Wine Tasting in Herold…

It is scary just how quickly time flies, especially at this time of the year.  I have realized, with some dread, that it is a little over six weeks to Christmas!  And, with that said, a little over five weeks until we close for the summer holidays.  Eek!  There is so much still to do.  But, being a little more in control of my internal panic button, I am still taking time out to relax and recharge my batteries, like I did during two weekends in October, with friends, both old and new…

The first was with Elizabeth, Steve (who was no longer in a relationship with Michelle – not sure who broke it off, or why…) and another friend of ours Gerald.  We went wine tasting at Herold Wines, which is about 45 minutes from the town where we live.

We set off on the Saturday afternoon, the pouring rain not dampening our spirits.  We drove in Gerald’s 4 x 4 as we were travelling over the historic Montagu Pass, which is not a tarred road.  It wasn’t really necessary as many day to day cars travel the road, but it was definitely more comfortable.  The 45 minute journey took substantially longer than expected, but only because Elizabeth and I kept screaming “stop”, jumping out and snapping pictures.



We eventually arrived…



The range of wines is limited to six, so the tasting went quickly…


and then we headed off to our digs for the evening, a self-catering cottage on the farm called Flufftail.


It was quaint, clean and comfortable.  The water was hot, there was a fireplace and best of all…no cell phone reception, so we could really enjoy each other’s company.

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We stayed up quite late, but as is par for the course, Elizabeth was up first, then Gerald and then Steve, and as much as I tried to pretend not to hear the noise, I was up just after five too.

Steve went for a run, and Elizabeth and I decided to take a walk before breakfast.  There is something magical about farm life…

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Returning from our walk, we quickly prepared breakfast, while Gerald and Steve had a serious man-to-man talk at the fence … I love this photo because it looks like they are peeing at the fence, but they aren’t.


It seems that everywhere we go, someone always ends up with wet feet or shoes…


But, as with all good things…the visit soon came to an end and we had to head home…taking a few more pics along the way…

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Our journey ended with a quick lunch of leftovers at the beach.

I am so blessed to be able to make memories with the most amazing friends.  Life is good!

I will put up the post about my latest camping trip (the second October outing) either tomorrow or Thursday, so…pop by for another visit!

In the Pursuit of Happiness…I went…well…read it and find out…

First of all, before I continue this post, there are a few things you should know…

1. I don’t camp. If it doesn’t have four solid walls and a roof, I don’t sleep in it. If it’s on wheels, I’m not keen on sleeping in it either.

2. I don’t mind the rain, as longs as I am between four solid walls and a roof.

3. I have a love affair…with my bed. Sure, I sleep in hotels on the odd occasion, but I’m always happy to go home and sleep in my own bed. I have an orthopaedic mattress, you see…

4. Dogs should be taught that barking at night is a disturbance. In fact, I personally think it should be covered by the nuisance by-laws.

5. I like my shoes and socks dry.

6. I love hot, clear running water.

7. I like to be able to get fully dressed after a bath.

8. I am not much of a mariner.

Now that you have a semi-picture of the prima donna I can be, you will enjoy the story that lies ahead. I went camping this past weekend. In a tent. Close to home though, beautiful scenery…




but still…in a tent. For those of you who are a bit slow on the uptake, a tent doesn’t have four walls and a roof. It is a material structure, which, if not properly erected will either implode on you during your not-so-comfortable-slumber, or simply blow over in a gale.
It’s amazing that whenever I plan something outdoorsy, something will happen. In this case, everything will happen.

Two weeks ago it was my 34th birthday and I decided that in this new life year, I would try everything, retaining the good…so I thought camping would be a good place to start. I sent out invitations to friends asking them to join me this past Saturday for fun, laughter and memory-making in the sun. My invitation was received with quite a substantial amount of enthusiasm and timeous RSVP’s. A good sign…

Saturday arrived somewhat sooner than I’d anticipated, but I got up early and went with my Dad to the campsite. He was going to set up the motorhome for him and Mom and I was going to pitch a tent for Elizabeth and I.

Steve and his new girlfriend, Michelle joined us later, along with Sarah (another friend from the gym), her boyfriend, David and another mutual friend, Jack. Elizabeth arrived some time later, a little green around the gills with flu, but soldiering on as usual.

Dad was cooking up a pasta storm while we all sat around watching him. He is so incredibly at ease doing the caveman-thing, that none of us wanted to interfere.


We had wine to focus on.


Pasta was set aside for us to enjoy after the rugby. The clash of the world’s best…the All Blacks vs the Springboks. We all piled into the cars and headed off to a local haunt to watch the game. Despite all our cheering, the Springboks lost the game, and we pretty much lost our will to live.

