We know all about the Bog 5 – Lion, Elephant, Rhinoceros, Elephant and Buffalo – but now the tourist boffs have come up with another one ; The Southern Right Whale is the sixth member of the clan.

We took Rachel and Dave down to Hermanus to spot the big mammals – spotted one breaching in the distance:

A splash denotes the presence

Here she comes

A library pic of a Southern Right breaching

The gardens at La Petite Ferme are a joy and the Canon camera was clicking away merrily:

Looking our over the Valley

One of the stalwarts of the famous French Huguenot area of Franschhoek (about 60km from Cape Town) is the restaurant and farm, La Petite Ferme.

Perched high up on the mountainside the restaurant boasts spectacular views of the Franschhoek Valley and surrounding farms. La Petite Ferme’s food is exceptional, with service to match. It’s part of ‘what you do’ when you have overseas visitors – so book early!

The restaurant building from the front gardens

Signature starter - Cape Malay pickled fish

A new take on a Cottage Pie

A trio of chocolate mousses

To-day is 27 September 2011. 60 years ago, our best friend was born…….Happy Birthday E.

May our Friendship continue to grow as it has done all these years

“A best friend stands by you

When no one else cares

Understands you

When no one else tries

Believes in you

When no one else does.”

~ Unknown

Megeve, French Alps

“Many people will walk in and out of you life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart.”

Menerbes, France

Chatham, Cape Cod

“The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart. “

~ Elisabeth Foley

Maggie Joes, London

“We are all travelers in the wilderness of this world, and the best we can find in our travels is an honest friend.”

~ Robert Louis Stevenson

Riverbay, Chatham

“Don’t walk in front of me, I may not follow;

Don’t walk behind me, I may not lead;

Walk beside me, and just be my friend.”

~ Albert Camus

Cafe Verandah, Menerbes, France

Another tearful farewell, Cape Town Airport

Happy Birthday, Erica. Enjoy!

Table Mountain basks in the sunset glow

Atlantic Ocean

Look at that mill pond sea

Commemoration stone in the Groot Constantia garden

Ancient crushing barrel

Commander Simon van der Stel of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) arrived at the Cape supply station in 1679.  Estranged from his wife he arrived in the company of his children and sister-in-law, Cornelia Six.  Back in the Netherlands van der Stel had gained a solid background in viticulture at his vineyards in Muiderbergh.  There he learnt the art of wine and brandy making which he was soon to implement here in the Cape.

Commissioner Rijckloff van Goens, a former governor of Ceylon and Council Member of India, visited the Cape while recuperating from an illness. He recommended to the Chamber of Seventeen, the governing body of the VOC, that land should be granted to Simon Van der Stel. After a visit by High Commissioner Hendrik Adriaan van Rheede tot Drakenstein, Van der Stel received title to 891 morgen (about 763 hectares) on 13th July 1685.  The land stretched southwards to the neighbouring free burgher farms of Steenberg and Zwaanswyk and to the north it reached as far as the wooded area named The Hell.

Van der Stel named his farm Constantia.  It is thought that Van der Stel named the farm after Van Goens’s daughter in recognition of his help and support in obtaining the farm land.  Another theory is that the farm was named after the VOC ship “Constantia” which, with the “Alphen” was anchored in Table Bay.

The original Manor house appears to have been designed in a late Dutch Renaissance style.  The traveller Francois Valentijn (1666-1727) described it as a double-storey dwelling with two or three steps leading to a front room or voorhuis, paved with white marble and red stone.  There was a big pentagon in the shape of the Castle of Good Hope tiled into the centre of the floor.  On both sides of the voorhuis were grand rooms, also with white marble floors.

[Source – GC website]

We took cousin Rachel and hubby David for a visit. Happy to report that the Estate is still as immaculate as ever.

The impressive facade

You can almost hear the clip-cloppng of horses' hooves up the entrance

The main bedroom

There is a wonderful collection of old wagons out in the stables near to the gift shop and restaurant

We’re moving into wildlife mode now having just returned from our annual sojourn to Ulu-Lapa. Just to start off in a more nostalgic way, here’s some amazing visuals from Tanzani (Tanganyika as it was then). Thanks to John W for the pics of his folks!

How do you translate that headline? The biggest (and gruntiest!), barbeque pie is about the closest I can get t this concotion that inveterate camper and bush basher Mark Botha and his mates have come up with as an essential Braai brag!

Die Kwaai Braai Paai:

The Recipe:

2 Rolle Skilferkorsdeeg (Flaky pastry)
1 Pak Spinasie (Spinach)
Gaar Hoenderborsies (Gerookte Hoenderborsies kan ook gebruik word) (Chicken Breasts)
1 Pakkie Gesnipperde Spek (Diced bacon)
1 Ui (Onion)
1 Rooi Rissie (Red Pepper)
1 Geel Rissie (Yellow Pepper)
1 Pak Sampioene (Mushrooms)
Feta
Kaas
Mozzarella
Cheddar

Metode:
Laat ontdooi die deeg en rol uit op snyplank.
Braai ui, rissie en spek saam.
Voeg Ina Paarman se Rosemary and Olive en peper by.
1. Sit halfte van rou spinasie op deeg.
2. Sny hoenderborsies in stukkies en plaas op spinasie.
3. Sit uie en spek mengsel op.
4. Pak sampioene op.
5. Sit nou verskillende kase op.
6. Eindig met ander helfte van spinasie.
7. Plaas deeg bo-op. Verf met eier/melk.
8. Maak deeg oral toe, soos ‘n pakkie
Gebruik rooster met randjies.
Braai hoog op vuur.
Braai 15minute,draai gedurig om.
Braai tot mooi goudbruin.

For those of you who are challenged by the though of translating the Afrikaans : roll out the defrosted pastry; fry onions, pepper and bacon together; add spices; cut up chicken pieces and place on spinach; put onion mixture on top; place mushrooms on top of that again; now place all your cheeses on top of that!; place another layer of pastry and paint with egg and milk; close everything like a parcel; use a proper ‘klaprooster’ (a grid like the one in the picture); barbeque it high up on the fire for about 15 minutes then lower to give it a golden brown colour. Take off and feed the multitudes!

Another in the series – seen ‘somewhere along the road’:

[Thanks – Sue B]

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