“First things first, let’s find our house and get settled in,” I suggested.
Following a rough map downloaded from the internet, we proceeded slowly down Stanford’s Main Road – called ‘Queen Victoria Street’ (!), and zigzagged from there until we reached our destination. Hubby parked in front of the garage, and we climbed out of the car.
We stood in front of our Home From Home for a long, quiet moment.
“It’s perfect,” I breathed, not wanting to break the spell.
It was utterly enchanting. Out of respect for our friends’ privacy, I cannot show you a picture.
Suffice it to say that It Was Beautiful. Pretty. Quaint. And Perfectly Magical. We couldn’t believe our good fortune. It had everything a person might need for a relaxing weekend, or longer, away from the ceaseless demands of life in a big city.
After moving in and unpacking our essentials, including sorting all our perishables into the fridge and the freezer, we settled into a pair of comfortable armchairs on the stoep (verandah) with a cup of tea and a good book.
I vaguely recall that there may have been a nap in the unseasonably warm winter sunlight. The chirping of the birds, the breeze shshshshing in the reeds along the river and weeks of a build-up of tiredness had a decidedly soporific effect.
I’ll show you some pictures of the garden later, once I figure out how to hyperlink to a post that hasn’t been written yet(!). You can click An enchanting little fynbos garden to read the next instalment.
Although we were sorely tempted to spend the rest of the afternoon just chillin’, and barely stirring ourselves to boil another pot of tea, that would’ve been just too decadent.
Besides, we’d run out of biscuits.
As it struck us as way too lazy to drive into the village centre, when a brisk walk in the country air would be far better for body and soul, we started walking.
It was unexpectedly far into the village, however.
“I don’t remember it being this far,” I muttered.
“And I don’t remember this hill,” retorted my man, trudging upwards.
Not a big hill, mind you. Just a gentle slope, really, going up towards the village centre.
We looked at each other in dismay, thinking of walking all the way back with a bag of firewood for our planned evening braai. Firewood bags don’t come in nice, easy-to-carry packets; they are usually bulky and unwieldy, with thick wires wrapped around the top that dig into your hands.
“Let’s just pick up what we need now, and then we’ll get the rest by car later, okay?”
We popped in at the local tourism office, where we purchased a guide called Historical Stanford On Foot; it contained a detailed map of a walk through the centre of the village, identifying the old buildings, and telling you about their histories.
I was seriously impressed by the detail, which must have taken a long time – and substantial effort – to collect. A true labour of love, I suspect. To make sure that you didn’t lose your way, each of the houses on the route had a tile secured to an outside wall, with the letters “HW” and a number, corresponding to the number on the map.
It was kind of like a treasure hunt. And I really like those.
“So…,” ummed my Beloved, trying to gauge my intentions. “Are you, by any chance, planning to walk the whole route… you know… from number 1 to … what is it… number 56?”
“Erm…” I could sense that he wasn’t quite up to a long walk on this sunny afternoon, with me looking at historical buildings – taking copious photographs – and, Heaven help us, reading out loud from the guidebook… But heck, if that was really, really, REALLY what I wanted to do, he didn’t want to stand in my way. Sweetie.
“How about,” I offered, “we just do a circuit of the village green, and then we head down to the river to find the start of the ‘Wandelpad’ that goes all along the Klein River?”
That clearly sounded much more appealing. We did a quick scoot-around the village green, picked up a bottle of milk and biscuits from the local KwikSpar, and made our way down Queen Victoria Street (the Main Road in Stanford) until we reached the riverside.
The plan was to walk the Stanford Wandelpad, which meanders gently along the river, until we reached our home at the other end. It didn’t quite work out that way though, as you can read about if you click on Wandeling along the Wandelpad.
Here are the links to all the posts in this series, in case you’ve missed any: