I’m a Philistine when it comes to poetry. I just don’t get it. Give me prose any day and I’ll gobble it up like a Labrador eating her supper. This analogy is from daily experience with Tinks, whose glee at both breakfast time and supper time, every. single. day, is a delight to watch. I stray.
While I am a poetical Philistine, my housemate, GM, is not. In fact, she’s so much of a not-poetical-Philistine that she not only loves reading poems, but writes beautiful poetry too (even with my lack of poetical experience, I can see this). It is her outstanding skill in the field that resulted in us finding ourselves, along with GM’s sister, in lovely McGregor again, for the Poetry Festival, she as a finalist in the competition. See? I wasn’t over-exaggerating (or being biased) about her poetical prowess.
We’ve visited McGregor before, and loved it. Last time we stayed during the week, which meant it was perfectly like I like my small towns: quiet, with only a couple of tourists sprinkled among an eclectic array of locals. This time, the village was buzzing: poets, and poetry lovers and literary types. It was pretty damn lovely too.
We stayed in Kerk Street, a block away from the beautiful Kerk, and within perfect walking distance of everything, in a little cottage called Lerato (run by Destination McGregor‘s Fiona, who is great). It’s lovely and airy and has a stoep at the front on which you can sit and watch the world go by. I think, every house on earth should have a stoep on which to watch the world go by.
After settling in, we took a little amble to see where the world was going by to. As the sun set over the hills it turned the sky perfectly pink, making a fairytale silhouette of the church. We joined Fiona and Tom – who we’d met on our previous trip at the wonderful ‘Sunday Supper at The Sandbag House’ that Fiona cooks and serves at home on Sunday evenings – for a glass of wine in the courtyard of Grape De-Vine which was, as always … divine.
With rumbling tummies, we headed back up the main drag, and stopped in at 51, which smelt mouth-wateringly good. A new kid on the block, with a simple menu-on-a-board, we shared chilli con carne and coq au vin as the restaurant dogs settled at our feet. The food came in big dishes, perfect for sharing, with basmati rice and homemade pickles. Really, really good. So good, in fact, that we were back the next morning, for brunch.
But back to the star of the show: the poetry. It’s always lovely to be in a space that’s filled with people with a passion for something, in this case, poetry. The air crackles and conversations float on the breeze (or, in the case of McGregor that Saturday, the howling wind that was to bring rain and snow the next day) and everybody’s smiley.
The finals of the poetry competition were held early on Saturday morning in the library at Temenos, which was filled to the gills with people, its walls lined with books. What a lovely room. I could easily live there. And what beautiful poems in both the youth section and adult. GM’s reading was perfect and the audience loved it. Even my poetry Philistine heart loved it. Her poetry is accessible, even to people like me.
And then to brunch – Egg-in-a-Hole! – and coffee and poetry discussions and all the things that make a sunny winter Saturday lovely.
McGregor really is a treat.
Lerato is beautifully spacious and the ‘Cloud Room’ has plenty of space to move and transfer onto the bed (which is quite low). The en-suite bathroom is not accessible unless you can manage to walk a few steps. The other bathroom is bigger, but not specifically accessible either (no grab bars etc.) The front entrance is fine, if you can manage to cross a leiwater furrow (we did quite easily) and go up a little step. The back door opens onto a flight of stairs, but you can sit at the top, like a Queen surveying her lands, and enjoy the beautiful view. Fiona is very obliging and has numerous houses on her books, so contact her with your needs.
51, has no steps into it and hosts, Gerard and Phillip are wonderful, as are their staff and their hounds. It’s usually only open in the day.
I’d go back just for the Egg-in-a-Hole. Why is the hole so delicious?
One of life’s little mysteries.