TESSA outing 21st November 2009

TESSA Outing 21st November 2009

On Saturday 21 November, a group of 45 TESSA members met up at the Oude Molen brandy distillery in Grabouw.  This was the first stop of our “Egypt in the Overberg” day excursion. We were shown around most competently by the distillery’s PR person Janis Viljoen Dwarfed by the massive copper pot stills Big Bertha and Long Tom, she told us about the time-consuming and meticulous process of creating award-winning brandies. This was followed by a well-produced video on the history of Oude Molen and its founder René Santhagens, widely regarded as the “Father of South African brandy”. The visit ended with a brandy tasting, which some enjoyed more than others.

Janis Viljoen explaining the copper potstills to the group at Oude Molen
Janis Viljoen explaining the copper potstills to the group at Oude Molen 

We then traveled along the scenic Viljoenshoop Road with its fruit trees and rambling roses to Highlands Road Estate, our lunch venue set high amongst the Elgin Valley hilltops. Here our Ancient Egyptian connection came into play: Rose and Mike Murray of Stanford had prepared for usa very interesting display of faience shabtis and delicate jewelry pieces, passed down in the family from Rose’s great-uncle the  British Egyptologist James Edward Quibell (1867 – 1935). His wife Annie Quibell had written a book on their experiences – A Wayfarer in Egypt(1925) – which could also be viewed, together with details of his main discoveries. Rose gave a short introduction to the exhibition, and said that she plans to undertake further research of which we’ll hopefully hear more at a future members’ talk.

Society patron Keith Grenville with Doreen Davis and Roy Thorsen
Rose & Mike Murray with chairman Anthony Humphreys
Rose & Mike Murray with chairman Anthony Humphreys

After a tasting of the estate’s wines led by winemaker and owner Justin Hoy, we tucked into the delicious home-made lunch prepared by his wife Mary.

We settled at tables under the willow trees at the edge of the farm dam, where we could just sit back and enjoy the panoramic views and peaceful atmosphere. The impromptu piano accordion and guitar music by Günther Komnick and David Wolfaardt added to the relaxed mood.

Enjoying lunch at Highlands Road Estate
Enjoying lunch at Highlands Road Estate
Günther Komnick & David Wolfaardt making music. Photo by Gill Russell
Günther Komnick & David Wolfaardt making music. Photo by Gill Russell

At 3pm we backtracked along Viljoenshoop Rd to the expansive Lavenham Gardens, which were breathtakingly beautiful. The abundance of colours and varieties had everyone enthralled, and the gardening enthusiasts amongst us found new inspiration and ideas to take home. Owners Norma Bridgman and Bert Trouwen served us refreshing organic apple juice on their pergola-covered veranda. Bert had recently had a gallery exhibition of his paintings, and we visited his garden studio to view his bright and bold works.

Norma Harris and Carol Humphreys
Norma Harris and Carol Humphreys

 

Getting the picture Just Right!
Getting the picture Just Right!

Report by Lila Komnick. Photography  by  Günther Komnick &  John Lombard.

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