Monday, 30 April 2012

On the road to Franschhoek

We visited a number of wine farms during our stay
but I want to show you Leopard's Leap
on the road between Stellenbosch and Franschhoek.

It is a relatively new wine farm
although the brand is well established
and can be found in UK supermarkets.

We visited Leopard's Leap
and spent some time wine tasting
because two of MasterM's best friends,
Tom and Gareth, work at the farm
and they were entertaining and knowledgeable hosts.

After our wine tasting
and agreeing the most appropriate wines
to purchase for MasterM's wine cellar
we were shown around the building.

I was fascinated by the bold, contemporary design
which was commissioned from a local architect
and works so well in the landscape.

The interior is equally spectacular
with meticulous attention to detail and
imaginative use of metal, wood and textiles.

There are exceptional facilities
for a cookery school led by Liam Tomlin
and I coveted the immaculate batterie de cuisine.

Leopard's Leap does not have a restaurant
but is close to the gastro town of Franschhoek
so that you are spoilt for choice
if you want to stop for a leisurely lunch.

South Africa has many problems
and there are numerous examples of worthwhile charities
addressing issues of housing, education and medical care
in areas of urban deprivation and rural poverty.

It is important to celebrate places like Leopard's Leap too
because they demonstrate faith in the future,
investment of money to develop the tourist industry
and a re-imagination of the traditions of the winelands.


I visited as a tourist
and did not receive

any special treatment
or payment for this blog post.

Sunday, 29 April 2012


This time last week we were in Cape Town...

eating sushi on the waterfront
with MasterM and his friends,

enjoying the views from the
top of Table Mountain,

driving very carefully around the
spectacular Chapman's Peak road.

I have so much to show you
but in the meantime

here is some sunshine...

Monday, 16 April 2012


It is the start of the exam term.
I have a hundred and one things to do.
Back in a couple of weeks.
See you then!

Saturday, 14 April 2012


Why do I love this photo so much...
this corridor of silvered ducting,
linoleum and poster boards,
sunlight and shadow?

It speaks to me of Friday afternoon,
of friends in nearby offices
and a momentary lull
in the busiest of days.

It seems happiness can be found
in polished linoleum corridors
where slanted bars of shadow
lie across slabs of dusty sunlight.

Thursday, 12 April 2012


Let's look out of my window shall we?
Look past the white azalea,
ignore the flat roof with skylights
and the square building in the centre...
what do you see now?
Not the sky or the trees - that's too obvious.
Look on the left - that tall brown building...
I know it looks like a hall of residence
but that is an Olympic Village
for rowers and canoe sprint athletes.
Oh yes, my friends...
my office is your window onto London 2012.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012


Barbara Miura
by John French (1953)

We stood at the print machine
in the busy V&A bookshop
trying to select fashion photographs
and MissM said
"I must have this one of Barbara Miura"
and the woman behind us said
"She was my mother"

Tuesday, 10 April 2012


This morning
I went to the gym
and then I came home
and had a bacon sandwich
and an Easter Egg nest for lunch.

It's called 'managing your energy balance'.

Monday, 9 April 2012


This is not the approved way
to sit on a chair
but it is very difficult
to maintain discipline these days.

Sunday, 8 April 2012


The slant of morning light
on lemon yellow daffodils,
frilled and furbelowed
in time for Easter day.

Saturday, 7 April 2012


This is not our cat
but on sunny days
when the back door is open
it sometimes pays a visit.

Poppy would be appalled.

Friday, 6 April 2012


MrM and MissM love Eggs Benedict.

It seems a good choice to start a holiday.


Thank you for your lovely messages.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

keeping it simple

I can't wait for the Easter weekend.

I shall rest and read books, dig in the garden and hang out the washing.

I shall listen to the radio and do the ironing.

I shall restore the house to the pre-decorator levels of chaos which were acceptable rather than the post-decorator levels which are not.

I shall think about what we will eat and take time to cook it.

I shall cook fish pie and roast lamb, lemon cake and soft boiled eggs.

I shall empty my mind of the chaotic clutter of the term.

I must do that.

I must.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012


Walking across campus in sunshine
I see that the branches of the
cherry tree are heavy with bloom
and I wonder that I have become so blind
that I had not noticed the buds shatter
or the whiteness seep out, petal by petal.
There is no April in the silent world.

Paintings by Diego Valentín Díaz (c. 1650)

Monday, 2 April 2012

Sunday was hectic

Emergency Picnics: The Rules

An emergency picnic situation
can only be declared
on the day itself.
No pre-planning allowed.
Food and drink must be from
cupboards and fridge only.
No purchasing allowed.
Except the garage.
Which doesn't count.
Avoid the corkscrew issue
by drinking champagne
left over from recent birthdays.
People must be resourceful
if the picnic organiser
forgets to bring forks.
Mobile phones are strictly forbidden.
Except one.
In case of emergency.
e.g. 'somebody' forgetting
to charge the camera battery.
The picnic organiser shall provide
a small selection of sweet things
to tempt people when they wake up
after 'reading the papers'.
There will be at least one item
left over from Christmas
e.g. Mojito white rum chocolates
that were discovered during
a recent excavation of MasterM'S room.
Everybody except the picnic organiser
must murmur "This is SO nice"
and the picnic organiser
must incline her head graciously.
And avoid simultaneously knocking over
the bottle of sparkling water.