Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Place of Stories

There’s a place I go to in the Cape to get my groove back. Sometimes I go there to hang out with my family - like I do these past five weeks over Christmas - and neglect to write this blog.

And sometimes I go there to be alone to write books that quality bookshops hide behind their displays of Stephenie Meyers and Dan Browns.

This is the place I go to

I bought a small house in this place six years ago when my father was dying and I spend a lot of time afterwards sitting on the stoep with my mom knitting and crying and talking about him.

The house with the stoep where I sit and knit and cry

My first book that I get published – The Summer of Toffie and Grummer -  is set in this place and is about an edgy teen who tries to find a new man for her bereaved granny. It's a book about coming to terms with loss and allowing yourself to forgive and love again.

My mom is still pretty frisky and has all her teeth -  and we are still looking for her new man-friend.

I like this place a lot because it’s really beautiful and it has a mountain with waterfalls and a river the colour of rooibos tea. And because it’s a place full of people with stories.  

A place with mountains and a river

One of the stories these people tell is that their village has a very large Lake of Wine and I am obliged to do my bit my drinking as much of it as I can. So I do. (I don't have a photo of The Lake of Wine)

When I’m not drinking my quota, or floating up and down the river on my boogie board, I walk around the village and meet people - which is something I never do in Jozi where I try to meet as few people as possible.

One of the people I meet in this village is a woman who talks to fish. She doesn’t wear shoes and has hairy toes and when I leave this place and go home she jumps over my fence and feeds my goldies and guppies. (And talks to them)

The pond with talking fish

At the top of my hill live three sisters. They are very old and make jam with a label called Three Sisters. Last year two of them crossed the river and now there is just one sister left. But the jam label still reads Three Sisters.

One of my favourite spots in the village is the Charity Shop in the main street next to the bottle store (one of several trying to cope with The Lake of Wine).

It is here that I buy some awesome curlers.

Twenty awesome curlers

Yes, my mom had a set just like these. I put the curlers in Teen2's Christmas stocking this year and they make her laugh. And they make her hair all curly.

And at the Charity Shop I meet a man who is looking to buy a hat who says things like: “that idiot knows as much about real estate as my arsehole knows about shooting grouse.”

He also says I must do my bit for The Lake and come and drink wine with him at his house. But I don’t, because it is only ten o clock in the morning.

Last August, a month after I finish writing Confessions of a Virgin Loser  for Mr Steve Vosloo and his cellphone addicts, I come to this place with my family for the school holidays.

And I sit on my stoep and knit and think about writing another book. A book that will probably never be read by people who like to read stories on their cellphones. And I think about this and do my bit to keep The Lake from over-flowing.


  1. as i read these words a smile spreads over my face.

    i want to talk to the fish and drink a glass of wine.

    i want to curl my already curly hair even more, because my mum had a set just like that too

    - and just because it's all so beautiful there.

    and i want a scone. with jam please. and a cup of rooibos tea :)

    your place. space. haven. heaven - it's beautiful.

  2. Hey Wozz, come sit on my stoep and let's put curlers in our hair and drink wine with Zwiggy.

  3. It looks lovely there!
    Please write another book. I will read it. xxx