Monday, November 30, 2009

Finding our place in the sun

Julie & Richard Waterston discover Prince Albert’s unique brand of hospitality and the many special people in our town who have helped them to make it their home.

We arrived in Prince Albert for the first time in February 2008, en route to Cape Town. It was a sweltering 41.5ºC afternoon and there was not a soul to be seen. Fortunately we managed to get cold water and a beer in the blissful shade of the Swartberg Arms’ stoep. We checked in at Dennehof... and things began to look up.

After a friendly welcome we took a cooling off dip in their dam-cum-pool, and were finally able to appreciate the beautiful surrounding in which we found ourselves. The majestic Swartberg Mountains, the sweet air and the wide-open Karoo plains left us feeling unexpectedly satisfied. We finished off the day with a visit to Gay’s Dairy sampling yummy cheeses.
Seven months later, on a mission to find our own piece of ‘heaven’ we visited the town again. Things didn’t start out too well because we ‘lost’ the sump of our car on the road between Willowmore and Klaarstroom. But fortunately two members of Prince Albert’s Detective Branch stopped to offer their help.

They took our luggage and Julie all the way to Dennehof, where Alta was awaiting our arrival. Poor Richard only arrived much later. He had spent half the day out in the veld – with two Klaarstroom policemen to keep him company while waiting for a flatbed truck to take the car to Oudtshoorn.

But, of course things began to look up, as they always seem to do here. After a marvellous breakfast Ria tirelessly showed us numerous properties for sale... and we simply fell in love with the view from two plots adjacent to Skaapies Einde. It was exactly where we wanted to spend the rest of our lives.
Over the past 14 months we have made numerous trips between our previous home in Hillcrest and Prince Albert. And during this time we have had many wonderful experiences, made loads of happy memories, and met many fantastic people. One more trip back for Christmas and then we’ll be settling here permanently. We can hardly wait.

But in the meantime we’d like to thank the many Prince Alberters who have touched our lives and helped make this decision feel so right. As a community you are blessed to have so many wonderful people whom you can call friends.

We’d like to thank Ria and Lindsay for their hospitality and amazing trips up the Swartberg Pass and into Die Hell. To Wendy and staff for giving us ‘a home from home’ at Olienhof. Marlene and Laurie, Carol, Dorrien and Dick, Michael and Gunda were never short on helpful advice and have become wonderful friends. Peter Kamfer and his team are doing an excellent building job of making our dream come true on the Koppie... along with Theunis, Michelle and the rest of the Home Hardware staff. And also Johan Smit for arranging hassle free deliveries, Jan Nel for putting up with all our changes and Brian for allowing us to just pick up blocks whilst he was away.

We also thank the wonderful people that work for the Municipality, Elysia our fantastic gardener, Riaan for his advice and Zelia at Tourism, who never tired of answering all my questions. And La-di-dah’s wonderful “cuppa chinos”, Yvette and Martie who have been so supportive of Ju Ju’s Jewels.

We’ve also just heard that my mother and an aunt have also decided to re-locate here and will be joining us in the New Year. So a heartfelt thanks goes to Eric for showing us such a beautiful home and also to Amanda who at a moment’s notice, drew up a copy of the house plan.

None of this would have happened back in the city and we thank the people and the spirit of Prince Albert for helping us to find our special place in the sun!

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