We travelled to Price Albert a village in the Karoo last weekend to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. Son Mike came with us – he was after all the reason we got married! He’d been to Prince Albert a few times in years past and at one stage was seriously thinking of buying a house there as a sort of retreat. This photo was en route to Prince Albert at Meiringspoort. We clambered up the steps and rocks and saw the beautiful waterfall and on the way down, Neil and I posed for the above photo taken by MIke. The tree looks as if it is growing out of the pole, but it is not.


It was a wonderful weekend, hot as Hades, 37 degrees centigrade, but with not much humidity so it was bearable. It is an artists’ paradise and steeped in history. We used the swimming pool frequently in between our visiting places of interest here and there. We visited a cheese farm, art galleries, The Museum, and a fig farm a little way out of Prince Albert where we had a delightful lunch with a fig tart to share as a treat. We brought a box of figs, large, plump and ripening, a few jams and marmalades and I took away 4 fig tarts as well (tarts all gone). We had lunches, coffees, suppers at delightful places in the town. A ginnery, a beer brewery …

This is a photo of figs drying in the sun after they’d been cleaned and peeled, to be sold as dried figs –

Today I cut a fig in half – it tasted as delicious as it looks, rich in colour, succulent, a fruit of the gods and symbolic too if I think of Adam & Eve covering their nakedness with fig leaves after they’d eaten the apple and had been exiled from the Garden of Eden –

fig from Weltevreden
picture in art gallery in Prince Albert
clambered up rocks to get a bird’s eye view of Prince Albert

There was no TV in the cottage we stayed at for 3 nights though we were able to keep up with the ongoing news of Russia’s invasion into the Ukraine. Each evening we stood out in the garden beyond the porch with all lights turned off and looked up at the stars. There was no moon to be seen. Those stars were so bright, the Milky Way translucent, Orion’s Belt was glittering as was the Southern Cross. O my goodness, we saw three shooting stars! I felt and saw the skies turning a few times …

We entered Price Albert (named after Queen Victoria’s husband) one way and exited on our return another way, this time through the Swartberg Pass. It’s grandeur has to be seen to be believed. At one time I looked back to see where we had been and saw the windy snaky gravel road we’d been on. I wanted to stop the car and photograph it. It reminded me of the ongoing sharp turns and windy roads we’re on on this ongoing journey through life especially at this time when we don’t know what will happen next.

But we did stop a little later – the photo doesn’t do justice to those sharp turns and bends in the road –

Swartberg Pass

So, we’re already into March. In mid January we motored from Plettenberg Bay up to Johannesburg (in my husband’s new 2nd hand car with only 6000km on the clock). That was a trip and a half! The rain was ongoing through the Karoo. Everything was so green. We invariably stay overnight at a working farm in one of their delightful cottages when we drive up to Johannesburg. We take a gravel road off the highway to get to Prior Grange and this time round we almost got stuck in the mud. The trick is to drive in the middle of the road where the mud is not so dense as we were advised by Blackie Swart, our host. My husband’s anxiety levels were sky high – and through the night as he was worried we wouldn’t be able to leave the next morning – brand new car (2nd hand) –

Joy of all joys, we met our grandson Sam, born to David & Jüte on Saturday 8th Jan, a week earlier than planned. He was 8 days old when we first met him. Love at first sight!

Speaking of sight, I had my two cataract ops, one on the first Tuesday we were in Johannesburg, the other eye, the next week. All good –

We’ve had visitors left right and centre since early January before we left for Johannesburg mid-Jan and since we’ve been back early February. Which is always lovely. Friends from the UK are coming on Monday for a night or two, a good friend on Friday next week.

Amazingly, Dave, Jüte, Sam and their puppy Pablo are here in Plett! They’re not staying with us .. they’re in Mike’s house, and Mike is here with us. They arrived last Tuesday. This is Sam on my shoulder looking out to the sea on that day –

looking out to sea – he’s about 7 weeks old –
Uncle Mike, meeting his nephew for the first time

Jüte’s parents live in Plettenberg Bay. They’ve been seeing a good deal of baby Sam; Jüte is thrilled to have her mum on hand, her father too. Jüte knows she can call on me any time. I’m 4 minutes away –

Well, I could go on and on and on … in amongst everything, the war in Ukraine & Russia is alarming, complex as anything. My younger son David (thekiffness) put up a remix with Andriy Khlyvnuk x The Kiffness, link below …

a few pops of colour
Sunday – tea at Jüte’s parents home after the dedication to Sam in their church

Thank you for reading. Have a lovely weekend. May the Force be with you. Peace.

