Luckily Dijonne is really rather charming, prone to saying such things as “I’ve got far too much money” and then collapsing in giggles. And he doesn’t dress like David Hasselhoff all the time – when I met him he was wearing jeans and a t-shirt and padding around in flip flops. Phew. He also turned out to be a magnificent host which is why he has decided to open his farm for occasional paying guests. Prince Harry was there for a while, helping out on the farm, but the idea is generally for larger groups to effectively make the farm their own private playground for the day. Polo and wine-tasting are the main draw, but there are also quad bikes and picnic spots and a small art collection and the nature reserve or the option of just chilling out by the fabulous pool-with-a-view. The field next to the house even doubles as a helicopter landing pad. What’s not to love?
I was there for a ‘Discover Polo’ day and Dijonne’s enthusiasm was infectious… before you could say ‘Rupert Campbell Black’ I was astride a wooden horse swinging a mallet at the practice balls. Having got sufficiently gung-ho at that, I was hoisted up on a real-life polo pony that was waiting patiently just for me – a stunning bay picked from over a hundred on the farm, each of them lithe, graceful animals with mouths like butter.
It was a hot and windless day, one of the last at the end of a long summer, and the winelands stretched out at my feet all the way to Table Mountain in the distance as my faithful steed nimbly twisted and turned in an attempt to accommodate my efforts at making contact with the ball. When I made a good hit, the rush was intoxicating. Both times. How on earth anyone does it at a speed faster than a walk is beyond me, but I knew this was one fun way to spend a morning.
It was all so relaxed and easy – as though it was perfectly normal to have a glass of champagne and a muffin for breakfast and then run around on a horse chasing balls with a stick. Aah, how the other half live. I could picture sliding off the pony and taking a dip in the pool and then maybe a massage, followed by a light lunch and a tour of the cellars with the winemaker, then perhaps watch a proper polo match with a couple of cocktails before a lobster braai under the stars. As it was, we had a treat in store with a lesson in wine-and-food pairing. But more of that in the next newsletter…