By a Country Smile, Part 1

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Before today’s icy morning gave way to the winter sun, I was out feeding our birds. Our birds? Yes, these birds which afford me the privilege of visiting my garden at Hatman Mansions to eat my seed are yours too. I know that you will take good care of them.

A bird that can take care of itself is the Black Harrier. Afrikaners know it as the Witkruispaddavreter (White Cross Frog Eater). There are an abundance of frogs in my garden. One (Black Harrier, not frog) gave me a right treat when it landed on a branch in one of the guava trees this morning. I like to listen to the frogs make a popcorn-popping sound at night. So, I was relieved to note that Mr Harrier was more intent on peering over the low wall into the neighbour’s garden. Pierre and Gaye’s frogs are a lot fatter.

A White Cross Frog Eater Pic: Peter Steyn /

After all of this excitement, I stumbled down the main road where things were considerably quieter. Monday morning. And The Stanford Galleries Art Cafe is closed for the staff’s annual holiday – so our cappuccino drip has been removed. It’s also like the heartbeat of the village has stopped. It’s sad. Please hurry up with your holidays, Jill, Dixie, Jaco and Co. Enough pain already.

I needed a couple of their fine coffees to help me recover from the weekend. A weekend in which Margot van Heerden and friends, led by the indomitable comedienne Candy Bubb, conducted a very happy coup of Stanford, took over Fruit Tree Cottage and renamed it Playgirl Mansions… and then celebrated wildly into the night at Birkenhead Brewery. Margot’s 40th. Beautiful. The thing about Birkenhead is that I’m addicted to their ale, the Birkenhead Pride. It all got rather untidy. Correction: I got rather untidy. Nice.

Nice and untidy. I’m not sorry. It’s just the way I was taught to dance.

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