Despite the annual Gordon’s Bay “Festival of Lights or “Winter Wonderland” being in full swing, Chantelle and I saw fit to have fun in a different way, by inviting some friends over to our side of the world for a guest house braai instead!
First activity for the day though: a visit to the penguin colony at Stony Point in Betty’s Bay.
As it turned out, we were blessed with the perfect winter’s day weather for the trip, and Dean, Zania, Evan, Natasha, Michelle and Michael all tagged along with the little ones for a fun trip down the wooden walkway, surrounded by both adult and baby penguins on either side.
(Funnily enough though, this was the least amount of penguins we’ve ever seen there before – I can only assume our timing was a bit off on the day – must have been out hunting is all that I can come up with!)
Nevertheless, the kids had a ball, and of course as any parent to a little one knows, that is literally all that counts! :)
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The annual Gordon’s Bay “Festival of Lights” or “Winter Wonderland” has now come and gone, carnival weekends and all. As it turned out, Chantelle and I didn’t really end up spending too much time on it, primarily because we were busy with other things – like inviting our friends out to our side of the world for a change! :)
With a braai organised at the guest house in the evening, and a visit to the penguins already done, Evan, Natasha, Dean and Zania joined Chantelle and myself for a little stroll around the beautiful Harold Porter Botanical Gardens in Betty’s Bay (our second ever visit there), on what proved to be quite a beautiful winter’s day.
As it turned out, a troop of baboons had decided to visit the gardens while we were there, meaning that we were treated to quite a few spectacles – from little baby baboons tumbling about on the grass, all the way through to adult baboons lounging around on the park benches!
Quite a sight indeed! :)
(And of course, a walk in the sun simply had to be followed up with some refreshments at the Red Disa restaurant…)
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Related Link: Harold Porter Botanical Gardens
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…
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! ;)
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Ugh, it had to eventually come to an end, but of Tuesday 3rd of January 2012, I find myself firmly back behind the keyboard, banging out fresh new SurveyThumb code for my wage masters over at Touchwork. In truth, I thoroughly enjoyed my two weeks or so off, having spent a lot of time with family and friends, and just generally unwinding as I recharged my batteries in full preparation for 2012!
New Year’s Weekend was very much a Northern Suburbs affair, with Jessie and I traveling through on the Friday to my mom’s place in Bellville, where the three of us spent a lovely day in and out of the pool, despite the nasty little wind that kept popping up and threatening to drive us away. The evening on the other hand was spent back home in the company of wifey, where we got together to enjoy a delicious homemade pizza over a Eagles DVD after a successful putting Jessica to bed routine!
Saturday was literally Braai Day, and after packing both of our little cars to the brim with all of Jessica’s hardware and software, we sped off back to Bellville in order to offload the little one with all her belongings at the Montgomery Clan stronghold, where she’ll be spending the next two weeks with Ouma and Oupa until the Baby Steps daycare reopens mid January. After settling her in with Cheryl, and then promptly grabbing her away again, it was a quick stop off at the local Spar for supplies, before hitting the N1 to Kraaifontein, where Jessie, Chantelle and I joined up with Damen and Michelle, as well as the rest of our friends who had made the trip through for an afternoon New Year’s braai.
With Damen elected tongmaster and stuck behind the raging fire, the rest of the boys dug out a tennis ball and plank, and proceeded to carefully destroy Damen’s backyard with a hearty round of cricket (in a very confined space). Food was eventually served, before the boys once again peeled off from the womenfolk, picked up the XBOX controllers and proceeded to smash each other with a few rounds of FIFA 11.
From there it was back to Bellville as this time we properly managed to leave Jessie behind with Ouma and Oupa, as Chantelle and I headed out back into the breach, this time to Zevenwacht Wine Estate in Kuilsriver, where we joined up with Malcolm, Andri, Michelle, braai master Gary and all of their collective kids at the Ollewage’s swanky pad. There we enjoyed a fantastic evening of good company, good stories and even better food, making it all the way through to midnight for that all important countdown and many ‘happy happy’ wishes!
