It’s a funny thing in life. For me anyway. When I am in London, I hear nothing but negativity about South Africa. And I buy into it, for some if it exists, and some are reasons that we re-located to London all those years ago. No future, everything going pear shaped, crime, high living costs … a little like all the other countries in the world – I mean have you ever sat and thought ‘Where is the perfect place to live?’ and every one you think of has its problems. Politics and headlines have that effect.
But I do find myself a little schizo when it comes to South Africa. Love London, tell my children to stay and make their lives there … and then I come back, like now, for a holiday and whoosh … my heart just bangs like a thunderstorm with the joy of being here. Other than the familiar, it has to begin with the African landscape that just gets the blood flowing after a long and grey winter.
Truth is it is the end of summer here. I wear sundresses and sandals and the sun is high and I have this overwhelming urge to be outside and healthy. To drive on open roads, walk on the beach – touch wheat and swim. Stare at the mountains. Buy wine from the vineyards and not in an Orange supermarket. It’s nature and landscape enveloping me – and as they say, when life gets tough, nature is what you want. Here I find her in abundance.
Rather than wake to the view of the garages behind my flat, I wake to Guinea fowl chatting in the garden. The light is different here. Can’t explain it, but it is and I see myself in a different way.
The people of South Africa are happy people. Despite all, and some living in abject poverty, they are always chatting, and smiling and it is infectious. Right down to the street sellers working for a plate of food, they always seem to be positive. Need that after the longest winter yet endured.
So I rose early and went for a walk. Drove into Cape Town to meet a friend and we drove back to Franschoek to spend a beautiful lunch under the trees – he said ‘you look different’, ‘you look happy’ and I just smiled, again … and again … for I am.
My winter is over. As much as I love London, and I do with her charm and quirks and traditions, I am now rather for a few weeks, for nature, beach and berg, outside living and grateful to be here. South Africa, you have your problems, but your offerings are greater and I cannot tell you how happy I am to be here for a while. Down to the painted toes and all for now they are on display!
In this Silver street of our lives, we could live anywhere and make the most of it. Materialism fades but being in a beautiful place, where you are at peace and optimism thrives … that is good enough for me. Hello Summer, in every way.