HOOK LINE SINKER…and CAMELS

On the whitewashed walls of The Pickled Fish is the front page of the New York Times, April 16 1912, blown up so big the four distinctive funnels of the Titanic are pixellated. It’s a cheeky image given that all things nautical here are hero. So we drink to the memory of those who went down over a saffron-laced paella heavy with tiger prawns and a bowl of fat creamy mussels. Wonder what was on their menu that fateful night.

The Pickled Fish is a little bit of treasure buried in Imhoff’s Farm in Kommetjie – a sort of cottage cluster of all that’s left of an old 18th century farmstead once known as Imhoff’s Gift*. If you’ve driven past it on the way to Cape Point, you might have double-taked on the camels at the entrance. Izak the camel is kneeling and sleeping – at least his enormous lids are closed and his ruminating muzzle at rest. Johan has kept his camels here for 16 years, they browse on the Port Jackson bush in a field nearby and work respectable hours, noon to four daily. Work is carrying the odd child on a camelhaired back for a circuit round the green. The Parks Board should consider employing Izak and friends all over the peninsula to eat out the alien vegetation that’s killing off the fynbos. Just a thought.

* For being such an efficient farmer and supplying passing ships with vegetables, in the late 1700’s Baron Gustav Willem van Imhoff granted the widow Christina Rousseau a piece of farm land to continue her fertile work. It became known as Imhoff’s Gift.

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