Halfway through this year Monty and Cheryl invited Chantelle, myself and the kids to join them for a weekend away at the Piekenierskloof Mountain Resort, perched atop the Piekenierskloof pass, just outside of Citrusdal.
The chalet we stayed in had the most fabulous of views, you can literally see for miles all around you. It’s spacious, comfortable and features an awesome outdoor braai on the patio – which turned out to be very important because sadly the weather for the weekend was pretty sad. Rain, cold and mud were the order of the day, though that didn’t stop us from having a brilliant family weekend away anyway.
Good food, warm braais, lots of swimming in the resort’s heated indoor swimming pool, and of course a trip or two down to Citrusdal were the order of the day, and in the end pretty much everyone had a fantastic time. (Except maybe Chantelle, who was targeted one evening by an epic throw up all over her from a clearly upset Emily, and perhaps Robert, who was forced to abandon his bed because I simply snored too much. And not just me, Chantelle’s snoring eventually had him sleeping on the floor in the lounge! Only once we put Jessica in the same room as him was he finally able to get some decent sleep of his own!)
Oh, and did I mention that the chalet had DSTV? That was of course super important, because naturally I wasn’t going to miss a single moment of the 2014 World Cup (which was awesome just by the way).
Oh yeah, guess I still need to tell you guys about the actual weekend, right? Getting sloppy in my updates, must be all this work I’m saddled with! :)
Anyway, we travelled through to Citrusdal pretty late on Friday afternoon, having a pretty uneventful trip apart from the bit where we discovered that the Citrusdal Country Lodge is in fact situated in the building clearly marked “Cedarberg Lodge” and that the supposed guesthouse we had signed up for turns out to be Citrusdal’s old hotel, which funnily enough operates under about three different titles! Seriously guys, get your marketing act and signage together!
That said, the lodge/hotel itself is an absolutely fantastic stay with big, spacious rooms, decked out in fairly old farm décor and furniture, but kitted-out well enough that you’ll be living pretty comfortably for the duration of your stay. Funnily enough, the rooms don’t appear to have a bar fridge or anything like that situated in any of them, but considering the fact that our room was so big that there were literally two double beds situated inside, we really couldn’t have cared any less about a fridge – after all, the aircon in the room turned out to be pretty damn efficient! :P
The whole hotel sports a very laid back, almost historical atmosphere, what with all the old farm implements and Boer paintings and clippings littering the hallways wherever you look. From a stretched out zebra skin to an ancient spinning wheel just sitting there for the fun of it, the whole experience is like stepping back into the boer era. Actually, that said, there is a very strong Afrikaaner-centric atmosphere to the place and one can’t help but wonder just how the place manages to stay open while presenting such a fairly unwelcoming stance to our rainbow nation. I guess in the end it is a case of each to there own, but I must admit to thinking that this is one part of the country that is still in a bit of a transitional phase, one that may very well take quite a number of years to catch up.
The rest of the hotel is pretty standard, with a nice swimming pool, backyard lawn, upstairs patio, bar facility, restaurant and even a gambling room of all things. I won’t lie, I thoroughly enjoyed my stay here at the Citrusdal Country Lodge, the place was definitely good to me, though I’m not so sure about Chantelle who had to contend with the shower head breaking off in her hands! :)
Seeing as we had arrived so late, Friday night was pretty much a write off, with only a quick pop out for supplies to the only cafe open along the main road providing me any material to write home about. So I won’t.
Saturday morning we were determined to relax before the big event, meaning that we did a spot of shopping along the main road (there really isn’t much there) after a hearty buffet breakfast and then returned to the hotel to relax, read and wait the arrival of Chantelle’s family who were also staying out in the same lodge as us. Caught some of the cricket, had some booze at the bar and then hurriedly got dressed (while ducking flying hairbrushes thanks to Chantelle’s mini-tantrum brought on by her bad hair day situation) because it was finally time – time to get ourselves down to Chane and Jaspers fabulous Afrikaaner wedding affair!
Let’s just start off by saying wow, what a venue. Truly they couldn’t have picked a better day, better weather, a better backdrop or a more gorgeous location. Everything from the ceremony to the reception was under the open sky, with a beautiful little water canal lining the path to the ‘altar’ where the excitable Afrikaans pastor eagerly awaited the bride’s arrival. Chane looked simply stunning, a fairy princess if you must, with a big bouncy dress featuring some exquisite embroidery on the bodice and a little Hollywood 40’s veil to complete her ensemble, she pretty much stole everyone’s breath as she pranced by. And yes, when I say pranced I mean pranced because the usually bright and bubbly girl was overflowing today!
Jasper, whom none of us had ever met, was looking equally dapper and after an unusual message and ceremony involving a toiletries bag and some mixed up vases, the order to kiss was given and received and the newly married couple stood triumphantly before us!
