Footnotes for a post about Stellenbosch days

Notes for the English speakers / non stellies students

1. Skakeling: during initiation week, meetings between residences are set up. The boys and the girls from each res get to meet in a (somewhat) controlled environment run by the (far more mature?) third and fourth year HK’s. It usually involved some activity. Weirdly there were no skakelings between two female res’. I can only conclude that they were trying to promote friendships within your own res, and hooking up with boys. What else is first year for.

2. HK (as used above): Huis Komitee. House Comitee. A bunch of seniors (who actually aren’t very senior in reality) who were probably prefects at school or weren’t, and are now living the prefect dream. Telling the juniors to get in line etc. They probably did other stuff too – I’m not sure. I wasn’t a prefect. Or a HK.

3. Deurwag. I had to go crowdsourcing to my old SONOP girls to remember this word. Its basically the doorman – if you’re going to directly translate it. But for any girls’ res attendee – its soo much more than that. That man, at the end of your night who lets you in -he can be your lifesaver. Mostly he was afrikaans, and from Eendrag and studying Engineering – because man, those guys don’t have a life and need to study all the time. They are generally unimpressed by you, your drunkenness, or the fact that your ATM card isn’t able to let you in to the building. “What does ‘U is onbekend’ mean mr Deurwag?”

4. The neelsie. Once containing a club, a 7 eleven, and a Van Schayk bookshop all under one roof. It was the central meeting place before, during and after classes. It often meant that you never attended class at all.

5. Blue Rooster. The blue rooster that sits on top of Helshoogte (not exactly cryptic)

6. Sonop: previously Hombre boys residence, we shared the res in our first year with the guys (not as fun as it sounds) – only the eetsaal was shared. And kicked them out in second year. They were not impressed and pissed all over our res. I can understand why. As far as I know, Hombre has ceased to exist.

7. EetSaal: Eating Hall. Not often attended by us. Except for HK (see above) meetings. Booking ahead for meals was challenging. Much easier to make smoked chicken salad in your room

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The crazy things

I realise that this blog is not supposed to be about reminiscing. It’s supposed to be all about food and wine.. and wine and food (although did I dictate that, or is that all life consists of these days? She ponders before continuing…) and I really do have some glorious food and places to talk about. This time last month, I was discovering the delights of the Midlands Meander, but right now I’m remembering, The last couple of weeks I’ve been finding myself doing it a lot. Playing music that reminds me of my days in London, craving starbucks coffees and old friends. But best of all, remembering some really good… and crazy times over the last few years.

Sometimes I shock myself when I think of the things I did while travelling… on reflection, these couldn’t be safe.

Jumping off the cliff of a mountain in Turkey with nothing but a turkish man and his parachute attached to my back? Diving to 25m in the Similan Islands when you’re only qualified to dive to 18m… but getting to see a guitar ray (that looked remarkably like a shark) while I was down there. Or me, a foefie slide and a river after numerous buckets in Vang Vieng, Laos. Ah Laos…let’s not even talk about the pre-booked tour to white water raft from one town to another. This was just stupid, not crazy.

Anyway, before I go into over-thinking the crazy times… and reminiscing at length about the places we’ve been, people we’ve met and seen… I wanted to post this picture. I just love it. Yes, those are my legs. And that’s Olu Deniz in Turkey beneath me (said Turkish main is making sure we don’t crash).

And yes, I felt like a bird. A scared bird. But a bird.

Actually now that I am thinking about it. All the crazy things, are actually just scary things. Until you do them. Then they’re either crazy or stupid.

Gone fishing

Well, not quite.

Paternoster is a fishing village, but we didn’t really go fishing. We just went to ‘get away from it all’. And by “it all”, I mean work. Which was, ofcourse impossible thanks to the full reception coverage we received on our blackberry’s. (they should really switch off BIS towers anywhere other than in city centres, don’t you agree?).

