The Friedmans live on the Kom beside a grove of milkwood trees. Vince and I call them saucisson trees, because that is how their small purple, staining fruit smells. Which is good if you like saucisson. We do. The trees are protected and it is an offense to chop one down.
Gerald cooked lunch. This was quite something. He is 83 and began to cook for the first time only last year when Yvonne was confined to bed, and he shows every sign of being an natural. Till now Yvonne has taken care of all things domestic, while Gerald worked at a rarefied level of Law. He panfried kabeljou for us, a Cape linefish now - sadly - on the unsustainable orange list. Not everyone knows that. I have not eaten Kob, as we call it, in years. It is delicious. It was cooked perfectly, too. With it were steamed courgettes and boiled baby potatoes, and butter and lemon. It is easily the best fish I have eaten in as long as I can remember. Apparently Gerald makes excellent omelettes, too. The man is talented. I promised to send him a recipe for a crumble as he would like to expand his dessert repertoir.
After lunch we walked outside to look at the aloes that grow near the water on the little bite of quiet bay where the water retreats to reveal cobbled rocks at low tide. A group of people was sorting out a seine net, from which an occasional silver fish flapped. Earlier the woman of the group had walked by with two bags heavy and damp. Mussels? I'd like to be eating at their house tonight.
I'd like to have a group of old friends who would help me gather my seine net in at the Kom. And a house, looking down at that water, where sometimes otters are still seen. And to have the aloes to wake me up on summer mornings, with their prickled and utter redness. This is one of the places I would choose to live if I could live anywhere, anywhere at all.
I think they are Aloe perfoliata, or jewelled aloes. Creeping aloes, native to the West Coast.