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 thoughts on “RETREAT, PART 2

  1. 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!)

  2. 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 🙂

  3. 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.

  4. 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 🙂

  5. 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!

  6. 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).

  7. 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?

  8. 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!

  9. 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 🙂

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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!

  13. 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!

  14. 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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