Monday, 22 August 2011

Remember When...

These past 2 weeks have taken us on a trip down memory lane: remembering old times, resuming old plans and reconnecting with old friends.

While on what has become an annual trip to a delightful bakery in Noordhoek, my good friend Michelle and I started chatting about high school. It was at some point in the conversation that I commented on our 13 year friendship. "Are you sure?", Michelle asked, "I only met you in standard 8". We quickly did the math: 3 years of high school, 5 years of uni, 5 years in the working world - yes, we've been friends 13 years!

The Lovely Michelle xx

Just a few days after that, Andel and I met up with his school friends at their school reunion. What an experience it was stepping into a part of Andel's world that I had never been part of. How entertaining to see a bit of history unfold in front of our eyes.

Grabouw High 10 Year Reunion

Time flies! In 10 years, so much has happened in our respective circles. We have au paired in America, left our home towns, started new businesses, cruised the seven seas, starred in reality TV, brought life into the world, changed our perspectives, our hair, and our names. And yet, when we look back on these friendships, not much has changed at all.

Like Michelle and me: even though she spends 50 weeks of the year on the other side of the world, when we are together we are able to pick up exactly where we left off, reducing the 13 years between us to a mere 13 minutes.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Inviting The Inlaws

Since Andel's brother got married in May, I think we've visited his parents once - by accident, when we were on a roadtrip with my parents and decided to pop by for tea. It's not that we don't enjoy being there. On the contrary, we usually go for the entire weekend. However, work and other commitments have made that we haven't been able to go for a while. So in an attempt to bridge the gap between Cape Town (where we live) and Grabouw (where they live,) with something other than the N2, Andel and I invited them for lunch today.

It should have been a very good plan. I mean it involved us getting to see them, sharing a hearty meal, and not have to use up half a tank of petrol. Then I remembered a very important little detail: I don't really know how to cook.

Can you imagine the panic that ensued? Andel comes from the farm - and I don't mean that in a bad way. My point is simply that he grew up eating what he calls "real food" (not grilled or microwaved), which is always home made, served in large portions, and laden with flavour and calories that linger long after lunch has been served.

My immediate instinct was to call in some aid. You can't have a brother-in-law (my side of the family) who's a chef, and not put him to good use once in a while. As it turns out, perhaps I have played that card one too many times, on a few levels: If I rock up anywhere with a dish I'm usually met with, "Hi Robyn, did PJ make that?". And sadly, most times he has, meaning that there is a pretty high expectation already set. I was hoping this little explanation that accompanied my plea would work in my favour. Unfortunately it did not. PJ was unable to help.

Did I mention that around the same time, my family confirmed (only a week after being invited and a mere day before the lunch) that they too would be attending - children and all? And my lunch for 4 became a lunch for 10.

So yesterday, I earnestly began putting together a menu, and frantically searching for recipes that were easy enough for my virgin hands to follow, and still with enough ingredients to constitute a decent meal.

I cooked for 6 hours, simultaneously juggling my latest Unisa assignment, doing a quick coffee with the girls, and baby-sitting Zoe and Reece. After mixing, washing up, frying, washing up, baking, and washing up again, I got to bed at midnight: exhausted, but pleased that a mere 20 minutes in the oven would have everything ready.

Then we woke up this morning to a neighbourhood without electricity!

Thankfully, alls well that ends well. When we got home from church, our electricity was back on, and Hendricks and Klaasen families together enjoyed a lunch of: butternut soup and bread for starters, chicken and broccoli pasta bake with side veggies for mains, and pear tart with custard for dessert.

And the best part: I MADE it all myself... not that I plan to repeat this any time soon!

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Annual Hendricks Weekend Away

This last weekend was what has become our Annual Hendricks Weekend Away at Coaton Cottage in Bainskloof. Since 2008 we have been making the hour long trip into the mountains above Wellington for some much needed rest and relaxation. Much has changed since the first trip: small children (in the form of nieces and cousins), big children (in the form of boyfriends who have become husbands), new cars (to transport all the children), and dates. For the last two years, we have gone over the Women's Day long weekend, which means we have been there for both parents' birthday.

As most of us did not have an early end to the week, we decided to drive through on Saturday morning. The family weekend however started in full force of Friday evening when my parents had all their kids, their spouses and their kids sleeping over - six of us side by side, asleep on the lounge floor in front of the fireplace (and the TV). It definitely set the tone for the rest of the weekend!

On our way to Bainskloof on Saturday we stopped for birthday breakfast with Mom: in addition to feeding us all, it also gave Jorja an opportunity to play, the girls a chance to pee, and the boys the luxury of picture rugby!

We had hardly been at the cottage 10 minutes before we got our first visitors: Paul, Ronel and friends. It was a nice treat for Mom's birthday.

Sunday we did the whole birthday thing again - this time with homemade breakfast (ala PJ), and with Roger, Carolyn and their friends visiting. Later the afternoon Annie joined us (she had been dancing the previous two night so didn't make the trek with us). What a presence Annie brings to a room... I wish I could post a video on here!

Monday was a little more chilled (birthdays over and all). Being a school holiday, Paul returned with uncle Jamie Poole for a boys' day. The weather was particularly warm and sunny so we took a walk down to the river in the mountains. What a majestic sight! While some of us lazed in the sun, others were skipping pebbles across the water, and still others exploring in between the rocks. Jorja was the most fascinating thing: this was her virgin river expedition experience.

The drive home Tuesday was bitter sweet. I love being away. I especially love that there is no mobile phone signal - for my phone anyway :) - and when returning from holiday I always wish I had one extra day to pull myself towards myself before starting the week.

It's funny, when I reflect on these holidays, I think about all the things that I get annoyed or impatient by: waiting to leave, forgetting important ingredients, being too cold or getting fluey. I think about how sometimes, the end of the weekend away comes at just the right time because I seem to be all 'familied out'.

And then I think about how that doesn't really matter, how most times my favourite times are our family times, and how I must really love this annual holiday. I mean, why else do I keep going? :)

ps. I went into so much detail so that I could post all the pics... And now they don't want to upload :( I'll keep trying!