What a Wine-y Weekend…

I have drunk more wine this weekend that I have in the last three months, but it is definitely not a bad thing.

Friday night I got to Elizabeth just after six and we went into town to get pizza for dinner.  I wasn’t hungry because I had eaten leftovers from Thursday night.  She was (is) still very fragile after Greg’s memorial service, so I suggested a bottle of wine on the beach.  She agreed to the wine, but not on the beach, so we drank it at home.  Being unemployed I can’t afford the really good stuff, but this bottle wasn’t too bad.

For some strange reason, Elizabeth gave us plastic wine glasses – although it proved to be a blessing in disguise later on when she dropped her cellphone on her water glass, breaking it (the glass, not the phone).  I proposed a toast to Greg early in the evening and Elizabeth chinked her glass against mine, quite hard (again, plastic glasses were a blessing in disguise).

I even shared the wine with Elizabeth’s dad too, nice person that I am 😉 and he was so chuffed that he opened another bottle of red wine (Woolies Longmarket Pinotage) and when that was finished, he opened another (Rooiberg Cabernet Sauvignon).  Needless to say, as long as there was wine, I was having some.  Even Elizabeth, who is not a big drinker matched me glass for glass, become somewhat pensive and philosophical as her intake increased.

After ten she decided that it would be better if we sat on the verandah because it was an incredibly muggy evening.  She talked more about Greg, getting the sadness about her system, and about life in general.  In her philosophical state of mind, she decided to propose a toast, which I actually wrote down because it rings true:

“To histories – the people who have been part of our lives, who have made their marks in our lives, and for just being in our lives.  Without them, we would not be who we are today.”

Having had way too much wine, I ended up staying over there.  We only went to bed at something to midnight (two nights in a row…could this be a pattern forming?!)

Saturday morning broke with Elizabeth’s alarm going off – poor woman had to get up for work!  She didn’t have an inkling of a hangover.  I grumbled at her for putting the light on, but I just turned over and went back to sleep.  I got up at 08:30, with a tiny headache, but after a bath it was gone.

Off to the mall I went to buy a gift for Mary’s baby shower – I shopped up a storm!  Baby clothes and goodies are just so cute.

 

 

Suddenly I was reminded by a grumbling tummy that breakfast might be a good idea, so I stopped at Wimpy where I ordered a full mixed grill, an extra hashbrown and a mega coffee.  Just what the doctor ordered.

After fetching Elizabeth at work we went through to Redberry Farm (a farm where you can pick your own strawberries – not the farm that I used to work at) for Mary’s baby shower.  I had a good chuckle at this sign close to the parking area.

It was sweltering in George!  She was surprised, so the mission was accomplished 🙂 and we all had a lovely time.  Her gran bakes the most amazing coffee cake.  From there I came home to get more clothes (as Elizabeth’s sister and soon-to-be-brother-in-law) invited us for a braai at their new home.

Again, it was wine time – this time it was a bottle of Mountain Shadows Pinotage that Jay bought for us to actually drink on New Year’s Eve.  It went down well.

Tonight Mom and Dad will be back from their week-long outing to Port Elizabeth and we are going to the Ocean Basket for dinner.  There will definitely be more wine drinking 🙂

Definitely a wine-y weekend 😀

Barra Lodge…

…welcomed us with pouring rain!

We boarded the Zodiac rubber ducks about an hour after breakfast – the sun was still gloriously high in the sky.  Mom was extremely nervous about the 12 minute journey from the ship to the beach, but her fears were soon allayed once she was seated and safely dressed in her life jacket.

Dad and Uncle Barry sat next to each other, on the outer edge of the boat.

We set foot off the Zodiac when I, along with my bag, containing my entire life, got knocked over by a wave.  I was suitably drenched, but fortunately the camera was dry and the rest of the stuff inside was only slightly damp.

As we started heading up to the Lodge, it started to rain…

but it didn’t dampen our spirits – we swam in the rain.  The ocean’s temperature was like tepid bathwater.  If the water in Mossel Bay was like that, I would swim eveyr single day of my life.

As most of the excursions had been sold out by the time we decided we were going ashore, we were left with only two options – a Village Walk (thank goodness we passed on it, because we would have got even more soaked!) or a bus trip into the town of Inhambane.  We opted for the latter, which was a three-hour round trip, with some interesting things learned along the way.

