Once in a while, well …….. a tad more than once in a while I find myself in completely ridiculous situations.  The story goes like this.

For each of my groups birthday we plan a special adventure.  Normally something new and exciting.  All except for one member of our group who is a super busy Mom, she enjoys a dinner or lunch, where we can all dress up and go and relax over a nice meal and cocktails, away from kids and her busy busy business.

At just about the same time that we started planning her birthday lunch, the SPCA sent out an invite to a fundraiser at Cafe Bijoux one of our favorite places.

SPCA – VINTAGE Fashion Show Fundraiser.

It couldn’t be more perfect, great location, food, wine, a fashion show, AND, even better we would be supporting a good cause.

We quickly booked our tickets and started concentrating on what to buy our super Birthday Girlfriend.

Now the show is on the Thursday.  On Monday morning I am at work, I am very busy and my phone rings. ” HITANYAITSBERNICEFROMBRUCES”.  She talks fast.  “Would you consider being a model at the SPCA Fashion Show?”  Now this is the point where my mouth took on a life of its own, and, all by itself it says.  “JA!!!!”  (I always talk loud when my mouth takes on a life of its own),  “FOR SURE ………… BUT THERE ARE 8 OF US AND WE WOULD ALL LOVE TO MODEL”.

Deathly silence on the end of the line ……….. “Are you sure?”


I put down the phone.

I look at my phone wondering what just happened and why my mouth said these really stupid things.

Now I have to tell the girls ……… so I take the easy way out.  I phone Lindsay.

“Lindsay I have done a really really terrible thing ……”

“WHAT???? …… Are you OK????”

“No Linds a REALLY bad thing ……. and …….. I must talk quick because I am running out of airtime ……… please get hold of all the girls and tell them that they have GOT to model at the Vintage Fashion Show ………. “you have 15 seconds left of airtime” (me talking in elevator voice),   PLEEEEEZE Linds just phone them I am running out of …………”  (I put the phone down).

Shew ……. now in my books, the ball is well and truly in Lindsays court,  Bernice is thrilled because she only made one call hand had a bunch of Models.

The phone rings again, its Bernice, mmmmmm maybe she is cancelling our gig.  “Tans”  She says, “Did I mention that when you wear the clothes they will be auctioned off your back to raise funds for the animals?”


“No problem”  My mouth says again, “We are so looking forward to it”.  I think I added “the girls are thrilled”.

Now there is no way in blazes that I am going to tell the girls this one so I just reckon I will shut up and let them find out later.

ADD to all of this, the birthday lunch is a surprise, so the birthday girl will not know that she is a model in a fashion show until 2 seconds before the moment.

So we arrange to meet at Toffee Clothing at 4 to select the items we are going to wear.  I am late and I swear all but one person got there at 3.30.  It was literally a race of 1st there best dressed.  The person who wasn’t there was pretending the whole situation wasn’t happening at all and refused to answer her phone.  Also people used to be a lot smaller, the average size of the clothes (if they had a tag on them) was about a 6, and the last time I was a 6 was when I was 6.


Now the clothes are most definitely vintage.  They are clothes that have been brought to the SPCA charity shop to be sold for the doggies and kitties.  They are so vintage that half of the items are crimplene.  By definition Crimplene is a thick yarn used to make fabric, resulting in a cloth that is heavy, wrinkle-resistant and retains its shape well.  And all that is left when I get there is a pink crimplene dress and a 70’s polka dot number that defied logic.

All the 90’s disco numbers were snapped up, all the 80’s clothes had been chosen, anything 2000 plus were gone, even the wedding dress had a name on it.  We choose goodies for the birthday girl.


The morning of the Modeling Birthday party arrives.  We primp and prime ……. we tell the birthday girl to primp and prime and at 11 o clock we meet at the restaurant (the show starts at 12).

To give her credit she took it well.  We got dressed and worked the show, literally having the clothes sold off our backs.


Now being a fashion icon is awful, you have to strutt your stuff, just hoping that you dont trip.  Being a fashion icon and being auctioned off at the same time is simply stratosphere mind numbing.  You get this sinking feeling “what if nobody bids?”.  “What if everybody sniggers?”   But the crowd rocked and paid many greenbacks for clothes they may or may not ever wear.  Even the wedding dress went to a person who is well, truly and happily married.

