The past year has gone by in a whiz. At least I have a computer filled to capacity with memories! I am able to go month-by-month and call up past tours and realize what a great time we’ve enjoyed over 2017! For some of you, the year has brought problems with health issues, and here too, I realize how lucky we all are.
When the chips are down—the Time Out ladies climb in and look after each other. I do know those who had health issues will agree with me on this point!
Now at the start of 2018 many South Africans, and particularly Western Cape residents have a lot that concerns us. Politically things are unsure ; Water-wise there are many concerns! ; Economically things are certainly not as rosy as what they’ve been.
November / December 2017
“Hey, why is it still winter in October?”
The seasons seem to be changing every year – a lot of people are saying “Maybe we’ll have a White Christmas in Sunny South Africa” at the rate temperatures and weather are a-changing! Not surprising that October is still COLD and DAMP! We headed off to Elgin (pronounced EL”G”IN) as Ann says G IN like GOING and ELGIN (as per the drink—as Carol says!) Oh I do so enjoy getting into a conversation with Ann about this! Whichever way you choose to say the name of the town beyond Sir Lowry’s there seems to always be something new happening! Our first stop was WINDERMERE where they produce cider – sadly it had rained heavily before our arrival so the young lady set up for us in the barn!
“Change is as good as a holiday” – or so the saying goes. Today the change was that we went straight to lunch in Somerset West! Arriving at about 11h00 at Pajamas and Jam in the Gants Plaza industrial area of Strand, many positive comments were heard about this new venue. “An amazing place to lunch” – our choices were put up on a blackboard and what a choice we all had. What about Parmesan Pasta / Seared Salmon Salad/ Watercress chicken salad / Thai Beef wok / Blushing Beetroot/ and to end it all delicious, decadent Meringue tarts!
Us Time Out people love to get out-and-about. The atmosphere on the coach heading out of the city is always electric. Excitement at what the day ahead will hold – August was NO exception – we had an appointment with Elsabe at Uitkyk Farm (the Dallas farm of Wellington) where Elsabe had us in fits of laughter! Likening herself to Miss Ellie and her husband to JR—she told many a tale about her family and the diverse products they handle on the farm. Ranging from planting buchu; to making preserves ; to bottling olive oil and by products ; many a purchase was made and her delicious product was devoured!
What a happy start to the 27th July! Great excitement as we headed out on our Mystery Trip and headed to Longridge Wine Estate. We had such a beautiful day and Longridge shone in all it’s glory! Their staff were on hand to serve a port or grapetiser out in the sunshine! Everyone was in high spirits ; gifts laid out on the gift table; chefs working in the kitchen—perfect start to the celebrations! Mel in her usual ‘graceful way’ welcomed everyone ; Brian then set the dvd in motion and much laughter and happiness was heard; Carol then thanked everyone—awarding 3 special ladies who, in her opinion needed extra Time Out, with especially made Time Out Pillows! (Winnie/Bridget & Thyra) – What a happy day.
Mid Winter has set in and with it the usual Flu / Bronchitis bugs which resulted in only 20 on board to Lourensford Estate and the Millhouse Kitchen for lunch. On arrival I was dismayed to find renovations in progress – so coupled with a biting icy wind, and not easy accessibility to attractions, most sought refuge in the Millhouse Kitchen (Hot chocolate) OR their tasting room enjoying the wines!
Talking about happiness—don’t the 2 Ingrid’s and Bridget look stunning in the above photo?? (Taken outside Magic Minerals in Philadelphia). One thing that we can all count ourselves so fortunate, is the degree of happiness that exists amongst you all on our coach trips. Our may trip started in Melkbosstrand at the new Blessings Shop in 11th street where Welma told us how her and husband & family have started their farm De Fynebosch. (Our trip to the farm changed because of bad access for large coaches!)
Late plans saw our group visiting Glenelly in the Idas Valley on our arrival in Stellenbosch. This relatively new Wine Estate is so very welcoming. The owner of the estate has a glass collection including some incredible pieces – one by Salvador Dali and a few by our very own David Reade made for a fascinating time spent in the museum with enthusiastic, Tessa.
