Cape Town yesterday was a copperplate engraving, precisely delineated in the bold sunlight, washed in the colours of sea and sky, the oak trees flaking green and rust and the clean blue scaffolding of the mountains.
After work I drove my mom round Hout Bay and Llandudno to Camps Bay for a glass of wine and an early dinner. We sat at a pavement café, with our chardonnay, as the sun went down over Camps Bay beach and the evening crowds came out. We ordered crayfish and prawns for our dinner – mom declined at first, saying it was too expensive; but when I asked her, ‘how often do you get spoiled?’ she gladly accepted and, when the food came, tucked in with little exclamations of appreciation.
But the main event, as it were, was the discovery of oysters. Mom confessed she had never had them: and agreed to try one if I ordered a plate. I ordered a half dozen; she slipped one down her throat, and promptly laid claim to half of the remainder. I ordered another plate, and we downed those too – they taste of the sea, she exclaimed, with delight, and they did: meaty, silky, tasting of sea and air.
Driving back home over the mountains, a huge yellow harvest moon – that is what the Canadians call it – hung low over the darkened peninsula, familiar and friendly, yet a token, too, of our place in the universe.