Category Archives: My Life

Waterfront Scratch Patch Easter Fun (2015-04-05) Photo Gallery 16 APR 2015

Although we didn’t go away for this Easter Weekend (plus, Chantelle worked on the two public holidays), the girls and I certainly did get up to a lot of fun activities, one of which was a family outing to the V&A Waterfront in order to go gemstone mining at the legendary Scratch Patch!

Both Chantelle and I remember going there at least once as a child, and so it was with great excitement that we took Jessica and Emily there, confident that Jess would love digging around in all the colourful stones!

Honestly, I had no idea what to expect, but after you enter the small Mineral World shop (accessed through the parking garage, no entrance fee), pick your container size that you want to take in with you (a good selection of sizes, ranging from cheap to pricey), you enter a tiny wonderland that is the perfect little place for kids to start hunting in.

IMG_20150405_131842 emily lotter at scratch patch in waterfront

Shaped like a little cavern with natural light streaming in above you, both girls immediately got stuck into the task of hunting out the best, most colourful gemstones, and before long both mommy and daddy were sitting sprawled on the floor, picking out the shiniest of the lot with them!

Although we didn’t get to it (because Jess and Emily are still to young), there is even an artificial cave mini-golf experience tacked on – which looks like it could be a good treat for the kids as well.

Anyway, after much time was spent scratching around like chickens, we emerged, Jessica triumphantly clutching her bag full of beautiful gemstones!

Of course, you can’t just go to the V&A Waterfront and not stroll around the Waterfront, so that is exactly what we did. It’s the first time we’ve walked through the new Watershed shopping area and I have to say, I was suitably impressed. So fresh and modern, definitely the upgrade that particular area needed!

For lunch we swung into the Shoreline Cafe in the Two Oceans Aquarium, where some delicious fish and chips were had whilst Jessica ran wild in the kid’s play area, while dessert for the day was of course the ever so expensive but always delicious ice cream from Haagen-Dasz (Chantelle insisted!).

With one last play at the slides around the amphitheater done and dusted, it was time to pack up and head back home to Gordon’s Bay, satisfied with an awesome day out!

Related Link: http://www.scratchpatch.co.za/

The Race to Mondeor (or… Damn It, I was Wrong!) My Life 14 APR 2015

There’s been an argument brewing here in the Country Mews Lotter Stronghold for a while now – is it faster to get onto the N2 proper by going right into Dennhof, onto Sir Lowry’s road and then on to the N2, or is it quickest if you go left into Dennehof, travel along the newly completed road that takes you into Broadlands, and then up onto the N2?

I’ve steadfastly sided with the former from the beginning, as I am convinced that the faster speed limit cancels out the slight distance advantage of the latter, and besides, I’m pretty sure that my route has less stopping points than the new one.

Chantelle on the other hand insists that the new route is quicker, and with neither one of us wanting to budge from our position, there was only going to be one way to properly prove which route is fastest – a race!

As luck would have it, there is actually a very easy and accurate way for us to determine the victor in this challenge, because both routes meet up at one defined point on the N2 – at the robots leading on to our perennial favourite, Mondeor Restaurant (and Monkey Town of course).

The rules were set out – there was to be strict adherence to the speed limit and other rules of the road. Full stops at all stop streets and robots was required. No cheating whatsoever, and with a gentleman’s handshake shook, we fired up the stopwatches on our phones (both Huawei Ascend P6s, so no discrepancy there), and set out to the starting point – the stop sign leading into Dennehof itself!

With a timid roar (remember, speed limit), Chantelle sped off left and I sped off right, me confident in easily winning this particular challenge.

In fact, in almost no time at all, I was on the N2 and racing towards the Mondeor robots, pleased as punch at the thought of my imminent victory, when suddenly my stomach turned and my heart sank… at the sight of Chantelle happily waving to me as she drove past in her Hyundai Accent, already on the return leg of the journey.

Disgusted, I reached the robot, stopped the stopwatch at around seven minutes twenty, and did a u-turn in my Getz to head off and join her at the Garden Kitchen over at Mountain Streams Nursery, our designated debriefing spot.

Needless to say, when I finally arrived at the destination, I sat down to a gloating, smirking face, as Chantelle proceeded to question my time over her steaming cup of coffee. I mumbled my number and showed her the clock – to which she gleefully laughed out loud and turned over hers – her route had beaten mine by almost a minute and a half!

Damn it.

