Despite the gloomy weekend weather, Chantelle’s craving for Hillcrest’s scones with clotted cream was strong enough to organize a morning outing with our friends to Hillcrest Berry Farm.
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Again I find myself playing catch-up with my weekend report back blogging, but oh well, what can one do? If you’re reading this then it means I haven’t lost you lot just yet, so all’s good then! ;)
This weekend was Chantelle working weekend, so once again single-parent mode was switched on and Jessica and I ambled through a weekend of chores, lunch time braais, DVD watching and loads of time playing in the sand on the beach. No big disasters, just loads of tickles and smiles then.
Of course, this means that the weekend before was the activity packed one, and as you know by now, the first half of that weekend was pretty much dominated by Chantelle’s first ever market selling experience. While she and her mom slaved around at the stall in Bellville, Jessie and I tackled the morning, which included a visit to the costume shop to pick up our costumes (which Jessica made more entertaining by making a big poo in her pants just as we arrived), a trip through to Willowbridge to buy a slice of cake and support my better half, followed by a trip through to Ryan to help him move some furniture, before making the journey to Tygervalley in order to buy some new clothes for Jessie, who is growing at the rate of knotts I tell you! (Ackerman’s is a real lifesaver when it comes to buying lots of baby clothes for not quite so much money).
Saturday evening however was the next big one, and after leaving Jessie at home with Ouma, Chantelle and I changed into our fancy dress costumes and awaited Ryan’s pickup, heading out to D’urbanvale for Trish and Matt’s big combined 30th Birthday Party – Lord of the Rings themed of course!
Chantelle looked awesome in her rented brown peasant girl dress, complete with bare feet and braided hair, which she sourced from the fantastic Wonderland Costumes in Somerset West, while I stepped off the conventional path and instead dressed up as a New Zealand prop, complete with rugby socks and a Gilbert ball tucked under my arm, courtesy of Ryan’s old rugby days stash. I also sported this awesome forest green cloak to make people even more confused, also sourced from Wonderland Costumes in case you’re wondering.
Amazingly, Ryan navigated to the address first time around, and we were welcomed onto the huge premises by a helpful little hobbit, before being accosted by the little girl of our host who demanded some game time with the rugby ball (which ended in tears thanks to Ryan). The costumes on display were all fantastic and very inventive (you should have seen Karl’s homemade tree beard!), and we had everything from elves, to Ents, to Peter Jackson himself! (I was kind of hoping some photos would have made their way online by now, considering the fact that the host had hired an official photographer for the night, but as you might have guessed from the lack of photos on this post – that hasn’t happened yet. Tragic because Chantelle and I forgot to take any pictures ourselves!)
There were loads of people (from both parties, though our side was a little thinned thanks to an unfortunate work call that meant Evan had to miss out, despite his costume neatly laid out on his bed – Not that this stopped Natasha from joining us mind you!), a manned bar, delicious starters, themed decor, a lurking pool which claimed two victims on the night (Ryan was one of them!), all leading up to the awesome main feast where we hungrily partook in a succulent spit braai, followed by a cool Minas Tirith cake (cut with a real sword) for dessert.
Apart from the incident which saw Michelle and Damen leave in a haste after the photographer’s flash triggered a little bit of an attack for poor Michelle, the evening was a complete and utter success, thoroughly enjoyable and definitely a highlight of the month!
I was a little bit disappointed in that my extensive research the weekend before wasn’t put to any use, but hey, at least I could identify a lot more costumes that what I would have been able to otherwise, and Trish has promised that we’ll put it to use a little closer to her actual birthday later this month! :)
Anyway, after the fun that was Saturday evening, Sunday was a far more relaxed affair, spending some enjoyable time with the family as we tucked into a lazy braai for lunch, did a spot of shopping, and partook in quite the competitive game of darts against Robert – which I for a change actually won!
Excellent. Anyway, this weekend coming up also promises to be a good one, what with Chantelle doing the market again on Saturday morning, Trish and Karl’s boardgames and cake get together in the evening, following by Michelle and Damen’s little Logan’s big Christening on Sunday – Lots to look forward to then :)
In celebration of Trish Storbeck’s 30th birthday, they organised a big Lord of the Rings themed party which needless to say, turned out to be a whole lot of fun (as chronicled here).
