Saturday, February 23, 2013

Right, now this is where I become totally confused!  I have highlighted the entire days blog, then hit the arial button for font, and normal button for size, and black for colour, then the save button, and still I am getting a fruit salad of fonts, sizes and colours!  Have tried to correct for the 11th time, so if it is not correct, please just forgive me, it's out of my hands now.  I hope you still enjoy the read.........


Once again town is buzzing to the beat of the Kokkedoor.  The contestants have put on a 'kerk bazaar' for the town today and we were all asked to go along and support them.  We bought tickets at the door for R5.00 each, as many as you liked, and then everything there was on sale for R5.00.  Gorgeous cakes, cookies, meringues, suckers and lollipops, peanut brittle, homemade granadilla juice, and all things simply sweet and delicious.

The cameras were out, the sound men at the ready, the clapper board clapping, people laughing all having fun.  I didn't think it appropriate to take my camera with, although I would love to have got that on stills to post here.

At the end of the day, all the proceeds are going to the old age home.  Thank you Kokkedoor for your contributions to our community.


Something I really do enjoy here in the Karoo is the hospitality of the local farmers and their families.  I have made good friends with some of them and am terribly spoilt in having the opportunity to enjoy time with them in their homes and having the pleasure of the farmers proudly showing me around their beautiful farms.  The rich grazing, and verdant pastures are not what I expected to see in the Karoo.

Until recently I too was under the impression that the Karoo was nothing but a large dust bowl.  My, my, how pleasantly surprised I have been.  I had no idea that I would find fields of oats and Lucerne under irrigation either by canals or centre pivots.  In places I could almost believe I was back in lush Natal.  Many of the farms have massive dams, built by previous generations of farmers.

Forests of poplar trees are another beauty that grace these landscapes.  They are quite magnificent, especially in the autumn when their leaves turn to a multitude of shades of yellow and orange.

I met the Le Riches of Vonkfontein at the Fraserburg Show Dance, and the three of us hit it off right away.  I had been in Fraserburg for almost ten months, and had never ventured down their part of the world.  I was so taken aback by the sheer beauty of the entire drive and regretted not having had my camera with me, but soon realized that the trip with the camera would have to be a day on it’s own as there is so much to stop and photograph.  One needs a lot of time to appreciate their magnificent farm of 25 000 ha.  It is quite incredible just how much beauty there is all around.  The history of the area is fascinating, and they, as with many of the farmers in the area know of all the battles fought way back in the late 1890’s and early 1900’s in the Anglo Boer War.  They have collected all sorts of memorabilia found lying around from those days. Their farm falls into the Central Karoo and lies between Fraserburg, Loxton and Beaufort West, approximately an hour from each town. 

I left the farm Vonkfontein in a state of euphoria the following morning, already two hours later than scheduled for my trip to Beaufort West. Due to the fact that my head was in the clouds, I took a wrong turn off and headed off into the middle of nowhere.   It took me half an hour to realize that I had been going in the wrong direction!  No problem, I thought, I’d stop at the next farm and ask for directions. Hmmmm, in the Karoo the next farm is a very long way away!  I cautiously looked at my petrol gauge and released a sigh of relief knowing that I had filled up before leaving Fraserburg the day before.  I was rather hoping that the homestead I came across would belong to someone that did not know the Le Riches, then just perhaps I could pretend that this incident had never happened and they would never get to hear about it.  I knew I would never live it down! 

Finally I came across a farm.  I could see the staff cottages and what looked like a house, so I pulled off the district road and stopped to call out to anyone who might hear me.  No response.  I opened a farm gate, and proceeded through, hoping that there would be a place big enough for me to turn the car with the trailer.  Upon reaching the ‘house’ I saw that it was just a very smart shed.  Again I hollered and called, and once more, nothing, but for a barking dog and some clucking hens.  Back in the car I managed a tight squeeze of a circle and back down the road I went.  I continued on until I found the farm house, and looked around carefully to see if I could see any man eating Anatolian or other hounds before climbing out and knocking on the door to ask for help.  Before I made it up the steps a small dog gave the alarm call and the front door was opened.  A little Jack Russell rushed out and greeted me with his rather large farmer owner right behind him.  As it turned out, I ended up at the farm of the very good friends of the Le Riches, whom I had also met at the dance, and in true Karoo style, I was ushered in and could not rush off rudely without going through the whole welcoming ritual.  Finally I was able to excuse myself, by which time I was now hours behind schedule, and still had to retrace my path all the way back down the road to where I had begun in the first place. 

Off I went once more.  This time I was in a serious hurry, another very silly move, especially when you are writing the next chapter of your book in your head instead of concentrating on the road.  I hit a pothole with such force, trailer still in tow, that I was amazed for one, that the car and trailer still remained on the road, two, I did not have a flat tyre, and three, that I had not ripped out the sump.  Besides some new very annoying rattles, all seemed to be fine.  The only damage done was that I was sporting a very sore shoulder, and I now had a trailer with a lid that had been half ripped off.  Both could be fixed.  That mighty jolt bought me back to earth, and the rest of the journey was taken at a very leisurely pace.  Instead of being so busy in my head, I took the time to appreciate the scenery.  To get to Beaufort West from this area, one has a choice of three routes, each down a different pass.  Our first choice from Fraserburg is the tarred road that takes us down the Theekloof Pass to Leeu Gamka and then we turn up to Beaufort, the other takes you down the Oukloof Pass, and the third is down the Molteno Pass.  The Molteno Pass is the route to take from Vonkfontein.  Exquisitely dramatic is all I can say about the view pertaining to all three passes.
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