Bright and early on Saturday morning, hoping to get over the mountain to an AA meeting followed by a walk on the beach with solidly sober friends. Woke up this morning to another newspaper report on attempts to stop local wine farmers paying their workers in alcohol. Here in the valley we have pregnant women receiving six or more litres of wine on Friday afternoons in lieu of salary. The Western Cape has the highest Foetal Alcohol Syndrome rates in the world. And alcoholism is a very political issue here.
I am thrilled by the prospect of getting to a meeting and look forward to hearing the shares. It is not a speaker meeting, those are rare outside of the cities. And there is no saying of the Lord’s prayer because this is a multifaith country and the animists would object along with the atheists! There is a very strong emphasis on human rights which makes sense only if you recall that South Africa endured 300 years without human rights, and that is a kind of oppression unimaginable in the West where one can be contemptuous of democracy because it has always been there, like bread and clean water and adequate shelter.
Yoghurt and organic honey and fresh figs from the garden! The pups have dug up a little lemon-scented pelargonium. They are great diggers and shredders and I wonder how the garden will look in three months time. There may well be a tunnel all the way to the Antipodes. Just writing that gives me a pang for my beloved big red dog who died of cancer last year and who buried his bones all over the garden. Each time a worn fossil of bone is unearthed I get tears in my eyes. And sometimes I think I still feel his companioning presence with me as I garden. The tiny puppies do not have his gentleness and sagacity as yet, his ability to detect sadness and respond with nudges and his great head against my lap.
My seafaring wild woman is coming home later from the cruise billed as a ‘Mystery Cruise to Nowhere’ and I am longing to hear her tales of derring-do. For a homecoming supper I am thinking of doing my North African lamb shanks very slowly in a tagine, the lamb spiced with tamarind and cinnamon. With fluffy mounds of couscous.
Gratitude wide and deep as the ocean — and Stravinsky’s Firebird playing (the 1919 concert suite with some fabulous percussion in the Infernal Dance) as I write and cook and repair the ravaged garden.