52 Comments on catching up

  1. Hi
    I visited your site. Beautiful written you blog. I can read some blog. I like. Wonderful picture. Nice pic your’s 40 th wedding anniversary.

  2. Hi Susan – what a nice way to celebrate your 40th – congratulations! And I love seeing the baby pictures too – how great to have little ones to snuggle 🙂

  3. How lovely to hear from you again, Susan. My you’ve been busy since we last heard from you. Happy 40th! And what a beautiful boy baby Sam is! Congratulations on this blessed new addition to your family. I can vouch for the truth of Anne Morrow Lindberg’s quote that “Grandchildren are the love affair of old age.” I feel so fortunate to have five, all of whom live within ten minutes of us. Three are in college now and they all bring such joy. Thanks also for the gorgeous pictures. And David’s wonderful video. I shared his previous one and will share this too.

    There’s so much to be sad for…COVID, Ukraine, the threat of another world war….and so much to be grateful for…a new life entering the world, family, travel, friends….. May we stay present to it all.

    Love and peace to you and yours, Jeanie

    • Thanks so much Jeanie. Life continues busy – I saw my dear friend for a long lunch today who now lives in Holland and visiting family in SA. What a treat that was to talk of deep and meaningful things. And then another friend coming on Friday which I know will also be rich. Davey Jüte and Sam have just left, they came by for supper, Mike as well so we were all together this evening. I agree totally with Anne Morrow Lindberg’s quote. Is this from her “Gift of (or from) the Sea’ or some such title? A wonderful little book.

      As you say, stay present to it all … the sadness and the joys inbetween.

      Love & Peace to you and yours too Jeanie. I had a read your recent post earlier today and will respond tomorrow.

  4. Sam is a looker, isn’t he? Those eyes! Your travels looks and sound like fun. I’ve never eaten a fresh fig, so I’m going to ask what may be [probably will be] a stupid question. Do you eat the skin like an apple? Or do you peel it like a kiwi?

    • Sam takes after his mother with those bright blue eyes! He’s an alert little babe, now chuckling and smiling (in between distress at his hiccups after feeding). I’ve never thought of peeling a fig … but I also never peel apples. Although at the fig farm we visited, just outside of Prince Albert, the many workers at many benches were peeling figs prior to their being put out in the sun to dry, and then to be packaged as dried figs. Which to my taste buds are not as wonderful as a fresh plump ripe fig, skin on and all .. I hope one day you get to taste one Ally Bean…

  5. What an inspiring post, Susan. New travels, new babies, and new songs — I can’t get that song out of my head; it makes me teary and proud of the human spirit – such strength in the face of adversity. I hope this madness ends soon and peaceful people can go back to being peaceful. Sending love your way. ❤️💕♥️

    • Thanks so much Pam … glad you enjoyed it. David was interviewed by the Voice of America just recently about his song – it was pure chance I heard about this and saw the zoom click. I didn’t hear it from him. It was a lovely clip. We can’t help but be proud of the Ukrainians for having the courage they do in the face of this calamity. And their appreciation of the support from people around the world. Yes may there be Peace never a moment too soon. Sending love to you too .. 🙂

  6. HI Susan, what an exciting time this is for you. A first grandchild must be amazing. Thanks for sharing these lovely pictures and telling us about Prince Albert. We must make a plan to go there.

  7. Nice post and congratulations on all the good news. I’m so tempted to start a challenge ignoring all news for 3 days so I do wonder how you found your 3 days without TV 🙂

    • Thanks Elizabeth! Actually it was rather nice to not have TV! No time during the day and after supper somewhere in the town, walking back to our digs, then standing outside watching the stars go by, was no great sweat! But we each had our trusty cell phones. I would have felt lost without some connection to the real world.

  8. Hi Susan and Neil – many congratulations and I’m so pleased for you and now a new generation .. gorgeous photos of places, people and blooms. Excellent Jute’s parents are nearby, so the whole family can be together …
    You’ve reminded me about a trip I took with my Ma in the late 70s … to the Cango Caves, up through the Swartberg, via the Valley of Desolation (amazing place), Prince Albert -where there was a museum, and on to Matjiesfontein …great remembrances …
    Thank you – lovely ‘Catch Up post’ … here’s to many happy years ahead. Oh yes – so pleased the ops were successful – cheers Hilary

    • Thanks for popping by Hilary 🙂 I’m glad you have those memories of the trip you took with your Ma! Golly, over 40 years ago! In that time I suspect that Prince Albert slowly grew to become the vibrant little town or village that it is today. The Valley of Desolation just outside Graaf Reinet is a must see. We’ve (and I on my own) have overnighted a few times in GR; I would love to have more time next time we make a trip to Johannesburg to go again to the Valley of Desolation. And of course Graaf Reinet is really lovely with its art museums, coffee shops and so on. Cheers to you, Susan

