Simply Sam Trading - Antiques.Brocante.Gifts

We stock a variety of vintage, antique and hand-crafted items. Available on our web store or select antiques and beautiful 'proudly South African' hand-made Gift items on sale or to view at VinLee Art Gallery Hilton College Road, Natal Midlands. Hilton off-ramp, N3, Kwazulu Natal

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Simply Sam Trading now at blueberry Hill

Simply Sam Trading     
now at
blueberry hill  Cafe & Gallery

As our second outlet on the Meander, this piece of 
Simply Sam Trading brings you convenience just 
off the highway. blueberry hill is arguably one of 
the best 'spots' on the Meander, with views that go on 
for a life time and blueberry cheesecake to die for. Well 
worth getting fat for!  
R103 opp Fordoun - find us there 8am-4pm 7 days a week.
Tel Sam 0726059909 or Chris 0723973464

Blueberry Hill photos

Monday, November 14, 2011

Julie and Julia

So this morning we planned to cycle to 'Nothing Ordinary' an antiques and art weekend hosted by Gina Brown at her stunning property 'Lion's Bush' at the entrance to the Hamlet of Fort Nottingham. Whiling away the hours in bed, re-designing my web store, put pay to that idea. Especially when my daughter announced that 'Julie and Julia', the wonderful cookery movie about the life of Julia Childs and Julie Powell was about to start on TV. Well that really re-organised the day as the whole family lazed around eating popcorn and just being a family!
Whilst watching I remembered the movie was the inspiration for this blog, but I've not written in ages. Call it lazy, bad time management or even lack of inspiration, but Julie and Julia has inspired me to put my 'blogging' hat on again!
I don't have anything quite as exciting as cooking loads of recipes, as Julie Powell did, but something you should know about me is I love cooking and taught basic cookery to men and women in Pretoria from my home. This had to be one of the most joyful times of my life. Some of these people, believe it or not, had never even eaten with a knife and fork before (in Africa one eats with your hands!), so I taught my students how to set a table and at the end of each session we would sit down to enjoy the food we'd made (usually a starter, main and desert) and get to know each other better. At that stage I was dreaming of living in the Midlands, so I kind of pretended I lived on a farm by growing my own herbs and keeping a couple of chickens. Well besides teaching the students cookery, I also taught them a bit about home grown herbs and  sometimes we would even charge through the garden trying to find the proverbial need in a haystack when we realised we were short of an egg or two for a recipe. Well have you ever .....
So after watching Julie and Julia, my eleven year old was inspired enough to dig out my old 'cookery school' files and after playing a game of squash in Nottingham Road, we had to purchase all the ingredients for Choc Chip Cookies and Chocolate Cheese Cake. It wasn't until we started making the Cheesecake that we realised there was no Gelatine in the house, so our fridge Cheesecake was quickly turned into a baked one and  and  very yummy it was too.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Your front door leads the eye to what lies beyond

In South Africa the front door to our home is not quite as visible as a rule to those in Europe and I wonder if that's why we pay so little attention to how attractive they look. The entrance to your home, says a lot about what lies ahead. Here are a few examples of ones I found whilst on my travels in the UK.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Property for sale Natal Midlands or Nottingham Road - looking to down-shift?

So you want to 'down-shift' to the Countryside ... The Nottingham Road area, in the Natal Midlands, has to be one of the most beautiful places in South Africa. It is located only an hour and a bit from Durban, an hour from the stunning Drakensberg and five hours from the hub of Johannesburg. Many families have moved to the Natal Midlands in search of a wonderful place to raise their children, with peace and tranquility, open spaces and fresh air, away from the madness that city living brings. Properties for sale in Nottingham Road, Natal Midlands, and surrounding areas are sought after especially due to the locality to some of the best schools in the country including St Annes, Clifton, Michaelhouse and Hilton College. If you are looking for excellent education for your children in stunning environments, you'll find it here in the wonderfully privilledged settings of the Natal Midlands.
If you are looking for Property for sale in Nottingham Road or property for sale in Natal Midlands there are various agents who deal specifically with this area.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The first of our workshops at Simply Sam Trading

Together with the launch of our new shop in the beautiful hamlet of Fort Nottingham, we launched the first of our stunning workshops today, in the form of a gorgeous soap making which included soap cupcakes adorned with little flowers, fizz bombs and leaf soaps, all smelling absolutely wonderful. Each attendee went home with a bag full of goodies, and judging by the smiles as each person left, lovely memories of an enjoyable day.
Workshops planned for the future will include, cup cakes, chocolate, recreational cooking, beading, art courses, etc. If you would like to be advised of future courses you can register on

Launching our new shop

We made the most of the voting day public holiday yesterday by having the first of our two day 'Open Day' at our new venue in Fort Nottingham. A number of merchants have joined forces with us, thanks to Lara Edmonds of and these include Natalie Foss Jewellery, Gilly's shortbread, Di of Munchies, Marlene of Indigo Frames, Just so Hats, Feebie and Floyd, Coffee table books and recipe books from Nuts about books.