It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it is complete and utterly soul crushing. I was wrong.

Sigh. I hate being wrong.

Well done Chantelle, it looks like you remain the champ at picking out routes… for now!

IMG_20150217_143032 a beer and a smug smiling chantelle lotter at Bossa

(I’m hoping for a rematch where we drive at more realistic, real world speeds. That said, I’m not sure that even that will save my bacon – I’m pretty sure that she’s got me by the short and curlies this time!)

Selecting Your Own Contact Lenses My Life 13 APR 2015

As per the norm, I had stretched my last six month contact lenses supply well past its intended duration – in fact, records pointed out that I had last been to the optometrist in something like 18 months or so! So of course, when my current supply of lenses did finally dry up, I had little choice but to call up the optometrist for an obligatory eye test in order to get some new lenses.

Seeing as I’m particularly fond of the Aquity SI contact lenses that Spec-Savers stocks, I made an appointment with Spec-Savers in Somerset Mall, the same optometrist that I used (and was suitably impressed with) the last time I needed some new lenses.

That said, I’m pretty sure that the optometrist now staffing the branch is not the same optometrist that helped me out last time, but regardless, I really do have to highly recommend her. Wonderfully warm, friendly and professional, I was more than pleased with my interaction with her.

(Even more exciting though was the fact that it was a slew of new equipment and tests that awaited me since the last time I had been – always super interesting for someone as curious as what I am!)

Anyway, our first stab at the eye test was interesting enough. For around R450 I was told that for some inexplicable reason my prescription strength appears to have dropped, meaning that my left eye had improved from -5.00 to -4.75, and my right eye improved by a massive jump of -4.75 up to -4.00!

That seemed a bit weird, but the optometrist balanced everything nicely out and gave me a trial pair of lenses to test out this new, weaker prescription. (Also, she couldn’t quite believe the good condition of my eyeballs, considering the length of time that I wear contact lenses – a lot – and the fact that I don’t ever rub clean my lenses!)

Alas, the weaker prescription was quickly revealed to be a lie, because over the next few days of testing them out, I quickly spotted a flaw in our diagnosis – driving was proving a bit tricky now that all the signs were kind of blurry!

So back I went for another test, and this time I sensed that the optometrist was getting a little impatient and confused with all of my ‘uhms’ and ‘ahs’ when it came to deciding between lenses whilst reading the tiny letters (seriously, it is so difficult to decide!), so much so that she eventually gave up and instructed me to twiddle between the various strengths until I arrived at a point where I was happy.

And so I worked out my own prescription (technically).

The new readings: well sadly my left eye is in fact a lot weaker, it is now -5.50 (originally -5.00) whilst my right eye did in fact improve to -4.50 (originally -4.75) .

The good news of course is that there is now no longer any magical, unexplained giant jump in my eyesight, plus of course, after handing over a further R800, I now have new contact lenses for the next sixth months (read: one year).

spec-savers optometrist logo

Bonus: Turns out the optometrist recognises me from walking around Country Mews with Jessica and Emily – as it turns out, her little one year old daughter stays during the day with her mom who also has a place in Country Mews!

Related Link: http://www.specsavers.co.za/store/somerset-mall

Jessica and her new Bicycle Jessica 10 APR 2015

A couple of weeks ago Chantelle and I surprised Jessica by taking her to Game and letting her choose a new bicycle.

She had outgrown her first bicycle and to be honest, being a second hand buy, it was a bit tired by now – in fact, one of the pedals had even come off the other day! (Not to mention the hard plastic wheels that were now completely devoid of all grip!)

So with the old one out it made sense to get her something a bit bigger and better – which is exactly why I was more than happy to part with my R1,100 and return home with a beautiful purple and white, 16 inch Raleigh kids’ bicycle – accompanied with a bright pink cycle helmet to finish off the ensemble.

IMG_20150325_180226 - jessica lotter on her new purple raleigh bicycle

Well, when I say returned home with, I do of course mean I arrived home with a big cardboard box, which stayed on the dining room table for a day or two before I finally gathered enough strength to open the box, spill out is contents, and attempt to assemble a bicycle.

(Surprisingly, this took me longer than expected – I had some trouble lining up the brakes).

Of course, we immediately needed to take it out for a test drive, and pleasingly a beaming, unable-to-contain-her-excitement, Jessica was more than happy to oblige.

