For probably the first time ever, we hosted Christmas lunch at our pad here in Country Mews. Joining us for the delicious spread was the Montgomery Clan, and as these pictures show, it was a pretty good way to spend a warm Summer’s Christmas afternoon! :)
(Although I did have to go to the shed to drag out the fan – the air conditioner alone wasn’t good enough!)
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Had a good weekend this weekend, a more stay at home one than last weekend of course, but a good one nevertheless. Things kicked off with a rather poor movie choice for Friday evening’s entertainment, with Chantelle and myself opting to catch the newly released Step Up 3, a movie franchise which had proved to be quite entertaining in its first two iterations. However, the same can’t be said about the third, featuring a horribly cliched story, weak acting, poor pacing and really just not much in terms of cinema quality. Of course, the dance choreography was brilliant as always, but that’s pretty much that – and I dare you to try and not laugh the ridiculous restroom ‘attack’ sequence! :)
Of course with Chantelle being back on work duty with Louise and Whammy off to Thailand for another holiday, I was left to my own devices for Saturday and so after a bit of admin work like paying off our Boardman’s account, trading in a couple of games and buying a second XBOX controller to get Chantelle to play Blur with me at home, I popped in at the Strand Municipal Hall to catch some of the karate on display at the 2010 Boland Development Tournament. By the looks of things the tournament was well supported, with a lot of little ones partaking as well as the Boland junior team that will be heading off to P.E. in two weeks time for the national competition.
From there it was off to Bellville (Ryan’s pad to be exact), where we had moved our long overdue XBOX gaming session in the hopes to attract more friends to join us – as it turned out, this didn’t happen and so in the end if was just the three usual suspects as Terrance, Ryan and myself found ourselves battling it out fiercely on the brilliant arcade racing title, Blur, peppered with some FIFA soccer battles just for a change of pace.
The original late lunch braai plan was replaced with pizzas from Scooters across the road and our evening entertainment turned into a proper animated film fest as we managed to watch both the slightly disappointing Planet Hulk together with the awesome Batman: Under the Red Hood all in one sitting – without falling asleep for a change! A couple more games of Blur rounded off what had been a pleasant 8 or 9 hours of guy geekery, and I found myself once more on the N2, heading home and trying to remember that I was now in the real world and should now NOT be attempting to race past ever car I deemed competing with me on the road! :)
Sunday was a change of gear and I found myself listlessly doing some household chores, watching some more of the enjoyable High School of the Dead anime and finally getting some more [Prototype] game time in, before I was summoned out of my shell and called to meet up at the guest house where we were joined by the rest of the returned Montgomery clan and I got to show off my superior braaing skills yet again. The hours slowly passed with plenty of story telling to take in, before we were eventually joined by Retha, Miguel and Helena who popped in after being out in the area, meaning that for pudding and coffee we were pretty much a full house of laughs and gigles!
And that was pretty much that. Back home we rounded things off with some awesome Blur battles between Chantelle and myself (man does she get annoyed when the races don’t go her way!), before I hit the keyboard for some much needed blogging and she got catch up on all the latest Idols developments!
Whew, done. So all in all, a pretty damn good weekend off after all if you ask me! ;)
Monty, Cheryl and Robert are well versed in the ways of Cattle Baron’s Sunday spread, and so I guess I was quite pleased to be invited to the club when Chantelle and I received an invite to join them for lunch at the Baron this Sunday past.
For a change, C and I made a monumental effort to leave early from our slighly miserable in terms of weather Gordon’s Bay and so five minute before the scheduled meet up time, we found ourselves sitting in the parking lot, twiddling our thumbs. Of course, on such a beautiful day we probably should have sat outside and soaked up some more of those precious warming rays, but instead we went inside and claimed the best seats (overlooking the big screen, sports-carrying TV of course! :P), waiting for the rest of the Montgomery clan to join us.
The carvery itself is a pretty simple idea, but an extremely well executed one if you ask me. For R70, you get access to the Sunday buffet, a big table hosting a fine (and constantly topped up) selection of roast beef, pork, chicken, potato, sweet potato, veggies… in other words the works – and as with all buffet setups, you get to go back as many times as your poor stomach can handle! :)
The food was absolutely fantastic (so much so that no one caved if for dessert at the end), the conversation kept running, and despite the fact that our table number was drawn in the weekly competition that sees some lucky fellas winning some decent meal vouchers, everyone left quite a satisfied, happy chappy.
