Some pictures Chantelle snapped during the big Retha, Chantelle and Jessica go to Nieuwoudtville and Loeriesfontein getaway weekend. And yes, it would appear that there are some people in this world who keep a meerkat on a leash in the garden. Go figure.
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So for the next four days I’m back to being a bachelor again, what with Chantelle and Jessica abandoning me to join Retha (who is taking a break from her South Korea English teaching job) for a nice four day long breakaway to Retha’s folks’ home in Nieuwoudtville.
The two of them picked up Retha and left on Thursday morning already, and from what I understand, should be returning home on Monday afternoon, just in time for Chantelle to pick up her first work shift in the evening. Shame, it is a long 4 to 6 hour drive for poor Jessica and mommy to endure, but as always I’m sure the payoff of a nice relaxing break from home will more than make up for it!
Anyway, it’s not like I’ve been left twiddling my thumbs this weekend mind you. I think this evening I’ll head over to the cinema to catch either Amazing Spider-man or Dark Knight Rises, Saturday will see me joining the pals for the rugby and a bit of a braai in the afternoon, followed by supper with Ryan and the folks, and capped off with me sleeping over at Ryan’s place. Sunday I’ll do some shopping in Bellville before heading off to join up with the friends in order to celebrate Zania’s birthday as well as break in Dean’s newly built braai room.
Yeah, so hopefully I’m kept busy enough such that I forget that I’m already missing my two loved ones. In any event, I’m hope they’re having a good time and that Jessie is at least giving mommy a little bit of a chance to rest!
(Had to chuckle though. First night off, and what do I do instead of putting my feet up to relax? I initiate a one-man braai while completely revamping the layout of the study. Sigh.)
So last, last weekend (yes, yes, I’ve taken my sweet time to write this quick post), Chantelle and I effectively cut ourselves off from the rest of the world, jumping into our little green Getz and jetting along on a 5 hour trip through to Nieuwoudtville, tucked in the Northern Cape near Calvinia, and one of the best sources for great tasting lamb and spectacular natural flower shows come every flower season.
We were there to spend the weekend with Retha and Miguel at Retha’s mom and dad’s little smallholding which comes complete with big rambling house, sheep, geese and one or two minor little crops surrounding it. Needless to say, Nieuwoudtville’s one tarred street doesn’t really feature well on the GPS and thus it was no wonder Chantelle and I managed to get just a little lost when we rode into town in pitch black darkness at around 22:00 in the evening – though for once we were both in agreement and was able to pin the blame squarely on Retha’s shoulders thanks to her rather ambiguous directions! ;)
Outside of a wonderful supper (bobotie), breakfast (pap for chantelle), lunch (braai), supper (braai), breakfast (toast with eggs) and lunch (sunday roast) there really isn’t all that much else to talk about because this was one weekend that consisted 100% out of nothing more than sitting around, chilling, enjoying good company and conversation and just letting your stresses and strain simply flow right out of you.
We took in the few sights that Nieuwoudtville has to offer, namely the completely dried up waterfall which is situated in a stunning drop gorge, the amazing quiver tree (kokerboom) forest which is basically a hill densely covered in these alien-looking trees and sheep. Lots and lots of sheep. (Plus we got to see sheep on a farm that included “Plooie”, the world’s ugliest mutated sheep and the mad one – which we attempted to cure by hitting it over the head!)
We also spent a lot of time in Loeriesfontein, about 50km down the road from Nieuwoudtville. Unfortunately Chane and Jasper were in Cape Town for the weekend so we didn’t bump into them, but we enjoyed the hours spent with the rest of Retha’s aunts and uncles, some of who drove all the way down for Kimberley for the big get together.
It was just well and truly proper “kuier” time in other words.
The trip home went a lot quicker than getting there and in truth, it was a real pity that essentially we were only there for Saturday and half of Sunday, but man was it worth it. Both Chantelle and I had slept like logs throughout the stay and had now returned refreshed and feeling like new.
So thanks to the Vorster’s for their wonderful hospitality, generosity and friendship – rest assured we’ll be making our way through to that side of the world far sooner than later! :)
Nieuwoudtville may be a small, speck on the map, but it comes packed with wonderful people, great food, and more importantly, that feeling of just getting away from it all – exactly what us city slickers sometimes need!
So we had some fun and games and a learning experience with regards to sheep on our trip to Nieuwoudtville two weekends ago (a blog post on which I promise is still to follow). As you may or may not know, that particular area around Calvinia and Loeriesfontein is perfect sheep breeding land and as such, makes up a large part of the economy over on that side of our beautiful land.
Now family of the people we were visiting with for the weekend currently run a small sheep farming operation and as such, we were informed around drinks on the Saturday night that there were a few unusual things that needed to happen the next morning, obviously prompting us rather eager city slickers to insist on tagging along to check this all out come Sunday morning.
The first operation of the day actually involved the curing of a mad sheep. Now I have in my possession a video of this “cure”, but am currently still debating whether or not to actually upload it – after all, I’m not sure I want all the bunny huggers to start chasing us with those big sticks of theirs! :)
You see, the farmers’ logic goes like this. The first step is to ascertain that the sheep isn’t right in the head. Well this one was staring blankly into space, kept on falling over when trying to walk and in general just wasn’t moving with the herd, something pretty strange for a sheep. So, having decided that the sheep is indeed mad, the next logic has to do with what might be causing this particular malady – the answer to which is a possible “bubble on the brain”. I’m not entirely sure about this one, but it makes sense I suppose.
But here comes the fun part. The best way to deal with a bubble is to make it pop right? So what better way than to take a heavy book, place it on the mad sheep’s head as a shock absorber while you hold the sheep down (in our case we used a tweetalige woordeboek – the perfect way to educate after all!) . Then, with the sheep firmly held down and the book being held on top of its head, someone grabs a heavy plank and gives the sheep a good whack over the head – thus popping the bubble and curing the sheep.
Well, one thing was for sure. That poor sheep stood up from its ordeal a great deal more concussed than what it originally was, but other than that, it seemed pretty fine. As for whether or not its madness was cured, well we were told they’d let us know! :)
Then it came to castrating sheep. This turned out to be quite an interesting affair as while we were expecting a fair bit of spurting blood and gore during the whole process, we were completely taken back when the “operation” turned out to be a simple affair of taking a marvellous clamp-like invention, place it around the ball sack and squeeze – effectively cutting all the inner tubes (the area turns cold if you hold it for eight seconds or so, a good indicator that the job is done) while leaving the skin entirely intact!
The remaining task was something completely different though – pictures of a sheep needed to be taken to be sent off to the various landbou magazines and even 50/50 perhaps, because as you can see from the photo set below, “plooie” as it has been nicknamed, is certainly no ordinary sheep! For some or other reason, this particular sheep has been inflicted with some or other genetic disorder (he was born like this) that has prevented him from growing hair (wool) anywhere on his head, legs and lower torso, being replaced instead by series after series of wrinkles and an exposed skin that seems to emit some sort of oily residue that must be for protection.
Now no one in the area has ever come across a sheep like Plooie and everyone is pretty much left scratching their heads and shrugging their shoulders, meaning that a wider panel of experts are going to have to be consulted in order to shed some light on poor old Plooie’s condition – and while I’m at it, I may as well pose the question to Dr. Karl who works with this kind of thing (sort of), even if it is primarily with goats!
So, any ideas Dr. Storbeck?
(Oh, and you might have noticed the rather bedraggled, rat-like yappy dog in the background of some of the pictures. Poor thing has permanently lost most of its hair thanks to the farm hands dousing it with sheep strength anti-flea and anti-tick solution. But hey, at least all the pests are gone!)