‘Winter has a magical charm. You get to wear winter clothes; sit by the fireside, sip gluhwein and hot chocolate, and tell and listen to stories.’

Winter it is one of my favourite times to travel and explore the countryside. When I lived in London, my friends and I would often hire a car and spend the weekend in the countryside. We’d go on long walks, visit old houses, and cook dinner at night. Often we’d get caught in the rain and burst into the nearest pub, laughing and shaking the rain off our coats. Once we had ordered mulled wine, we’d warm ourselves by the fire while we waited for our clothes to dry.

Winter has a magical charm. You get to wear winter clothes; sit by the fireside, sip gluhwein and hot chocolate, and tell and listen to stories. Winter seems to pair really well with the arts – just think of the Grahamstown Festival and Hermanus FynArts Festival – as it is a time for introspection and reflection. I love walking around art galleries in winter, looking at representational art that makes you feel some subtle forgotten memory in the soft winter sun.

This winter we are hosting some great events in Stanford. The Art Auction and Exhibition will be held at The Stanford Table from 20 June – 31 July. You are all warmly invited to the Art Auction Opening on 20 June at 17h30 for some soup, bread and sherry. Come and have a look – you never know what hidden treasures you might find.

We also have literary lunches with some great South African writers. Diane Awerbuck will be talking about her short story Phosphorescence which has been shortlisted for the Caine Prize for African writing (6 July). Daniel Jardim, who compiled the cookbook for the Buddhist Retreat Centre in Ixopo, will talk about his new vegetarian cookbook, Retreat: The Joy of Conscious Eating, with sample dishes made by this most beloved veggie chef (13 July). We also have local author Emmaleen Kriel, who will talk about her books Jam Every Other Day and Close the Door Softly Behind You. These two delightful memoirs will warm your heart (20 July).

Jamie Kastner, local Stanfordian, will be launching her book, Sam, Me & the Hard Pear Tree at her wine farm, Stanford Hills Estate on July 25th. This books shows that there is life after tragedy as this brave woman tells all.

There will also be talks by Peter Chadwick, renowned photographer talking about the wonders of De Hoop Nature Reserve, Katja Vinding-Petersen on whales, Cathrine Nyquist from Panthera Africa on canned lion hunting, and many more. We also have guest chefs that will dazzle you with their delicious food, as well as wine pairings and wine tastings. There will also be DVD screenings of David Foster and Friends, Andrea Boceli’s Love in Portofino.

Keep your eyes on the website and facebook page for even more winter surprises from Stanford!

That’s all for now, folks. And remember, if anyone asks where you got your news, tell them you heard it through the Grapevine!

Chantel, Stanford Tourism