We came, we saw, we conquered.  We had more than a good giggle.

For one day, for one brief moment we all got out of our box.  Bar one, none of us had ever set foot on a ramp in our lives.  It was great, a box  ticked.

Crimlene is the most awful fabric to wear ever.

R30 000.00 was raised for the SPCA on that fun afternoon.

Have my friends forgiven me ……….. well I dont know, I am sure a nasty surprise is awaiting me in the near future, and you know what I CANT WAIT!!!!



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Yesterday I was sitting in my office.  The wind is howling, its cold ……. and to be quite honest I was feeling just a tad down about life.  My get up and go had got up and left.  I didnt want to feel this way – but I did.

So I googled, “how do I become happy” ……… in 0.34 seconds I had 438 000 000 hits.  Starting with the 7 steps to happiness up good old Wikihow’s 12 steps (with pictures nogal!) to happiness (love wikihow ………. it will teach you how to build a sandcastle and teach you how to be happy).

So this is what it said ……..

“Happiness – its what we all strive to find and keep.  Nobody is jolly all the time, but some are definitely more fullfilled than others.  Happiness has little to do with materialistic needs, goods, wants or high achievements, it boils down to your outlook on life, the quality of your relationships and basic amenities (ESKOM!!!!!).”  It then tells you to check step 1 and beyond for tips and tricks……



Optimism seems to be ruled by your baseline of happiness, and each of us have our own baseline, and no matter what happens good or bad, these feelings of happiness or failure, will always revert back to our happiness baseline ………. which reminds me of a story ……

Every Friday I give the kids R20.00 each to buy lunch at school.  Now as we all know, in this day and age, 20 bucks doesnt get you very far.  Now because Rosie is in hostel (we will get to this story another time),  Jamie has the mammoth task of taking and delivering this 0.00000001 gram twenty buck note to his sister every Friday.

She is optimistic that on Friday ‘s  she will bring her tuck money to school.  He finds joy in telling us that she only talks to him at school when she wants money from him.

On the Friday in question Jamie doesnt eat breakfast, and by the time first break comes he is HUNGRY, and not normal hungry but cold 17 year old boy hungry, he is OPTIMISTIC that 40 bucks can buy him more than 20 bucks can and therefore will make him happy.

As he gets to the school tuckshop, he sees Rosie on a return trip with her arms FULL of tuck goodies, there are chips, sweets and fizzy cooldrinks.

She asks him “have you got money for me?”

He makes a snap decision, (a bad one), “No”, he answers, “Mom didnt give me this morning”.  Now Jamies optimism levels are running high, he knows, that Rosie will not tell on him because she doesnt tell on.  He also reasons that her arms are full of food that her baseline needs have been met and he has a bigger need for the money than she does.

The day carries on as normal.

At the dinner table I ask “Rosie did you get your lunch money?”

Dead silence.

I try a different tack.

“Jamie did you give Rosie her tuck money?”

Dead silence.

Now in our house dead silence is rare, and it normally means NO I DID NOT DO WHAT I WAS MEANT TO DO.

Jamie says “she already had money cause I saw her walking with a lot of food”;

Rosie says “while I was waiting for you I went and bought food for my  friends with their money”;

Jamie says ……….

Rosie says ………..

Jamie says …………

Rosie says ………

No winners here, except maybe Jamie because his first break happiness levels had been elevated, but now his happiness levels were well below his baseline because he had been caught.

Rosies baseline happiness levels were very low at first break, but now they were hitting the stratosphere because her brother because of his own actions was deep in the doo doo.

Anyway I digress …….. tiny tricks to being optimistic

*  Add up the little joyful things that happen during the day.  They are there just look for them.

*  Feel deeply grateful for the things you have.

*  Veiw the glass as half-full, rather than half-empty.

*  Put yourself in situation where favulous, fortunate things are likely to happen to you.  Its easier to remain optimistic if you set yourself up for success.  Cheating on your sister, or stealing a bicycle – whilst temporarily thrilling – will rarely end up well for any party involved.

*  Think of those less fortunate than yourself.


