Guest blog by Princess Vida

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With my boyfriend Bijou on Hout Bay beach last week

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Look how he’s chasing me – half my size and twice as dangerous!

I haven’t had internet access for ages so I can’t update Facebook but mom said I can guest blog to make up for it.   I’ll use the opportunity to tell you how to make humans happy. It’s not really difficult because they’re very simple and loyal creatures, most of the time, and it doesn’t take much to please them.

  1. Every now and then, especially if I feel neglected, I sit dead still close to my mom and just stare at her. When she eventually looks my way and says “What?” I don’t move an inch, just sit, not even a blink. This rattles her no end and eventually she puts down what she’s doing and I get a big love or something to chew on.
  2. Let them rub your tummy, they love this and it certainly doesn’t hurt.
  3. I can’t stress strongly enough the importance of nuzzling and cuddling. Humans need a lot of this and a few minutes go a long way. When my human is watching tv and typing at the same time I creep up close and shove my nose under her arm. She makes loads of typos and eventually says “Look how she wants to cuddle”, puts the laptop down and starts kissing or something, at that point I move away. She picks up the laptop again and I creep closer again… this can go on for hours and guarantees non-stop attention.
  4. When you need a pee and the door is shut, don’t bark and jump at the door – that’s too easy. Sit near the door, wiggle on your bum and wait. After a few minutes of being totally ignored you can let out a very low whine and wiggle your bum again. At some point your human will jump up and open the door very fast. Humans are not generally scared of us peeing indoors but a number 2 on the carpet is their biggest fear.
  5. And speaking of poop. My mom’s got a lot of gravel outside and I’m not mad about it because it’s not comfortable to lie on. My solution? I no longer poop in the driveway where it’s easy for her to pick up. I now poop on the gravel so that when she removes the poop, there are always several bits of gravel stuck to it. I’ve calculated that in about 4 years there won’t be a single piece of gravel left. I’ve even stopped pooping on the pennyroyal ground cover – it’s all mostly dead anyway.
  6. The Circuit of Happiness – I’ve outgrown this but it gives my mom pleasure so I will keep it up as long as I can. The way it works is this: when she comes home, after I’ve whined and jumped up and down outside, I show her how happy I am to see her by running in a loop from the front door onto one couch and from that one I jump straight across the other one, then back to the front door and to the first couch and so on. She stands there hosing herself for a few minutes, then rushes to the toilet. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to be able to give her so much pleasure. The number of circuits I complete is directly proportionate to how long she’s been out, so a quick nip to the shops might only be 3 circuits but when she’s been out all day I run myself ragged.

Stuff I don’t like:

  1. I don’t see the joke in referring to my back legs as “Korean take-aways”.
  2. Threats to return me to the SPCA for a refund every time I get dirty.
  3. Constant cookie inspections for fleas. She never finds any but still she looks obsessively.
  4. Braais where they sit and gnaw at bones and I get nothing and apparently it’s for my own sake. Puh-lease.
  5. That long snaky thing in the garden that she’s been using to wash me this summer. Bring on winter and warm baths.
  6. Being left alone. Like tonight – there’s a big party on at my boyfriend’s house and I’m not allowed. I don’t understand why Tonton Philippe doesn’t want me and BJ playing and wrestling and running around his house at his birthday party. The 40+ guests would love to see how we play. BJ even went to the parlour for this party and I get to sit at home alone.
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My mom thinks this is a very cute pose of mine and Tonton thinks he’s training us. BJ got filthy that day and Tonton was furious! I never get very dirty because I’m a girl.

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Me, my boyfriend and Tonton – man, we OWNED the beach that day! (Afterwards we had calamari!)

Art galleries

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I find art galleries a bit intimidating because I have plebeian tastes and no money. Unlike my friend Caroline, who also has no money but knows art and has no fear of playing the serious buyer (together, we’ve pretended to be serious buyers of all sorts of things from precious art to luxury homes, but that’s another story).

Recently the painting above caught my client’s eye. I screeched to a stop on the main drag in Franschhoek and the haggling began.  I suggested the gallery pass my commission on to the client (I’m nice that way) but the snooty gallery assistant with a fake poncy accent was having none of that because apparently I need to register with the gallery in advance, which I hadn’t done since I don’t generally plan on shopping with clients. Regardless of my client’s obvious wealth, the snooty one managed to talk down to everyone as if we were a bunch of bergies asking for a hand-out. He was eating cold pizza but the gallery is just opposite a restaurant that’s just  been voted the best in Africa. Just saying.

