I have had the kind of week that one wishes as a template for a lifetime. The kind that, in memory, merges into one continuous and lovely experience of food, wine, friends, work, sleep, talk, dreams. And most of this in sobriety.
Specific chronologies elude me, but I know that somewhere in the week I went to what is famed as the best steakhouse in Cape Town, The Nelson’s Eye. I had a flamed pepper fillet steak, which was very good indeed, although it didn’t quite live up to The Hussar’s Hollandse Biefstuk (pepper studded brandy flambeed fillet). Still, I was pleased that my apprehensions about potential ponciness were unfounded. The Nelson’s Eye is definitely not poncy. It is a steakhouse of the bustling, wooden table variety. Unfortunately the prices don’t match, but it was a grand evening, and leftovers made it into several good titbits the following days.
Wine: Goede Hoop Shiraz 2004.
There was an afternoon of Springfield Wild Yeast Chardonnay and pistachio nuts followed by dinner party with friends that yielded the most tender, falling-off-the-bone lamb shanks, and a very fine chocolate mousse. I enjoyed the Arabella Shiraz, though others scoffed at it and called it chunky.
Yesterday, lunch at a country wine estate with a mother and her son. I forgot about the red tide and had pan-fried prawns, and I survived. Later that evening I ate ciabatta with pastrami and gherkins and drank a glass of 1998 Rust en Vrede Cabernet Sauvignon before falling into a deep and contented sleep.
But let me not give the wrong impression. It hasn’t all been high-flying. There have been rice cakes, and popcorn, and wine for little more than a pack of cigarettes. And neither has it all been play. There has been work, and very good work too. And why should life be any different? Someone once told me that real work requires a sacrifice of “life”. I disagree. I would like to make it the work of my life to find pleasure everywhere I can, especially in work. It is a luxury, I know, but you can be sure I am aware of just how lucky I am.