on the Indian Ocean side of the Cape Peninsula. This is a drive of spectacular  scenery, as cliffs drop to the sea and mist rolls in over the Atlantic. Much of the time the mist is below the level of the road. That side of the peninsula was at least sheltered from the gale force wind that is a regular feature of life here at this time of year. It is a bit two-edged. On the sheltered Atlantic side, it is sunny but the water is freezing. On the windward Indian Ocean side, the water is warmer but the wind is a major issue. Boulders Bay was a bit of a tourist trap but I guess the family will have to go there, by which time it will be more overrun.
The evening would have been brilliant had I not been feeling so unsteady. Jessica and John are mad-keen (?obsessive?) about their bikes and Jessica had ten lady cyclists, plus a few spouses, to supper. They represented most of a team which had recently completed a 200km road-race. I liked them very much, from the larger-than-life Rinda, the leader, to Debbie, who was probably the senior partner. I talked most to a couple, with the easily remembered names of Janet and John, who had come out here from Southport in 1972 and stayed. I would have got round everyone but was feeling migrainey and very stomachy by about 9.00 and retired, which was a shame, since this would have been the opportunity to meet more local people at one sitting than I have met in total thus far.
By yesterday, I was feeling sufficiently recovered to play golf at Steenberg, a course that features holes strategically placed between vineyards and houses. The wind howled, again, but fortunately my golf stood up, for the first nine holes anyway. One of my opponents was a friend of John’s, Francois, who would back himself to do almost anything if he felt he had a 30% chance of success John, whom I partnered, was excellent at tempting him to drive greens downwind and to go for ridiculous carries into it. So we won.
All the Knight children were home yesterday, for the first time. Hannah has just finished Metric ( SA A-Levels ) and been away partying for a week with friends. Supper with them all in evidence was very reminiscent of what suppers are like on the rare occasions all of us sit down. Lots of genial stick given to Mum and Dad by teenage offspring. Mine will have competition when they turn up.

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