On the last full day of the tour Allan Lamb had organised a visit to the Welbedacht Vineyards in Wellington, a 90 minute drive away. These vineyards normally have a restaurant and wine tasting areas with breathtaking views and this was no exception.
See here for a link to their website – SCHALK BURGER & SONS
The owner was a huge man called Schalk Burger. His grandfather was Jan Smuts, the only man to sign the treaties of both the First and Second World War and a distinguished Commonwealth and South African statesman, and his son the Schalk Burger who plays for Saracens. This Schalk Burger was an international lock in the sixties.
He gave us a brief tour and explanation of the winemaking and then we sat down to an excellent four course meal showcasing his whites and reds. These are of high quality especially the Chenin Blanc.
There was a small band playing what a friend of mine calls teachers trainer’s music – Cat Stevens, Ralph McTell – but I always think music does accompany the meal. At the end Schalk agreed to play the guitar and sing a couple of songs. He chose Knockin’ On Heaven ‘s Door because of the immigration issue that dominated the previous year and Let it Be . He sang in a lilting voice and played his guitar well . it was still a sad moment as it was the end of the tour, it seemed an age ago that we boarded the boat for the Bay cruise. Promises are made and sometimes kept to meet again. I am not one for these reunions as you never recreate the happy circumstances and happenstance that threw a collection of cricket lovers together.
As ever Martin was the life and soul. He was disabled at birth but this did not stop him from enjoying and appreciating life to the fullest. He was regaling us with a story of his last night:Lamby offered him a drink in the bar. He asked for a whisky. A few moments later the Lamby party of 8, comprising a few well known English cricketers, disappeared and the barman said no-one has paid and suggested Martin covered the numerous rounds of drinks. To be fair both Lamby – who thought he’d put it down to his room – and his wife were mortified and offers to reimburse him. “I’m not having that …” said Martin “… I will live off telling this story for years. In fact it’s so good I’m buying you a bottle of red”. Everyone likes and admires Martin in equal measure and the great thing is that he can take a joke against himself as when Garth le Roux said you must have been quite a fast bowler in your day!
For all her help I told Connsita we would go to her favourite restaurant, which was Nobu in the One And Only Hotel. The bar, with a back drop of the Table Mountain, was impressive but the hotel and Nobu a bit too cool and trendy for this old man. Even at South African prices the meal of the famous black cod and Sushi plate was expensive. We had a final drink in the Union Bar of the Table away. I joshed Martin that he had gone from being the most popular guy in the box to the most popular in the hotel (“Here comes Martin, the drinks are on him!”) but he was not on hand to cover two large malts ….