On Friday, my lovely Tom whisked me away to McGregor for a relaxing weekend in the winelands as part of my birthday present. It was simply the best gift ever and I don’t think he knows how much it meant to me that he organised the whole trip, including finding and booking our accommodation.
He found the most beautiful cottage on an estate called Tanagra, tucked away just outside of McGregor, close by to Robertson. Specialising in wine and grappa production, the grounds are a wonderful combination of neatly manicured vines, succulents and overgrown wilderness, with a giant wild fig tree shading the main reception and tasting area.
The communal pool is fringed with trees and deckchairs and gazes out over the mountains. We spent most of Saturday afternoon swimming and lying on the chairs, soaking up the sunshine and watching a timid leopard toad hop by. Tom snoozed and I read a borrowed book and watched a pair of hoepoes hop around the grass, searching for snacks. They’re my favourite birds – I love their tiny bumbling bodies and their oddly shaped heads. Tanagra reminds me of our farms in Zim – it has the same feeling of absolute tranquillity and homeliness.
On Saturday morning, we visited the donkey sanctuary opposite Tanagra and spent some time with the animals. I felt extremely honoured as one of the most damaged donkeys crept close to me and almost allowed herself to be stroked. Apparently she’s terrified of humans and never normally does that so it was quite special. It was very sad to hear the stories of cruelty and neglect that resulted in the animals being rescued, but it was lovely to see them so content and healthy in their new environment. I was particularly taken with the oldest male called Eeyore. He’s shaggy and he mutters to himself a lot as a good Eeyore should. Tom made friends with Thabo who kept trying to pry into his pockets, evidently in the hope of finding something tasty.
In the late afternoon, we went for a walk to the nearby river and spotted two juvenile fish eagles in the trees, just metres away from where we were standing. They flew away, giving us the chance to admire their phenomenal wingspan as they glided off.
Then it was supper time, and Tom created an impressive flame, despite the wind, and we had a feast of ribs and roosterkoeks, coupled with a delightful bottle of 2013 De Grendel MCC.
Sunday morning was spent packing up, with a quick hike to the nearby dam on the other side of the farm. We darted through the reeds, disturbing some pheasants in the process, then came across a twinkling blue lake, lined with trees. It was a weekend of absolute bliss and I’m hoping we’ll return to Tanagra one day. It was so lovely to be able to be quiet and to just enjoy each other’s company without having anywhere else to be. We had all the time in the world and I could be still for a while, which I think I really needed. Thanks to my Tom for spoiling me – I’m a lucky girl indeed.