The day itself then further played out with some coffee and ice cream at the Montgomery Clan stronghold, an abandonment of a snoozing Chantelle on the couch, a fruitful Jackie Chan DVD hunt at Tygervalley, and then a snacking of some quite frankly divine home-made mini doughnuts in front of a brilliant Germany versus England second round World Cup game, in which those big talking Brits got properly spanked by a very efficient German team! :)
Oh, and back home, C even allowed me to watch a Jackie Chan movie with her in attendance (Mr. Nice Guy if you must know) – must have been that Marilyn Monroe print from Boardmans I surprised her with on our arrival back at the castle! ;)
And then I was 30. So last Tuesday, the 11th of May, saw me end off my time in the twenties and enter the age of the thirties, and following the awesome surprise long weekend away to the Drakensberg courtesy of a sneaky Chantelle, this was probably the best process of ageing one more year that I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying in absolute ages.
Amazingly enough, thanks to the machinations of Chantelle, we were both actually off on the day of my birthday and what followed was a great sleep-in, pottering around the house, going shopping together and in general just spending time in one another’s company, before finally getting ready and pulling the door closed behind us.
A while back I had decided to invite the family out to Cattle Baron in Somerset West in order to celebrate the big event with me and so we found ourselves hitting the road in a hurry to make the meet-up time of 19:00 at the restaurant which I hadn’t actually been to before. Needless to say, as is always the case with Chantelle and I, we were late. 10 to 15 minutes or so late. But at least our excuse was good. The entire Strand area was swathed in darkness, bringing with it no traffic lights and thus heavy, slow-moving traffic. But, as you might point out, we were still late.
The Cattle Baron itself is pretty okay, seems to sit in an old converted house which means lots of corridors and walls, and to be honest, I think I would prefer a more open venue though the plus of it is that it provides you with a fair bit of privacy I guess.
The Montgomery’s were there in full force, but the Lotter’s were missing Claire and Riley and unfortunately Ryan’s girlfriend couldn’t make it either, leaving us with a grand total of 8 mouths to feed on the night. Banter was good and I received and opened a host of awesome presents like FIFA World Cup 2010 South Africa, the Unseen Academicals and Papa Roach’s Metamorphosis to name a few. We also chose this moment to drop the bombshell of Chantelle’s pregnancy, handing each mother a “belated Mother’s Day gift” which was a simple white box with a ribbon around it. Opening the box revealed a white baby booty inside and with the moms’ eyes wide open, we delivered the happy news.
In other words, even more to celebrate now! The wine was flowing, the food eventually came and on a whole, the evening was just an awesome family get together.
Eventually I attempted to sneak out and settle the bill as a surprise for everyone, before we all left the confines of the restaurant to return to our flat for coffee and Mom’s first look at our frankly awesome wedding album.
And that was that, the mechanics of turning 30 was over and done with.
But what about the other side of it? Well as most men do when they hit a big decade change number, I am forced to look back at life so far, and unfortunately I must say that I’m rather disillusioned with what I see. As I try to explain to Chantelle, I believe I have far more potential than what I exert and as such sadly look back on having achieved pretty much nothing so far. It’s a depressing thought really, but one I think that everyone goes through when they haven’t managed to achieve something pretty awesome by the time they hit 30.
That said, I do have plans moving forward and so hopefully this decade will be the big one for me. As it is, I’m already off to a good start, having basically just successfully completed the first six months of my marriage and now have the planning of opening up of our little family to its first child to deal with. Plans for a house are now gathering speed, I’ve purchased my first brand new car and I have some business ideas which moving forward I’d like to see slowly but surely be put in to action.
So in other words we’ll see. I have now had 30 years of experience on this planet, I have the privilege of knowing myself, knowing my limits and abilities pretty well and have now built up a beautiful support structure around me.
In other words?
The next ten years should be a blast! :)
True, it lies a fair distance away from us, sitting about 26 km outside of Barrydale running towards the Oudtshoorn side, but after my first experience with the quaint Warmwaterberg Spa resort I can definitely say that it won’t be the last time I’ll make that particular trip! :)
A couple of weekends ago saw Chantelle and myself join up with the rest of the Montgomery clan for a bit of a family weekend away, lured to the inviting naturally warm mineral pools by Cheryl and Monty who rate this as one of their favourite getaway destinations. So Friday night after work we finally managed to hit the road (joined by Robert who decided to catch a lift through with us) and after an uneventful couple of hours drive featuring just the one stop at Buffelsjag and the “turning off the headlamps in order to gauge just how dark it is” incident, we finally made it to the resort in the dead of the night, guided in over the dusty gravel road by Monty’s lone torchlight shining brilliantly in the night.
