Your browser version is outdated. We recommend that you update your browser to the latest version.

The Story Weaver Ramblings…                                                                         

teacher ~ storyteller ~ writer

 

Here is a link to my October newsletter and access to all the previous newsletters

The African Relish Health Rusk recipe can be downloaded here.

 

African Relish health rusksAfrican Relish health rusks   One of the Vygies flowering at the Renu-Karoo NurseryOne of the Vygies flowering at the Renu-Karoo Nursery
     

 

Here is a link to my September newsletter and access to all previous newsletters

 

 

 

 The Story Weaver News August 2018  with lots of photos - and access to all previous newsletters

 

 

 

As promised, July's newsletter brings news of a graduation and impressions from my trip to Europe! 

Gamla Stan - the old town in Stockholm

Johanna Mokoaqo’s receiving her BEd was the culmination of determined part-time study whilst working at The Lazy Lizard coffee shop in Prince Albert, as an au pair in Amsterdam and during on-the-job-training at Albert College. Our fully qualified Foundation Phase teacher took her place among a hostof graduates and their proud families in Cape Town and the celebratory dinner afterwards was a lovely surprise as many of her friends had secretly gathered to raise a glass in her honour. Well done, Johanna! 

Now for some impressions from my trip…

I flew into Stockholm to meet my friend Anne Thu and we set out on five days of walking, sailing, tram-riding and yet more walking to discover Stockholm… we explored the Fotografiska photo gallery and the alleys of Gamla Stan; took several cruises; saw the Vasa wreck, reclaimed from the silt of the harbour 333 years after sinking; visited Prince Eugen’s elegant residence at Waldemarsudde; popped into food markets; wandered along the Montelliusvagen; sat in quiet contemplation in the Fredrik Church.

The  Nobel Museum guided tour revealed some delightful details: each Nobel Laureate is asked to give the Museum an item which relates to the work which brought them their award and they are asked to sign the underneath of one of the chairs in the Café! 

Traditional food at Skansen

A highlight was a daylong visit to the Skansen Museum where we enjoyed a traditional meal of salted fish and saw numerous buildings representing the lifestyle and heritage of Sweden from the 17th century onwards. The staff wear costumes appropriate to the age of each of the 150 buildings and were keen to share their knowledge. The Norse mill looked familiar, it is just like the one constructed by the farmers in Gamkaskloof.

Sten & Löcken Guesthouse, Sunne, Sweden

Then we headed for Sunne and specifically Sten & Löcken Guesthouse,  a hidden treasure in the woods. Thomas and Anne have restored two centuries-old farmhouses where they offer accommodation during the summer. Guests are astounded at the attention to detail, the lovely garden and the delicious breakfast - all hidden away in tranquil surroundings. I had seen the work in progress some years ago and it was wonderful to see the finished product - although Thomas would tell you it will never be finished… 

 

Tranquility at Sten & Löcken Guesthouse, Sunne, Sweden

 

Alma Lov an art gallery filled with unexpected art...   Scenes from Anna Svärd at the Västanå Theatre, Sunne, Sweden
Alma Löv a most unusual art gallery  

Scenes from Anna Svärd

at the Västanå Theatre, Sunne, Sweden


Anne had arranged a busy itinerary, with trips in the district to a most unusual Art Museum... Alma Löv, the Rackstadmuseet, Sillegården restaurant and Selma Lagerlof’s home, Mårbacka. Selma was the first woman and the first Swede to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature (1909). We toured her home and the following evening went to a production of one of her works, Anna Svärd
at the Västanå Theatre. A massive barn has been converted into a theatre, so the space itself is awe-inspiring. The music, dancing and storytelling were magnificent and the traditional music group received a standing ovation. Costumes from previous productions are on show and the attention to detail is astonishing. What an evening!

 

Enjoying Pinnekjøtt, smoked, dried rib of lamb served with puréed kohlrabi and carrots and potatoes with Anne and Thomas.   Mormor’s Glasscafé - ice-cream heaven
Enjoying Pinnekjøtt, smoked, dried rib of lamb served with puréed kohlrabi and carrots and potatoes with Anne and Thomas.  

