I hope you all have had a wonderful week thus far. I am filled with bittersweet thoughts and a heavy heart having left Solitude Retreat yesterday. Instead of continuing with the seven deadly sins GREED this week, I thought I’d share the story of my holiday with you.
We all anticipated this holiday to be one of sheer luxury- in the heart of nature. Little did we know the universe had something else in store for us, as we left in the early hours of Monday morning. Solitude Retreat is in Dargle, hidden in the middle of Howick, Tweedie. It was so off the map that our Garmin Navigator kept re-calculating! Luckily we had clear directions and spent much of our journey driving through what seemed like a never-ending dirt road. Once we had reached Solitude Retreat, we followed a pathway of pine trees into the most beautiful looking cottages I have ever seen in my life! A huge guide dog, Gambit, greeted us. He looked like a mountain wolf, and his faithful companion was another dog, a ridgeback named Woody, whom Shiraz named Dobby. Dobby shook all our hands before he let us pet him. We walked into our cottages, Liquid Amber and YellowWood and got the culture shock of our lives.
Inside the rustic cottage we put down our bags and my heart sank seeing how old this ‘luxury’ home was. Painted concrete floors, old furniture, dusty counters! It was like a scene from an old movie. A bee hive was outside the kitchen window, and bees were flying into the house! I wondered whether the pictures from the website were taken thirty years ago! The fridge wasn’t defrosting properly and had to be kept closed with a twig. The claw-foot tub was being kept level by a brick, the old porcelain tubs and sinks were stained from wear and tear. I shuddered at the thought of putting a toe in when I would need to take a bath later. After walking around and hoping the gang (fussy snobbish creatures!)wouldn’t curse me for choosing this retreat, we all decided that we need to make the most of our situation. We humans complain too much anyway!
Shiraz wanted a drink of water, and to our shock, the water that came from the taps was purified stream water and looked like tea! The lady assured us the water was drinkable however. I decided to take no chances and started boiling the water and filling up jugs to cool in the fridge for drinking.
It started getting dark and cold, so Sashin, my sister Kim’s boyfriend started collecting and breaking off pieces of wood for the lounge fireplace. Within a few minutes, he and my other sister Simone’s boyfriend Vie got the fire going. With the fire roaring, the lounge looked charming.
Shiraz got the dishwasher working and I baked chicken pies in the old gas oven. Soon we were eating our pies and sipping on wine and brandy. Bath water was the colour of tea and I tried my best to close my eyes and wash up! But our bedrooms were so warm and cozy and we had a wonderful first night's sleep.
The next morning, after breakfast of Simone’s home-made blueberry muffins, we all decided to have a go at canoeing in the dam outside the cottage. Never having canoed myself, this was something i was really looking forward to. After two attempts with Sashin and Shiraz, I had the confidence to canoe alone, so Kim and I went about canoeing by ourselves and relaxing in the middle of the dam. Sashin, Viesh and Shiraz were attempting to make their own fishing net, out of an old table cloth, broom and string from an old hammock. They each took turns to canoe and try to catch trout with out much luck. Next, Viesh started a braai with firewood and grilled a huge Texan steak for our dinner. Afterwards, we went for long nature hike, meeting up with a pack of dogs and a herd of cows along the mulberry bushes and pine trees.
By the next morning, we were all excited to go canoeing again, and the friendly lady in charge offered to go to the nearest shop for us (an hour’s drive away). She returned with a few groceries and a five litre bottle of pure spring water-which we all guzzled down like liquid gold! Never been did water taste so good! We then decided to go for a swim at the nearby farm, Aired Country Club. We assumed it would be another dam, but low and behold, it was a sparkling rock pool overlooking mountains! I forgot to carry my swimsuit and swam in my khaki jumpsuit. All of a sudden, Sashin spotted ripe fruit on a tree, and he and the guys jumped out of the pool to pick us all a fruit. I’m not sure whether it was a pear, apple or quince(the shape and taste was out of this world) and we sat in the rock pool eating this delicious exotic fruit! Kim said it best, it was like we all had found the garden of Eden!
Sashin and Vie picked peaches and lemons and got a hold of two fishing rods. We all tried our hand at fishing, but only Sashin and Shiraz caught trout, what a sight to behold! We spent more hours canoeing and watching the full moon glowing and create the most picturesque reflection on the dam.
We all got ready to leave with very heavy hearts. At the end of the holiday we agreed that this was the best holiday we had ever had. Despite the culture shock we city slickers had to deal with when we arrived, I can honestly say we all left as country bumkins.
The universe had a few life lessons for us all to learn.
Sometimes the most beautiful things you want in life is hidden, if you journey far enough you will find its treasure.
We are all human beings, take away our make up, jewels, cell phones and technology, we can adapt anywhere because within each of us lies basic survival instincts. We need to stop complaining and whining and start living authentically!
Nature is all the entertainment and healing we will ever need. Nature only asks that we listen and respect her. For those who do, she rewards abundantly.
Fishing taught us patience.
Canoeing taught us that without keeping balance in our lives, we will stray of course.
The beautiful guard dogs proved that friends can be made anywhere. You don’t need to be of the same race, age or creed to have a loyal friend by your side.
And finally, don’t ever take clean clear water for granted!
Early to bed, early to rise makes one healthy, wealthy and wise!
All in all, I will definitely be making another booking at Solitude. I came back a better person after this holiday.
Love and Light,
Your Resident Psychic and Spirit Medium,