The seven of us (Monty’s folks were tagging along) were bunking down in one of Warmwaterberg’s wooden chalets (they have a number of different accommodation options, including tenting, caravaning and even a stay in their ancient bathhouse), and I was pleasantly surprised just how spacious the cabin was, featuring a number of separate rooms, a little lounge, kitchen and even a nice patio of all things. Outside of course we were blessed with tons of beautiful space to call our own, a braai place and of course tons of peacocks and fluffy chickens who all seem to come as part of the package!
The area itself is of course dominated by the pool complex where they have two natural warm water baths and then one big fibreglass cold pool, though that unfortunately is currently out of action thanks to a splintering bottom, meaning that one of the warm pools has been hastily converted into a bit of a mixed temperature pool. Outside of that, there is also the giant lapa complex to take into account, featuring a huge indoor entertainment space that hosts a pool table, dart bard, snoopie, bar and even fully licensed restaurant if you’re feeling too lazy to play tongmaster at any point in time.
As for the stay, well the best way to say it is simply that both Chantelle and I returned from the weekend feeling more relaxed than what we have in quite some time. Highlights of the stay was of course Monty taking his cellphone for a dip on the first day, midnight bathing under the stars, Robert playing tongmaster with excellent results as per usual, breakfast at the restaurant, me whipping Rob’s ass at pool, meat eating peacocks (seriously, they stripped the meat right off the rib bones!), watermelon, more swimming than what you can shake a stick at, and of course, Robert’s infamous heart stopping moment when he accidentally grabbed a big hairy spider that was hiding under the balcony beam.
Needless to say, it WAS a good weekend away! :)
(Oh, except for all those damn long thorns I kept stepping in! Was like a giant human pin cushion I tell you!)
While last Saturday saw both Chantelle and I do ABSOLUTELY nothing the whole day long apart from playing games and lazing about, Sunday was a whole new bag of kittens entirely!
Sunday morning we actually made the conscious effort to raise ourselves out of bed early enough and go try out a Church in area for the first time since either of us has moved here to Gordon’s Bay! Our first outing was to Christ Church, Somerset West, a church that our old pastor Gary had recommended based purely on the fact that it belongs to the same branch as what our old Church belonged to.
Now apart from the fact that the incorrect information on their website caused us to arrive half an hour before the service started, the service itself was actually pretty nice, but I’m afraid that we were pretty quick in deciding that this won’t be the church for us after all – and this decision is based entirely on demographics, which is certainly not the most PC of things to be saying in this day and age I know! But before you jump to conclusions, let me explain: Chantelle and I stuck out like sore thumbs thanks to the fact that 96% of all people in the church were silver-haired! Goodness gracious, and this was still at the 09:30 family service! Anyway, with the abundance of churches in the Somerset West/Strand/Gordon’s Bay area, I’m sure we’ll find something along the way :)
From church it was back on the road to the Montgomery clan stronghold in Bellville, where we had been invited over for some lunch which was to be some delicious curry chicken potjiekos, a competition-winning recipe that tastes as good as it looks. Seeing as Monty had been out at work for the morning, it was up to Cheryl and Rob to craft our gourmet cuisine and I am happy to report that it was definitely as good as what I had been told it would be! With Monty returned from work the five of us sat down for lunch where we enjoyed the delicious meal over some good wine and lots of chatter, followed up with a delicious serving of some creamy choc fudge ice-cream that I had picked up on the way earlier in the day.
Admittedly, we did run out on doing the dishes (again! Sorry about that Cheryl!), but only because Chantelle had organised to meet up with Andri over a coffee at Tygervalley seeing as the two of them haven’t seen each other in such a long time, especially now that poor little Corban is so sick all of the time! So I dropped C off at Tygervalley around 15:00 and then went over to keep my family a little company which turned out to be not the best of timed decisions as Mom and Pops were out on their way to visit the grans and Ryan is currently sitting once again without an Xbox as he waits for his second faulty console to be exchanged! So Ryan and I ended up lazing about the house and watching TV for a bit, before heading out for a nice stroll out in the neighbourhood, checking out houses and looking out for ‘punch buggies’ :)
Chantelle later joined up with us after a successful coffee meeting and we pretty much ended up watching TV for the rest of the afternoon/early evening as Chantelle still needed to hang around in Bellville because she was joining her mom in visiting her gran in hospital later the evening. Of course, leaving the comfy couch was easier said that done when the time to leave fell upon her, particularly as everyone was quite enjoying Molly Shannon and Will Ferrell’s stupid 1999 Superstar movie which was running through its final scenes. However, she did eventually get up and go, taking my car with her and leaving me, Mom and Ryan to fill out crossword puzzles as we awaited her return and thus the opportunity to make some snackwiches for supper!