Delicious eats have been provided as well as sherry from 'The Wine Cellar', Rosetta, and coffee compliments of   Hirsch's who are giving all donations received to 'Reach for a Dream'. 

If you're free today, join us from 10am-6pm at our new premises, Hamlet of Fort Nottingham, 15kms from Nottingham Road. See you there

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

From Nottingham Road to the Vendee

Holiday Cottage in France To Rent

Looking for a retreat in France? - aren't we all! One of the residents in Nottingham Road is lucky enough to own this beautiful cottage in the Vendee and all the details are below if you are planning a trip to France. 

Birdsong from the wooded commune and the sounds of water flowing along the River Vie in front of " Le Logis de Dolbeau" create a tranquil haven to return to after a day spent at bustling beaches, markets and villages.
A perfect combination of a secluded holiday cottage with plenty of activities nearby.
Ours is a simply furnished French country retreat, offering clean and comfortable accommodation for 4 people.
This year the stages 1,2 and 3 of the TOUR DE FRANCE ( 2nd, 3rd and 4th July) take place in the Vendee, and within easy access to the cottage.
Rate: R4500.00 per week.

For additional information please log
Home number 129110
Contact Lindy on 083 412 9503 or 033 263 153

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Desperation or Innovation?

The other morning my espresso machine bombed out and eager for my morning coffee realised I still haven't replaced the glass on the recently broken bodum. Having done away with instant coffee about a year ago, cause I couldn't bare to keep any more jars, I was desperate. It suddenly occurred to me, in my sleepy stupor, that the plunger part of the bodum would fit perfectly into a glass vase standing near by, as if it knew it had another purpose. Then voila - Coffee!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Just Boutique Presents…

Gorgeous Workshops at

Simply Sam Trading
antiques.brocante.hand-made gifts
in their new venue - the Old Shed at Fort Nottingham

“Learning Gorgeous Skills & having loads of fun with friends...”

When: Wednesday 18th May & Thursday 19th May

Gorgeous Novelty Biscuits – Wednesday 18 May 10am-12noon (R175)

In this stunning workshop Farhana shows us how to make beautiful biscuits using shaped cutters and original templates. This will enable you to go home and make whatever your heart desires be it: Easter bunny biscuits, flower biscuits, heart biscuits, reindeer biscuits...You will get a lovely biscuit recipe, but the focus of the workshop is on practical biscuit decorating with royal icing and plastic fondant icing. The following decorating skills will be covered in the workshop: Flooding, Embossing, Basic piping, working with textured rollers as well as the use of other decorations and enhancers...ENJOY a lovely TEA with all workshops plus YOU leave with your gorgeous creations!

Butter Cream Cupcakes –Wednesday 18 May 2pm-4pm (r175)

In this gorgeous workshop Farhana teaches us beautiful piping and decorating skills with delicious butter icing. The focus is on learning a number of piping skills using various nozzles as well as learning some hand-crafted decorations like roses and bows. The cupcakes will be pre-baked and the work shoppers task is to transform ordinary cupcakes into special High Tea cupcakes. You will also get the opportunity to use pre-made enhancers and decorations sponsored by Foodpak. You are encouraged to bring any nozzles you may have at home, so that Farhana can teach you how to use them!

Gorgeous Soap and body product workshop (R175)
In this fragrant workshop you will learn how to make a whipped sugar scrub, beautiful leaf soap, cupcake soap and bath fizzies. You leave with a gorgeous hamper of spoils or gifts! Please email me at if you would like me to send you the pictures of what you will be making.

Bookings are essential to ensure your place. For more details CONTACT LARA ON 0845870880  

We invite you to join us for ‘sherry n snacks’ on Wednesday 18th May & Thursday 19th May between 10am-6pm to view our new showroom

Friday, May 6, 2011

We're open at our new Premises this weekend

We have moved to the picturesque Hamlet of Fort Nottingham and will be trading this weekend from 10-4pm. Bookings for lunch at Els Amics restaurant can be done on 033 2666 982 - children over 12yrs welcome, otherwise bring a picnic. 

