I commented to Analize the other day about how happy I’d been when we went wine tasting at Morgenster and how I seem to have slipped into a sad fog lately. She reminded me that I’d just reunited with my ex the day before Morgenster and that since then my ex has become a re-ex. Actually a re-re-ex. It’s always complicated isn’t it?


I think people come into relationships with different weapons of choice, which they hide in their emotional basement until the day after you fall in love with them. For some it’s just a very small stick that they use to prod and poke you over years until finally they draw blood. Others have those sharp knives and the skill to get it in between the ribs and into the heart with one thrust. I like that. But my most current ex. Re-ex… re-re… She is what I imagine Mr Bean would look like if he stumbled upon a semi-automatic gun. Gleefully tossing it around and playing with it in odd amusing ways – until it accidentally goes off and hits you in the leg. Not a mortal wound but incapacitating for a while. Bean seems concerned and tries to patch up the wound. But while trying to figure out the bandage the gun gets dropped and a shot goes off, hitting you in the chest but just missing the heart. Before you have time to look down Bean has tripped and trodden on the gun which fires a round straight through your eye and into your brain. Even if you wanted to… you can’t at this stage see a way to forgiveness or think of a single reason to go back. And Bean… realising what has just happened… drops the gun and runs away, legs and arms flailing about in a way that would make you laugh if you hadn’t just been riddled with their guilt. (It’s the V in SLVND- btw and FYI)


I still have a soft spot for her though. But I am sad. And that is what wine and friends are for. To help one to forget and to create the space for new people and experiences to come into one’s life. Festivals are the best tonic. Hundreds of friendly strangers on the same mission – to get through as many wine farms in one weekend as possible. Remembering them is optional. The wine farms that is. The people – well the interesting ones stick in one’s memory. The circumstances – not always. I have a very clear memory of solemnly pinky-swearing something with an American woman at the Franschhoek festival. I just cannot remember what. It may have been related to throwing tennis balls into a tyre in the lake to win a bottle of brandy, that’s where we were at the time, or it may have been something very important. It worries me – because for me a pinky swear is my word and my bond. And then there was Frank. From Tanzania. Or Nigeria… Zambia maybe? Somewhere north of Cape Town. He comes to South Africa every 3 months to look for “wine”. He wants to setup a “wine” collection and have private “wine” parties with his friends. We swopped numbers so that I could be his contact in South Africa for sourcing “wine”. He did say wine. I don’t know why I’m using the quotation marks. But you never know. I can’t really remember. (Could be the S… could be the D.. in SLVND)


We said we could only logistically do 7 wine farms in one day at the Franschhoek Festival, but we aimed to do 16 out of the 17. We made it to 10. Frank we met at farm number 6 and pinky swearing happened at farm 9. By the time we got to the last farm they were already packing up, but after we explained our epic mission to visit 10 farms (ok so we stretched our truth there) they poured us a whole glass of cab sav to celebrate. We weren’t at all sad that day.


And it’s not always about wine. We went to the olive festival in Riebeek Kasteel. There we got to sample every kind of olive and olive related anything, dipped in so much bread it’s a good thing I’m a carb nut. They had these tractors pulling trailers of hay bails which one could hop onto and ride to the wine farms in the area. We made it to one farm. We sat drinking our wine in amongst the vines until eventually someone came and told us they were closing and we had to leave. We thought ok, we’ll just catch the next tractor uber back to the town and our car. Not to be. The tractors had stopped running and we had to walk back. It’s the first time I’ve ever used walking maps on my iPhone. It’s scary when they say “in 1.5km turn left” when you’re walking and the sun is setting and you’ve had a day of drinking lovely wine. Scary that is until you realise that you are just one of many, many walkers with maps, giggling as the person mispronounces “Raybeek Kustell”. (It’s the L part of SLVND)


And then there’s the Wacky Wine festival in Robertson. Three days of non-stop wine farming. No time to be sad there. I was baptised in the wine tradition my first year in the Cape.  Normally I wouldn’t dream of diving into a pool of any description in the middle of June in the Cape, yet somehow diving into a pool of red wine seemed like a good idea at the time. The idea was to dive for treasure at the bottom of the pool to win a prize. I didn’t win a prize. Firstly, you can’t see anything in red wine. Duh. And secondly it was cold! If it wasn’t a wine festival and everything that goes with it, I would have been like a cat when it hits water. You’ve seen that haven’t you? They twist themselves into pretzel shapes while their legs run so fast that somehow they jump out before they get wet. I reeked of red wine all of that day. Nobody noticed. (It was almost the N of SLNVD)


And this is why the Western Cape is the best place in the world to be sad. Because you just won’t be. You can’t be – not for long. Every week there is some or other festival. And on those wine festival-free weekends when you’re wallowing in sad self-pity, you get to do so with spectacular views and a beer in your hand. Because it’s October… and this is the Western Cape.


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