At this point pretty much all of our friends and family are married off, meaning that getting the opportunity to go to a wedding (which I enjoy) is becoming a pretty rare thing. Having already missed Retha and Miguel’s South African wedding in December thanks to my injury, I was definitely not going to turn down the opportunity of attending cousin Tian and Monica’s wedding – which in any case was already long overdue according to some family members!
Tian and Monica settled on having their wedding at the Simondium Country Lodge in Simondium, situated on the R45 somewhere between Franschhoek and Paarl. (In other words, this afforded us quite a scenic drive to get there!)
The venue itself is leafy, rustic, peacock inhabited, and comes most important of all with a pretty cool card up its sleeve – this brilliant, artsy, ramshackle chapel that fitted the vintage theme of Monica’s decor perfectly!
The ceremony had everyone’s attention, the company (which for us included the priest and his wife as they were seated by our table) was great, and the food particularly delicious – I mean, oxtail, pork, stuffed chicken, you literally can’t go wrong!
The music had a distinctly 80s/vintage vibe to it, and it definitely had all the old folks finger and toe tapping along, and I have to say, it was great to finally get out on the dance floor and take Chantelle around for a few spins once more! (Amazingly, my knee held up and I only trod on her foot like once or twice max…)
It was a great wedding and an enjoyable evening out, so here’s to wishing the beautiful bride and her groom all the best for the future going forward together!
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Oh, and I even managed to snap a pic of my photo elusive brother for a change:
(Ah, and in case you’re wondering where the girls are, they rather enjoyed their sleepover with Oupa and Ouma back in Bellville!)
Related Link: Simondium’s Country Lodge
Chantelle and I didn’t have a particularly good end to 2015. I haven’t gotten around to detailing it all in the blog yet, so I guess this is then officially the start.
Thursday 26 November 2015 marked the evening that we had invited my Mom and Dad over to have supper with us at our home. Of course, this then meant that on arrival back from work, Chantelle immediately set about cleaning the house, which translates to a lot of wiping down of surfaces and some furious mopping. (Standard procedure for whenever we’re expecting visitors mind you!)
Sadly for her sake though, she must have applied just a little too much soap to her mop water or sprayed a little too much floor cleaner beforehand, because on stepping down into the braai room to mop there, her feet slipped and she went down like a ton of bricks, landing on her back and somehow (miraculously!) not hitting the back of her head on the step in the process!
Lots of screaming, swearing and gnashing of teeth immediately let me know that something was wrong – which made sense considering that the toes on her left foot were now staring back at me whilst in the shape of a V!
The kids were beside themselves, so after calming them down, I organised with Jessica that we drop them over there for a bit until my folks (already on their way) could arrive to pick them up (shame, interrupting a date night with Mark in the progress), whilst Chantelle swore and managed to get hold of someone at our local pharmacy on the other line.
After a quick painful drive there, the doctor and pharmacist both took a look and concurred that it looked broken, meaning that our immediate next step was a race through to the Emergency Centre at Vergelegen Mediclinic Hospital (because of course, as with all accidents in the Lotter household, it was already after hours).
Naturally, Chantelle was in a heck of a lot of pain, and unfortunately it was quite the extended wait at the Emergency Centre to get her seen to.
(I twiddled my thumbs for a very, very long time, while back home, my folks ended up getting pizza for supper! This means that technically we still owe them supper one of these days…)
Anyway, luckily for Chantelle the twin x-rays showed that the toes were just dislocated as opposed to broken, and so after a super painful injection into her toes (she had insisted on the anesthetic without realizing how sore receiving it would be!), the doctor popped everything back into place and bandaged her up.
With that, our expensive and painful evening was now finally over.
Recovery was slow and sore, but thankfully the toes managed to heal up just in time such that she could still make the big, big December event – which was of course her being bridesmaid to best friend Retha’s big Stellenbosch wedding!
(Which sadly I didn’t get to attend, the sorry story around that still to follow…)
Related Link: Vergelegen Mediclinic
Finally, after nearly two weeks of sightseeing in Japan, the real reason for Ryan and I being in the country was at last upon us.
Amazingly, our smart clothes that had journeyed with us still looked reasonably smart, which was a good thing considering the fact that in Japan, weddings are usually quite a smart affair.
The day had arrived. Longtime friend Terrance was to marry the girl of his dreams, Yuko.
We were ferried to Komagane from Ina by Yuko’s father, who we had now met a handful of times over the course of the last couple of days – a tricky venture considering the fact that he doesn’t have any English and we have no Japanese.
However, we made it to the hotel together with Hester and Terry (Terrance’s parents) with plenty of time to spare, and we were ushered to a room where we were to wait with any other arriving family before being allowed into another room where the two families would get to see Yuko and Terrance in their traditional wedding outfits and be introduced to one another.
