Monthly Archives: August 2014

To all the dogs in Stanford…

Please join me in celebrating my birthday and first year in Stanford at 3 pm on Sunday, 31 August. We shall meet on the field by the river at the corner of Sannie Badenhorst and Sillery Streets, where we shall enjoy an early spring walk. Humphrey, Beauty and Boefje will be there to receive you with plenty of sniffs, chases and frizbees. I shall provide doggie treats and free ‘doggie-do’ bags. Of course your owners are also invited. They will no doubt want to bring a small picnic like tea/wine and biscuits (it is my birthday after all!) and perhaps something to sit upon. There will be a prize of a free trip overseas plus all expenses paid to the first dog who guesses my age correctly (not easy!). Hope to see you all there! – Emma Kriel

Knowing Emma, who by the way, has published two books to date, and also the many dogs there are in Stanford, I was intrigued by this invitation in our local newspaper, Stanford River Talk, and just had to join this party. Poor Anna, our great Dane, and Kerneels, our very handsome mixed-breed, had to stay at home as Kerneels hates to be inside a car! First to arrive were Emma and her chows, with neighbour, Yvonne, and their 13 year-old labrador, Rits, all of them with red bows tied around their necks. Mike and Penny and their doggie-children arrived a little later, and they had beautiful pink bows tied around their necks. They were washed and groomed especially for this occassion, but dog being dog, it was not long before one of them had a cool-off swim in the river, and came to shake himself dry on the picnic blanket where we were sitting! Emma handed out treats, the humans had tea, wine, cookies and biscuits. And as the afternoon progressed, more and more doggies and their owners joined the fun… What a way to celebrate life, spring and friendship!

Emma Kriel

We first met Emma in the early 2000s shortly after I’ve read her first book, Close the door softly behind you. Since then I’ll have to buy her book for the third time now, as I’ve lent mine out and they just never found their way home again. A year ago Emma moved to Stanford, and as people are always curious about what brought newcomers to the village, here is what Emma herself wrote after being asked that question at a luncheon.  “Is it the scenery, the charming cottages, the friendly people, they ask – sipping the full bodied local wine, while I take a moment to reflect – or is it the village atmosphere and the great walks? ‘Yes,’ I reply, ‘…it’s all of those, but also the many happy, well-groomed and frequently-walked dogs I see everywhere, sending me a clear message that indeed, this is the placae for us.’ My three pooches wagged their tails in agreement!”

Doggie party

Emma’s books:

Close the Door Softly“How does a woman who has only ever been a mother – to seven children! – find out who she is? She takes her caring to London, where she looks after various well-heeled English people (or their children). She helps nervous first-time mothers; a feisty old woman with Alzheimer’s; a professor with Parkinson’s who just wants to “cuddle”; and cooks and cleans for minor aristocrats at their villa in France; an old Lady’s two overweight Corgis; and ex Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath. Through these experiences — some painful, some joyful, all holding hope and laughter — she discovers more about herself and even meets a new love. She also realises what it is to work and care for people who aren’t one’s family and on her return, she sends a letter to be kept on file by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission – an open letter to all the maids I’ve ever had and in grateful thanks for their loyal service. Join this middle-aged, slightly eccentric woman on this journey taken later in life where, in trying to teach her children independence, she discovers her own.”


9781770200142“Jam Every Other Day is the memoir of how the author raised six children on little more than love and good intentions.

Emma and her husband wanted a warm, busy house, full of laughter and muddy footprints and, under the leafy oaks of what was then ‘rural’ Constantia, that’s just what they got. Geese, ponies, dogs, an Oldtjorrie and a rag doll called Giblet completed the already remarkable family. After a mutually agreed separation Emma took her brood to the Knysna forest, where they continued to live the rustic lifestyle, this time without even running water!

Written in Emma’s distinctive, quirky style, the tale includes insights from her own childhood in Holland during World War 2. Along with the chaos of her family memoirs, come gems of caring advice to modern moms (like her own daughters).”


