BowlingOoh, Friday started off on a good note seeing that it marked the 11th month that Chantelle and I have now officially been together. Of course, work absolutely whizzed by (thanks to the fact that ICTS finally released the fix to that damn rootkit virus that had been plaguing the network for a couple of weeks now at last!) and I was back in Gordon’s Bay quicker than a Red Neck can start up his racing tractor. All spruced up and ready to go (and thoroughly entertained after catching the last couple of episodes of Justice League Unlimited that proved to be a thoroughly enjoyable show), Chantelle eventually arrived home from work and off we headed in the general direction of Stellenbosch to locate a little place known as Mamma Roma.

Now Mamma Roma is one of these fancy Italian restaurants and feeling in the mood for something a little different, I opted for pasta as my main, with Chantelle defaulting to a veal Cordon Bleu which according to her is just out of this world. Amazingly enough, despite their brisk business, our food couldn’t have taken more than 15 minutes to jump out of the kitchen and onto our table and I had to agree with Chantelle, their food IS damn good! The entire restaurant has a very Tuscan and refined feel to it and with all the chatter around you it manages to create a nice and relaxed atmosphere which at the same time comes across as refined and a little upper-class in nature, making it a great place to take your date out for a little romantic breakaway or when you are trying to impress some friends. (Of course, trust me to break the atmosphere just a little when I began guffawing out aloud at Chantelle’s inspired pawpaw joke – which I will share with you all sometime on this very blog -, but besides this one little outburst I assure you that I looked and acted the part.)

Unfortunately we discovered that this fine dining venue’s desserts aren’t quite as good as their main as I was bitterly disappointed by my Italian Kisses that came with cream instead of ice-cream and Chantelle’s cheesecake that came drenched in cranberry (or some or other berry) sauce. Of course, this is probably just sour grapes on our part because we didn’t like the niggly bits that came with as a packaged deal :)

Content and lazy after all the food, we hit the road once more and returned to our cave for a good night’s rest and to gather the energy for the weekend that was to follow.

Saturday morning started with me finally getting around to phoning Telkom and getting my ASDL line activated, but before I could play with my new connection at all, I was grabbed by the arm and whisked out to the mall, on the mission to buy our new fridge. Thanks to Andrea’s roommate leaving them and taking his fridge with him, Andrea now needs her fridge back which means in turn that I now need to buy a new fridge after just having sold my old fridge a month ago!

Obviously not impressed with the situation, we did eventually locate a nice KIC (Whirlpool) 348 litre white fridge at Game and after a little window shopping, went back and bought the thing. So come delivery Tuesday, I’ll be sitting at home patiently waiting for my cool new fridge to arrive. Ha ha ha. Yeah, that wasn’t a good pun, I know. I’ll put a freeze on any others I might come up with for the rest of this post, promise ;)

Of course, it wasn’t just fridge shopping that had be done – there was grocery shopping, present shopping and livestock shopping too! The first two on the list were all associated with my upcoming birthday on Sunday but the last one was firmly rooted in the fact that our new fish tank is looking pretty stable and it was finally time to increase our brood. The pet shop guys must be getting pretty tired of us bugging them all the time, and Saturday was no exception, with us finally leaving clutching eleven new fish to add to the tank! Talk about a variety of sushi options!

Back home Chantelle set about prepping stuff that we needed to take through to mom’s place and after a mad rush we tossed the luggage into the car and hopped on the N2, making our way to Bellville. Despite the rain and the wind, I safely navigated us to our destination, stopping long enough to unpack and steal a snack from my mom’s baking results for Sunday before stepping out once more and heading over to Terrance’s place.

The plan for the evening was some tenpin bowling followed by Starlite Diner, but unfortunately most of the guys pulled out, leaving only Chantelle, Terrance and myself to pick up the mantle and go bowling. The weather was pretty shitty meaning that Tygervalley was pretty empty and while most people were snuggled in at home watching the Stormers take on the Waratahs, we were in a near empty bowling venue taking out our frustrations on ten rather bruised and battered pins.

