Lactose Intolerant

I was not convinced that this particular entry on The List would actually happen. I claim to have grown up in a village (not too far from the truth) but this girl is way more suburban than rural. The most annoying scene of The Sound of Music is when Maria is frolicking through the mountains singing, “The hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiills are aliiiiiiive with the soooooooound of muuuuuuuuuuuuuuusiiiiiiic!”

Sound of MusicSeriously, a nun running through the hills singing? The reality of that scene would be said nun tripping over her habit, landing face first in mud, getting bitten by mosquitoes or at least chased by some crazy, smelly sheep. At least in my idea of the Country Life it would be.  

This citified girl is not the Maria or Heidi type. On weekends you won’t find me communicating with nature or hand rearing baby animals (or frolicking on Table Mountain)… So I added “Milk a Cow” to The List and kind of hoped it would never actually have to happen.

I was laughing about it a few days later with a colleague who immediately said, “My friend has a farm and they have cows you can go milk!”

Yippee.

Five minutes later it was organised that I would milk a cow at their farm. I delayed the inevitable for as long as possible and ended up rushing to the farm four days before I turned 30. Great planning, Sarah.

My baby sister was intrigued by the idea of milking a cow so opted to come with me and my Mother was determined to have a good laugh watching my journey into the farm life. Supportive family right?

We arrived on the farm and greeted the cows while we waited for Andries, the regular cow milker, to help us out.

IMG_1619

We walked across the cow yard, sidestepping cow pats and mud piles, all the while keeping an eye on the cows there, making sure they weren’t following us. Some of those cows had crazy eyes, I swear.

Hello Baby Cows

Andries guided one of the biggest cows into the milking pen. Sharing a small square room with three other people and one super large cow was pretty unnerving. Mom was reminiscing about her childhood on the farm in between laughing at my squeamish response to the fact that there was no going back now…

Why

I figured the whole process might be easier and less traumatic for this city girl if I made a connection with the cow. I took Renicia to the cow’s face and asked Andries her name. She has no name was the response. No help there. Really? How hard would it be to call her something cowish? Bessie maybe? Daisy? Even Cow? No. No name.

Saying Hello to the Nameless Cow

So Andries put special cream on Nameless the Cow’s udders and gave them a few squeezes to get the milk flowing a bit easier. This was my reaction….

Oi

Then Andries turned to me. It was my turn to convince Nameless the Cow to give us some milk…

I was pretty much grossed out by the feel of her udders… Warm, old, soft leather is what it felt like… I pulled two or three times and was surprised and a tiny bit proud when the milk stream squirted into the bucket. This girl’s got skills.

Smiling Still

The pride was very quickly followed by the return of the “eew gross” vibe.

Action Shot

I lasted only a little bit longer before I realised I could now cross it off The List and I was done. Andries got Mom to give it a go and the farm girl in her kicked in with a bang and I realised my mother is Heidi.

Mom

Renicia was not easily convinced to try. The thought of milking Nameless the Cow did not appeal to my Sunshine. Eventually, holding onto Mommy, she let Andries help her try…

Renicia not sure

It’s clear from her reaction that we are definitely related!

Def Related

Done and dusted! (And glad its over!)

PS: No, I didn’t drink the milk… Eew! Gross!

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Stretch or Starve…

“The family that eats together… Eats together?” Or something like that.

So maybe I’m not great at finding suitable quotes for every occasion but when it comes to eating together as a family, I haven’t found the perfect quote because nothing can really adequately describe the Life that there is at our table when it’s meal time… elbows on the table, knives and forks on the wrong side, spaghetti slurped inelegantly (or heaven forbid, all cut into tiny pieces), The Little Sister talking with her mouth full and being told not to, The Other Sister messing on her shirt (without fail, seriously), days discussed, jokes made up (usually bad jokes), laughs shared, salt passed, stretching across the table, talking over each other… Wow! It makes us sound like barbarians, we’re not, I promise, but meal times in This Family are full of life. There is a strong connection between family and food in my memory… I remember there always being more than enough to go around, even when unexpected guests arrived. Back to this weekend though…

We got a rare opportunity to get away for the weekend… After weeks of not seeing The Sister as she has been lovebombing Cape Town (you can read more about that here) it was just what The Family needed. Time away, together. Bonus, it was a 4 day long weekend. Bigger bonus, it was The Mother’s birthday.

