Operation Oysterhood: 28-29 November

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

— @HaggardHawks

When the world is about to go under, press the PAUSE button and head out to … Franschhoek!

My love took me on a culinary adventure in the Franschhoek Valley this weekend. What better way to forget about your worries than with your love, in beautiful surroundings, delighting in feast after feast of some of the best food and wine experiences the Cape has to offer?

It’s hard to come up with alternatives. We are talking about the newly established Ōku Eatery and Epice Restaurant and the relocated La Petite Colombe. We are talking about OYSTERS!

Throw in TLC, a friend, sleep, a fluffy bathrobe, a crystal-clear pool, sunshine, the next Harry Bosch novel, a poet you admire and incredible views, and you can tell tension to go to hell, and start recharging your batteries.

On the morning of our departure, we found out that our dear Helen (on her way to a function in support of a campaign against domestic violence) was also heading towards Franschhoek and we travelled together. It was simply wonderful to catch up and to arrive in Franschhoek while reminiscing about the good old days of the Franschhoek Literary Festival. One day, one day again …

The weekend had three more literary touches of note: the author of one of my two absolute favourite books of 2019 spotted us in Franschhoek and came to say hello – Musa Khanyile. If you haven’t read his debut poetry collection – All the Places (uHlanga Press) – then you have missed out big time!

The second literary touch is a bit more mundane, but also uplifting: after weeks of purely professional reading (no matter how wonderful, it is still WORK), I have finally managed to start a book this weekend for pure enjoyment, Echo Park. My Harry Bosch binge is continuing. I am loving the series. I also finally had time to simply hang out next to the pool where we were staying. And I swam and sunbathed, and after only a few hours of all of this, I felt more human and at peace again.

Third literary touch of the weekend: Diane Awerbuck’s review of Death and the After Parties by Joanne Hichens. The review itself is a piece of art! Brilliant writing.

And most importantly, I had enough strength and head- and heartspace available to be there for someone who needed my support this weekend while going through a major personal crisis. I hate being too paralysed by my own anxieties to such an extent that I cannot be there for the people I love in the way they deserve.

Another intense working week is about to start. I am certainly more ready to face it than I was on Friday before Franschhoek. We soldier on, as I say. No one knows what tomorrow will bring. But whatever it is, I feel more competent about encountering it.

Be kind. Wear a mask. Support local.

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


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