Mormor’s Glasscafé in Lysvik, Sweden

 

Food has featured large on this trip, Anne created a traditional Christmas dish Pinnekjøtt, smoked, dried rib of lamb served with puréed kohlrabi and carrots and potatoes and she and Thomas took me to Mormor’s Glasscafé - ice-cream heaven. One places an order and then sits in the garden waiting for it to be delivered. A young woman stands on the steps and calls a number and the people at that table turn with huge smiles on their faces… Granny’s Ice cafe doesn’t just make icecream, they deliver joy! My salted liquorice naughtiness had an appropriate affectionate name, it translates to “Granny’s dirty pig” - say no more!

My Swedish trip came to an end as we headed for Oslo where Anne and I parted ways. Our friendship has resulted in several joint adventures in Europe and South Africa but it’s always sad to say farewell. I move on to Shetland next…

______________________

 

June 2018

May brought a variety of experiences, I donned a ‘Royal Ascot’ hat to relate tales at the annual Library tea party, became the manager of Simply Saffron’s facebook presence and built a brand new website for De Rust Heritage… 

Jeanette, Reinie and Kato at the Prince Albert library

Prince Albert boasts one of the friendliest and most efficient libraries in the land. Reinie, Jeanette and Kato cater for the reading needs of our community, help youngsters source information for school projects, offer a repository for donated books and magazines which can be circulated to readers and they organise the annual Library Week with art and writing competitions, visits to pre-schools to read stories and the over 60’s tea party, with delicious eats and entertainment, for our more mature readers. This year I donned a hat from a recent Albert College production of My Fair Lady and related how close Royalty have come to Prince Albert but have never quite managed to visit. Last month’s newsletter included one of the stories, here is another, about a very special little Royal museum in our district:

Mons Ruber is a wine estate lying five kilometres beyond De Rust on the N12. In 1947, on their trip around Southern Africa, the Royal family overnighted at the Le Roux station. Mr le Roux and his wife entertained the Royal family to tea and their son, who turned 21 that year as did Princess Elizabeth, took the Princesses on a horse ride around the farm. His parents were invited to dine with the Royal family and General Jan Smuts on the 

Mons Ruber wine farm

White Train that evening. In the museum at the Mons Ruber wine store, you can see the dinner menu and photos from the visit and the wind-up gramophone on which music was played at tea time. In the years that followed the family sent gifts from the farm to The Queen and the Queen Mum on special birthdays and anniversaries: ostrich feather boas, brandy and wine produced on the farm. Each was acknowledged with a letter from Buckingham Palace or Clarence House, beautifully framed and hanging there for all to see. Pop in to see the museum and taste the delicious sweet wines at Mons Ruber.

Besides telling stories I also weave websites and have recently created one for the De Rust Heritage Conservation Association and have learnt quite a bit about this little community on the other side of Meiringspoort.  The website includes material on their history, photos of interesting buildings in the town and lots of advice for anyone, anywhere in the Western Cape, who owns a property which is more than sixty years old and which is protected in terms of the Heritage Act. Visit it here. 

Simply SaffronI have been managing the website and facebook page for Prince Albert Accommodation for some time and recently Simply Saffron asked me to assist them with their advertising. We set up a page to promote their special events: cookery courses, yoga retreats and monochord retreats (there's one on 9th June). Hermon and Ridwaan offer holistic massage, reiki and reflexology throughout the week, hold yoga classes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and open their restaurant on Fridays and Saturdays. Find out more here - and follow their fb page here. 

Open Studios June 2018

 

Another client is Renu-Karoo Nursery which now sell fresh green vegetables in season. No pesticides or chemical fertilizers are used. They also stock trays of veggie seedlings so you can grow your own and their collection of indigenous plants makes a visit to the nursery on the corner of van Dyk and Kerkstraat a real treat for locals and visitors alike. 

The Ghost Walk was recently mentioned in the Navel-Gazing 101 blog. Click to read how Briony found Prince Albert: Quaint, quirky and full of (mostly friendly) ghosts.

I’ll be taking guests on Ghost Walks and Historical Rambles until 12 June and then I’m off to Cape Town for Johanna Mokoaqo’s graduation and the following day I wing my way to Europe to visit friends and family for a while. I am sorry to be missing the next Prince Albert Open Studios from 5 - 8 July 2018… there are even more artists taking part this time round. Time for you to visit Prince Albert?

Next month... news from Europe...

 

_________________________

 

 

May 2018

The cloak is part of the Ghost Walk again...There’s an Autumn feel in the air and I have donned my long black cloak for several Ghost Walks as the wind adds a little shiver to the evenings… suitably atmospheric!