We look forward to seeing you.

Warm regards,

From Nottingham Road Spar, travel west towards the mountains for 12km. Follow the signs for the Fort Nottm Museum. We are in the barn next door.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Beautiful Designs using Wrought Iron

We are so lucky to have a new supplier of Wrought Iron who will be selling their designs from our new shop and just to prove that wrought iron is not just about light fittings and chairs, take a look at these beautiful pics. The wrought iron in the French doors is just so chic and makes a real statement in any home. And for a new take on 'Brookie Lace' how about this fixture to add sophistication to your garden wall. Then one can think about having wrought iron panels made to hang at the side of a window instead of shutters maybe?

Saturday, April 30, 2011

I was a guest at the Royal Wedding

And so it was that I donned my best hat (my only one!) and my glad rags and headed off as a guests of 'the' Royal Wedding hosted by 'Just Boutiques and the Marriage Meander' at the local Hilton Hotel. What a treat to watch on the big screen and share in this memorable occasion, and wasn't 'the' kiss just the sweetest ever!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

On the move and exciting plans ahead ...

I've just popped across to survey my new venue and cannot tell you how excited I am. We're moving our shop on Tuesday and hope to be open by the weekend, all going to plan. I know i'm very ambitious. Although i've had a wiggly tummy for the past couple of weeks, I must enjoy the challenge of creating new business ventures, otherwise why on earth would I even consider moving!
I know it's not exactly a new venture, but our new showroom will have gorgeous new elements to it. For instance Lara of 'Just Boutique events' will be facilitating various recreational workshops hosted at Fort Nottingham, which will include soap making, cookery, chocolate and various other creative workshops mainly for women, but children and men will also be catered for. Think cookery evening with a celebrity chef as the host for your birthday party. Lotsa fun and party party party!
As far as the showroom is concerned, we have a number of creative entrepeneurs in the area who make the most beautiful gift items which we hope to sell along with our antique and vintage items. Some of our old favourites such as our heart pottery by Urchin Art will still be available and I have been chatting with a couple of 'job creation' projects which are relatively new in the area who make beautiful blankets and other items using bamboo and another project with stunning chandeliers which are beaded from ceramic beads, soon to be made in the beautiful Natal Midlands.
Our neighbor, i'm sure, will continue the running of her new art gallery in our little '150yr old Town Hall' and not to forget Els Amics restaurant which is open for business each weekend doing lunches and supper.
We are still praying for a creative entrepeneur who loves to bake and is enthusiastic about running a little coffee shop on weekends. If you know of someone who loves the kitchen and people, and lives close to Nottingham, ask them to get in touch with me.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Fort Nottingham Highland Games

And so it was that the Hamlet of Fort Nottingham came to life yesterday with the fun and festivities of the annual Highland Games and the rainy 'Scottish' weather did not deter most people who arrived in droves, dressed in good old gum boots and rain coats. Many donned their Tartan Kilts and some brave people even walked around in Tshirts!

The mist hung on the mountain, true to form, and the bag pipes sang their songs as young girls put on wonderful performances of Scottish dancing. Haggis was waiting along with a wee dram of Whisky and those crazy enough to give it a bash, ran, or slip slided along the 'kilted mile' - a traditional mile run up the mountain which is not for the faint hearted. Kilted Africans tried their hand, unsuccessfully, at 'tossing the caber', much to the amusement of spectators. Then a gentle giant walked onto the scene and effortlessly tossed the caber without any problem.

I have to make special mention of the founder of the Highland Games, and that is of the late David Fox who worked tirelessly, every year, to make this event a success. He passed away this last Christmas, on the mountain, in the hamlet where he had lived for the last fourty five years, so this was the very first Highland Games without him. Watching the people pouring into the event yesterday made me realise what a legacy this man has left behind.....

If you missed it this year, be sure to add the Fort Nottingham Highland Games to your calendar for next year, as it is a real fun filled day for the family, even with all the rain and mist. This only adds to the ambiance.

We'll be opening Simply Sam Trading at the end of April, so come and see what this little Hamlet is all about. If you are a walker, there are the most stunning gentle walks up the mountain, which are just breath taking. Book lunch at Els Amics restaurant (033 2666982), visit the Fort Nottingham Museum which is displayed in a 150 year old stone barn and offers 'Jean's Junk' in the barns opposite. Browse the beautiful Antiques, Vintage and Hand-made items at Simply Sam Trading in the Stable Barn next door, and then a gentle stroll to our very own '150yr old Town Hall' where Vicky Thompson and her artist friends have put together an interesting choice of local art in their very own art gallery including that of local resident and ceramicist, Mick Haige.

