Finally, the intense heat of the day is starting to subside. Gone are the days when the sun would peek between midday and 2pm and turn the heat of the day slowly down. Now, afternoons stay sweltering until 5pm; only then does the tension of the atmosphere start to ease with the lowering light.
Sitting on the front lawn of the Rickety Bridge Manor House, indulgent picnic for two in front of us (which includes charcuterie, cheese and biscuits, salads, desserts and a good bottle of Rickety Bridge MCC), the day is starting to feel more comfortable. The privilege of lounging under the shade of the old oak tree is reserved exclusively guests of the Manor House – an experience we highly recommend.
The hillside shadows are starting to creep over the vibrant vineyards, bursting with this season’s grapes ready to be harvested in the next few days. The tasting room is closing, as the sound of day visitors’ laugher fades over the rickety bridge, back towards town.
Usually the staff collect the picnic items, but we offered to move everything inside in exchange for a little more time outside. But now, it’s time for us to move in. With this much food, it’s not likely that I will need anything further to eat so we retreat to our room to the gentle sounds of crickets, owls and birds cheeping in the warm of the summer evening.
Having had the whole pool to myself earlier on in the day, I rinse out my cozzie and enjoy a quick shower. The en-suite bathroom includes a large bath, slower and his and hers sinks. The passageway between the bathroom and bedroom provides ample space for large suitcases – this loft is easily for short terms or long stays.
Climbing into bed, I pretend to be Marie Antoinette and finish off the last of the Rickety Bridge Blanc de Blanc Cap Classique. It’s been a perfect day; nothing like fresh air, exercise, good food and great wine to deliver a good night’s rest.
The aircon also allows us to sleep snuggly under our canopy as the wind in the valley picks up. Usually this means lots of rattling and unsettling noises, but the newly thatched roof means this old Manor House is as secure as a rock and any wind sounds more like a soft sea than scary monster.
The following morning is bright and gorgeous. Opening our little bedroom window that overlooks the pool and some of the valley, the oak tree really makes me feel like I’m a character in a Disney movie. The charm of this Cape Dutch manor house is so pure and invigorating.
We descent for our breakfast, the first to appear it seems. Securing a table under the creaky wooden stairs, we’re treated to a delicious Full English before the other guests arrive. While they opt to sit outside at the pool, I take a last turn in the Old Lady. Beautiful, large cupboards, tables and sideboards adorn the entrance hall. Soft comfortable couches welcome guests in the lounge area. Secret, shallow cupboards and cutlery displays hint at the past of this incredible house.
Sadly, it’s time for us to depart. The Manor House at Rickety Bridge is filled with old world charm; from the panelled windows, stable front door, large beams holding up the room and latched windows, it really feels like a break from the norm. Having also gone to boarding school, I have an affinity for these old building that lay so slow and sturdy but have been witness to so many South African stories.
Find the Rickety Bridge Manor House located next to the Paulina Restaurant and wine tasting lounge at the Rickety Bridge farm just outside Franschhoek. Also a part of the Franschhoek Wine Tram route, be sure to stop in and enjoy a wine tasting, lunch or picnic on the beautiful estate.
The Rickety Bridge is still there, but it has been secured and modernise with tarmac, however, as soon as you go over the little humped brook you know it’s where the fairy tale begins.
Thank you to Rickey Bridge for hosting us at your beautiful manor house.