Africa is not boring – no sir.

This week has been no exception. As our social whirl nose-dived and dedication to the grind stone soared we have been rocked by events such as the continued debates around the apartheid-style Protection of Information Bill, the Public Service strike, daily Government corruption revelations and the piece de resistance – the noon collapsing of the famous Athlone Towers.

The Argus newspaper headlines said it all: 11h54:26. Yes, they pulled the trigger a bit early.

And, let’s not forget the continued shenanigans of our Monday and Friday visitor, Maria. Not content to hide car keys, ferret away briefcases, repack cupboards, and hide hammers, she now has developed a new trick: just as Madame’s roses are opening in the vase – chuck them away. She also now telephones on a Sunday to check whether we are OK and to let us know that a “Sunday without Church, is not a Sunday at all”.

South African media are being rocked like never before with the Government seemingly intent on quashing any criticsm and eradicating anything which smacks of investigative journalism. At last, business is weighing into the debate with retail giant Pick ‘n Pay placing this ad in the local press:

Image

It’s all rather scary and while South Africa has shown immense resilience during the past few decades, this will test the limits. The latest public sector strike is showing the frustration of the workers to the new Black elite – they can’t understand the profligacy and corruption when they struggle to make ends meet. Do the ANC hierarchy care? Time will answer this question and maybe, just maybe, some of them will have been voted out.

The world will watch and wait. Behaviour like this does not encourage investment and it’s fertile ground for a big split in the ruling party and a viable opposition.

On a lighter note and paradoxically when we’re talking about investment, we had the privilege of viewing a property on the Atlantic Seaboard that some overseas friends are building.

The pictures tell a little of the story:

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[The back of the staff quarters – an orangerie. Fronting this is a two bedrooms and bathrooms and general living rooms and kitchen]

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[A view from the first floor of the main house showing the embryo of a long pond, paving and general landscaping]

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[Scenic view from the roof of Table Mountain]

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[The two houses (staff and main) will have imported Balinese floors, tiles, doors, door frames. Our friends like the odd statue or two as well. The garden has been planned with various ‘setting’: tropical, provencal, desert, ornamental]

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[The pool excavation has begun – palms not indigenous, imported!].

On Friday evening, we were invited by Richard, Emma, Sam and Will to the Ambassador Hotel’s larny restaurant Salt, to say thank you for having them in Menerbes.

Great evening and in keeping with the wintry evening, red meat in the guise of rib eye steak and Springbok loin was the chosen fare.

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[Lipitor or Crestor – optional extras]

Madame has continued with her baking course at Silwood Kitchen.

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On collection, the car smelt like one of the finest French bakeries you could ever imagine. The eating has lived up to the promise!

Top left: a Household Brown Bread. Made by a new Cape Town mill called Eureka who are producing a stone ground flour with no additives, preservatives or chemicals.

Bottom left: Walnut Bread. Made with whole grain flour.

Right: Seed loaf. An adaptation of a recipe used to make bread during World War 11 – now with added sunflower, sesame and poppy seeds. Whole grain flour.

Totsiens – Lovonne and Simon xx

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