Friday, April 15, 2011

New Signage is up!

Oh i'm so excited, and I just can't hide it, no, no,no, i'm about to lose control and I think I like it ......
The first of my new signs has just been put up courtesey of my lovely neighbor Bob Savage and as i'm standing there surveying the land i'm thinking "aah, this is sooo beautiful". I think you guys are going to love it!
Visit us at the Hamlet of Fort Nottingham from the end of April. Watch this space .....
Love Sam x

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Fort Nottingham Highland Games

If you are fortunate enough to be in the Natal Midlands area this weekend, remember the Fort Nottingham Highland Games takes place at my new premises, Hamlet of Fort Nottingham, on 16th April. This is an annual event which is not to be missed, so don anything tartan and come and taste a bit of haggis and enjoy the festivities. Look out for a large white barn, which is where I will be moving my shop at the end of April.

Less -40% on all Vintage & Antiques til the 'big move'

We are moving at the end of April to an exciting new venue, so take advantage of some fabulous savings at Simply Sam Trading. We are having a less -40% sale, on all vintage and antiques, until the big move.

Simply Sam Trading is on the move to a place where time stands still

Sam invites you to discover “The Midland’s best kept secret”…and her new shop and dreams at Fort Nottingham Hamlet….

When Samantha Mc Donald and her husband enjoyed a gorgeous lunch at the old Café la Fort approximately seventeen years ago they had no idea that it was their destiny to live in Fort Nottingham and actually own the wild, overgrown property, that the little restaurant was built on. But something incredible happened that day which sent the ‘McDonald Clan’ on a beautiful  journey which meant leaving their busy lives in Pretoria behind and starting a new dream for their family in the Midlands.

While they renovated the tumbled down house, built in 1893, Samantha opened up her shop: “Simply Sam Antiques Brocante & Gifts”  (currently located next to Café Bloom) and quickly became known to many locals and meanderers as ‘the pretty friendly lady’, passionate about French antiques. While she has enjoyed a very successful four year stint at Country Courtyard, it has always been her dream to move her shop back to where it first originated, in the Hamlet of Fort Nottingham ‘a beautiful piece of the past - where time has stood still’ which has remained undiscovered by most Meanderers. You will now be able to enjoy the Midlands best kept secret and Sam’s new showroom which will be located in the beautiful old barn, created out of old horse stables belonging to the late David Fox who founded the Highland Games. Fort Nottingham has one of the best 'micro climates' in the Midlands, often having stunning weather, which can differ quite significantly to other parts of Nottingham Road.

The new shop: “Simply Sam Trading” will be opening at the end of April. “My wish is for folk to enjoy a little escapism in the Hamlet of Fort Nottingham, away from the city madness – and for us to be able to share a piece of our tranquility with others whilst they browse the stunning items on offer, visit our quaint little museum or take a stroll down our lane to Roy’s restaurant – the infamous Els Amics,” Said Sam

Simply Sam Trading offers a unique and interesting selection of beautiful Antiques, Vintage clothing and collectables, custom-made Oregon doors and windows as well as gorgeous local handmade South African Gifts. In collaboration with Lara Edmonds of “Just Boutique” and various merchants, the Simply Sam showroom plans to expand its offering to showcase beautiful items hand made by local people, providing a platform for boutique businesses to sell and market their wares. These will include ceramics, art, crafts, crochet, foodstuffs and gifts, with a focus on the ‘job creation’ element. Unique and exciting plans, include recreational cookery courses, as well as featured “Boutique Events” at the end of each month. The vision is that eventually all items can be viewed and purchased over the web store at, gifts beautifully wrapped, and that country-wide deliveries be undertaken.

