On Wednesday morning, after battling through 128 pages, I conceded defeat and closed Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love. I’d long resisted reading the book, but felt I ought to give it a bash, given its widespread acclaim. I just couldn’t stomach it though, and was constantly irritated by the author, whom I found to be a self-indulgent whiner. I took a blanket and walked around our cottage to find a sunny spot and was soon lulled into a doze by the cooing mountain doves.

I was woken by excited chirruping in a nearby tree; two tiny birds – no bigger than my thumb – were courting. Too pretty for words; with their plumage flashing emerald green and scarlet. I have no idea what they are.

Soon I became aware that I was being stared at. A very fine hound had come from the main farmhouse to say hello. He was so like our Lulubelle, in looks and character and he took up with us for the rest of our stay. We named him Bentley.

I couldn’t help wondering if the peaceful ambience is only informed by the geography of the place, or if it is also a result of the calm – almost Zen – mood that prevails among the Basotho people, with their simple, centuries-old lifestyle. Anyhow, soon the not-altogether-unpleasant smell of a goat stew and porridge came drifting over from the local kraal and I realized that I had been self indulgent myself for long enough, and it was time to go back to the cottage and start preparing our lunch.


58 Comments Add yours

  1. deepercolors says:

    Sounds wonderful. Where;s my ticket? :-\

    1. theonlycin says:

      When I win the Lotto 🙂

  2. libraryscene says:

    Amazing…see having no life allows moi to be first in comment! (or almost first, who knows once I hit enter)

    I’m of the opinion that one is to be cautious of uber popular books. She made me ill, too (I gave it a go on a road trip via audio and quit). However, I believe that she fashioned it after writer, Anne Lamott’s work. Read Lamott’s Traveling Mercies sometime if you want a bit less whine and far more introspection.
    (So glad you don’t mind the pic use, btw, thanks!)

    1. theonlycin says:

      You’re most welcome, I am flattered 🙂

  3. bluebee says:

    I had exactly the same reaction to ‘Eat,Pray, Love’ – persevered for far too long because a friend had given it to me as a present, but eventually couldn’t take it anymore and gave up. Your bird looks like one of the collared sunbirds (either Greater or Lesser, not sure). Bentley looks sweet 🙂

    1. theonlycin says:

      I was rather tempted to steal Bentley 😀

  4. It was quite enough as a movie, I suspected the book would last too long for my patience. Thanks for the confirmation on that 😉

    1. theonlycin says:

      Well, I have it, you’re welcome to it ;p Wasted money, should have had a facial instead …

  5. Bentley is a classic hound….so nice to have a dog about the place. Especially such a beautiful place…

    1. theonlycin says:

      Bentley was quite a highlight of our stay 🙂

      1. leigh says:

        He’s beautiful.

      2. theonlycin says:

        Tried to lure him into the car with a bit of boerewors, but he was too clever ;p

  6. The bird is one of the Collared Sunbirds I think – try looking up the Double-Collared Sunbird, you may find that this is it.

  7. souldipper says:

    I thought I was the only one to find the book endless. I turned down the offer to see the movie and have not sought even a peek at her subsequent book.

    You know, Cin, mother once had a hair-brain idea to raise goats. But we never ate them. I’ve never experienced the aroma of one cooking. I just know that their smell was enough to cause a celebration when we finally sold them.

    The setting looks heavenly.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Yes, a live goat is not a lovable thing 🙂

  8. Liane says:

    I hate it when that happens… when you start a book and you just can’t get your teeth into it (for whatever reason). I have this ‘thing’ about finishing a book once I’ve started it, but dragging yourself through it and not enjoying it – I’ve become more comfortable with – is not always worth it 😦 The rest of your retreat sounded like a wonderful experience though, plus now you can say that you DID give the book a bash 🙂

    1. theonlycin says:

      Life’s too short, there’s a lot I still have to read without suffering through rot 😉

  9. earlybird says:

    Eat Pray Vomit as it should be called. I long ago decided that there were too many good books I’ll never have time to read so I refuse to waste my time on ones I can’t stomach.

    The cottage does look dreamy… and that bird is a poppet!

    1. theonlycin says:

      LMAO, apt title! 🙂

  10. What a pity about the book – oh well, it seems Bentley made up for it. You can see the peace, tranquility and calm in your photos.
    🙂 Mandy

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks Mandy, I’m looking forward to visiting Bentley again 🙂

  11. Leeswammes says:

    I feel rested just reading your post, Cindy. What a lovely retreat. That dog looks so curious! Who are you? Will you play with me?

    Pity about the book, but it really is a love or hate book. I resisted a long time too, then read it and really enjoyed it. Even though I’m not at all a meditation and alternative medicine type person.

    So what’s your next book going to be? Ah, let me guess! (Hope it arrives soon).

    1. nrhatch says:

      I’m with you, Lee. I enjoyed Eat Pray Love.

