Thinking back on a magical Christmas in July

Did it really happen? Can a place truly be so magical?

I am yet again back in Joburg and after an especially hectic few weeks I am stopping to pause (due to a lovely poem written by one of my twitter friends). I cannot believe that I have not reflected on the magic time I had in my favourite place. So here it is.

Me and Jd could only break away for a longish weekend to participate in the x-mas in july festivities. We celebrate Christmas in July in Hogsback mainly to think about the magic of Christ in our lives, but also because we hope that it will bring on snow, bring in visitors and as an excuse to celebrate being alive and well in paradise! The weather conspired with the organisers of the event (thanx Anleen and team) to cover up Hogsback in a bright white blanket just for the occasion. It started snowing early on the Friday morning just as we were making our way from Joburg.
The journey to Hogsback was quite eventful as passes were being closed and we fretted if we would ever be able to make it there! The team in Hogsback kept us updated via sms of what roads are open and by the time we reached Queenstown (just made it through the Pendoring pass before it got closed) most of the roads were closed. I twittered our progress via my cellphone and just before we reached Cathcart, I got a message from
@gaylinu that we could take the sand road via
Happy valley provided that we have a 4x4 and lots of courage. And so our magical journey began.

As we were driving, soft snow flakes fell around us horizontally (I wonder why?) Horses, sheep and lonesome cows were shivering in the whiteness and I can actually not describe the kind of silence that a snow filled landscape bestows on one. I tried to capture it in camera, but alas it was too magical. I had to do the snow angel thing and everywhere people (kids and older kidlike adults) were doing the same, building snowmen and just gaping at their surreal surroundings. Magical!

On the Friday night we attended the lighting of the Christmas lights, drank copious glasses of glow-wine (I know- spelling) till our cheeks were glowing. A funky local jazz band entertained us as we lit sparklers and sang Christmas songs with the little-lies. Magical!

We then attended an opera in the snow. No kidding. Anton the potter with his delightful opera songstress wife and her gifted students treated us to snippets of opera around an open air fire in the quaintest of rustic settings called "the Rose". Between arias (excerpts from Faust, Figaro & Carmen performed "in the round" and danced round the fire with castanets and tambourines) they fed us pizza baked in the oven to the side and served it to us on Anton's exquisite pottery plates. We were snuggled under blankets and the fire kept us warm in case you were wondering. Magical!
We strolled around the Christmas marquee on the Saturday morning and then went in search of breakfast cum lunch. There were so many people in Hoggies that it turned out to be quite a mission. We managed to find a place in the sun at the Edge and lingered around eating soup, burgers and delightful pie! Magical!
Christmas dinner was at Ilifu so after driving around marvelling at all the visitors with snowmen on their car bonnets, we returned home to start cooking the Christmas meal and prepare for the rugby match between South Africa and the All Blacks. We were joined by the neighbours and after our usual tequila ritual we thumbed the All blacks in great style. Magical!

Kathy and Peter pulling their xmas crackers

Christmas dinner was simple and I managed not to burn anything (I think). We (it was a communal effort- thanx Kathy, Lyndsey, Joy ) served potato and biltong soup, lamb and olives, a vegetable dish, and an absolutely to-die-for malva pudding with home made kiwi ice-cream. We gathered around the Xmas tree for presents and carols and chit chatted demurely around the fireplace (;-) absolutely). When we went to bed, Kathy's vegetable dish ( I think there were lots of bean-like ingredients) kept JD warm in the night as I dreamt of snow and warm malva pudding with ice-cream. Warm and Magical.

Sunday morning held another treat as we attended a performance by the Kalahari stoom orkes. What we did not know is that half of Hogsback were without power, so the orkes performed out in balmy (still freezing-like) sunshine. It was kind of like a combination of old fashioned boere music ala Afrikaans rap alla blues- Something like that. I loved it. Especially "wildehond", who played the banjo, intrigued me. He was kind of ancient and I at first thought that he was just a "stage" prop until he got hold of the lead singer (Ian Robert's) guitar and gave us a blues rendition that was to die for! I must commend the drum player as well. He was sitting on a pile of plastic chairs about to fall over, but fortunately only his drums fell over! Musically magical!

My only less magical moment was that the town literally ran out of food by lunchtime. The places that still had food were struggling to keep up and people were getting edgy when they had to wait ages for orders. Please, we are really chilled here in Hogsback (in more ways than one) so when you come here you take it as it comes. Sometimes no water. Sometimes no power. Sometimes no fuel. Sometimes.... lots of snow! So just chill and focus in the magic of Hoggies!

But alas time just passed all to quickly and on Monday we had to resume our journey back to reality. Not fair. We are so fortunate to have this magical place to escape to. This place is not just about waterfalls, flowers, hiking trails, fairies and the occasional grumpy hobbit- it is about escaping into a silent serene place in your soul. Hoggies I miss you and see you next week!

We took 10 million photies.... (give or take)...

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Comment by Network Hog on September 3, 2009 at 18:54
I must remember to upload my hog-roll-in-the-snow photos......
Comment by Gaylin on August 20, 2009 at 12:18
This is the TRUE magic of Hogsback. What a magical place to be....and the snow like a mini trip to heaven!!

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