Monday, September 23, 2013

Flower Follies : 2

So our journey continued! At Picketberg Margo became very assertive about her coffee being served last but I felt it was her own fault as she confused us all by putting her hand up for normal tea, rooibos tea coffee, and cappuccino! Ms Double-Barrel and her side kick have struck up a friendship with the two old guys which leaves me well and truly a spare part - unless Alex and I make peace and Hell may freeze over before that happens! He is so strict and punctual and actually informed the group that we were on a tight schedule and that I was 11 minutes late at the coffee stop. He then went on to tell the group in great detail - more than 11 minutes - about the fascinating Wheat Museum at Morresberg - Please tell me that we are not going there Alex!

Lunch at Vanrhynsdorp was a simple affair and the group caused chaos when faced with the choice of 4 dishes - I had to ask what chaos would have occurred had there were 5 choices on the menu and just to throw a spanner in the works I asked if there was there any possibility that they served sushi? Then horror of horror - I realised that I am with a bunch of strangers in Vanrhynsdorp and my phone battery has almost died - I politely ask Alex if he will unlock the combi while I retrieve my phone charger plug from my suitcase. I might have well have asked for the holy grail - and yes my case was at the bottom of the pile! More head shaking and thin lips!
  We head off again and after another interesting loo stop at Knervlakte, I am beginning to wonder if Alex has prostrate problems as we had only been on the road for 45 minutes.From here onwards the terrain is stone, quartz covered ground scattered with compact and leafy succulents - quietly still and beautiful - the air was clear and silent. The name of Knervlakte translates to 'gnashing of teeth'  from the days of travelling by wagon over this terrain but I was gnashing my teeth for a different reason. The afternoon debate among my fellow travelers was which brand of rooibos tea was the best for digestion and the work 'gas' was mentioned several times ....and I don't mean petrol!

We arrived at Kamieskroon with an hour to spare before dinner. Keys and room numbers were allocated Margo swaps keys with Alex because of her leg and Ms double barrel and her friend are stressed. they have to be next door to each other because they share......toothpaste!!!! I am finished and fist stuffed in mouth head off to my room - Number 6 - the Anne Frank suite!
Happy Ending to this day because at 18h30 my mobile rings to inform me that I am a 'nanna' again - I go to dinner knowing the world is a more beautiful place because Katherine Jane is in it!

The evening meal consists of 2 choices - Menu 1 or Menu 2 - the group cause chaos by asking for the starter from one and the main from the other. Hands fly up and down - I suggest a system to ordering and Alex tells me to 'Shut Up.' Ms Double-barrel and I go halvies on a bottle of wine which brings about a collective gasp - everyone else is sharing a glass! I announce my new granddaughter's arrival and there is a little flutter but the conversation reverts to orthopedics and what hasn't been sliced, diced, pinned and reconnected, stapled and fixed at that table is frightening! I try to eat my fish while Menu 2 people suck on their lamb chops then I retire to the veranda with my wine - Its 9pm and the hotel is deserted -  I am truly in the desert!
I can't wait for tomorrow and our first trip into the flower reserves - I run the bath and discover that body lotion is rationed to a teaspoon amount in a little sachet next to the bath. I am doomed to become a prune in Kamieskroon!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Flower Fun

I have always wanted to go to Nama-
qualand so as part of my current 'learning to live differently' regime, I was attracted to an advertisement in Country Life for a four day trip to Kamieskroon - I can't spell it and worse still I cant pronounce it but that is the place to be when you are on a flower tour. The original plan was that I twisted a friend's arm very far up her back and she agreed to come with me but then horror of horrors when I sent an email to book they were full - what to do?
I was still thinking about this dilemma two days later when I got a phone call, "We have had a cancellation - for one person." Are you still interested?" I heard myself say, "Yes - sure." and the rest is history!
I flew into Capetown -the tour company were really good and collected me at the airport to deliver me to Bantry Bay where I stayed before and after and bang on the dot on Tuesday morning, I was collected packed into the Combi's front passenger seat and we were off!
Of course we had to collect the others and I was curious to know who would be joining me. As a contingency plan, I had loaded some funky music on my phone and packed earphones for my iPhone. We stopped at the first collection point and I waited to meet my new best friends!
Two guys, they came shuffling out with their bags, greeted me politely and headed for the opposite end of the bus. Then to the next B&B to collect a rather bossy lady and her very depressed looking husband. I noticed he was wearing a hearing aid and wondered if it was by choice. More polite introductions and off to the next stop - Frail Care - Yes!I said Frail Care where we collected a very elegant lady with a very elegant walking stick and waited patiently for a 'very punctual man' - the lady with the stick pointed out that we were actually early and she knew that Peter was a punctual man and would be down when it was the correct time.
My final two travel companions were waiting for us back at the Landscape Tour Offices - a lady with a double barrelled surname and I think a slight drinking problem  and her old school chum/lady in waiting. That was all of us  -  we all climbed into the Combi and were off!
It was at this time that we met Alex (pronounced Alec) anyone who actually dared to say the 'x' sound at the end of his name was corrected with hard narrow icy eyes and very thin lips! I got to know that look very well!  Alex was a retired school master who has never got the hang of being around adults who could and would answer back. He treated everyone as one of his 'boys' and me as an imbecile! I sat in the front with him the first day and everyday after that I was flung in the back - a bit like being put in the naughty corner.
Even though the excitement was palpable - the conversation was polite as we all got to know one another. We all shared a love of travel and a love of flowers. Our first 'comfort' stop was at a Petrol station near Piketberg - We were instructed to hurry along to the loo!  I hurried along to the shop as I was dying for coffee! The coffee was not instant and I swear I was only 7 minutes BUT I was chastised on my return with a take out paper cup of coffee - as we were stopping for coffee next. I had broken the rules!
On route to the coffee stop - the conversation hotted up - "Can we have some aircon in the back?" Alex pulled and pushed and twiddled with the aircon. "It's too cold now!" they said! So Alex pulled and pushed and twiddled again. " OK now its too warm again!" came the reply. Alex sighed. I reached for my music headphones - I couldn't wait any longer for that F***ing Goldilocks moment!

So started our journey to the flowers. I cannot wait to share the rest of it but have been sooooo busy! While I am away now on another adventure I will continue telling you about my Flower Fun!