As spring takes hold in Cape Town, there are daily events celebrating the launch of new and exciting venues and brands. In the last week alone, I have attended the launch of a cashmere brand, a surfing t-shirt range, two new jewellery collections, a bar and a restaurant (Roast & Co – if the canapés are anything to go by… yum!) as well as a new contemporary art exhibition in the Guild. Despite arriving here only 3 weeks ago knowing barely a handful of people (and no-one well), the small-town, friendly, everyone-knows-everyone feel of this vibrant city means that invitations seem to fly in from all angles.
Interspersed between the bubbles and canapes, I have also been trying to exercise. My waistline is a little expanded by the abundant, delicious and ridiculously cheap wine and food on offer. Wednesday last week was my first hike up Table Mountain – the India-Venster route. It was a beautiful morning; the steep and hot ascent at the bottom making way for a wind-blown, vertiginous, adrenaline-inducing scramble towards the top. What a wonderful thing to do before starting work in the morning! Although as summer approaches, these will need to be crack of dawn trips to avoid the heat. Which definitely means fewer late nights…
A group of us drove out to Stellenbosch last weekend for a Heritage Day Feast at one of the oldest farms in South Africa, Boschendal. It is a stunning setting, nestled in the Drakenstein Valley surrounded by dramatic mountain landscapes, lush gardens and vines. Lunch was set on long tables for 250 people and we whiled away the afternoon drinking fantastic wine and eating seasonal food sourced locally on the farm. Tomorrow I am off to the wine regions again, this time Franschhoek, with the friend of a friend who I am yet to meet. He called me a few days ago with an invitation to a rather glamorous lunch at the estate owned by Johann Rupert. On my delighted acceptance he informed me that he would be round at 11.30am to pick me up in his Ferrari. Life isn’t half bad right now.
The dinner party season has begun in earnest, and after my very-British and rather unsophisticated Shepherds Pie evening on Wednesday, I was invited out to a friend’s beautiful house in Constantia for a rather more traditional Braai. They have an enormous wild garden filled with a magical array of flora (edible, smokeable, you name it!) and fauna, as well as a tree house from which to watch the sunset. It’s hard not to compare the quality of life out here with my hectic existence in London. This, combined with the deteriorating weather report from my friends back home, has led me to apply to extend my visitors permit for an additional 90 days. Return flight now booked for March 2018. See you in the Spring, I’m off to the beach!