Operation Oysterhood: 17 November

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

— @HaggardHawks

After the rains

I did not leave as early as I had wanted to, but once I was on the road, everything went smoothly, rain and all. Driving on the N1 out of Cape Town always reminds me of my first trip to South Africa with my brother, February 2004: we travelled on the N1 all the way up to Joburg and beyond. It was amazing.

McGregor has a different history. I have been coming here regularly for nearly seven years – for two reasons: restoration and poetry, sometimes both at the same time – like now.

The Poetry in McGregor Festival begins on Friday night, but I am here early to simply be, rest. I rented a little cottage on the outskirts of town but within walking distance of every place one would want to walk to in McGregor, like the tiny grocer that sells milk or the local garagist wine cellar, Bemind. Being here without tasting a glass of their MCC would feel incomplete.

I arrived, walked, bought milk and bubbly, watched two talks I have been meaning to watch on YouTube for a long time, had biltong and a G&T, listened to the rain, had a long, hot shower, and walked to Tebaldi’s for dinner (one can do that here, alone, without fear). On my way back, I looked at all the offers of properties for sale in McGregor and surroundings. The seeming calm of the place is always tempting. But maybe it appears like to this to visitors only?

Dinner for one, with poetry manuscript and cat.

It is going to be an early night, and probably an early morning. There will be dreams in new places, coffee, and a chocolate muffin I brought with me specially for the occasion. I also brought with me many great books to read (I always travel with a library), but I might just watch the birds build a nest outside my cottage. It’s soothing.

Good night from McGregor.

Be kind. Wear a mask. Support local. Get vaccinated, please.

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


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