Emma’s books are for sale (R 170.00 each, including postage and packaging) via email:

For readings, creative writing for schools and talks you can write her an email or send her a letter: P.O. Box 297, Stanford 7210, South Africa.

Emma’s blog

More photos of the birthday party at the river:

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Great-great grandson of Sir Robert Stanford paid us a visit!

Gavin Stanford, a great-great grandson of Sir Robert Stanford, recently stayed over in the village and visited De Kleine River’s Valey house, his great-great grandfather’s farmhouse. Here he is with the present owner, Irene Tomlinson. Gavin is the owner of Stanford Lake Lodge in Haenertsburg / Magoebaskloof in the Limpopo Province.

Gavin Stanford, great-great grandson of Sir Robert Stanford

Gavin Stanford, great-great grandson of Sir Robert Stanford

De Kleine River's Valey House

De Kleine River’s Valey House

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

HOP-land, Stanford street photography.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Two photographers on the prowl… taking up the challenge!

Oh my, what have I gotten myself into this time?! On my way home from the post office today, I stopped for a chat with Herman van Bon, “originally Dutch and since 2000 living in South Africa and happily married to Yvonne de Wit”, who was out walking his dog. Herman and I have a couple of things in common: we’re both definitely not youngsters any more, we don’t colour our hair, we love photography and Stanford, dogs, cats, birds, plants and nature… We talked about my new blog, Portrait of a Village,  and Herman who in his own words “like challenges especially the ones people advise me not even to think of it”, challenged me with, “When are we going out together on a photo shoot?” Before I could say evasively, as I did in the past, “Sometime”, Herman said, “No, let’s fix a time.” I was trapped and couldn’t chicken out this time. So the challenge has been set – next week Monday morning at 07h00 we’ll start prowling around the village with our cameras.

Now, the first thing you have to understand is that I am not an early-morning person at all – can’t be when you only go to bed in the wee hours of the mornin’. Secondly, you must see Herman’s resumé! He’s a big cannon in the world of photographers. I snooped around on his website, and this is what I found:

I am a landscape and art-photographer creating digital ‘imaginaries’. These imaginaries each consist of tens of layers with elements/textures of (landscape-, garden-, domestic-) photographs to which I always add 1 or more ‘mainframes’ thus creating a new conceptual image.

I was involved in 2 (group-)exhibitions in 2013 in New York and Paris. Some of my work (I only sell one print of each image!) is on permanent display in public spaces.

Before becoming a full time art-photographer I was a free-lance (photo-)journalist traveling the globe for a wide range of media…

So, Monday morning, when the sun is still shy and hiding its face, we’ll be out and about. How exactly we’ll go about this, will still be decided. Maybe you could come up with some ideas, and next time even more of the Stanford photographers, professional and amateur, would like to join us.

What Herman doesn’t know is that although I do not have his experience, I have been taught photography by one of South Africa’s best, my own husband, Maré! Whatever comes out of this, I can assure you, it is going to be great fun! Watch this space for the photos and the accompanying story.

In the meantime, check out Herman’s Blogs: Life in a village named Stanford and Herman van Bon Photography

Until Monday then. In the meantime, here are a couple of photos I took with my cellphone on my way home. Herman and I tried a selfie, but it didn’t really work, nevertheless, here it is.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 5 Comments

Boskloof, ’n Overbergplaas by Thys de Villiers

On Saturday, 23 August 2014 Thys de Villiers of Boskloof, one of the oldest Overberg farms, launched his well-researched book on the history of his farm, its people, its historic mill and neighbours at Van Brakel Store. It was a double celebration, as Van Brakel Store’s owners, Ounooi van Straaten and Lizette van Brakel, were celebrating their 10th aniversary of the business. The book was edited and designed by Maré Mouton of Stanford. The celebrations were well-attended by family and many friends. The book is available @ Van Brakel Store and various other outlets and tourism bureaux. You can also e-mail Thys:

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at