Friday, September 28, 2012

Beautiful friends

It is the 27th of September, and I find myself seated in a reasonably new restaurant at the West Coast Village, called Togolos. It offers Asian-style food, and we are waited on by a very sweet young Asian lady.

Sushi seems to be the order of the day for most of us, and, what the hell, Spring Roll starters too.

I look around me and not for the first time, realize how lucky I am. I watch as these lovely ladies stroll in, in twos and threes, laughing and greeting each other with kisses and hugs. The restaurant seems to come to a standstill as people turn to see what all the noise is about.

Charmaine has changed her hair colour. It's lighter now and suits here. The dark colour seemed harsh and she seems lighthearted and girlish as she tells me about her daughter's latest antics. Ashleigh keeps her on the go.

Daria is laughing as she carefully touches her wallet that has a picture of her sons printed on the outside of the wallet. Croation by birth and one of our newer members, she has fitted in perfectly with our mad bunch.

Jayni isn't feeling well, but like the rest of us has FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). We laugh as she recalls the lovely pink bridesmaids dresses she forced her sister-in-law Mel to wear at her first wedding. She has a lot on her plate as she is currently busy organising the annual TV Football Club dance.  

Jacky looks tired this evening. She recently celebrated her gorgeous one year old son Noah's first birthday. Her and Claire worked overtime to put together an event that should be written in some record somewhere. It was absolutely beautiful Jax.

JoJo recently returned from Botswana, a weekend away with her work colleagues. As usual she sparkles as she chats animatedly to the rest of us. You look happy Jo.

 Kerry ran a little late. Her father recently underwent heart surgery, and she has been worried and busy, running between home and hospital. Alls well though and she relaxes a bit, joining in with the laughter and choosing to eat a healthy meal of what looked like vegetable stir fry?

Mel is off soon for Amsterdam to spend time with her neice Jade, Jayni's daughter. Clearly excited she glows with anticipation. Lucky girl Mel. Enjoy and don't worry about the boys, they will be fine, all three of them.

Sandy is also glowing. She is clearly in love, and deserves every minute of it. You and John are going to be very happy together. We are all going to be watching closely, we know you want to elope rather than face the fuss of a formal wedding. Either way, glad you are happy my friend.

And last but not least (please note, done in alphabetical order so as not to show favouritism), Tashie. She and Jayni share the worry of a Father who is not well. She sits at the table with the by now familiar determined look on her face. She won't let this get her down and between her and her sister they will get him through this. Chin up girl, and try share the load with your friends too.

I know that you all know how lucky we are. I truly hope and pray that we never lose this special group of friends. We have been through some ups and downs, but at the end of the day I know I can call on any one of you any time I need to. I hope you all know that this works both ways.

Love you all. xx

Friday, July 27, 2012

Saul’s Mongolian Grill – Sea Point

It began pouring with rain spot-on 16h30, as I left the office. In Cape Town motorists seem to adopt an “every man for himself” philosophy on the road when it rains, and so I turned the volume up on my car radio and decided to focus on the evening ahead. It was time for our July 2012 book-club monthly bookless-get together. (On that note I was proud of those who brought their Kindles, and we even discussed the literary monster, 50 Shades of Grey at one point.)

We had agreed to once again meet at Taxi-man in Tableview, so that we could all be driven through to our venue in Sea Point without worrying about the consumption of alcohol as the evening progressed.

We arrived at our venue with some trepidation. From the outside it did not fit in with our usual venue appearance, being that of a restaurant with tables and chairs to eat at. Saul’s Mongolian “something or other” offers long higher-than-usual tables, school canteen-type style. And the place was empty.

Not to be deterred we hitched our trousers, in some cases skirts, and marched inside. After much discussion we chose the warmest spot, pulled a few tables together and turned our venue into something conducive to communal conversation and much eatery and suiping.

I believe that laughter is thought to be the best sort of medicine. I can attest to that.

Jackie regaled us with her stories about her new fitness regime, partnered with somebody by the name of Bongani. She appears to be very proud of her 10 push-ups she is able to achieve (I don’t think I can even do one Jax) but was a tad upset when Bongani referred to her as one of the “Fattis” of the class. What was he thinking, with his ample tummy, putting our Jacky in the same “class” as him.

Then there was the time she fell asleep with her baby, Noah, who promptly rolled off the bed. Battling to rouse herself from her slumber, Jacky eventually realized that her son was missing. Peering over the side of the bed she saw a heap of tangled limbs caught between the bed and the table. Hauling him up by the hips she proceeded to wail something about him being deceased. Turns out the child was resting, unperturbed by his strange sleeping arrangement. (In her defense he had beaten her nose with a toy earlier, prompting tears of agony.)

