Finally the rain stopped and we could pack a dry tent. But not before a nervous moment just before sunrise when we heard the drops fall again. But it was just a passing shower and by the time we were ready to drop the tent, it was dry again. Admittedly, we did take rather a long time to pack up but the last day at Glengarry had been so nice, we were hesitant to leave. After a leisurely stroll over the golf course and a sundowner on the deck overlooking Windmill Dam, who’d want to leave?
But we had some cycling to do and it wasn’t a holiday, after all. All packed up, we waved goodbye to another couple we’d met out on their morning walk, and headed off.
The road into Kamberg (the area where Glengarry lies) may be tar, but is not in a very good condition at all. There was just boards all over warning of potholes, but no-one was actually doing anything about fixing said holes. Anyway, it was quite alright for the one out front on the bicycle because they could avoid the worst of them, but it was another story for the driver of the back-up vehicle. In spots the vehicle was left clear behind. In spite of the thin air (…altitude…) and the awful road, we reached Rosetta in no time at all. Rosetta was the little hamlet at which we’d officially join the Midlands Meander in the direction of Mooi River.
The road became busier and busier, and the hills were fierce. But the drivers were all of the patient variety and dutifully slowed to a crawl behind us as the cyclist out front frantically pumped the pedals to try and crest the hills a bit faster. Breathing like a hippo, pumping the air into our lungs, we desperately tried to get more oxygen to our crying muscles. And then suddenly Mooi River would appear in the distance. A long downhill was our reward and we took it at pace. But we decided to hop off the side of the road at a little picnic site about 2km out of town. We’d port through Mooi River since we had no clue what the roads would look like or the amount of traffic, for that matter.
It turned out that we hardly touched the town but turned away towards Greytown instead. Then it was just to find another farm road to pull off in and unload the bikes again.
The undulating hills of KZN began and we rolled over them with ease. It was a great cycling day. The only trouble was the oppressive heat. Yet, it maxed out at about 30 degrees so we could continue until well after a lunch of peanut butter energy bars on the side of the road. Lynsey had wacked out a whopping turn as she’d tried her level best to get past some farms from which emanated a smell which could only be described as ‘evil’. The closest thing to that smell would’ve been the smell of fresh vomit! So she cranked at a blinding pace before she added to the smell herself. Suzann had caught one, no actually two, of the only hectic hills on the road and was pouring with sweat by the time we pulled off for lunch.
After lunch it was the case of ‘lunch legs’ and things started to slow down a bit. At the end of the day we managed 91.1km.
Then it was just the case of finding Shalom Farm. We drove through Greytown until we found a little parking spot in front of the primary school. From there we had to make a phone call for directions. Lucky for us, we got an escort to the Old Farm House B&B on Shalom courtesy of Angus and Jill Buchan’s youngest daughter, Jilly, in her white Hilux that she drove with vigour … we had to ‘trap hom’ to keep up.
Despite our sweat encrusted bodies and our less than pleasant smell, we were received with open arms. Aunty Jill was too decent to comment on our odour but did say we looked much better after our showers. We had the guest house to ourselves and were treated like queens for a night. Even Hamilton had a roof over its head. And thank goodness for that since a storm was brewing and it did eventually pour down in buckets a little while after we’d turned in for the night. But that was not before we were treated to a wonderful home cooked meal … farm food, as Aunty Jill calls it. We would rather call it five star fare … and Suzann got her apple tart with cinnamon she’d been craving, just the way its made at home. We’d gorged ourselves on the homemade lemon cordial that Aunty Jill had left for us in the fridge so we were well hydrated for a change.
Next morning would be very special indeed … breakfast with Uncle Angus … What a man?! He had such a huge presence that when he left, we felt that something was missing. But so humble and so generous … He was not above making us each a cup of coffee as well. He wanted to hear our story and gave much encouragement and advise. He also gave much encouragement when it came to eating as well. We ended up having the Shalom special of mieliepap with brown sugar and cream before our fruit salad and yogurt. Then came the cooked breakfast of two eggs, cheese grillers, bacon, tomato and then there was still croissants with farm butter and jam! Of course, he dug in with gusto and we followed his lead.
After we’d received our signed copies of the Bible with devotionals by Uncle Angus, he had to leave. It was one of his filming days and the crew were coming up from Durban for the recording of his Grassroots series. With a photo and a big hug he left the building and we were left to pack up the last few things and head out for the northern KZN coast at Stanger.
It was an amazing privilege to meet Uncle Angus and Aunty Jill. They treated us like family and we felt so at home. Our thank you’s felt very inadequate in return for what they’d done for us but that was all we had and I think that was all they wanted. We have had to learn to allow other people to help us for that is their gift and our gifts are not for ourselves, but for others …