Cape Town called. Again. As she does. DJ B McG’s 40th birthday gig (a la Track & Field nights of yore) upstairs at the Kimberley was majestic and the tunes laid down by the boys sublime. Tequila. Too much. Folk chick vibe? Admirable.
Two days later, after an almost suitable recovery period, I went down to salivate uncontrollably on the floor of the Ben Sherman shop. Their threads are simply non pareil. Trying not to file the image of that shirt I couldn’t afford in the filing cabinet at the back of my brain marked “Shirts For Which I Would Happily Sacrifice A Testicle But, Actually, I Still Require Both Of Them”, I sought respite among the all-consuming throng wandering around in a retail daze.
Bored, I snapped a picture of a seagull almost scoring a direct hit on the head of a stout German. And then I saw this.
The Wheel, Cape Town, 2011 Pic: Hatman Photography
It was my day off – released from the pixel-searing underbelly of The Argus building – so I hopped on a spray-paint-clad carriage for Kalk Bay.
One of those gloriously still and sunny days occasionally gifted Cape Town by the whimsical windstreams and K Bay showed its most flirtatious face.
I lunched in the heart-warm bosom of the Olympia – and within perfume range of the delightful Dame Janet Suzman – before unleashing my camera on myriad shadows, reflections and warmly-lit walls.
It was then that it dawned on me that we might have wriggled free of winter’s grasp… and, when I saw this young boy playing on the wall of the tidal pool next to the seemingly ancient Brass Bell, I mused that summer had indeed kicked off.
Pic: Hatman Photography
Shot. But so, too, did summer’s wicked wink shoot by and grey drizzle returned the following day. No matter. I had captured in my mind’s eye the golden glow of a majestic and memorable day and that will sustain me until my return to Stanford. And the promise of diving naked off the Jetty of Love into the Klein River by the light of the moon.
Since so many of you liked the pictures I put on here of my Cape Town sojourn, here’s some more…
Fences, stairs and shadows
Man on a Manhole
The pub at The Kimberley was open...
... and I had a "Gem" of a lunchtime. All pics: Hatman Photography
When I arrived at the Kimberley, a public hostelry I far too infrequently visit, I raised my first pint to a late friend who loved the personality of the place. And drank there on numerous occasions. A sudden gust of wind blew through the pub door, knocking my hat off.
As wondrous as Stanford is, stealing lemons from the neighbours and flogging them down the Saturday Morning Market doth not many boxes of Ouma’s Breakfast Rusks buy. So I went to Cape Town to reintroduce my being to work. W.O.R.K. Heavens to Betsy! My village mellow was well and truly destroyed. But it did give me the chance, inbetween nocturnal enslavement at The Argus and shards of sleep, to photograph things other than sheep, rivers, mountains, birds, butterflies, children running barefoot and freely in paradise and the most beautiful woman in the village. You might want to check these out…
I hear Seth Rotherham has a pair on order. But Aubrey got there first.
Love the dresses, love the hairbunches, love the little girl...
There was this incredible woman on the train. She looked like a prima ballerina who had fallen on hard times. I thought her shoe and rose worked well together...
There was music in the air...
Sometimes you only have to look up...
My friend Helen has this bunny in the window...
Back to the train... and the best of British.
I wonder where they took their kitten for the day?
Another railway sleeper...
I followed Cape Town's yellow tile road to the Open Book Festival...
... and, on the way, I thought this late-afternoon sliver of light quite poetic...
... until my ears were caressed by the exquisite prose of the mercurially wordful Isobel Dixon.
After all that, light relief...
So it is. So it is. Pics: Hatman Photography
I’m so looking forward to delivery of the redesigned “SA-positive blog”. Then I can do this picture thing much more effectively for you. Until then…
There are, of course, many distinctions to be drawn between people who somehow exist in the city and those who live the life of Reilly in the countryside.
I lived in inner-city London for 13 years. I loved it. Then. I have now lived in Stanford for the past six months. Stanford? It’s OK. Reasonable question. Twenty-three kilometres the other side of Hermanus, Hatpeople. If you’re coming from Cape Town. Which you will be. Unless you live in Vermaklikheid of iets. Which you don’t. So don’t argue with me. Because I’m irritable.
I’m touchy because I’ve been looking after a friend’s house in Cape Town (while she swans about the shifting sands of the Namib with her man) for the past week. It’s noisy. It’s over-populated. It’s discombobulated. It’s nincompoopulated. It’s smelly. Too many cars. Far too many people. Too many airs and disgraces. Not enough air and graciousness. Too many millions of refrigerators humming around my eardrum. It’s kak.
I trust that all of you good Hatpeople have observed Orange Tuesday. Or, given the price of a decent pocket of oranges these days, at least Naartjie Tuesday.
To lend impetus to our friends from the Netherlands playing the skins off those cheating gits from Uruguay tonight, I ate three naartjies (a kind of small orangey-like tangerine) today. And I would have worn an orange shirt, or even orange trousers, but for the fact that orange doesn’t suit my skin tone. I know this because Tamara, my image consultant, told me that on one of her weekly visits to Hatman Mansions.
