The drive back to Cape Town was hot and tiring on bad roads and then we ran into thicker traffic on the N1. We tried cutting across to the N2 on the M7 and ran into crawling traffic. It got to be stop-start across three lanes and the white to black ratio fell dramatically. We inched by signs that said 'Be vigilant' and then across an intersection with signs saying, 'Smash and Grab Hotspot'. We were on a main road to Khayelitsha (the predominantly Black African township of 1m) and Mitchell’s Plain (the Coloured township established after the forced clearance of District Six under Apartheid).
The road was flanked by increasingly raggedy and improvised housing. Even here the single-storey concrete block houses with a shade tree had 24 hour armed response signs. Big sandy verges. I wanted to accelerate my way out of the tension but there was nowhere to go. Slowly, slowly the hump up onto the flyover for the N2 appeared and we inched toward it. Past a white guy broken down on the flyover roundabout, on his mobile. The police in attendance. Finally we got onto the familiar territory of the N2 and we picked up speed. Belting by the tin shacks, acre after acre, baking in the sun. The Moreson wine turning sour in our bellies.
We drove out to Franschhoek, one of the key Cape Wineland towns. By now I was getting immune to the stunning scenery, the brilliance of the blue sky, the ruggedness of the mountains, the manicured perfection of the valley bottoms and their vines.
Franschhoek was beautifully end-of-season quiet and surprisingly small compared to the build-up in the guide books. I had expected a small French provincial town. We shopped amiably hearing stories of flight from Zimbabwe and then drove out of town to Bread and Wine, the restaurant on the Moreson estate.
It was a beautiful late summer day in the low thirties. The Moreson Vineyard is six km out of town and hidden down a little side turning. The restaurant is in a lovely courtyard surrounded by a lemon grove and running water. The food was exquisite - spare and delicate charcuterie, fantastic bread, a delicious light pissaladiere with prawns and bacon, coffee with truffles, and the clearest, minerally, rich 2010 Sauvignon Blanc from the estate.
The meal for four came to R760 (€74/£59.40) - roughly half a month's pay for a farm worker on the minimum wage of R1,503 (€148/£117) a month.
We tried to buy some of the Sauvignon but it was sold out, despite our waitresses special pleading. So we bought a bottle of the Chenin Blanc and the Chardonnay. Both were excellent sipped on our balcony back in Cape Town looking across at Table Mountain.