The mafia, the ghost and the garden

I enjoy looking at the stats on this blog now and then. I don’t have a huge following but it’s nice to see someone is reading some of the posts.

Since starting this blog about 9 years ago the three most popular posts have been about a lovely urban garden, a wonderful old ghost story, and a depressing account of how a quaint fishing village not far from Cape Town has become a haven for poachers who operate like a mafia. Although those posts go back to 2012 and 2014, they are still consistently visited. This means Google algorithms work and I tagged them properly. It also means people want to know about ghosts, the local mafia, and the garden. It’s the garden I’m most intrigued about because as lovely as it is, I had no idea it could be so popular.

As for the mafia post, I’m hoping it’s searches for the town itself that draw readers. Despite what goes on with the poaching (and the fishermen who are exploited), Paternoster is wildly popular with Capetonians. There isn’t masses to do there but for a quiet weekend, great food, and walks on the beach, you can’t beat it. During the wildflower season it’s the ideal place to visit. As I type this, I wish I could transport myself there. I did say in the original post that I wouldn’t be in a hurry to return but I have been back many times and I’ve grown to love it. The mafia-style issues, they are not mine to worry about and I can do nothing except support those people who do care for the village.

There’s a restaurant there that’s received enormous international attention but my favourite food is still what is served at the guesthouse known as Ah! Guesthouse. See photos below.

The garden from 2012

The ghost from 2012

The mafia from 2014

A series of photos of the food and hosts at the wonderful guesthouse where I’ve had the privilege of staying a few times in Paternoster. It’s called Ah! Guesthouse and is one of the best places to stay on the west coast, with some of the best food I’ve ever eaten. Oh and they serve dessert with breakfast – what more could you ask for? See the website here.

Because no visit to the West Coast is complete without a view of Table Mountain.

We can see clearly again

alphen 10 march

What a pleasure to see the mountains clearly again and to not have the stench of fire in ones nose while walking the four-legged wonder.

Last week was hell. Mountain fires, the hottest day in 100 years, driving through smoke, smelling smoke all the time. It’s not over yet because the mountains are still burning in Jonkershoek near Stellenbosch, and other regions, but the Peninsula is back to normal, whatever that is.

If you’re on Facebook check out these excellent photos from the Silvermine area (only part of the 6000 hectares that burnt last week) – fire is always so photogenic.

My previous entries about the Tokai Manor House and ghost received hundreds of hits last week because there were rumours that it had burnt down so people were Googling it like mad. It has not burnt down, it is still there. The surrounding plantation did burn however, and a few houses in Zwaanswyk.

And of course these fires didn’t actually fit in with my planned tours but some improvisation around clients’ special interests helped a bit, and I even landed up being a guide in my own old neighbourhood. Check it out here. I’ve just received awesome feedback from them so clearly I did something right.

Ok, enough blowing my own trumpet; it’s wine o’clock and the garden needs watering – I have a special way of combining the two.

Tokai Manor House revisited

Over a year ago I wrote about the ghost of Tokai Manor House. It’s one of the most read posts in this blog. Clearly, ghosts are popular. Two months ago I drove past the house again and was appalled to see the state it is in. I’ve asked SanParks what’s going on but they haven’t replied. It’s supposed to be their Cape Town headquarters.

TokaiManorHouse2

The gate posts are damaged.
SanParks don’t seem to be using it as they have other offices just a short distance away.
That central grassed area is overgrown and full of weeds.

TokaiManorHouse3

The roof is a mess.
See that little round plaque next to the front door? That’s a national monument sign which means it’s supposed to be kept in an excellent state.

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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