Learn to enjoy life.

So there we have it – step one of being happy.

So what makes me happy?  Feeding carrots to a horse, my husband just phoning to say he loves me, when the kids are not constantly bickering, having uncomplicated friends ……… little things …… the list is endless.

Whilst I was at it I googled “what do I do if I am bored”

Dear wikihow responed immediately:

“Pick your favorite TV, film, or book character, and imagine what they would do if they were with you right at that moment”  – now I can honestly say this is the most random piece of advice I have ever been given.

So I pick Jeremy Clarkson.

So what would Jeremy Clarkson do if he was bored?

He would pick up the phone and call Richard and James, and off they would flit to an amazingly funny and ridiculous adventure.  So maybe it wasnt such random advice, and believe me hanging out for a day with Jeremy, James and Richard sure would make me happy!!!!





New Year, well 2014, is here, and, after all the planning and cooking and working over the December period we finally got to go out with old and beloved friends on the 2nd of January.

“How did your handbag business go this year?”  Gert asked me.

Oh crumbs!!!!!  How was I going to answer this one?  Just a sprinkling over a year ago, one day being the sprinkling – I had bragged to Gert how I was going to start a new business making handbags.  This business was going to be so insanely successful that within a short period of months I was going to put Prada and Gucci out of business and I was going to retire in a remote location, specifically aimed at the rich and famous, somewhere like St Francis Bay.

Just a few days before I was busy with a chuck-out and found this box full of beautiful leather samples, lovely hooks, eyes, clasps and cotton.  The problem was I couldn’t remember what the leather was for.  Now I did.

So where did the handbag business go?  Well, it sort of just fizzled out.  Life happened.  Work happened, kids happened – stuff happened.  New things also happened.  A lot of new things happened.

So what good would a year be if I didn’t learn a thing or two:

Firstly I learnt that our family could get by on less.   Less money, less food, less electricity, less entertainment and  less over-spending.   Our quality of life remained on par just without the extravagance.

Less friends, quality vs quantity became my mantra.  I began to choose my friends on who I liked and not according to popular opinion.

One of the biggest eye-openers was Rosie and her cupcake business,  in a nutshell, we couldn’t afford to send her to a horse riding show, she wanted to go, she started her own business selling cupcakes, she went to the show and through the ever-expanding business she, as a 13 year old, has learnt the value of earning your own money.  Now she can go to shows and most probably has the most disposable income in our home.

I have learnt that in order to survive you must improvise, don’t be scared of getting your hands dirty and trying something new.  Money is there to be earned honestly if you are prepared to work hard and be flexible.

I have learnt that a friend will steal an idea of yours in a flash if they think they will benefit from it.  Friends will also bulldoze you into ideas if they can make a quick buck out of it or if it makes them look good,  I have learnt that I must say no.

Turning a geyser off for 12 hours a day is not a hardship.

Jamie realizes that he can have as much fun on a 26’er bicycle as he has on a 29’er bicycle.

We have learnt that Morning Markets, dressing up to go out to dinner at a restaurant, internet marketing and valued and uncomplicated friendships are the small things in life that make it special.

But, most of all, I now see the beauty in what I have and not so much in the things I want to acquire.

Back to the handbag business, well, it is still simmering away on the backburner.  In the meantime Chalkboards have taken over my whole existence ……… that pot is bubbling away full throttle at the front of my stove.   Not doing the idea in 2013 doesn’t make me a failure, it just means that life changed direction a bit.

All in all it’s a good life, a happy and busy one.

The thought of a good year on the back of an exciting year is quietly satisfying.  I am going to quietly plod along with my plans, I am going to surround myself with people who make me feel spectacular, my camera will come out of its deep dark place and snap happiness and things that make people smile.  My blog will again become a source of joy and fulfillment.  I am going to go ahead with plans that fulfill me.  If being happy means I am going to lug my family to cycling, horseriding and sailing events, then this is what I am going to do …….. but I am going to make time for the things that make me grow as well.

2014 is a year about what makes me happy – and if I am happy inside the rest of life’s puzzle pieces will fall into place.