      • Hi Susan – you’ve confirmed about the V of Des … I couldn’t remember … but similar area (vaguely!) … impressed me … as did the s bends and u turns up and down the Swartberg Pass. Yes so much change in 40 years … there with you as here with us – cheers for now – Hilary

        • Yes, GR is vaguely in the area! Glad you remember the extreme s bends and u turns on the Swartberg Pass! Once done, never forgotten! I’d love to do it again – enter via Swartberg Pass (actually there’s a turnoff on the pass that goes to Die Hel, 37 kms 2 hours driving – would like to do that sometime) and returning back the way we originally entered … ooo that sounds complicated but i hope ykwim 🙂

  9. Beautiful photos, Susan. I envy your travels, reminds me of the U.S. Southwest, my favorite place to travel. 37 C = 98.6 F. OMG, that IS hot, even with low humidity. Thank you for showing us around S.A., things I didn’t know you had. So interesting. I love figs. Also, coincidentally, I am in the midst of my cataract surgery. Right eye done on 2/22/22, healing nicely; left eye to be done on 3/15. Interesting dates. Now that I can see colors clearly, I’m wondering if my outfits had been matching. And congrats to Davey & Jüte and you all on the arrival of Sam. What a beautiful, bright child. I believe he’s a Capricorn, so he’ll be a wonderful person — my daughter Kellie is a Capricorn. Kudos to Davey for the Ukrainian mix. I have shared it on my FB page. Congrats to you and Neil on your 40th. Thanks for this lovely, fascinating update. Lots of exciting news! So good to hear from you and I’m so happy for you. ❤️Carol

    • Thanks so much Carol! That is amazing about your first cataract op on 22 2 22- could never lose sight of THAT date. And you know the 15th March? Colours do seem a little brighter to me and a few tops seem to have changed colour. What I thought was an olive green sleeveless jacket now looks positively brown. Also, a pretty top that I know was a light charcoal, now looks positively blue! (I still wear reading glasses though.)
      There was a lovely dedication to Sam at the church this morning to which Jüte’s parents belong. It was so sweet. Sam was an angel. Then tea at Jüte’s parents home. We all had turns holding this 8 week old baby. I MAY put up a photo just now of me and baby taken this morning.
      I will pop over to your recent blog post this afternoon – just doing some catch up right now. Thank you again for your lovely visit here 🙂 xx

  10. There is so much joy here amid the pain of the Ukrainian crisis. I did share the music on my Facebook page. Thanks!

    Congratulations on baby Sam. You must be overjoyed to have so many family members surrounding you lately. By the way, I enlarged the photo of you and your husband, so sweet! Thanks for catching us up; you did a grand job here, Susan. 😀

    • Thanks Marian so much! Also for sharing the music. I saw an update on FB that over $7000 was raised in 24 hrs which goes straight to humanitarian aid for Ukraine. Here’s to Peace –

  11. Congratulations on your 40th Wedding Anniversary and the birth of your first grandson. You had an exciting way to celebrate your anniversary. You have a lovely area and beautiful pictures. I enjoyed hearing Davey’s son with the Ukraine singer. I pray that he stays safe and well.

    It is lovely hearing from you, and I’m glad that your cataract surgery went well. Hugs! <3

    • Correction – I enjoyed hearing Davey’s SONG and seeing your grandson. You definitely know how to celebrate your 40th!!

    • Thanks dear Gwynn … (fortytude – tongue-in-cheek). I hope this finds you and John well and all your grandchildren – I hope you get to see them now and then. Is it still so bitterly cold? Hugs to you 🙂

      • Now the worst of our cold weather is gone. Our area doesn’t get hit with the extreme weather and temperatures – usually, but sometimes. The mountains and water protect us, pretty much. Enjoy your summer. Don’t cook!

        John and I have stayed well, but both of my children and families caught Covid before they could get the shots. Now everyone is totally vaccinated! Otherwise, this growing old stuff is NOT fun. I am still John’s ‘caregiver/watch dog’ for his falls. I’m now on anti-anxiety drugs (light) due to the stress. Thank God for my walks around Poulsbo. However, right now the Boardwalk is closed for repairs and due to needing wood supplies, who knows how long it will take to get fixed — WHINE… or maybe I just need WINE! LOL!! 😉 I hope you and your lovely family are all doing well. Your grandson is sure a CUTIE – ENJOY!!