I’ve wanted to go to Paternoster since, well basically since I couldn’t actually find it on a map. I was told it was a little fishing village on the west coast that was a bit like Greece. Clearly the people who told me that had never been to Greece. Its nothing like Greece. But it is a gorgeous sleepy village adorned with white walled houses and one main road with sea views from every corner. Nothing like late notice I still managed to secure us a lovely little (well not actually so little) cottage with all the necessary luxuries I’ve come to love. You know, the cotton sheet and double vanity basin variety. We stayed at Heaven on a Stick, which offers all the comforts of home except without the rusks, sugar, coffee, matches and showergel (just a tip to self-catering spots – these things go such a long way in making somewhere good to making it awesome). The sea view was just behind the row of houses in front of us, and if it wasn’t for the fact that it was raining for the weekend, our front porch would’ve seen a little more of us.

Paternoster

Arriving at lunchtime, I knew exactly where I wanted to visit for our first stop. The Winkel Op Paternoster and Oep ve Koep and Oep ve Eet. Don’t ask me which is which or what it means, but we rolled into an old farm shop with retro tea garden, ordered a bottle of Darling Cellars Sauvignon Blanc and oohed and aaahed at the fun decor and the old South African memories attached to them. The rain stayed away long enough for us to sit in the garden and absorb a few rays. Lunch, while at first appearing on the small portion side, was very little less than sensational. Even managed a short chinwag with Kobus van der Merwe, the owner, chef and previous editor of Eat Out (although I think he prefers the title and the lifestyle of talented sea-side village chef).
Only three emails checked. Good lunch.

Winkel Op Paternoster

Oep ve Eet

Its as small as it looks. But A-MA-ZING!
Amazing yummy Bobotie

Vredeburg is the little town you hit right before you reach Paternoster and where we stopped to buy our weekend groceries (the expense of which always surprises me!). We were equipped with braai food and wine for afternoons and evenings of relaxation. Our indoor fireplace doubled up as an indoor braai (its supposed to do that!) on our first night and we settled down to a bottle of Laborie Bubbly (still one of my faves) and my Dan Brown book (conveniently purchased at the Kalahari sale! Have to love a R20 paperback).

As with every evening spent on the West Coast, we were spoilt with a stunning sunset. TIA.

What surprised me when we first arrived at our Paternoster cottage was the (poor) introduction we received to the locals. Yes, this isn’t a happy-go-lucky paragraph. Basically we were advised against leaving any windows or doors open, even if we were at the cottage. Quite simply – and after trying to sugar coat it – the locals will take advantage of any opportunity. They apparently pretend to sell crayfish, but in actual fact, they’ll slip in and out with your handbag, laptop or (maybe not a bad thing) blackberry! Let’s be honest, it wasn’t the nicest introduction. As a result, my planned long ‘get back into running’ run the next morning didn’t go so well as I kept looking over my shoulder to make sure I wasn’t being followed (it had nothing to do with the fact that I haven’t exercised in months).

Not to worry – we satisfied our fear (well, my nervousness) with another great meal out. This time at Gaaitjie. I had made a reservation in advance as I know how booked up this place gets – although maybe in the middle of winter it wasn’t entirely necessary. The venue is right on the beach front between the rocks and other fishing cabins. While it is rustic and relaxed, it needs to be noted that the decor wasn’t old or tired, it felt tastefully seen to. I was loving it. We had a great little table in the front room next to the fire place. We had brought our own wine along (at R40 corkage), the fantastic Lammershoek  Chenin, but were impressed to see they stock the Lammershoek LAM which is a must-try wine.

The issue with writing a blog post two months after the event, is trying to remember what exactly it was that you had for lunch. A lunch that accompanied a bottle of wine, and an afternoon of more drinking. I have the photos, and remember that it was incredible. I also recall rating it as one of the best meals I’ve ever had. This I maintain. I expected the food to be comfort food. The type that your mom makes, or your gran. This, was something spectacular (sorry Mom). Out of this world food art. (For choice of an over-dramatic way of explaining good food.) It was creative and involved a little bit of ‘just try it’ on my part, but I’m so glad I did.