In fact, all the friends around the complex quickly got wind of what we were up to thanks to us tearing about the complex at high speed (seriously, all of a sudden Jessica is rather quick on her two wheels), and soon everyone  was in on the fun!

IMG_20150325_181924 - the girls of country mews on their bicycles

So yeah, I’d definitely say that this was a successful purchase for the Lotter clan! Now I guess the next step is for her to become confident enough that we can start thinking about ditching those side wheels of hers…

How to Lose Weight if you are Obese? My Life 05 APR 2015

“How to Lose Weight if you are Obese?” – or rather, “Hey, this seems to be working well for me!”.

In my late teens and early twenties I was slim, fit, and had energy for days. However, at around 25 my disposable income had increased significantly enough that I didn’t mind spending money on junk food (hello Coke, Danish, Muffin and Chocolate Croissant, won’t you please all join me for lunch today?), had a job that saw me bound to my desk and slouched over a computer for the entire work day (that hasn’t changed mind you), and I got comfortable in serious relationships which subsequently meant even more food without any regard for its effect on my waistline (apparently this is pretty normal when it comes to young love).

Anyway, at this stage I was still super active on the extramural front though (lots of sports and activities), but as we all know, exercise is not going to entirely compensate for all the sugar and junk you stuff into your face. However, the final nail in my coffin was suffering a relatively serious knee injury back in 2007 that saw me pretty much stop all forms of exercise for more than just a year or two – in fact, that very knee injury still seriously limits me to this very day!

In other words, that moment marks exactly when the downward slope became a proper downward slide into obesity.

overweight craig lotter holding jessica's hand at rico suter country lodge in worcester

Jessica and I, circa 2013 in Worcester.

Although I didn’t weigh myself back then, I do remember weighing in at around 85 kg (187 lb) at a karate tournament, which must have been around 2006/2007. Fast forward seven years or so to 2015 (featuring a job change, more stress, marriage, and two children), and all of a sudden I find myself clocking in at a whopping 150 kg (330 lb) – which given my relatively average/short height translates to properly obese.

Needless to say, this isn’t a good thing in terms of health, practical aspects like clothes, furniture and more importantly, office chair selection, and of course more internal things like self-image. (Not that the last one bothers me that much mind you. I’m not a particularly vain man, nor do I care much for the opinion of others – so I think helps a lot on the self image front! :P)

Anyway, there have been a few short-lived attempts at weight loss over the past couple of years, but nothing that ever stuck, and come to think of it, with the clarity of hindsight, I think I know exactly why this is.

Up until now I had NEVER really wholeheartedly made my own personal decision to lose weight. Up until now, it was almost always someone else’s idea or at someone else’s behest, which almost always then translates into me not being 100% committed to the plan.

But that all changed on the 5 January 2015.

I woke up and it was as if a switch had just been flicked on in my head. My knee was sore and so I simply thought to myself, “I’ve had enough – let’s lose some weight”.

And that is all that it was.

A wholehearted, personal decision that I had made to lose weight.

So practically then, how do you go about losing weight if you are already obese?

Actually, that’s really, really simple. To maintain or increase your current weight the body needs food. Eat less food than this amount and your body will use what it has to try and keep up – in other words, making you smaller.

It really is that easy.

craig lotter in front of mermaid statue in langebaan

I found a mermaid in Langebaan. Circa 2014

Of course, there are a few caveats to this.

One, you really, really should stop taking in all that unnecessary sugar and so to that affect I’ve switched to almost exclusively drinking water, stopped adding sugar to my coffee (of which I still drink a little too much, though it is only Ricoffy so I don’t think it’s too bad), and of course, have pretty much completely given up on sweets and chocolate.

(Not really no, I do still enjoy a good piece of chocolate whenever I can lay my hands on it. But it’s not that often any more, promise.)

Also, it helps that Chantelle no longer bakes cakes to the degree that she used to – in fact, when she does, I make sure to quickly toss all the cut-offs in the bin lest I be tempted to smear on some icing sugar and wolf down everything like I so readily used to in the past!

Secondly, I’ve inadvertently pretty much stopped eating things like bread, rolls, cornflakes and potatoes. This isn’t on purpose or in accordance with some or other plan, but rather simply because eating it makes me uncomfortable and full, and not eating it doesn’t – and seeing as the later is what I’m after, dropping it makes a lot of sense.

