Monday, August 18, 2003

Quiet Mountain, Magaliesberg

Monday, August 18, 2003

Phone: +27 14 576 1258

Service: * * * * *
Food: * * * * *
Ambience: * * * * *
Babe Count: * * * * *

This is about my fifth visit to Quiet Mountain, and there will be many, many more beautiful weekends here. I haven't experienced anything better, and this statement includes the time I was put up by Intel in some five-star hotel in Dublin at fifteen-hundred pounds a night a couple of years back when I was editor of Gadget Magazine.

"So," I say to Jacqui, while Samuel carries all of our bags to our room, "did I oversell it to you, or is it better than you could have imagined?"

"Wow!" she says, running her hand along the hedge. "You're my love-buckle!" And before I can check whether or not Samuel has overheard this term of endearment, Jacqui stops me, throws her arms around me, and plants a vast and grinning kiss across my chops. This is destined to be a seriously lovely weekend.


Our room is very big, with a super-duper double bed, easy armchairs, lamps, heater, candle-holder mounted on the wall, stable-door. It's luxury. A door at the end of the room leads into a bathroom around twice the size of most peoples' bedroom. A huge bath on ball and claw feet on one side. Toilet with wooden seat in the centre. Antique dressing table with mirror opposite that. And a cherry-wood wardrobe near the door.

Jacqui leaps onto the bed. "Wow!" she says. "Feel this!" I join her. The mattress is firm, and moulds itself to my buttocks. I bounce up and down, trying to make it squeak. This one's the strong, silent type. Not the kind of bed that advertises the activity that may or may not take place upon it. We're not going to have any neighbours complaining about us this weekend.

"Let's have a snooze before supper," says Jacqui.

And the glint in her eye means I'm very quickly going to forget about the fact that poor old Mrs Hampton was utterly horrified about my paltry offer on her precious flat. It means I'll forget that Joburg is only one hour away. And I'll probably even forget that I own a cellphone, cos it's going to be switched off for a good four days.




As I promised... a continuation...

Right. Where were we?

Luxury. Joy. A bath with Victorian feet. Bubble bath. And... a picnic hamper! Now... how can I be delicate and non-revealing about this...? Let's just say that it's an ambition to make love out in nature. And let's just say that Jacqui and I are in a great mood here at Quiet Mountain.

So we take the picnic hamper and take a hike towards the mountain. There's a trail, and about a third of the way along there's a nice spot with a windmill and trees and stuff.

We lay the blanket out on the scrub, under a nice bunch of overhanging trees. This would be a GREAT place to make love out in nature. Except for a few things. (1) Jacqui's averse to spiders, and there are spiders EVERYWHERE. (2) We're pretty close to the path, since the spots off the path are kinda in the open, with only small scrubby bushes to hide us from prying eyes. (3) The damn blanket is just not thick enough. And the ground is covered in vicious stubbly grass and sticks that poke through. Whoever lies down on this blanket ready to receive the joy of love is going to get serious lacerations as a result.

So we kinda sit as well as we can and eat our gourmet sandwiches, prepared specially by Terry. Delicious.

So. To be delicate about this rather private matter... let's just say that it's still our ambition to make love out in nature.


The food. I'm writing this now a while after we were there, so I don't have details to mind anymore. But I have to say that the food is everything I remember it to be. Unbelievably beautifully presented. Gorgeous colour and flavour combinations. Impeccable place settings. Candles. Super wine choice. And all hand cooked by Terry, and finessed by John. What a team. And Samuel is an excellent presence too.

One of the things I love about Quiet Mountain is that they have a policy of no day visitors and no children.

It's no accident that Quiet Mountain is a favoured spot for romantic getaways. But maybe they can get thicker blankets for their picnic hampers, and have someone go out with a tractor to clear some outdoor lovemaking spots? John? You listening???

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Graasroots, Village Walk

It's only fitting that a turbaned vegetarian should be eating in a fine vegetarian establishment like Graasroots.