Our Starter - err... not sure what it was
My main... I think it was ravioli of some sort!
Mark's main - easy guess is Curry

Day 3 in Paternoster was what God intended Paternoster to always be. Sunny. The light across that endless white beach called for a long walk. Watching seagulls pick up and drop their mussels, looking at crabs and for the perfect abandoned shell (that would consequently become a napkin ring. Gaatjie inspiration) all the while the sun shone – this is what seaside holidays are made of. Just as we were settling in to the beautiful day, the Sharks vs someone game was calling and we had to head back to the bright lights so as not to miss it. That always happens. Not the Sharks game, but rather that just as soon as you finally drift away from real life. You’re back at home. Checking emails. Analytics. And twitter.

Ok, so some deets are always good:

Gaatjie: 022 – 7522 242, Off Sampson Road, Paternoster

Oep ve Koep022-7522105, St. Augustine Road, Paternoster, West Coast

2011 and all that may happen

So its here, 2011 – the year after 2010… it actually arrived rather quickly and… apparently seems to be slipping away rather quickly too. Its half way through February and 9 days away from payday! sjoe, its going to be another close one.

So now that I’m officially Cape Townian, I’ve wined and dined, met new people and said “yes” to most invitations over the last year… what will 2011 offer?

Empty frames on a wall
If only my empty frames looked that stylish

Well to start, I hope I finally hang the photos on my wall. I’ve been in our flat for a year, just signed up for another year… and still I have a big blank wall waiting for pictures. Beats the other wall, that has empty frames up. This is goal number one. Its a small and achievable goal. I estimate by May it should be done.

I’ve been promising the talented Cheryl McEwan that her and I will ‘Rock my dress’. That is, my wedding dress. So goal number two involves some weight loss and a whole lot of training. The amount I want to lose fluctuates. As of today, its 3.6kgs.

I really want to try and cook more this year. Its hard, because I love a) eating out so much, and b) Woolworths. It also does form part of the next goal, saving money.

Saving money. Hmm, to buy a house. This is a long winded, I mean term, goal. The plan is to buy this year. But will we ever find something that matches our dreams. Someone, write me into their will and donate me a house!

All the things I love most – restaurants, food and wine. This year is taking a certain “saving money” theme, and so I have to make strategic monthly choices on where to eat. Once a month, I will book a new restaurant, and maybe return to an old one. Two outings a month. Ok, and maybe a breakfast, and a wine farm. I don’t see this working.

Nike+ sensor
Powersong please

Running. I hate it. I don’t see the point. And I don’t get why people do it. But I have to do it, to prove I can. So the goal is to run 5km straight, without breaking to walk, by the end of the year. A word of warning, I’ve had this goal for the last 3 years and never achieved it. Its just one of those things. I have however equipped myself with a Nike+ to track my runs and inspire me with powersongs. I’ll let you know how that goes.

As much as I love wine farming – its like wine-tasting but you go to see the farm too, I’m not a fan of drinking and driving and now that Mrs M has had her baby, well – there’s no designated driver. So this year the challenge is to not only stock up with wines from farms, but to trust my twitter friends, read more articles and buy wine from Pick n Pay. Or even better Ultra Liquors! (Bargain prices!). Feel free to send suggestions of wines I should try.

Creation Wine
The first wine recommended on twitter

I spent most, actually ALL of 2010 reading Shantaram. I really want to say its a good book, but its completely tainted by the fact that it took a year to read. Really, I’m not a slow reader, for this book you need time – which I didn’t have much of. So this year I really want to try and read more.

Quality time, with Mr H, good friends and my parents. Its important. 2010 was fun, but relationships matter and we need to remain focussed on that.

