"let your boat of life be light, packed with only
what you need - a homely home and simple pleasures, someone to love and someone to love you,
enough to eat and enough to wear
and a little more than enough to drink:
for thirst is a dangerous thing"

Sunday, 10 July 2011

recycling memories

in the July holidays has been on my calendar since the boys were in nappies (okay probably since 1988 and probably only Matthew had a nappy (and a blanket and a dummy)).  It was a time when the whole of the southern suburbs headed up the garden route to escape the long, wet winter school holiday in Cape Town.  Kathy and I would load up our cars – those black plastic motor-bikes, groceries (there was no Pick n Pay or Checkers in Plett in those days, only a rather expensive Spar and this holiday usually blew our budget for the year so the shopping was done at home in bulk).  The cars were something to be seen.  No. 1 on the list in those days was Julia (my domestic helper at the time who has worked for our family for years (she still works for Dalene and my mom)).  Julia would bring her daughter – the cars were packed full and roof racks overloaded (one year we even took a tumble drier).  All that was missing was a chicken or two.  We would rent the biggest budget house on Margaret Smart’s books.  We must have stayed in more than 10 different houses over the years (some great, some freezing cold, some seriously shabby).  We eventually found “Beckers can’t be Choosers” on Central Beach, the most perfectly located of them all and that became “our house” until the owners decided to renovate it. 

In the beginning the boys would spend their time with us mostly on the beach, digging, playing beach bats, swimming (Monkeyland was a favourite). When they were slightly older the Beacon Isle became the main attraction because of the arcade games, then golf became the order of the day and each boy wanted to bring a friend and suddenly you have 8 little boys, 2 teenage boys (Kris and a friend), throw in a niece or two and no wonder we needed the biggest budget house on the books. 

Then the teenage years arrived with very late nights and picking them up from the Cave – girls were now a part of their holiday fun.  This made a change from the old days when we would leave them with videos, popcorn, fizzers and Julia for the night when we went through to The Tapas Bar in Knysna to party until all hours.  What goes around, comes around.

The early days also revolved around the Knysna marathon and for that weekend the crowds would arrive and our house that was supposed to sleep 12 was littered with mattresses and extra bodies.  It was party weekend.  We would leave Plettenberg Bay on the Friday to meet everyone at Crabs Creek for lunch.  The runners would register and we would head back to Plett for a pizza at Cranzigots (and buy the t-shirt and sweatshirt). 

Up bright and early for the run (or fun run for some).  You would have to book your spot on the lawns of the stadium from early and there you would watch the runners come in, drink Forrester's beer and usually party in the stadium until late in the afternoon.  The children would organize touch rugby on the fields and have a ball. 

This is only the second year that we have missed being in Plettenberg Bay.  The last couple of years there have been just as busy but with different dynamics.  Dalene now has the young children, my brother and his friends are there to run the race, the boys arrive with their girlfriends and/or friends,  my mother loves being involved in the activities and Michael has passed his initiation.  Two years ago at the end of our two week holiday there, he proposed.  Brave man.

Time moves on and things change.  This year Gareth and Nic are there with their friends and/or girlfriends, eating oysters, drinking Forrester's, running and supporting their friends who are running.  But they have their pizzas at


and no longer party on the lawn but head for the closest pub to watch the rugby (there always seems to be some big match on race day). I know they will always pay a visit to Crabs Creek where they will relate stories of Fred Dieterle who entertained them for hours one holiday many years ago.  Naughty boys that they were they dredged slimy water out of the lagoon into a beer tankard, added salt and pepper and Tabasco from the tables and came around offering it to the adults to drink.  Some refused, some pretended to drink it and good old Fred downed the entire 500ml tankard.  To see the eyes of those little boys grow bigger and bigger is something I will always remember (they of course never ever will forget it) and Fred will always be their hero for that brief act of madness (no wonder his race time was his worst ever).  I am sure that they will also visit the Heads where it became their family ritual to jump into the water off the wooden deck at the change rooms (next to the NSRI) and swim to the buoy no matter what the weather was like or temperature of the water was.

I have had a lovely weekend in Cape Town on my own (Michael is here but golfing) – very strange because everyone is away (Dalene, Tom and the girls in Pringle Bay, Kathy overseas, Lesley working) but I have time to spend on the computer and in the garden and the kitchen.  I have visited special friends and have been thinking lots about how life changes and revolves and it is all pretty weird because you feel exactly the same but things are different and you can't expect them to stay the same. 

It won’t be long before the boys will be packing their own cars to the roof, adding a few children and a wife (they won’t need to stock up on groceries and wine) and heading up the garden route to spend holidays in Plettenberg Bay to make their own memories.  This is probably still a way off but I will offer to travel in Julia’s place and stay at home with popcorn and fizzers and dvd’s while they pretend they are teenagers again.

But then again, maybe I won’t. I will bring Julia along to look after the children while they take me to Crabs Creek to listen of stories of Fred Dieterle and to eat oysters and drink chilled white wine.  We will also take a trip to the Heads to see whose little boy (or girl ;)) will be able to withstand the freezing water.  Some things will never change and probably weren't meant to.

1 comment:

  1. Thank your lucky stars you didn't eat those oysters!