We packed the cars (a much better attempt than when we went camping) and headed out to Fish Hoek. We took a lot less than last time and did not need to fight off any deranged baboons as we were comfortably ensconced (big word for a Tuesday) in a house made of brick and mortar.

Friday night was the not-so-perfect storm. The heavens opened and a deluge of water fell to the earth in a night long flood. The occasional lightning (timed perfectly for when you were just about to fall back to sleep) lit up the house like the fourth of July (only less colourful).

The Lovebombing Sister slept through it all while the rest of The Family alternated between awake, moderately awake, sort of awake, not really awake but I am walking around, and what-the-heck-was-that awake.

Saturday morning’s arrival was heralded by Emile Sande singing, “Next To Me,” as my alarm told me to get my butt outta bed at 6:20am. You have to get up really early to beat The Mother. It was The Mother’s birthday.

Hustling The Sisters out of bed, Travel Size Sis wrote her super-beautiful message in the card while I put the kettle on. The mother was woken up with a truly awful rendition of Happy Birthday (the Von Trap family we are not!). We enjoyed birthday coffee, hot chocolate, gift unwrapping, card reading and Tim Tams in bed… Family Meal of the day number 1.

Not in any great hurry, we slowly got layered up to head out into the cold for breakfast. Fish Hoek Spur was ready and waiting for us and our awesome waitron, Florence lead us to a table with a great view of the play area much to The Rugrat’s delight. Lattes and juices were ordered followed by the bacon and egg fry up that Spur is famous for!

The Mother was treated by the staff and patrons to a sing-along of, “I don’t know but I’ve been told, Superlady’s getting old,” complete with sparklers and green tinted ice-cream (for the record, it was supposed to be green).

Around the same time, The Lovebombing Sister was carefully colouring a picture of Shrek, an accomplishment she was proud of! So ends Family Meal of the day number 2.

When the weekend stretches out before you and there’s nowhere you have to be, what do you do? In This Family, we drive. Anywhere. So we set off on a drive around the coast, at each point deciding to go just a little bit further… Delighting in glorious views of a stormy sea, mischievous baboons (not so delightful) and a visit to the spot where The Brother and The Sister in Law said, “I do,” Scarborough beach.

Eventually the slow meander took us back to our starting point where we found a hole in the wall that produced incredible fish and chips… piping hot, we stowed our bounty and rushed “home” where lupper (somewhere between lunch and supper) was devoured around the kitchen counter amidst much chatter and laughter. Hello Family Meal of the day number three…

A quick trip to Pick n Pay, a couple of cracked eggs, sliced lemons and condensed milk tins later, a lemon meringue (correctly pronounced ma-rin-goo) was baking in the oven. This was later set ablaze (flaming lemon meringue anyone?) with candles as we sang one final, awful chorus of Happy Birthday to The Amazing Mother that we have been blessed with. Candles were extinguished, meringue was cut and large slices of it were washed down with big mugs of rooibos… Cue Family Meal of the day number 4…

And just like that, the list decreased but The Family bond increased. What are meal times like in your family?

Sixty Minutes…

Make-single-people-like-myself-feel-awkward Day (aka Valentine’s Day) has never been my favourite holiday. So a couple years ago when my sister asked me to go with her to a film course that started on V day I thought, “Why not?”

I was surprised by the large group in attendance that night and I was rather sceptical when the guy in charge appeared bare foot and in the smallest pair of red shorts I’ve ever seen. Oi. The course was run by the media team at a local multi-site church, Joshua Generation, and was set to run over a month of Monday evenings and Saturday mornings. I must say that within ten minutes, Mr Red Shorts had me inspired to make films just by sharing his passion and creativity and desire to inspire people through media. The next few weeks saw us experience each area of the filmmaking process as we wrote scripts, used cameras and learned about sound, production and direction. We even had a guest appearance from Regardt van den Bergh, the talented director of Faith like Potatoes and Hansie.

The course culminated in us making five minute films in small groups. The films were shown at the Joscars (the Josh Gen Oscars) and the judges chose our short film on domestic violence as the winning film and we were awarded Chocolate Easter Bunny Oscars. We were convinced that Hollywood would be calling us the next day!

That was the end of my journey into filmmaking; my sister however, was hooked. She found herself captivated by the world of media and was invited to join the Film Kru Team. A second more advanced course ensued with four more (and much better) short films being made. Another Joscars event, this one a black tie affair, had about 700 supporters in attendance and we were blown away by the movies. My sister was the Producer of a truly Capetonian comedy.