      Ms. Gilbert didn’t like her life so she took active steps to change it. So much better than continuing to whine about the “what is” while expecting others to change to accomodate us. 😀

      1. theonlycin says:

        To each his (her) own, Nancy, to me it read too much like a travel brochure 🙂

    2. theonlycin says:

      I’ve got my eye on my postbox , Judith 🙂

  12. Tilly Bud says:

    What a wonderful place to holiday.

    1. theonlycin says:

      It is wonderful, Tilly 🙂

  13. nrhatch says:

    Love the photos, Cin! That dog is too cute.

    I’ll take Eat Pray Love . . . you can have White Oleander. 😉

    1. theonlycin says:

      I have White Oleander, but if you care to send me your postal address, I will gladly send you EPL 🙂

      1. klrs09 says:

        Loved White Oleander — the book was better than the movie in my opinion, but the movie was still worth watching.

  14. Totally delightful, Cindy! My guess on the bird is a Lesser Doublecollared Sunbird – courtesy of Newman’s, which I couldn’t resist checking 🙂

    Must say, I was also passed Eat, Pray, Love on high recommendation and would personally scratch the whole of Italy, but finally got into it in India, and really enjoyed Indonesia. Wonder how the movie compares?

    1. nrhatch says:

      Same here, Naomi. And the movie is also better in India and Bali. Much.

      The USA and Italy sections in both movie and book are pretty awful.

      1. theonlycin says:

        Oh dear, what a disappointment, more reason to avoid it 🙂

    2. theonlycin says:

      I don’t like Julia Roberts, so I will give it wide berth 😉

  15. suzicate says:

    I also thought that of the book though I did finish reading it…and I thought I was the only one. That said, the movie was much better! Love the pic of the bird!

    1. theonlycin says:

      I’ll take your word for it, Suzi, but my friends were disappointed at the lack of food in the movie 😉

  16. slpmartin says:

    This all sound so very peaceful and given you schedule of late…well deserved.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks Charlie, I’m right back in the swing of things at my desk, the photos are a nice reminder of peace 🙂

  17. izziedarling says:

    Gilbert was paid to search her soul. Enough about that. Your post relaxed me so … thanks, cin!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Glad you enjoyed them, izzie 🙂

  18. I wonder if they are hummingbirds. The pooch looks friendly and sweet natured. I’m glad you are enjoying yourself. Blessings…

    1. theonlycin says:

      Seems my bird-expert friends have identified the tweetie 🙂

  19. This sounds like such a great time. Such a beautiful doggie.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Isn’t he just? 🙂

  20. a natural flow in your story-telling along w your way of making each of us readers feel like you wrote this just for Me is quite addictive. thank u.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Lovely comment, thanks Doc 🙂

  21. I’m always amazed at the violent reactions that book/film gets out of people – good thing you didn’t continue to bash yourself over the head & keep reading just because it was a ‘best seller’ huh. Beautiful retreat Cindy, very Sth African -can’t wait to see your country. One day hopefully 🙂

    1. theonlycin says:

      I’d love to show you around, Cheffie 🙂

  22. colonialist says:

    The Berg break seems to have been great. It is such a magical part of SA – ideal for a break whether one lives upcountry or at the sea.

    Birdie has been correctly identified, but worth a mention is that as kids we always knew them as Sugarbirds.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks for that, Col, Sugarbird sounds very sweet 🙂

  23. dearrosie says:

    What a lovely spot – and beautiful cottage – for a holiday. A whole week there? Lucky you!
    I love your bird photo.

    I found the “Eat pray Love” movie boring and tedious but I’m sorry to say I loved the book.
    I also enjoyed meeting Elizabeth Gilbert when she came to our local bookstore to do a reading of the book. She was so down to earth and natural.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks for the visit, Rosie. The cottage was a treat and the bonus is that it is only 3 hours away, so we are sure to become regular visitors 🙂

  24. Jamie Dedes says:

    I got several copies of “Eat, Pray, Love” as gifts because “it’s such a good writer’s read.” Huh! Forced myself through a bit of it and declared it two thumbs down. I agree. Completely, boringly self-indulgent and not particularly good writer. Subsequently, I read a book review by her and it was actually well written.

    Love Bentley! All pic’s wonderful. Sounds like a nice break was had by all. Good!

  25. klrs09 says:

    Looks like it was an absolutely lovely escape — good for you.

  26. I found your comments on Eat Pray Love interesting – I hated the movie for the same reasons – indulgent whining from a woman who threw away a perfectly good marriage and then with Julia Roberts in the role, UGH, can’t stand her – I’ll avoid thebook, thanks for the tip 🙂

    I think I would have taken Bentley home with me – he’s just gorgeous!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Bentley is one of the chief reasons I am going back there as soon as I can 😀

  27. It is amazing how many books i force myself through, feeling that exact way. By the end of the book, i have to try and figure out why i actually wasted all that energy, when i could have just moved on. We sort of commit as soon as we start, hey?
    I see you were not brave enough to try the goat stuff?

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