A photographer was hired to capture the events of the evening, and these are a couple of photos I managed to grab off Facebook once they finally went live! :)
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We enjoyed a pleasant Heritage Weekend this year, pity of course about the public holiday falling on a Saturday, but Chantelle was off so that always makes for a nice weekend in the Lotter household! :)
Friday evening after the putting Jessica to bed routine, Chantelle and I treated ourselves to some delicious home-made pizza, the first time we had made those in absolute ages! As a companion to our deliciously decadent supper, we sat down and watched Leon Schuster’s Schuks Tshabalala’s Survival Guide to South Africa, marvelling at just how much kak Leon actually manages to get away with!
Saturday, and Jessica and Chantelle were out for the majority of the morning and early afternoon attending Chane’s surprise stork party in Somerset West, and with no baby gym to attend or rugby being showed on SABC2, I found myself pottering around the house, catching up on housework and admin, and even forgoing the gardening for some time spent working a bit on this here website.
I had to however get out eventually to enjoy the stunning weather Gordon’s Bay was experiencing, and so on Chantelle’s return we grabbed the pram and made our way over to the beach for a pleasant stroll and soft serve ice-cream, before hitting the shops in order to get all the necessities for the mandatory Heritage Day braai.
And braai we did, with chicken, steak and boerewors all making their way on to my grid (though after a fairly lengthy struggle with some very wet wood!). For a change, we had even hired out a DVD, again the first in absolute months, and although it didn’t leave much of an impact on me (I can’t remember its name, but it was kind of a slice of life comedy involving a girl whose brother is marrying the girl who made her life absolute hell during high school), it was just lekker to curl up next to wifey and enjoy a lazy evening in her company.
Sunday was a different story, and after a brisk early morning stroll with Jessica in the pram to return the DVD while mommy slept in, it was up and at them (after the fantastic Argentina versus Scotland game of course!) as we prepared for the trip through to Bellville to meet up with Evan and Natasha, Karl and Trish and Ryan for a Sunday afternoon braai.
Jessica had started coughing on Saturday evening, and Sunday it had gotten much, much worse. So on route to Evan’s place, we swung by the 24 hour M-Kem pharmacy in Bellville, where the on duty nurse took one look (or rather listen) and said that it was straight to the doctor with us. Seeing as there was a waiting list, we decided to first go through to Evan’s place to get things started, with Chantelle tasked to take leave of us halfway through in order to take Jessie to the doctor – who then proceeded to inform us that Jessie’s tonsils are inflamed as is her right ear canal. Ouchies!
Shame, so our little dribble monster is not feeling all that great at the moment. :(
Anyway, as for the actual braai, it was a blistering hot day in Bellville and so while we all hugged the bit of shade provided by the outside Simba-branded umbrella so kindly provided by Mr. Granger, it was left up to Evan to place himself slap bang in front of the hot coals and handle the tongs, a job which admittedly he did rather well, even if it looked like he needed a shower once he was eventually done! :)
Natasha had baked peppermint crisp tart for dessert, but before we partook in that, the three Lotters zipped away through to Durbanville, to pay a visit to Mom who is currently in hospital after having her knee replacement operation on Friday. It turned out that dad was also visiting around the time that we were there, resulting in a lekker little family catch up session in the hospital ward.
Anyway, back it was to Evan’s place for some of that delicious dessert, before packing up the coughing princess, putting in some petrol to get us home, and then make the arduous trek back to Gordon’s Bay, where it was straight into the bed time routine (with Idols blaring in the background) and getting everything ready for the new week to come.
Oh, and vienna sausages on cheese rolls for supper.
So yeah, a pleasant Heritage Day after all, I’d say! ;)
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.
Friday 20 May saw us host our first big event at home since the arrival of Jessica late last year, and seeing as it is kind of our trademark, it was time once again to pull out the fondue pots and brandish our long sharp forks.
A good indication of the ever rising cost of food meant that the this particular fondue cost almost twice as much as what it used to cost back in the day, but nevertheless we soldiered on, with Chantelle organising a fantastic platter of ready to fry goodies on the evening, complemented with a delectable selection of breads and ugh, salad (because she says that we have to).
And for pudding?
Well let us just say that it was once again the turn of the world famous chocolate box cake to make its appearance in Country Mews! :)
As for the guests, despite having to arrive in the pitch black darkness of Winter and then having to kind of sit through the period where we battled to get Jessica fed, bathed and into bed, the list included the welcome faces of Ryan and Michelle, Damen and Michelle, Evan and Natasha, Karl and Trish, and of course Mr. Brown (who rumour has it won’t be on our sunny shores for all that much longer!)