So instead, I eat a lot of fruit, yoghurt, and suppers generally consist either of fish or chicken breasts (or the occasional slab of pork) accompanied with a simple, unadorned green salad. Also, we try to eat earlier in the evening whenever we get a chance, as opposed to what was becoming the norm of only having supper around 20:30 once the girls were both in bed!

Boring, yes, but effective nonetheless.

Oh, and portion control is without a doubt another one of the big things here.

If I’m going to have a hamburger (which I still occasionally do), instead of eating two, I’ll only eat one. Instead of eating two chicken breasts like I always did, I only eat one. Instead of devouring a large pizza by myself, I only eat half.

You get the picture.

I do also have one final trick up my sleeve which I haven’t mentioned yet – I religiously weigh myself each and every morning.

Every morning I get up, potter around, and then grab my digital scale and place it down on exactly the same tile on the floor (to try and ensure consistent readings), weigh myself three times to ensure an accepted average reading (they should ideally all be the same of course), and then record it in a weight tracking app on my phone (Libra in this case).

This allows me to keep a thumb on my progress and to make any corrections if necessary – i.e. you had a massive weekend where you threw all of your new eating norms out of the window, meaning that for the next couple days it’s carrot sticks for you! :)

The result?

All of the above has resulted in my thus far losing  15 kg in 3 months – and that is without starving myself, punishing myself, or resorting to any physical fitness regimes whatsoever!

Sure, it’s a drop in the ocean when I look at how far I still have to go, but I’m definitely on the right path, and when enough weight has dropped I should be able to start throwing in some fitness routines as well – meaning that if all goes to plan, next year I should be waking up pretty close to my previous fighting fit weight! :)

What is the Difference between an Abridged and Unabridged Birth Certificate? My Life 31 MAR 2015

It’s reached that point in time where we have to start applying to get Jessica into school, and one of the things on the required list in terms of support documentation is of course a valid birth certificate. However, when I rummage through my files and pull out the birth certificates I get a yellow abridged birth certificate for Jessica (2010), and a white/green unabridged birth certificate for Emily (2014).

Schools require an unabridged birth certificate which then raises the question: What is the difference between an abridged and unabridged birth certificate?

baby-on-white-background-with-republic-of-south-africa-coat-of-arms

In South Africa historically there were two types of official birth certificates, namely the abridged and unabridged versions. Although distinct documents, both are considered authentic and thus you could previously make do with just an abridged version as long as you are a natural citizen and live in South Africa itself.

Issued by the Department of Home Affairs, an abridged birth certificate is a document that contains details about the birth of a person such as his or her identity number, full name and country of origin. An abridged birth certificate is issued within minutes or hours (i.e. you can pretty much get it straight after the birth, useful for signing up for medical aid and so forth), whereas it takes between 6 weeks to 6 months to issue an unabridged birth certificate.

The difference? An unabridged birth certificate contains everything that the abridged birth certificate does, but adds to that content the identity information of both registered parents.

Up until 2013, you would get an abridged birth certificate following the birth of your child, and then later go and apply for the unabridged version, but since then, the Department of Home Affairs have streamlined the process and now unabridged certificates are issued on the spot, thereby reducing the turn-around time being experienced when applying for the abridged birth certificate at that time.

In other words, the difference is the added parents’ details on the unabridged version, and more importantly, it would seem that I now need to make a trip to Home Affairs in order to organise an unabridged birth certificate for Jessica because in the end, that is now the only one that matters!

Oops…

Play Time at Mondeor Restaurant (2015-03-15) Photo Gallery 23 MAR 2015

Although I’ve already mentioned our play time trip for coffee and cake with Monty, Cheryl and Chantelle at Mondeor Restaurant the Sunday before last, I thought it a good idea to post some more photos of the relaxing afternoon out – after all, it isn’t every day that I can get Emily and Jessica on the trampoline at the same time!

IMG_20150315_163218 jessica and emily lotter on the trampoline at mondeor restaurant

Cake, coffee, milkshake, beer, and lots of things for the kids to clamber on, what more could you ask for? :)

Related Link: A Weekend of Tygervalley, Newlands, Blaauwklippen and Mondeor!

St. Patrick’s Day at Blaauwklippen Market (2015-03-15) Photo Gallery 23 MAR 2015

I’ve already written about our trip through to the Blaauwklippen Market Sunday before last, where we were delighted to find an unexpected St. Patrick’s Day celebration on in full swing.

Lots of green (basically everywhere you looked), lots of feel good Irish pub music, and of course the odd Irish dancing lass or two.

