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An open-air office for all seasons

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These first words of this column are being written on a laptop, as usual.And this is being written at my office. It’s a magnificent office, truly. If you’d like a sneak view of my office, it’s pictured above. See my office? Splendid place.

Admittedly, it’s a fairly simple premises - with just one piece of furniture, the table you can see. Oh, and a chair – well, eight chairs – in case I need to have meetings, clearly.

My office is weatherproof too (apart from the laptop). My table and chairs remain outdoors all-year-round – and are admittedly looking a bit weather-beaten.

But then again, so is the person who uses them (me), so at least there’s consistency between us.

Many words have been written at this office – probably hundreds of thousands, about every subject under the sun, filling thousands of editions of the Cape Argus.

Well, maybe not on this precise laptop. And not only at this property in this magnificent forest of oak and cork trees in Mountain Road in Somerset West.

But all on this exact table.

This table has travelled, you see. It has soaked up words at The Oaks, off Viljoenshoop Road in the Elgin Valley too.

And, first, on a stoep at a little property called Penny Lane in a suburb called Bizweni.

For about 13 years, this table hasn’t only absorbed the four seasons and words, but food and drink – mainly beer, braai sauce and balsamic salad dressing, I guess.

And conversation! Wonderful shared moments.

Like with my late grandmother, at Christmas last year. Her last ever family lunch.

And, now that I examine this table, it’s absorbed other stuff too – like paint!

When my children used to do art on it, and a splash of yellow dribbled off the page.

I thought about this table today. Much has changed lately – change has seemingly become the norm, with new babies, new schools, new careers. And now, as of tomorrow, new offices.

Well, new actual office space.

But, at its heart, my new office, which will be on a pretty park, will have the same foundation: this roughly-hewn table. And that’s comforting. Very.

I know it’s just a few old planks banged together, but it feels like home, when I’m sitting at it, wherever it stands on its four sturdy legs.

Who’d have thought a table could be a man’s most loyal friend?

Perhaps it’s because it was a gift, long ago, from my most loyal friend...

Written by Norman McFarlane You are reading An open-air office for all seasons articles

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