One of the other movies, Bound, took a real look at human trafficking and has since been used in schools to alert children to the dangers our young people are exposed to… Read more about that film’s journey here.

Continually upping their game, the Film Kru has spent the last few months working on some (longer) short films called the Love Bombs. Each of the three Love Bomb Films focuses on a different aspect of life choices and changes.

The Prodigal: “The Prodigal is an edgy and honest short film that takes a brave look at sexuality, grace and God. The story follows two years in the life of Mark, a sensitive and easily influenced high school boy. Set against the experimental backdrop of the ocean, Mark ventures deeper and deeper into the waters, until he finally discovers what he had always been looking for.” Quote taken from The Love Bombs Films Youtube Channel

Second Day: “This original short film takes a unique look at an age-old fact, and presents it in the wrapping of post-apocalyptic madness. It was filmed entirely on one location over 2 days in Cape Town, South Africa, and made completely by volunteers. It’s a hard hitting story that will impact lives, and we’re proud to be showing it around cities in this country.” Quote taken from The Love Bombs Films Youtube Channel

iBalaclava: “Shot entirely on location in Dunoon – South Africa’s most densely populated township – iBalaclava is a moving short film about the lives of two brothers, and the sacrifices they have to make. It’s a story of failure, grace, and second chances – and we’re proud to have it screening in townships across Cape Town, impacting peoples’ lives for the better.” Quote taken from The Love Bombs Films Youtube Channel

On Youth Day, the Film Kru took iBalaclava to the Du Noon township on the N7 in Cape Town. They called for a group of volunteers to help out and over one hundred of us responded. The Sunday before that we joined the Josh Gen congregation in Du Noon to plan and pray together and commit the project to God.

Our group of volunteers spent Saturday the 16th June serving the Du Noon community. Arriving early, the set up crew carried chairs, set up tents, moved boards and made sure everything was ready to go. The clean-up crew blitzed through the venue armed with gloves and black bags and scrubbed toilets, picked up litter and mopped floors (they worked throughout the day). The jumping castle team supervised all the little ones, making sure each got a turn to jump. The tireless face painters turned the waiting children into Batman, Spiderman, butterflies, flowers and the like.

The Soccer tournament was a fierce competition as teams battled it out on the field to see who would win the new team uniforms while on the Netball courts the teams of women played hard to be the winning team. That was where I spent my day, courtside, as the official scorekeeper of the day.

The event ended with a showing of iBalaclava to a crowd of about 700 local residents. The crowd loved it as they recognised locals acting in the movie and the locations were from their own area.

The day was incredible, each person doing their part to show Jesus to the community. From the face painters to the cleaners, ushers to referees, jumping castle supervisors to set up crew, each pitched in and helped out where they could. I ended up volunteering for way more than the hour that I had put on my list but I got so much out of being there for the day, chatting to the locals and enjoying the time together.

It was such a success, you can read the article run by a local paper here.

So what about the other Love Bombs? Well, they’ll be hitting Cape Town soon in various events. But first, there’s a Love Bomb Film Festival next month.

For more info and to buy tickets see http://www.lovebombs.co.za/

What about you? Have you volunteered somewhere before? Want to volunteer but don’t know where to start? Have you got any plans for Mandela Day? How will you spend 67 minutes that day in service of others?

Guess Who…

A couple of weeks ago, around 18:05 on a Wednesday, the house was spotless, the dog was fed, the table was set for five, the Arrows were playing in the background and I was making a salad in the kitchen…

This was not the scene about two hours earlier with frantic vacuuming, dusting, tidying and the like. That moment in cleaning when you realise you don’t have enough time to clean the entire house and you rate each room on a scale of one to ten… One being “I’m sure they won’t come in here so I can leave it as is and just pull the door shut” and ten being “There’s no way I can keep them out of here and better clean up.”

At the same time as I almost had everything done, four people in the area received text messages with only an address. My address. All four headed out the door and on their way to me.

This exciting cloak and dagger type stuff (that included no daggers) was the order of the evening for my community. We had a Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner evening. A few weeks before that we had each filled in a form stating whether we were willing to host a dinner or would like to be hosted for dinner. I figured hosting a dinner party is on the list so why not! CA coordinated the whole thing in such a way that if you were hosting you were told only how many guests to expect and if there were any food allergies. And those being hosted were told only what to take along and then an hour before dinner, were sent a text message with the address of their dinner hosts. Great idea and great fun!

