Milktart Pancakes at Koffie Stories in Gouritz (2016-12-31) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 16 FEB 2017

We enjoyed a great end of December family vacation in the seaside holiday/fishing village of Gouritz (aka Gouritsmond) last year. One of the nice little discoveries that we made whilst there was this tiny little coffee shop squeezed into the premises of Swanepoel Algemene Handelaars (General Dealer) on the outskirts of the town.

Koffie Stories (which is now in its new location and under new ownership) has kind of drifted from its original premise as being Gouritz’s first ever coffee shop where you could actually go for a cup of coffee and pay to hear a story told by one of the locals, transforming itself instead into a more conventional coffee shop/eatery (and art gallery), though still sporting a very homely atmosphere.

The coffee is not bad (and well priced), but the real draw card is by far their dessert filled pancakes – with the milk tart filled and peppermint crisp tart filled pancakes demanding that we go for tea pretty much each and every day that we stayed there!

So just a heads up then if you have a sweet tooth and find yourself in Gouritz one day…

(Also map in case you too need to taste these rather tasty dessert pancakes)

Related Link: Koffie Stories | Facebook

Water Savings in Cape Town My Life 14 FEB 2017

As pretty much each and every Capetonian that gives a damn knows by now, Cape Town is currently gripped by a rather alarmingly large water shortage thanks to the drought-like conditions that we’ve experienced over the last two years or so in the area.

The City of Cape Town has of course already implemented level 3B water restrictions, which essentially translates into a lot of dead lawns everywhere, as well a quite a few people in the paving industry with rather broad smiles at the moment.

The guys in the pool industry less so I would imagine.

This is of course not one of the city’s big water supply dams. It is however a duck pond near our house, which rather illustrates the problem quite nicely. More or less.

Anyway, the point of this post is to mention that I’m rather pleased with our attempts at saving water thus far.

January and February 2016 saw us use around 22 kl of water per month, whilst this time around in 2017 we’re managing with only 8 kl of water per month.

Naturally, the garden isn’t particularly happy, but we have been keeping bits alive where possible with grey water harvested from the girls’ evening bath and our shower sessions.

(If you are not familiar with the term, grey water is classified as water from baths, showers, hand basins and clothes washing machines/laundry, suitable to re-use for non consumption purposes. Toilet and kitchen sink water is classified as black water, which is obviously more of a no no).

Although we probably should have done this a lot sooner at the start of summer, Chantelle’s dad has since helped us out by rerouting the pipes leading out from the showers, washing machine and bath into a system of flexible pool cleaning pipes jutting out our walls.

Honestly, the house is looking slightly silly now, but this is certainly a hundred times more convenient than all those buckets we were carrying about! :P

Visiting the Steenbras Water Treatment Plant Lookout Point (2016-10-29) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 08 FEB 2017

I’ve previously mentioned how I took the girls up to the Steenbras Water Treatment Plant lookout point above Gordon’s Bay last year, a trip that involves a rather perilous walk along a ridge which I allowed the girls to do by themselves. This of course mortified Chantelle, meaning that we needed to take her there so that she could experience this pretty cool viewpoint for herself.

So one early evening in October we did exactly that.

The viewpoint is situated on the doorstep of the Steenbras Dam Water Treatment Plant, which is itself obviously closed to the public. From this point high up in the Hottentots-Holland mountains you get a great view of False Bay, and if you venture along the aforementioned narrow little ridge along the plant’s fence, you get rewarded with spectacular views of Gordon’s Bay and its sister town, Strand.

This time around it was a lot clearer in terms of sky, meaning that we got treated to some great views of the area, not to mention the chance to snap some photos of the girls in the warm golden light as the sun started going down.

I’m pretty pleased that we managed to convince Chantelle to join us on this little sightseeing adventure, though I’m not so sure that she is any more convinced that letting the girls do the ridge walk by themselves is a good idea!