Anyone interested in selling their hand-made items can contact Sam on 0726059909 or email: Tel: 0332666940

Simply Sam Trading can be visited at the old stables Barn, next to the Fort Nottingham Museum, in the Hamlet of Fort Nottingham, opposite Els Amics restaurant. Follow the signs west from Nottingham Road. Webstore: Just Boutique

Remember the Highland Games is on this Saturday 16th April, from 9am - all welcome. Follow the signs from Nottingham Road. This is an annual fun filled event not to be missed.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

In the Pink

Is colour just a fashion do you think? Have I been brainwashed by the decor mags, yet think I have a mind of mine own! Its just that I developed a craving for a kinda dusky Pink. It couldn't be sweet pink, Marshmellow Pink, or even bright smartie pink. No, it had to be this kinda greyish dusky pink. Try explaining that to the man in the paint shop when it seems there are hundreds of shades of pink to choose from. But I settled, on this, well, um, pink. I have painted a wall in our showroom pink, a wall in my kitchen, pink! My bath (as you can see) is ..... pink. Even my coffee mugs are pink - I had the audacity to email my supplier who supplies me with the gorgeous red heart pottery to ask her if perhaps, maybe, she could send a few items in - Pink? Imagine my delight when I received coffee mugs, dinner plates, side plates, milk jugs ....... all looking stunning in my kitchen (though I have to confess they're displayed alongside red and lime green which I think make a fab combination). Imagine to further my delight when I discover my neighbour, ceramicist Mick Haige, had mixed his very own combination of this dusky pink - and I am now the proud owner of a 'Mick Haige' dusky pink pitcher jug. So to complete the picture, enter my 'work in progress' garden and right in front of your very eyes you'll see I have my very own vintage pink (not dusky pink though unfortunately!) bicycle. So have I been conned? Well, i'm 'in the pink' and loving it!

In the Pink - meaning - In perfect condition, especially of health

Would you 'settle' for a Monks Bench .......

I have to say that you either love the Monks Bench, or you hate it!  If you are the former then this is for you. I have been asked to sell two really lovely Monks Benches, one being light Oak and the other solid Teak. Though they are not antique, they are in excellent condition and make a wonderful statement in any boot room, entrance hall etc. 

Kindly follow the link below if you should be interested.

settle is a wooden bench, usually with arms and a high back, long enough to accommodate three or four sitters.
They are commonly movable, but occasionally fixed. It shares with the chest and the chair the distinction of great antiquity. Its high back was a protection from the draughts of medieval buildings, protection which was sometimes increased by the addition of winged ends or a wooden canopy. It was most frequently placed near the fire in the common sitting-room.
Constructed of oak or other hardwood, it was extremely heavy, solid, and durable. Few English examples of earlier date than the middle of the 16th century are extant; survivals from the Jacobean period are more numerous. Settles of the more expensive type were often elaborately carved or incised; others were divided into plain panels. They were commonly used in farmhouse kitchensFrom Wikipedia

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

For all those 'self confessed' Francophiles out there ...

If you're a self confessed 'Francophile' then Simply Sam Antique Brocante & Gifts has something especially for you. The gorgeous new 'Papillon Diary/journal has just arrived in our store and is full of beautiful photography and stories to inspire. Papillon Diary 2011 is a full colour lifestyle Diary/Journal, with a French Flair, offering advice and guidance from various, successful Women who have walked the path of an entrepreneur. Sharing inspiring stories and insights from their own journey to enrich and inspire you. Offering an all encompassing guide to top and credible suppliers, services and products in South Africa and Provence.

Product: Papillon Diary 2011.
Price: R250.00

Click the link below to see all our available French inspired books available

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Transforming a bathroom with a very ordinary Shabby Chic Shelf

What do you do with a shabby shelf when you're husband tells you it looks like a rotten tomato box? Tell him to look at the photos alongside this article. This shelving unit had been used at Simply Sam Antique Brocante & Gifts for many months as a little display shelf, when customers spotted it for their bathroom. They were looking for something quite simple, with a bit of shabby chic, and obviously had an eye for something unique, as these photos alongside show. With the right display items they have turned something very ordinary into a unique bathroom shelf unit with a bit of pizazz. Just makes you realise a bit creativity can go a long way and it doesn't have to cost a fortune.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Cycling through rural Weenen

I have to say that living in the Midlands can sometimes be pretty boring, being the small town community it is, and I think this is what has led me to search for a bit of adventure, something to challenge me out of my comfort zone, so to speak. It doesn't help that I am reading Riaan Manser's book, 'Around Africa on my Bicycle'! Well it came in the form of an invitation from friends to join them on a 'park and ride' weekend in Weenen. Never having done this before, but with longings, I jumped at the opportunity to join them. Basically what it means is parking your car at a designated spot in Weenen and then cycling 30kms through rural African homelands which, in this neck of the woods, means dry, rocky and mountainous. It's a perfect opportunity to see how rural African life is really lived. The number of children and adults alike who came running out to greet us, was simply humbling. The scenery was magnificent and, best of all, was that we stepped up to the challenge.

