Sunday Special

From Wikipedia: “Mourvèdre (also known as Mataró or Monastrell) is a red wine grape variety that is grown in many regions around the world including the Rhône and Provence regions of France, the Valencia and Jumilla denominaciones de origen of Spain”.

Yesterday we were at Fraai Uitzicht 1798 in Robertson, one of the few cellars in South Africa that produce wine of this grape variety. Fraai Uitzicht 1798 is the meeting place for some of the best wine makers in South Africa. The cellar dates back to 1740 and is one of the oldest of its kind in South Africa with the original fermentation tanks. 1798 was the year the homestead was build. The cellar produces around 25000 bottles per year and these find their way to guests in their own accommodation and restaurant and to collectors around the globe.

“Best Wines” of South Africa

A group of wine ‘connaisseurs’ from Europe has been touring the Western Cape during the past 6 or so weeks. Although they heard of this cellar in Robertson they never visited it. I took them there. It was the last wine tasting experience of their trip and they were ‘flabbergasted’ by this experience. Wines of some rare grape varieties next to a few of the known. Unanimous response: “Best Wines of South Africa”. BTW anno 1798 ‘Fraai Uitzicht’ is one of the oldest original cellars in South Africa. And they do a great wine/food pairing as well! Production is only 25000 bottles per year and you can only buy (also online) from the cellar.

Portrait of Joey; partner in coffee

Beans about Coffee in Robertson, South Africa, is run by one of the partners Joey (Messina Musindo) who is a Robertsonner since almost 20 years. He is regarded as one of the best baristas in the Western Cape and is an expert on everything that smells coffee.

A portrait:

A book review: The Boer War

It’s very unusual that I write a book review although I read many books. Writing a book review in a photography blog goes beyond usual but since I like the unusual … 😉

I’m living now for fourtheenandahalf year plus almost two months in South Africa and have read many books about its history but this one about THE BOER WAR beats them all….

BoerWarDe Boeren Oorlog (The Boer War) Author: Martin Bossenbroek. Publisher: Athenaeum, Amsterdam. ISBN: 9789025369934/NUR686

I’ve read many books about the history of South Africa, virtually all written by English and Afrikaans speaking South Africans and that includes literature about the Boer War (1899-1902). But never a book written from such a wide perspective (and from a variety of angles) as this 610 pages (including >40 with footnotes and index) masterpiece. It’s written in Dutch and hopefully English translations will be on the market soon for it should be read by South Africans of all walks of life… Until so far I only read books about the subject written from British or Afrikaner perspective. This book adds the Dutch angle to both perspectives. ‘The Dutch connection’ as Bossenbroek writes plays an important role in the years before the Boer War broke out. The story is mainly based on diaries, notes, letters, memoires and articles of British war correspondent Winston Churchill, Boer commander Deneys Reitz and Willem Leyds (Dutch State Attorney in the Transvaal).

The Boer War is intriguing is many aspects. It shows clearly that history repeats itself and that every war is nothing more than a ‘power game’ (or ‘money game’ if you like) on the expense of innocent people. It also learns that the British introduced ‘concentration camps’, which they already did a few centuries before in Australia, with the difference that this time more than 40,000 people (of the estimated >200,000) died in bizar circumstances during their ‘internship’; mainly children. It took over 100 years before the English government made some kind of apology … The Boer War is a ‘forgotten’ war but many used strategies (policies, etc.) were repeated (and sometimes perfected) in World Wars 1 (1914-1918) and 2 (1939-1945) by all involved parties (‘aggressors’, ‘allies’ and ‘resistance’).

In our previous South African residence (in a farm community near Robertson in the Western Cape) one of our neighbours once said (in Afrikaans) that a “book about Africa, South Africa included, can only be written by a true Afrikaner” ….. In essence not much has changed since the Boer War.

The (his)story of the Boer War begins in 1884 in the Amstel Hotel in Amsterdam ….

Victorian

Within the Western Cape, South Africa it’s especially known that the town of Montagu has many Victorian houses. I lived in the area for 11 years but must admit that nearby Robertson has  more Victorian architecture. The ‘Strachan’ house is a good example but such a pity that the local municipality installed a huge light tower (left in picture the reinforcement cable) in front of this monument which makes it difficult to make the right photograph. VictorianRobertson

The hidden powers of H2O

_DSC2044I grew up in The Netherlands between the two main rivers; protected by dikes and averaging 1 meter below average water level was my house amongst many others. Growing up with water learns you the (hidden) powers of H2O. Moving to a farm in South Africa in 2000, situated on the slope of a hill, we started immediate with water works to keep our house free of water just in case of a flood rain. Virtually all neighbouring farmers were laughing loud saying ” Ag julle malle Hollanders en julle water werke ….” (“you crazy Dutch and your water works…”). One year later we had the first flood rain; we were laughing. In 2003 another flood rain. Just before this flood rain one of the neighbours let his staff moving rocks uphill to avoid visitors of staff going with their cars uphill (well it’s South Africa and the time still stands still in the farming community of Robertson, where we lived…). During the flood rain the rocks came down and landed in the garden and the entrance path of the neighbour. We laughed together with his staff. And still history keeps on repeating itself and ‘water affairs’ in my village and other parts of South Africa is a hot item at the moment after over 200 mm of rain this weekend.

_DSC2047To keep it within the village and direct surrounds: Last year a part of the road next to the bridge over the Klein Rivier (Little River; now THE Missisippi of South Africa as you can see) washed away. With the repair of it and additional ‘water works’ numerous shortcuts were made (shortcuts are seemingly a part of the culture) and again same part of the road washed away. Hopefully they learn (but I doubt).

_DSC2043The part of the village most affected by the water is where the ‘Bold and Beautiful’ (let’s say the ‘village elite’) is living. Living at the waterfront is for the so called ‘privileged’ and I’m fine with that. But being ‘privileged’ comes with certain obligations; one of these in our village is cleaning the house after a mud water ‘invasion’. Bet that, as last year, quite a few ‘For Sale’ signs will be erected.

On purpose I did not photograph all those unlucky people up to their knees in the water. Facebook pages are already full with it

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