Dori reminded us of a friend of ours folding his grandchild up in the folding pram, to store in the boot of his car. It was only when the child’s mother asked about her child’s whereabouts that he realized what he had done. I commented that it is amazing that any of us have reared healthy children to date.

Jayni’s husband appears to have done some damage to her car. So much so that insurance are refusing to have it fixed. Something about a packet of chips and a pile of bricks on the neighbour’s lawn. Oh dear! There are 9 of us Jayni, so if you need a lift just shout. Someone should be able to help.

Melanie brought us up to date with our savings account balance. Looks like there are going to be some penalties to be taken care of as some of us have yet to begin saving. The idea of a trip to Croatia is being tossed around. It will cost more than any of our other trips, but our accommodation will be paid for as this is Dori’s hometown. She can offer us her Mother’s flat. This is why we need to save girls. I am just not sure about this trip taking place next year. Let’s see.

Back to Saul’s in Sea Point. The food was lovely. You got to choose all your own ingredients, sauces and spices Mongolian-style – then the griller would quickly fry things up for you on a large skillet while you watch. I think a few of us went a bit mad with the garlic, hey Charms?

Apparently Kerry made quite an impression on one of our Taxi drivers on a previous night out. The comment “the tall blonde was hot” had us all wondering just how short this Taximan is. (hehe)

Much wine was consumed, some of us went back for a number of helpings, (reminds me of Sun City, hey Sands) and we made the most of our evening, only leaving after 11h00.

Jo, I hope your tonsils are not growing back. I suspect that perhaps a little more wine will help with any suspicious changes in your mouth? I am quite sure that a few more evenings like last night will cure all maladies.

Love you all xxx

Thursday, June 28, 2012

It has been a few months since my last posting. There have been some changes to our group. Arlene decided to withdraw, leaving is with an even 10 in numbers. We have been quite adventurous of late, having met at the Diaz Tavern in central Cape Town one month and at Theo's Grill in Green Point last month.

This month Jo chose Galbi's Restaurant in Long Street, Cape Town. I came through a bit later than the rest, who came through with Taximan. It has been many years since I paid a visit to Long Street at night, imagine my amazement when it looked as though I had descended on a whole new world. So many people, all races and nationalities, the nightlife comes alive with a burst of colour, noise and festivity. So I entered 210 Long Street from the freezing cold night air into a warm and cosy Korean style restaurant.

My mates were already seated around their tables fitted with grills over hot coals, where one is expected to cook one's own food. Imagine what one must save in electricity? The rice wine had already begun flowing, a taste I am sure that needs to be acquired.... I couldn't begin to tell you what we spoke about, once again I recall much laughter.

We decided to join the throngs at a popular Irish pub after our meal to watch the Spain/Portugal game. I am not used to pubbing anymore, and the crowd seemed so young. I guess this is what happens when you reach your forties.

As it is more of us are relying on eye glasses as time goes by, some forgetting they are are wearing them on their head (Eugene), others not wearing any and making a grand entrance and exit by falling up and down the stairs at the entrance (Dory). We all know Kerry needs to wear hers, particularly when choosing to wear an outfit - are you sure there was something there under that coat Kerry?

But it was lovely being a part of that festive atmosphere, out of the normal routine of cooking, cleaning and kids. Nothing wrong with that once in a while, I say.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Charmaine’s choice for our Feb 2012 bookclub rondevoux was Die Kliphius in Melkbosstrand. It is an old house on the beautiful Melkbos beachfront. It has a large open patio with drop down sides overlooking the waves and the setting sun.

As the sun dropped the air became chillier, and we all welcomed a bowl of pea soup on the house to warm us up.

On arrival Mel told us all about her child’s i-pad that was floating around the car somewhere, that could not be found. Sandy was horrified at the thought that there may be something wrong with the child’s eye, that he required an eye pad. Say no more – we still have a long road to travel in terms of the technological route.

She then stunned us all with two tidbits of news that I should probably not write about quite yet. So watch this space. (Nice tat Sands – we assume the J is for Jodie!)

The topic of the horse shampoo came into play again. I clearly missed the meeting where this was first discussed as I am still very blurry about the details here. From what I can gather Kerry arranged samples for the girls as it encourages hair growth and thickness. Some of the girls have tried it, only to find out now that Kerry only uses it on her dogs. Say no more – I think I am glad I wasn’t there!

Mel has opened our Capitec bank savings account. We are all going to be saving like crazy this year to afford an awesome trip away in February next year. Something to look forward to.

Dori arrived late, after being sent on a bit of a wild goose chase – Charms your directions leave something to be desired. But she arrived after all, so all’s well ends well.

And so the discussion meandered as usual. The poor bergie who lost both legs via bus accident, the potential Las Vegas wedding and 10 bridesmaids in frilly dresses, hair implants that weren’t – and it went on.