        • Glad it’s not dreadfully cold Gwynn. Hope those boardwalks get fixed soon so you get back to your frequent ambles. Walking helps a lot for stress – and chocolate chip cookies! Arrrgh re your children’s families all getting covid – one day soon I hope this will all seem like a bad dream. Hugs to you xx

  12. This is such a wonderful catchup. I’ve missed you!
    Happy 40th Wedding Anniversary.
    Congratulations on the safe arrival of your gorgeous new grandson, Sam.
    David’s remix is incredibly powerful. Thank you for sharing this!

  13. You see such beautiful places, Susan, with your beloved life companion. Yes, 40 years together is a big deal–and a new grandbabe. I’m so glad you live close to each other and will see Sam and have a close relationship as he grows up. I had a community of women friends and we helped each other like grandmothers.

    Despite all the grief and sadness in the world at this moment, those figs are cause for celebration. In Egyptian mythology, figs are associated with Hathor and associated with feminine fertility and sexuality. Your life feels fertile and full with beauty, friendship, and family. Blessings to all of it, and especially Little Sam. .

    • Thank you for your lovely comment Elaine. Thanks for further information about figs and Hathor – I didn’t know that. Yes, life at the moment does feel full. I thought that Dave & Jüte would make make their home here in Plett but not at the moment. They’re here for quite a long visit though. Interestingly, the whole garden route is becoming more and more attractive to those who want to get out of big cities like Johannesburg and properties are hard to come by at the moment. And if they are, the prices are sky high.

      I’ll pass on your message to Dave & Jüte when I see them tomorrow, thank you for this … there’s a dedication at the church for Sam and a tea afterwards at her mother’s home. Have a lovely weekend 🙂

  14. So much in this post, Susan! Happy Anniversary and much joy for the birth of your grandson. I’m glad he and his parents are well. The scenery is so gorgeous, trips sounds incredibly lovely, and I’m seriously craving figs now–not a fruit I have very often.

    Your son’s remix is wonderful!

    • It’s the first blog post in a long while Merril! I enjoyed writing it! Thank you for your good wishes. A plump ripe luscious fig, nothing to beat it! Glad you enjoyed the remix – his son Sam enjoys his music too and it’s wonderful to watch him holding his baby and singing to him!

  15. It looks like quite a journey–in marriage, celebration and world events, punctuated with the new baby. Life continues in its round, thank goodness.

    • Thank you Susan for coming by. The journey continues, destination unknown – but punctuated with small and large joys along the way.

  16. Oh, I don’t know where to start dear Susan, your post is just terrific, in both words and images! You’ve filled it with so many rich, beautiful colours and textures (in comparison to the grey, gloomy weather here in the UK!), three shooting stars, those beautiful, juicy figs, alongside the wonderful descriptions of your recent travels. You offer us friends and followers a true poetic landscape of the soul which, when woven all altogether immediately evokes your blog name, “Garden of Eden”. Wow, how very beautiful South Africa is!

    Again, huge congratulations to both you and Neil on your 40th wedding anniversary (we call it “Ruby” here in the UK) and wow, how gorgeous is baby Sam, the heart just melts! And I think that’s what I’ve enjoyed the most, the beautiful smiles and joy you’re so willingly sharing with us of late, including that lovely portrait of you all on Facebook. A terrific catch-up and a joy a read. Thanks for gifting me big smiles. Sending much love and light across the oceans between us, Deborah. Ps. Hope the writing is going well.

    • Thank you for your full hearted comment Deborah! You make my heart smile. No ruby for me … I tried on a few bits of costume jewellery in Prince Albert but nothing took my fancy. ‘Fortytude’ is what I say about our 40th – very tongue in cheek.

      It was lovely to put up a post today. I’ve been doing some writing on my WIP and I had an idea about using figs in my WIP. I was reminded of this and related to the story to Neil & Mike when in PA – ie that when I was about 12 or 13, we were at my uncle’s lovely home. He had a fig tree. I had a few warts near my ankle. It was night time. He plucked a fig, and the white sap oozed out of the stalk which he rubbed on the offending warts. He instructed me to go outside, turn three times this way, three times the other way. Which I did – in the morning the warts were gone! True story!

      Baby Sam is a real joy, he smiles and laughs quite a lot which helps reminding me of joy among tragedy. (I was not so mad about the FB photo with me in it, but soon enough put my vanity aside. A small issue which pales in comparison to everything else.)

      Thank YOU for gifting me big smiles! I hope your weather improves. Soon you’ll be eyeballing irises and crocuses, daffodils and peonies, another fox or 3 and all the delights that Spring brings. Love and light to you too, Susan

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