Exiting the pub we were greeted by rain… Putting my best game-face on, I drove back to the campsite, thinking that Steve and Michelle were right behind us. Mom was snug under the covers in the motorhome and dad was waiting for us ever so patiently. Sarah, David and Jack decided to have dinner in their tent, but were soon piled into ours as they’d left the flap unzipped and as a result, all their goods and chattels were wet. After about a half hour, Steve and Michelle had still not returned and getting worried, I called. Steve told me they’d got lost. A likely story 😉

Now seven people in a four man tent is not exactly a bright idea, but we had good fun nevertheless. Laughing and joking and regaling tales of our childhood. I took a sip of my wine (which was in a mug because all the glasses were in the now-locked motorhome. I took a big swig and felt something solid go down my throat. I spat the wine out very quickly, but it was already too late. Jiminy Cricket had made is way down my throat. Thankfully he was already disinfected by the alcohol.

The rain had dampened spirits just a touch and soon everyone was ready for bed. Sarah and David decided to rather go home and come back the next morning; Jack did the same (he had to work at six a.m.). Part of me wished I was going home too, but soon the rhythmic pitter-patter of the rain lulled me to sleep. I was quite warm in my fluffy blanket and comforter on my inflatable mattress.

Said mattress did not remain inflated for during the night, so consequently, I had a not-so-comfortable-slumber. But not before first being assaulted by said mattress. Due to the fact that it was deflating, it was somewhat flexible, so every time I tried to turn over, which was often, the stupid thing would wrap around me like a hot dog, or, if I sat up, it would bend at my waist, knocking me on the back of my head, making me wish that it was morning already so that I could hunt down the barking dog that kept waking me up in the first place. I vowed that if that dog emerged I would bark right back at it.

Morning broke very quickly, with Elizabeth waking me up at 05:30 because she needed to go to the loo. Seriously?! “MTM, please come with me. I don’t feel well…” So, being the trusty friend I am, I unzipped the tent only to be confronted by a haze of smoke. Thinking WTF?! I tried to get out the tent only to walk straight into the gauze. That’s right people, I didn’t unzip the door properly. There are two zips. Once the second one was open, the smokiness was gone.

Steve was already up. Given the fact that he has to be at the gym at 5 a.m. every morning, it is understandable that his body-clock couldn’t sleep late. Michelle lay blissfully unaware of everything around her. Poor woman had worked the entire Friday night, and not had any sleep after coming off shift the Saturday.

After trotting off to the loo, Elizabeth and I wanted coffee and found Steve at dad’s magic bucket which warms water, but alas, does not boil it. Desperate for caffeine I asked Steve if he’d go to the gas station and buy us some and he obliged. He’d just finished putting on his shoes when Mom and Dad woke up which meant he didn’t have to anymore and we could make coffee in the motorhome! Parents to the rescue!

Now caffeinated, I was actually ready to face the world. I just couldn’t get warm though. Turns out that my sneakers, fabulous as they are, they are not waterproof, so as long as I kept walking on the wet grass, the water would seep in, wetting my socks, resulting in me staying cold.

After changing socks about five times, I decided that the only way to get warm would be to have a bath or a shower. I couldn’t get the shower taps turned on, so I decided to have a bath. I nearly plutzed when I opened the tap and brown water came out. Elizabeth was in the opposite bathroom and her water too, was brown. I was not amused. Turns out that the park uses the water from the river which is filtered to remove organisms and such, but it can’t remove the colour. I was horrified!

Knowing me better than I know myself, Elizabeth shoved me aside and poured about half a bottle of bath foam in the bath making the brown water invisible under a white blanket of sweet-smelling bubbles. I eventually climbed into the bath and was pleasantly surprised that the water is even hotter than ours at home! I lay and soaked for a while. When I was ready to eventually wash myself, I realized that I had no soap. Crap! I bemoaned my lot to Elizabeth who came to my rescue with body wash, but not after negotiating the use of my sponge because she’d left hers at home. Fair deal…

Out of the bath and ready to get back into dry clothes…only to discover I’d left my underwear in the tent! So I had to go commando…first thing I did when I got back to the tent was put on my bra and panty.

Dad being the awesome man that he is already had a fire going, so Elizabeth and I held our shoes over the flames and got them dry. A flame licked my shoelace and it caught alight, but I slapped it out very quickly.


I’d rather have wet shoes than no shoes! We soon found out that the fire was for breakfast, not shoe-drying. Sausages, eggs and buns on the menu. Camping was turning out to be real fun.

