Easily one of the most eagerly awaited days on the Cape Town sports calendar, the Cape Town Sevens (more correctly known as the South Africa Sevens) is ridiculously popular. Grabbing tickets is a tricky affair, but if you manage to land a couple, then go you absolutely must.
My dad and Ryan asked me to join them for last year’s addition, the second tournament within the 2017-18 World Rugby Sevens Series. Seeing as I had up until then never been to a sevens tournament before, I eagerly said yes. Best decision ever!
Using the free pass guaranteed by our tickets, we parked in the city itself and grabbed a MyCiti bus to the gorgeous Cape Town Stadium, where after a short walk and a very slick gate operation, we filtered into the stadium and grabbed our seats.
We were there for the last day of the tournament (i.e. the most exciting day), and thanks to a particularly easy first round draw for South Africa’s Blitzbokke (namely Kenya, France and Russia), our team safely navigated their way to day 2, top of Pool A and ready take on Fiji in the first quarter-final of the day.
It was actually quite interesting to see first-hand. You see, the Cape Town Sevens isn’t popular because of the rugby itself, but rather for the massive amount of fun and atmosphere it generates, which means then that other than when the Blitzbokke are playing, the large majority of people are for the most part actually outside (in colourful costume), listening to music and catching some sun with drink FIRMLY in hand.
However, as soon as the South Africa team ran on to the field, the stadium would almost immediately fill up as the crowd grabbed their flags and started roaring in local appreciation. As it was, South Africa and Fiji put on a fighting game, ending with the Blitzbokke trotting away with a 31-26 win.
Next up was a clash with New Zealand, but sadly this battle did not go the partisan crowd’s way. Despite the thousands of waving flags and much, much cheering, the islanders put in a great effort, downing our local heroes 19-12.
That loss did of course leave a bitter taste in the mouth of most people there, meaning that the final, literally the last game of the day, played between New Zealand and Argentina (which New Zealand easily won) wasn’t as well supported as what it should have been. That said, thankfully the Bronze Medal Match between South African and Canada was still good enough to invoke a good old stadium roar.
Just as well that we won that then. (For the record, South Africa’s Seabelo Senatla ran out as the tournament’s top try scorer with 7 tries under his belt).
It was a very, very long day of quick, try-filled rugby. Loads of action, almost no down time to speak of, and plenty of festival atmosphere all around – in other words a thoroughly enjoyable day out and something which I can now fully appreciate the hype around. I liked it.
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(And a very windy night time walk back to our car. In fact, we saw a lady get blown down some steps. She was more concerned about her skirt than anything else. It was kind of hilarious – if it wasn’t for the fact that the wind was sucking the hilarity out of pretty much everything around us!)
As a treat to myself for my birthday, I paid a solo visit to the Springbok Experience Rugby Museum down in the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town last year May. It was my first time visiting the rugby museum, and honestly, if you are a long time South African rugby fan then this place will blow you socks off.
First things first – this is a museum experience unlike any other that I’ve experienced before.
The concept is that of an interactive, audio-visual driven experience, with the museum building being split into essentially 3 major sections – the Springbok memorabilia/rugby shop, the skill games section (perfect for you and your kids to have some rugby themed fun), and the the main and most important bit – the actual self-guided museum walk, which forces you along a path that talks, lights up and seeks to inform you with every step of the way.
You start at the very beginning, learning about how the game reached our shores, how it grew into a club level activity, and from there how it progressed from amateur to professional, from local to world class along the way.
Pleasingly, the museum does not shy away from difficult topics like the black smudge of Apartheid and race relations in general, and in fact, forces you as visitor to understand exactly just how ridiculous and hurtful this dark mark on our shared history really was.
Visually the museum is stunning, running its bold yellow and green motif throughout the displays, with important figures and moments highlighted with stunning monochromatic mannequin displays.
Trophies, uniforms, pamphlets and photos, the museum has a treasure trove of South African rugby memorabilia that stretches throughout South Africa’s rugby playing history on display.
Larger than life inspirational quotes aside, just about every information panel you encounter comes with either a voice over effect, button to press, screen to watch, or tactile experience to digest – meaning that if you really want to, you can easily make a walk through this museum last longer than what your wife would spend in a well-stocked Woolworths store on one of its 50% off everything sale days.
(Technically, my wife doesn’t do this, but from what I understand you could be sitting on a bench that entire day if she has her good credit card in hand).
The experience itself ends off with a video screening in a small, darkened amphitheater, the result of which is you exiting through the final door beaming with pride at being a South African rugby fan. (Or at least that is exactly how I felt after making my way through the experience).