One thing that struck me during the trip was that there wasn’t one single pothole on the road from Barra Lodge to Inhambane – definitely better than South Africa.

Our guide was a local gent called Lino

who told us many interesting facts about Inhambane.  Along the road, he stopped the bus and fought with a tree until he got this off.  It is a Cashew fruit – with the renowned nut on the top.  However the nut is not edible like this, it must be roasted first.  The fruit is used in the fermentation of local “hot stuff” (beer).

From there we made our way through the rural villages

When we eventually got to the town of Inhambane, we stopped at a local museu (yes, it’s spelt like that there), where we saw some interesting things, like the popular dhows that are used for fishing, an olden-day beehive and a “hot stuff” still:

We stopped at two churches, but the rain had caught up with us again, so we did not get off the bus.  We also stopped at a statue of Vasco da Gama – there is a statue of him in our local museum too.

Our last stop on the tour was at a local market.  Not wishing to be mobbed by vendors again as I had in Maputo, I opted again to stay on the bus with Mom.  Aunty Carol, Uncle Barry and Dad got off, but they weren’t gone too long – apparently the smell of the fresh fish was a little too much to handle.

From there we headed back to the lodge, where we caught a Zodiac back to the ship.  This time I managed to stay dry!

Upon getting onto the gangway, I was greeted by a friendly face – that of Chief Engineer Guiseppe Balzano, who asked me to join him for a drink after midnight at the Pasha Disco Club.  I told him I would see if I could make it as I knew there was a serious party planned on board as it was Tropical-Carnival night, but…more about that and the cabaret at a later stage (probably Sunday) as I have to get ready for a G.N.O with Elizabeth and her sisters.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Bye-Bye Durban…

…Hello four days of 5-star floating luxury!

Geri and Dan dropped us off at the harbour just before nine, where we got our luggage booked in (I forgot to take my bottle of wine out, so was forced to unpack it, only to be told, “seeing that it is a small one, you can take it.” 

We sat in the N-Shed waiting for our boarding call, which came after two hours.  Here are some pics of us, patiently waiting our turn.

Passport control was an absolute breeze and soon we were onboard what was to be our luxurious home for the next four nights.  I was escorted to my cabin and quickly trotted upstairs to the pool deck, where the party was already hopping.  We set sail just after 14:30 and soon everyone was enjoying the entertainment.

From there it was off to the Captain’s Gala Cocktail (I am waiting for Aunty Carol to scan the photos that the professional photographers on board took as I don’t have a single one).  Not one of the family joined me at the event, which meant I had a front row seat, where I met a mother and daughter named Charlotte and Madelein.  They had in actual fact been on the cruise the weekend before, enjoyed it so much, that they just stayed on!  The Master of the Vessel Commandante Ciro Pinto selected Madelein to join him on stage for a dance and Yours Truly was selected by the Chief Engineer Guiseppe Balzano.  It was enjoyable despite that fact that I was more than a head taller than him in my killer silver heels.

Once that was over, I headed of to the restuarant for dinner.  The food was amazing.  I had a shrimp started, butterfish for main, and the most sublime coffee and chocolate gateau for dessert. Our waiter tried to tempt me with a second helping of dessert, and while I was seriously tempted, I passed.  My dinner companions were Coen and Johanna Marais, their daughter Yolanda and an elderly gentleman, Ken Cornish.  I have got details for all of them, and will definitely keep in touch. 

From there I went to the cabaret show entitled Destination Nowhere.  It was fabulous! 

After that there was even more entertainment in store.  The election of the ship’s celebrity Miss Sinfonia.  Aunty Carol and Uncle Barry opted to give it a miss because they thought it would be all young girls.  How terribly wrong they were…

The entertainment team (fondly called the Dream Team) selected a number of random ladies from the audience, of all ages, sizes and colours (including Mom and I) and proceeded to introduce them to Miss Sinfonia 2010 – a very busty babe called Petronella.

 

All the contestants had to do what Petronella did and then the finalists were selected.

I didn’t make it through to the finals, but Mom did – and then the hysterical fun started!  The Dream Team selected random blokes from the audience and the finalists had to pop balloons against the poor blokes. 