IMG_20150315_141420 jessica lotter watching irish dancing girls at blaauwklippen

Of course, thanks to the phone in my pocket, plenty of photos too, meaning I had best post some more pictures from what was a pleasant afternoon out and about!

And if you are not familiar with the Blaauwklippen market, I thought it best I swipe it from their website:

This family market started in March 2011 as a once-monthly market, but due to its popularity we changed it to a weekly market and are now open every Sunday 10h00 to 15h00. The market has a range of stalls from fresh produce and homemade products to crafts and plants. There is also live music, delicious food stalls and of course Blaauwklippen wines to enjoy, so bring a blanket and relax under the trees.

And now you know.

P.S. The pancakes on sale there are the absolute best!

Related Link: A Weekend of Tygervalley, Newlands, Blaauwklippen and Mondeor!

A Weekend of Tygervalley, Newlands, Blaauwklippen and Mondeor! My Life 22 MAR 2015

As always, last weekend was plenty entertaining for Craig and his little girls. With Chantelle working, it was up to us to go exploring, and as such, Emily, Jessica and I found ourselves making the trip through to Bellville to spend a large chunk of Saturday morning browsing around the Tygervalley Shopping Centre, darting in and out of toy, book and clothing stores – much to the delight of young Jessica it must be said.

After a refueling stop at the Tygervalley McDonalds (Jessica had pleaded for a hamburger), we travelled through to Mom and Dad’s pad where Jessica and Emily were to spend the next couple of hours alone with mom, seeing as I was joining Ryan and Dad for the big Super Rugby game at Newlands between home team Stormers and the visiting Chiefs. Traffic was heavier than usual (or as Ryan would put it, we left later than what Dad wanted to because I made myself a cup of coffee first), the result of which was that the stadium was already making a lot of noise by the time we finally parked our car!

stormers versus chiefs 2015 super rugby at newlands stadium

That said, I don’t think arriving a little earlier would have made any difference anyway – lines to get in through the various stadium gates were crazy – it would look like the new ticket scan system is slowing down access into the stadium badly, resulting in a lot of angry people in the process!

ronnie lotter, ryan lotter, and craig lotter watching the stormers at newlands rugby stadium

Anyway, it took a little longer than expected to find our seats, but once we were sitting and settled in, we were treated to an awesome first half spectacle of the Stormers dominating the Chiefs in the scrums and just a tight, exciting game in general. Newlands had a little earlier paid tribute to the heroic firefighters who had been involved in those massive fires just a few weeks earlier, and so there were quite a lot of men in uniform dotted around the stadium. In addition, high school Stellenberg had a contingent of students doing high school track meeting flashes/cheers, which was a bit weird to see at a rugby game, but good for the atmosphere anyway!

super rugby stormers versus chiefs steven kitshoff running with the ball - newlands march 2015

Sadly, come second half and things changed badly for the Stormers – despite the lovely cheerleader girls doing their best to motivate the boys on, the Chiefs turned up the gears and with their superior handling and running down the wings, gave us a proper hiding and lesson in how good rugby should be played.

super rugby dhl stormers cheerleader girls in red hotpants at newlands rugby stadium 3

So that was saddening and disappointing to say the least. After all, I only go to the rugby stadium like once every 1.5 years or so, and so to finally go and then lose is quite depressing as you can imagine.

Anyway, the ride home was a lot smoother and quicker than the ride to the stadium, and after some visit time back at Spolander street with Mom, Dad and my little girls, it was in the car and back to Gordon’s Bay to close off what had been a pleasant Saturday after all.

IMG_20150315_130427 jessica lotter standing in front of silver classic car

Sunday was another glorious day in terms of weather, and so I took Emily and Jessica through to Lourensford Market for some pancake time. However, the closer I got, the more  and more signboards signboards appeared that pointed out that today was the day of the big Getaway Expo held at the Lourensford grounds, meaning a snap decision was made to avoid the massive crowds, parking headaches, and bumper to bumper traffic, and instead make a sharp turn, amble leisurely through the leafy glades of Somerset West, before hitting the R44 and driving down to the always enjoyable Blaauwklippen market instead.

Interestingly enough though, it turned out that Blaauwklippen had decided to celebrate St. Patrick’s day a little earlier than the official date (Tuesday 17 March), and as such everything was decked out in green and a lot of Irish music and culture was on display – which doesn’t really make much sense considering the fact that I don’t think Ireland has that much representation down here in South Africa?

