Wednesday 16th June published Friday 18th June (Kirsty’s blog)
Before I start I have to mention that Scouse John was in touch last night to tell us that when he sat down to have his tea one evening this week and he happened to hear the names Mr & Mrs Payne mentioned on the news (Look East region) and looked up to see a picture of Andy and I at the Holland vs Denmark game…all I can say is that it must have been a very slow news day, though I’m guessing that Mrs Miggins’ missing cat was still the lead story.
So an early start and getting up in the dark just so that we can squeeze as much into our few days in Cape Town as possible. We’re off to drink copious amounts of wine surrounded by stunning scenery…I mean we’re off to a very civilised wine tasting in the Stellenbosch, Franshoek and Parl wine regions, apparently you’re supposed to spit it out!!! What the devil are they thinking? Spitting out perfectly good wine, I’ll want to get my money’s worth and enjoy both the taste and the effect.
A lovely guy called Dave turns up first thing to pick us up and already ensconced in the minibus are an American couple, Andrea and Xavier, we then drive across town to pick up four more day trippers which turn out to be from Falkirk, Willy, Kevin, Barry and Scott. They’re out here for a holiday and a bit of football regardless that Scotland didn’t qualify, in fact for the first time ever I’ve heard a Scot say that he would like to see England do well, refreshingly different to the usual ‘anyone but England’ standard Scottish answer.
After torrential storms last night, so much so that the ceiling of our hotel room was leaking in the massive downpour, this morning is clear bright and for the first time we can see the top of the glorious Table Mountain and Lion’s Head Mountain…stunning.
Talk in the minibus is all about football and when we get to the first vineyard which is renowned for sparkling wines, Andy and the Falkirk boys are still talking football non stop while the poor wine guide guy is patiently trying to explain about the wines to what appeared to be a bunch of heathens knocking back bubby and talking tactics.
We visited a couple more vineyards before lunch and all of us soon really got into the wine tasting, it was really interesting to learn about the different processes and blends and the wines were gorgeous, despite small measure of each one, I was starting to feel a bit squiffy and when we arrived at Fairview vineyard I though I was seeing a live goat at the top of a small stone helter skelter, now the wine over here is strong but I didn’t think I’d drunk that much! I consulted Andy who could also see it but thought it was mechanical, on closer inspection it was indeed a live goat at the top of a stone helter skelter, brilliant!
The reason for the goat is that this particular vineyard had won a famous legal case when they were taken to court for using the name ‘Goats Do Roam’ on their bottles, needless to say this really really Pee’d off the French, though Fairview won the case and they continue to use the name ‘Goats Do Roam’, ‘The Goatfather’ and ‘Goat Door’ the French are probably absolutely seething.
We stopped for lunch at a great place called Franshoek, a very colonial/New England little one street town and invited Dave our wine guide to join us. It turns out that Dave is originally from Walsall in the West Midland but him and his wife have been here for thirty five years, on first meeting him we assumed he was South African as he has a gentle South African accent but on closer inspection he had a little twang of a black country accent which was a hilarious combination…don’t think I’ve ever heard a South African crossed with Walsall accent before, had the sudden urge to call him ‘bab’ though.
A great lunch, followed by more wine tasting (hic) and then a really great unexpected surprise is that just next to the last vineyard we visited was a Cheetah sanctuary. Now I’ve never been known to leave a drink before but I couldn’t resist and Andy and I left our fellow drinkers and skipped over to see the cheetahs. They are absolutely amazing creatures, so graceful and beautiful. I instantly forgot all about the wine tasting and we spent some time just watching them and watching people stroking them (they’d been hand reared and were very placid). The numbers of wild Cheetahs had been diminishing fast over the last few decades as they are shot by farmers looking after their sheep, so the sanctuary funds the breeding of very large Albanian Shepherd dogs which have a ferocious bark and are raised with the sheep flocks which makes them fiercely protective though they are an extremely effective and humane deterrent to cheetahs looking for lunch as the dogs can’t catch the cheetahs but will scare them away, which in turn stops the farmers shooting and trapping the cheetahs. Thanks to this project the cheetah numbers are on the up in South Africa.
So all in all, a fantastic day, good wine, good company, I forgot to mention the cheese and the olive oil but that was great too and the amazing cheetahs…who says alcohol and wild animals don’t mix!
Early night as we’re getting up in the dark again to make the most of Table Mountain, a bit of strenuous trekking for a few hours will help work off the gorgeous food and wine we’re been consuming (well probably not).