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Wakkerstroom’s Jeff Lawrence will travel again

“My experience from my bread school students and discussions with numerous people in the medical profession is that the gluten in bread has received bad PR.”

Jeff Lawrence from Wakkerstroom is a multi-faceted man. Jeff and Sue bought their house in Wakkerstroom about 20 years ago.

They were looking for a weekend getaway less than three hours from Johannesburg but in a different environment.

When they visited a friend in Wakkerstroom, they fell in love with the place and bought the house a week later.

“We’ve loved Wakkerstroom ever since and have the most wonderful memories of our experiences here,” Jeff said.

He began his bread-baking classes nearly eight years ago when he retired.

“I’ve always loved bread and had a wealth of knowledge I wanted to share and encourage people to make and eat proper bread.

“We also saw retirement as a new chapter in our lives where we could become involved in new experiences. Country Bread has been one of the lively experiences, while others have been the self-catering cottages we renovated.”

More recently, a train coach was converted into a one-bedroom, luxury self-catering accommodation.

“The train is an amazing and nostalgic experience for that special getaway.”

Jeff worked for Nedbank and headed up the affordable housing area for the country, while Sue had an industrial embroidery and uniform manufacturing business.

There was only one place for them to get married – Wakkerstroom – and they tied the knot on February 10, 2007.

Jeff and Sue Lawrence from Wakkerstroom will go abroad this year.

Jeff has two boys, Eugene and James, who live in the Cape, and Sue has a son and a daughter, Ashleigh and Verity, who live in Johannesburg.

Between the two of them, they have seven grandchildren. Jeff loves all food, except trifle, and if he had to choose, it would be grilled lamb chops.

He has his own views on people who say they are gluten-resistant.

“My experience from my bread school students and discussions with numerous people in the medical profession is that the gluten in bread has received bad PR.

“Intolerances, from my experience, and I’m not a medical person, are that the allergies people experience are not to the gluten in the bread, but all the chemicals added to commercial flour and the bleaching process, too.

“Stone ground flour has no chemicals or preservatives added and the flour is not bleached. Further, the stone ground flour milling process produces less heat, therefore retaining all the nutritional value of the wheat.”

He said most people who believe they are gluten intolerant have never been medically tested.

“I’d suggest that if you think you are gluten-intolerant, make your own artisan bread with stone ground flour and see what happens. The popular brands are Eureka, my favourite, Champagne Valley and Millstone. All supermarkets sell one or more of the brands.”

The Lawrences have travelled all over the world from Namibia, Botswana, Seychelles, Zanzibar, Mauritius, South East Asia to the States and Europe. They love travelling and have always tried to go abroad at least once a year.

“Travel is the best educational experience.”

A trip to Europe is on the horizon and they will visit the UK, France, Belgium, Netherlands and Denmark.

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“The purpose is to live for an extended period in each place and live like a local, not a tourist.”

As to highlights in his life, Jeff did not hesitate to say there are many because he has always strived to enjoy what he was doing, whether school, university, family life or work.

“I love seeing my children and grandchildren being successful and my marriage to Sue is a never-ending gift. A happy retirement is a great privilege and I’ve enjoyed being in good health and mentally and physically active.”

Music-wise, he prefers easy listening, whether rock, classical, jazz or opera, but he does not like country.

The question on favourite holiday destinations took some thinking.

“I love the approach the French and Italians have to a good quality of life, so France or Italy, I suppose. Occasionally, I enjoy an island destination, and the Seychelles is hard to beat.”

Jeff will not hesitate to introduce the Europeans to his bread-baking skills.

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Jeff and Sue Lawrence from Wakkerstroom will go abroad this year.

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