They have an incredible restaurant headed up by French chef, Christophe Dehosse – our reservation for lunch was at Mont Marie so sadly we didn’t linger in their restaurant. Thirdly they have a wine tasting room with views over the estate and very enthusiastic staff! A-place-to-return-to-time-and-again!
The Time Out coach was almost FULL for the trip to Paarl on Thursday 30th March. What a wonderful Autumn day we all spent exploring The Spice Route and Tea Under the Trees. The Spice Route has many things on offer to visit and many headed out to DV Chocolates / Red Hot Glass / Bertus Basson / Wilderer Distillers / for our hour we had to spare here! Next stop was Tea under the Trees where Debbi and Amanda are hostesses supreme. Its no wonder that this is advertised as something you ‘have-to-do’ when in the Mother City! Their relaxing gardens are the perfect place to sit, relax and absorb everything around you. A delicious lunch (perfect for the weather was served) – Slow roasted chicken with Garlic/Sage and Onion coupled with Couscous and a green salad, topped off with a Pavlova with fresh strawberries/pomegranates and whipped cream and a cup of coffee and we were set-for-the-day!
The Time Out ladies (and three men) celebrated a Good ‘ol Fashioned South African BRAAI day – call it a BRAAI / (BARBI if you’re Australian) or whatever, but Middelvlei pulls the punches for people visiting them! They have a large outdoor braai where they cook, and deliver to your table! Initially we enjoyed pot brood with snoek pate and jam (very traditional) and then followed dishes with chops / boerewors / chicken kebabs, coupled with pumpkin fritters / potato salad and a green salad. Added to this you also get a Braai Sandwich – definitely too much food! This is the reason many went home with Doggy bags!
The Hoogwater Farm is 128 km from Cape Town. A beautiful scenic drive from the city, through the Du Toitskloof tunnel. Majestic mountains, showing all their splendour, on a clear, sunny day on which the coach rolled out with 33 passengers, all eager to pick their own figs. They came prepared – with sun hats, closed shoes, baskets and cool boxes to keep their fig pickings fresh until they got back to the city.
Hoogwater charged R40 entrance fee plus R5 per punnet to pick and fill the containers (oh, and you can eat as many figs as you wish along the way). Most ladies purchased 4 – 8 punnets (with a few coming in at 14!) and off they went.
Let’s look back at the year 2016
If I were to look back at the year of 2016, I know many of us have had great fun times. On the back of this newsletter I have posted a few of, what I consider, to be the FUN TIMES we had in 2016. Some of these times were ‘serious’ Fun Times—like the day at Bakenhof (first off a fun popcorn juice pairing & then anxiety when our poor coach driver had to reverse down a very long drive because the owner would not allow him to do a circle exit in her property—serious ‘fun’);
Thursday 24th November found us heading toward Hermaus and the Hemel en Aarde Valley. Our first stop was the Hemelrand farm where Hans and Mary-Ann, who retired from Gauteng, are making a name for themselves by producing wonderful Lavender products ; Olive Oil and even Wine (Hans proudly told me he’s just won a Platter award!). Some ladies bought Banskia (proteas) – originally from
Australia! Since purchasing this flower it’s amazing how often I am coming across it—even some people seem to be coloring the blooms.
Thirty of us headed out of Cape Town on a glorious day. First stop was the Polkadraai farmstall where some purchased strawberries (on special they were too!); some had coffee; some watched the eager school children. They have superior quality, very large strawberries – which are generally supplied to Woolworths ; Spar ; and other stores.
We arrived at Vergenoegd by 11h45 and there was time to order a drink and catch up with friends before the DUCK PARADE at 12h30. Ducks waddling along became the center of attraction. Having previously seen this parade it was somewhat disappointing in size – I asked management and heard that they have ‘been selling off some of their ducks” – Pity about this but still spectacular to those who’ve not seen it before
Who of you will ever forget our arrival at the Quenti Alpaca Farm and Stephen telling us that an Alpaca was about to be born!! We hurriedly went out into the ‘birthing pen’ and a little Alpaca had just been born. To watch the young guy on the farm rubbing the baby to keep it warm and then a further decision to take the baby inside, into the barn! It was after all a cold, damp day in Wellington. They then proceeded to warm the baby up with a hair drier – and ALL this time the mother Alpaca, Lina, wasn’t showing any concern at us all oohing and aahing – must have been because we were a bunch of ‘grannies’ / ‘nannas’ and she didn’t feel we would harm her baby. We were thrilled to hear that Quenti is christening the baby CAROLINE—what an absolute honor for all at Time Out!
