BrambleBerry Lodge in the Natal midlands was a picture perfect choice for a family reunion break. Nottingham Road was closer for the Durban folks but not unreasonably far for the Jo’burg contingent. We instantly fell in love with the wooden house overlooking a dam. Last year we chose Birdsong Cottages in the central Drakensberg for our get together. The drawback there was staying in 2 separate houses and schlepping between the two for meals and family time.
Family holidays like Christmas come with the pressure to shine as perfect, golden moments. If they fall shy of lofty expectations, disappointment is felt. Reality is however imperfect, not filtered fake picture perfect shareable snapshots.
Mum is our centre and without her we felt a little adrift. Sadly days before the holiday her partner Charlie collapsed with a ruptured brain aneurysm, she needed to be at the hospital. The shadow of his plight was felt by all. Charlie passed away the following week leaving a gaping void. I was horribly ill with a lung infection and before leaving home Cliff and I had, had a blazing row. Heath could not leave work in Cape Town and was also missed. Dad was in a dark space too, and we worried about him. In short many of us were not in the ideal space to enjoy our time together to the fullest. Yet imperfectly we had a special and memorable time.
Coincidentally as was the case in the Drakensberg, the children had their own island to explore and went off for hours into the magical, untarnished world of childhood. Adults chilled on the grassy banks, reading, chatting and simply being.
I felt sad that this was our last family holiday before Domi and Duncan leave for Canada. Without Domi organising every detail from booking to meals, this was most likely the last until they visit SA.
I can’t imagine a venue more perfect than BrambleBerry Lodge. We always love to experience new places but it will be very tempting to return.