Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


decay & ruin
Biosphere II
dead malls
Irving housing

got that wrong

appropriate tech
Arduino μcontrollers
Backwoods Home
Fractal antenna

fun social media stuff

(nobody does!)

Like my brownhouse:
   killer hawk of Franschhoek
Sunday, April 6 2003

setting: Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

We left Cape Town. Jim, the guy from the Liberty Lodge, drove us down to Avis and we picked up our replacement Volkswagen, which was exactly the same as the old Volkswagen except it was blue, not white.
From there we drove eastward into so-called Wine Country, eventually ending up in the tranquil, picturesque hamlet of Franschhoek. It definitely looked like a sort of wine country here, resembling Cézanne paintings of the south of France, but with caps of rocky cliffs on the tops of all the hills.
We had lunch at a vineyard above Franschhoek called La Petite Ferme. You get to hang out on the lawn overlooking the vineyards and the distant hills while a coloured waitress brings you wine by the bottle. When its ready, the fancy lunch entrees are served in an arbor under the thick grape vines adjacent to the dining room. You feel like you're living the life of a decadent Roman emperor, but, given the exchange rate, it's not much more expensive than burgers and fries at a Wendys.
The bed and breakfast where we stayed was called Auberge Bligny and featured a restful courtyard centered around a swimming pool. There were plenty of rose bushes and a number of domestic animals: a scrawny Siamese cat, a big dopey German Shepherd, and an unexpectedly friendly bantam chicken. It was one of those odd show breeds that grows wing feathers out of the sides of its feet.
We were playing a game of Scrabble as dusk began to descend. Suddenly there was a commotion in one of the trees nearby. A small hawk had grabbed a dove that had been hoo-hooing relentlessly only a few minutes before. Somewhere in the midst of the struggle, the hawk lost the dove and fell out of the tree onto the ground, whereupon the scrawny Siamese cat ran up and grabbed it. The moment I realized the dove was still alive, I pried it out of the cat's mouth, eventually putting it in a roof gutter for safety. The cat was incensed, and walked around for a long time afterwards bitterly complaining.
For dinner we went to a little place called Topsi & Company for dinner. The policy here was different than at any other restaurant we've been to. It was more like somebody's house than it was a formal restaurant. The kitchen was almost an extension of the dining room and tables were allocated to patrons for the entire night; there was no turn over. Obviously a family-run business, some courses were brought to us by a little kid. Our cook/waitress didn't ask us whether we were having wine or not, and she didn't ask how much we were having. The question was simply "white or red" and, in response to our answer, she brought out a suitable bottle.

See some photographs from the South Africa trip.

For linking purposes this article's URL is:

previous | next