Finally, it was back to the Montgomery Stronghold in Bellville, where a tired but happy Craig and Chantelle hit the sack for some well-deserved shuteye, the first of 2012!
Sunday was a delayed start for Chantelle who slept in thanks to a massive headache, but when Jessica and I did eventually manage to get mommy out of bed, we persuaded her plus Ouma to join us for a walk around Sonstraal Dam in Eversdal in order to feed the multitude of Egyptian Geese and ducks that call that spot home. After a successful stroll and having depleted our loaf of fresh white bread, we beat a hasty retreat from the busy feathered fiends, heading off to Tyger Manor McDonalds, where Robert joined us so that I could treat everyone to some McDonalds as a late lunch.
From there Jessica, Chantelle and myself shot off to my folks, dropping in at the perfect time to catch both Great Grans (plus Ryan) at Mom and Dad’s pad. More visiting was had, a watermelon devoured, and then it was finally back to the Montgomery Clan where we handed over Jessica to an excited Cheryl and Monty, before hitting the long road back to Gordon’s Bay, and more importantly, our awesome bed!
So yeah, a pretty good New Year’s Weekend after all then I reckon! ;)
Better late than never. Had an enjoyable weekend with friends the weekend before last (yes, yes, I know that I still have to do the write up regarding the Pinnacle Point weekend which happened the week before that!), starting on Friday and going through all the way to Sunday.
It kicked off on Friday night when I joined Chantelle and Jessica over at the guest house after work, waiting on the arrival of Malcolm and a heavily pregnant Andri who had managed to pull the parents in for a shot of babysitting and were coming through for a relaxing getaway night at Gordon’s Beach Lodge. (Unfortunately circumstances prevented Michelle and Gary from joining us, but oh well, next time then I guess).
Although Al Forno’s was our first pick for our evening’s eating out adventure (Jessica was fast asleep back at GBL, with Eba on “babywatch” duty), it was packed to the rafters when we eventually showed our faces, and so we fell back on Plan B, namely retracing our steps and hitting The Tavern instead. As luck would have it, they had a table open (with a great view of the tight rugby game between Western Province and the Lions for Malcolm and myself. As luck would have it, the evening was made even sweeter thanks to a WP win!).
The three of them ordered the Tavern’s famous calamari (which by all accounts was absolutely delicious), while I tucked into a great tasting burge -, though I must point out that the accompanying chips were quite a let down, being completely overdone and crispy to the point of being unpleasant. However, conversation was great (loved the “Arum’s reaction to Corban in a Batman suit” video clip!) and in the end it was a thoroughly enjoyable evening out.
Skip to Saturday and Malcolm and Andri enjoyed a good sleep-in as Chantelle saw to her other guests for breakfast first, while I entertained Jessica who decided to take a catnap on my lap in front of the television in the upstairs room (we decided to also sleep over at the guest house in the end, basically as to not disturb Jessica on our late return). What followed that though was of course a scrumptious breakfast courtesy of my wife, with the usual delectable GBL spread to choose from for the rest of us, followed up with a fluffy big omelette as a main for me. (What the others enjoyed, now escapes me!)
Anyway, eventually our two guests had to take the leave and return to the real world, while I set about taking Jessica back home with me where we proceeded to spend the little afternoon time we had left shopping for the evening’s events, shifting around cement slabs (for later work) and of course drinking plenty of formula milk (for Jessie, not me).