IMG_20150315_135131 emily lotter eating a pancake at blaauwklippen market

Not that it matters though, the girls and I enjoyed the vibe, and Jessica was particularly enthralled with the duo of Irish dancing girls that entertained the crowd with all their kicking and flailing about.

IMG_20150315_141420 jessica lotter watching irish dancing girls at blaauwklippen

The pancakes were good, the girls had fun, and Jessica has already booked a horse ride for the next time that we return – which in itself is something rather amazing given her general fearful nature!

IMG_20150315_145549

From there we were summoned to come through to the Mondeor Garden Restaurant to meet up with Monty and Cheryl who were driving through from Bellville in order to meet us for a cup of coffee (Chantelle was busy finishing up her shift for the day – i.e. this was all her sneaky plan for some coffee and cake time), which is then exactly how the rest of Sunday afternoon was spent.

IMG_20150315_163238 jessica lotter in the sky on a trampoline at mondeor restaurant

The carrot cake was particularly delicious.

IMG_20150315_163507 emily lotter in the swing canoe at mondeor restaurant

In other words, yet another activity packed weekend for Craig and his girls done and dusted! :)

The Girl with the Chipped Front Teeth Jessica 21 MAR 2015

Sigh.

As a baby, Jessica chipped her two front teeth pretty badly by crashing teeth first into the tile floor at Monty and Cheryl’s place whilst being chased around on all fours by her daddy (i.e. me). Then earlier last year the dentist spotted a cavity, and in November last year we finally got Jessica to the dentist to have the hole plugged and her front teeth fixed (mainly because of the damage it was causing her bottom lip when biting down – sadly, she’s inherited my overbite it would seem).

The procedure was a success (expensive though, so, so expensive), and for the last four months Jessica has been running around with perfect teeth and a healthy bottom lip.

Until Friday that was.

Picking her up from school at the end of the work day, Chantelle arrived to the bad news that following a successful nap time, Jessica stood up too quickly, lost her balance and fell face first to the ground, chipping out both her front teeth in the process.

little girl with broken front teeth - jessica lotter

Needless to say, both Chantelle and I want to cry.

(We’ll have to make a plan though. I don’t necessarily want to have them fixed so shortly before she starts losing her milk teeth, but at the same time I can’t have her damaging her bottom lip again. Sigh, guess it is time for Mr Credit Card to once again make an appearance…)

Fun Fact: Babies Mess on the Floor when they aren’t wearing Nappies Emily 19 MAR 2015

It’s a well known fact that the reason we are forced to put nappies on babies’ bums is because if we don’t, well then they tend to mess up all the floors with all manner of wet and sticky deposits.

Sadly, this fun fact is something that slipped Chantelle’s mind on Wednesday morning, as I am now about to elucidate.

After a long and good night’s sleep, Emily at last woke up, ready for a brand new day. Of course, she first needed to cry out in order to summon us, and on this fateful morning, Chantelle heeded that call. Picking Emily up out of the cot, Chantelle could smell a stinky poo had already previously erupted, and as such it was straight out of the cot and up onto the changing mat.

In the blink of an eye, the nappy was off, the icky sticky deposits wiped off, and the fanny gleaming with its new found wet wipe cleanliness.

However, it was exactly at this point that Chantelle made her mistake. Thinking it an excellent idea that Emily get some fresh air on her nether regions – you know, to allow everything to breathe – she opted not to immediately put a nappy on and instead placed Emily down on the carpet, confident in the fact that based on the nappy she had just taken off, no bodily functions would be erupting any time soon.

Of course, about 30 seconds later there was a light puddle on the carpet.

Gah.

In one swift motion Chantelle promptly swore, picked up Emily, and deposited her in the lounge on the tiles by the TV, in order to start the carpet mop up operation.

At last, with the carpet saved, Chantelle triumphantly emerged from Emily’s room, only to look down in horror and find Emily standing above another yellow wet spot – and a pile of freshly squeezed poo.

What a wonderfully entertaining start to the morning for me and Jessica I tell you…

emily lotter baby eating pancake and looking mischievious

So a Heavy Metal Sign nearly Squashed My Car… My Life 18 MAR 2015

On Monday evening that infamous Muizenberg railroad bridge that has claimed the tops of so many buses and trucks over the years, tried its hand at taking me out too – by attempting to squash my car by dropping a heavy metal advertising sign down from above!