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Service: * * *
Food: * * * *
Ambience: * * *

Babe Count: * * * * *

Jacqui and I have met after work. I've had a lovely day, editing three promos for KUMARS ON 42nd STREET, and two for THE PRACTICE, with Anne, the SABC3 intern. Jacqui's had a grueling day training a client in the software her company develops.

Damon and I are supposed to be meeting for our regular screenwriting session, but he's busy shooting a documentary for the United Nations. They're putting him up at the Balalaika Hotel, which is just next door. We've discussed the possibility of having a drink together anyway. So I can see him AND Jacqui in one night. Neat!

If you're into noses, this one's as kinky as they get.When Jacqui's in the room, the babe count rises to five stars without hesitation. Yay!!! She's looking gorgeous tonight. And I love the fact that I'm in love with a gorgeous woman. "Hullo my Love-Buckle!" she says to me. That's the term of endearment that seems to be working for her right now.

"Are you ready to order yet?" says Precious.

I opt for the Copioso -- a yummy artichoke, olive, sundried tomato, and avo pasta dish. Absolutely wildly recommendable. Jacqui goes for the grilled veggies. Ultra yummy.

She has flatly rejected 'Cunni-Bunny' as my contribution to naming her. I'm working on it. I figure we've got a good few decades to crack it. So I'm in no rush. Hmm. I wonder if I should try 'Cunni-Suckle' out on her? Probably not.

We've got just two sleeps left before we take a long weekend together. We're heading for Quiet Mountain, one of the most delectable hideaways I've been to. It's in the Magaliesberg, and we both need a rest. And we aim to spend many hours relaxing in each others' arms. Finding appropriate pet names for each other. Through trial and error.

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Nescafe Cafe, Melrose Arch

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Service: * * *
Food: * * *
Ambience: * *
Babe Count: * * * * *

Jacqui and I have just spent an hour or so at Foo Moon, and the smell of smoke is heavy in our clothes. Hans, a colleague of hers, has just announced his engagement to Cheryl, and we've eaten free sushi, and we've smoked other peoples' cigarettes involuntarily, and now we're spending a tiny bit of love time together.

I'm showing her my devious spreadsheet.

I've just come from Linden, where I put in an offer on a flat. I've decided to go the property-mogul route for now. So I'm looking for investment flats. The one I'm after is near Red Pepper, and I want to let it out to someone in the movie, advertising or tv industries.

My spreadsheet allows me to make an unemotional decision about how much my offer price can be in order for the loan to be self-amortizing. I don't want to spend any of my own money on the place. It must work for its living, and yield me lots and lots of hassle-free wealth.

"Your decaff coffee," I say to the waiter, "is it filter coffee, or is it instant Nescafe from a jar?"

"No!" he says. "It's real filter coffee."

"Are you sure?" I say. "Cos this IS the Nescafe Cafe, and I'm going to send it back if it comes from the jar."

Jacqui also opts for the decaff, seeing as the waiter is adamant that it's real coffee.

He brings us our order. I'm having the fruit cheesecake. Jacqui's going for the bran muffin. Not bad stuff. Delicious, actually. And the coffee arrives. And it's darn good! Definitely not from a jar. Recommendable.

So, anyway, the poor old woman who owns the flat I'm keen on, the one who's asking R195 000, the poor old woman with burst varicose veins and two crutches, the one who has to move in with her daughter cos she can't cope on her own anymore, the one who almost offered me a cup of tea when I visited the flat to examine it but didn't cos the milk was off and she couldn't afford to buy more, the very same old woman is facing my extremely generous offer of R107 000. And I say it's generous because it's a good R50 higher per square metre than the average price in the neighbourhood.

Shame. Poor her. She has to consider my offer and either turn it down or accept it. I'll know on Friday at noon. And if you know anyone who wants to rent in Linden, let me know. I'll give them a good price.

Monday, August 11, 2003

Wiesenhof, Killarney

Monday, August 11, 2003

Service: * *
Food: * * *
Ambience: * *
Babe Count: * * * *

Gillian is my opponent tonight. We settle down before my open backgammon board. She gets down to the serious matter of the accuracy of my reporting.

"I checked your website for an update, and you haven't mentioned anything since you beat Renee. And, I've read every word, and I don't see any mention of myself. What's going on?"

