PE revisited

14 Feb

My fourth trip to Port Elizabeth to visit John’s Dad.

I just love these crazy roads..

The freeway into town

I’m becoming an old hand at this journey and now recognise the landmarks and know which town/coffee shop/loo stop is coming next. But it is nonetheless exciting for that and the scenery still stuns and grabs my spirit.

We break the journey at Knysna, roughly halfway, where we stay with Rudi and make witblitz (moonshine) from a batch of wine that Rudi had made and rejected.

Still in situ at Rudi's

Despite having worked well on previous batches, this lot produced pure acetone – not to be taken internally. Still – pardon the pun – I got to see the illicit machinery in action; a first for me and most intriguing. It’s a home-made set up, manufactured by John, and very much a prize possession so, whilst we left this with Rudi to play with while we were at PE, we would be collecting it again on our way back.

Have still will travel

John’s Dad was as accommodating as ever. It’s always a treat to stay there and not only because he has a bath. There was added interest this time as Uncle David (John’s godfather) and wife were also on a visit, breaking their cruising adventures, so I get to meet more of the family and hear more stories. We visited the Yacht Club where I almost got a sail. Sadly the weather was not quite suitable but we did get a nice lunch.

We tootled about the town and the beach, generally relaxed, tormented the dog, read lots and John and I visited the Swartskop Hotel. Therein lies a tale. Very atmospheric shall we say in purple and lime green, with loud music and even louder South African males. For every lewd comment they made (in Afrikaans so I can only surmise) about the barmaid they chucked money in a pot on the bar. It was all very jolly and she must have gone home considerably richer – we reckon to the tune of at least R200.  And that’s 20 quid ish!

Swartkops Hotel

Before we knew it, our stay of one week had turned into two. A major reason for going there was to sure up the rear of John’s dad’s property as he had been broken into twice. Only the workshop and studio above (our treehouse in SA) but nevertheless a concern. This involved filling the gaps that had been opened up in the undergrowth with razor wire. Nasty stuff, as John’s scars will attest to, but hopefully would keep out the local baddies and prevent any serious security breaches. Progress was held up for a couple of days when it rained, bigtime, like nothing normally seen here at this time of year. But as a water scarce area, everyone was well pleased.

We took a couple of days out to go camping at Woody Cape, which is another story to be featured here very soon. Also the journey home was pretty epic as we strayed from the main roads in favour of the dirt roads and mountain passes – also to be blogged about soon.

The one bad thing about PE this time was poor signal, which initially made using the computer a nightmare, Internet constantly dropping out, and eventually a must to avoid if you valued your sanity. Hence lack of blog to date but that’s not to say it will end here; stay tuned for river-flavoured tales to come.

Be patient with me, I will try to catch up but time is running out on me. This evening we are attending my farewell braai and tomorrow will be my last day at the bus as we head off for Cape Town early on Thursday morning so that I can get a glimpse of The Waterfront before I have to fly north to the UK, where it will certainly be colder but at least I have Hobo’s stove to look forward to. A kind friend has stocked me up with wood and coal and some shopping.

It’s a strange time, feeling neither here nor there, but soon England will be the reality and this will become a fond memory. For now.

New bird feeder at the bus in action

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