The first thing to grab my attention, other than the obvious prettiness of our accommodation, is the name of the place we choose to stay just outside of Napier – a little town in the Overberg close enough to Caledon not to feel like a trek-and-a-half for a weekend break.
It’s called Taim-go-loer. I love words, and can’t resist playing with this obviously lovingly selected phrase to describe our Napier self-catering venue. Time to go and look, time for a walkabout? It sounds a little like pidgin English. That it has something to do with time standing still is obvious, as no sooner are our bags on the floor of the bedroom than time slows.
Ilze Vos, whose farm it is on which we stay and who also owns and runs the acclaimed Napier farmstall, suggests that it’s Gaelic for something to do with time. On closer inspection ‘go loer’ are loan words from Irish and imply ‘lots of’, or ‘galore’. So it’s safe to assume that ‘taim-go-loer’ is Irishgaelic for ‘time aplenty’.
Much later during our stay, over a glass of wine, Ilze will explain just how bad cell phone reception at Taim-go-loer is. “We fortunately didn’t have to cut down any trees, but there’s now a hole through the thicket of blue gums on the edge of the property that allows us access to a tower up on the hill behind it.”
Rest assured that you will have every excuse not to hook up to your Facebook and email accounts whilst staying on Ilze’s farm, giving full credence to the plenty of time analogy. Whilst this is anathema to many, for me it is the saving grace of staying on a farm – a valid excuse for not checking-in with anyone. “Sorry, I’m out of cell phone range” has to be top of my list of requirements when going away on a down-tools break.
There are other elements too that always make time away a pleasure – like whether or not your hostess has provided you with a coffee plunger and quality ground coffee, cotton percale bedding, a down duvet, soft towels (and plenty of them), extra blankets, body lotion and soap in the bathroom, enough cutlery and crockery so that you don’t have to wash the four only plates to enable you to eat the next meal, freshly cut flowers and access to a supply of fire wood.
All of these Ilze meets with gracious ease. Her years in the hospitality and food industry, as well as the thirteen spent creating the Napier farmstall, mean that she knows what will make her guests yearn to return.
By now the farm’s three ridgebacks have made their way onto the cottage veranda to say hello. Zorba, Zaria, and Luka (or looney tunes as Ilze fondly refers to the littlest and possibly the maddest of the three) are eager to make our aquaintance. And they’re well behaved farm dogs whom we welcome into the space that is ours for the weekend.
The wonderful, big living area that is the veranda is the new addition to the beautiful old cottage Ilze inherited with the farm. The cottage might still have authentic appeal and a peach pip entrance hall, but Ilze realised that it desperately needed a bit of TLC, as she puts it, and a lounge/dining area.
Not only did she carefully create a modern, spacious space with concrete sideboards and shelves, but there is also a large fireplace and three generous steps that lead outside, that function as a further stoep if you throw down a cushion or two – a wonderful space to greet the new day. The windows are in fact canvas, similar to those you would find in a tent, that wind up or down weather dependent.
Whilst we are there, summer finds us. We hoist the sails, so to speak, and let the day in. There are bees aplenty around the lavender that lines the walls of the veranda, two donkeys gracefully munch grass all day in the field just beyond the front door, and raise your eyes and the hill above the farm is a tapestry of wheat fields about to be harvested. Aaah, this is the life.
Just then an Orpington cock strutts by. He’s huge, the size of a small dog, his honey-coloured plumage jauntily set off by a bright red crown. And he’s as proud as punch of his harem of hens, who also wander about foraging for seeds. Their consistent clucks and murmurs add further farm noise to the environment. Later Ilze takes my six-year old to see her chicks that are secreted away with their mothers inside a hen house.
Reaching Napier is a matter of minutes’ drive. The small farm is only 15km outside of town (10km on the road, a further 4.5 on a dirt road). Whilst we’re tucking into the Black Pan breakfast at Ilze’s farmstall, unexpected fairies enter our abode and wash our dishes and set up a new fire ready to light. These little things make me feel incredibly spoilt. The effects are palpable. I begin to unwind, worry less about the small stuff. Find time to stretch out on the couch in the sun and snooze, whilst my son whinges about lack of attention.
A little further up towards the farm gate there is a wonderful dam that, if it were hot enough, we would use as a place to dip our toes. But as it’s clear skies overhead, with a bit of a chilly wind, and we’re itching to get in a walk, my son and I head out of the gate towards the wheat fields that surround the farm.
Ilze has aready instructed us in the art of walking in the surrounds. You simply pass through any farm gate that hinders your way – we are free to roam. And it’s a wonderful feeling. From the right there is the sudden loud honking call of two blue cranes as they take flight, their noise a complete surprise and not the sound I was expecting a blue crane to make. Over the course of the weekend I hear them often. A turkey is probably the closes bird noise with which to compare it, although it isn’t doing it justice.
Our weekend is too quickly over. We’ve explored the main street of Napier thoroughly, we’ve walked, talked, cooked and slept soundly. The break has been just that, a wonderful time away from it all. Hope we can return soon.
Useful Napier Links
- Napier Attractions
- Napier Accommodation
- Cape Agulhas Attractions
- Things to Do in Napier
- Cape Agulhas Accommodation
- Western Cape Accommodation