Hats off to SARU and the team that set this experience up then – if you are a Springboks fan, and have yet to visit this remarkable ode to SA rugby, then this should definitely be on your list of things to do in Cape Town!
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P.S. Handy Tip: That amphitheater is super dark, so beware the step up to the viewing bench. Otherwise you’ll repeat the swift tuck and roll maneuver that I performed once the final film credit had rolled…
Recently I was at Newlands to catch a live DHL Stormers game, and as always the rugby action on show was fantastic. Yes, my home team lost against a superior New Zealand foe on the day, but the rugby was played hard and made for a worthwhile spectacle to behold.
As per usual, all of this Newlands rugby action was accompanied by the DHL Dancers, the cheerleader girls that have accompanied the rugby team for so many years now – and once again, I found myself questioning the role that they actually provide (other than being a source for some cringe-worthy comments, not to mention the occasional little-too-long stares).
I get that they are a titillating sight, something to look at during the breaks in play, but the whole thing seems well… a bit sexist and not something that should really have any place in today’s modern, more equal society.
If rugby was exclusively watched by men and Newlands was a bit of a men’s club, then I guess it makes sense, but the reality is that if you attend Newlands for a game then the crowd demographics are easily split 50/50 in terms of women and men – after all, most men travel to the stadium with their wives in tow (or vice versa).
Also, a high percentage of attendees happen to be children as well, so again, the half-naked dancing girls intended to titillate adult men doesn’t seem to quite match the stadium audience.
I think the only way you could kind of validate the idea of cheerleaders at a rugby game would be to make it more representative of the crowd in the stadium – and that means including male dancers and perhaps even throw in some kids into the mix.
While we’re at it, to keep it all fair, maybe only allow muscular guys with an aversion to shirts in the group?
I don’t know.
Cheerleaders. How is this possibly still a thing in 2015?
Last weekend I got to go to Newlands Rugby Stadium with my brother and my Dad, to watch the Stormers take on the visiting team of the Sharks in a Super 15 campaign match-up. Now I haven’t been to Newlands for many a year, the last game that I remember attending was probably a warm up game between the Stormers and visiting English side Saracens, but who knows just how many years ago that was now!
We arrived in Newlands with plenty of time to spare, and after locating our seats which happened to be quite high up on the Railway Stand, we killed time by heading out to the passage and having a something to drink whilst discussing Bitcoins, the economic topic of choice at the moment it would seem.
Up until now the Stormers haven’t been having the greatest of seasons, and so I must admit that I was quite surprised to see that regardless of the team’s current performance and injury woes, Newlands Stadium was packed out, even if the majority of people only seemed to find their seats literally as the start whistle was about to go! It must be said though, the weather for the game was absolutely perfect, no wind, no rain, no problems with the floodlights – in fact, the only environmental issue I needed to deal with was the glare of the setting sun, but seeing as that didn’t last all that long I can’t really complain about it! (Besides, I had been warned about the possibility but had chosen to ignore the advice. Silly me.)
The Stormers Dancing Girls were out in full force as per usual, though this time they had also been tasked with carrying out Newland’s whole #respect campaign, basically to try and curb the notorious behaviour of the local crowd which had generated such negative headlines a week or two before. The campaign took the form of adverts playing on the big screen and the girls holding up big placards at the appropriate time, which was a little ironic because at the end of a day you had a good looking girl in a revealing, exploitative costume, holding up a sign reading “#respect”. Well, it was amusing to me anyway.
As for the rugby itself, man were the boys out to entertain. The Stormers led from start to finish in what was a bruising encounter, and although the game got pretty tight at times, the Stormers held on for what turned out to be a convincing win, with no sign of their current campaign failures affecting their game whatsoever.
Brilliant stuff, and in the end, a fantastic piece of entertainment and well worth the admission fee it has to be said. Plus, my team won, so all is good! :)
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On our way out of the stadium (and exiting the high levels of the Railway Stand really is a lesson in how not to make a spectator feel welcome), I had to stop and take a picture of this ill-placed doorway, which would make a fabulous ‘genius’ post on 9gag now that I think about it.
Seriously, do architects get paid by comedy/action movie houses to include this sort of thing in their structures so as to provide comedy gold sometime in the future?
Last weekend didn’t start off on the greatest of notes, what with the final departure of my development team member Tristan to greener pastures (leaving me to now manage a team of two – and I’m one of those two – split amongst four or so projects), followed by the obligatory market preparation on Friday night, and then a once again more than disappointing Willowbridge Slow Market experience, where we brought in our lowest Chantelle’s Cookies and Cakes sales total at the market to date.
