A Day Trip to Richmond

the oaks Saturday was a fun day. We took a day trip out to Richmond, about 40 minutes from here, to get some paperwork for Colleen (Bryan's daughter) who is in a sheltered home. She is going over to see them in April and Mick is sorting things out for them.

It is a really pretty drive, picked Colleen up and went into the town for her passport pix. Richmond is a very "African" town. The streets filled with vendors selling mangos, onions, cabbages and clothes and heaven knows what else. The store fronts all dilapidated and many closed. I wanted to take pictures but was nervous about getting out with my big honking camera, way too obvious and wished I'd been able to buy the little Lumix before I left.



Because Colleen gets out so little, we planned to take her to lunch. After a bit of a misdirection, we drove back through town and out the other side, into miles and miles of tree farms. Not much out there but wanted to go to Burne Valley where we thought we might find a cafe or pub.

When we got to The Oaks, we were too early for lunch but walked around a bit. A beautiful place that looked like it has been there for years. It has pool, tennis courts, putt putt, a couple of pubs and a restaurant and a lot of guest rooms around the grounds. It would be a lovely place to go for a few days of peace and tranquility.

It was misty, drizzly day so we didn't wander too much and went back to the "village" of Burne Valley where we had seen a sign for Etterby's which advertised itself as a tea garden. Walking in from the road, we were met by the proprietor, a little lady who has lived on the property almost all her life. We strolled down to the house, me expecting to see a cafe or something. Silly me! Her old house was it and she sent the maid off to get table and chairs, while she told us about the place. How the tree farms had destroyed the aquifers, that there used to me abundant water in the valley, and now there wasn't and she  had to buy village water.


The house is classic, big wide veranda running around it. And the gardens! Oh what a pleasure. Old, established trees and bushes and flowers. On the veranda were starts of all sorts of plants. There was a Pride of India that must have been at least 40 feet tall.

The veranda was full of all sorts of stuff that she apologized for, saying she was storing it for a friend who was moving. All the while, her three dogs trailed after her wherever she went - a black and tan dachshund, an old staffie and little terrier of some sort who wanted to play.


Our table was brought in from the garden, chairs wiped down and dried, and we proceeded to order toasted sandwiches and coffee, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

As I sat that, I had to compare where I was with back in the States, even Port Townsend which can be pretty funky (or at least used to be) and thought how much better life is with places like Etterby Tea Garden. Where you can't be in a rush and you can't expect matching cups and saucers or color coordinated table linen. And where the prices are reasonable and you wonder how she makes a profit, and then realize that she probably runs the Tea Garden simply to have visitors.

All in all, a good day.