Sunday, September 8, 2013

A la Kaart

After two fairly solid years of cartographing the Cederberg (with the occasional break here and there to St Lucia and Scotland and other parts north) one of the things that the Kaartmans had promised themselves was a day off enjoying the wonders of Cape Point – the whales, the sweet honey-scented serrurias, the languid bontebok, the saurian ostriches. The gorgeous spring day dawned bright, clear and windless, and so it was done. After breakfast, after a short burst of daily menial tasks, after the dogs were walked we picked up a pack of Woollies sarmies and headed south.

We took coffee in a flask, of course, a small cask of dry white and even a tiny box of juice. We stop-started through Kalk Bay. We tried to avoid even looking at Fish Hoek Main Road, and then at last we were truly free, barrelling down one of the finest drives in the world, ocean sparkling on our left, mountain golden with springtime conebushes on our right.
Past the naval guns, and then into Simon’s Town.
“We forgot the pie shop,” Mrs Kaartman. “The Simon’s Town pie shop.”
I sighed. “We did, indeed,” I sighed again.
“We could always eat the sarmies for supper,” she said.
The day brightened. “Or even the pies,” I said. “The rosemary and lamb pie – that would be great for supper.”
“Or lunch,” she said. “Let’s get the pies, then decide.”
We did a u-turn into the loading bay. The one outside the pie shop.

We bought the pies. They were hot, and the little white cake-boxy thing filled the car with delicious scents. Rosemary and lamb. Chicken and feta.
“We could each have a half of each,” we both said. 
“And keep the sarmies for supper.”

The thought made our mouths water. We ate the packets of chips we had bought with the Woollies sarmies, as Froggy Pond sped by. False Bay was a sparkly blue; the mountains were gentle and full of flowers.
“What’s the Black Marlin restaurant like?” asked Mrs K. “The one at Miller’s Point.”
“I think it’s got a good reputation,” I replied. I paused. The dashboard clock said ‘12:45’.  “Why?” I asked. “Do you think we should have lunch there?”
“We’ve got hot pies,” murmered Mrs K. 
“And sarmies,” I said.
“Why don’t we give it a try?”
“We could eat the pies for supper.”
“And the sarmies for lunch tomorrow.”
We turned off, into the long parking area that precedes the Black Marlin. It was nearly empty. We strolled through the restaurant – there’s a long outdoor part, shaded wooden tables on grass with a sparkly view of the bay. Then there’s a raised deck. All the tables were reserved there; small reddish flags fluttered on each. At the end of the deck was the indoor part. It was similarly adorned. And reserved.

A waiter appeared. He was a dead ringer for Tito Mboweni. I nearly called him Tito, but his name-tag said Joshua. “Are you all booked?” we asked.
“Function,” he said, waving airily around the restaurant. “I can serve you at the tables on the grass.”
“Great,” we said. The service was quick, smooth, seamless. A good dry white, a good light beer, delicious seafood. The sea was sparkly. Little black and red fishing boats chugged up and down, pursued by clouds of seagulls. 

The grub was great. Before we left five buses arrived. For the function. The small red flags belonged to Turkey. At least two hundred Turks filed past us, tourists, hungry, all staring shamelessly at our deliciously-loaded plates.
Replete, we left. We never got to Cape Point. We had coffee from our flask at the roadside, watching the sparkly sea, and then went home for a long kip.
We ate the pies for supper. Later, we ate the sarmies, too. The map, you see, was finished.

Kaartman, September 2013. 
     Happy birthday, Joy!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Great Excitement over New Map ...

Photo by Sonja Loots
Great Excitement over New Map the caption on Pieter Malan’s review of ‘Hike the Cederberg’ in Die Burger’s ‘Buite’ supplement of Tuesday 3rd September. The Kaartmans are in turn greatly excited by Pieter’s many kind words! Here’s a summary ...
Pieter began by pointing out that the ‘GPS brigade’ will not understand the ecstasy of the ‘map-and-compass’ users at the appearance of a new climbers’ map. “If you are one of those GPS-peepers, ‘taffies’,” says Pieter; “see you at the next swimming hole. If you can find it ...”
“The new map has no equal ... it does for Cederberg mapping what nylon did for climbers’ tents!” – but Pieter warns that you should not confuse it with the touring map, ‘Explore the Cederberg’ – the hiking map is a different, much more detailed animal altogether.
It’s clear, Pieter rightly says, that Slingsby maps do not ‘crib’ information from other maps, hence all the many mistakes in older maps of the Cederberg have been corrected, not repeated. He gives us a feather in our caps for this, “’n kleine pouveer van ’n pluimpie in Slingsby se laphoed ...” – love that lekker taal! –  but Pieter reserves his highest praise “for the work the Kaartman has done with the collection and preservation of almost-forgotten placenames; for that he deserves a jet-black Wupperthal eagle feather ...”
We’re pleased too that Pieter mentions the huge contributions made by Rudolf Andrag and Alex Basson, as well as those of all the many people who responded to the Cederberg map blog. We’ll be posting some news of the various launches on that blog once we have been to Clanwilliam on 13th September.
Pieter ends by mentioning the purists, who don’t like detailed maps that might lead the ‘hoi polloi’ to their favourite spots but, as he says, for heaven’s sake, there is more than enough Wilderness out there for everyone ...
Photo by Sonja Loots
Thanks for the bouquets, Pieter. We collected some more on our return from the map launch at the MCSA clubhouse in Cape Town. We gave a lift to a gentleman named Eric, who announced that he was a devoted fan. What’s more, he said, he still had a set of the original Slingsby Drakensberg maps, the ones that Ezemvelo KwaZulu Wildlife shamelessly copied without acknowledgment.
“Whenever I go to the MCSA’s Drakensberg meet,” Eric said, “there are always a couple of people there with original Slingsby’s – and they guard them with their lives!”
And then, as always always always happens when the Kaartmans have a function at the MCSA, we were asked if we did not still have, just maybe, lurking away in the bottom of a cupboard, a few copies of those original Drakensberg maps ...
May ‘Hike the Cederberg’ bring you all just as much lasting pleasure; and if you don’t have one yet, you’d better grab your First Edition copy while you still can!

– Kaartman, 5 September 2013: happy birthday, Liz!