The lasagne was baking in the oven and I had just pulled the salad bowl out the cupboard when the first guest arrived…

The walk from the kitchen to the front door was filled with thoughts like, “What if no one likes each other?” and “What if no one talks to each other?”

I swung open the door and there stood K. I know K. Relief. We don’t know each other very well but well enough to feel at ease. And she brought dessert… An amazing Malva pudding! Yum!

As we were chatting in the kitchen the doorbell rang a second time. It was the Paramedic. Fairly new to the community but I knew her well enough. She joined us in the kitchen.

The third ding-dong of the doorbell announced the Pharmacist’s arrival. Another one I was happy to get to know better. The salad was done and so we moved our party of four to the living room and chatted as we awaited our fifth and final dinner guest. A couple of minutes later the doorbell rang and in walked C, with a plate of incredible canapés…

Conversation started flowing as we curled up on the chairs and couches in the cozy living room and munched on canapés… Some shoes were even kicked off I recall!

The party of five moved to the dining table as the lasagne and salad appeared from the kitchen.

The paramedic broke a week-long fast with that lasagne! As we all dug in (in a restrained and delicate fashion of course!) the conversation carried on, exploring topics from work, to family, to hobbies and the like. There were many laughs over stories that highlight my paralysing fear of birds, spiders and monkeys (and most other animals) and over the Paramedic’s family member’s obsession with dehydrating foods such as cucumbers.

The warm dessert and custard was washed down with mugs of tea. A long time and a photo op later, the ladies started making their way home.

As I packed the dishwasher I reflected on the evening, God had definitely knit us closer together that night which was the goal of the evening. I would never have thought of mixing K, the Paramedic, the Pharmacist and C at a dinner in the natural just because we’re all so different, but because we’re all family in Christ, it worked. Really well!

So crossing this one off the list drew me closer to four amazing women and was loads of fun! Have you ever had some surprise guests for dinner? How did that turn out?

God Bless Canada

I have a newfound respect for Canada.

Seriously. God has blessed Canada… Home of maple syrup, Mounties, Celine Dion, Scott Speedman, Ryan Gosling, Keanu Reeves and *sigh* Ryan Reynolds. We can even forgive them the whole Pamela Anderson contribution because they have given the world… wait for it… Michael Buble.

After Wednesday night I even considered sending Canada a bunch of flowers or a fruit basket to say “Thank you.”

I had already booked my ticket to Michael Buble’s concert when I started The List… so on Wednesday I managed to tick yet another item off of my list in spectacular fashion.

TJ and I were two broke but excited girls as we headed to Grandwest on Wednesday night. Two bathroom trips and three handbag checks later we found our seats. It took less than three minutes to plan how we were going to run down to the stage to meet the man himself. TJ would run down the stairs to the left and me the stairs to the right. We figured that if we split up, security would probably only manage to stop one of us. You see, we knew that the only reason he wasn’t with one of us was because he just hadn’t met us yet!

After many corny jokes, some people watching and a few word games we turned our attention to the incredible opening act. Calling themselves Naturally 7, the guys on stage blew me away. Traditionally known as acapella, they do what they call vocal play, becoming the actual instruments. They had the whole crowd go on an exciting musical journey with them.

Shocker of note, the slightest of all the band members, Armand, aka “Hops” sporting skinny jeans and hi top sneakers opened his mouth and Barry White jumped out… Seriously… Half of the women in the crowd fainted, the rest were fanning themselves amidst murmurs. The sighing lasted all through their fantastic “Wall of Sound”. The music was amazing but you decide for yourself!

They had the crowd up on their feet, jumping and posing… It was so much fun! There is a rumour of a possible return in October… I hope so!

Their reluctant exit signalled Michael Buble’s entrance and what an entrance it was! Smoke, lights, drama. Cry me a river was the perfect opening number finished off with a flourish of fireworks. We were only slightly more elegant than 12 year old Justin Bieber groupies in our screaming…

It took only two songs for TJ and I to realise that if it meant marrying Mr Buble we would happily be sister wives together.

Not just a singer, Michael (we’re on a first name basis), kept us entertained with jokes, anecdotes and personal stories all night. He was less than thrilled with the boos he got as he told the crowd about his recent marriage. He did admit though that he understood that most were from disappointed women. His sense of humour extended to his additional musical selections which included brief excerpts of Journey’s, “Don’t Stop Believing” and also the theme song from Aladdin “A Whole New World”

The elderly couple sitting next to me came prepared. The husband kept telling his wife that, “This lighty (young boy) Michael Buble has a big band sound… A lot like Sinatra and the other old timers.” To which she just smiled and nodded. It was really cute when they pulled out their binoculars so they could see better.