First chest-to-chest, then “happy place” to “happy place”, then the bloke on a chair and the finalist facing away from him, and then on the chair again, this time facing him.  When it came to the facing away from him, Petronella naughtily moved the balloon and Mom, wanting to burst it as quickly as possible, leapt onto the poor guy!  I’m sure she deballed him in the process.  I was hysterical with laughter.  I have never known my mom to do something so “out there” – she is quite stated.

The winner was selected by an applause-o-meter.  I was stunned at the roaring applause Mom received, winning her the title of Miss Sinfonia 2011.  She won a bottle of lovely champagne, a backpack, a blanket, a T-shirt and a real satin banner.



But…there was more in store for the ship’s newest beauty queen, a show by the resident hot-bods called the Shippendale…

After all that excitement, Miss Sinfonia 2011 and Dad headed off to their cabin.  I wasn’t at all tired, so I popped in at the disco, but it was still dead quiet, so I headed down to the Manhattan Lounge where I had a cocktail, listened to some music and eventually trotted off to bed.

What a fabulous first day!   

Bloem to Durban…

…was a different kettle of fish altogether…

We hit the road after eight, thanks to the GPS on my phone telling us that Durban was a mere 486 Km from Bloemfontein.  Needless to say, it wasn’t.

It was pouring when we left and the rain didn’t let up at all by the time we got to Bethlehem for the mandatory Wimpy coffee stop.  As none of the women in the car was able to pinch their bladders until we arrived there, we stopped off in some obscure little town called Senekal, where we went to the loo (not that we used them because they were beyond filthy!).  With great difficulty we clamped our bladders shut until we got to Bethlehem.

Once again, leaving in the pouring rain we continued our journey East.  Just past another obscure little town called Kestell, we aquaplaned, while Dad was behind the wheel and had an accident – landing meters away from a large, gushing storm water culvert.  We spun around three times before actually leaving the road and skidding down a steep embankment where we finally came to a stop, centimetres from a barbed-wire farm fence.  Had I been driving we would more than likely have rolled, and been badly injured, or worse, dead.  He controlled the spin like a pro.

Fortunately nobody was hurt – but Mom was in such shock, that I had to slap her – just like they do in the movies.  I must admit that I did get some satisfaction out of it.  Poor Uncle Barry got absolutely drenched trying to flag down some help, but as can only be expected in this day and age, people are not keen to stop, let alone help.

Being stuck in the sinking mud, cellphone signal was nil, so I clambered my way up and contacted MTN emergency who cut me off not once, but twice.  I then opted for Geri and Dan who told us to sit tight and that they would get us all sorted out.  Minutes later I was on the phone with a police officer from Kestell who dispatched an ambulance, just to make sure we were all unhurt and who gave me the number of a towing company.  Upon contacting them, I was told that they would come and pull us out of the culvert as soon as we put R1100 in the hand of the driver.  Between five of us we had quite a bit of money…in US DOLLARS!  Again, on the phone to Geri and Dan who got hold of the towing company, transferred the money and got us sorted.  What we would have done without them the Lord alone knows.

About a half hour after that, we were being pulled out back onto the road, and were taken to Harrismith where the car was put on the lift and checked.  No serious harm done, except (as we only found out on our trip home) that the rear shocks were shot.

By the time we eventually arrived at Geri and Dan’s place in Amanzimtoti, we were too exhausted to do anything – a braai had been planned, but it was still raining, so we ordered pizza instead and just chilled at home.  I was stunned to see just how big their children have become. 

James

 is five already and

little Lulu is not so little anymore,

 turning three this March. 

They are gorgeous children, who managed to creep into my heart in a matter of minutes.

After dinner, my folks, Aunty Carol and Uncle Barry headed off to their guest house just up the road and I helped Geri with the washing up.  They went to bath James and Lulu and put them to bed.  While they were busy I took some photos of the view from their verandah

and phoned Jay – I just needed to hear his voice.  I told him quite honestly that not a day had passed since his visit that I hadn’t thought of him.  He was relieved to hear that we were all safe and told me to really enjoy my holiday.  I rang off feeling better.

I spent some time catching up with Geri and Dan, but by 22:30 I just couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore.  The day’s events had really taken my oomph out of me.  I went to bed, again not even remembering putting the light off.

