My father took the family to South Africa for the first time when I was six. We sailed from Southampton to Cape Town on the Warwick Castle, taking the Blue Train overnight to Johannesburg where my father was to start a business. My love for southern Africa stems from these few months: the memory of long drives starting before dawn along bumpy, un-tarred roads; the heat and scale of the landscape. The contrast to the gentle forms and soft light of Kent could not have been greater.
In 1997-98, I spent a year in Cape Town, living close to the celebrated Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden lying at the foot of Table Mountain. In winter, I discovered the way the setting sun seemed to pour through the mountain, illuminating the Silver Trees, and dramatically silhouetting Aloes and Euphorbias in the garden.
Our walk conducted us to a high part of the hill of Wynberg, which overlooks Kerstenbosch… The view from this spot, is the most picturesque of any I had seen in the vicinity. The Rev. C.I. Latrobe, 1816.