Our destination was a lodge called Zingela Safari and River Company where one sleeps in bush 'tent' like accommodation literally alongside the Tugela River, which is just amazing. To push my comfort zone a little further we opted to try out the river rafting the next morning, which my family have certainly never tried before. And I have to say that had I not got over my anxiety, I would never have known what an exhilarating experience this is. Definitely to be recommended.

It was a tough 30kms getting there and with the ride still fresh in my bones I wondered if we would even make the ride back the next afternoon. Amazingly we did, even my ten year old son, and my very unfit husband! So now i'm looking for the next adventure so i'm open to suggestion......

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Gorgeous Patio Chairs just arrived ....

These stunning patio chairs have just arrived in the shop and are the real mccoy! They are simply stunning. Snap them up before someone else does!

Contemporary meets Antique

It is a fact that antiques can be mixed with hints of contemporary furniture and it is not necessary for antiques to be paired with antiques, giving that stuffy brown museum appearance. Penny's photograph (right) of her lovely Joburg home proves just that. This stunning 'French style' table bought at Simply Sam Antique Brocante & Gifts was paired with French designer 'Philippe Starck' chairs for that eclectic look and is simply wonderful.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Residents come in please!

In our wee little hamlet here we have a radio system to enable residents to keep in touch with each other in an emergency. Daily, usually around 7pm, one of our neighbours will do a 'call in' just to check everyone's ok. The electricity had gone off after a bad storm, so someone radio'd to check it was off everywhere. No sooner had it gone off than it was on again. One of the neighbours called in to say "electricity is back on, there goes my chance of romance in our house"! Well I couldn't help but laugh when one of the pensioners got on the radio saying  "turn your electricity back off, put the candles back on, and enjoy that bit of romance"!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

New Stock arriving soon......

When my friend, Debbie, called today to say she was bringing me new stock I couldn't wait to see what goodies she had found for Simply Sam. She is making the trek here with a full trailer including two gorgeous shabby chic patio chairs, fully painted and distressed to liven up any patio into that French look you've been dying to achieve!  And I know, just by the number of comments I get from people that come into my shop, that you are going to love the various shabby chic cupboards she's bringing.  There's a stunning 'must have' Oregon window with mirrors that I feel sure won't even make it into the shop, cause I have the most perfect spot for it at home! The beautiful French looking demi lune table with matching mirror is one of those items you are going to have to snap up before someone else does. Stock will be in the shop by Saturday morning, so be sure to pop in and be one of the first to see. Else wait a couple of days and i'll have done my best to load it onto our website

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Welcome to 2011 at Simply Sam Antique Brocante & Gifts

A very happy new year to all our readers. 2011 eased its way into our lives as we climbed into bed at 4h30. Our children had started a new game of pool in 2010, especially so they could complete it into the new year. A novel idea! We had a superb brunch after we'd eventually crept out of bed and then had a leisurely walk up our mountain.Someone mentioned scones and cream whilst we sat at the top, over looking the beauty of the scenery that abounds in our area, so we made a leisurely walk back home to bake - well scones of course, whilst we left the men flying kites in the local field.
I remember my Mum baking scones, black berry and apple pie, rhubarb crumble, or whatever took her fancy, just off the cuff. I find myself doing exactly the same thing. Today I baked two large Focaccia bread. One with ham and fetta the other with loads of garlic, olive oil and crushed salt. I'd actually baked them to take to my neighbour's memorial, who had died strolling on top of our mountain on the morning of Christmas eve. David Fox had lived in our little hamlet for fourty four years, so knew this Fort better than anyone. He had worked tirelessly to keep the Fort Nottingham Museum running (which is on his property) as well the popular annual Fort Nottingham Highland Games which has been attended by hundreds of people every year. I like to think that he passed away doing what he loved best amongst some of the most beautiful scenery.
I think sometimes we have to stop and smell the roses and really appreciate what we have around us. We now have two comfy chairs on our veranda and that is where I have taken to sitting every now and again while I snatch a moment to read. We have the most amazing bird life and the number of times I see both male and female Sunbirds flying into where i'm sitting is a real special treat. It's only in this garden that I have ever actually been able to view the 'Piet-my-vrou' - the red chested cuckoo- who signals that Christmas is near. He is usually so elusive that you can recognise his call, but never actually get to see him.
It has been raining most of the day and the mist cover reminded me of the Lake District when I drove out today and it was just like being back home in England. I hope I can always appreciate what I have right here on my doorstep and realise just how lucky we are to live in this beautiful area. I need to remember to go Blackberry picking tomorrow with my children and bake, well Blackberry pie of course!