Tuesday, March 29, 2011

No ordinary Monday!

Flowers on the windowledge at Zewenwacht Wine Estate.
This past Monday was no ordinary day...not in the ordinary sense of it being 28 days into the month of March, or in being the day of the week singularly referred to as a 'blue' day.

I did see plenty of beautiful blue flowers in my garden on this particular Monday but it also happened to have been the one and only day of the year that I can legitimately lay claim to as being my own, although when the opportunity presents itself, I do manage to hijack one or two others as well (Mother's Day being one of them).

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Blue streptocarpus in my greenhouse.
Blue salvia in my garden.

Yellow hibiscus in my garden.

Blue indigenous Felicia daisy in my garden.

Hanging basket of blue alyssum outside our front door at home.
Prayer plant in my greenhouse.
White anthurium in my greenhouse.
Streptocarpus blossoms floating in my greenhouse water feature.

Rosemary in flower in my garden...I took all of these pictures on Monday 28th March 2011.
Once I'd outgrown the absolute joy I always felt as a child at the approach of a birthday and realised that the inevitable side-effect of having them meant actually growing older, I found it far more sensible to simply succumb quietly to the day. Do not misunderstand me. I like having a birthday, but I am (truly!) at my happiest when my own birthdays involve quiet pleasures, centred on simplicity and time spent with my immediate family. 

From choice, I have not had a birthday party for a great many years. My best birthdays are being woken with a cup of tea set on a pretty tray with a fresh flower tucked into a small vase...followed by a leisurely soak in a deep bubble bath while my family are concocting breakfast.

My husband has ensured that he spent the last several years with me for the entire day of each birthday. While he was employed, he took a day's leave and now that he's self-employed, continues to set aside this day especially to spend with me. That has always been the most special part of my birthdays. He has always bought me LOTS of flowers for my birthdays. I can never have enough flowers in my life and my husband has always known this. 

In addition to the flowers, he and our children have always taken delight in spoiling me with lots of lovely gifts over the years, but to me, my birthdays are never about the gift-wrapped presents, much as I enjoy receiving them and carefully unwrapping them. What I most value is all the time, love and thought that my husband and our children put into making every moment of my day special.

This year, our son, who had to work on Monday, devoted Sunday to visiting me. He arrived behind a huge bouquet of gorgeous blooms, bearing his customary charm and handsome, smiling face. Our daughter arrived later in the day as she had planned to sleep over and spend Monday with us.

My surprise birthday cupcakes!
After having been woken up with tea in bed, I was instructed to remain in bed and, 'check your blog and email' while she baked a surprise batch of cupcakes and my husband fed the dogs and took them for their morning walk. It was further suggested that I might want to have my bath, as the plan was for my husband and I to go out for breakfast. 

Our daughter had chosen not to accompany us, as she had an invitation to a formal lunchtime event (launch) at a lovely wine estate along with a host of other invited guests from the media and we were going to take her and fetch her afterwards, so she stayed at home to get ready and keep the dogs company while we went out for breakfast...
View directly outside our window in the Soverby diningroom.

Each table was adorned with a freshly picked rose from the garden at Soverby Guesthouse.

View looking upwards from the window beside which we were seated for breakfast in the Soverby Restaurant's diningroom.

This was a huge oak tree...I was unable to convey its size in my capture!

The lovely garden in front of the Soverby Restaurant.

My cooked breakfast complete with a sparkler, courtesy of the Soverby management! 

The rose I was given at breakfast by the wonderfully hospitable waiter at Soverby Restaurant.

Soverby Guesthouse is set in the vineyards.

A bottleneck palm flowering in the garden at Soverby Guesthouse
It was a perfect early Autumn day! Exactly the kind of weather I like. Not too hot and not a breath of wind. Our location of choice was CLOSED ON MONDAYS! Not what their website had stated. Oh, well, they lost out and we instead found ourselves at the delightful Soverby Guesthouse, which is set in a charming garden situated amongst the vineyards. Quite a number of guests were already seated in the garden. My husband casually explained to the Manageress that, as it was my birthday, we wanted to enjoy a quiet meal together, so we preferred to be be seated at a table indoors. We ordered our breakfast at leisure and took in the lovely surroundings happily chatting. Imagine my surprise when my hot meal arrived bearing a sparkler and I was presented with a long stemmed rose, freshly picked from the garden! Who could fault service like that!