The Roadtrip…

…to Bloemfontein for the first leg of our two day trek to Durban to board the MSC Sinfonia started with us locked and loaded into the car a touch after six in the morning.  The air was filled with palpable excitement. 

Our first stop en-route was just outside Willowmore, where we had breakfast under the trees (in very cold, windy conditions).  After that it was a mandatory refuelling stop in Graaff-Reinet for not only the car, but us – we run on Wimpy coffee.  I wasn’t really hungry so I opted for a cream cheese and carrot muffin which was very yummy.  Mom and Aunty Carol weren’t so lucky with their bran ones, which tasted like what I imagine dog biscuits to taste like.

From there we hit the road to Bloem where we stayed at a delightful place called Blueberry Hill.  The host, Alta makes your stay a home-away-from-home.  The entire house is at the disposal of the guests and can sleep up to 9 people.  It is comfortable, clean, fully equipped and above all, reasonably priced.  We will definitely stay there again when we go up North.

After a quick unpacking session, and a welcome cup of tea on the verandah…

we headed off to the Windmill Casino – needless to say, it was a waste of our time and money.  We weren’t even there for two hours when we headed back.  I had a shower and got into bed.  I was so exhausted, I don’t even remember putting the light off…

Memories of 2010

I popped down to the beach for a while today – I sat in the car just watching the waves, thinking about things past and despite 2010 being a year I’m glad to have in the past, the positives far outweighed the negatives.

I saw some interesting things, went to new places and met some cute kids…

Here are some of the photographic memories I have from last year:

(Captions below the photos…)

I took this photo on my way home from work one evening.

This picture was taken during a Sunday lunch Mom, Elizabeth and I had.  I actually tried to catch the rock rabbits (locally called dassies) that were sunning themselves on the rocks, but they didn’t come out.  Still, the view is gorgeous, don’t you think?

This is little Felix, one of Rachel’s many feline children.  She is a mischievous little queen that I absolutely adore.  That pot plant is one of her favourite toys.

When I was still at the farm Linda and I had to go to the main farm in Hermanus for training.  This was taken during that visit.  I posed under the sign because “Fick” is my last name.  We never actually went down to Fick’s pool because we were delayed in our departure.  I will have to go back there one day…

Allan and I got to see the Netherlands vs Cameroon live at the Cape Town Stadium during the FIFA 2010 World Cup.  We had fantastic tickets, 10 rows from the front, right behind the Dutch dugout.  The atmosphere was electric.  Definitely one of the highlights, and if it wasn’t for Dad, it wouldn’t have been possible.

Some woman lost her knickers in the bushes on the road past the Table Mountain Cable Way, or maybe some naughty monkeys stole them…

This is John – he is the little tyke I mentioned in my post yesterday.  At the time of the photo he was just over two months old and he is already crawling.  He is such a content, boisterous little boy.  Real Ladies’ Man as you can see here – he had Sandra eating out of his hand.

This sow and her piglets got into the raspberry fields and had a feast.  Sandra spent half her morning chasing them.  Once they had their fill they trotted off in single file, back to where ever they had come from.

This is another one of the pack house staff’s children.  Her name is Sheila.  At first I thought the cat had her tongue, but once she started talking she didn’t stop.  She drew me a pretty picture the day she came to the office.

This seagull tried to steal the chips off my plate during one of my and Anne’s mid-morning wine drinking sessions.

Guinea fowl moseying about at the Signal Hill lookout point.  The weather that day was gorgeous.

and last, but not least…

a winter’s sunrise one morning on my way to the farm.

So, there are a few of my memories of 2010 – I hope you enjoyed seeing them as much as I enjoyed sharing them.

Reconnecting…

…with friends is just what the doctor ordered.

BUT, before I get to that:

A concerned friend who knows that I’m the blogger behind this blog called me up yesterday wanting to know WTF is up with me regarding my smutty post yesterday – because it has been over two years since I have written something raunchy; she even said she thinks I should delete the post because it might taint readers’ opinion of me.  I told her that my blog reflects who I am, at the time I’m in. I told her that if any of my readers found it (or anything else I write) offensive, they should leave a comment and I will use it as constructive criticism – and watch my P’s and Q’s in the future as a result, but if they don’t say anything, I am none the wiser…but just in case – if any of you that read my blog found my Sensual Shower (PG 18) post of yesterday sordid, offensive, shallow or dirty, then I do apologise.