Still, it was pretty cool to see Terrance’s folks Terry and Hester pop in for a visit at the stall, so there was that, and then of course it had been a good week for cake orders for Chantelle, so at least that tempered the disappointing Willowbridge just a little.
However, things were just about to look up, as I proceeded to collect Jessie from my folks after finishing up the market, and then hunkering down with Monty and Rob to catch the big Currie Cup rugby final in the evening, Sharks versus Western Province in Durban.
And what a game it turned out to be!
Going into the game as serious underdogs based solely on the phenomenal season the Sharks had been enjoying, as well as their semi-final wallop of the Bulls, you could forgive our astonishment as Province played full throttle from the get go, holding the sharks back right until the final whistle to take an unforgettable victory, and in the process claim the coveted Currie Cup for the first time in eleven years!
What a game, what a game.
Making the late night trip back to Gordon’s Bay with a sleeping Jessica in the car, I managed to successfully transfer her to her cot before springing in to help Chantelle a bit with her preparations for Sunday’s market, before hitting the sack and trying to catch as much sleep as I could possibly squeeze in.
Sunday morning arrived and I loaded up the car and headed off to Hathersage farm in Somerset West, where I proceeded to set up the stall in the food section of The Market Place, this being the first weekend marking the return of the usually popular Hathersage natural goods market.
Pleasingly the day went well, thanks to the weather playing along and the locals coming out in droves to enjoy the sun and picnic under the big shady tree with their family. The atmosphere was great, and the music added to the whole vibe. Truthfully I was a little sad to be skipping out on the Century City market which I had so enjoyed four weeks ago, but I must say that it was rather pleasant doing a market so close to home for a change!
Chantelle joined me a little later in the afternoon, and at the close of day, we had done pretty well for our first outing at a new market – so definitely the morale booster that we had needed.
Other than that, there wasn’t all that much left in the weekend, as Chantelle returned to work to complete her evening shift, while I headed home to take over from Cheryl and Monty who had looked after Jessica at our place during the afternoon.
So yeah, not a lot of rest and relaxation for me this weekend then.
Though now that I think about it, it probably remains worth mentioning the rather strange pizza that I had tried out on Friday at Tristan’s departure lunch event – a Col’cacchio creation featuring chorizo, egg and peas on a pizza.
It was okay I guess, but certainly doesn’t beat the awesome stuff we churn out here at home ourselves! :)
It was a weekend of ups and downs I suppose one could say – after all, things certainly didn’t run as what we had planned, but nevertheless it was an enjoyable weekend in the end I reckon.
The public holiday followed by the school holiday meant that Jessica was staying over with Oupa and Ouma for Thursday and Friday night. This of course meant that after closing out work with an enjoyable four man game of table tennis between Tristan, Stephen, Simon and myself, I drove out to Somerset Mall to meet up with Chantelle for a date night, kicking off with Spur and then ending with a viewing of Disney/Pixar’s Brave in 3D, and enjoyable tale that capped a nice evening spent in each other’s company.
Having earlier decided to skip doing a market due to the heavy storm weather predicted for the weekend, Chantelle and I could sleep in on Saturday morning for a change, before eventually arising to a delicious and decadent breakfast of French Toast with Bacon prepared by wifey.
We packed for the overnight stay and headed out to Bellville, where we first popped in to Cabs for some baking supplies, followed by a trip to Willowbridge where we had a look for ourselves at how the market was going. Judging on how quiet it seemed, we ended up being pretty happy with our decision to can Chantelle’s Cookies & Cakes market appearance for this one!
Our original plan for Saturday had been to either go to World of Birds in Hout Bay or the Two Oceans Aquarium at the Waterfront depending on the weather, but these were dashed when we arrived at the Montgomery Stronghold to a rather shaky and sick little Jessica, forcing us to instead spend the afternoon inside keeping warm, venturing out only for a quick (but expensive) trip to M-Kem in Bellville for a doctor’s once over on Jessica.
Western Province versus the Natal Sharks was the rugby game of the evening to take in, which was combined with a delicious supper of fillet done on the coals together with beer chicken prepared on the Weber. Mom and Dad joined us for this one (bring with them delicious pudding), and the result was an enjoyable evening of family and of course rugby and athletics. And one sick toddler lest we forget.
In fact, Jessica was feeling so icky that she simply refused to go to sleep, resulting in me sitting up with her until midnight (everyone had long since gone to sleep), only finally succumbing to exhaustion halfway through an episode of Shaun the Sheep: Championsheeps on DSTV. Managing to successfull transfer her to our bed, it was off to slumber for a brief, but fairly interrupted snooze.
