Fires, Figs & Gigs

There is an old joke that says the reason they call Cape Town ‘The Mother City’ is because it takes 9 months for anything to happen. This is generally true except this week has proven that some things can take off like wildfire. Especially, well, a wildfire.

I woke in the middle of the night on Saturday at about 3am, the air in my bedroom was heavy with the scent of burning wood. I was immediately wide awake as I actually thought my house was on fire. I got up and checked my phone for alerts and saw a string of messages on whatsapp from my neighbourhood group chat. There was a huge fire on the mountain. To give you some perspective, Hout Bay is a village by the sea, in a valley which is surrounded by mountains.

hout bay


And this is the fire from a distance, taken from across the bay. The fire stretched from Hout Bay on the mountain behind the houses down near the beach, all the way across Noordhoek and down to Cape Point.

fire_mark harley

As soon as it was light the choppers and the planes start to water bomb the larger fire spots, flying back and forth to the reservoir or to the sea to fill their buckets over and over, then back to drop it on the fire hoping it hits the mark.

fire_chopperGreg Hillyard

The fires raged for days, today has been 1 week since it started and there are still hot spots being found.

What amazed me was the devotion of these predominately volunteer fire fighters, the men and women who walk through fire for us.


In return the public dropped off food, drinks, cooked meals, tins of fruit and other things to provide hydration and quick energy. Such a sense of community was shown. That is the thing I love about Hout Bay, they are a critical, up their own arse bunch of people who, in a crisis, all pull together for the common good, putting their personalities aside and all pitching in to support those in need.

On Monday the fire was close, we could see it on the one side and with Norm away I was a bit panicked about my animals as the wind was pumping and I knew the effect that can have on a fire. I decided to work from home. I then heard over the radio that there had been a truck overturned and the road was closed. Apparently the driver had been killed.

I then get a hysterical call from my daughter Caitlin as she had just had her bumper ripped off by a stoned Rastafarian driving a taxi. She needed to sort out her car as it was not driveable so she rang and asked me and Lily to drop a car by her so off we trundled, however we were caught up in a roadblock as the road was still closed. The other impact of living in a valley is we have 3 ways in to us, over the Table mountain and down Constantia Nek (which was closed from the truck crash), in from Chapman’s Peak (which was closed due to the fire) and the coast road which only goes to the city, not to the southern suburbs where Caitlin was. We had to detour and return back home.

That was our 3rd crisis. Too many for me.

Caitlin managed to sort out a lift with a work colleague who luckily lives just up the road. This is how small a world it is, a woman advertised some university books for sale as her son had graduated and Caitlin nabbed them. She then got a tutor and it turned out to be the son of the woman, and it was his books Caitlin was using. Then she started working at her new job and this guy works there!

So Cait is having to work out lifts with Norm and this lad, it is such a pain for them all so hope the car is fixed soon.

On the 1st Thursday of the month the city opens all of the galleries for free.

All of the galleries stay open until 9pm. I left work at 5.30 and got caught in gridlocked traffic but eventually I got to Jan Royce Gallery,

Caitlin’s beau Victor was having his first gallery showing.
young guns

It was full and busy and had a fabulous energy, everyone seemed very intrigued by the art – there was such talent displayed. We stayed for a short time, it was very crowded and hot and there was a queue outside so we wanted to let others have a chance to view. We also had the dogs waiting for their dinner at home so we headed off. As we were in 2 cars Norm went home to see to the dogs and we headed down to the harbour to buy dinner. We bought fresh fish and chips and Cait and I had some peri peri prawns as well. It was delicious. We are so lucky to have such amazing fresh seafood at our finger tips.

Last night we had a quiet night in just us 2, Cait was with Vic and Lily has gone back to George to see Josh.

Today we wanted to pop down to the market to get a ring repaired by the designer so we headed down after we gave Mzudomo the gardener his lunch. We dropped the ring and went to get some food. We decided on a bacon, brie and avocado sandwich on ciabatta. Wow it was amazing.


We sat right by the stage and listened to some very cool live music.

We then picked up some amazing tarts for later, a lemon meringue for me and a toffee cheesecake for Norm.

We also bought a gorgeous box of figs.

I adore figs, soaked in honey, served with cheese and walnuts, drizzled with a bit of reduced balsamic on a bed of rocket and a touch of cilantro. Heaven.

Tonight we will probably pop out somewhere in Hout Bay for a drink and something to eat. it is Saturday after all. Enjoy your weekends people.

Photo credits to Mike Harley, Greg Halyard.

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