RIP Grandma xx

My beloved Grandmother died recently, and we had the funeral last week. I don’t have more words right now, so instead I would like to share with you the eulogy I wrote…. 

  
“Grandmas are for loving and baking cookies.”

It’s the wording on a fridge magnet Grandma had for as long as I remember. A blue heart (why blue I will never know) with a thermometer in the middle. I assume that Mummy bought it when we were little as a gift for a birthday or Christmas. It is however incredibly fitting because she was the best at both.

A lot of my childhood memories are based in my Grandma’s kitchen. I think I must have spent hours in there with her. Not that there was ever much to do by the point we arrived. As you all know, she was the ultimate hostess and so the only bits left were the fun things like eating!  

I actually have her 1947 cookbook. It is one of my most treasured possessions. She gave it to me when I was living in Bermuda, probably because I’d asked for her shortbread recipe for the thousandth time. It’s with me in Dubai now. I like to blame the different temperatures and humidity for nothing working out the same. But the simple fact is, no one can bake like she could… especially for a woman who didn’t even like sugar!

I remember standing watching her though. Peering on tip toes at what she was doing on the counter. I am sure she was making pastry of some kind. She gave me her rings so they didn’t get all grubby. I was the fanciest thing in that house for the rest of the day as I wouldn’t let them go again. It started a tradition (it probably started before, but I remember it as that day) that Charlotte and I could choose one item of her jewellery to wear for the time we were there.  

It’s little things like that which made it so exciting. I have friends who used to dread seeing their grandparents. I never understood why. First there was the love. Then there was the cookies. Then there were these little things that always happened and made you feel special….

Like the Lucozade that she would serve as special wine with the Sunday roast. No adults could have it because it was far too precious and only for Charlotte and I.

Like recording opening the gifts on Christmas Day. Tapes that I think would break me if I tried to listen to them today, but that I would love to play for Nathan and Emily one day, so they can remember their Great-Grandma Trudy and Great-Granddad Ken too.  

Like Mummy, Charlotte and I always having a perfume for Christmas, because a lady always needed a touch of Chanel as a little extra treat.

Like always giving us a little bit of chocolate smuggled into the car to snack on, on the way home. Similar to giving us a Rowntree’s Fruit Pastel per X miles (or X minutes in the case of heavy traffic) when we were on a journey so we wouldn’t mind how long was taking.

They are some of a multitude of little things that made my Grandmother so precious to me. Her unwavering love and support, even when I haven’t been entirely deserving of it, have made me the person I am today.

As when my Grandfather died, the family have been inundated with cards and messages, relating condolences and memories. The overriding word used for Granddad was “gentleman”. This time, for Grandma, it’s been “lady”. Now this elegant and wonderful couple have been reunited. That both makes me happy, but at a base and selfish level, very sad.  

I am proud that I am part of their legacy, and will strive to live up to those standards… even when I know that I will never get those “Julie Biscuits” right as long as I live.

Thank you all so much for coming today to honour my Grandma, Trudy.

  

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Catharina de Bliquy – Artist, Cape Town

I don’t even know where to start this one, but I know it’s going to be long.

Why?

Because I am in complete awe of this exceptionally talented artist.  Her work is just beyond beautiful, as is her heart.  She is simply divine.

Let me explain…

About 13 years ago, I was introduced to Ms. de Bliquy at her plot in Cape Town.  I was a socially awkward girl in her early 20’s.  I was fat and hadn’t found my own style yet.  I had strange hair.  Make-up was something other people could do.  Basically I was a bit of a mess.

Then in sweeps this lady, and Continue reading

Spice Route, Paarl

New day and a new set of eating and drinking to be done!

Today’s first stop was the Spice Route.  Set in the Paarl mountains.

It was a bit of a mission to get to as they are digging up the one road that takes you there, but it was entirely worth it!  Again, the scenery is just stunning. You can see for miles and it’s mostly vineyards. There are mountains and clouds, and sunshine. What is not to love here?!

We started with a wine tasting with food pairing. Let me just show you this thing of beauty before I even start with words… Continue reading

Charly’s Bakery, Cape Town

I think I’ve seen every single episode of Charly’s Cake Angels ever made, so naturally it was on my Cape Town list.

I shouldn’t have bothered.

Charly’s Bakery always looks so nice and friendly and yummy.  In actual fact, the staff are monosylabic and fairly rude. Continue reading

When your friendship means nothing…

Don’t you just hate it when that happens.  You amble along through life thinking that someone has your back and then poof, suddenly that person has gone.

I have been through this recently.

My so called ‘best friend’ whom I have been exceptionally close with for 5yrs, despite her numerous disappearings when she gets a new chap or an exciting new friend/group, “dumped” me.  Apparently we have just grown apart, and although once she would have fought that, it’s now just not worth it.

That’s nice.  5yrs of friendship is worth fuck all.

You know what though.  She is actually right.

I may not have seen this coming.  I may not understand it.  I may not have chosen it, initially, but someone who treats me like that isn’t worthy of my friendship.  They aren’t worthy of being a part of my life.  Not worthy of having my trust and confidence.

It may have taken me a little time but I see it now.  She did me a favour.  The trash took itself out.  I am now one lest negative burden heavy.

So thank you.  And goodbye.

Sark-Condé, Stellenbosch

Next on our little wine tour was Sark-Condé, and was it ever worth the drive off the beaten path!

We arrived sadly too late to do an actual wine tasting, but the lovely lady who was running the place invited us in for a glass of wine on the house, so we hadn’t driven all that way for nothing.  Not only was it a lovely thing to do, but it was by far the nicest glass of wine (with hindsight) of the entire vacation!

When you think about that fabulous and kind level of service, and add the delicious wine – you’re onto a winner.  When you add the setting, then your mind is absolutely blown.

It was absolutely unreal.  Set at the bottom of the mountains and on a lake, we caught it just at the perfect time for the reflections to be at their best.

I think this has to be the best photo of the vacation:

Continue reading