When Michael sang “Georgia” I was immediately taken back to my teen years. I was once again on the couch in our small house in Eshowe watching Ally MacBeal with my Father. Ally was listening to the song on repeat to get herself to realise that her childhood sweetheart was now in love with someone else, Georgia.

It was a great memory of time spent with my Dad.

Later Michael paid tribute to another Michael… Jackson this time. He asked the crowd for requests as to which MJ number he should do… there was a woman seated in the next block screaming, “Billy Jean! Billy Jean! BILLY JEAN!” There was a moment when we thought she might have an aneurism and the crowd around her gave her a hand and called out with her. Michael helped avert a medical emergency by fulfilling her request.

It was by far the best concert I’ve ever been to (sorry U2 and REM). The music, the band, the performance, the opening act, the company, the crowd, the venue… Ay-may-zing!

What a fantastic evening! From singing along like lunatics to the socially inappropriate “Me and Mrs Jones”, to tearfully whispering the lyrics of “Home” (and giggling when he forgot the words) we had a blast.

The best, however, was the reward we got for staying for the encore.

Michael sang a few extra songs and finished off with Donny Hathaway’s, “A Song for you.” Then, towards the end of the song, all went dark and quiet… the curtain fell and a single spotlight shone on stage where Michael was standing. He held his finger to his lips to shush the crowd and finished the last verse unplugged… I had shivers up and down my spine… After that no one could question the man’s talent. What a gifted singer he is! Unfortunately, my camera and cellphone batteries were flat by then so I can’t share it with you but take my word for it, it was breathtaking!

Mr Buble’s spectacular performance was the fifth experience I get to cross off of my 30 before 30 list… Five down, twenty five to go! Try and keep up as things start getting hectic!

A Little Arrr and Arrr…

We may be a bunch of girls but we girls like to do stuff… Cook outdoors type of stuff… And we go camping, in a tent, a real tent.

I love camping. L O V E love it. I love the drive to the campsite. I love the campfire till late. I love the stars in the night sky. I love the early mornings spent watching the sun come up. I love the sleeping in a tent. I love the roasted marshmallows and the crunchies my mom always makes to take along. I love the coffee and hot choc out of travel mugs. I love the sound of the ocean. I love lying around doing nothing at all…

I even love the public bathrooms… before you freak out, I shower with my flip flops on so I don’t get any foot related grossness… but I enjoy the public bathrooms… If you’ve ever been camping you’ll know there’s one at every campsite… the rude person who spends an hour in the shower using all the hot water and then keeps the water running while they’re getting dressed to stop themselves from getting cold. They shower like this every morning and evening just before you want to go shower and leave you with the cold water that has you shivering all the way back to your tent. Sound familiar? Well, I am THAT person.

I love the fact that I don’t have to consider putting the geyser on 30 mins before I shower and then having a five minute lukewarm wash to save electricity and make sure there is hotish water for the next one…

I take as long as I can in the camp shower, washing my hair for the second time that day, singing at the top of my lungs (usually Al Jarreau’s “Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone”) and enjoying all the hot water. I confess I also sneakily go just before peak bathroom times to make sure that I beat everyone to the hot water. And also to avoid having to listen to the exaggerated sighing of other campers as they wait for me to finish in the shower.

We just needed a quiet, relaxing weekend away… Sometimes you just have to get away. This past weekend was one such time. The monotony of everyday gets a bit much and escape is vital to survival. For months we’d planned to get away for the weekend… Camping at our usual spot in Langebaan… But at the last minute we thought we should actually make a booking and it was full. Plan B… Problem was that we’re not really Plan B type people…

A few (hundred) phone calls, facebook pleas and Google searches later we were no closer to our quiet, relaxing weekend away… On the advice of friends (who we will probably never listen to again, no offense P & B) we ended up booking at Miller’s Point Caravan Park near Simons Town.