What followed was a fun evening of fondue pot battling as the eleven of us elbowed for space in the three available pots, ducked my concerted photographic efforts, laughed at Ryan impaling his hand with a fork bad enough that the blood was flowing freely, attempted to find a working exit strategy for fried samoosas that didn’t involve them going to pieces on you, and of course just enjoyed a fun and stress-free evening of friends, food and cheese sauce. Heck, even the cats were enjoying all the welcome attention they were receiving from everyone!
Oh, and needless to say, the cake went down a right treat with the hungry horde as well!
Saturday evening I found myself dropping Jessica off with Mommy who was on work duty and heading out along the N2 towards Bellville, where I made the arduous trek through to the De Akkers complex (located very much in my old home-base stomping grounds) to join up with the Grangers Two, as well as anyone else who would dare, for an evening of Poker, Blackjack and of course snacks. Lots and lots of snacks.
Evan and Natasha has been kind enough to host this evening of card-based debauchery, and I managed to pleasantly surprise myself by navigating all the way up to their back sliding door for the very first time without getting lost along the way. Joining us for the evening were the usual suspects of Damen and Michelle, and Karl and Trish, but missing in action was Mr. Brown who was struck down with some mysterious plague/virus/flu, Ryan who is currently gallivanting around Pinnacle Point, wifey who was of course at work, and Dean and Zania who were stopped dead in their tracks thanks to the age old problem of not finding a babysitter in time.
We pretty much got stuck in straight away, with Evan hauling out a nicely boosted poker deck they had picked up from Mr. Price Home (I know, weird place to find something like that, but it is true, I’ve seen them stock these sort of party game things before!), and after a fairly lengthy tutorial session in the hopes that we’d all quickly pick up to play, buy-in money was deposited into a winnings tin (only 10 bucks a piece this time around – didn’t want to scare anyone away!) and the evening went underway.
This was my first time playing Texas hold ’em style poker, and to be honest it has been years since I last played poker, evidenced by an early round “BooBoo” where I happily bet the pot up high, content in the knowledge I had an awesome, almost unbeatable hand consisting of a straight – but with only FOUR playing cards! D’oh! Talk about a rookie mistake, particularly when I was so cavalier in revealing my hand and reaching for the chips before being beaten back by the horde! :)
The use of the clever small blind and large blind with the blind amounts doubling after every few minutes or so was a stroke of genius, because it helped propel the game forward and ensured that no one could ever just sit on their chips by folding every round without costing them anything in the process.
As it turned though, this enjoyable back and forth of chips lasted a good two or so hours, with the final fight turning out to be a catfight between the two pregnant ladies, Michelle in the one corner and Natasha in the other. In the end the blind was doubling just about every minute, and with the stakes at an all time high, Natasha took the crown, quickly taking possession of the money tin before Evan could swindle some of her winnings away from her! :)
And on April the 30th, 2011, the long awaited braai opportunity at Mr. Brown’s house finally came to pass, after waiting for what seems like millennium since the last time we braaied at his family’s home.
Originally slated to be an American Barbecue in honour of the arrival of his American girl, that situation fell unfortunately through, but thanks to the incessant needling and noting that the date is already booked in our respective calendars, we eventually persuaded Mr. Brown to go ahead with a bring and braai evening – even if it is now too late in the season for Karl to take a dip in their mythical pool – which may or may not exist.
Seeing as Chantelle was on duty for that weekend, I abandoned Jessica to her mommy at work and made the trek through to Bellville, where I met the welcoming site of Ryan, Trish, Karl, Evan and Natasha, all camped out in Terrance’s backyard as he busied himself around the fire and charcoal.
After the obligatory tour through his dad’s gorgeously set up and maintained garden, it was time to chatter, covering all the inane topics we could think up of, including the big bombshell for the night that Mr. Brown seems to have been accepted into the Japanese JET programme, meaning that come end of July, he will be sitting pretty and teaching English in Japan!
(Man, I’m jealous. Really, really jealous!)
While the rest of us provided the standard assortment of meat, you know chops, steak and boerewors (thanks wifey for the meat supply packed in!), health nut Mr. Brown had to of course come to the party with something completely different and alien to the rest of us – vegan black bean patties, which to be quite fair looked like balls of animal poo – which proved to be even more convincing one they were placed on the coals, turning into steaming turd patties.
However, undeterred by our ribbing, Mr. Brown successfully cooked his black bean patties and purportedly enjoyed his burgers, though I’m not sure it this was simply because literally all eyes were on him as he took the first bite! :)