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Cape Town a Long Way from Banbury

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ARTICLES BY CATHY RETIEF-NEIL

Ride a Cock Horse
Cathy Retief-Neil
Take a Walk on the Wild Side
Garden Route
Hello Sterlingland
A Long Way from Banbury
Christmas in Summer
My Little Spot on the Globe

Cape Town Along way from Banbury

Having revived myself after several days of temperatures between 30ºC and 40ºC- even for us, a mini-heatwave! - I thought I should tell you a little more about what's happening in my little spot on the globe.

BBC World Service broadcast to every corner of the world from Table Mountain in Cape Town on Thursday 19 December in celebration of its 70th birthday. It was the biggest ever outside broadcast with an estimated 150 million people around the world tuning in.

I am happy to say that several of my UK friends have arrived for the summer holiday and the weather is just glorious. They even managed to see a few whales, before they set off for the colder waters of the Antarctic and the tons of krill that will make up their diet until their return in August next year.

From my vantage point on the balcony, I can see over the expanse of False Bay to Table Mountain and the sea is dotted with every kind of sea faring vessel from yachts, to catamarans, rubber ducks and ski-boats, while hang-gliders and para-seils form colourful dots against the summer skyline. The sea is like glass and a light, fresh sea breeze has cooled the hot sunny day to a pleasant 26ºC - heaven on earth!

To my left I can see at least three hiking parties setting up the slopes of the Gordon's Bay mountains and to my right, up the majestic Helderberg. As we have winter rainfall in the Cape, a splendid carpet of colour covers the mountains and along the coastal roads - and my garden - but the many waterfalls that are so much a part of the area, have given way to shiny granite mirrors against the slopes. By May or June, they should be ready to greet the winter rains again.

Unlike many countries that make up our global village, we have some of the purest tap water to be found and seldom buy a bottle unless we feel like some of the bubbly stuff. There is nothing more refreshing than sipping water from one of the mountain streams or a leisurely splash in the cool rock pools that form after the rains.

My friends are on their way to Cape Town, where they will take a cable car to the top of Table Mountain, before setting back ... and here I have to mention their intention to hike back down! The mountain is about 3 300ft, or close enough to 1 000 meters, so it is a baby really, compared with those found in other parts of the world. But we're happy with her, because she does not expose us to volcanic eruptions and other nasty disasters that Mother Nature sends to wreak havoc among we mere mortals, perhaps just to remind us to tow the line. In fact, with the exception of two or three minor earthquakes, that I doubt would even register on the Richter scale, our weather is very mild indeed; almost Mediterranean.

We do have the south-easter winds in summer, known by locals as the Cape Doctor as it is said to clear away all ills, and it can be pretty blowy at times. I remember a shopping spree with my mother in Cape Town, when the south-easter suddenly gusted with such force, that mom was blown clear across the street and literally had to hold on to a lamp post, or she would have ended up in the Indian Ocean. Mother only weighed 46 kilograms but it has been known to treat grown men with similar disdain.
One of the scenic views on a wine farm

There are several harbour restaurants offering freshly caught linefish and I could not find one that was not filled to capacity. Sidewalk café's are dotted all over and these, too, are filled with locals and visitors from every corner of the globe. It really is an outdoorsy country and we tend to spend most of our time among the splendours of nature. Often, breakfast, lunch and dinner are enjoyed under the willow tree in the garden or on the balcony.

The air is appetisingly enhanced with the smell of barbecues, or braais as we call them and from my balcony I can see the neighbours on all sides, standing around the braai, a glass of beer or wine in hand, while others splash away in the glittering sun-kissed pools. A pool is almost standard here, as it really does get hot, and when you consider that you can swim almost throughout the year, it's a sensible addition to any home and a definite plus when wanting to sell your property.

The children have arrived from Banbury and we will spend some time wine-tasting and sampling local fare at the various wine estates, but not before they have caught up with their much loved swimming, deep sea diving, hiking and water-skiing, followed by many a tasty braai!

So, until after the holidays, have fun, be safe and happy travels.

Cathy


Cable car up Table Mountain with the
Cape Peninsula and surrounds

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Cape Town a long way from Banbury

This page last modified Tuesday, 24-Jan-2017 16:25:03 GMT