The wedding ceremony itself was short and sweet, and hilariously, the first thing to go wrong on our entire Japanese trip went and happened at the ceremony itself – the lady priest forgot an important symbolic step of the ceremony!
Luckily she remembered it on the way out, and so the entire guest contingent was ushered to the outside courtyard where Yuko and Terrance once again made a grand appearance and completed their ceremony to the cheers of everyone there!
(And by cheers, I do of course mean strict silence, with jubilation strictly happening once the go ahead was given. Very, very disciplined the Japanese.)
Naturally, it was an absolutely awesome experience and such a privilege that Ryan and I could be there to witness Terrance and Yuko’s big day!
Of course, no wedding can be complete without a big reception (even if there isn’t really any dancing at a Japanese wedding), and we were seated down in a beautifully decorated room for a series of speeches and of course food.
Lots and lots of food – seven courses if I remember correctly!
(NOTE: Chantelle is absolutely furious that I took one single photo of all that interesting Japanese cuisine!)
(Also, Terrance had kindly seated Ryan and myself with some of his colleagues from one of the schools that he had previously taught at, meaning that two or three of the ladies had some English at their disposal, which in turn meant that some decent conversations were actually possible for a change!)
We had a lovely time at a lovely wedding for a lovely couple.
In other words, a better end to our two week long holiday in Japan we could not have asked for! :)
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In October 2014 I embarked on my very first overseas trip ever – to the one destination that I’ve always wanted to see above all others: Japan.
Terrance, a friend I have known since primary school, has been living in the land of the Rising Sun since 2011, teaching English as part of their JET programme. In that time, he also found a fiancé in the form of Yuko Omiya, and thoroughly besotted with this wonderful woman, the date for their wedding was set: 12 October 2014.
Of course, he was very keen to have any of his South African friends come up and join him and Yuko on their big day, and although it was certainly something that I wanted to do, it wasn’t something that I could actually afford to at the time (you know, all the usual expenses that comes with being a married adult with children and bonds to pay).
However, my brother Ryan certainly could, and as such, he implored and convinced me to join him on the trip – and thus our Japan 2014 adventure was forged!
Surprisingly, we didn’t actually put loads of research into the trip, in fact, it boiled down to less than a handful of Skype and e-mail chats with Terrance, and one or two real life meetups for Ryan and myself. However, it took almost no time at all to come up with a plan that would see us in Japan for a period of two weeks, travelling to the metropolitan marvel that is Tokyo, then to the rich spiritual, historic and cultural hub that is Kyoto, and finally enjoying the fresh, more rural air and pace of Ina and Komagane, situated within the Nagano prefecture.
With our destinations and our period of stay in each decided, Yuko handled the task of tracking down affordable accommodation for the two of us (it was much easier to organise that on their side than for us to try and do it from here), while Ryan handled the nitty gritty of all the flight tickets, insurance, etc. – and once the final hurdle of getting our Japanese visas via the embassy in Cape Town was cleared, all that was left was a little bit of wait time until we finally took to the skies.
Needless to say, I was excited as a puppy dog who has just discovered he can actually chase cats and they WILL run away!
The trip itself was everything I could ever have wished for (I’ll sum it up as amazing, and not at all what I might have imagined), and despite the fact that we actually spent very little time with Terrance and Yuko as a whole, Ryan and I were more than capable of getting around by ourselves in a land where very little English is spoken – and get around we most certainly did!
(Though to be fair, a big thank you to the wonder that is mobile data and Google Maps is in order.)
I’ve got 47 photo albums taken over the course of those 14 incredible days, all neatly sitting on my hard drive, patiently waiting to be uploaded and thus see the light of day – and although it is now nearly a year later (life as a dad to two small kids is so incredibly busy), I think that you’re finally in for a treat.
In other words, prepare for an upcoming deluge of amazing sights courtesy of probably one of my most favourite countries in the whole wide world – this is Japan 2014! :)
I enjoyed a nice break from the PC last weekend, opting not to turn it on for just about the entire weekend – certainly a change from the norm in other words!
Friday evening was a pretty quiet night, with Chantelle working meaning single parent mode for me. Getting Jessica down for the night, a late supper, some Angry Birds with Chantelle and a little FIFA on the Xbox made up the first night of the weekend.
Saturday morning it was up before the break of dawn, hurriedly getting ready for Saret and Francois’ early morning wedding that Chantelle and I were attending out at Klein Joostenberg. Monty and Cheryl had graciously agreed to come through to babysit Jessica, and following their arrival at our pad just before 8:00, Chantelle and I were out of the door and heading through Stellenbosch to reach our target destination.