This is a naartjie. For those of you who haven't seen one. Nice. But purple suits me better.
So I wore a purple crimplene shirt. With lime-green terylene trousers. And bright yellow winklepickers. Which, when set beside my skin, makes for a far more phenomenal vibe. These things are important. When one ventures from one’s blogorandah in Stanford for the afternoon bubblegum milkshake at the Arts Cafe.
Almost as important is the not entirely insignificant matter of tonight’s World Cup semi-final between Holland, also known as the Netherlands, and Uruguay, also known as the bunch of cheats who sucked in the beautiful footballers of Ghana and spat them out on to the ever-growing slagheap of teams beaten by cynical, win-at-all-costs, deceitful, immoral and downright tawdry toerags who masquerade as honourable representatives of nations fit to contest the globe’s most stellar football competition. Pah!
But, now that I feel better, let’s look at tonight’s semi-final. Or, rather, let’s look at another reason why the only decent thing to do is support the men from Tulipland.
There's nothing quite like an orange tulip to lift one's spirits, don't you think?
No, there isn’t. Correct answer. Holland might be a very small country inhabited by very tall people but, when it comes to a World Cup, they embrace the whole vibe like no other. They make the host country their home country for four weeks. Well, everybody knows that the Dutch tried to make South Africa one of their home countries many moons ago but now is not the time for another history lesson.
Let’s just place on record that I have very much smaaked (liked) the way that Agent Orange has permeated this beautiful World Cup. Take that Dutch cavalcade that has trekked across our magnificent country, drinking lots of beer in the morning and making new friends all day. I do smaak that. Stukkend. A vast improvement on all that shooting and stuff that Jan van Riebeeck’s mates did. But that’s ancient history. And I wasn’t going there. So let’s go somewhere far more recent. Like that picture I just showed you of an orange tulip. Here’s another one (picture).
Strange how the colour orange seems to work rather well with her skin tone. Something to with melatonin, I suppose.
Fine. I’m quite pleased with the way this is turning out. But I’ll be even happier tonight when Cape Town Stadium presents us with row upon row of smiley orange tulips offset by weeping Uruguayans. Not, I hasten to add, because I take any pleasure from the suffering of others.
Just because I want a Holland vs Spain final and an eventual new winner of the World Cup. And because, more than anything, I want success in all sporting arenas to go to those who cherish the virtues of honesty, integrity and decency.
And, it appears to me, all of these things look good when worn with orange. Hup hup!
So, in this extraordinary piece of video, Wayne Rooney can be heard having a little post-Algeria match rant against the England fans who booed the team in Cape Town last night.
Have a watch… and then we’ll, how does one say, break it all down…
That’s right. That’s what he said. Something like “Nice to be booed by your own supporters.” Just a drop of sarcasm in there, my Hatpeople.
OK. Two points I’d like to make.
1) I applaud, not boo, Wayne Rooney for feeling passionately enough about playing for England to say that in the first place. But I would also boo him and the other England players for not finding it in themselves to produce better football than the rubbish we are seeing from them at this World Cup.
2) What does he expect? People don’t work their sweet asses off week in, week out for four years to save up enough dosh to spend a few weeks on the other side of the world… only to watch the national team perform like the Green Point under-14 D team. If Rooney’s disappointed, then how do the fans feel? Directly, or indirectly, it is the fans’ money which makes Wayne Rooney and his team-mates among the highest-paid sportsmen in the world. If I were an England fan, I’d have every right to expect more value for my money.
And the English media, which feeds off the travails of England’s football “gods”, is primarily to blame. It builds them up every four years to be the best thing since, er, Alf Ramsey’s world conquerors of 1966. And then, yes, takes a vicarious pleasure in knocking them down to being mere mortals again when they fail.
Methinks there is something rotten in the state of England. And it is somehow manifested in that piece of video we just watched.
Here’s the second of my weekly interviews with the very interesting people of our paradisical village of Stanford. You might need to be told that Stanford is a small village, the third-best preserved Victorian village in the Western Cape, 23km beyond Hermanus on the R43 heading up the east coat from Cape Town. Blissful is the word that comes to mind.
Peter and Jami Kastner own Stanford Hills Estate on Weltevrede Farm, just outside Stanford, and here are the very popular couple’s replies to the “Big Five” questions I put to them this week.
One lovely family: Jami Kastner with Alexander, one, and Peter with Jack, three. They have every reason to look happy, living as they do in the sumptuously appointed and super-chilled Stanford. Pic: Ed ‘O Riley
FH:Jami, this question’s for you… Where were you born, schooled, shaped as a human being and when and how did you first discover Stanford? And how – and at what point – did you discover your husband Peter?
JAMI: I was born in Stellenbosch, but moved to a farm just outside Stanford when I was only a wee sprog. My parents inherited a farm by the name of Witvoetskloof, with not much on it other than fynbos. They were one of the first farms in South Africa to begin exporting this product to the international market. We later moved to Du Toit Street in Stanford itself, in the days when there was not a tar road in sight. At 13, I went to join my two older sisters as boarders at Rhenish Girls High in Stellenbosch. I later studied at Stellenbosch University and then set off to do the traditional young South African two-year stint in London. I then moved back to Hermanus, and became a director of my parents flower export company. In 2001 I met my husband Peter, whilst dancing on a table at his fine establishment, the Zebra Crossing in Hermanus. We were married in 2003, and our desire to start a family prompted a lifestyle change. We discovered that Weltevrede farm was on the market, a farm which I knew well due to my childhood friendship with the Woods’ children. We sold up everything we could, borrowed a bit more, and moved to our dream home here on the farm.
