Operation Oysterhood: 21 November

OYSTERHOOD is reclusiveness or solitude, or an overwhelming desire to stay at home.

— @HaggardHawks

Elgin Ridge Wine Estate

When Marion of Elgin Ridge Wines offered to host the launch of Lester Walbrugh’s Let It Fall Where It Will on the Elgin Ridge farm a few weeks ago, I nearly burst into tears. The pandemic has made so many things impossible this year, but for seasoned authors who have had the experience of launching books in pre-Covid times, not being able to gather to celebrate their latest offerings has been sad, but not as tragic as for debut authors who have been robbed of this amazing experience of welcoming their book babies into the world, with family, friends and readers all around them to mark the special occasion. Lester’s short story collection was supposed to be launched at Liberty Books in Grabouw in May, a charming bookshop – one of my absolute favourites in the Western Cape – but with a very limited space inside and simply too risky to contemplate for a launch even at lockdown level one (the publication itself was delayed until November because of the early lockdown). But then, at a dinner party a few weeks ago, Marion heard me lamenting the fact and simply said: ‘Let’s do it at the farm.’ Earlier in the evening she’d been telling us that the only way forward through these impossible times is by supporting one another in any capacity we can, in private and professional lives, and here she was generously practicing what she’d preached. A woman of her word. Christy of Liberty Books immediately came on board to support the venture. And Bettina Wyngaard, like Lester a Grabouw author, who had previously agreed to interview Lester at the bookshop, had no objections doing it on the farm. I will never be able to repay their generosity and astounding organisational skills. The event yesterday afternoon was a success on all fronts: fantastic attendance, insightful interview, delicious Elgin Ridge wines and snacks, great book sales and smiles all around. And to top it all, Lester, who’d spent eight years living in Japan, and set two of his stories there, wore a kimono for the interview! I have attended many, many launches, but this one will stand out for me as one of the most memorable ones of all times. Thank you to everyone who made it happen!

The day of magic wasn’t over yet …

In the evening, my love and I celebrated four years of being together with a candlelight dinner at the little stone cottage we rented for this incredible weekend of love and literature in Elgin.

My heart is full.

Be kind. Wear a mask. Support local.

“Physical distancing remains one of the key strategies to curb this pandemic.”


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