We took our time getting started on Sunday, but pleasingly the weather was far less menacing than what had been predicted, meaning that with Jessica pumped full of meds and thus feeling fairly stable, it was off to the Two Oceans Aquarium plus a walkabout the Waterfront, an expedition which in the end all three of us ended up thoroughly enjoying.
And in case you were wondering, the aquarium turned out to be quite the big hit with young Jessica, despite the fact that her excitement is normally reserved only for those with feathers and wings! :)
Having eventually seen enough of our fishy friends, it was time to eat some for a late lunch at Fisherman’s Friend, before making our way back to the car park and then finally home, where we somehow managed to eventually get Jessica to bed and entertained ourselves with the always silly Leon Schuster in the chuckle-worthy slapstick that is There’s a Zulu On My Stoep.
And that, was that.
I’ve been pretty quiet in terms of the personal stuff this last little while on the blog, but that’s only because up until now, pretty much the entire Gordon’s Bay branch of the Lotter family has been struck down by colds and various infections, with the three of us only now kind of pulling out of it.
So what has been going on in the lives of the Lotters you ask?
Well, Chantelle was pretty pleased to discover the opening of two of her favourites shops inside Somerset Mall, namely Limnos Bakers and Melissa’s The Food Shop (we of course taste tested at the former. I assume the latter will be tested shortly once our sense of taste returns). I on the other hand was once again almighty pleased with the level of service I received from Hyundai Helderberg on taking my car in for its 60 000 km service.
In between all the Euro 2012 (doing so so in the SuperBru standings) and DVD evenings I’ve been partaking in as of late, I also ran another Willowbridge Food Market in conjunction with my Mom-in-law, which unfortunately didn’t do all that well thanks to the crappy weather, but which did at least open the door to maybe start supplying the wonderful Cafe Magnifico bistro and coffee shop situated in Willowbridge – so far we have delivered two loads of Red Velvet cupcakes to them, garnering great approval in each case, so here is to holding thumbs that this takes on a more permanent relationship going forward!
This past weekend was our official weekend off for the month, but unfortunately both of us took a proper turn for the worse in terms of health, with me even abandoning work on Friday to rather come home and collapse in bed in an attempt to deal with the ravaging effects of the debilitating man-flu. Nevertheless, we did make the trip through to Bellville on Saturday, first to drop off the cupcake order for Cafe Magnifico, then for some shopping and Father’s Day gift deliveries, followed by a late afternoon get together with the friends at Ryan’s pad, for a quick round of Scattergories and of course the Springboks versus England rugby clash! (We even squeezed in some FIFA on the XBOX gaming after the ladies had all left, but I didn’t hang around for too long, my threatening to explode head getting the better of me far quicker than what I thought it would!)
Our general grottiness lead to us cancelling our planned trip to either the Two Oceans Aquarium or Butterfly World on Sunday (not surprising when you consider I slept on the couch in the lounge in order to escape Chantelle’s buffalo stampede-like congested snoring), opting to rather spend the day in the comfort of the Montgomery Pad, enjoying a quiet lunch with the family before finally gathering the strength to scramble everything back in the car and make it back to Gordon’s Bay before dark – which isn’t easy taking into account just how quickly it gets dark these days!
And no, neither Chantelle nor I had the strength to go into work yesterday either. Sigh, at least Jessica seems a whole lot better now…
Another weekend, another Cookies & Cakes Willowbridge Market, though this weekend was my weekend off, leaving Chantelle and Cheryl to man the stall on Saturday morning. (Of course, this means that Friday evening was dominated by market preparation, capped off with Chantelle exercising her chocolate creativity by putting together a fake glamour cake for presentation at the stall – which worked mind you, bringing in three new cake orders!)
Saturday was of course an early start for Chantelle as she up and packed, and left for Bellville in the wee hours of the morning, where she and Cheryl proceeded to man the Cookies & Cakes stall on what turned out to be a very profitable outing.
Jessica and I on the other hand enjoyed a much more relaxed Saturday morning, going through the normal weekend routine and picking up a household chore here and there. However, come 11:00 and it was action stations, as I finished packing all the weekend bags for Chantelle, Jess and I, loaded up the car (which includes getting Jessie in her seat), and drove off through Stellenbosch, successfully navigating all the way through to Klein Joostenberg Farm without getting lost (it’s the same venue where we attended Saret’s wedding a while back).
There we met up with Ryan, Karl-Heinz, Trish and a whole lot of their friends for a bit of a relaxed, celebratory picnic in honour of Karl and two of his other friends’ recent birthdays. Although a bit gloomy at times, the rain stayed away and the sun did shine through every now and then, making for a great afternoon of lazing about, snacking and playing with the seemingly horde of toddlers on the blankets.
