Sunday, 7 February 2016

Beautiful Scenery And Good Food

SM Stirling, Conquistador (New York, 2004), Interlude, pp. 226-230.

In the Commonwealth of New Virginia, where the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains sweep down to the Los Angeles basin (see image), Piet Botha, affiliated to the Versfelds, a recent addition to the Thirty Families, has built a long, single-storied Cape-Dutch style farmhouse with whitewashed walls and tiled roof surrounded by ten acres of orange trees.

From the stoep, Piet:

feels warmth from the stone walls despite the cool sea wind;
smells the perfume of the orange trees, also wind-blown manzanita and sage;
sees -

green growth;
flowers among tall grass;
willow, oak, cottonwood and sycamore groves beside the many streams, swamps and sloughs;
entwined alder, hackberry, shrubs, California rose, grapevines, blackberries and brambles.

Piet and his guest sip coffee and eat koeksisters, syrup-coated doughnut-like sweet pastries, while awaiting lamb sosaties and rice -

lamb cubes,
marinated in wine and vinegar,
spiced with coriander, pepper, turmeric and tamarind,
skewered with apricots and peppers,
grilled over a fire of chaparral scrub oak wood.

Piet's people have lost the good life in South Africa but regained it in New Virginia.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I remember this part of CONQUISTADOR. As usual, Stirling tempts us with delicious food! (Smiles)

And, more seriously, Piet told his guest that they should be content with building a new life in the Commonwealth and forget about South Africa either on First Side or the Other Side.