Sunday, December 21, 2014

Out of South Africa

Some of the unpacking... And some last minute Christmas suggestions while we're at it.

Not pictured: the afternoon dark at 4pm several more books, another bottle of the delicious Inverroche Still Bay-made gin (blue box), and yet more soap. And there may or may not be thirsty cuttings from my mom's garden - free of pests, I checked very carefully - drinking up Harlem tap water in Dead Horse Bay bottles as we speak.

The Babylonstoren waterblommetjie is soap is very, very special. And I love Nocturnal Affair's ginger/lime sugar scrub.

The Sea Salt crackers. Positively the best crackers/biscuits I've ever eaten, from Woolworths.  The gelatin powder - odd. It is the easiest I've ever used: no lumps and bumps and swearwords as it forms a skin on top of the hot liquid and refuses to dissolve. Hence.

Black cat cards. I owe many. I ordered them specially.

Marmite cashews. Well. Some things can't be explained. My mother may have denuded Pick 'n Pay's stock on our behalf.

Enameled tin. I like it.

The Lion matches in fancy boxes - again - you had to have been there.

The invisible three glasses? Two may or may not (not, I suspect) be Woodstock (19th century) but the - unrelated - tumbler bears the old South African Airways Art Deco springbok emblem etched on its side.

Mostly, it has been the year of Books by Friends. Notably, Marijke's gorgeous and very, very good Indigenous Plant Palettes. It is going to be an invaluable reference book for me. If you are a South African gardener and do not yet own it, fix that at once and go and buy it. It is coffee table-worthy but also very practical. It would make a very special gift.

Kobus (and Jac de Villier)'s beautiful Strandveldfood is an inspiring collection of unique recipes and gorgeous images from South Africa's West Coast, with its characteristic contradictions of austerity and opulence brought together in stories on plates. Treat yourself to lunch at Oep ve Koep and perhaps the chef will sign a copy for you. Otherwise it is in stock in South African book shops and for Kindle on Amazon.

Ted Botha, author of Flat/White is a neighbor, not yet met - a fellow South African living in Harlem, who has just published a very entertaining book about life in his tenement. I wolfed half of it on the plane (before I fell asleep: I had three free seats to lie flat on!) and can't wait to down the second half. Available in shops in South Africa and for Kindle on Amazon.

There is more, but I am out of juice and running on fumes.


  1. Welcome back ... wonderful gifts ... sweetest black kitty card ever.
    Get lots of rest, it's a very busy time to have to deal with jet lag.

  2. Welcome back Stateside. Any idea why the Woolworths gelatin is so much better?

    1. Thank you. No, no clue about why this gelatin dissolves so well.

  3. Lovely to have you back. It must have been very hard to actually go home though...this is where the jet lag might help.

    xoxoxox J

  4. Merry Christmas to you and the frenshie

  5. the frenchie I mean .... :)

  6. Thanks for the chuckle as I wonder where and how those cuttings did or did not travel. You are braver than me. Also excited to see gelatin mentioned. I ordered a bottle a couple weeks ago and now need ideas.

  7. Welcome back.. Hope you've brought back some of that wide blue sky in your hearts.

  8. I'm sure your arrival home is bittersweet. I hope the beautiful blue skies and family helped heal a small part of your heart.


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