Friday, 27 November 2015

Saving the best for last

We are now in the BA lounge at Cape Town International Airport. The last town en route to the airport is the rather drab Somerset West, which has often been our last port of call as it is the home of arguably the Cape's most spectacular wine estate, Vergelegen.

The estate was acquired illegally in 1700 by an early Governor of the Cape, Willem Adriaan van der Stel. Van der Stel used the resources and slave labour of his employer, the Dutch East India Company, to improve the estate, and in 1706 a number of free burghers at the Cape drew up a formal memorandum complaining about his illegal activities and van der Stel and other officials were sacked, and three-quarters of the original Vergelegen estate was destroyed or sold off.

In 1917 Vergelegen was purchased by the millionaire mine magnate Sir Lionel Phillips as a present for his wife Florence. She remodeled aspects of the house and planted the magnificent gardens.

It is always sad to leave the Cape but we will all be back again in April for Comminution '16 and I will be in Cape Town in early February for a few days to report on African Mining Indaba '16 at the Convention Centre.

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