Weekend in Review (8-10 February) My Life 11 FEB 2008

MeerendalGeez, this week has once again been busy at work. Non-stop from early to late, and still I don’t even get a chance to work on the SAN system. Luckily I got a slight reprieve in the form that they couldn’t get the mirroring RAID set up properly, but still, I’ve got a lot of work to do. And to top it all off, Kevin and Mike from Information Systems are starting to ask a lot of questions about their call logging system which I haven’t even had a chance to look at yet!

Nevertheless, I decided to take the weekend off because I needed a break from work. So Friday evening saw me driving through to Gordon’s Bay to spend the night with my Babes in her newly occupied, roommate-free flat. Originally the plan had been to meet up with Retha who was meant to be in the Strand, but some crossed wires put a check to that plan and we ended up with takeaways and in front of the TV instead! So while we might not have had the most exciting of Friday evenings, we did at least get a decent night’s sleep – which was essential for the upcoming Saturday evening anyway!

Despite the gale-force wind and the humidity, Chantelle actually slept pretty well for a change, though come 07:00 the morning and she was as wide awake as a tree frog in the rain. Which of course meant that I had to wake as well – after all, where is the fun in making coffee for one person? Plus, Saturday did mark the eighth month we’ve now been going out you know! We sealed the lazy morning (no morning walk thanks to the gale force wind blowing again) off by heading off for an impromptu breakfast at Dulce Café in some or other quaint little shopping centre in Somerset West.

From there we zipped off back towards Bellville, with Chantelle making a slight detour on her way to the hair salon to get her hair done for the wedding. Of course, I used this little bit of time I had to myself to squeeze in some gaming – just in case I didn’t get my gaming fix later on. Gary and Michelle’s wedding was scheduled at 16:30 at the Meerendal wine estate, buried deep in Durbanville along the torturous Vissershok road – torturous solely due to the fact that it is the old road we used to train on way back in my cycling days. It has been a good nine or ten years since I’ve last been on the road, and to be honest, I scarcely recognized it! So much development has taken place – where there were once cows now stands row upon row of identical little houses! :(

Meerendal itself is pretty much your average wine farm, though afforded a pretty view thanks to the fact it is situated on a nice high little hill (Not that we were there to admire the view of course). On arrival we were presented with a bottle of water and directed to a neat little arrangement of chairs jealously guarding a narrow white corridor which led up to a little white gazebo thingie. Saturday marked an important event for Chantelle and I – it was the first time ever that we actually arrived half an hour early for something! In hindsight yesterday wasn’t the greatest day to arrive early though, thanks to the awful heat and humidity that was literally baking us alive in our outfits. Nevertheless, we stuck it out and were eventually rewarded when the ceremony finally got underway as the most gorgeous of brides Michelle walked down the aisle towards a very beaming Gary.

Funnily enough, the pastor that married the two of them was the same guy that had handled my Aunt Sophie’s funeral at the end of last year and I pretty much spent most of the ceremony trying to recall where I had seen this guy before. Unfortunately I didn’t have all that much time to think about (though I did obviously remember in the end) because the guy’s service left a lot to be desired. Still, I think everyone, including Gary and Michelle were probably grateful for the shortness of the ceremony simply because of the overwhelming heat!

From there we were escorted down towards the main reception hall where we were treated to the shade of a Bedouin tent, classy canapés and cocktails and the dulcet tones of a very polished (and old!) jazz band that call themselves Doxy. We waited for quite a while in this setting as Michelle and Gary were whisked off for their photo shoot, and thank goodness the waitresses eventually opened the bar because I think there was a rather dire danger of people dying dehydration! I just want to stress that the level of detail and sophistication Michelle put into the planning of this wedding was phenomenal and truly no expense was spared – of course, this is a lot easier when you are rolling in the dough and perhaps I can best illustrate this fact by one simple pointer. They had an open bar. An open bar?!? When last have you seen that outside a function hosted by a giant media corporation (or Eskom)?