After we had dropped our daughter off for her lunch engagement, we enjoyed a couple of hours driving around close to the area where she was.  As usual, we were unable to resist stopping to photograph many lovely old farm buildings.

In the winelands of the Cape, the preferred architectual style is Cape Dutch.  While many of the buildings are original, many new ones are built in the old style.

Cape Dutch architecture is an architectural style found in the Western Cape of South Africa. Houses in this style have a distinctive design, with the prominent feature being the grand, ornately rounded gables. The houses are usually H-shaped, with whitewashed walls and thatched roofs.

The style was prominent in the 17th century and has roots in mediaeval Holland, Germany, France and Indonesia.

Rough plasterwork, whitewashed walls and timber framed windows and doors are a feature of the Cape Dutch style of architecture.

This barren little island topped by a single stand of papyrus grass was far too interesting to pass up for a photo opportunity.

By this time, it was our cue to return to where our daughter had been feasting on a lavish lunch and sipping newly launched wines, so we slowly headed in that direction.  We had Romeo with us, as we still aren't leaving him unaccompanied and, to both his and our delight, there was a gorgeous farm sheep dog, named Lily, who was happy to play with Romeo while we waited for the function to wind down.

"Hi, I'm Lily...who are you?"

"I'm Romeo...look at the smart play bow Heathcliff taught me...want to play catch?"

"Yep, I'm game...but I don't hold out very much hope you'll be able to keep up with me, young feller!"
We ended our day at the gorgeous Zewenwacht Estate, another wine farm overlooking a pretty dam. None of us was overly hungry, so we opted for sandwiches which we enjoyed with a glass of the Estate's own chilled Rose and finished up with coffee and cheesecake. 
Front of the gracious, historic Zewenwacht homestead.

Sideview of one of the arms forming the H-pattern of the historic homestead of Zewenwacht, now converted to accommodate the estate's signature restaurant.

You're beginning to recognise one of the features of Cape Dutch architecture now, aren't you?  You knew this was a gable!

The gardens at Zewenwacht are very pretty and well-maintained.  Romeo had a lovely time sniffing everything and, to our daughter's horror, discovered he rather enjoyed goose poop...of which there was plenty!

Our view of the dam from the stoep (veranda) where we sat for our evening meal at Zewenwacht.

One of the many geese on the dam at Zewenwacht Wine Estate.  Romeo was fascinated by them!

Smoked chicken, blue cheese and basil pesto sandwiches on homebaked health loaf with salad greens from the restaurant's own garden.

Yes, it did taste as good as it looked!
And now, to all of my wonderful followers and readers of Driftwood Ramblings, I want to say a very special Thank You to each of you who left birthday messages, sent electronic cards, prepared posts especially for me on their own blogs; to the master cake baker who spent hours slaving over a hot stove, so I could be given a wonderful electronic birthday cake and all of those who blogged about my birthday and uploaded posts on their sites, especially to display my wonderful new Blog Button, which was a collaborative gift and, really, the cherry on top of what was an incredibly lovely birthday.  You have all made it even more memorable for me and I have been completely overwhelmed.  I have only been blogging for a little over 4 months in all and it has been an amazing experience discovering the great friendships to be made amongst the blogging community.  Thank you all for making me feel so welcome! 
"Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, 'What!  You too?  I thought I was the only one.' "  C.S. Lewis could have been talking about bloggers when he said this!
I saved this piece especially for you!


  1. Fantastic record of a fantastic day in the life of a very kind person! Thank you for sharing your meals! We are full now!

  2. Gosh Desiree, such a wonderful post. Where do I start with my comments?! First of all, I'm so glad that you had such a delightful birthday, and thank you for saving that portion of dessert especially for us. Mmmm, mine was delicious!! The photos (all of them) were absolutely stunning. I love the first ones of all the different flowers in your garden. You look really happy in your birthday photos, and isn't that lovely that your husband always takes the day off work to make it a special day for you. Back to reality now, I'm afraid, after all that excitement!!

  3. Wow, what an idyllic day! Best birthday wishes (better late than never, sorry!), from Blighty! What a lovely family you have! x

  4. O wowwwwww that cake looks delicious !!!...happy birthday !!! 56 ?? and looking so young !!!! ...o my...i never show a picture from myself on the internet....whhahahhahah!!.....you looking great !!! ...wat a courage you have !! love love i am going to sleep now it is late........xxx....

