Most of us remember that nursery rhyme:
To market, to market,
To buy a fat pig,
Home again, Home again,
I go “to market” every Saturday and while never buying a fat pig I certainly come home each week with a Jiggety Jig in my step!
Deon and Kobie Mocke are the architects behind this incredible enterprise. They have transformed a plantation of bare land into a wondrous confection of laughter, people interacting at tables under this vast green canopy of trees, delicious smells coming from the myriad of stalls offering different eats and beautifully intriguing craft stalls.
They decided to create a heart for George. A place where people meet friends and family. In the old days every city had its central gathering place. One only has to think of Kerk Plein in Pretoria and the Groentemark Plein in Cape Town. In fact, every town had a gathering point where people sold their merchandise and mingled with friends and family. Here, in George, we now have The Outeniqua Farmers Market.
Most Saturdays, mum and I join our friends, B and John and head to The Market. It is a place for everyone, young and old alike….and their dogs! There are dogs everywhere. My Wire-Haired Dachshund, Perdita, is quite a shy dog and trots happily at my side. Brendan, mum’s black Dachshund, is a different case completely. He is convinced the world is getting up to madly exciting things without him and he is perpetually tugging at his leash in a “C’mon, we must get moving! There is exciting stuff happening out there!” Mum often hands the lead to B. Strength is needed to handle Brendan’s madly, eager exuberance! St Bernards, Jack Russells, Rottweilers, Labradors, Yorkies, Collies, Spaniels, Bulldogs, Golden Retrievers – every kind of dog either trundles next to their owners or else pulls their owner behind them in their eagerness to “see” The Market!
Once we arrive we browse around a bit before grabbing a table under the green trees and settle down to the most divine breakfast. Mum always has pancakes with cinnamon and sugar. John can never make up his mind and tends to have something different every week. B and I share quite the most divine cheesecake from Lauren’s. Quite honestly, Lauren makes the best cheesecake I have ever tasted. And I mean – ever!
Last week, John did not browse with the rest of us. He bought himself coffee and a croissant and looked for a place to sit. He asked this man if he could please share his table. While they both ate, they chatted together.
“Where are you from?” asked the ever inquisitive John.
“I actually live on Robben Island. When I was young my dad was a warder at the prison. And now I have stayed on the island.”
“Glory,” said John, “was your dad there when Madiba was there?”
“Oh yes, I remember Madiba well. He used to really play a “hot” game of table tennis with me!”
It is wonderful the various people one meets in life, each with their own story.
There is a delightful little children’s train that travels on a certain route at The Market. I saw a friend of mine, Charlotte standing at the ticket seller’s with her four year old son, James. She was talking earnestly to him while he scuffed the ground in front of him, not looking at her. “Hi there, you two! Are you about to go on the train, James?” I called out. He mumbled something to his shoes, not looking at me.
“James is nervous that he will get on, not enjoy it and then be unable to get off again.”
“That’s easy to sort out,” I said, “James, you just put both arms up in the air and wave at mummy and she will stop the train and get you off, I promise. Don’t be frightened. You will always be able to see mum.”
James duly climbed onto the train albeit most reluctantly. And they were off. We watched as James’s expression turned from trepidation to enjoyment to sheer delight. He waved at Charlotte all the time but with one hand not two!
They always have live music at The Market. This provides an opportunity for people to show off their skills. I remember listening to a folk singer on her guitar. She had a haunting quality to her voice that I have never forgotten. Eighteen years I spent not able to hear the music that I loved. I give so much thanks that now due to my cochlear implants, I am able to hear my music once more.
I love to browse the second hand clothing stores. Recently I bought a fabulous velvet 70s flower power jacket. It looks incredibly trendy in a Gaynor-way and everyone comments on it. I also bought this terrific denim jacket. I had never owned one before and was proudly wearing it with my jeans. My sister caught sight of me and burst out laughing. “No, Gaynor, that is not the done thing! One should never wear a denim jacket together with jeans. It’s just not…well…kosher!”
Glory be, how was I meant to know that?!?
For the last few weeks I have been selling my book ‘My Plunge to Fame‘ at The Market. I sit there with Perdita on my lap, behind a table covered in my books. People give a cry of delight as they come towards the table. Great, I think to myself, I’m about to sell a book! But their hands reach out, not for one of my books, but to give Perdita a stroke and a cuddle. She is sabotaging my book selling!
I have tried to convey some of the joy and pleasure of the Outeniqua Farmers Market. But, alas, I am no Nadine Gordimer and my expression does not do it justice. I return week after week and it is not just the cheesecake that is a draw card! Come yourself and experience the delights interwoven into that wonderful market place!