Mom wasn’t feeling well, so I loaded her, and some of the stuff we wouldn’t be needing, like the bedding and my clothes in the car and quickly dashed her home. Once back at the site, I ended up with wet shoes again, so Dad said I should check in the motorhome. He remembered seeing mom’s wellies in there somewhere…I found them and soon I was happy camper because I was going to have dry feet for the rest of the day. Or so I thought…

Other friends had let me know that while they wouldn’t be able to camp, they’d join us for a barbeque on Sunday. They started arriving and soon we were a happy group of Dad, colleagues, friends and kids. I should mention at this point that I did this exact same barbeque thing, at the exact same venue for my birthday last year, and it was a great success. One of my friends Yasmin, who was there last year and I decided to repeat history and hire a pedal boat.


We pedalled up river back to the campsite and Steve and some other guy-friends were standing at the fire, close to the riverbank, so when we pedalled in, Steve grabbed the rope and pulled us in. Yasmin and I couldn’t manoeuvre the rudder to come alongside the bank, so we “parked” as best we would with Steve holding the rope tight. We both got up at the same time and balance along the pontoons, but Yasmin stepped off a split second sooner than I did which resulted in the boat tipping and me going arse over kettle, fully clothed, with heavy wellies on, straight into the murky brown water.

Apparently it was like watching something in slow-motion – but it was not slow enough for someone to reach out their hand and grab me without falling in themselves. I emerged from the water like someone who’d been baptized by a madman, hair all matted on my face, clothes clinging to my figure and wellies filled with water and Lord knows what else.

The guys helped me onto the bank but once I was up and I’d realized what had happened, I burst into tears. Tears of embarrassment and shock. The fright was bigger than the embarrassment, because some years ago I dived into the shallow end of a swimming pool, which resulted in my cracking my head open and breaking my nose. The doctor said that it was a miracle that I hadn’t broken my neck. It dawned on me at that moment when I saw everyone that I could very well have fallen back, and hit my head, or broken my neck because I didn’t know how deep the water was.

Michelle and Elizabeth both came running with towels and calmed me down. I was shivering with cold. Elizabeth took me back to the ablution block and ran me another hot bath. At this stage I was so cold I didn’t care what colour the water was. The problem arose when I realized I had no clothes. They were at home, with mom. All Elizabeth had to lend me was her pyjama pants and her top. I put them on, this time forced to go commando, only to realize that the pants were short and the hair on my legs was so long you could pick up a signal from a space satellite. I grabbed another pair of pants out of her bag – mom’s very bright, pink, fluffy pants and pulled them over. Ah…legs covered.

I had to put on one of Dad’s tops over Elizabeth’s one because without it, it was quite obvious that I wasn’t wearing a bra. I really looked glam. Trendsetter, I tell you!

After lunch everyone went home and we packed up camp, with many wonderful memories. I can’t wait to go camping again, but next time I’ll be a tad more prepared. I’ll make sure:

1. To inflate the mattress extra hard and put newspaper underneath it (I heard it keeps the cold away).

2. To have more than one pair of shoes (and to make sure they’re water proof)

3. To have more than two pairs of socks.

4. To have more than one change of clothes, and not to take them home before I’m sure I’m not going to need them.

5. To have soap and all my clothes in the bathroom when I go to clean myself up.

6. To wear my bathing costume if I’m going to be close to the water.

7. To check my cup/glass of wine for bugs before simply taking a swig.

Next camping trip is booked for 25 and 26 October, at a place called Peace of Eden… but this is a different type of camping – the tents have beds in them, and there is a shower off the tent. Carmen and Ewan arranged it quite a while ago. I am looking forward to it!


Work Week One is Almost Done!

There isn’t really much to tell.  I’m fresh out of funny anecdotes.  It sucks, I know. I’m sorry.  After reminiscing about freezing a dead canary and Flaming-Phoenix-Cortina-Man, almost everything I think about blogging about simply pales in comparison.  Well, I suppose I can’t always have a better act to follow the one I’ve previously sent on stage, now can I?  So sorry, readers, you’ll have to settle for a mundane post today.  I’m sure something exciting will happen over the weekend, which will make for decent writing fodder on Monday.

I woke up this morning feeling more-than-just-a-tad-stiff this morning.  Steve was so kind to me on Wednesday at my first session of the year – nothing too strenuous, but yesterday he seriously worked me (I did three step-sets and I think I had multiple hearts beating in my chest).  I was beyond exhausted!

I have made it through my first week back at work, although granted, twice this week I have lost a day, on Wednesday I thought it was Thursday, and today I’m thinking it’s Thursday again, so I’m not really sure what’s going on, but regardless of that, I’m going to sleep late tomorrow.  Yay!  It won’t be too late though because the sun tends to bake me out of my bed, but that’s okay; as long as it’s something other than the alarm clock waking me up, I’ll happily rise and shine (just not at the same time)!  Shit!  No!  I can’t sleep late – Elizabeth is coming to stay with us tonight, and has to be at work at 07:30 – so I guess I’ll be trotting off to gym after I’ve dropped her.  Ah well, she needs to just chill, so that’s what we’ll do.  Dad’s made spaghetti bolognaise (like only he can!  And that two weeks before my fitness evaluation!), for supper and there will be wine I suppose, so gym is not a bad idea tomorrow.  All’s well that ends well.


