A couple's anecdotal farm stories

2008-10-02 08:05

WHEN Zuretha Roos's husband, Daniel, announces that he's taking early retirement and that the couple will be moving to the Eastern Cape coast, the author imagines a life of lazy days, good food and writing the odd book. Inheriting a small farm outside Cape St Francis puts paid to this fantasy existence, however. City-bred Daniel decides he wants to try his hand at cattle farming, a decision which inevitably leads to a host of interesting situations.

There are dawn calls from the neighbour to tell them their cattle have escaped onto the road, a dam which proves a costly mistake, tragedy in the form of a genet which kills the couple's chickens and a fire which threatens to destroy the farmhouse.

But Roos's storytelling ability is not confined to the goings on of the farm. She and Daniel choose to live in Cape St Francis in a beach house, where they have to deal with difficult house guests, layabouts who view Daniel as a human ATM, the disruption of builders and friendly invasions from the local birdlife.

The book is at turns funny and poignant and throughout Roos's pen portraits reveal a host of fascinating characters.

If you read her first memoir, The Saffron Pear Tree, then you'll enjoy this too. But even if you haven't read her first offering, I'd say read this: it's a great way to while away a few hours, and the bonus is you get a section of tasty recipes which have been tried and tested by this renowned South African food editor.

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