“Wow can you believe it—it’s already the 25th August” The year is going so very fast! Twenty Five of us headed from Tableview to Constantia to Pringle Bay. On arrival in Pringle Bay some went for coffee; some browsed the shops; some went to Ticklemouse where sadly they do not have card facilities “We would have bought so MUCH more” said the cash-less ladies of the city! After this we headed into the Harold Porter gardens and
enjoyed an early lunch at the Red Disa restaurant. The portions of hake, chips, vegetables and salad were enormous and this, followed by fruit salad and cream had everyone satisfied with their lunch.
Thursday 28th July and much anticipation was in the air! Cold, rainy weather had everyone arriving warmly dressed. It was suggested that everyone wore hats to celebrate the day & what an effort many went to! Of particular note was Joy with her “SWEET Sixteen” hat adorned with sweets (original) ; Dawn with her hat which said “ALL THAT GLITTERS IS NOT GOLD”; Ingrid stole the show with her very unusual hat. Three prizes were given but difficult to single out winners as I believe ALL should have won! Brian ’did-his-thing’ on arrival when with a sherry in hand we could recount the ‘days gone by’ of the last year! We were led into the restaurant and sat down to listen to Mel who as MC always does a superb job.
Darling is slowly becoming known as having a new Foodie Route. The Time Out group explored a very small part of this route on the last day of June. On arriving in town we visited Darling Sweets.
“Sweet tooth’s draw closer” Darling has not forgotten you—in fact Frits (the owner) has been researching traditional toffee recipes for a decade. Frits, who has lived in Darling for 10 years, welcomed us and gave us a ‘talk and tasting’ of his wonderful product, all the time with his staff cutting and packing the decadent toffees behind glass partitions!
The ladies went to Somerset West in May! The Imibala Trust in Bright Street, a main road in Somerset West, is a good place to visit. This was all set up by the Rupert family. They help underprivileged children with personal recognition—to know ‘they can make a difference’. To achieve this, funds are generated by the Imibala Restaurant / the Art Gallery on the property / and also a very upmarket gift and décor shop—Arabesque! On arrival most of the ladies enjoyed coffee in the outside area which is to become a fabulous pizza/light meal restaurant in Summer 2016. After this they were able to shop at many stores including the Chelsea Village nearby. We were delighted that Pat Visser who now lives in Kleinmond was able to join the ladies to lunch!
Time Out went off to Franschhoek in April – one week early, on the 21st April. It had rained the evening before but luckily we were all able to get into the coach without getting wet! Our first stop was the Jam Jar where many bottles of their fabulous jam were purchased. Everyone had almost a hour to explore Franschhhoek and amazing what the ladies found to buy within such a short time! We then headed off to Eikehof where Francois and Elize Malherbe, who are 4th generation of the family, are establishing a name for themselves! They operate a wine tasting room where they will serve cheese platters along with their wine. The homely atmosphere of this estate surpasses many other larger estates in the Western Cape. The comments I received after our lunch were “It felt exactly like home!”
Numbers were down this month – we believe it to be that this trip was so close to Easter. On arrival in the Riebeek Valley we had rain and it seemed to follow us until nearly 3.00pm when the sun came out again! However, this never seems to dampen anyoe’s spirits.
Some had come prepared and brollies were hauled out of the handbags / others found a plastic bag and this provided welcome relief against getting their hair wet!
The last time we went to Bakenhof was in 2010. We all picked grapes and had a delicious lunch which was served in the beautiful (at that time) guest house. Things have changed—Bakenhof now has an outstanding venue for weddings but the guest house is now a private residence. The staff at Bakenhof served popcorn and a delicious cold drink! Unfortunately, our coach battled to get access to Bakenhof and our coach driver had to reverse out along a long driveway. Full marks to him!! (Tense moments for many – scribe included!!)