"I promise I'll feature you in my next update," I say.

"And what about your matches since Renee?"

Gillian's wearing gorgeous red lipstick, and a polo neck sweater. She's almost certainly dressed for war tonight. She's trying to distract me by displaying her delightful curves. But I will not buckle. I will play well tonight. And I will certainly win.

"Okay," I say. "I'll put the results on my site too."

So here they are:

Alistair 21--Roy 20.

Andreas 21--Roy 20.

My supper arrives. It's the special... a croissant with scrambled eggs and bacon. I didn't notice that the menu mentioned mushrooms, so I have to send it back. My waiter is Leo. He's been my waiter every time we've played here, and every time, I've asked him to be CERTAIN there are no mushrooms involved in anything I eat. He's gotten it wrong twice. Tonight, when I forget about the mushrooms, he forgets about my preference. Hence, back to the kitchen.

It comes back, and they've either cunningly removed all traces of mushroom and spat on the eggs, or they've cooked a whole new dish for me. Either way, it tastes good.

Gillian and I start playing.

"So why haven't I featured on the site?" says Gillian.

"Well," I say, dicing appallingly. With backgammon, it's always possible to explain away any loss by mentioning how poorly the dice were behaving on the night. "I didn't want to appall you by mentioning that incident with the cat."

"Hmmm," she says, and smiles like a cat, hefting her tightly-clad bosom while shaking her dice cup.

I say, "How can I tell people that I tried that line on you? I was destined to failure. And anyway, it was a tragic night."

Gillian and I sort of attempted to date about a year ago. On my way to meeting her for our first and only date, I was driving along the old Kyalami Road. There was quite a lot of low mist. I was doing about 100km/h in my slinky li'l red sportscar when I noticed a darting movement on the side of the road. Skidding, my brakes and wheels squealing, smoke pouring from the tyres.

Next thing, WHAM!!! and a cat goes bouncing off the front of my car. So I stop, and see if the cat's dead. But it seems to have taken off into the night.

I drive on. Get to the pub I'm meeting Gillian at -- something to do with Geordie's Arms, I think -- and speak the words destined to prevent me from EVER scoring with her or any of her friends.

Instead of saying, "Hi, Gillian, you look divine," I go for the impossible punch line. The one that no man should ever say. I say, "You know, Gillian, I came here tonight hoping to get a bit of pussy. And I did. I just ran over a cat."

Which might explain why she's dicing so well. And why she beats me 21--19 by the end of the night. Damned cat.

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

JB Rivers, Hyde Park

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Service: * * * 1/2
Food: * * * *
Ambience: * * * 1/2
Babe Count: * * * *

It's an uncharacteristically sparse night in Hyde Park with regards to babeage. In fact, JB Rivers is relatively empty. I've just put the phone down to Damon, telling him I won't be meeting him and Wendy in the smoky gunge of Nuno's in Melville. It's just too much for me.

Instead, I'll sit here and draw for a bit. Jacqui's been hectic at work, and we've been seeing each other every day for the last while, and it's all just in overload territory right now. We love each other dearly, and we're each certain that the other is our dream-partner, but Jacqui really needs some recharge time. Which is cool for me, but really quite tough, since I'm craving her every second of my life.

Which is why I'm here moping, feeling vulnerable, holding myself to the chair so I don't jump into my car and head for her place. Sigh. Love is gorgeous. But it can definitely allow me access to my own inner anxiety.

Wait a seccie. Maybe Eran's around. "Hey, Eran," I say into the cellphone, "I'm in Hyde Park. You joining me?"

Edward's one of the waiters at JB Rivers. Every time I pitch there, the waiters all ask me to draw them. This time, I figure it's best to get them off my back by caving in to their requests. My theory is that they'll take one look at the mutilation I wreak on their likeness, and they'll never ask me again. After showing this to Edward, he was silent for several seconds. Then he rubbed his shaved head and said, "This one... is this my head???""Hold on," he says. A bit of a hand over a receiver, some muffled discussions. "Cool," he says. "I'm just finishing something at home, and then I'll see you in about half an hour. Can Jade come?" A female snigger.