We had lots of visitors in April and many are still here enjoying the Freedom Day/ Workers’ Day break.

The local Dutch Reformed Church took advantage of the extended weekend to hold a Plaaskombuisfees with loads of delicious traditional food, evenings of music, a spectacular flower festival and organ recitals in the church, a market of stalls in the hall including a ‘plaasstal’ second to none, selling all sorts, from puddings and homebakes to enough meat to fill the freezer over and over. Everything bore the Plaaskombuisfees logo - such a professional touch to a real Country Fair.  

A flight of small planes landed on our local airfield on the Friday. Pilots and passengers were ferried to the Swartberg Hotel where a fellow guide and I collected them for a tour of the Swartberg Pass. The ribbon cutting which signified the road repairs had been completed took place on 17th of April, a year and a day after floods washed away the entrance to Thomas Bain’s magnificent dry stone walled pass, so we were able to admire the skill of both Bain and the men who rebuilt a long portion of the road and the walls leading to the Eerstewater drift. 

 

Wolwekraal Guest Farm

Besides our flying guests, many more people descended upon Prince Albert for two challenging bicycle races: the Swartberg100 Gran Fondo and Medio Fondo. There are gentler but equally scenic bicycle rides around Prince Albert. Wolvekraal Guest Farm, has just opened several bicycle trails with an easy short ride, a longer more technical ride and a circular route starting at the farm, reaching O for Olive Restaurant on a neighbouring farm (for refreshments or an olive tasting) and returning to Wolwekraal. Riders are welcome seven days a week and tickets (R30) can be purchased at the Wolvekraal Guest Farm reception, where you can park vehicles. For more information contact Berlinda on 072 177 0844.

Last month I promised I’d be sharing a Royal family story, appropriate as we celebrate the birth of a new prince and the wedding of another. Our town was named after HRH Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in 1845 although the villagers had wanted to call their settlement Albertsburg. Who knows what happened? Their letter to Governor Peregrine Maitland was either misread or misunderstood and he issued a proclamation naming the village at the foot of the Swartberg ‘Prince Albert,’ so here we are! What's a little more frustrating is that we have never had a Royal visit, although we have had some close calls and I shall be exploring those in a talk at our annual ‘Readers over 60’ Library tea party on 15th of May.

Here’s one of the instances of a Close Encounter of a Royal Kind:

Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, 1865In 1867 HRH Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, the fourth child and second son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert sailed around the world as Captain on the Galatea. He reached the Cape of Good Hope in July and in September sailed through the Knysna Heads aboard HM sloop Petrel to take part in an elephant hunt. During the following week he visited the Prince Alfred Pass and at the prince’s request, Thomas Bain drew a map of the area for the prince to show his mother where he had been. Prince Alfred admired Bain’s walking stick, which he had carved himself and which had a handle in the shape of a Khoi man’s head, so Thomas carved another and presented it to him. This Royal visit brought a member of the Royal family within 220km of Prince Albert…

The close encounters continue with a visit by the Prince of Wales in 1925 to Meiringspoort (65km) and the Cango Caves (42,5km). When the White Train stopped at the Kruidfontein Station in 1947 and King George VI and Queen Elizabeth received a gift of Karoo succulents from Meester Johannes and a group of school children, they were within 46,4km of our town.

The most recent Royal close encounter was in 2008 when the Princes William and Harry got to within 17km of town, on a trip into Gamkaskloof, when they took part in a 1000 mile motorcycle trek to raise funds for Prince Harry’s HIV/AIDS charity in Lesotho. 

Perhaps, one day… 

The Ghost Walk is mentioned as one of the things to do in a glowing Getaway feature focussing on accommodation providers in Prince Albert and here’s a recent review of my Historical Ramble:

Ailsa Tudhope, gave us a hugely interesting insight into the architecture and history of Prince Albert. So much so that I was inspired to take a walk on my own the following morning to identify the various architectural building styles.

Marietjie van Niekerk a delegate at the 2018 Cape Photographers Congress March 2018

Until the end of Winter my Ghost Walk will start at 6.00pm and end about 7.30pm. Bookings are essential. 023 5411 211 story@storyweaver.co.za

_________________________

 

Die Kokerboom

1 April 2018

March was a happy, busy month with lots of walks. My guest list included visitors from the USA, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, Ireland, Scotland, England… our Northern hemisphere guests were still escaping the Northern chill! I was delighted to entertain a guest from Mumbai and since we went on the Historical Ramble and the Ghost Walk and met for a tour of the Anglican Church, we shared lots of knowledge and I am now exploring a new author and learning more about India.