How amazing to have a FULL coach for our trip to Paternoster on Thursday 28th January. All eager beavers to see each other again after the almost 8 week gap since our last coach trip. Our coach trundled along the R27 up the West Coast road. Just after Yzerfontein we hit the first of “3 stop-and-go” road works! Oh my goodness this delayed us about 30 minutes each way—but excellent to see that the roads are being maintained! We had a short stop in Paternoster – some went shopping ; some had a beach walk ; some went to the Paternoster hotel and sat outside enjoying a drink!
What are memories?
What are your thoughts as we start a brand new year? You might be filled with anticipation and New Year resolutions (hope they last longer than the first month of 2016!!)
The year 2016 looms and it, once again, promises us
365 days, 12 months exactly as before.
What we actually MAKE of THE YEAR AHEAD depends on us!
Our trip to Lowensvlei and Noop was both an informative day and a very happy way to end the year. The beauty of Lowensvlei proved to be a joy to look at, despite the walk in a strong South Easter wind! “Amazing how such beauty is so close to the city and we don’t even know about it” was heard!
Our second last Time Out trip for the year was such a good one. We drove around through Gordons Bay and along Clarence Drive to Kleinmond where some ladies ‘shopped-up-a-storm’ and others enjoyed catching up over a delicious coffee, in a nursery. Rivendel Estate was our next stop. This relatively new restaurant run by chef Thomas Sinn, who has headed up wonderful restaurants in the city and he did us proud. A delicious lunch with a choice between Kingklip on risotto OR Butter Chicken curry with a German style cheesecake. Sadly all too soon our day was finished.
A small group of us (20 ladies) went exploring Stellenbosch and the new De Warenmarkt. On arrival in the area we explored Zetlers – recently remodeled and stocked to the hilt with delicious things to purchase! (Including delightful handbags which ‘flew’ off the shelves) – “Fabulous for Christmas presents” said Molly!!
On arrival in Stellenbosch we had an hour and a half to explore. Many were in pursuit of the artist Porchie and were delighted to find him
‘in-store’. His art is terrific to look at and some of the ladies were, once again, delighted with their purchases.
Our visit to Allee Bleue was fraught with a fair amount of stress. Initially the day started with a BANG – our coach driver had a slight mishap in the Tableview pick up area and took a corner too tightly, resulting in a broken window—stress for the people in the coach but we had just enough time to enjoy a coffee in the local centre when a replacement coach arrived to
restart our trip. The herb tour was quiet, peaceful and most enlightening!
What a special day it was! Time Out turning 15 and the celebration of Traveltime turning 8 was indeed a day of great happiness coupled with a FEW surprises. The venue was a surprise—THE POLO CLUB came up TOPS with all arrangements! It is indeed a fabulous venue and many ooh’s and aah’s were heard on arrival. The second surprise came in the person of Ryk Neethling who just happened to be going to his office on the 1st floor of the building when the ladies were enjoying their welcoming drinks in the foyer, and he was swamped—photo sessions delayed his working day! Third surprise of the day was Devon and JV, two young dancers who arrived to entertain us just before our main course.
A cold wintry day was handed out to us for our June Outing.
Well, what else can we expect when winter has arrived. The ladies all arrived warmly dressed!
We encountered rain en route to Stellenbosch. Our first stop was the Pork Butchery at Joostenberg where a lot of gathering was done! On arrival at Lekke Neh we did a short tour of their premises which took in the owner’s Porsche collection and their guest house. Lunch was a decadent chicken pie (my goodness so huge) and I didn’t see many uneaten plates! What we couldn’t manage was the cheesecake……these were wrapped and sealed and taken home! All in all a lovely day spent in the company of very happy people.
Winter had set in as predicted for our May trip to Tulbagh. We left Cape Town on a grey day – and the day never got any better. It rained en route but fortunately not in Tulbagh. This gave everyone chance to either be a “Street Walker” (walk the streets of Tulbagh) OR a “Street Crawler” (go to the Saronsberg wine estate and taste their wine).
Eventually everyone met at Readers Restaurant where Carol Collins served us lunch in No 12 Church Street a house which was built in 1754 by the district surgeon. After his death the house was sold to the church for the Reader—sick comforter—of the congregation. Readers Restaurant has been operating in this house since 1997!
