Percy Montgomery’s First House
You’d be hard-pressed to find a more impressive view than the one ‘Monty’ had from his balcony. From that lofty height, Table Mountain and Robben Island provide a majestic backdrop for the shoreline action, which on most afternoons is a lively show of windsurfers and kite surfers relishing the waves and wind for which the area is famous.
‘Living there was awesome,’ Percy recalls. ‘Corné Krige stayed in the flat behind mine and we’d run on the promenade every morning and jet ski whenever the opportunity presented itself.’ Several of his friends lived in the area at the time, and Percy says he loved nothing better than to have them all over for a braai. ‘I was young, confident, positive and just throwing the ball around with my mates. I was living the dream.’
But, dreamy as it was, the bills had to be paid, and although he’d secured a good deal, having bought off plan from developer Anton Mulder, the purchase price of R700 000 back in 1998 was a stretch. ‘More often than not, I was cash-strapped because I ploughed my earnings into the bond – I hate living on the never-never. It certainly made me understand the value of money,’ he says. But while he was paying off the debt, literally by the sweat and, from time to time, blood of his brow, he was making history.
The blonde, tall fullback was to become the first Springbok to play 100 test matches. And when he recently announced his retirement from international rugby, he had no less than 94 Springbok records under his belt, including: most test caps (102), most tests as a fullback (87), most tries in tests as a fullback (18), most test points (893), most conversions in tests (153), most penalty goals in tests (148) and most points scored in the 2007 Rugby World Cup (105). But Percy’s had his fair share of downers too, like being booed by Springbok fans at Loftus, and witnessing two Springbok fans urinating against his image on the Bok team bus. But what the incontinent and disrespectful oafs cannot dispute is that he’s a legend, and he just happens to be easy on the eye too!
But if Percy hadn’t have been so gifted athletically, or if he’d been a little more adrenalin averse, he’d have opted for a career in graphic design, which he’d been studying around the time he was offered the opportunity to go professional in rugby. ‘I had to make a career decision. But when I weighed up the stress of working through the night to meet deadlines for advertising agencies against the thrill of running onto a rugby field to play an international test match in a packed stadium, there was no contest. And I certainly couldn’t do both.’
He was, however, able to let his creative side loose when selecting décor for the Blouberg penthouse. ‘I loved choosing furniture and fittings, especially for the kitchen, which I had kitted out with cherrywood floors and cupboards and black granite counters.’
The original plan was for a three-bedroom apartment, but Percy decided to opt for two bedrooms and use the extra space to create a larger entertainment area. When he was at home, he spent most of his time on the glass-enclosed balcony, where there was a Jacuzzi and a braai, and where he could enjoy the view without being wind-lashed.
In 2002, just before he relocated to the UK to play rugby in Wales, Percy decided to sell the penthouse, which fetched R1,5-million.
Properties are still getting snapped up in Blouberg, making it South Africa’s fastest growing suburb on the coast. Apart from the exquisite views and beaches, it boasts seven schools, which make it an attractive proposition for families with kids, while party seekers are drawn to the vibey après sun scene, which includes restaurants, cafés and clubs. Percy’s favourite nightspot was Babaloos Rhythm Lounge.
‘It was definitely a great area to buy in.
If I hadn’t have sold the place, my parents could be living there – they’re currently out in Hermanus,’ says Percy, who has since bought and renovated a house in Camps Bay, where he’s planning to spend more time with his wife and two children (he hopes to ‘retire’ from rugby in May 2009). ‘I’ll definitely be staying involved in rugby, though, but not full-time, so I’ll have a life. But it’s not easy to leave – the game gets into your blood. You work so hard at something and you crave that feeling of winning. When everything comes together, it’s amazing – especially when you do it as a team.’
Percy, who is known for his willingness to hand down his expertise to younger players, has this advice for younger, first-time home buyers:
‘Buy in the best area you can afford and stretch yourself a little if you have a guaranteed income.’