South Africa is experiencing a short, condensed summer holiday this year. Schools across the country are closed for only three weeks and Fredo’s favourite place, the Goukou River, has been swamped by holiday makers who want to make the most of their only time to have a break before the kids get back to school.

Fredo is therefore not concerned that he has a major task to do this Christmas and New Year – and that he can leave the holiday makers – noisy and sometimes rude as they are – to get on by themselves.

Fredo is reading the first proof on his book on the history of South African table grapes, checking text, shifting photographs around and writing captions for them. Then – early in January – there is the final photographic session for front page photographs and other pictureswhich will introduce the chapters.

After spending a year on researching and writing – a manuscript of 90 000 words emerged. Fredo and Janey have travelled the country and found some amazing stories. We have selected – mostly from our own files – some 10 000 photographs to be considered – and sourced some from grape growers themselves.

It is now very exciting that this book is in the layout stage and taking shape. By the 14-th of January 2019 – when all the holiday makers have left the beautiful Southern Cape, the birds are again settling on the sandbank in front of the house and the bokkies come and visit at night – Fredo and Janey will hand the final work to Cassie du Plessis (editor) and Maxie van Rensburg (layout) and they will take it through the final rounds. In April we will see the final work – and then the story of South African table grapes will have been told as never before.

Fredo and Janey will put the fishing boat in the water, spend some lazy days swimming up the river, catching some fish down-river and braaing on the bank under the vines when the sun goes down.

The story is built on the efforts of people over more than 125 years – it is exciting and vibrant, with magnificent stories – to many to all include. It is true to say that the book could have been double its size – but all will agree that that is not possible. It is based on sound interviewing and research – yet it is not a typical research work – it is a nice story to tell, with serious comments about serious topics – and hopefully it will be a nice experience to read.

There are a few glimpses here on what is too come – but even these glimpses are not final yet. So wait for it and talk to SATI if you want copies of the book.

In March we will be write some more about the content – so keep reading FREDO BLOG – www.fredo.co.za – if you want to learn more.