Ka­roo stay in win­ter

go! Platteland - - LETTERS - Janet and Henty Scheuer, NEW HANOVER

It all started with an ad in go! mag­a­zine: Jack and Jean Vosloo of Stel­len­bosch in­vited us re­tirees to stay on their re­mote farm in the Mo­or­de­naarska­roo for a month or two to take care of their olive trees and other plants.

We drove the 1 500km from KwaZulu-Natal’s lush green sugar fields to the arid Ka­roo hills, where we set­tled into a beau­ti­fully re­stored worker’s cot­tage with a gas geyser, stove and fridge in the heart of win­ter. There were two so­lar lights and we used can­dles and gas lamps. No cell­phone re­cep­tion. No TV. No email. And to drive the 12km to Laings­burg to buy sup­plies, we needed an hour and a four-wheel drive.

We only got up at 08:30 after the sun ap­peared over the hill. We lay in bed and watched the wind­mill turn, a spring­bok or a deer walk past, a skunk, a rab­bit, a field mouse… If the tame don­keys heard a voice, they would walk around the house and peer in through the win­dows and doors look­ing for their ap­ples and pel­lets.

For my hus­band, who usu­ally runs around solv­ing prob­lems and do­ing main­te­nance at the re­tire­ment home, it was a plea­sure sim­ply to wa­ter the trees. We were in bed by eight o’clock in the evenings, each with a hot-wa­ter bot­tle and a book.

The iso­la­tion and seclu­sion were ther­a­peu­tic. Per­haps next year we’ll go back to recharge our bat­ter­ies.

Henty in the olive grove near the cot­tage.

A tame don­key comes to beg for an ap­ple.

The cosy lounge.

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