Sunday Times Books LIVE Community Sign up

Login to Sunday Times Books LIVE

Forgotten password?

Forgotten your password?

Enter your username or email address and we'll send you reset instructions

Sunday Times Books LIVE

Alex Smith

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Secret Gardens of Cape Town #10: Mount Nelson Sculpture Garden

Pink HotelFor one stretching second upon a time, in the early hours of a Tuesday morning, when the moon had turned to blood, three apocalyptic dogs, a piano playing vulture, a group of people holding up a baobab tree and Chinese water goddess, rose up from out of their cast bronze gowns and commenced a dance of cartwheels and pirouettes upon the perfect undulating lawns of an historic pink palatial hotel. Save the hotel cat, who had been eviscerating a field mouse, nobody saw this remarkable event. Nobody was meant to. And we would not have any inkling of what was coming, had we, when we visited the sculpture garden the Friday before, not overheard the whisper of an upside down horse positioned near a lavish English flowerbed of Salvias, Dahlias, Roses and other belles. It was Granny Jay, who loves to eavesdrop, who heard the clandestine discussion between the creatures of the menagerie at the Mount Nelson Hotel. We pondered the forthcoming festivities of the Blood Moon Ball over our tea and scones, but since none of us is rich enough to book into the said establishment, and anyway, some of us have bedtime at 7.30pm, we knew there was no chance we’d be able to gatecrash the auspicious pre-dawn event. However, I can highly recommend a wander through those gardens and their curious bounty of artworks by some of the country’s most esteemed sculptors. And considering the address, the cream tea is very competitive, actually less dear than Kirstenbosch. Elias handled the fine bone china with great aplomb for a boy not yet two. And then he enjoyed kissing the bronze vulture, climbing on the bronze cow, plucking the hearts out of hibiscuses and pinching petunias from the fountain display.

Mount Nelson Garden View resize

Devilskein&Dearlove is due to be published by Random House Umuzi in SA and Arachne press in the UK in July 2014. It is a ‘Secret Garden’ for the 21st century, set in Long Street Cape Town. Perfect for precocious readers from the age of 12 and up!


Recent comments:

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Sally</a>
    April 16th, 2014 @13:39 #


  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Colleen</a>
    April 16th, 2014 @18:12 #

    Love the pic of Elias drinking tea the best

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    April 19th, 2014 @01:14 #

    Lovely post, lovely pics, adorable Elias.


Please register or log in to comment

» View comments as a forum thread and add tags in BOOK Chat