Monday, December 30, 2013

Home in Harlem

Proudly South African mementos, with breakfast coffee

I must still unpack.

But here is what I brought back from Cape Town to Harlem.

Marguerite Poland is a South African author best known, I think, for her volumes of children's stories, which are by far amongst the best I ever read. I still return to them, and to their gorgeous illustrations by Leigh Voigt. They are the real - as in authentic - stories of the South African bush, told from the perspective of the indigenous animal and plant life. They are also timeless, classic in the sense that they belong to every child, of every age, and every place. She is the Grimms of Africa. Look for The Mantis and the Moon, Once at Kwafubesi...but there are many more.

Taken Captive by Birds is her new book, and a gift from my mother. 

(I once won a writing competition in South Africa despite cribbing an animal name from one of her books. With my R25 prize money ($2.50 - hey, I was 11. It was long ago) I bought more books, including another of hers.)

Linen - also from my mom, who knows I have a white linen fetish. Granadilla (passion fruit) pulp. I will stir it into the icing sugar for a hot milk sponge. The lime and ginger scrub and soap smelled too good not to bring home. Baobab oil. Who knew? It says it's good for everything. Spray it on, rub it in. The rabbit terrine was a gift from the Voer-ders (ex-Pretoria, now living in Canada, and out for holiday) whom I met for lunch in Koringberg. Can't wait to try it.


Last night in the dark, in rain, arriving in the cab with the Frenchman who had met me at JFK, sparkly lights twinkled from our windows, welcoming me home. They glitter beautifully. 

Inside the apartment with the tall ceilings, were a happy black cat, a little Christmas tree, also aglow, with unexpected gifts below it. There was another, smaller kitchen island, exactly the one I wanted, beside the stove, wrapped in ribbon, spread with unread New Yorkers and the edible treats I like. There were delicious little pies for supper, just like Cape Town pies, from Pie Face, a shop he's found on 23rd Street. We drank Goats do Roam, ate arugula salad spiked with garlic against flying germs, and talked. 

I slept like a log in the soft white bed.

It's good to be home.


13 comments:

  1. It seems you are married to the most thoughtful and nicest man on the planet. Welcome home!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think I may be. I don't know how it happened, but I thank my lucky stars.

      Thank you!

      Delete
  2. Welcome home, but I must say I will miss those spectacular pictures of South African flora a fauna. Not much doing on my terrace this time of year, and your posts from South Africa were really a treat just now. Ah well, it's back to seed catalogues for me!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I'll post more South African stories...much is untold :-)

      Delete
  3. I am glad you are home, and the black cat is happy, and Vince is so good at welcoming you home.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Welcome home. You are a (deservedly) lucky woman.

    Nice to have you back on the same continent.

    xo J

    ReplyDelete
  5. Welcome home! And what a lovely welcome!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Glad you are safely back with you loyal, protective gendarme(s). Many of us enjoyed your long trip--via wonderful narrative & photos--almost as much as you did. Have just ordered, by the way, "Taken Captive by Birds" for my local birder, Kim.. If you endorse it, that's good enough for me..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Clark. And I am so glad you bought a copy of Taken Captive by Birds. I don't think Kim will be disappointed.

      Delete
  7. A voice you've never heard from here but I too am happy you had a safe trip home. And if I have your attention wanted to share a pre Christmas shopping experience I had. I needed some Lung Ching tea so stopped at a local coffee and tea shop. There on a shelf was your book, face forward!(and space is a premium) Thought you might enjoy the name of the shop ONE GOOD WOMAN !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Rebecca - and of course I like your story! Was it this shop?

      http://www.onegoodwoman.com/default.asp

      Delete
  8. Yes, that is the shop. PS The wood stove is our only heat source so I highly recommend good wool socks to go with the slippers.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Welcome home and Happy New Year! I've found that felt slippers very effective against the cold and not too aesthetically displeasing. I do think what really needs warming are the toes, somehow my heels never make the rest of me feel cold. Well some heels did, but that's another story.
    So happy you are back.
    Cheers,
    Deirdre

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...