“I think that you will all agree that we are living in most interesting times.
I never remember myself a time in which our history was so full,
in which day by day brought us new objects of interest, and, let me say also,
new objects for anxiety.”
It may be possible that the sardonic English expression or curse, camouflaged as well wishing, “may you live in interesting times”, closely related to the Chinese expression, “Better to be a dog in times of tranquillity than a human in times of chaos”, has been cast upon us. If interesting times refer to trouble and anxiety, and uninteresting times to peace and tranquillity, these are indeed interesting times.
This is not the first time that the world is in turmoil – there have been interesting times before, but it seems as if not only our geo-political and economic structures are failing dismally teetering on the edge of total mayhem because of warmongering madmen now, but nature too has lost patience with our narcissistic habits.
Although there have been droughts and flooding and earthquakes in times gone by, we could at least always rely on the seasons to follow in an orderly way – spring would follow winter and autumn would arrive after summer and prepare us for winter. Lately this has most definitely not been the case. Everything is out of sync, too much or too little, too hot or too cold and too wet or too dry. We have tomatoes on the vine and flowering hydrangeas, in June!
How can we fix things? And if we have left it too late, how do we survive what we now perceive as un-survivable? Seneca’s timeless and straight forward insight into the key to resilience bellows from antiquity that, “all your sorrows have been wasted on you if you have not yet learned how to be wretched.” Grit is what we need, and to accept that, “only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation can that which is indestructible be found in us.”
We grow accustomed to the Dark —
When Light is put away —
As when the Neighbour holds the Lamp
To witness her Good bye —
A Moment — We Uncertain step
For newness of the night —
Then — fit our Vision to the Dark —
And meet the Road — erect —
And so of larger — Darknesses —
Those Evenings of the Brain —
When not a Moon disclose a sign —
Or Star — come out — within —
The Bravest — grope a little —
And sometimes hit a Tree
Directly in the Forehead —
But as they learn to see —
Either the Darkness alters —
Or something in the sight
Adjusts itself to Midnight —
And Life steps almost straight.
With only a warm fire and the gift of rain blurring the view of the mountains and vineyards into a silvery green-grey mass, is it is difficult to imagine anything ominous or ugly. There is just nature and the origin of everything – water falling from the sky and drenching the soil – the essence of life. It is all so simple, so magical – the way things are inter-dependent in origin and survival – yet so neglected and abused.
Our solutions and the ways in which we are grabbing at straws to undo what we have done, are so superfluous and puny – always forgetting, in our fearful attempts to save ourselves whilst still having more than we need – that we cannot see the wood for the trees. We have forgotten what we come from and where things start. That little egg, that speck of dust, that drop of rain.
Let this Darkness be a Bell Tower
Quiet friend who has come so far,
feel how your breathing makes more space around you.
Let this darkness be a bell tower
and you the bell. As you ring,
what batters you becomes your strength.
Move back and forth into the change.
What is it like, such intensity of pain?
If the drink is bitter, turn yourself to wine.
In this uncontainable night,
be the mystery at the crossroads of your senses,
the meaning discovered there.
And if the world has ceased to hear you,
say to the silent earth: I flow.
To the rushing water, speak: I am.
Rainer Maria Rilke
MAKING WINE IN INTERESTING TIMES
Come what may, Kleinood makes wine. The last harvest was long and tricky, but the grapes were lovely with no rot or mildew. The days were long and difficult to plan. The rain kept coming and going with heat in between and high humidity.
But, wine maker, Reynie Oosthuizen, thrives on the excitement and tension that goes with a harvest and his enthusiasm is obviously contagious, for come rain or shine the spirits in the winery and vineyards were high and the, often back breaking, work was done with smiles and happy banter.
The Katharien Syrah Rosé 2023 will be available in July and the Viognier 2023 in August this year, but the Syrah will now be left to go through the long, slow incubation of maturation in barrels, and two years of lying in bottles to come to full and beautiful fruition before entering the world. The John Spicer Syrah 2017 is waiting in the wings to be released in its full glory very soon.
The John Spicer Syrah 2017 is wrapped in an artwork by, Cape Town artist, Katharien de Villiers. Katharien’s love for the farm served as inspiration to combine iconic aspects of Kleinood in a playful and flamboyant collage printed on un-bleached, recycled stone-paper.
Her work is shown in galleries in Paris and Milan and various international art fairs.
