PresentAs I mentioned yesterday, yesterday was in fact C and my one year anniversary as a couple and as such, some celebrations were obviously in order.

Of course, what is an anniversary without presents, and although I could have gone for the tried and trusted jewellery or perfume route, I wanted to do something a little different this time around – as I usually try and do :)

Which would explain that why a week or two before the big day, I was horribly shocked when Chantelle whipped out a big grey bathrobe that she had just returned from the shops with.

“But, but, but” I whimpered, “You’ll just have to go back and return that right this minute”. Of course, not satisfied with only that utterance as explanation, I was eventually forced to reveal the fact that I had already bought her a beautiful, luxury white bathrobe from La Senza as part of her gift, and in the end, had to give it to her early so that she could make use of it for the upcoming weekend away in Caledon.

Ok, so my idea had been to get her at least two items that I know she absolutely loves and wants, and with the luxury bathrobe already gone, it was time for the final present hunt.

Now you would think getting your hands on an Eagles music DVD in the stores would be easy, right? Well not so it turns out. I walked Somerset Mall flat, with everyone basically telling me the same thing – the damn Eagles are so popular that everything of theirs keeps selling out like hotcakes! Completely bemused, I was eventually fortunate in finding a single remaining DVD at the Musica branch in Tygervalley. This particular DVD is one of those special ones, coming in a gold box and costing me an arm and a leg – but when Chantelle sees it, it will so be worth it I kept telling myself!

Of course, in hindsight my delivery method wasn’t the greatest of ways to actually gauge her reactions when opening the present with its associated card, as I had left it on her bedside table to wake up to when I left for work in the wee hours of Monday morning. I am told though, that apparently she had tears in her eyes when she read the card, but she did accompany those words to me with “why did you decide on that particular DVD?”, making me think that perhaps I should have just stuck down the traditional jewellery route after all! (As it is, I received a beautiful silver and blue wristwatch from her, together with a touching card – even if it was laughably incorrectly addressed to ‘Graig’ – which in all honestly makes me feel a little silly for buying her a dressing gown and a DVD instead of something nice and shiny. Oh well, there is always a next time I guess!)

In any event, I guess it isn’t all about the presents, because it is the actual proceedings of the evening that counts as well I’m sure…

…which in the end didn’t turn out quite the way I would have liked as well!

Originally I wanted to do something really nice, like take her out to some fancy cultural event like a play, ballet or opera (something like that) and then follow it up with a nice intimate romantic dinner and then perhaps a walk on the beach. You know, something nice.

Of course, even with all the best of intentions, things seldom work out the way you would like them too and I found out first hand that it would seem that cultural events just don’t do Monday nights! Failing to find anything suitable, we eventually decided together that a nice intimate dinner out at the La Romantica followed by coffee at the Tygervalley Mugg & Bean, the place where we met in person for the first time, would be the ticket, and so our plans for the evening were laid.

Unfortunately for me though, Monday happened to be the day that Chantelle’s folks had organised to take her out for lunch at some Stellenbosch wine farm, meaning that by the time I got her back in my possession, she was already stuffed from the day’s eating, not the greatest of conditions to be in if you are going out for dinner in an hour or two’s time!

At least I did make use of that hour or two to pick up some nice red roses (always a winner) for her, and as an extra little bonus, ended up buying her a squash racquet and some squash shoes – more about that later, I promise.

Surprisingly enough, La Romantica was jam-packed and we were lucky in getting a table at all (having decided not to book on the premise that the place should be quiet as a mouse!). Admittedly though, the bustling atmosphere heightened the sense of intimacy as we were lost in each other’s company on our own little island in the middle of a raging sea for most of the night.

Monty had given us a delicious bottle of wine to take with us and it complemented our exceptionally tasty food perfectly. While I couldn’t make up my mind as per usual (ended up having a little garlic pizza for started and chicken schnitzel as main), Chantelle knew exactly what gourmet food was tempting her, shooting for the fried camembert as a started and then following it up with some sort of bacon and cheese rolled veal with mushrooms (or something like that). Of course, already stuffed from the afternoon’s eating, she hardly touched her meal – making it the perfect lunch for the next day, much to my horror!)

Deciding that dessert simply wouldn’t be a great idea, we cut the three course meal down to two and tried summoning our waiter with the bill – who promptly disappeared for easily more than a half a hour, forcing me to go off and search for her. Her dalliance cost us dearly in terms of time, and despite Chantelle’s protests, I punished her by taking a large percentage off her tip.

Which in the end I felt justified in doing when we arrived at Mugg & Beans’ doors only to find them closing up for the night already. We sneakily jumped inside and straight out again, so at least say we set a foot in the place, but unfortunately it just wasn’t quite the same.

Okay, so while it was still a wonderful evening out for the two of us, it didn’t quite go as planned. But if you look at the bigger picture then I guess it doesn’t matter even if the slightest. Nothing, but nothing, can take this first year that we have spent in loving company of each other away from us, and that is all that counts.

Nothing else.

Chantelle Montgomery Craig Lotter

Foot note: Though it might have been nice to know that after a year as a couple, my love would at least address my name on the card as Craig and not Graig! :P