Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A fishy business

My own visit to Knysna and environs has just about run out of photos, so here are a last few which I hope will be of interest.

First of all... the treasure hunt! Here's where Alexa wanders, checking on the various boat markers. You can see a couple in the pic.

And now, back to the yacht club where members can enjoy a delicious and cheap curry and rice lunch. As for me, however, I was on the hunt for fish fresh out of the ocean because that's a real treat around the Cape coast. I turned off the causeway towards the marine right opposite this sign:

and parked in front of this sign, thinking a cup of latte would hit the spot.

It took me a while to realize Zak wasn't offering coffee, but fencing! An attractive solution, don't you think?

And here's the actual fish shop and restaurant, adorned with latte and genuine fishing nets. To the right you can get a glimpse of tables and benches where you can sit and enjoy a reasonably-priced and delicious fish dish... including that luxury crustacean of these waters, crayfish. And no, lobster isn't as tasty, believe me.

Lastly, here are the incredibly skilled workers who prepare the fish... and somehow manage to keep cheerful while doing it! I bought hake and man, was it good.      

So there you are, folks, some insider knowledge for next time you visit Knysna. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Flora and Fauna

The photos I want to share with you today have no direct bearing on 'Sailing for Trouble', but I hope you'll enjoy them anyway. Next week, Alexa and I will be back on Leisure Isle for a bit more treasure hunting. But here are some of the plants and creatures she will surely have enjoyed on her meanderings. First of all the 'March' lily... also mentioned in my SA-set novel 'Cape Town'.

and here are some guinea fowl with their babies, that I caught by the side of the road. These feature in my children's story about Grace in the Cape, still to be revised and published.

I think this is known as 'Pride of the Cape', but I'm not sure. Help, anybody?

And lastly, the pet donkeys at my nephew's small-holding. It's so fun, the way they look into the house over the bottom of the stable door! Pete is a master cabinet maker, and I 'borrowed' his profession for my story, but definitely not his character... nor his (good) looks, for that matter!

A question... when did you last see a donkey? Apart from these, I saw some when we visited New Zealand a couple of years ago. Other than that... few and far between.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Exploring Knysna

So here our heroine Alexa, and we, are happily settled in Knysna for a few weeks. To remind you, enjoy this view of the Heads showing the flats which feature in the story:  

In case you're wondering about that strange name, here's a short extract from 'SAILING FOR TROUBLE'.

     Knysna. Three hundred miles east of Cape Town, on the coast. Dad had learned to sail dinghies on the Knysna lagoon, that I knew. Grandpa had explained that the ‘k’ was silent, as in ‘knee’, a relic of a Bushman click sound... or San, as they were called these days. He’d described the town as a sleepy backwater with a history of logging and furniture manufacturing and not much else. The small amount of research I’d done before leaving Canada indicated things had changed, mostly because of tourism.

In the old days when it was a much smaller and sleepier town, we always had to call my grandmother through a telephone exchange. Then you would hear a crisp voice saying what sounded like 'Nays-nah', the population being more Afrikaans than English at that stage. But we preferred to think of it as 'Nice-ne?' which we interpreted as 'nice, isn't it?'

Well, this place is far more than simply nice. It has to be one of the most beautiful on earth.
So let's continue our trail around Leisure Isle. This pic shows part of the sea wall and steps leading down onto the lagoon flats, built, my dad told me, by Italian prisoners-of-war and still standing staunchly against tides and weather today.

And lastly for this week, let's follow Alexa over to the other, northern side of the island where she rescues.... Oh well, you'll have to read about that for yourself!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Heading to the Heads, Knysna

Knysna is the town on the Southern Cape garden route where much of 'Sailing for Trouble' is set. My last journey to this, one of my favourite places on earth, was different from my heroine Alexa, though, because I didn't arrive by sea. Instead, I drove from George airport, travelling a windy, up and down road, savouring each beautiful bend, the views of hills and lakes, all so familiar and yet so strange, living so far away as we do these days.

I don't have an image to show from Alexa's sea-side arrival, but you can read about that in the book. Here's the vista I used to enjoy very soon after setting foot on Leisure Isle, the place where she begins her hunt for an unknown treasure. You can see those imposing headlands in the distance.

and get a glimpse of the yacht club (on stilts) in the distance here:

When staying on Leisure Isle, as we used to do for many summer vacations, you live very much with the movement of the tides. They also impact Alexa's search, because she needs to explore the sand flats at very low i.e. ebb tide when the lagoon's plug has been pulled. So here's what that looks like:

I always used to feel as if my soul expanded to these wide horizons, sea and sky.

And don't forget, if you'd like to try an excerpt, go to

Happy reading!