It was a quiet evening – we missed Jax and Jo, I guess we need to make up for lost time next month.

Love you all!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


It is easy to take friends for granted. Life seems to come at us with great force and we are swept away in the currents that are work, home, kids etc. We forgot what an important role our friends play in our lives, and what a great source of encouragement and strength they can be.

At times we feel like we are sinking and battle to see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. This is when it is most important to turn to and lean on our friends.

I have been blessed with a circle of friends who have been with me through it all for a number of years now. I want to remind all of you now that we have each other, through thick and thin, to lean on.

Jo has lost someone special and claims to be existing in Disneyland right now. In fact she feels that she should not join us tonight for Feb’s book club at Die Kliphuis in Melkbos. How can we help you feel better if you are not there Jo?

See you all later.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Poetry and singing

Among other things our little group is very talented and creative. These are two poems written for two of the bookies' 40th birthdays. These words wiill never be forgotten:


Our friend Jo, always on the go,
Passport ready, John holding things steady,
Not going too far
Maybe just to Zanzibar
Mostly late for book club dinner,
While we sit there starving, thinner,
Chatting, waiting as we do best,
And all the time she’s at Grand West.
On her cell 24/7
Work again!! She’s always driven,
Another deal and working late,
But in Jo we have a true soul mate.
And as for cooking and all those platters,
Jo can serve it when it matters.
The ultimate host in her home,
More divine than the Church in Rome.
Cannot believe Jo is now forty
She’s hot, she’s willing and she’s sporty
She definitely is not too shabby,
At being a mom to Carla and Gabby.
From All the Bookclub girls

Mamma Mia for Lisa on her 40th

We've been friends with you since we don't know when
So we've made up our minds we'll be friends till the end
Look at us now, who'd have ever thought
How proud we are, but we suddenly lose control
There’s a Barbie within our soul

Just one look and you can see from afar
Just how special that you really are, w-o-o-o-oh
Lisa, Lisa, no more waxing brows
Oh no, we still love you anyhow
Lisa, Lisa, we want you to know
My my, just how much we love you

No more Cruising for you,
You forgot to phone home
Oh Tim - no reception this year too
Psycho Sid or should we call you Marge
My, my, guess there's no more flying high

We’ve been happy and glad about the things that you do
We can count all the times that we laughed out with you
And when you sad, we will feel it too
We think you know, that you won’t be sad too long
We know that you’re just so strong

Just one look and you can see from afar
Just how special that you really are, w-o-o-o-oh
Lisa, Lisa, no more waxing brows
Oh no, we still love you anyhow
Lisa, Lisa, we want you to know
My my, just how much we love you

We've been broken hearted
Since our Angels parted
Oh no! Why’d they have to leave so soon?
Mamma, Mia, you are 40 now
Oh oh, just as gorgeous anyhow
Lisa, Lisa, we want you to know
My my, just how much WE LOVE YOU!!!
(Written, choreographed and performed by Jayni, Melanie, Charmaine, Joanita, Kerry, Tash, Sandy and Jackie - 30 August 2009)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

So the dynamics of our bookclub have changed a lot over the last year. We are all busy moms, most of us working full time too and sometimes financial constraints put a damper on things. So I think bookclub lost a bit of its "shine" for some of us.

Yesterday I decided to revamp our blogsite and then sent out a reminder to the ladies to send me snippets/pics etc so I could add more. That's when we started remembering what it is all about. We have something very special between us, something worth nurturing and looking after. Jo reminded me that I had not yet uploaded the story of our 2010 trip quad biking near Houw Hoek. I wrote up the events and never published them, but I think these are memories worth hanging on to, so here goes:

Each year the Princesses go away for a weekend in November as a sort of end of year function. Each year we say that we could not possibly better the last one, and so far, each year it gets better.

I am sure this has a lot to do with our being such a close group of bright, funny and adventurous girls, but personally I think we just outdid ourselves.

We left Cape Town early Friday morning 20 November, our first stop being the Engen 1 Stop on the N2, where we had coffee and toasted sarmies for breakfast. We were on our way to the Grabouw/Elgin area to go quad biking in the mountains. Whilst chomping we grabbed some poor unsuspecting soul to photograph us just before we left. If we look slightly bemused in this pic it could be because Inge advised us to peek at the poor man’s “package” (not actual word used) just before he shouted “smile!”

Grabouw is just the other side of Sir Lowry's pass, and the base camp we were heading for was just the other side of Grabouw.

Base camp is on the edge of the forest and a beautiful lake immediately named Lake Placid by those of us that had recently seen the movie. Well, we only left base camp around 10h00 after being briefed and given some background to the Grabouw area. I had no idea we are sitting on such a richly diverse and beautiful eco-system, this even after terrible fires ravaged the area late last year. The devastation is still very evident, but people like our guide, Brian, are very committed to bringing the area back to its full beauty.

