Botanical tea and curious dachshunds among the flowers

09 June 2017

We arrive at the Botanical Tea House in Little Mowbray

It has been a very busy morning for us. Reggie and I dashed about doing some last-minute shopping for our big trip to Europe. I had asked Reggie whether we could take some gifts with us, that we could give to friends overseas. We got some delicious chocolates, which were handmade right here in Cape Town. We bought some wonderful smelling African spices from Nomu. We also found a pretty book filled with photographs of Cape Town and a book of South African fairy tales. And some bright and colourful candles. I actually look forward to giving these to people.

“Who are you going to give these to?” asked Reggie. “Do you actually know anyone where we’re going?”

We find a cosy spot on the sofa with Millie

“Um… no…,” I replied, “But I’m pretty sure we’re going to meet some lovely people in Europe, and maybe they will appreciate receiving a gift or two from South Africa.”

“Ah… okay,” said Reggie. “I must say that you are a very thoughtful guest, Flat Kathy.”

After all this dashing about, we felt a bit peckish. We decided to surprise Richard by stealing him away from work to have lunch together.

“You’ll love the place we’re going to,” Reggie told me, as we parked in a side road. “It’s called the Botanical Tea House and it’s in a neighbour known as Little Mowbray. It’s quirky and unusual, and there’s a pretty garden, with tables and chairs tucked away into little nooks.”

“Oooh!” I exclaimed, as Richard politely opened the gate leading into a lovely, higgledy-piggledy, slightly wild and overgrown garden. “Wow! This is stunning!”

What a lovely peaceful place this is

There were dozens and dozens of brightly coloured flowers all over the garden, dangling from trees, poking out among the bushes, hanging from rustic roofs, tucked into flower pots, and fastened against walls…

We made ourselves at home on a sofa, and in some squishy armchairs, under the shelter of the verandah, in case it started raining again.

A friendly woman came towards us with a big welcoming smile and handed us a menu. She looked at me rather curiously, so I nudged Reggie in the ribs and whispered, “Please introduce me.” I could tell that she was feeling a bit shy about it. But she bravely launched into an explanation of who I was and that I was visiting from Nova Scotia and keen to travel all over the world, and that I wrote my own blog.

“Oh that is very interesting,” the friendly lady replied. “Welcome, Flat Kathy. My name is Alison.”

She took our order and disappeared into the kitchen. While we waited for our food to arrive, Reggie and I had a closer look at all the flowers, and realised that they had been handmade out of all kinds of different materials – metal, fabric, paper, scraps… Alison helpfully explained that these were part of the ‘When in Drought’ exhibition that she and some friendly folk from the neighbourhood had put together.

“Our garden wasn’t looking so nice after the long drought, and we aren’t allowed to water anything, so lots of flowering plants died. I wanted to cheer up the place with some colourful flowers, so we made them ourselves,” Alison told us. “I’ve decided to leave them up for a while longer, because they look so nice.”

I have a friendly chat with Mabel and Noko

Now isn’t that creative? I love that!

As we sat on the sofa, we were joined by three friendly dachshunds. The big black one is called Noko, and the two little ones are called Mabel and Millie. They cheerfully posed for a couple of photographs with me.

Isn’t that an interesting teapot? It’s heated by a candle flame, and then you have to use a sieve to catch all the floaty bits, when you pour it into a cute little teacup. The egg-timer is used to tell you how long it needs to brew. I must say that it tasted very refreshing, and I was delighted when my friends bought a sachet of ‘Botanical Tea’ as a gift for a lucky person in Europe! I really look forward to making new friends over there.

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