Monday, March 16, 2009

and what a treat of a retreat!

We really just had the best time this weekend - fun, food, family & Frieda -what my Dad calls his Favourite Four.

We stayed in this stunningly situated house (and it seems I got it wrong in the last post, this was in fact the fourth year we've been here), a funny place filled with mismatched furniture and crockery - just what a real holiday cottage should be.

Of all the many great things about this place I think the best is it's resemblance to the house we grew up in. The same basic architecture with big sash windows and shutters, the same big lawns all around. We had a very blessed and idyllic childhood there and this annual reminder of that house, where we lived for 20 years, is part of the magic of this March weekend.

We went for a long mountain ramble, right up into the kloof at the base of the 'pig's snout' you can see in the mountain, Frieda being passed from shoulder to shoulder - there is nothing in this world she loves as much as being surrounded by all her family. When Husband put her to bed that night she dozed off listing all our names like a lullabye of love and devotion.

Croquet was played with lots of laughter and bull-shitting, and we spent rather a lot of time being fairly idle...

The weather was superb, not as hot as the city, but warm enough to completely justify snoozing on the lawn.

And of course, the food.

Banana carrot birthday cake (and incidently no. 15), 

traditional family favourite, pears poached in red wine infused with cinnamon ...

... and although this pic doesn't nearly do them justice, the ULTIMATE chocolate brownies - turkish delight, cherry & macadamian. Oh.My.Gob. (and, of course, no. 14).

It was such a recharge, an affirmation, a stolen few days from the humdrum, but I also had to wrestle a little with the weird way in which life works at times.

I have very close girlfriends going through some of the rawest and most unsettling experiences life can throw at one - death, divorce, betrayal - and the knowledge of how lucky I am, and how blessed to be able to have time like this -warm, secure, well-loved time family time - is a strange thing to compute. It's not that I feel undeserving, that would be far too simplistic a view, it's just once again standing in awe before LIFE, this bizarre, unpredictable, unquantifiable state and shaking my head and thinking Jeez Louise ~ how am I supposed to make sense of this?

But maybe I'm not. Maybe I'm just supposed to live the good times, be conscious, count my blessings, be empathetic, be grateful and tuck weekends like this away in a very safe place in my heart to draw strength from if/when the wheel turns. And to gain strength from in order to help others I love, and be the best friend I possibly can be to my girls in need at the moment.

And as for this ~

'Dog tired' aint' no joke!


Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post, it reminded me that I should be very grateful for everything I have too :)

Your weekend sounds - and looks - wonderful. I need to find a house like that to stay in :)

julochka said...

what a beautiful post. i'm sure you saved up tons of strength for being there for your girlfriends on such a glorious weekend. even if you did wear out the dog. :-)