I do love to live beside the seaside

Yoga on the seaside balcony
Yoga on the balcony

So the plan with coming to the coast was that we were going to be ACTIVE, we were going to swim and run and lose weight and look fit and gorgeous. When I say ‘we’ I mean the husband. Not me so much. I like to walk and do yoga. Running and me are NOT like Jacob Zuma’s fingers. For the first two weeks however, we were so busy socialising that besides going for walks we didn’t do much at all besides the daughter who has been surfing up a storm. However, once our visitors had left, we took ourselves in hand and made a list of the things we really wanted to do in Plett. Things we never got around to doing when we were down here over Christmas because we are so beach befok that if it’s a nice day, that’s where we go.

First on our list was doing the Robberg Hike.

We did the intermediate walk which is known as Witsand trail. If you are scared of heights (as I am) you will find this challenging as there are moments with no handrail where you have to climb up and down rocks. I also wore trail shoes which are very inflexible and that added to my feeling that I was going to tumble off one of the aforementioned rocks. I just kept thinking how embarrassing it would be to have to be rescued which made me extra careful. Especially for a walk that one blogger described as so easy she could do it in slops. I was also hiking with the two giants (the husband and the daughter) whose legs are WAAAAAAY longer than mine which added to my angst.

Utterly gorg Witsand trail
Utterly gorg Witsand trail

I was glad it was a coolish, cloudy day as this walk will make you sweat. Wear a cap and sunblock and take water and something to get your blood sugar up. We saw dassies and the most gorgeous colony of seals on our walk including a big chap who was extremely talkative and was clearly the boss of everyone else. The Witsand trail is – as its name suggests – sandy and you will have a half a kilo of sand in your shoes by the time you get to the beach which is stunning and secluded.

We had a little picnic there watched over by a beady-eyed seagull who was desperate for some crisps.

I then took a dip in the sea which was very reminiscent of swimming in the Irish sea down the road from my grandmother’s farm i.e. it was FREEZING but also gorgeous and refreshing. The husband stood by – not going in himself – but yelling “head in” (no, this is not some sexual command) until I dunked my head under the waves. Again, let me point out that HE DID NOT SWIM.

Not keen on heights. Walking around the Island at the seaside
Not keen on heights. Walking around the Island

I then did that awkward thing of changing out of your bikini on the beach without showing anyone your bits much to the amusement of the daughter. Do you remember having to hold towels around old aunties on the beach while they got changed into their bathing suits? Yep. I was that old auntie. On the beach there is also an island called – yes, you guessed it – the Island and we went for a walk around that. Quite a bit of clambering over rocks and no handrails so I nearly didn’t go but I’m very glad I did. We also saw men fishing off the rocks that looked like they must’ve parachuted in – I was in awe.

On the Sunday we went to have lunch at Bramon wine farm.
The Karen Book of Rules
The Karen Book of Rules

We had wanted to do wine tasting but alas that still isn’t permitted over the weekend (a very dumb rule I feel).

We did however get to have a glass of their bubbly which is woody and smokey and quite delicious. The menu is a tapas one. I highly recommend the calamari and the liver paté and the bread is literally manna from heaven. Extremely delish.

There was also a couple throwing a May-I-Speak-To-The-Manager tantrum which made me snort my champagne and also made me think of the new Karens’ book which I am dying to get my hands on called The Karen Book of Rules by Karin Schimke and Karen Jeynes.

I resent the Karen memes as my Karen friends do not match the stereotype at all. However, I love the idea of the book. Alas, I was not able to get it on Kindle so I will have to wait until I am back in the big smoke.

After the wine farm we popped into Nature’s Valley.
The Hit List by Holly Seddon
The Hit List by Holly Seddon

Lovely spot to go kayaking and to let kids paddle in the river and a gorgeously long beach to walk on. Sea looked a bit wild so I’m not sure I would fancy swimming there while there are no life guards because of Covid. To end off the perfect weekend, we went for a walk on the beach in the rain which was quite gorgeous. I stayed up far too late reading The Hit List by Holly Seddon (about human trafficking and the dark net) – FANTASTIC tension and naturally the alarm went off again. But the security company reckon that it wasn’t the crims this time but the guinea fowls who set it off.