Twenty eight of us went to the Bartholomeusklip Farmhouse on the last day of April.
What an absolute treat for us all. On arrival we were ushered into the Farmhouse. Originally we were scheduled to enjoy our day in their Deckhouse—but due to inclement weather the decision was made to change our venue to their cozy dining area. A delicious cup of coffee/tea was served on arrival.
A site inspection by their efficient staff had us all wishing we could stay for the night! They do have marvelous winter specials when they offer 3 nights for the price of 2 – see their website! ( http://www.bartholomeusklip.com).
Leslie, one of the twins (front-of-house), gave a brief talk on their cookbook which was the winner of the Gourmand world Cookbook! Louise (Chef) made us the most tasty lunch which consisted of “oxtail ragout served on homemade pasta with a cream parsley sauce”. Many ladies were seen mopping up the extra sauce with their delicious bread rolls! Dessert was a Pannacotta made with Buffalo Milk
Yoghurt served with stewed Winter Fruit…..absolutely delicious.
It was extremely difficult to leave this special place and head back to the city!!
On Thursday 26th March the “White” coach took 30 of us to Stellenbosch. I say The White Coach—this has been addressed with Hylton Ross! Brian and I were dissatisfied with the standard of the supplied coach. We have reiterated that we are happy to use coaches within the HR Group but definitely do not want “outsourced coaches” on any of our trips.
That said, the day was most enjoyable………The Stellenbosch Botanical Gardens are what I would call “A hidden gem” in Stellenbosch. They house what is the most beautiful collection of bonsais—Willem Pretorius the Chairman of the Bonsai Society in Stellenbosch met us and gave us wonderful insight into these trees – some with amazing personal stories!
Franschhoek has been a town we visit when we celebrate the anniversary lunches because of the top-notch quality of restaurants! We had not been to Franschhoek for a while and the numbers on this coach proved to us that the town is indeed very popular. We decided to allow everyone freedom-of-choice on arrival in the town. Some went to taste (and buy) chocolate at Huguenot ; some walked to David Walters pottery; some went to the Tsongo shoe sale—and some walked and walked right down to the furthest Pick ‘n Pay right at the entrance to the town. The day was blistery hot and as a result when Bridget, Jenny and Ann phoned Carol to say they were-on-their-way to lunch but would be late, I decided to ask Johann (the Maitre ‘D) of Allora to fetch them!
Twenty Five of us headed out to Philadelphia on the 29th January. Those who chose for various reasons not to join this tour missed out on a Sizzling/ Fun Day and in the words of Hilda—”A Yummy/ Funny/Relaxed and Brilliant day out!”
On our arrival in Philadelphia many gravitated to the Peppertree coffee shop where iced drinks & coffee were very popular! At 11h30 we went up to ePalazzo where we were warmly welcomed by Sven whilst Uro was busy in the kitchen preparing our Anti Pasto which consisted of Arranchini Balls (Risotto with Mozarella); Flatbreads with Imported salami; Delicious thin based pizza ; followed by a plated salad with Artichokes and Capers and a bowl of 3 cheese Tortelini. Dessert was a Pana Cotta with a Berry coulis. To end off all this eating we were offered small cups of Italian brewed coffee. Uro and Sven entertained us effortlessly with charm and passion.
The end-of-the-year was nigh and on the 27th November thirty two of us boarded the coach bound for Cavalli on the R44. This fabulous new estate is well worth a visit! Cavalli Estate has been born from a family’s love for horses, wine & top notch cuisine! The result is that all three passions have found a home at the newly launched Estate along the R44 near Stellenbosch. Cavalli (in Italian this means “The Horses”) is the training ground for top horses. Under the leadership of Elra Tonkin-Biering whose passion for horses started at the age of 4. Elra started training horses professionally in the mid 70’s. Elra gave us a horse-tour extraordinary—which showed her immense passion for the animals in her care!
A very happy bunch of ladies headed to Ceres on a damp, grey day! No matter what the weather throws at the Time Out Ladies they always come up smiling! The 120km to Waverley Hills seemed to go-on-and-on and when we had to wait at a road work site the ladies were all likened to children asking “When are we going to get there??” On arrival at Waverley Hills we were made to feel so very welcome. Lovely coffee on-tap was offered – some of the ladies preferred to taste their wine though!
