I have found that it is more pleasing to chat about wine alone so please find me at my new blog:



What I want most

More than a decade ago I was privileged enough to taste and fall in love with that sweet, precious nectar that is: Le Petit Liquorelle Petillante. This special 200ml drop bottle of rich amber champagne liqueur was first made by Moet and Chandon in the 1980's. It's composition is a guarded secret but apparently it's a clever blend and fermentation of champagne and brandy. After a process that takes many years, a delectable and ever-so-slightly-bubbly liqueur is produced.

To my horror and disgust, this wonderful drink was discontinued in the mid 1990's and I have been without ever since. I have often kept track of the sale of a lonely bottle here and there on eBay and recently found 9 bottles for sale from a reputable cellar in Spain - way out of reach and price range! Each bottle is priced at a mere 16 Euros, which is more than affordable. The postage per bottle to South Africa, however, is 32 Euros which puts the cost per bottle at around R600. I found these precious bottles a few days ago and have been dreaming about that taste (I can remember it as if I had a sip yesterday) ever since. The only thing keeping me from purchasing a bottle or two or three is a short mantra: "I have rent to pay, I have rent to pay, I have rent to pay."

If you are ever lucky enough to find, buy and enjoy one of these rare treasures of bottled poetry, be sure to have one small sip in honour of those who will never taste that sweet, decadent pleasure and to those who might never taste it again.


On hiatus

I will be back when time permits.


Good holiday / Bad holiday

I went to Umdloti (pronounced um-shloti) in Kwa-Zulu Natal for a short holiday. It is a lovely place but I can't decide whether or not my holiday was good overall.

Good Holiday

Umdloti is a beautiful place with a warm sea and perfect sunny days.

I stayed in a very nice holiday apartment that had an incredible view.

It was close to Umhlanga and Durban.

There are many interesting shops and restaurants.

Very friendly and helpful locals.

I got to go target archery shooting with some archery champions – was so much fun!

The sun rises at 4am and sets at around 7pm, so you have nice long days.

Spent New Year’s on the beach, watching an awesome fireworks display with a rising orange moon and the sea as a backdrop.

Spent some quality time with family.

Bad Holiday

The place has 100% humidity and part of the beach has been washed away by storms.

The damn monkeys kept coming into the flat to look for food and destroy the kitchen.

Lots and lots and lots of people.

Lots and lots and lots of people.

There was not enough holiday eye candy.

I got a really nasty sunburn on the archery day and now I have peeling lizard skin.

I had lots of work to do, so I didn’t get to go out as much as I would have liked.

I got a bit drunk on New Year's Eve and said the word “fuck” a lot because my laptop (with all my work on it) had been stolen earlier that day.

I didn’t get a New Year’s kiss from a cute guy.

I don't feel very rested but at least I got to go elsewhere, saw a place I had not seen before and had some fun with family I don't see often enough.


A quick tour

My research takes me to all sorts of places. Those of you who stop in here often will recall my last research/holiday adventure in Namibia. This time, I traveled through my own country, making sure I took the scenic and historical routes. The first stop on my journey was Mossel Bay, a historic city that dates back to 1488 when Bartolomeu Dias sailed into the bay. It’s a lovely town with many historical buildings, museums and a very smelly seal island.

I then drove through spectacular Frontier country on my way to Grahamstown to look at skeletal collections housed at Albany Museum. I don’t really like Grahamstown. I love that it is steeped in 1820’s Settlers history, has an amazing cathedral and fantastic university but the town itself is dodgy. Accommodation is very expensive and fairly crap and the locals, although colourful, can be quite unfriendly. I am, of course, in the minority when it comes to disliking the place and this comment is sure to be met with scorn and contempt by ex-Rhodes University groupies. The drive north through the Eastern Cape towards my next stop, Bloemfontein, was breathtaking. I can’t say the same for Bloemfontein itself. Granted, I did not stay there long enough to enjoy the sights of the predominantly Afrikaans city because I was located at a research centre in Florisbad (it’s about 50km away from Bloem where only jackals, rats and mosquitoes keep you company), but most people have only good things to say about the apparently funky city.

A short drive from Bloem took me to Kimberley. What a nice place! Lots of diamond mining history (the Big Hole really is huge!), rock art sites and friendly people in an amazing flat Karoo landscape trampled by predictable afternoon thunder storms that you can see coming from miles away. I then made my way to Johannesburg via the farm lands of the North West.

Johannesburg, my home town, is still a fantastic, bustling city but I was more than pleased to make my way back to Cape Town two weeks later. Perhaps I was tired of the research and the traveling or perhaps I just missed the mountain and sea.


Surname celebration

I have been trying to change my surname for ages. I applied for the change in April 2006 and was told that it could take anything from 3 to 9 months for the paperwork to go through. 17 months later, I am still waiting. For academic purposes, I really need my new surname legalised and because of this, over the last year, I have contacted home affairs almost every week and pleaded, begged, lost my temper and begged some more in the hopes of getting this sorted out.

Today, miracle of miracles, not only did someone answer the phone, but someone helpful answered the phone! I was told that all I have to do is take my proof of payment for said change of surname (thank goodness I kept that for 17 months!!) to any home affairs office. I then need to fax this person a copy of the receipt (along with some other details) and she will pass it on to yet another person dedicated to dealing with just such problems. I have been told that my surname change will be sorted out within 2 days. Sounds unbelievable, huh? Well, I am very hopeful. So much so, that I have decided to celebrate the possibility with a dinner with good friends and a bottle of my favourite bubbly.

Not the greatest photo, I know, but I was in a hurry. This is a fabulous bottle of champagne. I know it says "sparkling" but it is made using the cap classique method, so it's legit. It is unusual because it is a proper red champagne, made from pinotage grapes. It is apparently very difficult to get bubbles in a heavy red wine without adding tons of sugar but Graham Beck has successfully created a gem. It is rather odd, as you might expect but it has a lovely berry palate with a heavy red wine follow through. It tastes just like a pinotage, with bubbles. It is not for everyone and some red wine fans don't really like it. It is difficult to assess this champagne because it is the only one of its kind that I have tasted (or seen?) so all I can tell you is that I love it! If you can find it, I recommend that you try it.


Happy Birthday

This was the first book I ever read for myself, by myself and I can remember it so clearly, it's like I read it yesterday. Happy birthday Roahl Dahl and thank you for turning me into a reader.

He would have been 90 today.