Also, I’m not much of a photographer, and nor could my phone couldn’t really cope with all that extra light, but I did manage to squeeze out at least one or two half decent pictures from the outing…

Here’s a map in case you also want to take in the view:

Related Link: Steenbras Dam

Driving over the Bain’s Kloof Pass to Wellington (2016-12-11) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 07 FEB 2017

Chantelle and I enjoyed a weekend away in Tulbagh towards the end of last year. We decided to head home via Wellington for a change, and that led to a decision to tackle the rocky Bain’s Kloof Pass, a road that I literally haven’t been on since I was a teenager!

Created in the 1850s, the Bain’s Kloof Pass was built to connect Wellington to Ceres, and like all the well made mountain passes in South Africa, was designed and built by a Bain – though this time around it was father Andrew Geddes Bain as opposed to his more famous road engineer son, Thomas Bain!

The now tarred mountain pass is a national heritage site, and runs for about 20 km as it moves from the Breede River, across the Limiet mountains and along the Witte river.

Popular with hikers due to its isolation, striking scenery and of course many rock pools (perfect for swimming), the mountain pass sees a fair bit of tourist activity, with the popular bush pub at the start of the pass (on the Wolseley side) doing brisk business, particularly with all the bikers that take on the pass’s many dangerous twists and turns!

It is relatively nerve-wracking/exciting pass to drive, thanks to its narrowness, unforgiving stone barricades, and sharp drop-offs, not to mention the numerous twists and turns that seem intent on making any person sitting in the passenger seat rather… uncomfortable.

Chantelle found the drive harrowing, I loved it, and the views afforded from the summit overlooking Wellington are simply put, spectacular.

Well worth tackling if you are in the area then.

The team behind Mountain Passes South Africa do a fantastic job in detailing the various mountain passes of South Africa, and for Bain’s Kloof Pass they’ve actually filmed a four part series, all of which are well worth the watch if you are interesting in the details and story behind this national heritage site of ours:

Part 1: Orientation and Overview:

Part 2: From Breede River to Tweede Tol:

Part 3: From Tweede Tol to Bain’s Kloof Village

Part 4: From Eerste Tol to Wellington:

Finally, a map in case you want to tackle this hairy pass yourself:

Related Link: Bain’s Kloof Pass | Mountain Passes South Africa

Pizza at the Shuntin’ Shed in Bot River (2017-01-04) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 06 FEB 2017

Another one of those little South African towns that have become forgotten once rail became less important and national roads were built to bypass it is Botrivier (or Bot River which doesn’t sound nearly as nice), situated at the bottom of Houw Hoek pass, at the foot of the Hottentots-Holland Mountains.

Despite attempts by the local wine industry (there are in face quite a few wine estates dotted around the area) to try and revive tourism to the Botrivier area in recent years, the town itself remains one not really warranting a visit unless you are heading there for some very specific reason.

Now I was particularly keen on finding new places to stop over the course of our recent December holiday to Gouritz (honestly, I’m a little tired of stopping in Buffeljagsrivier every time we head down to the Mossel Bay/Garden Route area via the N2), and succeeded in doing this on the drive there (Stormsvlei and Riversdale), as well as on the way back home again (Heidelberg).

For our final ‘new stop’ of the trip, I opted to turn into the little town of Botrivier, making my way to the old railway station, specifically in search of the quirky little shunting shed that in 2007 was converted into a bar/restaurant – aptly named The Shuntin’ Shed.

Popular with the locals as well as the biking scene, The Shuntin’ Shed is known for their beer, pizza, sticky ribs and Sunday roast.

The seating is actually made up from converted railway sleeping bunks, and there is a lot of rail-related memorabilia on display, as well as quite a few quirky ‘treasures’ from the 70’s and 80’s dotted all over the place.

In other words, a lot of fun conversation fodder if you are there with people from those particular eras!

Apparently the place can get pretty raucous at times (which makes sense considering that it is at its heart a fun loving pub), but made for a perfectly interesting little late lunch time stop for the girls and myself.

That said, it’s not really all that kid friendly (unless they are REALLY good at entertaining themselves), so perhaps leave them behind before dropping in for a rather unusual pub experience.

Just in case you need to place it on the map:

Related Link: The Shuntin’ Shed | Facebook

Coffee at Delish in Heidelberg (2017-01-04) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 05 FEB 2017

It is hard to miss Delish as you whiz past Heidelberg on the N2 towards the Garden Route, thanks to the bright red shed (the wine shop), large signage and bright yellow sunflowers dotted all around.

