Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The Elusive Grand Marigold

Two weeks ago, my daughter, Shirley and I went off for a weekend  together. We had been planning this excursion for a long time. I have attended the annual McGregor Poetry Festival every year, but it was the first  time for Shirley. Granny, the old hand, was to organise everything. This turned out to be a mistake. First of all I found it  impossible to book events online. I had to ask Shirley to do so. I told her which ones I wanted, but somehow we managed to double book and acquire tickets  for two events in one slot. I did manage to do the airline bookings successfully after spending most of one frustrating morning at it and Shirley was able to arrive and depart  at the right times and on the right days. The accommodation, however was a different matter.

I found what seemed to be the ideal Bed and Breakfast place online. It was the exotic name.the Grand Marigold, that appealed to me. I duly booked two nights and received an E-mail confirming my booking.  I did not make a note of the street address or the phone number, but printed out the e-mail and put it in my bag. Unfortunately, I decided at the last moment to take a smaller handbag with me and the e-mail got left behind.

When we arrived in McGregor, early in the afternoon. I realised that I did not know where to find our accommodation, so we decided to go first to Temenos where the booking office was situated and where we would be able to get directions to the various venues. We were sure that the organisers would know the Grand Marigold. To our amazement, nobody there had ever heard of it!  Never, mind, we would go to the Tourist Office. The people working there would be bound to know where it was. No, they had never heard of it either. they had a list of places offering accommodation and a large board on which B and Bs and 'Self-catering rooms" were advertised. but the Grand Marigold did not appear on either. Booking sites on the Internet were consulted, lots of places found, but no Grand Marigold to be seen.
"Are you sure it is in Mcgregor and not in Robertson or Greyton?"
by this time I was not sure of anything except that we had come all the way to McGregor and now had nowhere to lay our heads.
The kindly lady in the tourist office offered to find us a room. At this late date it was an almost impossible task, but somebody appeared at the door just as we were about to give up with the news of a cancellation. A small cottage and we would have to  share a bed, but we took it.  It was quite close  being situated in Darling Street, which we thought was also the Street where the Grand Marigold was hiding, but though we drove up and down that street several times we found no sign indicating anything grand or Marigold. We saw someone coming out of a house and inquired of them where the Grand marigold might be."Never heard of it" was the answer."

On Sunday, about to leave, we were in the Booking office again. We told the lady behind the counter about our fruitless search for the Grand Marigold. She had never heard of it either, but she did a more comprehensive search on the Internet and  found it advertised there. There was even a picture of its front gates.
"I know those gates," she said. "It isn't the Grand Marigold. It is a place called the Loft"
It must have changed its name, but kept it a secret.
Back at home I received an E-mail asking why we had  not arrived at the Grand Marigold.


The room we booked had two big beds,
a kettle and  TV
We could have watched the breakfast show
while we drank our morning tea.

But though we searched McGregor
and everywhere around.
This most elusive B and B
was nowhere to be found.

McGregor Poetry Festival 2017

This year's Poetry Festival, the fifth one, was, I think, the best one for me. Because I was not doing a presentation, I was able to relax and attend more of the events. Best of all, I had the joy of introducing my daughter, Shirley, to McGregor and to the fun of hearing poetry and of writing it too. At the last event, an "Open Mic" she even took part and read a poem of her own!
One of the best things about the festival is the opportunity of meeting old friends, all writers or readers of poetry. For the first time, I was able to visit the donkey sanctuary. Unfortunately they were not doing tours as it was too late in the day, but we were able to see the donkeys from the other side of the fence. We also visited some art galleries and took home a wooden"sculpture".

Highlights of our weekend were the presentations of John Maythem and Finuala Dowling and the "Beat Poets" read by Chris Marais and co.

We had an unusual. adventure as well. we couldn't find the B and B in which we had booked a room and had to stay elsewhere, not quite as convenient but adequate.