We were once taking a trip to see the fam in Vic Falls and we went through Botswana to get there. As we were driving along – on roads so full of potholes that people drive on a track next to the actual road, I shit you not – a bakkie stopped on the other side. Suddenly a shotgun emerged from the bakkie and someone started shooting the guinea fowl on the side of the road. Being Joburgers, we immediately hit the deck at the sign of the gun and then were hysterical with amusement as we realised that they were not after us, they were after the guinea fowl – which thankfully they managed to miss.

I’ve now had a chance to visit all three bookstores in Plett – Bargain Books, The Village Bookshop and The Book Nook and I’m pleased to report that they stock a respectable amount of SA fiction and non-fiction.
JBay Lit Fest
JBay Lit Fest

I spotted many friends’ books at the various shops and purchased The Liar’s Girl by fave Catherine Ryan Howard from The Book Nook for only a hundred SA ronts which was very welcome as it is the end of the month and I have as usual exceeded my book budget (no, I’m sorry, I can’t pay school fees, I spent all the money on books).

I had a lovely chat with Faye Lazarus, the owner of the The Book Nook. There seem to be a number of authors living in the Plett/Knysna area whom she tries to support and she did say that she can never get any second hand copies of Deon Meyer’s books because people like to hang on to them.

Speaking of Deon Meyer, there is a bookfest happening in JBay this weekend and he will be appearing there on Saturday. Phone 071 515 4412 to book.

There is also a fabulous film fest GRIFF – the Garden Route International Film Festival on now. It’s online plus you can go and watch films at the drive-in but the ones in Plett only happen after we leave which I’m rather sad about.

The Book Nook in Plett at the seaside
The Book Nook in Plett
Yes, we will be returning to Joburg at the end of the month.

The Husband has spent a lot of time gazing mistily into the distance saying “I could live here.” and the daughter would pack up and move tomorrow. I feel torn. I adore the beach and the lifestyle down here but I also love Joburg. The son has been sending me pictures of the leaves sprouting on my oak tree and the blossoms on the Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow bush and I feel like I am MISSING OUT. But oh, the walks here on the beach in the morning are SO INCREDIBLY BEAUTIFUL and the people are so wonderful and friendly, not to mention the better class of crims. There must be a French word to describe the feeling of wanting to be in two places at once.

Missing my beautiful garden...
Missing my beautiful garden…

What I have become aware of is how we get so caught up in the humdrum routine of our lives in Joburg that we don’t venture out beyond our natural habitat that is The Parks. I have resolved to be better once we get back home. I want to go and explore new restaurants and bookshops and go on some hikes around Joburg. We have so enjoyed walking around our neighbourhood during lockdown, it’s time to spread our wings and be tourists in our own town.

I have no TV news, I have watched a rerun of the Graham Norton show in the three weeks I’ve been down and nothing else (slightly alarming considering I make my living as a TV writer.)

In bookish news this week, the utterly fabulous children’s author Refiloe Moahloli has a new book out called We Are One/Simunye/Ons Is Een. It is about ubuntu and how we are all basically part of the human race and sounds FANTASTIC and beautiful and just what we need when everything is so shitty. I can’t wait to buy it for my various great nieces and nephews. The title reminds me of when I performed in the Yo Kids Holiday Show (remember Yo TV??) at what was then the Civic Theatre in 1996 and sang and danced to Simunye – We are one which I believe was the SABC 1 jingle at the time. I will sing it for Refiloe when I get back (I’m lying, I have no intention of singing anything).

We ARE one
We ARE one

Time for me to go and drink wine and gaze at the sea. Take care of yourselves and happy reading! xxx