Welcome to the first in my weekly series of “The Stanfordians”, interviews with interesting people with whom I share the spectacularly beautiful Western Cape village of Stanford. This is a special place with special people. You may have already read me banging on here about the unique vibe of Stanford. If you have, you will know that I love living here. Well, I love it so much that I will be writing the occasional blogpost about what goes down – and you’d be amazed – in the third best-preserved Victorian village in the Western Cape.
OK. So you want to know which are the first two? Perfectly understandable. They are, apparently, Montagu and Greyton. They must be phenomenal. I haven’t visited either. I find it disconcerting to leave Stanford, even to Hermanus just 23km away, so magnetised am I by its unsurpassed beauty. I kid you not. It’s even better than that. As you’ll find out.
Anyway, here’s the first Stanfordian to answer my questions, “The Big Five” as I call them. Ready? Let’s go… wait, not before we’ve clapped eyes on the lovely Natalie Snyman, co-owner of Stanford Village Properties (one of the new advertisers on this blog – yes, that’s how it rolls in the commercial world, folks!)…
Natalie Snyman: a gentle soul whose smile enchants our village of Stanford Pic: Hatman
FH:Hi Nat, sorry if I’ve embarrassed you with my hyperbole above! Please give us a little personal background. Where were you born, schooled, shaped as a human being and when and how did you first discover Stanford?
NS: I lived in Tamboerskloof in Cape Town for many years and was a born-and-bred city girl but with a hankering for the country. Mariana and Peter (owners of the nationally renowned Mariana’s restaurant) were my neighbours in the city before they decided to move to Stanford. I was one of their first visitors after they settled here. That must have been in about 1984? I remember that there was the general dealer, NG Church and the river… I fell in love with Stanford and the lifestyle there and then. My children were eight and two years old and they loved it and still do. It was not as easy to relocate to country living in those days. In fact, country living only really became possible / fashionable about 10 years ago.
FH:You are in the property estate agency business. How did you start doing this in Stanford? And tell us why people, and especially foreigners, choose Stanford as the place to call home (holiday home)?
NS: Well, I brought two friends to Stanford on a Sunday afternoon in 2003. They were wanting to purchase a plot somewhere in the Overberg and had been driving around the greater Hermanus area since the Friday afternoon. Come Sunday morning, they thought that they would have a quick look at Stanford. I jumped in with them and we arrived in the village at about 12 o clock. We drove around for a bit and spotted a little Private Sale board. Well, after making an appointment with the owner who was relaxing at a friend`s house and drove back especially to open up for us, we traipsed in and I just fell in love… It was the first and only house that I looked at (an agents’ dream client). I was a weekender for two years and then (just as impulsively as my purchase) decided that this was where I was going to live permanently. I went to night classes at the Estate Agents Board, passed my exams and joined Homenet in Stanford. My business partner (Marianne) and I decided to open Stanford Village Properties at the end of 2008 …during the worst property recession! Stupid, clever or just crazy? Anyway, I like to think its women’s intuition. We have a very successful business and look forward to many more sales! I eventually convinced Kevin (Nat’s husband) to settle here as well and we have a fabulous lifestyle. I often think back to the days when we would buy the Country Life magazine and dream of this lifestyle. How privileged we are! I believe that Stanford chooses its people, local or foreigner. It is a “feeling“ that you get when you first arrive in Stanford.
FH: What can people expect when they approach Stanford Village Properties with a view to selling or buying a home in Stanford?
NS: I think our passion for the village shows straight away. We also have a more “organic“ personal way of dealing with our clients. Buying or selling is such an emotionally daunting experience and we try to ease that uncertainty for our clients.
FH:What is your personal experience of Stanford, Nat? What does it mean to you, what about our village gives you the most enjoyment and is there anything you miss about not living in a big city?
NS: What I love most is the fact that you can make such a difference here. I mean with any charitable work! You can immediately see the results and it’s very rewarding . I don’t miss much about the city, maybe the movies.. but it is only a two-hour drive if you really need to go to Cape Town. Most enjoyment? There are so many… walking on The Plaat (Stanford’s local beach) on a Sunday morning, chatting to all the locals at our lovely Sunset Market, drinks at the pub on a Friday and mostly seeing a satisfied client settle in happily !
FH: In your opinion, what gives our village its special vibe? And how would you describe it to, say, a Capetonian friend who had never been here?
NS: Hmmm, the special vibe is the melting pot of people who live here now. Nice mix of age, language groups and a few nice “oddies”.
FH: Nice answers, Nat. Thank you for your time. I know I speak for all of Stanford when I say that I hope we see your smile around our glorious village for a long time to come! Natalie can be contacted atStanford Village Properties.