Apart from enjoying wine, other interests Vaughn and I shared were hiking and classical music. We were able to attend monthly concerts by the Johannesburg Symphony orchestra, and we also joined a hiking club.
Our first hike took us through a hidden paradise. The land was privately owned, and was unknown to the general public. We climbed up a rocky koppie to find a crystal clear pool deep enough for swimming and a cool off. A waterfall cascaded from rocks above and each level we climbed provided another rock pool. There were small fish in the water that nibbled my toes. From the highest point where the water gurgled out of the rocks we could look down and see six or seven blue pools stepped down the mountain. From that moment I was hooked on hiking.
We went to the next meeting of the Hiking club, which involved slides and refreshments. However, on the table with the tea or coffee were several cakes and a sign saying ‘Only one piece of cake per person please’. We thought perhaps we would look for a different hiking group that drank wine and didn’t watch how much you ate.
So we found another group but we didn’t get that quite right the first time either. We booked a weekend hike, and very conscious of the weight we would be carrying, we packed two-minute noodles, some biltong and tea bags. Fortunately we did take some port, which we had decanted into a plastic bottle. When all the hikers completed the first day of the walk, out came wine and beers from their backpacks, followed by steak, chops, salads and all the makings of a pretty good meal. We felt very miserable breathing in the appetising aroma of their meat grilling as we slurped our little noodle stew. But it was a lesson learnt!