Now, if I had known before just how hectic the biking and terrain was going to be, I might have thought about it a bit longer. But now that we have done it, I feel immensely proud of us. We tackled very harsh conditions, dangerous terrain and it was extremely hot. Only Sandy thought to wear a long sleeve top and we were quite badly sunburnt, in spite of layers of sun-block, and the dust, well, let’s just say the term “another one bites the dust” took on a new meaning for us.

The first day we rode for about 4 hours I think. It was very rough in places, high up in mountains so rocky and very, very hot. We stopped along the way to admire the views, have water and refreshments, and also rest. The bikes are very heavy with no power steering, so it is pretty hard work navigating some of the pathways. We had to make sure to leave at least 10m in between each bike as there is no room to swerve should the person in front run into problems, as did happen, unfortunately.

Our guides were telling us that they can’t allow children under 16 on this sort of thing as it takes a lot of focus and concentration. Jax managed to roll her bike, perhaps due to a loss of concentration. She grabbed at bushes and managed to stop herself falling too far, but the bike rolled over her, which is where most of her injuries came from. Jayni was right behind her, and we laughed at her version of the whole thing, ‘cos she stood there shouting to Tash, who was next in line, to go down and fetch Jax, while she waved her arms in the air in distress. I got there after Tash and the two of us managed to haul Jax up, very slowly and painfully. The guides had to try to bring the bike back up which was hectic, and they also got a bit hurt. Never a dull moment when it comes to the princesses. After that Jax rode in the jeep, and where Kerry and Charms were riding in the small funny car-like goodie, Kerry then rode the bike.

Around 2 ‘o clock we stopped and had a bit of a hike, where we ended up at the most beautiful waterfall. They provided each of us with a snack box, and we sat in the cool with our feet in the river. It was divine. Sandy and Arlene even swam. We got back to base around 3/4, then went on to our cottage.

We were completely alone there, and cleaned up and made a fire, whereupon the wheels came off slightly. I mean, picture 10 women on a complete adrenalin high, with no husbands or kids to hold them back, and a whole campsite all to themselves. Oh, and plenty of booze which to this point we had not been allowed to touch. Hmmmm – good fun. The guides came to join us later that night – all I can say is we were all a little shame-faced the next morning, but we had such a good laugh. Those boys never knew what hit them. I think men underestimate women, in so many ways!

Poor old Jax had trouble breathing, much less laughing or coughing. She spent the rest of the weekend clutching her left breast in an attempt to prevent her ribs from breaking completely. Of course we were of very little help, as the evening drew on so the drinks flowed, as did the laughter. We managed to catch our guides out with a little game of “what I am taking to the picnic” – the poor guys got quite drunk trying to figure out what the hell we were doing.

Day two saw us heading in the opposite direction where our destination was pretty much the top of Sir Lowry’s Pass. This time Jo managed to get stuck in the mud and had to be towed out. By this time we had all grasped this whole quad biking thing and looked like a real biker gang.

Our main guide, our Steve Austin (Brian actually) – was so proud of us and what we achieved. He said we were the best group he had ever taken out.

All good things must come to an end, and that afternoon we headed out to Houw Hoek hotel, a little further down the N2. We had an amazing lunch and then spent the afternoon lazing around.

From around 17h30 onwards the two rooms we occupied were turned into beauty salons. Hair straightening, waxing and make-up became the order of the day. Eventually 10 beautiful princesses emerged from the chaos to venture down to the sit down dinner.

Mel spoiled us again by decking the table with a bunch of Christmassy decorations and it looked beautiful, thanks Mel. We swapped pressies for a while, then tucked into a 5 course meal. By 10h30 the music was pumping and our evening was in full swing. We danced the night away, while our DJ got drunker and drunker.

Poor old Jax really just shuffled from place to place, electing to go to her room early to try to rest her aching body. As the good friends that we are we had a really good laugh watching her try to navigate her way across the courtyard while attempting not to laugh or cough. The suggestion that she begin making her way to the car rather, so that she would be in time to meet us there in the morning when we were ready to leave was met with rather unenthusiastically, I thought.

Jo managed to scare the living daylights out of some poor unsuspecting Sanlam staff who had the misfortune of holding their annual office party at the same venue as ours. She attempted to break into their room at some early hour of the morning, convinced that it was her room - all the while dancing and singing like Gary the Toothfairy. I was terrified, I can only imagine what the guests thought while she banged away on their door demanding access.

Breakfast was a treat, although the “stupid buffalo” holding things up at the buffet tended to put a small damper on things.

And so we came home from another absolutely fabulous weekend away with the best ladies in the whole wide world.