We had our departmental year end party last week Thursday and as far as office parties go this was great fun and well organised. We went to the Barnyard theatre in Rivonia where the theme was “Rock ‘n Roll Circus”. Everyone got dressed up as either a circus or rock act. It was amusing to see some of the more quiet guys come out their shells. We had one of the actuarial teams dress up as Alice Cooper, two guys from finance came with polystyrene U’s around them indicating U2, there was a clown, Dolly, Katy, Madonna and even the King himself was there.
We arrived at 11:00 and received a welcoming cocktail and then went into the theatre where you could choose a table to sit at, each with seven chairs around it. The table was filled with a beautiful picnic basket with an assortment of pâtés, mini bread loaves, a salad and quiches, wine, colddrink and beer. We watched the Big Top Rock concert after starters where circus acts performed while artists entertained us with the wonderful sound of rock music. There were various acts but the most entertaining was the pole acrobatics and the contortion ballet. The show was sweet and short, just less than an hour. Main course consisted of fillet mignon in a balsamic and rosemary reduction with Cajun onion rings served with creamed spinach, chips and a choice of sauces. There was also a vegetarian option for the non meat eaters.
We had a prize ceremony for best dressed. There were a few categories, one was for the person who dressed according to their alter ego, one for the person who dressed opposite to what their personality is at work and then for best team and best overall. The dance floor was then opened followed by dessert, Belgium chocolate truffles, red velvet cupcakes and seasonal fruit kebabs. I left after the prize ceremony as I am not one to party late with work colleagues. I have seen too many stupid people do silly things and then they have to face the people from work the next day. The party was however great fun and I loved the idea of mixing some theatre with good food, music and dance.
I went with a friend to Mabalingwe Nature Reserve for the weekend and what a fabulous getaway. We took leave on Friday and drove the easy, just over two hour drive to Mabalingwe in Limpopo Province, 32km west of Bela-Bela. We arrived in Bela-Bela and stopped at the Pick n Pay for some groceries and at the Biltong Inn for biltong where I also interestingly got rose pedal jam. We had lunch at the Strawberry Khaya which is on the way to Mabalingwe. It is the cutest tea garden where you can sit outside and the tables have games such as Monopoly, 30 seconds, Scrabble, etc if you are in the mood. I had a mince and cheese vetkoek and the food is not great but it is such a cute place that you are willing to forgive them.
We stayed at a chalet at the Ingwe camp that can sleep six people with two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a loft. It has a fabulous big stoep with build-in braai where you can sit and watch some of the animals walk right by. On Friday evening we experienced the longest electrical storm where the sky would just light up with lightning. After probably four to five hours there was some rain but the electricity went out intermittently until there was none and with only a crescent moon it was pitch black. It was very late when there was suddenly a lot of commotion with bakkies with their hazards on flying past. It was only the next day that we learned that the veld was set alight, probably by the lightning and people were trying to get the fire under control which they only managed to fully extinguish by late Sunday afternoon.
Although the reserve hosts the big five, we only saw the buffalo but we had such beautiful days with special and fun moments filled with stunning sunrises and sunsets that it didn’t matter. We saw a few different buck species, hippo, birds and even a snake crossing the road. On Saturday morning we had fun car rally moments while skidding through the mud due to the rain from the previous evening and us driving in a normal car and not a 4×4. In the evening we decided to have dinner at the pub only to find out the pub stops serving food at five and the restaurant had venison on their menu which we don’t eat. By the time we decided to have a braai and buy meat and charcoal from the farm stall it was closed as well and we had to settle on the buffet at the restaurant or yet another samie at home. The specialty dish for the evening was crocodile with head and feet on display. We could barely eat the few chicken pieces from a very dreadful chicken dish after sawing that. The restaurant’s buffet was horribly overpriced and really appalling but the pub lunch on Sunday was good. It was a fabulous weekend and I could have done with a few extra days but after my USA trip in August I have almost no leave left and it is always good to end a holiday on a high note. What a great weekend!
Yesterday I met friends at Sandton City where we had lunch at the Walnut Grove before going to movies. Walnut Grove has renovated their premises and also extended the restaurant. The improvements are really beautiful and welcoming. They also have a fabulous new menu with many new dishes and interesting cakes. The restaurant has been there since I can remember and they used to have a grand piano with live classical music sometimes being played. I cannot remember if I saw it yesterday but I hope they still have it as I remember that was the first thing that attracted me to them many years ago. With the stylish renovations, gorgeous décor and brand new menu comes a hefty price tag. They used to be very reasonably priced but they are quite expensive now. The quality of food is however great and the ingredients fresh. I had a prego steak Panini which was R118, a soda is R17 and a freshly squeezed glass of juice is over R30 so this is not cheap but it is still worth it.
After lunch we went to see Hope Springs, a movie with Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones and what a fabulous movie. We really enjoyed it. The movie tells of a couple who have been married for 31 years and then decide to go for a week intense training of marriage counselling to try and break routine and get the spark back in their relationship. It was a good movie with lots of funny moments and I enjoyed the more serious side of funny man Steve Carell as well.
It is spring and I love the renewed colours and fragrances that nature brings.
This is my Polly. He is an African Grey parrot and I only found out a few years ago (after a genetic test) that he is male so forgive the name. It is a family pet that came to visit me one holiday and then kinda stayed. He is now about 17 years old (and may live past 60). He is a plucker (always biting his feathers) which is behavioural and unfortunately not much success in correcting that but on the bright side, I never have to clip his feathers and we can go for walks outside without me having to worry about him flying off although I am scared that an owl or crow may mistakenly see him as a lovely snack but he is very skinny so hopefully they would rather go for a fat rat 🙂
Last night I went with my girlfriends to watch Dirty Dancing the musical at Montecasino and what a fun night it was. It is the classic movie brought to life on stage with all the favourite scenes and lines like “Nobody puts Baby in the corner”. I must say the water lift scene was extremely corny and although I settled into the UK lead man, Gareth Bailey playing Johnny, towards the end (when it felt that he also relaxed more and was more natural) I felt that the legacy that Patrick Swayze left as the unforgettable and misunderstood Johnny Castle was just too big. Our Johnny just did not have enough natural suave but he made up for it on other fronts. It was however extremely fun and everyone there enjoyed it as was evident by all the oe’s and ah’s and screaming when Johnny swayed those hips or flexed those impressive muscles. The poor men who got dragged there by the women in their lives. It didn’t seem that they enjoyed it as much…