I think we only got back home to Gordon’s Bay around 22:00 that evening, after having been in Bellville since before 13:00, making it officially the longest visiting hours with the parents ever! So much for my just relaxing at home weekend that I was so looking forward to :(
But at least I got to eat good food, which always makes up for it! :)
Thursday’s work went okay I guess – got a lot of smaller items I need to focus on which means some of the larger projects have to get pushed behind a little, which isn’t all that great. On the up side, we did get a request for a small website that Ryan and I might actually take on as a project for our now faltered CodeUnit.ZA collaboration while the other good news was that Chantelle managed to get the much needed two new tires for the Getz… without buying a TV cabinet while she was in full possession of my debit card! :P
Though she did opt to buy an exquisitely beautiful and expensive Russel Hobbes toaster and kettle set for the GB (Gordon’s Bay) flat from her own funds instead! Go figure…
Actually the two busy little bees that are Chantelle and her mom were rather productive yesterday, doing a ton of shopping for themselves and window shopping for the flat, uncovering quite a few items of interest that Chantelle was more than eager to show off to me when I joined her in Tygervalley later the evening after I returned from work.
As it is, thanks to their diligent work, it looks like I’m going to end up buying something first that was actually way back last on my list of things to get over the next couple of months, namely a dining room table and chairs. Home Depot has an awesome deal on a dark wood table with four padded chairs for only R2000, a price good enough to make me buy it without asking any questions first. The size of the set is exactly what we need to fit on the little ‘patio’ so it would be really silly to pass this one up and seeing as the chairs on their own retail for about R450, getting the table plus the chairs at that price is an absolute bargain – and you all know how much I love bargains!!
Our main mission for being in Tygervalley however was actually to make work of organising a landline and internet access for the GB flat, so on arrival Chantelle and I promptly strolled straight into the Telkom Direct shop and stood around like lost sheep. Luckily for us, they didn’t like us cluttering their shop doorway like that and an extremely helpful and friendly lady by the name of Anneline ushered us to her desk where she set about showing us the various options available to us as well as kicking off the process to get everything started.
I can’t tell you the relief when Nagua Bay complex showed up on their system, because I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to hook up ASDL there which in that case would spell worst case disaster for my home office plan. As it is I’ve taken out a 24 month contract on the Closer 3 plan that comes bundled with a 1GB ‘FAST’ ASDL package for R500 a month. Hopefully the landline will bring down some of our cellphone costs because I would like to downgrade my current Vodacom contract when I get the chance. So with that out of the way, my home office takes one more step towards becoming reality!
With that done and our browsing of furniture and carpets complete (as well as quick snack stop), we headed across the road to the Montgomery residence to join up with Cheryl, Monty and Robert for another one of the usual family braais. As always, Robert was slaving away behind the blazing fire while Monty and I stood around drinking and talking nonsense with Chantelle and Cheryl making themselves useful in the kitchen and shouting at the Strictly Come Dancing judges on the TV whenever they got the chance. Boy, I never knew Chantelle could dislike a person THAT much! :P
A little into the evening and we also got to meet Zandria, the girl from Swellendam who has temporarily moved in with the Monty’s until she can find a place of her own. As it was, she made it just in time for starters which just happened to be ’skilpadjies’, a dish which I would probably never ever touch on my own, but thanks to peer pressure I did and thoroughly enjoyed it. For those of you who don’t know, ‘skilpadjies’ are basically skinned livers wrapped in either bacon or fat and then cooked on an open flame. Not the most appetizing sounding of dishes, but actually bloody tasty I have to shamefully admit.
Thankfully though the main meal held no extra little gastronomic surprises and instead we tucked into some delicious chicken kebabs, neck chops and Boerewors, all rounded off with some delicious flame grilled buns, potato dish and salad. Ah, a true South African meal! And seeing as it is almost Easter, what could be better for dessert than Easter Eggs? (though actually Chantelle did top their dessert with a little something of her own on getting home later the evening – can anyone say Lindt chocolate bunny rabbit? :)
As always supper was great fun and after ditching Robert and Zandria with dishes duty, we said a quick farewell and slinked off home to get some well deserved rest! Ah, another busy day in the life of Craig and Chantelle! :)