"I don't know," I say. "If you do it right, I suppose she can."

I finish my customary chicken salad and read a third of my latest book-find. It's called THE MILLIONAIRE COURSE by Marc Allen. He's a musician and an artist, and he's made his millions several times over through following his own advice. Things like being clear about your vision, knowing what wealth means to you, having and living your higher purpose. And the book's a practical way of getting those things. A proper workshop. I'm thinking of getting a couple of friends together to work through the exercises together. I want my friends all to be millionaires with me.

When I see Jacqui on Friday, I'll show her the book.

Jeez. Two hours have passed. Where the hell's Eran? I send him an SMS. "I'm finishing my coffee. Where are you?"

He sends one back. "Just leaving Sandton. You still going to be there?"

"I'll wait for you," I SMS back.

While I'm waiting, I start sketching someone. I become aware of a scratchy tenor voice behind my right ear, a metre or two away. It's going, "Hey..." cough, cough, "uh... hey? Uh... yeah, uh, scuse me...?"

I turn. It's a youngish dude with greasy hair, and bright red eyes. I think he's a citizen of Stonedville. This one's soaring. He's sitting at a table behind me. "Yes?" I say.

Cough, cough, cough. "Uh, sorry, man, sorry to interrupt you. What are you doing, huh?"

I can't believe he's asking what I'm doing. I have an open pot of ink to my left. I have a dripping Maped Ruling Pen in my left hand. I have an open sketchbook before me. There is a caricature of a woman on the end of the pen. What does this stoner THINK I'm doing? Fixing cars? Baking bread?? "I'm sketching," I say.

"Oh," he says. "I sell advertising space. For an interior design magazine. You know, for interior designers. For the trade. I sold R75 000 this month. Next month I hope to sell R125 000." Cough, cough, cough, cough, cough.

I'm glad this guy's at the next table. I could get a blob of lung lodged in my neck if I were any closer.

He says, "So, you an artist?"

"Yes," I say. I'm doing the monosyllabic reply thang. Maybe he'll just shut up and head off into the cold to warm his ruined lungs on another joint.

"My name's Shaun," he says. "What's yours?"


"Please to meet you. Can I ask you a favour?"

I stay silent. I know what he's going to ask.

"Can you draw me?"I don't INTEND to exaggerate things in my caricatures. Things sorta leap out at me and take over my pen. I think it's truthful to say that my pen was basically channeling Shaun's nose.

Go home to Creepsville! Instead of saying that, I say, "Sure. But this is a hardbound book, and I don't ever tear my sketches out. So I'll draw you, but you can't have it."

"No, that's cool." Cough, cough, cough.

"That's a nasty set of lungs you've got there Shaun." I start drawing him. Quite an interesting subject. Desperately chiseled features. And quite a few young wrinkles. This dude's no older than about 24, but his skin's a ruin. Must be smoking.

"I almost never sit out here in the non-smoking section," he says. "But I've given up for three days." Hack, cough, cough, cough. "Whenever I do that, my lungs just rebel."

I show him the sketch.

"Hey!!!" he says. "Hey, check at this!" He's talking to two women who've just sat down, increasing the babe-count marginally for the night. "This guy's an artist. He sketched me. Hey man, Roy, that's excellent man."

He doesn't ask me if he can have it. Cos I've already turned my back on him, and I'm drawing Edward, my waiter.

Shaun tries to get my attention a few times, but I ignore him. I hear him engage the two women. "Hey," he says, "hey, I'm Shaun, what are your names? I sell advertising in an interior design magazine. I'm quite arty. I'm only twenty-two. How old are you?"

They ignore him. He shuts up.

Jade and Eran arrive just as Edward calls last rounds. Coffee it is. And because of Jade, the love of Eran's life, there's a babe count at last! Yay!!! Jade gets five stars. Unfortunately, since there's only one of her, and a large restaurant, the overall babe count only rises to four stars. But that's okay. Two photos of Jacqui are next to my bed, so when I get home, I've got a babe count all of my own.