Where do we begin?……………The day before we left for the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, we had warnings of freak weather. This left us in a quandary with our passenger pick ups – however it rained early morning and we managed to get everyone on board our 44-seater coach at the Holding Bay at Cape Town International Airport, without a problem.
Driving out of Cape Town we saw snow capped mountains in the distance, but at Riviersonderend and Swellendam the local mountains were covered in snow. This added to the atmosphere and whilst we had lunch at Tredici, many photographs were taken.
We arrived at our overnight stop (Knysna Hollow Hotel) and within the hour everyone had gathered in the bar looking forward to pre-dinner drinks. Following dinner it was then early to bed as we had arranged for breakfast to be available from 07h00 to enable us to get our first 9 people to a show in Grahamstown, by 15h00.
Arrival at the Mountain View Manor Guest House was just after 13h30 so we had time to orientate ourselves with our rooms before heading down the hill again to the Settlers Monument and the Guy Butler Theatre, for the Gala Concert. This became the first of the 44 shows and 202 tickets booked for 17 people on this tour.
Then we were all caught up in the roller coaster of emotions of the National Arts Festival. Some shows were not what people had expected but on the whole, wow, what an absolutely incredible experience the 40th National Arts Festival turned out to be..
We came, saw and conquered. At every breakfast the buzz about the upcoming shows of the day was incredible – what to do with that spare hour or two that was available – and then finally having dinner and grabbing a few hours of shut-eye, before once again, rolling down the hill from Mountain View Manor Guest House into Town.
Our accommodation at the Mountain View Manor Guest House was very comfortable and their dual sided fireplace was a great meeting place in the cold of Grahamstown (There was a cold wind on the mountain top!). Their chef and staff were extremely obliging and came up with innovative lunches for our group at the drop of a hat! They are to be complimented for looking after our ‘family’ of 18 and providing 2-3 meals a day for 4 ½ days. This was not an easy task and they always performed everything with smiles on their faces – hat’s off to you guys!!
We were incredibly lucky that we had no rain at festival this year – yes, it was cold but it just makes getting around the city easier without rain!! The Village Green Market did incredibly well out of the ladies – warm scarves & mohair knitwear were purchased. Just getting absorbed in festival with other festival goers was a great experience at the market. It’s quite amazing how everyone at Festival is so happy to share what shows are good and you never find yourself in a line waiting for a show that you don’t come away with a head full of ‘shows-that-you-shouldn’t-miss’.
The one show that everyone seemed to enjoy was Designer Jeans XXL by Tim Plewman and we all felt very privileged to have seen this at festival – we were at the first performance of his show which no doubt will now go country-wide.
Not forgetting Big Boys and this year added to our schedule was Big Girls – these shows were fabulous and 3 of us were thrilled to actually chat to the 2 Big Boys having coffee at The Highlander one morning………….just being at-the-right-place- at the right time.
Divalicious was incredible with such amazing talent as Gloria Bosman; Zanne Stapleberg; Melanie Scholtz and not forgetting the KwaZulu-Natal Philmarmonic Orchestra so very capably led by the inimitable Richard Cock.
Of course a few of us went to the Mzansi Sunshine concert on our last night and who can forget the vibe and awesome feeling of happiness as we left the Kingswood Chapel.
NAF 2014 will have us all ‘talking and telling’ for many weeks ahead! Brian was an absolute star with his daily planning and together with Petrus they ferried us around and not once did they forget any of the festival goers – a feat of note as daily shows meant that there was not much time in between shows for them – sincere thanks to both of them!
Five of us found the time to go to the Observatory Museum where they have a ‘Camera Obscura’ – what a treat to see Grahamstown so very clearly from this vantage point.
On Wednesday evening we booked for dinner at the Rat and Parrott pub . This was a fun time but was interrupted by a few of us leaving for a 19h00 show – but when the group collected us at the Monument it was obvious that everyone had enjoyed the dinner in the pub (for the drinks/cocktails/laughs) – but the coach rolled up the hill with very happy Festival goers that night.
Sadly on Friday morning we all left Grahamstown – but headed to Marilyn’s 60’s Diner in the Storms River Village where ‘instantly’ our mood was lifted with music being played on their juke box and some of us did a dress-up parade for a photo session.
We arrived at Christiana Lodge in Plettenberg Bay by 16h30 to settle into their very comfortable accommodation. The ladies enjoyed meeting Rich Rorich, our private chef for the night. It was indeed very special that he made a large Kitke type bread for our Jewish ladies for Shabbat. Estelle, Alison and Joan shared their way of traditionally spending a Friday night with us all and it was a special way to start our evening. This was followed by an absolutely delicious dinner of Boca Dolce coffee crusted Cape Salmon with fruit salsa / Macadamia & red peppercorn encrusted Kudu fillet / divine fresh vegetables followed by a mini wheat free carrot cake supreme – watch this space – early in 2015 there will be a cookery course in Plettenberg Bay with Rich Rorich.
On Saturday we spent an hour ‘gathering’ at Wonki Ware in George followed by a lunch at LaBella Deli, a very new lunch venue outside Riversdale, bringing us to the Cape Town airport by just near 18h30 – all tired but exhilarated.
Sincere thanks from the Traveltime team – we enjoyed your company and both look forward to sharing NAF 2015 with you!!
Life is about laughing & living
In good times & bad times.
Getting through whatever comes our way,
and looking back with a smile.
SUMMARY OF SHOWS ATTENDED (& NO. OF ATTENDEES)
|Gala Concert (9) / Crazy in Love (8) / He Lives in You (6) / Jou Ma Se Comedy (1) / Big Girls (9) / Bitter Sweet (5)|
|Mr Johnson Presents (1) / Cole Porter (12) / The Snow Goose (3) / Meze,Mira & Make-up (2) / Big Boys (14) /|
|Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike (2) / Std Bank National Youth Jazz Band (4) / Halfrican (1) / Big Girls (2)/|
|Designer Genes (14) / The Snow Goose (1) / Funnier Than Them (1) / Ubu & Truth Commission (2) / Mix Tape (1) /|
|Crazy in Love (3) / Three Little Pigs (12) / Kyle Sheperd Trio & Quintet (2) / Jamie Macdowell & Tom Thumb (3) /|
|Pants on Fire (9) / Going Gooding (8) / Musical Theatre Memory Lane (1) / What does earth think it is (2) /|
|Big Girls (3) / Born Free (1) / Shirley Valentine (4) / Bitches be Crazy (5) / My Word (2) / Divalicious (7) /|
|An Audience With Miss Hobhouse (1) / Shirley Valentine (5) / Curious Things (2) / Jamie Macdowell & Tom Thumb (1)|
|Tribute to Victor Ntoni (5) / Bearable Broadway (10) / Jazz with Asanda Mqiki (2) / Wound (2) / Consenting Silence (1)|
|Mzanzi Sunshine (4) / Salaam Stories (2) / The Snow Goose (6) / Jamie Macdowell & Tom Thumb (1).|