Of course, it would have helped if we had bothered looking at a map or pulling out the GPS before leaving, instead of blindly relying on Chantelle’s memory of a previous visit years ago (and a quick chat with her dad), because a good 7km or so past the venue (unbeknown to us), out deep in the Cape Winelands, something tugged at Chantelle’s subconscious and she finally succumbed to my pestering about checking the GPS.
Just as well we did, because one u-turn later, we pulled into the parking lot, just on time for what had been the scheduled start time!
Not that it mattered in the end mind you. As a proper bride should act, Saret was indeed well behind schedule and the ceremony started a good three quarters of an hour later than what it should have, meaning we had plenty of time to taking in the stunning view on the farm and surroundings, enjoying ambling on the rolling green lawns, and take in a particularly vicious geese fight that ended in pretty much an explosion of feathers!
As for the wedding itself, it ran flawlessly, with Saret looking amazing in the wedding dress that her mother designed and made for her. The weather turned out perfect, and it was a small, intimate ceremony which Chantelle and I felt quite honoured to be invited to considering the fact that there were so few guests invited – pretty much only family!
The ceremony was followed by the usual photo taking session, before we were finally ushered into the beautifully laid out and decorated reception area, were we partook in a delicious buffet breakfast, took in all the speeches, laughed at a funny video presentation made by good friends who couldn’t be there, and of course tapped our feet to the insanely enjoyable selection of music put on by the excellent music manager for the morning.
The highlight of the morning had to be Francois and Saret’s opening dance though, loads of fun and very, very unexpected! :)
Unfortunately for us though, just as the dance floor was starting to take off, we had to bid farewell because Chantelle had to return for her afternoon shift at work, though not before she had first approached the musician (a bloke called Christiaan, who apparently had done pretty well at the Afrikaans Idols) who had entertained us with his vocals and guitar during the period before the reception in order to buy his CD.
Happily avoiding getting lost on the way home, we made it home, had a quick cup of coffee with Monty and Cheryl, before Chantelle left for work, and the Montgomery Snr. pack returned home to Bellville.
This left Jessica and me home alone, and so we opted to spend the rest of the afternoon and early evening putting together the new flat-pack TV stand we had purchased for the braai room, in order to free up the lounge table so that it can make its way back to the lounge (at last), giving Jessica some more raised surfaces to pull herself along in the process.
The TV stand itself was pretty damn cheap, only R500 on special at Makro, and despite some minor mistakes in their tooling (nothing which my saw and chisel couldn’t fix), Jessica and I got the thing assembled and I’m must admit to being pretty pleased with the results – it fits the space absolutely perfectly!
With that out of the way, it was bed time routine for Jessie, late night supper with Chantelle, and plenty of FIFA on the XBOX to round out the night, with my season as Exeter’s coach progressing quite pleasingly if I say so myself.
Sunday was Jessica and daddy day again and apart from managing to squeeze in a delicious braai (which could actually have happened on the Saturday now that I think about it) and a trip to the mall, the only other thing I can remember achieving on the last day of the weekend was the big room reshuffle, where I successfully managed to empty the big chest of drawers in the study, make space for it in the braai room next to Chantelle’s baking shelf (the one reclaimed from my now rather disorganized shed), and then proceed repack the entire space.
Of course Jessica didn’t like the fact that I again was giving her my full attention for much of the day, though it was pretty cute how she helped me by putting things into the drawers whenever laid down stuff in front of her!
And that was pretty much the weekend as far as I can remember it.
Enjoyable enough then, for one of those single parent weekends I’m not particularly fond of! :)
December 2007 marked the big day for my sister Claire as she married her captured man, Riley Carpenter. The wedding was a huge success, the venue was gorgeous and the day was perfect, resulting in one heck of an awesome wedding reception.
And what are wedding receptions if you can’t show off your dance moves? ;)
(Note, that is Claire, having sneakily switch outfits for the dancing part of the night, trying to run away)
This weekend past didn’t offer up all that much in terms of news, mostly because Chantelle spend Friday evening in Bellville preparing for Andri’s Stork Party that she was organizing for Saturday morning and finishing Alita’s son’s 21st key-themed birthday cake for delivery that evening, leaving me to my own devices which in the end meant watching anime, Stripperella and inserting increased advertising across the CodeUnit and Rugged Rock blogs. Exciting, I know! :P
Similarly, for the most part of Saturday I did the ordinary things like household chores, i.e. dishes, washing, D.I.Y. etc. mixed in with yet more Stripperella and even some Tomb Raider (whose backdrops are really breathtaking by the way), as well as penning a number of blog posts for scheduling here in these pages.
But come early evening and I was in my lovely Jetta Jameson and on my way to Bellville, to hook up with the Montgomery household and indulge in an evening which was to include a delicious steak braai, an exhilarating four man battle of darts and taking in the quite frankly astounding Stormers game on the telly. Oh, and indulging in left over Stork party snacks and goodies of course!
