On the Beach

Monday, 21 November 2011

A perfect beach day In Cape Town, or: Never Forget

On Saturday, the universe finally seemed to have sorted its issues out and we had an absolutely beautiful day in Cape Town- a perfect beach day. It was very warm and by the sea there was a gentle cooling breeze.

The effect of the beach on children never ceases to amaze me. At one of our closest beaches in Muizenberg there is a great jungle gym for kids but, to my mind, there is no need. My girls just see the sand, sink into it and that is pretty much the last I hear from the until we leave, save for requests for sea water deliveries for construction purposes.

For me, a person who was not raised by the sea, there is something extra magical about those kind of days. The smell of the sea and the sunscreen, the feel of the sand and the sound of children squealing against the background of the rushing sea: it must mean it is holiday time.

I have mentioned previously that I have wanted to live in Cape Town ever since I first set foot here on holiday many years ago. What made me want to move here? All the obvious stuff, really, the natural beauty, the climate, the atmosphere, the food, the people.  On the more recent holidays with my children I came to realise that Cape Town (and South Africa) is genuinely child friendly and that, actually, life for us could be much easier and much more pleasant for us as a family.  Having grown up in Jo'burg, I knew my kids would have a fantastic childhood in South Africa, in AFRICA where you can drive down a highway and see an elephant sauntering in the distance. You can!

Fortunately, for us, the planets aligned and here we are.

A lot of people move to a place on the strength of a few holidays and the results can be mixed. The effect can be that of a holiday romance that suddenly becomes an everyday relationship. All those things that seemed charming when you had all the time in world, are now annoying, they bother you. Or it can be like buying a souvenir on holiday, that seems like a great idea at the time but it just looks so wrong in your home. Who knew a 4ft beaded elephant wouldn't look in a Home Counties living room? Really, who could have predicted such a thing?

We have been very lucky: Cape Town has not disappointed, in fact, if anything, it has completely exceeded expectations.

But what has happened, is we have kind of forgotten where we are on a day-to-day basis. Kids, schools, work, grocery shopping,  trying to start a business- all that stuff that means modern life- means that you don't notice where you are as much as you should. Life just kind of gets in the way. It's very easy to forget that you live- are lucky enough to live- at the very end (almost) of Africa.

To end our hot, hot Saturday we went to my parents house in Somerset West and cooled down in the pool. After we EVENTUALLY, managed to put the kids to bed, we had a glass of wine of the terrace outside our bedroom and enjoyed the view. This is the very view that tempted us over and over again to come and live here, to come and live in Africa.

The trees around us, high up over the world on Helderberg, barely swayed  in the balmy breeze as we watched the last of the daylight disappear over the sea at the Strand, framed by the Hottentot Holland mountains to the left. Our soundtrack was silence- punctuated by Egyptian Geese, guinea fowl and a chorus of frogs.

Sipping my South African Sauvignon Blanc, breathing in warm summer air I was thrilled to be reminded that I am lucky enough to live here, at the very end of Africa, in this stunning part of the world, where I have always wanted to be.

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