2 Oct 2013

Hallo Napier

The Soapbox

Driving back from Bredasdorp last week on what felt like a beautiful mid-summer day, I slowed down as I passed the Red Windmill Farmstall – it seemed as if the building and surrounds were smiling. Bright colours , flags, happy scarecrow pig – all anticipating the arrival of true summer, beach days, Sunday picnic’s and sunset cocktails. It’s been a wet and windy winter, but my garden seems ready to reap the benefits, already bursting into spring growth. The starlings are trying desperately to get into the eaves to start building nests – everything more alive with the anticipation of better days.
Bring them on!!!

To all of you (and there were many!!!) who responded to the last Natter, asking that we continue the publication, I say a big thank you. Many of you had very kind words to say and they are much appreciated. I would like to include the letter below I received from Jacqui Berry. Sometimes – perhaps because we are a small village – the negativity, gossip and maliciousness – yes, maliciousness (there are those guilty of this!) is way out of kilter with what living here in Napier gives us in terms of lifestyle. The question each of us needs to answer is – “What do we give back?” The letter below is truly inspirational and I ask that all of you who take the time to read it, do so a second and maybe even a third time.

Hi Mark,
 I know we have been rather scarce, and on the last few visits to Napier we have chosen to be rather homely, and have not ventured out into the Main street to Dine!
We have missed your fabulous restaurant! We will see you real soon and catch up, and make up!
 Thank you once again for making Pat Donaldson’s 100th birthday celebration last year, and my 50th birthday, in Jan this year such a special occasion. We both could not have chosen a better venue, with such warmth and love , suited to our very special celebrations. Thank you for this.

As a family we are really enjoying our Napier home (from CT home), our garden, our warm fireplace and our own home cooking! Trust me nothing like yours though!
Since we get to come to Napier so rarely, we savour every minute of the peace, the fresh air and we truly, just unwind from the ” city”. And we don’t even live in the actual city! 
The Napier nights are dark, there is silence, we truly sleep deeply, peacefully, and we wake up so well rested.

Yes, and during the day there are barking dogs, some mischievous children, our home was broken into as well!  We went to court and the culprits were freed, even though they were found with our laptops and cell phones in their possession?!

We harvested our first grapes, of which the birds took half, yet life could be a lot worse! Never heard of a Bomb in Napier!

We choose to be positive and choose to ignore the negative, and rather focus on what could possibly be good! There is always good somewhere, in something, – let us all go and look for it!

We adore children (we have 4 of our own) and we have “adopted” 4 boys and 2 girls from the neighbourhood. This happened purely by chance. The children wanted to visit us and spend time with us as we did fun things with our own children and we started to include them. Simple things, like going to the beach and taking them on the jet- ski, riding up the mountain with them on the bicycles, or taking them with us to a church service. Just very normal family things.

We have now formed a little bicycle gang - for the boys entertainment, and cup cake baking - for the girls, along with a host of other fun things, and the children love it when we arrange sleepovers for them.
They are always extremely polite and  very well behaved. We have made them aware of their boundries and they are repectful of this.

They bring us as much joy as we give them. So perhaps if more Napier folks chose to  “Love thy Neigbour “  and his dogs,  Napier would be an even more delightful place.

We are so looking forward to being in the position where we can spend more time here when we are retired, and make this most special town Napier our Home.
We believe that the more you give of your time, your love, your expertise, patience, tolerance,  the more you will in turn reap. We can all make Napier the little special place we truly want it to be.

Mark, Please don’t stop your Napier Natter!   Kind regards, Jacqui Berry

Dietrich Riek had the following resonse to the last Natter:

Apart from all the good things you do, and listed in your email, you also deserve credit for something most of us don’t seem to pay much if any attention to: You talk to us. Not many people do this anymore. Years ago I suggested that some of us might get together to talk and listen to one another; not just about the “price of apples” but as I like to call it, some “really serious shit”. Stuff that moves and shakes us, personally and directly; our life challenges, our feelings and thoughts and what we might contribute in open interaction, to each other and the community. Your “natter” has, on occasion come close to that.

You will not stop. Take this as an instruction if you will and forgive the occasional lack of participation: a lot of us are doing battle to keep things together. This is not an excuse and also does not imply unwillingness to participate. But keep in mind that, sadly, many people may have lost their faith in society and with it the courage and trust needed to open their hearts. Indeed, much healing is wanted in this world before we can return to our natural state of being ONE, on this planet.
Respectfully

Eddie Cassani says:

Hi Mark, great Napier Natter. We all read the Natter and enjoy -  it's discussed at dinner parties and so on. Well-done .

For the Dog lover. A Person can learn a  lot from a dog even a loopy one like ours .Ziggy taught me about living each day with unbridled joy about seizing the moment and following your heart, he taught me to appreciate the simple things -  a walk in Napier's woods and fields -  a nap in the shaft of winters sunlight as he  grew old and achy like me. Hhe taught me about optimize in the face of adversity. Mostly he taught me about friendship and selflessness and above all else unwavering loyalty .


A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself, if there are no dogs in heaven then when I die I want to go where they go And remember - dogs never bite - only humans do.

Dear fellow Napieriens,
How wonderful it is to know that once we close up every day in Bredasdorp, we have Napier to return to. It really has captured our hearts and 1 year on we are still so happy we made the move.

