A Year in Review

Twenty and twenty-one are happy numbers. Days of old. Carefree, key-of-the-door kind of numbers. Life was sweet, responsibilities non-existent and we just rolled from one day to the next.

We’re almost being bullied back to that way of living. An 18-month Covid pandemic has left us shattered at times, scared of the what’s-next and angry that plans just don’t work out. But, it’s made us appreciate the moment, realise that the small things count and that in being extra flexible things generally will work out.

So, our year in review. It started fairly quietly on the 1st January and when our school boarders suddenly had an extra week, we shot to the Kruger for some good old locked-in-the-car game viewing with the teens. It was awesome. Long chats, a few feisty arguments, home-cooked meals, a zillion ellies made for the most perfect break! (By-the-by home-cooked is a treat… tables do turn in hospitality!)

Booze free Jan and Feb passed. Months rolled on and our sister Les married her man, Lloyd, in April. A year late but it was a true celebration!

In May we hiked the Big5 to raise money for our education projects and we kept our expectations low. It’s remained an unprecedented time, things were extraordinarily tough and we’d be grateful no matter the sum. So it was rather startling that over R1 million was raised. This significant contribution gets invested in the little people. It provides a proper boost to them and as we watch the emphasis on the first 1000 days and the early years gaining momentum we realise the importance of our work.

June brought new anxiety with the next wave and July was a blip in the year with interprovincial travel banned. Rioting left us saddened and concerned. But August arrived with a glimmer of good. We are forever grateful for the visitors that keep choosing this special valley. As a result we’ve bumbled along. The gratuity box is a sharp reminder of the generosity of our guests and their families. Thank you.

In October we marked our 80th year as a family business. Three generations later, following those sound steps of our forefathers and loving the input from the fourth generation! Ruth & Bill (Carte) toiled this land but they had a magnificent vision which remains our work. Daily we have purpose.

And now its December, another wave looms but we’re here. Standing firmly, determined and red-lists have made us flex and bend but we’re not broken. In-between we’ve done what we always do, refurbished rooms, trained staff, hosted a series of activities and shared this great mountain home with so many.

So, three important take-aways for 20-21.

There’s no bed of happy. Life will be tough. Life will challenge. Remember that the hike to Echo is steep and hard…
But there are always blessings. Beautiful and abundant blessings. Think mountain streams and refreshing swims.

Support comes in many forms. Friends and family that help, guests that continue to visit and an incredible Cavern team. It’s like shade in the Fern Forest. Restorative, sound and safe.

Then there’ll be twenty-two. In a life at the Cavern that’s two little ducks. Ducks that keep paddling, frantically beneath the surface at times but always moving forwards, gaining new momentum and getting ready for the next season.

Here’s to life. Ups, downs and taking in the moments. We’ll keep paddling into ’22!

12 thoughts on “A Year in Review”

  1. Love your words, so beautiful! Greetings from China. We spent a wonderful October holiday at your place in the year of 2008, although much time has passed, we still remember clearly the amazing views, beautiful rooms, nice people, and particularly, the delicious food. Hope everything is going well with you, and that we will have the opportunity to visit you again, “many happy returns” as it is said in the vistor book:)

    1. Megan Carte Bedingham

      Dear Qian
      Thank you so much for reconnecting! So lovely to hear that you enjoyed your time in 2008 and that you have so many wonderful memories. It certainly is the place of “happy returns” so we do hope to welcome you back!
      Until then, take care!
      With kind regards,
      Megan & the team

  2. Your ‘A Year in Review’ is great. As always, Jax and I thoroughly enjoyed our visit to your valley earlier in the year.
    We’ll be back in 2022 to see you all.

    1. Megan Carte Bedingham

      We look forward to seeing you and Jax in 2022!
      Have a blessed Christmas.
      Warmest wishes,
      Megan & the Cavernites

  3. Gogo Ruth and Granddad Bill would be incredibly proud of you all. Keep the faith. “With God all things are possible”. Christmas blessings and onward and upward into the new year

  4. Take care guys and have a wonderful Christmas from all of us De Swardt’s here in NZ ! Miss our trips to your special part of the world!

    1. Megan Carte Bedingham

      Thanks Jason. Do hope you are all well in NZ. The other-side of the world!
      Wishing you all a merry Christmas.
      Best wishes always,
      Megan & the family

  5. Meegs, this is a beautiful piece. Our wise cousin leader. Thanks for another year of Caverning in true Carte-style.

    1. Megan Carte Bedingham

      Thanks Linni-Lou.
      Love that we have our cousins close and that you’re always there for us!
      Here’s to 22 and the adventures ahead!

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