Reynie’s first Syrah vintage for Kleinood, Tamboerskloof Syrah 2019 was awarded a silver medal at the 2023 Decanter World Wine Awards. With more rain on a very cold horison, a glass of this vintage paired with a plate of the-real-deal-minestrone with fresh bread and cheese in front of the Kleinood tasting room fire, might just hit the right spot.
In 2022 Reynie made a beautiful limited edition Grenache, mainly for members of The Kleinood Table. Kleinood does not have the right terroir for growing good Grenache so he sourced grapes from grapes from the Piekenierskloof area – hence the name, (inkommer). It is a deep straw-coloured wine with a vibrant nose starting with Persian limes, lemon zest and goose berries while the elegance of honey suckle gives the wine a sweet, perfumed finish. The entry is sweet with a mild acidity that follows through to orange zest flavours. It bears a good textured weight on the mid-palate, with medium length and finishes with flavours of fresh toast and marmalade. The (inkommer) pairs perfectly with seafood from spicy paella to grilled sole. Sign up to The Kleinood Table to taste it.
Going for Water
The well was dry beside the door,
And so we went with pail and can
Across the fields behind the house
To seek the brook if still it ran;
Not loth to have excuse to go,
Because the autumn eve was fair
(Though chill), because the fields were ours,
And by the brook our woods were there.
We ran as if to meet the moon
That slowly dawned behind the trees,
The barren boughs without the leaves,
Without the birds, without the breeze.
But once within the wood, we paused
Like gnomes that hid us from the moon,
Ready to run to hiding new
With laughter when she found us soon.
Each laid on other a staying hand
To listen ere we dared to look,
And in the hush we joined to make
We heard, we knew we heard the brook.
A note as from a single place,
A slender tinkling fall that made
Now drops that floated on the pool
Like pearls, and now a silver blade.
In a way, everything started with the gardens – the potpourri, wreaths and smudge sticks, the mists and scents and perfumes – all inspired by what was and is growing in the forest, the vineyards and groves and gardens on Kleinood.
Everything de Boerin makes is driven by the terroir, the light and water, the textures, the aromas and the inherent beauty each new season brings, to taste and smell and feel of where it comes from.
For a long time there was this thought of capturing the soul of the farm in scents that would truly express the terroir and heart of the farm. Our perfumes and scents enter into the world as they were before we blended them. No chemicals, no modifications or engineering.
Working with illusive scents and oils that creep into your hair and clothes and very soul makes you want more ways of having them around you for longer and more ways of exploring their charm and beauty. We found more ways in candles and mists for your linen and rooms and hands and face.
So too, more scents from different spaces, plants, soils and seasons on Kleinood are quietly making their way into more perfumes made of who we are.
Fields. Smell of the tall grass, new cut.
As one expects of a lyric poet.
We look at the world once, in childhood.
The rest is memory.
The cotton cloth bags we made and used for packaging led to more cloth-dreams. We needed hardy clothes to work in and were inspired by van Gogh’s peasant women. We wanted to dare to leave the ordinary and discover a path less known – to allow women to rediscover their ability to be something more than, “what should I wear.”
The Calico Rail by de Boerin was born.
Since its small beginnings, Kleinood has taken pride in the hands that nurture it and help it grow. It has become part of the ethos of living close to and off the land.
Every apron, mitten, frock or blanket, every cake of soap and candle is made by real women who wish to make real things, from real things in real time. So are The Calico Rail Garments – ethically created, individually made, and created by the humble hands of women who painstakingly stitch and cut and sew with care, attention and dedication.
We use ethically produced, natural, strong and simple fabrics to make original, ample, honest and timeless garments that anybody of any age could wear. Clothes one could work in and be seen in.
Shirts with sleeves rolled up or down that could become what you want and as you need it. Pants and skirts that could be worn in different ways under, over, buttoned-up or back-to-front for every day or Sundays. Hats and bags and clothes that could be worn and soiled and washed and fixed and worn and washed again.
Soon the small stone cottage, below the winery and next to the glass house with a breath taking view, where de Boerin first started out, and where the scents of flowers, beeswax and essential oils filled the air, became too small as candles and soaps, oils and honey, garments and adornments, mists and perfumes, came into being. The making moved out to the compost yard and de Boerin opened her shop in that same quiet, happy little stone house.
From this room of her own, de Boerin is quietly going about her business – trading in goodly things made by hand.
All the best,