  5. Mmm, cake! Thank you for sharing a piece. We will try to share.

    It sounds like you had a lovely time. The photos are exquisite, as always. I love your flowers (I hope my yellow hibiscus will grow up to look that pretty) and the scenery. A small note though, I believe the goose is actually a Muscovy duck (I'm fond of ducks and my grandma used to have this breed too).

    I'm surprised that your family already knew about our little blog surprises for you. I'm glad you saw them and that you liked them.

  6. Happy Birthday. I noticed you from my bloggin friend Deb. I looks like you had beautifully fun day.

  7. You do know how to celebrate Birthdays, Desiree. Tomorrow is mine, hope it's just half as nice as yours. You had a most lovely day, hope a lovely week follows!

  8. OMG birthday girl this was just about the best blog I have ever seen with so many gorgious photos and even ones of you looking so much younger than 56. The photography was absolutely awesome and I thank you for sharing such beauty with us. I too am so glad you had a wonderful birthday. Take care.

  9. Happy Birthday, indeed! Desiree, how wonderful life is when your loving family plans a birthday SO right for you, knows just what you like,...simply joyful, and visits from grown children are always precious!
    How nice for us to see all the buildings and get to know a bit of the history where you live. I love when dogs play together! So fun to watch and they are so friendly and free.
    Your friend, Sue

    PS We are early the same age (you are younger!) Happy Birthday!!
    PSS All the food looks yummy!

  10. Well, first of all... Belated birthday wishes to you.. :) :) I'm glad you had such a wonderful day. :)
    The pictures are absolutely gorgeous!! (And so are you... :) ) You have a great blog.. :) :)

  11. What a perfectly gorgeous day you had! Wonderful pictures and I loved learning about Cape Dutch architecture.

  12. What a wonderful way to spend your birthday! Beautiful places and with your family. I'm the same way about birthdays, I'd much rather spend it with just my family.
    It's no wonder you had so many birthday wishes, just getting to know you through blogging it's obvious you are a generous and caring person. You leave such thoughtful comments on posts, that show you really read the post and had interest in it. I've enjoyed getting to know you and look forward to learning more about you and where you live.

  13. Happy Belated Birthday, Desiree! I had no idea your birthday was coming up. Looks like it was a wonderful, very full day. Loved the pictures of the flowers from your garden, but the two photos of you with your big, bright, happy smile were the best thing in this post. Your evening meal looks absolutely delicious!

  14. What a wonderful day you had! I am delighted you shared it with us. I started to say me, but we are an US now aren't we. We are becoming a fantastic family of bloggers. I am so glad that WE all have found each other and collectively are enriching each others lives in such a positive way.

    And, I have to comment on how beautiful your pictures are (and I am not just talking about the flowers etc.)

    And, doesn't your button look GREAT!. Carol stayed up all night to draw it HERSELF. kt

  15. I love your posting,amazing and beautiful photographs.Best wishes on your special day.

  16. Happy birthday and an amazing post. You had a great day by the accounts and I am so happy for you. Plus you gave me some nice ideas to surprise my husband :) And yes I agree, 56? Are you sure? LOL

  17. That certainly was not any ordinary Monday, it was a super Monday. How lucky you are to have such a wonderful family and such beautiful surroundings and delicious food. I have been to wineries here in Australia, which have similar architecture. I guess they came from SA. Your green house plants are lovely too. You look tops as well certainly don't look your age.
    Belated Happy Birthday for Monday.

  18. Desiree this is an absolutely wonderful account.
    I don't know what to write as I have enjoyed it so much from start to finish. I 'aaahhhed' at your wonderful flowers, I drooled at your delicious breakfast. I 'ooohe' at the buildins and photographs you took. I wanted to run with the two happy dogs, but not eat goose poop you'll be glad to know and I shared every moment. As for the slice of cake you left us - yum. I'm keeping mine away from old greedy guts who adores cake.
    I always want to hop on a plane and come back to South Africa when I visit your blogs and today more so than ever.
    I am so very glad you had a lovely day.
    As for your last quote - you couldn't be more accurate.
    Sloppy affectionate hugs

  19. I was apologising because I did use to put together music videos (a long time ago). This time I didn't really have a lot of time for that.