Obviously there are other goals… career objectives and places that need to be visited. Both are fairly open ended, I think the main goal is to make things happen. But if 2010 is anything to go by, things will most definitely happen.

More about me

I’ve noticed that I’ve had a few click throughs from blogs where I have posted a comment. From an SEO perspective (yes, I do that for a living) this is great! Natural backlinks, social interaction blah blah. You got it. But what concerns me is if my blog is a true representation of me. I don’t think it really has grasped the concept. (To be fair, how could it?  I don’t think I’ve really grasped the concept of me yet. Its all in the name.. becoming mrs H )

So, without being entirely vain, I thought write a little bit more about me today.

I think first and foremost, it has to be said that I love the sunshine. I think this is what I love the most, which is a hard call to make given the other things I love in life. Second up, is probably champagne. The obsession with bubbles (and my personal liquid heaven) started on a visit to the Moet & Chandon Champagne Cellars in Epernay. My sister and I share our taste in quality champagne, and I consider myself lucky to have drank bottles of Bollinger, Lanson, Veuve Clicquot, Mumm and ofcourse, Moet & Chandon. (Thanks has to be given to my sister who sponsored most of the bottles). Back home its still my drink of choice, these days opting for Graham Beck if its available and Pierre Jourdan if its not. (Feel free to introduce me to new MCC’s you feel rival these!)

That could totally be me.. lying around sipping champagne! (I'd use a glass though)

I have a small obsession with luxury. I LUUUUURRVVVEE it! Lush, lush, lush! Give me cotton sheets, quality finishes, room servicing three times a day, turn downs with ferrero roche chocolates and a bedside bottle of water. Give me staff thats attentive but unobtrusive, gardens that are manicured and towels are that have been refolded every time I take a shower. Over the top, I don’t care. I love luxury hotels and resorts. Throw in a spa that have therapists who know what they’re doing, and I’m hooked.

I love to travel… and I love wine. I say these in virtually the same breath, as I especially like drinking wine while travelling. Italy, while for me doesn’t produce the best wines… it does offer some beautiful scenery to drink it in. I was fortunate to be grow up with a wine farm within 5km of my house, go to Stellenbosch University and now marry into a family with two wine-makers. We drink wine at every opportunity and I love hearing about new wines and trying them out. Spending an afternoon or weekend wine tasting is the best use of time!

Drinking wine in Italy
Me, enjoying a few glasses in Cinque Terre, Italy

I’ve been married for two years (celebrated that milestong in a lush hotel… obviously!) but I still love looking at wedding things. Photos, decor, dresses, flowers, colours, venues and churches. Weddings are the most beautiful thing ever. I love weddings.

I turn 30 in two months. As of right now, I’m not scared. I mean its there… its definitely looming in front of me. I’m definitely thinking about it. I’m just not scared of it. On the one hand, its just a number. On the other… OMG!! wasn’t I supposed to have had a career, have two kids and live in my house with a pool by now?!!!!

You see, totally easy to be scared of it. But I’m not. This isn’t one of those, “God and I have a deal” things… I just don’t feel 30. And anyway, apparently I look 23 (which is sometimes annoying) so I figure time is on my side.

So I live in a Green Point apartment (ok, its a flat but I prefer the word apartment). We do have a pool (shared between all 600 flats) and I have husband (not always the first step to the children part… but I’ll claim it). I work in Online Marketing for an agency that, well… for one of the ‘big players’ isn’t that well known in Cape Town. We do SEO. I manage some of the Accounts. Yes, that’d make me an account manager.

I love the online space, and I love marketing. After years of trying my hand at a couple of different roles (yes, that was me in the suit entering the glass doors of that Global Asset Management company), I really love the industry I’m in.

But what I really dream of, is indulging my big loves: sunshine, luxury, champagne, wine, travel and pretty weddings on a daily basis. I’m still working on a master plan to do this.