Thursday, August 30, 2007

Table Mountain Birthday

Blouberg Beach last September. The mountain keeps an eye on us.

Table Mountain is ever present in our lives here. It looms benevolently over Cape Town, enfolds the city in its skirts and even makes its presence felt way out into the country where we are, drawing our eye every morning as I drive the kids to school, gladdening our hearts when the top is free of clouds and we can see its classic profile, communicating its energy even when it is engulfed in fluffy cloud. It has a powerful aura.

For the kids a trip up in the cable car is a rare and longed for treat. Rare because it is expensive, prices aimed at tourists, locals are expected to walk up. In winter though from May to September they have a special offer, two kids per adult go free, so we try to achieve an annual trip up. Of course you can't plan too far in advance. The weather can be extremely contrary and the mountain tends coyly to gather a blanket of cloud around itself and shrug off visitors at a moment's notice. Last year we thought we'd go up on my birthday, which would have got my ticket for free too, another special for SA residents, but wind and cloud swept the plan away. This year we gave it another try.

I spent the morning looking out of the window at the passing clouds - the top of the mountain had been visible when I took the kids to school, but was there a cold front on its way? Every now and again I rang my husband in town to get him to look out of the window for a mountain top visibility report. When I fetched the kids from school the mountain top was still there but lines of sea mist seemed to be drifting towards it and fluffy clouds were puffing voluminously in its direction. After having fed the kids, I rang once more to make the decision - in the hour it would take to get there the weather could have changed again so it was a gamble. We threw the dice and decided to go for it.

We met up at the bottom of the cable car laden with spare tops and jackets but miracle of miracles the sky was clearing, the clouds off to party on the Paarl mountains instead. The cable car swirled us up the side of the mountain effortlessly in minutes, revolving as it went so everyone got to see the 360 degree view, then we emerged onto a sunny plateau, on top of the world.

Bright sunshine, cool crisp air and a feeling of soul food being replenished cocooned us with well-being. The children clambered over rocks, we ambled along winding paths, sat on a rock to open a birthday present and eventually made our way to the restaurant for exorbitantly priced ice creams.
Yellow daisies in bloom all over with me in the distance

It was so beautiful up there, looking into the distance to see our hill, watching the wisps of clouds above us and the long line of white cotton-wool puffs out at sea that reminded me of a camel train across the desert, that we hardly wanted to come back down to reality again.

A birthday cake awaited us however, nobly baked by my sister-in-law, so we dealt with the rush hour traffic with admirable equilibrium and made it home in time to cook supper and eat cake for pudding. My son had added enough candles to light up the room, but still not as many as my advanced age demanded!

14 comments:

  1. Happy Happy Birthday and many more! What a wonderful way to spend a birthday! I do love the view of Table Mountain! I just showed it to my very (un) African kids who have never seen it in "real life"!

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  2. Happy Birthday! I am so jealous though, I never appreciated the mountain when I lived there. Will be showing my kids tomorrow. It looks like you had a wonderful time.

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  3. Happy Birthday, Kit, and what a wonderful way to spend your day. I love The Mountain SO MUCH and I can understand how being on top, breathing in that beautiful air, must have made you feel so energised and ready for the next year. Thank you for sharing that with us and your stunning photos.

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  4. Perfect way to spend your birthday! Beautiful scenery and family in tow...and a yummy cake to cap off the day. Happy Belated Birthday Kit! Love, Jenny

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  6. That's an amazing environment there--and beautiful photographs, too.

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  7. Happy Birthday! Your photographs are beautiful, especially the one with table mountain in the background and the girls running in the water.

    [I haven't been by your site for a while so I scrolled through recent posts and read the one about your cat Horry. My old cat Katie had similar symptoms and the vet said it was probably a tumor. I took her to another cat specialist who was pretty sure it was a tumor also. He said I could take her home to die or they could do a catscan to see what was up. I was able to opt for the expensive catscan but they found no tumor. I took Katie back to the 1st vet who did blood work on her and found out that she was very low on potassium. I started giving her potassium pills and soon she was as good as ever and lived another five years. She was toppling over and couldn't walk when I first took her to the vet! Perhaps Horry has a similar diet deficiency...?]

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  8. Thank you all for your birthday wishes - I wish I could send all you South Africans a little bit of air from the mountain!

    Lilly thanks for sharing that advice for Horry - I'll give it a go.

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  9. Happy Birthday!! (Sorry I'm late) What a wonderful way to celebrate! I'm so glad the weather co-operated.

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  10. Happy Belated Birthday Sweet one!
    The children in the photo look like little sea fairies! Sweet photo that it is!!

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  11. a very belated, but very happy birthday to you! I can't believe how adorable your kids are and how much this hike of yours reminds me of my time in AUstria - Jeanne and Nick were saying how similar to SA the lake region in Austria was and now I can begin to imaging what they were talking about! Happy, happy birthday, raising my glass to many more to come!

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  13. Hey - belated happy birthday Kit! And what a wonderful way to celebrate. I'm glad that the cableway people are making some concessions to locals as the prices had got seriously out of hand! And it seems walking up these days is a life-threatening endeavour :o)

    You describe so perfectly the peace of being up there. I spent a lot of time in my parents' holiday flat in Three Anchor Bay in the 1990s - it was an absolutely glorious place with views forever, but the traffic noise was absolutely constant, even on the 12th floor. I used to get really short-tempered and snappy after a few days there, but didn't know why. And then we went up the mountain and suddenly... I was calm and relaxed. The astonishing contrast between the bustle of the city and the calm of the mountain in its midst actually can hardly be described in words!

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Thanks for your comments - I appreciate every one!