[by Cathy Gatland in Franschhoek, Western Cape] I'm adjusting to being back in the city after a blissful week in the magnificent Franschhoek valley. Not an entirely peaceful or quiet stay as we were on this estate where a pine forest (alien vegetation and a fire hazard) had been cleared to make way for vineyards - the pine roots were being bulldozed and put into piles, and builders were hard at work nearby making an old cottage habitable and charming - but completely made up for by the scenery and the glittering autumn weather. I sketched this from the window of our bedroom - landscape and mountains are unfamiliar sketching territory for me and I almost scrubbed through my sketchbook paper trying to get the colours. Much sturdier watercolour paper required until I get this right!
I didn't capture the loud banter, laughter and repartee that started after I'd been drawing for a while - all in the local vernacular, which I can follow if spoken slowly and clearly, not at 900 words a minute with clinking bottles and machinery as soundtrack (though I did catch "teken" = draw!)