Once every two years we go back to the North Eastern Cape.
It’s not often enough, I know, but we figured, when we started this thing all those years ago, that we could sell every second year to wives and family. In fact we were confident that we could ensure the event would take place if we did it seldom enough. And we were right I suppose, because we have indeed been back every second year like clockwork.
Some of us have eked in a few trips in-between, which has helped with our our sanity a whole lot.
When we are there, we base ourselves in the same lovely sandstone farmhouse, and for five or six days solid, we fish pretty much from dawn to dusk.
Sounds good doesn’t it!
Well it is. It’s very good.
It’s very good because the fishing is great,
but it’s also very good because the scenery is unrivalled. It’s great for the company we keep. It’s very good because of when we go too. We plan it carefully to avoid the Easter week-end, fishing festivals, school holidays, and heat. We plan to hit it when it’s cool, and the weather is fairly stable, and the Lombardy poplars are bright yellow.
That makes for good photos.
The area has a feeling and a scent about it that no photo can capture. The scent is a little dusty, with traces of the keratin of a sheep skin from the front seat of a farmer’s diesel bakkie. And ice. The scent is brushed with ice from the green feed down by the river in the morning. Maybe there is a hint of fallen poplar leaves in there: wet ones on the river bank. And then there is a slightly scratchy whiff of the local brush that grows in the higher, drier valleys. Its not unlike a sage. Mix this with the sound of the creaking floorboards from a farmhouse with two foot thick walls, and top that with the omnipresent sound of running water.
There you have it.
When we return, we are refreshed, and our compasses are re-set.
We know where true North is again.