The girls and I opted to stop and stretch our legs there on our way back from our delightful year end holiday in Gouritz, and we were pleasantly surprised with what we found.

At its heart, Delish is a restaurant that specialized in homemade goods such as wood-fired artisanal breads, pies, jams and sauces, catering for both the locals and those in a hurry/in need of a leg stretch stop along the N2. (Sunday lunch specials are a big hit apparently).

There are three places to sit down and eat something, namely inside the cosy little restaurant/farm stall, outside under the shaded deck, or out in the garden like what the girls and I picked on the particular morning. (Mind you, I didn’t really have a choice – the girls saw the little jungle gym when we parked!)

As I mentioned earlier, there is a good selection of wines to be bought from the dedicated red wine shed, whilst inside the restaurant there is a space filled with all manner of homemade treats on sale.

It’s a lovely, friendly space, and both the girls and I rather enjoyed our little impromptu stop – even if it was just for something small this time around!

Bonus: In 2015, the team behind Delish made a little video showcasing what they do:

Finally, just in case you need to picture it on a map:

Related Link: Delish | Facebook

Why do Classic Cartoon Characters wear white gloves? Animation | Science, Technology & Curiosity 02 FEB 2017

I’m familiar with the concept of a cartoon hand in animation being drawn with four fingers only (image simplification, cartoon proportions, etc), but I’ve never really pondered as to why so many of the classic cartoon characters (like say Mickey Mouse and Goofy from the Disney stable for example) wore white gloves.

Luckily for us then, the Vox team went in and took a closer look at the possible reasons as to why:

In summary (just in case you can’t view the video, you know, thanks to work restrictions or something like that):

1) Image simplification to save time and thus money. (Less details, curves instead of angles, etc.)
2) To contrast black hands against a black body in the age of early black and white animation.
3) Humanizing an anthropomorphic creature by giving them more human-like hands.
4) Vaudeville and blackface minstrels style that was originally associated with the art of early animation performances.

So a good number of plausible, possible and quite interesting reasons then!

Related Link: YouTube | Vox

Cheese Platters at Healey’s Cheesery and Deli in Somerset West (2017-01-05) Travel Attractions 20 JAN 2017

If you are fond of fine cheese then I would imagine that you might be rather happy at the news of the opening of a dedicated cheese deli right here in Somerset West on the well known Waterkloof Wine Estate.

Healey’s has been producing award winning cheeses since its inception in 2005 (seriously, just take a gander at all their award certificates proudly up on display in the deli!) and now at long last have their own dedicated space thanks to a proud partnership with Waterkloof Wines.

Their world class, noble farmhouse cheddar, which is aged anywhere from eight to 12 months, is made from unpasteurized milk taken from pasture grazing cattle. The milk itself is from a certified herd and is also free of hormones and steroids, whilst the cheese produced is free of all preservatives, artificial colouring agents, flavour enhancers, and anti-mould additives.

In short, they make some rather tasty, upmarket cheese.

The newly opened cheesery and deli (it’s about a month or so old now) serves two purposes – the first is as a production hub for the cheese itself (very cool, you can watch some of the process and view all the cheese maturing on the shelves through big display windows inside the shop), and second as a storefront through which you can taste/experience their cheese and then hopefully walk out the door with a couple of bags tucked under each arm!

A spur of the moment decision lead to Chantelle, the girls and I popping in for a visit, and with everything looking and smelling so good, we decided to try some of their cheese and cured meat platter options.

Obviously, the girls didn’t really like anything on the board other than the sourdough bread and margarine of course, but Chantelle and I took delight in sampling the fantastic array of cheese and meat pairings.

So while not exactly a place of much interest to two little girls (though thankfully catered for by means of a nice patch of grass outside with a jungle gym plonked down in the corner of it), it certainly is a worthwhile stop if you appreciate good cheese, and perhaps some fine Waterkloof wine to go down with it!

A handy map for cheese lovers then:

Related Link: Healey’s Cheesery and Deli | Facebook | Waterkloof Wines