I also welcomed a returning visitor, Klavs Skovsholm, from Brussels. Klavs has an interesting link with Prince Albert. He wrote a children’s book ‘Die Kokerboom’ which has been published in Afrikaans and isiXhosa and which was presented by Sports and Culture Minister, Anroux Marais, to our young guests at the junior school programme during the  2017 Leesfees. Klavs’ generosity has resulted in a further 5000 copies being printed, complete with pictures the children can colour themselves, which will be distributed in rural schools towards the end of August. (Our 2018 Leesfees takes place from 2 - 4 November.)

March brought an entertaining evening with Evita Bezuidenhout and the Kaktus of Separate Development at the Showroom Theatre and the following evening I was deeply moved by Pieter-Dirk Uys' memoirs in The Echo of a Noise. The following week my husband and I escaped to the seaside and spent three days and nights with only the sounds of the sea, birds and the breeze, a complete rest.

A Prince Albert Gable

 

Back to school and a Historical Ramble with a difference for four 9 year olds exploring local history. One came up with an interesting description of our Prince Albert Gables which have pillars in their plasterwork, this young man referred to them as ‘cushions’ (pillars = pillows = cushions). You can buy a book about our gables at the Fransie Pienaar Museum.

Albert College has become involved in Prince Albert’s most recent recycling project and has created a video about eco-bricks which they have entered in the British Council "Your World' global competition.  You can watch it here.

Besides enthusiastic recyclers the town is also blessed with a group of ladies who quietly work to relieve need and support worthy causes. The Thursday Ladies run a White Elephant stall at the Saturday Market and a well-supported second-hand clothing store, to raise funds. Piet Vries, one of the farmers at the municipal community farm Treintjiesrivier is the latest beneficiary. Piet was partially sighted and used to ride his bicycle along the long road from town to the farm to tend his stock. He became completely blind and relied upon a sighted companion to accompany him on the long walk there and back. He is now the proud owner of a ‘bicycle made for two’ sourced by Prince Albert Cycles and paid for by the Thursday Ladies, which will make the journey so much more manageable.

 

Arno Botha of Prince Albert Cycles hands over the tandem to Piet Vries

Arno Botha of Prince Albert Cycles hands over the tandem to Piet Vries

 

There have been requests for local Anglo-Boer War stories on the walks this month, so here is one of my favourites.

Commandoes during the Anglo-Boer War. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

When we first moved to Prince Albert Oom Jan “Mossie” de Wit was our neighbour and he regularly strolled across the road to chat during our weekly ‘leiwater beurt’, when we channelled the irrigation water from the furrow into our dam.  

He was a stout man who had been extremely strong when he was younger. He was very proud that five generations of his family had been known by the nickname Jan “Mossie.”  A mossie is a house sparrow, a sturdy, confident little bird, a familiar visitor to every garden. Looking at Oom Jan “Mossie” we could see exactly why he bore the nickname! He would tell us stories about his life on the farm, how he had hauled a great roll of wire up hill and down dale, while the workers came behind with the fencing poles, hammers and staples, building the fence and struggling to keep up.

One week he told us the story of his uncles, who had both been commandoes in the district during the Anglo-Boer War. Late one night they used the darkness of curfew to their advantage and came into town to collect food from their family. A few glasses of local brandy led to their having a little fun with the British occupiers. The elder brother asked for the Vierkleur, the Zuid Afrikaanse Republiek flag, hidden when the soldiers arrived. He bundled it into his jacket and the brothers left to creep along the furrow towards the prison in Kerkstraat, one of the British strongholds in the village. Once there, they quietly ran their flag up the flagpole outside the building. Then they headed out to rejoin their comrades in the mountains. As dawn touched the sky and Reveille was sounded the troops started to stir and shouts of anger were heard from the prison. The Vierkleur was hauled down and the red, white and blue Union Flag raised aloft!

 

 

With a Royal Wedding on the horizon, next month’s newsletter will include appropriate stories.

 

From 1 April my Ghost Walk starts at 6.00pm and ends about 7.30pm. Bookings are essential.

 

 

____________________________________ 

 

The Story Weaver

Prince Albert

Tel: 023 5411 211  e-mail: story@storyweaver.co.za

www.storyweaver.co.za