Friday arrived in typical Cape Town fashion… overcast and gloomy… We soldiered on and as we packed the car the sky seemed to clear. So a packing fiasco, a couple of temper tantrums (mine), and a coffee stop later we were on our way. The solution to our packing drama was a genius one, can’t fit it in one car? Take two. Not particularly economical, but incredibly effective. It also had me running back into the house to fetch my nonessential items that didn’t make the first cut… Don’t tell anyone but my hairdryer and flat iron tagged along for the ride and stayed in the car the whole weekend.

We pulled up at our site (number 14) and spent about five minutes picking the best spot to set the tent. The next seven and a half minutes were spent setting up our 6 man tent. Yes, seven and a half minutes… We’re that good! And the following 15 minutes were spent setting up the rest of our camp.

Friday was incredible… stunning weather, quiet, peaceful vibes in the camp. Great start to our quiet, relaxing weekend away.

Saturday dawned cold and wet. No problemo. A “boer maak ‘n plan” but a group of girls make the best of any situation… Cold and wet outside? Stay in bed. Problem solved. Warm under the covers (and still in our pyjamas) is where our citified friend and her little boy found us a bit later.

We spent a lekker morning chilling (literally and figuratively) together. We waited for the ground to dry off and then set up their tent alongside ours. After a short while my sister and I headed off to the store to get some supplies (ie junk food) and as we were driving out we noticed the big grey baboon that was strolling through the camp. Not overly concerned we warned the family and still planned to head out. However, when we saw it headed towards our tent we started getting a little worried and changed direction.

One less than intelligent camper decided the best way to approach the oversized, unfriendly, plundering monkey was to square up against it and throw rocks at it. Not smart. Which he should have realised when it bared its teeth at him… the camper finally backed down when the enraged baboon went for his wife, narrowly missing her… and he and his wife jumped into their car.

Some hair raising minutes, hysterical screaming, noise making and near crying later (after Mr Baboon had terrified my family by jumping on my citified friend’s car) we were all bundled in one of our cars and did the girly thing… We went shopping. But first we called the baboon reporting hotline (I kid you not, there is a hotline for reporting baboon sightings) and were assured that field monitors would attend to the situation.

We drove to the shop to pick up the day’s supplies (and a broom for protection in case Mr Baboon came back) and decided to head to Boulders to see the penguins before venturing back. After a long while we took a slow drive back to the campsite.

We pulled in and all was calm, thank goodness. As we got out the car, our fellow campers regaled us with stories of the entire troop of baboons that came around while we calmed our nerves with penguin sightings and retail therapy. It seems Mr Baboon left only to fetch reinforcements! Reinforcements that raided a tent, broke into a locked caravan and made quick work of the “baboon proof” bins!

We were just relieved to have missed that! We later heard that most days they head through the camp just before lunchtime but the field monitors assured us that they had gone up the mountain and would not be back that afternoon or night.

Later, my citified friend and I went to collect whatever firewood we could find… Within minutes I had collected more than I could comfortably carry and turning around, said to the Princess, “Let’s go drop this back at the site and come back for more…” An awkward silence followed… The Princess was standing behind me, a single twig in her hand… A quick lesson on collecting firewood and a few more trips later we had the makings of a healthy (baboon deterring, we hoped) blaze!

Even with all the crazy “excitement” we had a lovely afternoon of just enjoying each other’s company and the beautiful views. We spent long hours warming ourselves around the campfire, enjoying our dinner and sipping mugs of hot chocolate. We roasted what seemed to be an endless supply of marshmallows and then felt ill afterwards…

Bedtime rolled around and rather than sleep in our separate tents we all packed into the one, safety in numbers and all that I suppose. We woke up early, had an awesome breakfast of bacon and eggs (my mom knows how to camp people!) and waited only for the tent to dry before we started packing up. Hoping to beat the baboons’ daily visit we were out there by 09:35am! We said goodbye to our citified friend and her son and started a slow drive home.

My little sister was my navigator and as I drove she took loads of photos, announcing her subject just before she clicked…

“Those Africa flags… Yes!”

“That pink building…. Aah, missed!”

My favourite though was when she said, “And now I’ll take a picture of Heaven… Yes! It’s good!”

Six years old and she understands some of the mysteries of God!

On a whim we stopped at the Waterfront and jumped on a short boat ride around the harbour. The Steamboat Vicky is apparently the only steamboat in Africa. The captain, Enrico, is a riot and is, in addition to all his crazy jokes, really knowledgeable about the area… Well worth a visit!

With a quick stop for an impromptu photoshoot, a frantic search between the carseats for one rand that we were short for the parking fee and a trip on the N1 highway, we were home.