Many of you will know us from visiting Nature's Voice health food shop which we have now been running for close on a year. We thank you for your business and want to let you know that we are moving to the Pavillion shopping centre (next door to the country horse and pet) on the 1st of October this year. 
Brett and Susan

Pascal’s of Napier is excited to present “The Songs of Nat King Cole” with Graham Burton on Vocals and Mike Laatz on saxophones. Sat 12 October at 19H00. R175 per person includes a 2-course meal. Prepaid bookings only. Not to be missed.

Tel: 028 423 3146

Whining… or wining
Frankly Speaking – Frank de Villiers.

Bought some wine from friend Graham at Vindigo some time back, modest red wine, no label of origin, no cellar, just a small white ticket stuck on the bottle, saying “CAB SAUV”. Graham appears to be flogging a lot of the stuff, so, perhaps there is a sizeable bunch of people like us.  Which people are labelled by a friend of ours from the city as “quaffers”, rather than serious  drinkers of wine.

So, the other day, when wandering around Checkers trying to find Jean (amazing how they suddenly disappear into thin air in the chasms of shelving), I stumbled upon the Oddbins wine  section at which I had a good look. 

The display presentation I found not very convincing. Seemed to want to give the impression of offering, on the one hand, rejects at knockdown prices, and on the other hand, of the wines being of good vintage. Of course the whole thing is just thinly disguised mass marketing ploy, exploiting the culture of wine tasting. The sheer banality and repetition of the wine descriptions  gave an impression of a wine equivalent of  painting by numbers, e.g :-

“Aromas of ripe plums and strawberries, with fresh forest fruits on the palate”
“Aromas of fresh strawberry and tangerine followed by a rich and full palate”
“Intense citrus, pear and tropical aromas, followed by a lingering freshness”
“A fine structured wine with aromas of mixed berry compote, dark chocolate and spicy plum”
“Bold forest berries, sweet cassis with a good structure.”
“Flavours of sweet red and black berries with a firm structure”
“Tropical fruit with a fresh flavoured palate and a long crisp finish”

Don't you just love the bits about firm/fine/good structure, lingering freshness, and all that fruit salad, nogal. More serious wine reviews are not much better, however.

As I am unversed in the esoteric jargon of viticulture, the above Oddbins crap prompted me to do a little research on the art of wine tasting.  I am mindful of a huge universal culture and tradition, probably going back hundreds of years on the subject ranging from the nuts and bolts of winemaking to the romance and mystery of wine, and for me, a whole new language. Of course it is an imperfect and subjective science ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous. The sublime bits do lend themselves to somewhat airy abstractions, the ridiculous bits invite what is called wine twaddle.  I call the whole language of wine, winespeak.

Who are these so-called experts on wine anyway?  Is there a Venerable Order Of Wine Tasters, an Ancient Guild of Tasters?..... or just an accredited legal body like a national institute of wine reviewers?  Something to which, if one is not a member, disbars one from practicing a trade? Does one not have to undergo long studies, a gruelling examination and years of service like the rest of us peasant engineers, doctors, architects, airline pilots, etc., to aspire to being a wine expert? I doubt it.

But here we have locally, on one hand the recognised established Platters guide to wine, and on the other, the renegade, Hadfield's Real Time Wine and his different approach to wine review.
I quote an example:
2007 Glen Carluo Tortoise Hill Red wine:
Platters guide:- “Ahead in a 6-way blend; 07 leaner & savoury, brisk acidity”
Hadfield's Real time Wine:- Tastes like turps. A particularly young vintage. The turps that is.
SCORE  1/10

I may add that the latter is one of Hadfields more polite reviews.
There are others of course, like the line from the British program Posh Nosh:
"...it's pure and balanced....like a nun on a tightrope."

And so here, maybe the ultimate review by a wine maker of his own wine:-
 
2007 Zinfandel - Fall Club Pack Wine - The tauroctonies of high summer, dark &
swarthy red, pierced vein blood from the Mithraic bull spilling upon the god's own pallid birth stone, leading to an immediate lip smacking ripe raspberry & black strap molasses, fresh ground green peppercorns tickling your moustache (if you have one), followed by warm flame raisins, nougat, black liquorice, & translucent slices of impeccably aged jamõn serrano from the haunch of an acorn fed Iberian boar, all of which impressions are perfectly sensible & appropriate to this Zin.

Yes, & too, there are elements of spice, anise, celery seed, the bite of tarragon & someplace in the background, some dill, but beware of a rose with thorns when you tango.
The initial sense of raspberry gives way to blackberry & blueberry on your tongue, & if you think about it carefully, there can also be found an under-layering of Carib island grenadine doing the breast stroke with little dabs of sesame to confound you.  And cocoa powder.  Don't forget the cocoa powder & leather, because this wine is definitely a shape shifter, a tease in your glass.

Ha well..... back to the old CAB SAUV, or maybe, Chateau Cardboard, or, in desperation, Napier’s speciality,  papsak.

Wise and Witty

A few ‘doggy’ quotes for the day:

“You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks. – Winston Churchill

One dog barks at something, the rest bark at him." - Chinese Proverb

"A house without either a cat or a dog is the house of a scoundrel." - Portuguese Proverb

Truth is a good dog; but always beware of barking too close to the heels of an error, lest you get your brains kicked out. - Francis Bacon

Silky Chickens
White Chinese Silkie chickens in need of homes. Please contact Mark at Pascal’s on 028 423 3146 

Please note – the Napier Natter will now be issued monthly rather than bi-weekly (also dependant on contributions received)

Till next time………!
Mark

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