To spice things up I took up a little bet with Chantelle, stating that the loser on the evening would have to do the dishes for the rest of the week, a challenge that she gladly accepted. Now none of us have played in years and so I was pretty confident that it should be a close game, but after Chantelle and Terrance’s blistering starts, I was quickly beginning to worry. However, luckily for me, the beginner’s luck for them soon ran off and I took charge of the lane, putting in quite a couple of spares and the odd strike too, taking the evening and leaving Chantelle in my wake, with Terrance wallowing in last place.

Satisfied that Chantelle is now stuck on dishes duty for the week, we headed out into the rain for Starlite Diner, one of the best haunts to just get together and have a good old yap (and eat their magnificent burgers of course!). As it was, Chantelle was like a tiger when it came to the conversation for the evening, ripping Terrance’s defence to shreds and asking all those ‘relationshippy’ type of things that guys never talk about amongst themselves. Still, Terrance put up a sterling defence and managed to walk out there alive, if a bit shaken, but unfortunately for him, Chantelle had successfully completed her data drain. Actually, I might be accused of exaggerating that part a little bit, so I’ll rather just say that the three of us enjoyed a fun meal together and had some good laughs, and leave it at that. Safe.

Seeing as the plan for my birthday celebrations on Sunday was to host the event at Mom’s place in Bellville in order to make it easier for everyone else, Chantelle and I had organised to sleep over and then start all the preparations on the Sunday morning, meaning we didn’t have to make a double trip to Gordon’s Bay, nor would we have to rush about like headless chickens come Sunday. Of course, Mom being a mom gladly accepted Chantelle’s plans which would explain why the first thing we did on Sunday morning was to get up and make her breakfast in bed for Mother’s Day, a treat I don’t know when last she has had (although, when I say treat, of course I am not so sure just how much of a treat scrambled eggs on toast is!)

With the Mother’s Day presents passed on and breakfast all had, it was time to roll up the sleeves and get the house ready for the big birthday bash. While Chantelle and Mom toiled away in the kitchen, Ryan and I set about moving things about in the dining room and getting the braai ready for our guests who would hopefully be arriving around 13:00.

What we didn’t count on though was the lengthy time it takes to test the table tennis table out, and so when the first doorbell rang, Ryan and I were still trying to get the wood to catch alight! The weather was pretty crappy, overcast, windy and rainy, which gave us the perfect excuse to utilise the indoor braai for a change and I gracefully pulled out my brand new tongs and took front and centre as Tongmaster for the day, with steadfast Ryan as my coal producing assistant. One by one everyone arrived and while Ryan and I sweated it out behind the raging inferno, the rest of the guys made themselves at home eating snacks, watching TV and playing table tennis.

Terrance pulled out the perfect gift as I placed the first piece of meat on the grid, a personalised apron which leaves no doubt just as to who is the championship braaier amongst us, and fully kitted out I got to work at scorching the hairs off my hands and wrists. Actually, much to everyone else’s surprise (myself included) I actually produced some pretty good meat, only managing to drop one chop (my own as Murphy’s Law would have it) on the floor and spill some chicken marinade. Mom, Chantelle and Cheryl (C’s mom) had produced all the extra little nibbly bits and soon everyone was tucking into their meal with gusto, so much so that not a single cat was left in sight.

And of course what is a birthday with out cake and eats, because come tea time the dining room table was groaning under the weight of all the cakes, tarts and koeksusters that Chantelle, Cheryl and Mom had so lovingly prepared! :)

While some people chose to escape the now warm and stuffy inside by lounging around the under roof at the table outside, others (most notably Terrance, Ryan and the “I nearly lost a hand thanks to a flying tile” Dean) plonked down in front of the TV to catch the all important season ending clash between Manchester United and Wiggan, while the rest of us got to grips sharpening our table tennis skills in which surprisingly enough I turned out champion. Seems a person does have good luck on their birthday!

It wasn’t an awfully long day and most guests had left by 18:00, leaving us with a quick cleanup operation before it was time for Chantelle and me to pack up and head off home, for a very well deserved rest! So thank you Terrance, Dean, Ryan, Riley, Claire, Karl, Pat, Monty, Cheryl, Rob, Mom, Gran L, Gran S, and of course my babes Chantelle for making the day such a success and to those of you who couldn’t make it – you missed out big time on all the snacks! One word: Leftovers! :)

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(Thanks C for the photos as always!)