is not for the faint hearted.
This is us, stuck. Note that it is a Landrover that is stuck. Not promising. But also worse than it looks, because the road had been badly chewed up by a logging company, who will fix this section. It won't be so bad in April.
Surely the sheer volume of rain will have abated by then. Won't it?
Haha. Actually, the problem with this road normally is not mud but rockiness. High clearance vehicle needed. The mud is unusual.
We had fun though. When the wheels started spinning we jumped out to check which bit of road was safest - and A, battling the slippery slope, slid like a heavy ton of metal towards a deep donga. And so we paused, hovering on the edge of it. And phoned ahead to the farm to Louis who had arrived in the afternoon. Louis to call Jacob in the tractor to tow us out. Then we sat and marvelled at the milky way as it slowly emerged in all its finery. And slapped at mosquitoes and made bad jokes about the slippery slope and sliding to new lows and being stuck in a rut and such. Just the kind of chitchat you make with psychologists who own landrovers and are embarrassed to have to call for help. And when help arrived, B and I had that jolt of recognition in the dark, thinking, but we've met Louis before - where, where, when?
And later, when everyone was muddy and lighting the paraffin lamps to get dinner ready, we tried to figure it out -
B: was it Cape Town? Did you ever live in Cape Town?
L: Yes, for a while
[but no, it didn't seem like it was there]
T: did you ever spend time at the retreat centre in Ixopo?
L: no, never.
And in the freshness of the morning the conversation idled from wedding plans and family to conservation to art and sculpture, and I mentioned my mom's upcoming exhibition and Paul said, what's your mom's name and I told him and Louis said, Oh I have one of her paintings. Oh! He went to Kapani.(my family lodge/home village) When? For the Millennium, that fabulous crazy party - Oh Oh Oh!!! B, this is where we know Louis from, silly silly! And of course! He was there, he was staying with Janelle, he's Janelle's mate!! Ha! That bad mad crazy rainy floody muddy season when everyone seemed to be sliding towards ruin - and that bizzaaaaaarre party when you had to go dressed as something beginning with M, and mother was a malaria patient (literally - but she still went to the party) and father was a motor-cycle accident victim (literally, with real bruises in all shades of purple and green). That crazy season when everyone was fighting and B coined the phrase "come to Kapani, where the houses are closer than the spouses"
Oh I love this tiny world, and the fact that A, who owns Tonglen, seems to have a silver thread linking him and us to all sorts of spidery webnesses. And Louis is an events organiser and gifted me with heaps of excelelnt advice and ideas. And another of the Tonglen guests on the weekend (A does have fabulous friends) was also a delight to meet - a lass who shares so many of my passions and obsessions that she could have been a parallel life self. An environmental writer whose 'favourite issues' are elephants and human wildlife conflict andandand - what a delight. Its not easy finding such kindred souls in Joburg, so - yipeee!
So I'm not going to post loads of pics, as I want it to be a suprise for guests who may visit here. But they do need to be reassured that the journey is well worth it. So. This is what you wake up to. Just one of several lung-expanding views.
Yes, it is going to happen there, and I am truly mad to choose this spot. Its not geared for this kind of occasion, and just about everything needs to be brought in. But its beautiful. There you have it.
I came away with a hefty to-do list, and then suddenly it was Friday and my Monday to-dos remain undone, and now its Monday again. I'm not sure how this keeps happening. Compression of time, and lots going on. Last year I had an excessive luxury of solitary time at the laptop, ambling from blog to blog at the sedate pace of a rose sniffer. Now I check updates on my phone in queues. New teaching job, crushing amounts of life admin (the tax return still glaring at me from behind the cupboard door) and of course its that time of year when proposals need to get written, and, and and.
Off I go then, into the new week. Have a good one!