If you are familiar with the territory, then you’ll understand as I paint this picture. I had just finished up at Checkers, and was pulling out of the parking lot in order to join the road that takes me to down to the beach roads and ultimately on to Sunrise Circle, stopping behind one car that was in front of me, also patiently waiting to join the main road from the parking lot.

As this first car nudged forward, there was an almighty metal rending sound and all of a sudden, the steel frame of the big advertising board affixed to the bridge came crashing down, landing literally right in front of the car that was right in front of me!

Amazingly, the metal structure failed to actually hit and squash any car (or person – there are a lot people that walk under that bridge, not to mention all of the homeless people who live under there!).

I was in the fortunate position in that there was enough space for me to make a sharp left turn back into the parking lot and then make an exit under the building and past the railroad, making my way ultimately back up the road and then around the Zandvlei way of reaching Sunrise Circle – lucky because I imagine it took a fair bit of time to clean up that mangled mess and get the cars flowing again!

So yes, now I am positive that Muizenberg doesn’t like me very much.

view from muizenberg railroad bridge next to false bay college

Picnic in the Jack’s Back Garden (2015-03-08) Photo Gallery 12 MAR 2015

It’s ridiculous that I’m still busy posting photo sets from this past weekend, but I guess it just goes to show that I really wasn’t lying when I said we had a jam-packed weekend on our hands! In case you haven’t been following, Saturday saw us feeding ducks, eating pancakes at the Root 44 market, playing with animals (and tarantulas!) at Giraffe House, date night supper at Cocoa Wah Wah in Rondebosch, and if that wasn’t enough, capping it all of with Nik Rabinowitz’s What the Eff at the Baxter Theater.

Sunday saw us eat cheesecake at Lourensford Harvest Market, and getting something to drink at Stodels in Bellville. And before we capped off the weekend with supper with the Montgomery Clan, our last big activity for Sunday was a outdoor picnic with the ducks of Sonstraal Damn.

Except, that isn’t quite how it went down…

IMG_20150308_163344 jessica lotter

You see, it turns out that Sonstraal Dam wasn’t all that inviting on Sunday afternoon, with a miserable wind kicking up sand and dust and in general just making for a rather unpleasant outdoor experience.

So a new plan was hastily hatched, and with the agreement of Damen, Michelle, Evan, Natasha, Dean and Zania, we phoned up Andri and Malcolm (who live down the road) and asked if we could instead set up picnic shop in their backyard garden.

Happily they said yes, and so the next couple of hours was spent on blankets, dipping into picnic baskets and chatting about life, work, and whatever else sprung to mind – surrounded by vibracrete walls and the kids jumping the socks off of the trampoline!

In other words, a great example of making lemonade when life hands you lemons! ;)

Nik Rabinowitz’s What the EFF at the Baxter Theatre My Life 12 MAR 2015

Saturday evening was a rare date night for Chantelle and myself, and having left the kids with Oupa and Ouma for the evening, we jetted off to Cape Town for the evening, pointing our nose towards my old alma mater, the University of Cape Town – lower campus and the Baxter Theatre Centre to be more specific.

IMG_20150307_185953 the baxter theatre building interior

The plan for the evening was to arrive with plenty of time on our hands in order to enjoy supper at a nearby, particularly nice ribs and steak place that Chantelle had spotted on the Internet, followed by some tummy guffaws courtesy of the usually hilarious Nik Rabinowitz.

Our car safely parked, we headed down through the Baxter, marvelled at how beautiful the building is, took a selfie, and then exited the main doors – now on Rondebosch Main Street and ready to march on towards our dinner venue!

IMG_20150307_185945 craig and chantelle lotter taking a selfie in the baxter theatre

However, after a good ten minutes or so of walking, we realized via GPS that we had in fact marched down the road in completely the wrong direction, forcing us to now hastily turn around and march the other way – which needless to say put a rather serious crimp on our carefully planned time management for the night!

But things were about to get worse. We reached the ribs place only to find that the Internet had seemingly lied to us – this was no nice sit down restaurant, oh no. Heck, it had plastic red and white checkered table cloths and a fast food ordering station for goodness sake!

Luckily, the section of Main Road that we now found ourselves on doesn’t exactly suffer from a shortage of eating establishments, even if most seem geared towards the student crowd, and of particular interest to the two of us was the swanky sounding The Hussar Grill – perfect for a date night meal for two!

Sadly though, it was small, cramped and rather full. So full that we were turned away. Sigh.

