NEXT STOP: KNYSNA (with the silent 'k' as in 'knee' and the diphthong 'y' as in 'nice'.
Sometimes, life grants you the grace of some breathing room. Thus it has been for me, at intervals over the past few years when I head down to the picturesque Garden Route to visit my cousin. More about her in the next blog post.
But today I want to share with you something of the pleasure I always feel, staying at a wonderful lodge called 'House Hammond'. And yes, the owner is related to me! These pics give you some idea of what the accommodation is like:
The lodge is built into a hillside and overlooks what South Africans call a 'vlei'. The valley below is a kind of wetland, home to many birds and other wildlife. Behind that is a view of hills, and far in the distance, the Outeniqua mountains.
For me, being there is like a retreat. I don't do much writing, but absorb as much as I possibly can of the beauty that surrounds me, 'filling the well' as we say. And in fact, this area is the inspiration behind my latest story, 'Alexa's Quest', which will (hopefully) be published before too long. It's a kind of treasure hunt/romance/adventure, with some scenes set on the Knysna lagoon. Wilbur Smith set one of his novels there too. He was at school with my brother-in-law and we were once invited to a barbecue, where I met him and his wife. Unfortunately, those were the days before my writing, so I missed the opportunity to ask him for some tips! ;-)
The entrance steps are just visible. The area behind the car houses the owner and her family, as well as staff. Behind the pillars, a row of sliding doors leads from the great room with its comfy couches and huge central fire place... hardly ever needed because for some magic reason, the lodge stays cool in summer and warm in winter.
This next views are of the inner patio. Hey, I've been swimming!
Lastly, the view from my room. Sorry I can't share with you the luxurious interior, but here's the balcony.
Perfect for sitting out of a morning and enjoying an early cup of tea and a rusk!