Little snacks of their product were served to the table whilst Alize told us of all the top wine awards they have won recently.
Thirty four of us ventured into Elgin on the last Thursday of September.
Political aggravation in the week prior to our visit to Grabouw / Elgin had us worried, but in the end all was well & our coach rolled up Sir Lowry’s Pass and our first stop was the Elgin Free Range Chicken Factory Shop. This was added at the last moment to our itinerary for the day and when it was announced I have never heard such a reaction to purchasing chicken!! A lot of the product is sold into Woolworths and the fresh eggs were a hit with the ladies (“Wow look at the size of these farm eggs”)!! Next stop was the Peregrine farm stall. After the restaurant fire it seems that the entire place is being given a new face lift! Oh my goodness on the day of our visit they were removing all the fridges from the shop. I’m sure the new store will look fabulous.
August & the weather in Cape Town is still bad! On the evening before our August trip the weather prediction for the next two days was high winds / snow & extreme cold. I expected many of the ladies to cancel – however, as I said on the coach I have some “tough cookies” who travel with us! Tough in that they don’t let weather conditions spoil their fun! We still had a good day – much fun and laughter. We started off @ Buffet Olives and we learnt a good deal about how to store olives / how to recognize a good olive oil!
Fifty of us headed out to our Mystery Venue—The Au’De Hex Boutique Hotel in Wellington. This newly opened hotel pulled-out-all-the-stops for our group. What a wonderful lunch – service par excellence– views to die-for and the promise of a return visit to enjoy this diamond in the Western Cape. Mel was an outstanding MC once again and her speech was so heartwarming to Brian and I, who from now on will be called the ‘Boomerang Handlers’ after Carol’s speech who likened the ordinary boomerang to the success both Brian and her feel in their travels with extra-ordinary people!
A somewhat diminished group went to Edge Glass and the V&A Waterfront on 26th June. The comments on the coach were: “interesting” / “Wow.” Carol, we never get to see the city from this angle” & “I never drive myself to the Waterfront”.
Our first stop was Edge Glass where Tom shared with us his love of what he does . He and Barbara also showed us the intricate glass beads they make!
We had a full coach (42 people) going to Wellington on Thursday 29th May. Our first stop was the Safari Shop in the Main Road where new owners were ever so thrilled to have their tills working overtime when the TO shoppers ascended en-masse! We arrived at the Dunstone Wine Estate and some ladies did a site inspection of their accommodation – some did wine tasting prior to a delicious lunch of Lamb Chops with garlic mash and green beans and to complete this a decadent (almost Master Chef) dessert of individual lemon meringue tarts.
It seems that the number ‘32 on board’ is what I seem to be having of late. We all set off for a day ‘in-the-sun’ and for once I was correct with the Cape Weather! We experienced an awesome day – warm/windless/with a bit of a chill in the wind! A typical Autumn day in the Western Cape. First stop was the Vyevallei farm stall – perhaps one of these days we might be called ‘share-holders’ in this business! Next stop was the beach at Yzerfontein. Their beach front is a beautiful, paved and very clean area.
Thirty two of us headed out to Bot Rivier to visit Luddite Wines. Our trip seemed ‘delayed’ – first off by Spoornet for almost 25 minutes! Why do you ask………
Our visit to Hopefield and Skoonsustersbos was an amazing day. Hopefield is nearly 130kms away which resulted in us arriving on the farm at 11h30……
Sadly I cancelled the January trip. This was due to low numbers!The ‘economics’ of hiring a coach with low numbers is a fact that those of you who understand finances should all understand……
Being our last Time Out trip for 2013 we had a good turn-out of ladies, all dressed with something RED in their hair or clothing. We started our day the Pacmar factory outside Wellington……
Our day to Greyton started off with rain in the city which had dire consequences with the traffic. This made us late for our L.O.N.G. trip to Greyton. The dismay at being late was……
42 ladies enjoyed the day out in Paarl. First stop was Fairview where some shopping for cheeses/ wine/ and a new Grape, Rooibos, and Pomegranate juice were popular with the ladies. 30 of the ladies ……