Anyway, the long wait was eventually over and we were led into a most gorgeously exquisite dining hall, bleeding sophistication and elegance and decorated with finishing touches that could only have been Michelle’s handiwork. Once inside, no time was wasted as we started proceedings off the cutting of the cake, followed by the various speeches of the day. Of course amongst all this finery, the meal was definitely going to be something to write home about. Fancy spicy chicken (and other stuff) starters, rolled fillet for main and a selection of fruit, crème brulee and chocolate mousse cake for dessert meant that no one was going to go home hungry that night! (Unfortunately it must be said that the dessert did leave a lot to be desired in the end, but rest assured, the other food was gob-smacking delicious – as attested to by food critique extraordinaire Chantelle.)

This being a primarily Afrikaans attended wedding meant I was introduced to the rather ‘common’ (as Chantelle puts it) loud and raucous behavior associated with Afrikaans weddings and it felt a little out of place amongst all the finery we found ourselves in. A special surprise however was the troupe of belly dancers that especially came out to perform for Michelle and Gary and we were treated to a wonderful spectacle of colour and oriental dancing! Try as I might, I just couldn’t get C to step up to the plate and join them though! :(

And with that the real party got started as the tempo of the music increased and everyone hit the dance floor, both old and young. Unfortunately this also proved to be the mood-dropper of the evening as Michelle’s granddad (well Andri’s granddad but Michelle is her cousin) slipped on the floor and hit his head quite hard, rendering him concussed. Immediately it was panic stations but the old man eventually came to and they escorted him outside where an ambulance was summoned to come pick him up. The old man kept slipping in and out of consciousness and I haven’t heard yet how he is doing, though by most accounts it seems as if he was doing okay in the end.

Of course the atmosphere took a little hit after that incident, but Michelle moved to get things going again after things died down by getting the live band to start their performance. I’m pretty sure it was Paradigm that we have seen perform at Quay 4 in the Waterfront before, but regardless of who they were, they thoroughly entertained the guests with their wide selection of classic cover hits and were generally well received.

Chantelle and I hit the dance floor for a bit but honestly the uncomfortable heat and humidity that turned everyone into walking piles of sweat meant that most people preferred to sit outside, drink in the one hand and cigar in the other. Yes, you heard me right, there were even cigars there! (not to mention the biltong and fudge presents for the guests of course!)

Apart from the old man’s accident, every guest was treated to an absolutely fabulous event and I think Gary and Michelle can be very proud of what they achieved. Of course Chantelle and my heartfelt congratulations go out to the two of them and we hope they have an absolutely fantastic honeymoon!

We ended up not staying all that late at the wedding, getting home just before midnight and going straight to bed, clothing optional. It was just so damn hot and humid! Thank goodness I have the uncanny ability to sleep through any conditions though because I actually managed to sleep like a baby in the end. Unfortunately Chantelle doesn’t share the same super power that I do and woke up quite hot and bothered this morning after a night of not sleeping much at all! Shampies ;)

Sunday morning saw the two us at church again, though Babes had to be there quite a bit before thanks to the fact that she was on singing duty again. Despite the fact that I embarrassed her by half dozing through the service again (honestly, I was listening!) she treated to me to a scrumptious brunch in Tygervalley at some quaint little cafeteria buried in the heart of Stuttafords. From there we did a quick spot of shopping around and then it was off home where Chantelle immediately plowed into the bed, leaving me to fend for myself for the rest of the afternoon.

The evening as always had a plan, and last night marked the second ever get together of Chantelle and my parents for a braai at my mom’s place. Despite the threatening clouds and light rain that was falling, the humidity was as high if not more so than what it had been the whole weekend, forcing us to spend the evening outdoors under the patio roof. Dad slaved away in front of the indoors fire much to his dismay because the house was like a giant pizza oven slowly cooking him alive, but he did produce some pretty good meat (the stuff he braaied, not him himself silly billy) and we enjoyed a thoroughly delectable supper. It was good to see the two Cheryls (who truly are peas in a pod) get on so well and all in all I can happily say the evening turned into a big success.

So once again I can happily report that we had another jam-packed successful weekend and looking at my calendar there are still loads in store for the two of us! :)

About Craig Lotter

South African software architect and developer at Touchwork. Husband to a cupcake baker and father to two little girls. I don't have time for myself any more.