Me­an­der­ing from How­ick to Not­ting­ham Road

We started our week­end in How­ick, then me­an­dered through au­tumn trees. There were in­ter­est­ing stops & chance en­coun­ters with the friendly lo­cals. These were stand­out stops for us:

Fairlady - - MAGICAL MIDLANDS -

The Ev­ery­thing Store

You can find al­most any­thing you might need on a road trip, camp­ing ad­ven­ture or braai, here, but the real high­light is the enam­el­ware. There are beau­ti­ful plates, ket­tles and serv­ing dishes or tea sets in un­usual colours. And it’s very af­ford­able. When you pack for your trip, leave space to trek back with some of this enam­el­ware.

Spi­ral Blue

This lit­tle trin­ket shop cap­tures the spirit of KZN’s creativ­ity. With in­ter­est­ing jew­ellery from In­dia and In­done­sia and wrap­around skirts in mag­nif­i­cent fab­rics, it’s worth a browse even if you don’t buy. Paul Good­win (aka Pob­sie ) runs the place and is great to chat to about the area or to help iden­tify the stones on the rings you pick. Next door is Earth Trea­sures, owned by Heather Poulsen. It’s filled with cab­i­nets of crys­tals, pre­cious stones and min­er­als (from sub-Sa­ha­ran Africa and Mada­gas­car) that claim to cure all kinds of ail­ments (calm­ness, heart dis­ease, in­tu­ition) and are beau­ti­ful just to look at. Look out for the me­tal­lic bis­muth crys­tals that look like the lit­tle cas­tles from fan­tasy nov­els.

Steam­punk Cof­fee

Brim­ming with alternative in­flu­ence and re­fresh­ing ideas, and with the best cof­fee in a 10km ra­dius, it’s the lo­cals’ favourite. ‘We start our day here be­cause the cof­fee is just the best around,’ young Pa­trick Ndlovu tells us as he grabs his. He is a de­signer at Tsonga Leather Shoes And Bags, founded in the area. Michael God­dard, the owner of Steam­punk, is an off-the­wall cre­ative who also hosts reg­u­lar po­etry nights there. An an­thol­ogy of the works of lo­cal po­ets who have read there is also on sale. And if you need a treat, pick up a Mug­gle ball (highly ad­dic­tive) or a rusk baked by the lo­cal ‘Bis­cotti elf’. The magic is all around you in this val­ley.

This place has lay­ers; the kind you’ll al­ways re­turn to be­cause once you’ve been there, it’s im­pos­si­ble not to con­nect to it.

Nel­son Man­dela cap­ture site

As you walk to­wards the path lead­ing up to the sculp­ture, you aren’t really ex­pect­ing much from the erected steel col­umns – un­til you get there and Man­dela’s iconic face ap­pears as the pil­lars line up. Artist Marco Cian­fanelli mas­ter­fully man­ages to get you to stop in your tracks and en­gage.

Il Postino Restau­rant and Art Lounge

The name, Ital­ian for ‘the post­man’ ex­plains the retro post­box on the wall. A favourite spot for de­li­cious pizza, they also re­cently launched an ad­ja­cent gallery space where lo­cal artists can col­lab­o­rate to ex­hibit. ‘It’s been a long-term dream and it’s really great to have lo­cal artists get in­volved and for me to have this space as a work­shop,’ says renowned bronze sculp­tor Michael Mawd­s­ley. He’s most fa­mous for larger works but I loved the smaller de­tailed birds he was work­ing on when we popped in.

THIS PIC: When you stand in this spot at the Nel­son Man­dela cap­ture site, the steel col­umns be­come one. BE­LOW: A bold, blue post­box wall at Il Postino Art Lounge.

THIS PIC: Reg­u­lars at off-the-wall Steam­punk Cof­fee. BE­LOW: Firoza Moola, co-owner of The Ev­ery­thing Store, show­ing off the im­pres­sive enam­el­ware se­lec­tion.

THIS PIC: Fun-lov­ing Paul (aka Pob­sie) on the lawns at Spi­ral Blue.

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