So with time now very short, a snap decision was made, and we found ourselves seated down outside Cocoa Wah Wah, where the food wasn’t particularly bad and service in the end was pretty snappy. (We both had burgers in order to speed things up.)

Thus, with the food part of the evening now done and dusted, it was on to the main event for the evening!

From the Baxter website:

“It’s hard to live in South Africa for more than five minutes without looking around in wide-eyed bewilderment, and asking: What the EFF?.

Whether it’s hippies rubbing their chords together to produce solar energy, militants marching into parliament in Pep Store overalls and Italian shoes, or taxi drivers who manage to simultaneously cut you off and flip you the bird while paging through the newspaper and counting their money… at some point in every day, you will say: What the EFF?.

Fortunately, Nik Rabinowitz is here to answer that question. Or maybe not answer it, so much as shake it a bit, and see what falls out.

From the leafy green ganglands of Constantia, to the imaginary book storage lockers of Limpopo, Rabinowitz casts his eye far and wide, and muses: What the EFF?.

And if politics isn’t your cup of tea, there’s plenty of other ridiculousness that’ll have you shaking your head, and clutching your sides.

This show is 100% vegan and eco-friendly, and made up of 10% recycled material and 15% up cycled jokes. No punch lines were tested on animals. Bring your own canvas bag.

nik rabinowitz what the eff show

Right.

Neither Chantelle nor I had in fact ever been to a show at the Baxter Theater, and now that I have I most certainly will go there again. What a lovely venue! Anyway, back to the matter at hand.

The opening act was a young African comedian by the name of… well actually I don’t really remember his name so that’s a bit of a pity. Still, his racially charged comedy was humorous and his skill with the guitar excellent, making for a good start to the evening.

That then led into our favourite Xhosa-speaking Jewish comedian Nik Rabinowitz taking to the stage, a man I last saw in action a good six years ago!

Sadly for me this time around though, I just didn’t find the majority of his comedy and social commentary very funny – in fact, apart from the occasional chuckle here and there, the show was more than just a little bit on the boring and unfunny side for the two of us – so much so that Chantelle even managed to doze off for a bit! (Seriously, if you doze off at a comedy show then you know something isn’t quite right!)

Despite it’s good premise, the show is a bit lazy and loose, not really tying all the elements together very well and lacking in… well a punch lines to be fair. Yes, of course Nik’s accents and characters are all brilliant as usual, but unless they’re saying something witty or funny, well then that alone only takes you so far I’m afraid.

Honestly, we were glad when the show was over and we could spill out into the cool evening air. Neither of us had enjoyed it, in fact, so much so that we both kind of felt that we had just wasted a whole lot of money which could have been far better spent on the evening – like at The Hussar Grill for example! ;)

Anyway, to cap off what in the end had a bit of a disappointing date night out, we arrived back at our car, only to find that some idiot had parked their SUV right up against the driver’s side of our Hyundai Accent.

So it was some jean pant gymnastics for me to enter through the passenger’s side and make it across to the driver’s seat then – honestly, Chantelle should have left a lipstick message for the uncouth lout!

And that was that – other than the long drive home of course…

(Oh, and seeing as this was now the second strike out in terms of seeing comedy at a theater (Robert Fridjhon’s Wild also let us down a bit), we think we might take a little break from this genre for a while…)

Related Link: http://www.baxter.co.za/shows/what-the-eff/

Coffee at Stodels (2015-03-08) Photo Gallery 11 MAR 2015

Having had quite a busy Saturday out and about with the kids, followed by a rare date night, Sunday saw us finish up our market cheesecake and make the drive through to Bellville in order to pick up the kids from Oupa and Ouma – and treat Monty and Cheryl to something to drink at perennial crowd favourite, Stodels nursery, in the process!

IMG_20150308_125535 monty montgomery with cheryl and jessica at stodels in bellville

As it turned out, Sunday was a particularly gorgeous day, and Stodels nursery as expected was jam-packed with people. Although we weren’t there for flowers, Jessica loved seeing all the fish, birds and other little animals in the pet section of the nursery, and needless to say rather enjoyed playing in Stodels’ big kids area – until her nasty fall that gave her a blue eye of course!!

IMG_20150308_133246

As for the adults, well we eventually managed to squirrel a spot at a table, and after a lengthy wait, managed to enjoy some coffee and beer – which isn’t the worst of ways to spend a late Sunday morning after all! :)