On Sunday morning we had a few showers in Cape Town. People on holiday get upset when this kind of thing happens. I say, just let it rain, dear. Don’t let it get to you. There’s more to life than sun and slip-slops and sipping Long Island Iced Tea on the deck. For instance, why don’t you pop in at Hemelhuis next to the Freeworld Design Centre in Cape Town, where it’s raining beautiful food and beautiful things – torrentially so? Beautiful Thing Number 1: The reindeer on the menu. I mean on the cover of the menu. The unstoppable Jacques Erasmus has just redesigned his menu with Blitzen – or is it Rudolph – on the front. It’s such a lovely posterised look. Woolworths should dedicate a biscuit tin to this picture. Please, come on Woolies. This is so lovely and Christmassy. But not. The real but now dead ‘n gone Blitzen up on the wall is decorated like a tree, with weaver’s nests and plates and things dangling from his horns. He presides enigmatically over an assembly of fig branches arranged in all their gorgeousness with bunches of curly-whirly parrot tulips. Georgia O’Keefe, where are you?
Inside Jacques’ black and gold cabinet of magic tricks, there’s a stash of melons and marble-look vases by ceramicist Lisa Firer. And if you cast an eye over to your right, you’ll see the bowls filled with giant snowballs that are actually balls of crystalised salt from the West Coast.
Jacques, Jacques. If you lived in my house, you would drive my family crazy. I have a similar habit. I keep moving furniture around and changing the pictures and the placing of things in my home. Some days there are rugs. Other days, no rugs. Just wooden floors. Afraid I cannot help it, and a cure for my changing-things-around tic is still at large. My family have been driven nuts. N.U.T.S. ‘But we liked that painting on that wall,’ goes the collective cry. In my next life I will try to be more settled and keep things as they are, and be happy with not making yesterday’s blue wall orange. But for now I’m happy to be doing this thing that Jacques keeps doing. Change is fun. It keeps things interesting. And it ensures that even if a few drops of rain fall have fallen on your head, you’ll still have something to keep you occupied.
Now here’s a thing. At time of writing, Jacques is busy moving all the stuff you see in the shots up top, out of the shop. (‘Oh but it’s so lovely,’ I hear the chorus protesting.) So I’m really happy to have snapped the parrot tulips and the figs and Blitzen with his nests on horns. Tomorrow, the shop will have a new, raw, earthy look, with no frilly bits. There will be giant wreaths made of dried bread, and two big magnolia trees – real ones – in full bloom, to sit under. Inside. My advice? Catch it before Jacques changes it all around again. If you’re in another hemisphere altogether and cannot get there, that’s okay, I’ll be sure to send a postcard.
Very Important Shopping Tip: Jacques mentioned he’ll be selling Parrot Tulip bulbs (and other things) at the Designer-Maker Artisan Market, happening at the Freeworld Design Centre next door, from Wednesday to Friday this week.
Oh, and one last thing: If you forgot to get food for Blitzen or Rudolph, you’ll be relieved to hear they now keep Reindeer food at Woolworths. I know that’s hard to believe but I have proof: