Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Karoo Plainsong at 6000 ft

Karoo Plainsong has broken away from the bright lights of Cape Town and headed inland to its birthplace: Cradock, and the Karoo.

First, though, we stopped in Grahamstown, where the National English Literary Museum (NELM)hosted a morning tea/talk/booksigning for me. Lovely people, including representatives from the Rhodes Alumni, and even a lecturer from my student days.

Then on to Cradock through extraordinarily verdant countryside, which struck a real chord for me: Karoo Plainsong describes the devastating 1974 flood (remember my "Floods and Escapes" Blog about this in Oct?) Well, just the weekend before we arrived, the Groot Vis had done it again. The river rose to just below the level of the road bridge. This time, though, the townspeople were prepared. Folk from upriver were in mobile phone contact with those waiting downriver for the flood waters to arrive. Equipment was on hand to prevent debris choking the bridge and diverting the flood into town... But it wasn't necessary. The river took pity, and subsided before any damage was done.

Perhaps relief was one of the reasons for the hugely enthusiastic response to Karoo Plainsong in Cradock? All I can say is: they love life here, and they love the Karoo and they love their town. I was received with open arms, and could have sold many more books than I took along. Heartfelt thanks to the effervescent Lisa Antrobus, who organised everything. And then, after the dust? the waters? had settled, we drove up to the Mountain Zebra National Park, took the highest road and posed at 6000ft with the book! A 360 degree view on a crystal clear day. 40 to 50 km in all directions! What a homecoming for KP!

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