Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Sidewalk Café

On a corner at 33 Derry Street in Vredehoek, Cape Town, stands the Sidewalk Café.  We were meeting my daughter Lexie there to enjoy Sunday lunch together.  I was instantly intrigued by the sight of green double doors. 'The Green Door' is a  short story by O. Henry, also a song from the 50's.  It describes an  establishment with green doors, behind which a "happy crowd" play piano, smoke and "laugh a lot".   So what lay behind these green doors?   All sorts of happy surprises!

We left the damp Cape winter's day behind as we entered the warmth and buzz of the Café.  It is not a huge place and while the tables are cleverly placed to optimise the space, it filled up rapidly.  One enters what appears to be an enclosed stoep.  There are tables set against a backdrop of all sorts of interesting and quirky oddments.   Then, through a  glass door to more tables and a bar counter above which hang a variety of weird and wonderful things.

We were shown to our table near the bar.  Lexie was waiting for us, happily sipping a glass of Brampton Sauvignon Blanc, while perusing the menu and enjoying the vibe of this lovely place.  In no time at all I was also enjoying a glass of Brampton and Eugene, a Windhoek light.   We decided to order before we got too involved in the detail of all the fascinating bits and pieces around us.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Duchess Of Wisbeach

Dining with the Duchess at No.1 Wisbeach Rd, Sea Point

I would never have thought that whimsy could exist and flourish in tatty world-weary old Sea Point.   But it does exist and it has flourished at  'The Duchess of Wisbeach'.

The Duchess experience starts outside the red double doors of the restaurant.  Atop tables that are set on the pavement, gas lights flicker in their lanterns.  The door is flanked by two large painted cameos of women, one languidly smoking a cheroot.   A very elegant doorman, Innocence, welcomes us and ushers us in.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Etiquette Revisited

Are you challenged, confounded or simply puzzled by social situations brought about by a technological explosion happening at the speed of light?    Pitfalls are many and manners are in crisis.

Back Chat reviews the niceties and nuances of etiquette in a new age.

This guide deals with rules of civility and also acts as a reminder that however much the rules of courtesy appear to have changed with the times - manners matter!   We need to adapt to a new etiquette.

But are you still at sea?   Do you still have niggling doubts about this new etiquette?  Then remember that help is at hand.   Contact me by email at or leave a comment on the blog.  I would love to help you sort out the tricky situations that are troubling you.

How To Behave When You Mean Business


The rules of business etiquette are unique.  It is all about communication.
You and your company will be judged by how well you communicate!
Social etiquette is based on chivalry;
Business etiquette is based on hierarchy.
Rank and authority outrank gender and age.

Does this seem like a minefield?  Are you bewildered and confused by all the possible pitfalls? Join Back Chat as we take you through the nuances and niceties of this tricky business.

If you still have problems do contact me by email at or leave a comment on the blog.  I would love to hear from you and help you solve your problems