    Hmm, so it was quite lucky for us that your family encouraged you to check your e-mail, since you got to see the surprise early in the morning. You shouldn't be too surprised though at all the attention, it seems you have a lot of great friends who made sure they told clueless people (like me) that we should all plot together for your birthday.

    I'm hopelessly crazy about ducks, sorry...

    I've meant to say this before, but it slipped my mind. I love the photos in which you're smiling. A smile says a million words and I'm glad you shared them with us.

  20. Desiree, Your birthday sounded amazing and looked amazing. I am so impressed with your photographic talent. I always use internet pictures for my blogs because I can't ever seem to take a decent picture of anything. Good thing I can paint a picture when I write.
    I also want to thank Karen for bringing us together. You live in a magical place!

  21. Wow! Im glad you had such a great birthday. The pictures were stunning! Thanks for sharing. Oh btw. No I did not get offended by your comments. I rarely get offended. I actually laughed my butt off which is good since I need to lose a few pounds in the rump anyway. Thanks for being a great excersise coach!

  22. I absolutely love your photos and you look so young! Happy Birthday!

  23. Well, my birthday celebrations are definitely lacking a lot!! Thanks for saving me a piece of cake. It looks delicious! Your photos are stunning.
    Happy Birthday! You look as if you are enjoying your day!

  24. Sweetie, I have to apologize. I didn't realize 'till today the pics on my last post were not visible to anyone but me. Stinkin' Picasa!!! I've reposted usin' Photobucket so pop on over if ya get a chance.

    God bless and have a wonderful day! :o)

  25. Indeed, you had a beautiful 56th birthday ( I have you beat by one year) The breakfast looks like something I would order... sort of an eggs benedict? AND ooh la la, what a dessert!
    I love the 17th century style buildings, the crisp white plaster against the greens of your landscape.
    Happy belated Birthday!

  26. Wow, what a marvelous post! I feel like I was right there with y'all! Happy birthday!

  27. wow, wow and wow! Happy Birthday - your hubby sounds like a keeper - taking a day off to spend with you every year! Gosh that meal looks great, (in fact all the food, and I enjoyed the cheescake - thanks) Just looking at all those peaceful photos has made me so relaxed. I also just turned 56 - it is a great age isnt it?

  28. Happy belated Birthday Desiree
    What a lovely Birthday day well done your Dh. I love that sort of Birthday I think the best birthday is spending it with those you love and surrounded by things you enjoy.
    That certainly was no ordinary Monday

  29. Some beautiful pictures - but already I am beginning to expect that whenever I turn to your blog. As far as the joy of ones' birthday being tempered by the thought of growing old, I always think that the anniversary merely marks the world getting a year older in comparison with me. Twisted logic I know, but it keeps me happy.

  30. oh and btw I added your button. So hope you'll get some traffic from my page too!

  31. Such a wonderful birthday :) I LOVE those pictures--they're amazing!

  32. P. S. I'm now following your beautiful blog :0)


  33. Desiree!! Happy Birthday!! :)

    what an amazing day! i have to say...YOU, your flowers...your doggies...even the FOOD...ALL look so HAPPY!!

    what a lovely way to spend YOUR day! :]

    sending good wishes and happy times 'til next year's birthday!

  34. I'm delighted that you had such a lovely day, filled with the things you appreciate and enjoy :)

  35. Happy birthday!! You certainly don't look 56 yrs. old. I would have guessed you were in your 40's.(Truly!)It sounds like you had a wonderful day and enjoyed some delicious meals. That cake looks so yummy!

  36. I'm so glad you came back to read about bee boxing. I bet your jealous of the hippies amazing skils aren't you. ( know I am.) If I could do that imagine the money that would roll in. Yee haw! I love your comments they make my day!

  37. Desiree, I came to the party a bit late, but wish you a belated Happy Birthday. YOu had a lovely day and my wishes to you are for a fun-filled and joyous year of celebrating. Enjoy every moment! ps. your flowers are lovely too.

  38. Came here via that New Zealand post on Paterson's Curse - what is that pretty blue flower??

    A little late, but I wish you a happy birthday - looking forward to your first blogaversary too ;~)

  39. Happy belated Birthday Desiree!! My apologies for missing it. :-( I totally enjoyed 'spending the day' with you. What a beautiful day you had. Good food, beautiful scenery and your loving family at your side. Can't get much better than that. Oh...and your dessert looks to die for!! Yummy!!! :-)



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