Bland­ford with­out ba­bies

CityPress - - Trending - Gar­reth.van­niek­erk@city­press.co.za

The Wild Goose Cafe at Bland­ford Manor 106 Hyperion Drive, Northrid­ing, Rand­burg Price: Af­ford­able to mid-range Toasties with­out ter­ror? Sun­day lunch sans scream­ing? Such un­think­ably sim­ple plea­sures can be found at Bland­ford Manor’s re­cently child-free Wild Goose Cafe in Northrid­ing. I took a turn there this week­end af­ter the re­lease of their ode to child­less cui­sine – “Why no chil­dren at Bland­ford Manor?” – which went vi­ral at the start of the month.

In case you missed the (at times, hi­lar­i­ous) 2 000-word let­ter in which owner Peter Chalde­cott be­moans the “prob­lem chil­dren” (and par­ents) of Jo­han­nes­burg, it’s an in­sight­ful read that got Jozi’s loud­est re­ally go­ing off at each other about what is, and isn’t, ac­cept­able be­hav­iour for par­ents and their lit­tle ones when din­ing out.

I am with­out chil­dren and have never re­ally found that I get an­gry at a par­ent for the be­hav­iour of their child – mostly be­cause I don’t have that many in­ter­ac­tions with peo­ple who have chil­dren, but also be­cause, well, I once was one. Ei­ther way, I had to see what it could be like to sit in a park – Bland­ford is one of the few pri­vately owned reg­is­tered botan­i­cal gar­dens in the world – with only the calls of the res­i­dent geese to ac­com­pany my meal.

As I set­tled into the (sur­pris­ingly full) restau­rant over a pot of rooi­bos tea and the sig­na­ture but­tery scones with cream and chunky straw­berry jam, I no­ticed a sud­denly ap­par­ent ab­sence: of noise; of the con­cern over what you say; and of the nag­ging pa­tience it re­quires to put up with un­ruly tykes and their par­ents.

The pa­trons gath­ered there seemed to ac­knowl­edge ev­ery­one else’s right to tran­quil­lity and so, for that time over lunch, at least, Joburg was a place at peace.

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