Come late afternoon and it was back off to Gordon’s Beach Lodge, where the other pack of friends started dribbling in, on what turned out to be a most beautiful day mind you, including the likes of Damen and Michelle, Karl-Heinz and Trish, Ryan, Evan and Natasha, and two of their mates, Wikus and Aruzell. The big Springboks versus All Blacks game was on for the boys (the girls did something else, or at least I assume they did), and for a change we actually won it. In the meantime I had gotten around to starting the fire, and what followed was a fantastic evening of chatter and braai, rounded off with some great chocolate pudding courtesy of Ryan. And of course, what evening (with that lot) would be complete without some competitive rounds of Scattergories and 30 Seconds (sorry Wikus and Aruzell), taking us rather deep into the night! (And also sorry for not getting around to trying out your card shuffling machine Ryan, nor your Poker set Evan)
With the friends all occupying the available rooms in the guest house, we too decided to spend the night seeing as it would have been cruel to wake Jessie up so late to transfer her back home, though that said, in the end I did have to make an after midnight emergency trip home for some medicine, seeing as Jessica was not enjoying a particularly pleasant night.
I did eventually get some sleep time in case you’re wondering.
Sunday morning of course was when it all came together, when the months and months of carefully laid plans finally bore fruit, as Chantelle successfully executed the “Surprise Stork Party for Natasha” plan, catching Natasha complete unawares and overwhelming her with all the lovingly made food and cake, and more importantly, the big pile of presents!
And although the guys were stuck in the same dining room as the girls on this wet and overcast morning, there were more than enough eats and helium balloons to keep everyone happy (Evan on helium = hilarious. Chantelle, not so much. She laughs to much). Dean, Zania and Zandea had also joined us for the celebrations, and in the end it was a fantastic morning of fun that we can only hope Natasha thoroughly appreciated and enjoyed!
Eventually everyone said their goodbyes and parted ways, leaving an exhausted Chantelle and Jessica to capture a much needed afternoon nap, while Daddy started the unenviable job of trying to get all of the weekend’s luggage piled up into a single Getz and then unpack it once he got back to the other side. Of course, by then it was Sunday evening already, leaving only enough time for Idols, baby bedtime routine, toasted sarmies, a surprise present of Melrose cheese spread from Chantelle, and some leftover cake. (Did I mention just how yummy all of Chantelle’s various cakes and eats turned out?)
Anyway, so yup, all in all a pretty damn good weekend! :)
This weekend we got our visiting groove back on, despite the fact that Chantelle was called in to work to take care of Saturday night dinner and Sunday morning breakfast on what was supposed to be her off weekend. Oh well, what can one do, at least we got some leftovers out of the deal, meaning that she hasn’t had to cook on Monday or Tuesday evening thus far! :)
Whilst Friday evening was more about playing with Jessie, taking a break from our eating plan that we’ve been on for some time now (with some delicious home made chips and burgers in case you were wondering), and of course watching violent animated fare in the form of Hulk vs. Wolverine and Hulk vs. Thor, Saturday was a completely different kettle of fish as we made our way through to Bellville, in separate cars (oh woe is my pocket), after dealing with all the usual wonderful Saturday morning chores.
Taking full advantage of the beautiful weather we had been blessed with, I joined Robert at Wagner’s Golf Academy for a round of 18 on their little mashie course (more on this later), while Chantelle and Jessie enjoyed brunch with Oupa and Ouma. Of course, she had to leave for Gordon’s Bay early afternoon already, but with Jessica safely in the care of Monty and Cheryl, I took advantage of the eager babysitters and popped in for a solo visit with Ryan (where I also caught the Bulls vs Western Province game for good measure). With the day pretty much done, it was then time for Jessie and I to make the long trip home (with a quick stop at the KFC drive-through seeing as Chantelle would only be home much, much later), followed by the whole baby bedtime routine.
Sunday kicked off with a bath for the snot-covered, sleepy-eyed Jessie whilst Chantelle was back at work on breakfast duty, followed by another lock up of Country Mews as we made our way through to Bellville (again), though at least it was in one car this time around! :)
First stop was to Granny and Grandpa’s house, seeing as they had signed on for their very first babysitting gig, and after a whirlwind round of instructions and reassurances, it was off to Monty and Cheryl’s pad (who had been usurped as the day’s babysitters thanks to the early morning SMS plea from Mom and Dad) to pick up Zania’s birthday gifts which we had left with them on Saturday.