I went through to George today to meet Mary and her hubby Mark for lunch at a local coffee shop.  Mary is 7 months pregnant (her due date is the 22nd of March) and it really agrees with her.  I’ve heard people often say that pregnant women are radiant – well it is definitely true in this case.  Mark is walking around with his chest puffed out too because the little man is the first born.  Dad is due home a week from today – I hope that his flight arrives early because Mary has asked me if I would like to go with her to her 31-week scan, which I really would like to do.  I have seen the first scan on their DVD and heard the baby’s heartbeat.  I’m seldom speechless, but I was then.  It was really kind of her to offer.   Anyhow, before I get too emotional…

From there I headed off to the farm to have a cup of coffee with Jenna who has been begging me for weeks pop round.  She and Linda in accounts are both taking tremendous strain – Linda got me alone for about 15 minutes and bawled her eyes out.  My heart went out to her, because I genuinely know how she feels.  Jenna says that she too has shed a few tears the past few weeks, but in spite of that, she is up for a G.N.O – the sooner the better.  I told her it would have to wait ’til after the cruise, so she has made me promise that it will be an entire night out – and that I will crash in her spare bedroom.  What ever am I letting myself in for?

The girls in the packhouse were very glad to see me – all smiles and hugs for the New Year.  They sang for me, which made my heart melt and left me with a huge lump in my throat.  I don’t miss the job, but I miss some of the people.

The Quality Controller in the packhouse was keen to tell me that her little one is crawling already and that when she has a cellphone that can take photos, she will send me one.

On the subject of cell phone photos – I popped down to Herold’s Bay on my way home, intent on taking photos to post here, but clever clogs here forgot to charge her phone last night, so the battery croaked before any photos could be taken.  Oh well, I will just have to go back there sometime, won’t I?

Rachel popped round for a cup of coffee and brought me a gorgeous bookmark – made out of a teaspoon!  I will take a pic of it and post – once the phone is charged.

Uncle Barry and Aunty Carol came to dinner on my invitation.  I made a three-cheese macaroni cheese, which turned out to be a winner!  I made enough for mom and I to be able to have some for lunch tomorrow, but it is all finished.  At least my cooking skills are not too shabby, but I’ll admit I’m not a gourmet…yet.

I’m still working on the text installment for my Writer’s Course, and hopefully it will be ready by the end of the weekend.  I have also asked my tutor to look at some of my creative writing pieces here, to assist me with adjusting my writing style because blogging and novel-writing are vastly different.  She initially referred to my writing as “lyrical” and asked if I have ever written songs – so I am trying to move away from that, and writing different kinds of things is the only way I will eventually get it perfect – I have set my mind to pass this course with distinction (although cum laude would be even better.)

On other subjects:

My pre-cruise tan is coming along nicely.  I’m hoping to catch some more sun tomorrow morning, because the dress I’m wearing to the Captain’s Gala Dinner is off shoulder.

I’m hoping to make a substantial dent in my latest James Patterson novel, Don’t Blink.

Poor Elizabeth is working herself to death, but she is coming here on Saturday night to relax a bit and for me to colour her hair.  Little does she know that I need a shoulder too – part of me has been feeling very lost again 😦

Right, I’m heading off to drink my anti-mental pill and get some sleep.  All the excitement has tuckered me out.  Tomorrow is a new day, with new hope and promise.  I’m going to take it one step at a time…

Night Y’all, sleep tight ‘n sweet dreams.

Then and Now

Yesterday Cousin Lara’s  youngest tyke, Roman turned two.  As she likes to tell everyone, he is “Mommy’s lubby lub…”  He is hopelessly spoiled, but such a cutie, one can’t help but want to eat him up.

This is a pic of him, the day he was born – The Thinker, in miniature…

and this is him, two years on…with the rocking horse my mom bought him for his birthday.  He is terrified to sit on it, but spends countless hours shouting at it and trying to feed it his biscuits.

Her other two kiddies are off to school on Monday – Pierre to Grade two and quiet little Kayla to Grade one.  They were just babies the other day…where has the time gone?