Cape Town is a photographer’s dream – wherever you look, there’s a picture-perfect view. The mountains, the parks and the coastline are quite something to behold.
The last story I published on my website before leaving Johannesburg was about my house in Melville and the memories we’d be taking with us to Cape Town.
I had little concept of what lay ahead but there was no turning back. Now, more than a year later, Johannesburg seems a long time ago and the house that stirred so many reminiscences is in the past, albeit a happy past.
There was nothing pleasant about the actual move while Covid was still ubiquitous and goodbyes weighed heavily on the road ahead. Despite asking Elliott Movers to ensure that everyone working near us should be vaccinated against Covid, none of them was. I’d thought that one of the biggest companies moving South Africans to new destinations would ensure their employees were compliant.
It took 19 packers four days on site to prepare our move and to move the goods to a warehouse where they were stored until being delivered to us in Cape Town four days after our arrival. Some things were damaged and others disappeared into thin air but who has the energy to check the goods after suffering from relocation fever and a long trip on the road?
We politely refused offers of accommodation elsewhere until our goods arrived because we wanted to stay in our new abode to familiarise ourselves with the area and the house we had bought sight unseen. Well, not entirely unseen, because our friends Liz and Adrian, tasked with the search for our new home, had kept us in the picture with videos and detailed reports.
Before we left Melville, I sold our kitchen appliances and the bed in our guest bedroom, which went a long way to funding our new acquisitions. Online I discovered a bed called a Sloom, a South African product, which received applause all around from reviewers. Our first night was spent comfortably on the Sloom, surrounded by our appliances, which my brother Melvin had connected.
Liz and Adrian and Melvin had left us sheets and towels and core essentials like wine and beer to ease us into the house we’d soon be calling home. The road had been busy and we arrived after 10 pm to find silence prevailed except for the pitter-patter of our beautiful brak Blitz when we opened the front door onto our new lives.
My husband was captivated from that moment on – “I love it”, he said. I was a little more circumspect. I needed a personal stamp on the place before saying I loved it, which I do now.
With friends and relations in the Cape province, we slowly transformed our lives from Covid isolation to contact at a distance. We wore masks everywhere and stayed away from populated activities.
A year down the line, our calendar is almost as busy as it was pre-Covid. I won’t say I feel like a Capetonian but I will say Cape Town is a glorious place to live in. The sheer beauty is breathtaking and there is a lot to do without having to drive very far. Not to mention the well-maintained roads, and running water.
It is a common perception that Capetonians are an unfriendly bunch and in some respects, this holds but we are slowly meeting our neighbours, who defy the description.
Lynn and Gordon, who live between Johannesburg and Cape Town, became friends early on. They turn heads in their Citroën 2CV, commonly known as a deux chevaux, and Lynn invited me for what she called “a burn”. I gladly accepted her invitation and I discovered the friendly side of Capetonians on the road as they hooted and waved us on our way.
Talking of the roads, they are chock-a-block at certain hours and the traffic lights can drive one mad either because they change too quickly or because they take too long to do so. I’ve learnt that almost everyone starts their weekends by midday on Friday, especially medical practitioners who can prove a headache when you’re trying to find doctors and dentists like those we were familiar with in Joburg.
These are but hiccups in one’s daily life and there is much to celebrate and enjoy in this city. One of the high points was the arrival of my former housekeeper, Margaret, who I wrote about in Memories of a Home – Moving On. When we parted ways in Johannesburg, we promised we’d keep in touch and we do. Every time we spoke, I reminded her of my invitation to her to visit us in the Cape.
Much to my surprise, she put a date on it, and accompanied by her youngest child Yvonne – a seasoned traveller – they made their way here. It was Margaret’s first flight, her first visit to the seaside, and we had a ball – she enjoyed the stay so much, she tells me she is coming again!
Another happy event has just taken place, but first the backstory. We were still in Johannesburg when our Giant Schnauzer Becky suddenly fell ill and we had the heartbreak of having to put her down when she lost the use of her legs. We mourned Becky’s loss but I started thinking about finding Blitz a companion. Recently my niece showed me a photo of a dog called Rosie, a Wire Fox Terrier in need of a home because her owners were moving to Ireland.
We tested the water on neutral ground at Keurboom Park. It wasn’t immediately a love match but it looked promising. Next, she visited us for an hour and all seemed well.
On Tuesday 31 January, Rosie was dropped off by a friend of the former owners and much to my surprise, she immediately appeared content in our environment. Blitz took a little longer – a bit like my husband and me when we arrived at our new house. It’s a wonderful new beginning for us all in this already ageing new year. Happy 2023!