After that whirlwind stop, it was back on the N1 as we made our way up to Dean and Zania’s pad in Kraaifontein, with me driving for a change but still completely lost as all Hell (thank goodness for Chantelle’s sense of direction I tell you)! There it was a get together of all the friends (Damen and Michelle, Evan and Natasha, Karl-Heinz and Trish, Ryan, and of course the hosts Dean, Zania and little Zandea), paired with copious amounts of nibbles, cake and tart, one broken plate courtesy of my buttocks (apparently), and of course two guinea pigs, one of which made it out of the cage and into the awaiting arms of Karl, who seems to have some sort of a connection with furry animals (or at least one which I have now just made up).
It was an excellent catch up session with everyone, though we did eventually have to say our goodbyes and sneak out, hitting a dog with our car in the process, before we managed to even exit the complex! As for the dog(?), it appeared from nowhere, ran into/under our car, and then sprinted off again, so no idea how it is doing (or what it even is – didn’t see it!), though by the sound of the impact, I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if it is now dead. So not a great thing to happen, no.
Anyway, not dwelling on that unfortunate incident, we then headed back down to Bellville, where we proceeded to fit in a quality visit with Granny and Grandpa, who by all accounts had thoroughly enjoyed their day with Jessica, which had even included a long pram stroll with Dad around the neighbourhood and a visit from the pair of Great Grannies to boot! Of course, this being a Sunday evening meant that Chantelle simply had to have Idols running in the background (The Soap Girls? Seriously, did anyone see that one coming?), which really wasn’t all that much of a bad thing when you take into the consideration the leftover snoek snackwiches that Dad prepared for us for supper to go along with it!
And that was pretty much that, back home and beddy-time for the lot of us Lotters, bringing to an end what was simply a great weekend of friends, family and cake.
In December 2008, Dean, Zania, Terrance, Chantelle and myself found ourselves heading out to Witsand for a well deserved weekend holiday break, bunking down in a quaint little wooden cabin that Dean had managed to source for the weekend.
While a terribly relaxed and enjoyable weekend (we fished, went to the beach, played cricket, braaied, played UNO – you know, that sort of thing), it did come at a terrible price – on one of our very first outings to the beach we all got so sunburned that cooked lobsters looked less red than us!
All in utter agony, with skin peeling everywhere and Terrance looking like a fire burn victim, we persevered on with the weekend, but man what a painful drive back and recovery period!
However, as you can see from the picture above, despite the burn there was still plenty of fun and games to be had, in particular an epic bout on the putt-putt course – which unfortunately my failed memory refuses to remind me who actually won!
And now that I think of it, next time I’ll organise the accommodation. There wasn’t enough bed space – meaning yours truly had to sleep on the hard wooden floor. Sigh, what a man won’t do to impress his woman! ;)
Easter 2009 was deemed a camping weekend, and despite the fact that poor Chantelle had to miss out on the fun thanks to work, Ryan and myself found ourselves joining Dean and Zania in pitching our tents in the scenic campgrounds of Die Dam, a hidden away little gem on the way to Struisbaai.
Of course, with such a beautiful white beach literally on your… tent-step, one had to whip out the various balls and sports paraphernalia – after all, boys will be boys! :)
In case you were wondering as to the identity of the masked miscreant with downsized American Football in hand, it is none other than the red bearded one, Ryan himself!
On a warm April evening back in 2009, Chantelle and I found ourselves joining good friends Dean and Zania at Skilpad Vlei Wine Estate for an exciting masked ball, for which as you can see above, the girls went all out for.
There was food, there was dancing and there was even a lucky hat spot prize competition, where I know I won something but can’t quite remember what. Think it was a voucher for a beauty treatment at their spa or something like that.
Anyway, it was a good night for all (even if Zania eventually retired with a bit of an upset stomach), and I think the photo above is proof enough of that! :)