UK blockbuster novelist Penny Vincenzi has included Cape Town in her latest 750-page book, “The Best of Times”, which was launched in Cape Town just over a week ago.
Speaking at the book launch lunch, organised by the Cape Times and Wordsworth, and held at Sevruga, Vincenzi explained that no experience or information she gathers is lost to her books. Vincenzi and her husband had visited Cape Town for the launch of her previous book two years ago.
The new novel refers to two of the characters visiting Cape Town for a medical congress, staying at “the Vineyard: a five-star wonder nestled just below Table Mountain, with rambling showpiece gardens, complete with giant tortoises and incredible flowers, and a superb spa”, going up Table Mountain, driving along Chapman’s Peak to Cape Point, visiting the townships, going out to Robben Island, and then leaving Cape Town on the Blue Train, travelling to Pretoria, from where the couple flies to the Kruger National Park.
Cape Town’s popularity as a tourist destination should increase due to the reference in the book, given the success Vincenzi has in her book sales, selling millions of copies. Her books hook the reader in, and are “utterly unputdownable”, as the cover of the book says accurately.
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The Sweet Service Award goes to the Conservatoire at the University of Stellenbosch, for organising the Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival at the Endler Hall, from 3 – 12 July, bringing the best classical music talent from South Africa and overseas to Stellenbosch. Every night a top class concert is offered. The highlights so far have been the most thrilling marriage between the Four Seasons of Vivaldi and ‘The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires’ by Argentinian tango composer Astor Piazolla, under the inspirational leadership of Daniel Rowland, a dynamic violinist who performs in the UK, Holland, in Europe, Australia, the Far East and South Africa. The launch of the ‘Seasons’ CD co-incided with the Rowland concert. A further highlight was the narration of Prokovief’s ‘Peter and the Wolf’ by Nataniel, who was given free reign of the text, and turned the scary fable into an hilarious modern-day fable, consisting of the characters Peter, his wife and Mrs Ecksteen! The Wolf becomes a weedeater, which Peter uses to mow his lawn and that of his neighbour. The audience could barely contain its laughter, with the modern-day tale supported by the classical music of the children’s story.
The Sour Service Award goes to Sevruga in the V & A Waterfront, for the poor service and poor value-for-money at the Cape Times/Wordsworth launch lunch of Penny Vincenzi’s ‘The Best of Times’. On arrival, the Sevruga manager seemed surprised to be requested to show the guest the table at which she was to be seated. The welcome drink was not offered, and had to be requested. The restaurant was taken over by the launch, and the restaurant kept it really simple by offering a choice of two options per course. There was no excuse for them to get it so badly wrong. The waiter taking the order got every choice wrong when he read it back to the customer. The duck consomme tasted like a very watered down tomato broth, without a taste of duck. The waitress offered to “pepper grinder” the starters. The “soup” spoon appeared to be inappropriate for the soup, but the customer was assured that it was a soup spoon. The chicken breast was good, but was near to cold and was served with four chip “bricks”, hardly appropriate for a predominantly ladies’ lunch! The dessert was good and well matched with the Boschendal Brut Rose served with it. Interestingly, the same “soup” spoon did service as a dessert spoon as well! A cappuccino was ordered, and before it was brought to the table the General Manager made sure to tell the table that it would be for the guests’ own account. It arrived close to cold, and a fellow attendee complained. The Manager offered to replace the coffees. When the customers wanted to pay for the coffee, a waitress said that there had been a mistake, and that the coffees should not have been charged. Sevruga clearly was unable to handle such a large group of Penny Vincenzi fans!
The WhaleTales Sweet & Sour Service Awards are presented every Friday on the WhaleTales blog. Nominations for the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be sent to Chris von Ulmenstein at firstname.lastname@example.org. Past winners of the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be read on the Friday posts of this blog, and in the WhaleTales newsletters on the www.whalecottage.com website.