Friday, August 27, 2010



Mr Nielson better known as Sid, and I joined our dear friends, Carol and Gerald ( aka Ca+Ge ) at their country house in Barrydale.

Lest you imagine some little bolthole along a village lane, you are clearly unfamiliar with the delicously avante gard 'CaGed' ones. Other people purchase a holiday house at the seaside, they buy a small hotel. A suite of offices in town? Why not put up a whole block! Spot a building going up as you float on an early morning swell, dry off immediately and go ask them to sell it to you!

And so it was perfectly reasonable for the CaGed ones to buy up every piece of land in the centre of this little town, in order to plant a vineyard, an olive grove and a series of eco 'klip huise', the likes of which a hobbit would be proud of!

Here I am looking suitably enchanted, if a little strangulated by my tightening clothes after yet another of Gerald's addictive breakfasts. Poached eggs on a bed of spinach with lightly smoked salmon and toasted rye.

The garden at Karoolkie is unconventional and contemplative.

As you sit under the arched stone covered roof, and look out at the elegant poplars that line the river bank, wild hadeda call from the branches and peacocks waltz serenely amongst the Zen statues.

Ever the romantic, after more then 40 years together, he still puts his hand on her derriere whenever he gets a chance

We drove through the shifting passes of Montagu and the Tradeux Pass, as if encased in a virtual world of psychedelic intensity.

We drank cold water from mountain springs, and watched a troop of Baboon thunder up the craggy rock face when we ventured too close.
Cape Leopard have been seen in these hills, and the reserves are a desperately needed refuge for the flora and fauna so threatened by the 'progress' of man.

It's hard not to wish that you were one of the lucky few for whom Gerald built a little Karoolkie dwelling. Separated by vineyards and olive groves, the land is peppered with these unique retreats.

Mr Nielson better known as Sid, felt moved to don his 'teffilin' in the vineyard outside our bedroom, so moved was he by the splendid silence of a country morning.

Then, a spot of lolling about on the patio under the watchful eye of Udu the Kudu! Gerald found him lying on the pavement in Kloof street in a decidedly disheveled state, rescued him and brought him to Karoolkie where he has been watching over the place ever since!

Later in the afternoon we walk down to the local hotel to watch the rugby.

And we are unprepared for its stylish panache.

Nothing like a touch of 'camp' to keep the country fires burning. This chair had a female twin, and both needed that little turquoise cushion to keep the old ladies from their smelling salts!

An everchanging display of art and objet warms the space.

And every reception room has a vivid beauty and sensibility of its own, all adding up to an eclectic whole...

After dinner at The Mez, we walk back to Karoolkie Kelders along the bullrushes beneath a plump country moon.

And then, not surprisingly we enjoy a divine performance of our favourite acapella group 'Not The Midnite Mass' in Ca+Ge's very own Karoolkie Wine Cellar!

Ah, life in the country....

xxx elle

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