Another Wine-y Weekend

Wine drinking is turning into a habit!  One of these days I may have to join the AA (and I’m not talking about the automobile association).

Saturday morning Mom, Dad and I went to do some shopping and on the wine shelf, Mom discovered this…

It was the last bottle, so we bought it, but more about that later…

Saturday night was a bit of a disaster – we went to pick Elizabeth up to stay over and Dad somehow managed to get totally blotto – so much so that he was staggering and slurring and he couldn’t even remember having eaten.  Mom and I were not only angry, we were embarrassed! Elizabeth said that if her presence was making us uncomfortable I should take her home, but that in its own would have caused an international incident, that I opted to ask her to stay, which being the loyal friend she is, she did.

Sunday morning we were up early and I packed a bag to stay over there, popping the Toffee Chunk into the bag for us to enjoy at her house.  Dad seemed oblivious to the fact that not one of the women in the house was angry with him.  Sunday was a quiet day spent watching cricket, braaiing and sleeping the afternoon away.  We watched the Sunday night movie, Bounty Hunter with her Dad and then Elizabeth went to bed.  Irene, Elizabeth’s other sister (there are three of them) brought Spud for me from the DVD shop where she works, so I still watched that.  While I enjoyed the movie, particularly John Cleese’s portrayal of The Guv, I was disappointed that the movie wasn’t at least a half hour longer.  I feel there could have also been more dialogue between the members of the Crazy Eight.  When I eventually did get into bed at something to midnight, I couldn’t sleep.

Yesterday morning we were up bright and early again because we had a date…a date with Boplaas winery in Calitzdorp.  Elizabeth’s youngest sister, Adrienne is getting married on June 18th, and she asked us to join her and her fiancé Marc, to go wine-tasting for the table wine.  Needless to say, we were only too happy to oblige.  We travelled with Elizabeth’s brother, Patrick, in a car that had NO aircon and it was 37 degrees!  We nearly melted…but it was well worth it.

Calitzdorp is a tiny little town in the Klein Karoo, and is known as the Port Capital of the country.  Here are some pics of our trip:

The view from the waterfall at the Robertson Pass's Waterfall

The red hills on the way to Calitzdorp
Welcome to Calitzdorp - The Port Capital of South Africa
The Entrance to the Cellar
On our way to lunch in Oudtshoorn, we passed this quaint little shop
The menu at the Headlines Restaurant in Oudtshoorn, where we had lunch

Got home yesterday afternoon, exhausted from the heat and a tad buzzed from the wine that I just went to my room and slept with the fan going full tilt.



Drunk Dialing…

One of my favourite bloggers, Cindy blogged about a telephone conversation that went a tad pear-shaped.

Inspired by her post, I would like to share a story of Elizabeth’s with you.

She had gone to bed somewhat early one Saturday night courtesy of a migraine headache.  At some ungodly hour her phone woke her up (due to certain work requirements, she is not allowed to switch her phone off) and she didn’t recognize the number.

She answered, obviously irritated, “Elizabeth hello…”

On the other end was a bloke, evidently drunk.

“Nico, Nico, I love you man, Nico!”

“This is not Nico, this is Elizabeth.”

“What are you doing with Nico’s phone?  What did you do with Nico?  Where’s Nico?  Nico!  Nico, I love you man!”

Realizing that she was wasting her energy trying to reason with the bloke on the other end, she put the phone down on his ear.


I have done a similar thing…

My parents had gone away on one of their week long trips and I wasn’t in the mood for my own company, but I was in the mood for a hot bath and a glass of wine, preferably together.  The longer I lay engulfed in the hot bubbly water, the thirstier I became, to the point that I had polished off the entire bottle of wine in the bath.

I remember making a call from my cell phone and chatting to a guy friend on the other end.  Only when the account arrived at the end of the month did I realize who I had called…

…a friend of mine in IRELAND.

The call cost me a small fortune.  Subsequently my international roaming has been cancelled…

Too much wine and cell phones definitely don’t go together 😉


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 😀

Simply Sublimly Divine…

…spent Saturday night with Mary and Martin and was treated to this:

It was absolutely H.E.A.V.E.N.L.Y!

Thursday night they are coming round here for dinner, along with Rachel and Kyle.  Elizabeth might join us if a friend of Greg’s doesn’t stay over at her place for the memorial service on Friday.

Module Five of my writing course has been emailed to my tutor, hopefully I will have my results before the weekend 🙂