So that was it, our latest camping experience… not quite the quiet relaxing weekend away we had envisioned but a memorable time nonetheless. Next time? Back to Langebaan for us!

All that’s left is for me to give you an honest review of the place…

Location: was fairly close to home, but out of the city so I give it a perfect 10

Facilities: clean bathrooms but the braai area was a bit far from us so it gets a decent 8

View: mountain on one side, ocean on the other, it’s a definite 10

Wild life: no flies or mosquitos, but a large troop of baboons means minus 10 000 points

That gives it a total score of about -9972 points!

Conclusion: It is the perfect getaway for the criminally insane and adrenaline junkies!

But that’s just my opinion… why not check it out for yourself!

So that puts it at 4 down, 26 to go and time ticking away! Better get cracking on The List!

At First I Was Afraid, I Was Petrified…

I really was… I never thought I’d survive thirty whole days without even one cup of coffee… And, I did it the Bear Grylls way… Hardcore, survivor style! I translated “Coffee free” to mean no coffee, not even decaf, no coffee flavoured items, no cappuccino muffins *insert sad face here*, not even the new coffee infused Bar One (a.k.a my kryptonite… Nescafe and Bar One? Together? How did Nestle discover my only weakness?) I was ruthless!

This morning I woke up with a new spring in my step… which was surprising after a month of Rooibos tea and a long week with some fantastic highs and gut wrenching lows, a week that was in sore need of copious amounts of coffee.

I woke up at 6:15am today, yes, on a Saturday and was out the door by 7am… without a cup of coffee… No one is more shocked than me but I figured if I’m going to break this fast I’m going to do it right. No hasty cup of instant coffee slurped down as I’m trying to remember if my jeans or my shoes go on first (although a strong coffee would have helped solve that dilemma faster). So as the busyness of the day started drawing to a close I saw my opportunity to brew the perfect cup and savour it too.

At precisely 17:14 today I filled the coffee pot, put it on the stove and took my favourite mug out of the cupboard. I took deep, greedy breaths of that incredible aroma as I waited impatiently for it to boil. Eight minutes later I sat down on the couch cradling a steaming, aromatic cuppa in my two hands… Why two hands? It felt too nonchalant to hold it by the handle, I felt the need to cherish this rare and beautiful treasure.

The end of a coffee free month

I couldn’t help myself, my eyes automatically fluttered closed as I took the first sip… I swear I felt it warm my soul! Something so good cannot be bad for you… It was teamed with a coffee infused Bar One and I was in my happy place, just like that! You could have asked me for anything in that moment, my Jamie Oliver cookbook collection, or my exercise bike, and I would have given it to you… Nah, just kidding! I would never give up my exercise bike, it’s far too useful for holding my clean washing till I pack it away.

So what, if anything, did I learn in my thirty coffee free days?

I think I basically learned two things; I can go without coffee for thirty days and I never want to go without coffee for thirty days again.

So where does this leave me on my thirty before thirty list? I am down to 27 things to go and a lot less time than I started out with! Better get cracking!

Now, what to do next? Any suggestions?

  1. Start a blog… CHECK! In case you are confused, you’re reading it…
  2. Ride on a bus, train and a taxi. I argued for this to be three separate entries, to no avail.
  3. Go to a concert
  4. Get a tattoo… A real one…
  5. Pop popcorn on the stove without a lid on the pot… Always wanted to do this!
  6. Watch a movie trilogy in one sitting
  7. Milk a cow… even as I type this I’m thinking of how I am so not farm girl material
  8. Write a message, put it in a bottle and toss it out to sea
  9. Have a photo that I’ve taken professionally framed
  10. Get my legs waxed for the first time
  11. Walk up Lion’s Head
  12. Wear a dress to work
  13. Cook a three course Jamie Oliver meal
  14. Road Trip
  15. Go coffee free for 30 days
  16. Memorise a poem
  17. Make Sushi
  18. Spend an entire day in my PJ’s
  19. Take 10 photos that I love
  20. Watch an entire season of any series in one day
  21. Host a dinner party
  22. Send someone a handwritten letter
  23. Go fishing
  24. Donate Blood (haven’t been able to donate for a while for health reasons)
  25. Go Camping
  26. Eat breakfast, lunch and dinner together as a family on the same day
  27. Successfully make an origami something
  28. Do at least one DIY project
  29. Volunteer somewhere for one hour
  30. Watch the sunrise with friends