Richard's boss invited us to Clarens for a team get-away from Wednesday evening 8th to Sunday 12 August. I had never been to Clarens so I was super excited to be going somewhere new.
The group consisted of :-
- The bosses ~ Bart and Anza Pieterse and their daughter Zia,
- The Gladwins,
- The Barkhuizens ~ Carl and Rionne and their son Jordan (3) and Carl's daughter Jess (18) and her friend Jay (18), and
- Gert Hamilton and his girlfriend Emma and their son Kyle (16).
It was utterly amazing how the teenagers connected immediately and were inseparable the whole weekend.
WEDNESDAY : I put in a half day's leave and after attending a morning meeting at Hyde Park Branch and having a quick cuppa with my area manager, I rushed back to the office to have my performance review and was then running late. Thankfully Richard was on leave the whole day so he had packed the car and when I arrived home we had a toasted sarmie and tea and then jumped into the car, popped past Woolies (which was a real madhouse as it was the first day of their sale) and then fetched Connor from school and we were off ~ I bought some snacks at Woolies so we didn't have to stop to get lunch for Master Gladwin. We took some back-roads as the highway to Durban had been closed off due to some serious snow falls ~ These roads were not the best as there were a LOT of potholes and also some serious roadworks with STOP-GO controls (we were very fortunate that each STOP-GO area we got to was GO for us). Our trip was generally uneventful except for another stone hitting the windscreen!!!
Richard's colleague Carl called us as they arrived in Clarens and said that it was a Winter Wonderland!!! They were all very excited as I don't think any of them had seen snow before. By the time we arrived in Clarens the sun had already set so we didn't get to see what they saw. We were not sure what kind of house we were staying in and when we turned off the road onto the driveway we firstly saw a little building and commented if we were staying there that it would be a tight fit ... thankfully we carried on driving and we shocked to see a beautiful building emerge at the end of the driveway. All the other families were there already and there was a lovely smell coming out of the kitchen.
Each family was allocated a dinner and brunch for the whole group. Bart (the boss) and his wife (the real boss) had dinner for Wednesday night ... we had delicious lasagne and salad from Woolies and then we all chilled for the evening.
THURSDAY : There was no 'agenda' for the weekend so we got to lay in bed a bit late on Thursday morning and when we were all up it was the Gladwin family's turn to do brunch ... We served yoghurt, muesli and fruit followed by croissants, scones and rye crackers with cheese, coldmeats and fruit juice. I was delighted that ALL the food was eaten (which means less baggage when we leave to come home!).
We then took a trip into Clarens town and investigated all the shops. Carl and Rionneneeded to get back to the house as their little one was in need of an afternoon nap and Carl wanted to start on his curry for dinner. We kept all the teenagers with us and while they walked around we had a cuppa coffee with Gert and his girlfriend Emma. We rounded up the teens and went back to the house and chilled for the rest of the afternoon. The kids kept themselves busy with card games, cell phones and laptops.
After a delicious dinner of lamb curry followed by an ice cream dessert (with crushed Romany Creams, caramel treat and mint chocolate) we sat around the table and chatted and then retreated our bed which had an electric blanket.
FRIDAY : Brunch was served by the Hamiltons ... Scrambled eggs, boerewors, bacon, toast and juice was the order of the day. After breakfast we took another trip into Clarens and visited the Brewery ... we were expecting some type of tour but were disappointed as it is just a restaurant of sorts ~ everyone tasted the different types of beers and then ordered the one they liked the most. I sampled a really delicious cuppaccino (yes ... coffee in a brewery is quite funny!!!). As we were leaving town Carl said that he needed to put petrol in his car and we were driving down this little road when I saw my friend Bernie Platte ~ Bernie and I worked together in a couple of different areas of the bank and him and his wife moved to Clarens and they run a B&B. It was wonderful to see him and after chatting for a few minutes we drove back to the house.
Connor and Kyle had decided that they wanted to swim ... in the freezing weather they put on their boxers ... sat and meditated for a bit and then jumped into the freezing water. It was not long before they literally popped out of the water and then we had to get them warm. Boys will be boys!!!
When we got back to the house the kids decided to go for a walk along the river and we were all busy inside when we heard that one of the kids had fallen ... of course my first thought was that it was Connor however it was Jay who had gone tumbling down the river (which is a rather steep decline) and landed in a pool of water at the bottom. There was a team effort to get her out and back to the house where it took a couple of hours to get her clean. Thankfully she was not hurt except for a few cuts and bruises.
We were on dinner duty we served Philidephia cheese with sweet chilli sauce followed by a fresh tagliatelle alfredo (one of my specialities) served with a salad followed by malva pudding with custard and cream. We then played a game of Skip-Bo ... a really fun card game that I had never hear of before but am certainly going to look for. This kept us awake to watch the Olympic 4 X 400m relay. Our warm bed then welcomed us but Richard was not feeling well so we didn't sleep too well.
SATURDAY : Brunch was served to us by the Barhuizen's ... Carl is a master omelette maker! and we got to choose the fillings ~ bacon, cheese, mushroom, onion & tomato ~ accompanied by toast and fruit juice. We chilled for a bit and then loaded up all the teenagers and went through to Clarens again where we attended a talk about dinosaurs and then drove out of Clarens towards Bethlehem where we took a walk along the river and discovered dinosaur footprints ~ the wind was really unpleasant but we had a lovely time anyways.
We had already planned that we were going to play Skip-Bo again after dinner so we stopped by the supermarket in Clarens to buy some sweets to keep our sugar levels high for the excitement of the game. Again the boys had decided that they were going to swim!!! and did just that when we got home.
We were welcomed by the smells of Gert's oxtail which he had been busy on for a couple of hours already. Unfortunately they left cooking their rice a bit late so it was a bit of a soggy mess but the oxtail was nice (not the same as my Mom-in-law used to make!!!). Once we had tidied up after dinner we got down to a couple of games of Skip-Bo which kept us busy until it was Caster Semenya's time to run her 800m race. We were all VERY disappointed when she didn't win but delighted that she got a silver medal. Again our heated bed welcome us and we slept a little better/
SUNDAY : dawned REALLY cold and then it started to snow. Gert, Emma and Kyle had to leave early as their dog had been bitten by another dog on their property and they needed to get home. We lay in bed a bit and then got showered and dressed and finished up packing. It was the Pieterse's turn to do bruch but because the weather had turned we decided to go into Bethlehem for breakfast. We all met and the Wimpy and had a lovely breakfast and then drove in convoy out of Bethlehem and at the Reitz turnoff the Pieterse and Barhuizen families turned off and we continued through to Villiers where we stopped at the Wimpy for a welcome cuppa coffee. The rest of our trip home was uneventful and when we got home we unpacked, started a load of washing and then took the cars for a wash.
A wonderful weekend all in all.