Eventually it was time to pack up, and after saying all the goodbyes, Jessica and I drove through to Bellville, after a quick detour thanks to me turning in the wrong direction as I exited the farm. There I met up with Chantelle at the Montgomery Clan Stronghold, and after hearing the great news about the exciting market, we packed Jessica back in the car and took her to visit my Mom and Pops (and Ryan who happened to drop by their place), where we enjoyed some delicious leftover from the market chocolate cake and plenty of catch up chatter. One of the highlights of the visit was Mom revealing a box of old toys and puzzles they had retrieved from the attic, including a wooden puzzle which still bore the birthday message to me on my fourth birthday – back in 1984!
From there it was back to the Montgomery Stronghold as I sat down to watch the epic Stormers versus Bulls rugby game with Monty, which pleasingly we won, thereby eliminating the possibility that my watching a game is a bad omen (the first and only game I watched this season resulted in the Stormers first loss of the season!).
Delicious pizza from Old Oak Diner rounded out the experience.
Because I had earlier in the week promised to pick up Robert’s car at the end of the wedding that he was attending, I had a couple of hours to kill before midnight, meaning the perfect opportunity to head out to Ryan’s pad where I partook in a number of FIFA 2011 battles on the XBOX 360, the result being me coming out comfortably on top!
Now pretty much at the end of Saturday night, it was time for Monty and myself to make the long drive out into the depths of Durbanville, were we located the remote venue and successfully retrieved Robert and his car. Apart from witnessing a brawl on the way there which turned into a full blown police and ambulance scene by the time we returned, the trip was fairly uneventful, meaning that I finally clambered into bed alongside a snoring Chantelle just after 01:00 in the morning.
Sunday kicked off with the arrival of Evan, Natasha and little Evalynne at the Montgomery pad, where they proceeded to check out our car seats in an attempt to help them choose which model to purchase now that Evalynne is finally ready for an upgrade.
One pleasant visit later, and it was time for Chantelle and myself to leave Jess in the capable hands of Oupa and Ouma (and a slightly fragile Robert), first heading out to Plastics Warehouse in Bellville to look for cupcake containers, followed by a drive out to Cape Town where we headed over to the Village Market at the Cape Quarter Lifestyle Village in a mission to suss out a new Sunday market at which to market our goods.
Unfortunately it turns out that the Village Market is on far too small a scale to make it worth our while, and after sampling a few items on sale, we decided to make a turn at the Old Biscuit Mill, a market we’ve heard plenty about, but one we’ve never actually visited.
The GPS took us to a pretty rundown area of Woodstock, and because we didn’t know what we were looking for, we immediately assumed it was wrong, and then started biting one another’s head off as we got more and more lost as we aimlessly drove about. Eventually a phone call to Claire put us on the right track, and once again we ended up at the exact spot we dismissed the first time around.
Amusingly, we had never bothered to turn our heads and look at the wall next to us, because there, written in big bold white letters is written Old Biscuit Mill – which had we bothered looking around in the first place, would have saved us from plenty of rather unsexy vitriol thrown at one another. (Seriously, when we get lost then you would be forgiven for thinking that Chantelle and I are the most bitter of enemies!)
Now laughing at our silliness again (but disappointed that the Old Biscuit Mill doesn’t operate on Sundays), we headed back towards Bellville, taking a detour as we got to Century City, where we stopped in the hopes of locating another market which we heard operated in the area. Disappointingly, this too turned out to be a goose chase as that market only operates in Summer.
Finally back in Bellville and reunited with our daughter, it was time to tuck into the delicious pork roast which Robert and Monty had prepared for us on the Weber, complemented by coffee and the rest of remaining chocolate cake for desert!
Sadly, during all our playing in the afternoon, Jessica managed to slip and badly crack one of her teeth on the tiles, putting a bit of a blemish on Sunday afternoon, but outside of that, the rest of the day was pretty relaxed and quite enjoyable, leading to a lazy drive back home in the evening, followed by the normal Sunday bed time routine to cap off what had been a pretty eventful weekend after all! :)
So the South African Springboks have had a good start defending their status as World Champions in this year’s 2011 Rugby World Cup tournament. Of course, we can’t just leave poor Jessica out of the loop, and as such we bought her some official Springbok merchandise so that she can support in style.
And by “style”, we do of course mean “super cute”! :)
And on a completely unrelated note, have I mentioned just how much Jessica enjoys ripping any paper that gets close to her into shreds? Seriously, try holding your shopping list out while she’s in range…