Once my client had concluded the deal (R36k including shipping) we were then told to stop trying to take photos of the painting. My client pointed out that the painting was now HERS and she could do what she wanted with it. While they were arguing I took the photo – cell phones are sneakier than fancy cameras with foot-long lenses.

My client then tasked me with ensuring the painting arrives in New York. Yikes. I did and it did.

The photo below, however, is of a pencil drawing I fell in love with at an art exhibition, also in Franschhoek, at the lovely Grande Provence Estate. Weeks later I was in Stellenbosch and spotted the gallery where this artist’s work is displayed. My heart stopped and I entered. This time it was a vastly different experience. The artist’s son, whose lovely jewellery is also displayed there, was manning the gallery and a nicer man you couldn’t hope to meet.  I didn’t get his name, shame on me; there was a time I would have got his phone number, too.

The artist is Greg Lourens and you can see his work here.

This one sells for a bit more than the top one but they have prints of the art, so I bought one for a whole R30.

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Disclaimer: my photo of the above pencil drawing has too many reflections to do it justice so I’ve used this one from the website.

Summer round-up

Varsity Cup in Stellenbosch - is this not the most beautiful backdrop for a sports match?

Varsity Cup in Stellenbosch – is this not the most beautiful backdrop for a sports match?

Oh the shame of it! Months since my last entry, can you ever forgive me? It’s been a busy summer, well that’s my excuse, anyway. What’s yours for having no blog at all? I know some of you would be very entertaining.

Catch up of last few months.

Vida is thriving and still acts like a puppy; her love affair with Bijou the Yorkie is still on-going despite his offspring-producing infidelity. Her Facebook status has had to be changed to ‘open relationship’ and she’s having a lesbian thing with Frank’s dog, Inge. Bijou’s 2 year ban on entering my property was temporarily lifted a few weeks ago and the plants are still in severe shock. I have finally planted a herb and veg garden (veg = mainly lettuce, can’t be fagged with much else) in a canny tire-garden to keep Vida out. Photos of that will come later when it’s more brag-worthy.

Summer has been totally awesome – sadly it’s almost over and the classic Capetonian complaints will begin while we suffer our way through a whole 3,25 months of extreme winter at 13 degrees C. Most of this complaining will take place on Facebook between myself and my 2 friends Vangie and Cathy. In the meantime we’re enjoying the last few sunny weeks. Braaivleis, sunny skies and no Chevrolet. Yes, I left ‘rugby’ out of that famous line, give me a few moments..

This was the first full summer season of Tours du Cap and, after a slow December, things took off like a bomb! I even had double bookings and turned a few away owing to short supply of vehicles! Howzat?? The tours were mostly classic peninsula and winelands with a few exceptions – like the time we did Robben Island, Iziko Slave Lodge and Holocaust Centre all in one day – never again, it was so emotionally draining I’m sure there’s a part of my heart I’ll never get back.

Clients were an interesting mixed bunch. From the illicit lovers, to the family with children who tried to kill each other in the vehicle, to the wealthy Russians from Chicago who know more about wine than I do, to the charming 11 year old who collects olive oil and can discuss it like a pro .. that’s what I love about this job, the variety of clients. Oh, and the lovely lunches at expensive wine estates.

And the rugby! Yes, dear reader, I actually attended, and thoroughly enjoyed, a RUGBY game! No ordinary game either, this was in Stellenbosch – some consider this lovely historic town as the heart and home of South African rugby. The Maties (home) team is the best and the supporters are considered by professional players to be the best in the country. And I was there! On a very hot evening, one of the earlier VarsityCup games was Maties versus NMMU (aka PE), and I took a group of viticulture students from France as part of their tour. They’re all rugby lovers so first they played on the lawns which thrilled them no end because of the welcome and encouragement they received from passers-by, and then we watched the game. They raved non-stop about the atmosphere, the beautiful girls, the backdrop of mountains, and so on. Having sneaked a few more beers than permitted by the teacher, they were in high spirits and sang all the way home.

And here are the photos – I had to include the cheer-leaders because the students cheered for them louder than for the game itself! Only Frenchmen …

The cheerleaders who received much cheering from the young French students.

The cheerleaders who received much cheering from the young French students.

Disclaimer

A note to all accidental visitors:

I am not a photographer and do not claim to have any particular skills whatsoever in that department. I have enormous respect for those who can see the potential in a scene and can create a great photo. Good photography is an art, in my opinion.

I am just a happy snapper, I have no special lenses or accessories, my camera is very simple and it's usually best to leave the setting on auto.

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