As for our impromptu darts game, I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed picking up the old projectiles once again, and at the end of the day, Chantelle and I came nicely back in our game of Killer versus Monty and Cheryl, with Chantelle even managing to bag a Cherry Bull in basically her first darts game ever. For the most part we were playing catch-up and fell horribly behind on points, but when the open numbers finally dried up and only the bulls were left open, all of a sudden we were hitting them left right and center and came within striking distance of claiming the game, stopped only by a beautiful cherry thrown by Monty just as we were running out of time thanks to the impending Stormers game.
Speaking of the Stormers game, wow our boys are really looking good this season. Excellent defense (pity about that last gift try we gave away though) as per usual but for a change, a beautiful attack and I really can’t help but feel confident of our chances heading into the overseas leg of our campaign!
Sunday morning Chantelle and I slept in a bit and after lazing about the morning, we finally headed out to the mall to purchase some picture frames and print some wedding photos for placing in the pad – after all, it’s been four or five months already and we still haven’t sent out our thank you cards, never mind even printed a picture for proud display in our home!
I followed up our impromptu shopping trip by taking Chantelle out to lunch at JennaVIVA, a new favourite of hers and a delightfully upmarket-decorated establishment on the outskirts of mainland Somerset West I must say. Their menu and food quality is impeccable, the vibe seems like it really has the potential to be nice and surprisingly enough, their prices suits one’s pockets quite nicely. Imagine that! :)
Evening was spent being disappointed that one of the frames we bought was damaged and needs to be returned, hanging the other up in the lounge using double-sided tape to great effect, doing household things like folding up the washing and surprisingly enough finishing up the night with KFC and loads of Stripperella.
And that’s about it as far as I can remember. Nothing too memorable to report back on, apart from the darts of course.
Now that really was cool to play again…
It’s quite interesting, but this photo above is actually one of Chantelle’s and my favourite images to come out of our wedding back in November last year, despite the fact it doesn’t actually feature Chantelle or myself!
Instead, it depicts my sister Claire looking on as my younger brother Ryan gestures with outstretched arms, doing it for who knows what or imitating who knows whom, but with a facial expression that exudes absolute joy (or terrible constipation).
Incidentally though, today also marks my younger boet’s 27th birthday if I’m not mistaken, so happy birthday Ryan – Chantelle and I will catch you on Saturday for the house-warming birthday braai! Needless to say, we’re expecting a gourmet feast to come out of that new kitchen of yours! ;)
So, tonight is New Year’s Eve celebrations, meaning that we finally say goodbye 2009 and hello 2010, and while I look forward to 2010, the year which will undoubtedly be driven by the World Cup soccer celebration here in South Africa, I must say that looking back over 2009, it was a pretty good year after all.
Naturally, the year was pretty much dominated by the lead up to and the eventual wedding that saw Chantelle and I finally become husband and wife, probably the greatest leap forward in my life for many a past year. Of course this year also saw our first real holiday together, that being our honeymoon roadtrip up the country, as well as the completion of my first year in my new job here at Touchwork, a position and place of work that I’ve really come to enjoy and take pride in.
2009 also marked the year I returned to karate after my lengthy departure from the discipline, starting up in a new style and once again, all the way from the ground up. Thankfully though, the people at the Funakoshi dojo are simply marvelous and I enjoy each and every session with them all, so much so that it looks like this may very well be the first style in which I attempt to go all the way and finally get that ever elusive black belt! Already got one tournament under the belt and sporting green at the moment, so I’m off to a good start it would seem! :)
Outside of that, my hobbies all continued as normal, gaming, anime, manga and comic books, though the one thing that did slack off is my webcomic production, something I’ll have to look into kicking off properly again come the new year. Blogging continued at the usual frenetic rate and I finally got around to claiming my own vanity URL towards the end of the year, hence you reading this on http://www.craiglotter.co.za instead of the old http://www.codeunit.co.za.
2009 also turned out to be the year of spending money on the pad, and as such we’ve got quite a couple of nifty things lying around the house now, and come January next year, the brand new couches should be sitting looking nice and pretty as well! Sadly, this was also the year that Coco went missing in action and while he is still sorely missed, it also turned out to be the year of Achilles, as our playful ginger boy joined our family way back in January believe it or not!
Not much else is jumping to mind as I type this (being brutally honest as always), but looking out over everything I’ve already typed so far, I can safely say that on the balance of things, 2009 was a fabulous year for both Chantelle and I. In other words, it is with a fond farewell we bid to what was an excellent year in our journey together and we eagerly look forward to 2010 – who knows, it might just be the year to usher in a little Lotter if the awesome Craig has his way! ;)