From there it was back to the usual order of all things wedding-like, the signing of the register, a bossy photographer, the sprinkling of flower petals of the glowing couple, photographs, snacks and a whole lot of waiting. Actually, that said the wait really wasn’t that long, thanks in part to some delicious finger snacks, champagne and wine that entertained us while we waited, the finger snacks ranging from the fancy to the arb, even going so far as to include wrapped slap chips and a piece of sausage on a stick! (which naturally was my favourite, along with the biltong of course)
Eventually we were ushered to our tables at the outdoor reception venue, all of which was beautifully decorated in white with drapes, fairy lights and hanging candles, with the tables and chairs organised in an open-ended court layout that looked in on a white constructed dance floor, bordered by a little stream outlined in candles and just a little way away from the open-air temporary bar setup, which admittedly was rather well stocked. Must be a Boer thing! ;)
Speeches and jokes abounded, thanks in most part to a very polished MC that kept die stories coming and happily entertained the guests for most of the evening, even pausing long enough for Jasper to get a word or two in! All the usual Afrikaans wedding traditions appeared to be in full swing, though it must be said that some of the traditional song singing was rather quickly squashed thanks to some raucous renditions of “He’s a Jolly Good Fellow” instead!
The food for the evening, apart from the mouth-watering delicious starter, was pretty much your lekker traditional Boere kos all the way, and it was quite a job to tear one away from one’s plate I tell you! Thank goodness for the gluttony of a buffet! Pudding was pretty simple, and apart from the pink pudding that tasted a little sharp, rounded off the meal quite nicely. And of course, by this stage you had better still have had space left, because there was still plenty of wedding cake to go around!
And the dancing, oh the dancing! First, I want to complain that whenever there are Afrikaans people on the dance floor, I automatically look even more kak than per usual because almost each and every single one of them knows how to langarm! Still, I gallantly gave it my best and was happily twirling around the centre stage with Chantelle, only taking out her toes and bashing into other couples a minute, handful of times. (See, I MUST be improving!). In my defence though, things were being made a little more tricky thanks to the horrible slope the dance floor was on, meaning that you would labour up the one side of the dance floor only to go hurtling down the other at breakneck speed! Playing havoc with one’s centre of gravity, it certainly took a little longer than normal to get a hang of this tricky terrain!
Surprisingly enough, the DJ did a fairly good mix of mixing Afrikaans and English classic and contemporary tracks and for the most part everyone seemed to have a thoroughly enjoyable time, though it did seem that every now and then he managed to misread the crowd and put on track that simple emptied the dance floor faster than a box of Lindt chocolates at a Weight Watcher’s meeting.
In any event, everyone that was there had an awesome time, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves (much to the amusement of others I’m sure) and Chane and Jasper looked simply radiant together, meaning that all in all, this was yet again, another one of those perfect wedding celebrations to talk about.
And that’s pretty much that for the wedding weekend op Citrusdal. Sunday came, we had a good family breakfast together, we packed, I drove home, we visited both my Grans, had coffee with Wayne and Candice in their new flat, popped in by Mom and Dad, and then rounded it off with a quick stop by Monty and Cheryl to pick up our stuff and my car, followed by some delicious Gordon’s Bay KFC for supper and then some well deserved bed time after our busy weekend away.
Oh how nice not to mention the word ‘work’ in relation to a weekend for a change…
Whew, work is once again killing me and interfering with my karate and training regimes, all of which means I’m looking forward to getting away this weekend for a quick breakaway to Citrusdal for the weekend. The occasion? Well it’s Chantelle’s cousin Chane’s wedding, and so it will be a whole Montgomery clan get together at the little farming dorp. I just hope I’ve brushed up enough on my Afrikaans and Afrikaaner traditions! It’s going to be a brandewyn en Coke sokkiejol, I’m sure of it! ;)
Seriously though, work is keeping me real busy again. Early mornings and late nights in the office, made all the worse by the fact that I get home and then get cracking on Commerce stuff, sigh, which of course is making me rather cranky and perhaps not one of the nicest people to be around at times. Of course, this leads to a more tense atmosphere at home (but I’m sure has nothing to do with the increased amount of frogs the cats are bringing into the house), so hopefully this little getaway will be good for C and me!
No word from Commerce I.T. as to the status of the webmaster replacement search, so I’m assuming that there hasn’t been much luck on that side, and similarly on this side of the world we haven’t had any luck picking up our junior code monkey either. The deadline for our Message 4 Events conference communications platform is upon us and thankfully I’ve pretty much now finished what I wanted to have in place for the MTO Summit that kicks off on Tuesday the 24th March, Eastern Time (GMT-5). Of course, this means I have exactly five working days to develop my full featured reporting portal for the Manchester airport AERODAQ compliance system, meaning that come Monday it will be right back with nose to the grindstone!
Other news on the work front is that the new office is coming along VERY nicely. It’s been painted, carpeted, blinded, the works. Essentially waiting on Telkom now and once that’s in, then we should be pretty good to go for phase 1 of our rollout to the new office. Unfortunately though it does seem like the parking issues will remain unresolved, meaning that I’ll need to get some nice walking shoes – it’s a looooonng trek to the communal parking area from where we’re based!
In terms of the karate, all this work has had the annoying side effect that it has kept me out of the training hall for way too long, meaning that I’m not ready to take part in the year’s first Boland All Styles Karate tournament that will be taking place on the 28th of March in Kuilsriver. It’s a pity because I think I would really have enjoyed taking part, but unfortunately my current state of fitness is just way too low to even think about it! Oh well, I’m sure there will be more opportunities before the year is out.
Hmm, think that’s about all I wanted to share with you guys for now. Have a good weekend if I don’t catch you guys here again. (Got work to do you know!) ;)