Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Cape Town

Oh, the Cape Town Races sing this song, doo-dar, doo-dar…

Can it really be all over so quickly? I had looked forward to my South African holiday for so long and yet blink and it is over, I am back. Sorry I didn’t get a chance to update this blog before I left, it really was the Week of Stupidly Busy before I and three friends left for Heathrow. Why is it always like that I wonder? I also had spent the week throwing an increasingly random selection of clothes at my suitcase, in the hope that some of it might turn fashionable after 12 hours of flight.

I flew with Virgin Atlantic, and my seat was one of those squishy awful ‘in-the-middle-of-a-4-row’ type ones, you know, the type where your legs don’t quite fit, and every time you stand up you knock the blanket off the person next to you. However, arriving in Cape Town and seeing friend S made up for it – we did one of those huge squeal-y greetings as seen in the film Love, Actually. But the heat! Four wilting English roses followed friend S to her car to hug her air-conditioning.

We stayed in this guest house, and were straight in the pool, although the water was freezing! And the sea around Cape Town is like ice, so much so there are a colony of penguins at Cape Point (where the Atlantic meets the Indian Ocean). But the beaches were gorgeous, wide expanses of white sand... and the waves are a surfers wet dream.

It was very hot during the day - around 40 degrees, but at night cooled down enough to need some sort of wrap (if you are me, everyone else just looked sort of pleased to breathe!) I also avoided the dreaded lobster pink, and most of my time was spent helping friend S with the preparations for her wedding, although to be fair, S is a super efficient sort of lass, so everything was well in hand, and all I had to do was turn up for my bridesmaid dress fittings.

These were held with this terrifying designer who seemed determined to stick a pin in me somewhere. Everytime we agreed on something and went away, the next day an additional 'unagreed' item would appear on the dress - beading, a different colour ribbon... It was so funny.

The food out there was exquisite, and the currency exchange is so in our favour (Brits) that we were all in that happy and incredibly rare state of affairs where you can pick what you like off the menu. I was glued to fish and salad, until (veggies, turn away) I ate an ostrich steak. Oh My God... it was gorgeous. Everything was gorgeous. Can I go back? Please?

Although our first taxi driver did his best to scare us into paranoia about how dangerous the city is, everything was fine. Obviously, we didn't go about waving jewellery and dangling handbags, we did always lock the car door when travelling, but I didn't get that air of menace like in a way I had been expecting. But then again, we stayed in lovely places with people who live there, so perhaps that made a big difference.

I spent one day writing my book on the veranda of the guest house - I borrowed a laptop and quietly got on with it while everyone else went shopping. It was so nice to do this, I absolutely had a ball sitting there writing with such lovely scenary surrounding me. I also finished chapter 15 (hooray!), so now only have 3 left. This is good, as I am now sliding fast into my overdraft (another good reason why sitting and writing was much better than going shopping!). I emailed the chapter back to me, and felt all good about life. When I am a proper published writer type, then I want it written in my contract that I get a few weeks abroad to muse storylines. It works so much better than sitting here in the cold flat staring at/ignoring bills. Funny that, eh?

The actual wedding itself was a complete fairytale. We packed up and drove off into Africa, until we came to a safari campsite. Hippos lived in the large lake, and the pool was warm, so you could lie in the water and look out over the mountains.

Friend S looked beautiful, her hubby-to-be looked very handsome, and it all was just perfect. An traditional African choir shifted and sang as we all walked down the aisle, they said their vows under an archway, and in the distance a rhino family came along to see what all the fuss was about - how perfect is that! Then the main wedding party got into safari trucks to go up the mountains for pictures.

Now I have to point out three things here. One - the terrifying designer had made a cock up with my dress, and had sewn the zip about an inch (or three) too tight. It did up, but I was in danger of fainting as I couldn't breathe! Two - I was wearing high heels, and three - long dresses! All of which were perfect 'clambering into a safari truck' gear - oh it was hilarious! But we saw so many animals - zebra, giraffes, springbok, rhino, puff adders - tons and tons. Not too mention these three darlings...

But how quick the time went! And now we are all home... and I need to get cracking! I think I have two more weeks where I can just think 'novel' and then it will be job search galore. I never thought back in September when I started writing that February would come around so fast. But time forever flies, doesn't it, and hopefully something amazing will happen that will make my bank account spring up like snowdrops. Or something...!


musicobsessive said...

So, are you trying to make us all jealous or what? Slaving over these posts on a dingy Feb day doesn't really compare to southern hemisphere verandas with an iced G&T does it?

Oh well, I'm glad you had a good time. But what about the dress? We need pictures!

Ben said...

Not fair. The only view I have ever to write by are my toes, just visible over the top of my laptop, or the squashed mosquito on my ceiling that I thumped last summer with my Norton Anthology of American Literature.

I call him Squishy.

Jayne Ferst said...

Martin, were you there?! I actually was drinking iced G&T's - well, just the one, it sent me squiffy for ages, but I have the feeling we were not exactly doing house measures. Ah mini bar, thing of wonder, joy and slight panic at the bill.

The dress - well I actually don't have any pics of me in it yet, as on the actual wedding day I gave my SLR camera to the bride's bruv to play about with pics, which means I have 3 rolls of film waiting for when I have money again to develop - I suspect possibly sometime in 2009, which gets me out of that nicely, eh? ;)

Jayne Ferst said...

Ah Ben, but at least you have a pet. Admittedly, not one that is living and breathing, but still. I'm not allowed anything here, even fish are on the banned list (as obviously known party critters). Although I do think the landlord is generous by giving us a nest of ladybirds of our very own in the main room window sill. Are 16 spots poisonous?