Oh what it is like to wake up on a farm again and hear the cocks crowing from five to announce the new day. Here you do not need an alarm clock and this is the way things have been done for decades, if not centuries.
[divider]We are in Franschhoek again and we are staying in a nice cottage at the farm Bourgogne just outside the town on the Excelsior Road. To get here you drive through the town, turn right at the landmark French Huguenot Monument, follow the road to Excelsior and you find Bourgone on the right. You drive through the imposing farm gates which shields the plum orchards, the farm buildings and our nice little cottage from the outside road. Here we are truly on the farm, with the surrounding Franschhoek Mountains looking down on us.
This is the family farm of the Le Roux family and a notice on the gate announces proudly that this is the home of Gappy and Liana le Roux and their family. It is a 16 hectare successful fruit farm and this is fruit country. Fredo is excited to be here again, because Franschhoek has always been one of the country’s leading plum growing regions. He recounts memories of visits with many overseas buyers and the friendship he developed with people such as Simon Malherbe of La Dauphine, a stately old Cape Dutch home state on the Malherbe farm a short distance from here.
[divider]We are here to meet with German business associates – on a Saturday morning – at a venue in the Main Street of the town. Once this is over we will look around a bit and tonight also see if we can find such a thing a true Franschhoek cuisine.
Let the day begin!
The coffee shop in the middle of Franschhoek turned out to be good, for both breakfast and the meeting with the Germans. We talked about a new direction for our business commitment which started back in 2006. However, there was a cloud in the room, because our good friend Hardy Sader-Diers, who started the business with us, was not there. Hardy, on a business trip to South Africa last year, fell ill and will not be able to travel to our shores again. A true friend and gentleman, we http://www.fredo.co.za/wp-admin/post-new.php#have a special memory in our hearts.
One thing about Hardy is that he really love South Africa – to the extent that he invested in an apartment at Gordon’s Bay and instilled the same love in his two sons. They have spent many happy hours in our game reserves and in the Okavango in Botswana. When he fell ill, his biggest concern was the fact that he could probably not travel to what he called his favourite country again.
[divider]When we finished our discussions, Janey and I drove on the country roads and lanes around the town, through the vineyards and fruit orchards and we admired the beauty of the mountains around us. During his journalist career Fredo spent much time in the mountains above Robertsvlei where the tunnels for the massive Theewaterskloof water supply system were constructed. There were five tunnels through the mountains linking the dam to the high catchment areas above Franschhoek, Banghoek and Stellenbosch, as well as the city of Cape Town in the area between Stellenbosch and Somerset-Wes. In the winter water is taken through to Theewaterskloof and in the summer the same tunnels bring the water back to the citizens of Cape Town. Fredo was there when the construction teams, tunnelling from both ends, broke through. It was indeed a ground breaking project and served Cape Town well during the recent drought and now during the rains when the Theewaterskloof Dam has to be filled again for the summer.
We were amazed and somewhat perturbed how the town and surrounding areas have changed. Franscchoek is today a very commercial and expensive town. This somewhat spoils it previous charm.