Sometimes life throws you a curved ball.  Nothing drastic, just a little thing or two that will take you out of your comfort zone for a bit.  Now as this curved ball comes flying at you you can either:

a.  Duck
b.  Run around like a headless chicken without a plan and try and catch the ball.


c.  Do like kids do …….. close your eyes and spread your arms and hope like crazy that the ball will land in your arms, also hoping like crazy that the person who has thrown the ball hasn’t thrown it too hard.

Once a year Jenny Davis Dance studio has a concert.  Over the years this extravaganza has grown from her students doing dances to the whole community becoming involved.

Anyone with a deep need to be on stage to act, sing or dance,  (Jenny actually got the “tough dudes” in town to don tu-tu’s and do a ballet ……. well almost) was welcomed with open arms and all had their moment of fame.

This year the Church Choir sang, the youth boys acted and the various groups of people were slotted into the programme.

JOSEPH AND HIS TECHNICOLORED DREAMCOAT was becoming an ambitious reality.

Now this is where the curved ball comes in.  Quite happy with my busy lot in life ……. and for reasons I cannot remember me and the Bokkies are coerced to do a dance.  I seem to remember words like:

“Everyone has dropped out of the dance and wont we slot in”

“Jenny Davis REALLY needs you”

“Its a community thing and we have to be involved”

“President Zuma NEEDS you ……………………… ”

And so forth.

For most of us our kids were already involved ….. Rosie heavily entrenched in the dancing and Jamie back-stage.  None of our hubbies were in the performance.

Practice started months before the event and right from the outset it became very clear that about half of us simply could not dance.  We …….. me being one of them …….. had no rhythm,  we knew nothing about beats or bars or … or ….,  we couldn’t do the dance without going “one, two, three …….. ”  most of the dance was in eight counts, but if we didn’t concentrate it was a mess-up ……. you could constantly see us mouthing “one, two, threee ……..”  whilst our eyes were on Shona or Lindsay (who can actually dance) – hence we were always a milli-second behind them ……. and it was a co-ordinated dance.

We were the Egyptian Dancers …….. AKA The Egyption MOmmy’s.

Add to this mix was the costume – we all had to look exactly the same.  But … we are not built exactly the same – we had the tall blond goddess right through to, um, well, ummmm me.  Pictures of Cleopatra outfits and wigs flew over the bbm channels, and eventually, an outfit was agreed upon.

We practiced and to be quite honest we were looking really good ……….. until the final rehearsal – this is NOT the dress rehearsal, this is the rehearsal BEFORE the dress rehearsal (please note that the word HEARSE plays an important part in the word reHEARSEl ……… I now know why because it IS like driving yourself to your own funeral.

The whole cast is there and we are ready, as our music starts we realise that the rendition of our song was not the same one we had practiced with – in short we were awful.  Then Jenny says “just do it without the music”  easier said than done Jen!

Next night – the night before the show – is full dress rehearsal.  We go on and we were rocking and, so sad, our music stopped half way through our dance ……. we fell apart.

Anyway …… we were promised that tomorrow … the day of the show all would be perfect.

SHOW DAY!!!! In true Bokkie form we all had commitments for the Saturday morning and the there was to be two shows, a 3 o’clock matinee and a 7 pm evening performance.

At 1 we all finally got our act together and met at Lindsays for make up and together time.  Alas for us this also meant that our troop or herd of kids were also hanging out with us for make up and together time …… Flip the Ancient Egyptians used a lot of makeup.

We schmoozed over to the resort at 2 and the place was bopping.  Not only was there an Over-sold out Matinee (this means 250 people were there to watch) but there was some rugby match on so the rest of the community were at the CSF Resort to watch the game in the pub.  Hundreds of people were there.

The show started …….. and it Rocked, Rosie and her group were simply awesome, Jamie and Trudi were hustling up a storm moving sets and doing last minute changes back stage.  And then it was our turn ……… we aced it ……. the crowd went wild ……… they loved us.

One performance to go and then our careers as dancers would be over.  We had this in the bag!

Again the evening was packed.  We got onto the stage VERY confident that we would rock it a second time.  The opening notes to “Walk like an Egyptian” started.

Two of us missed the opening cue ……. no-one noticed it was a co-ordinated miss.

I couldnt remember the dance at all ….. but kept my eye firmly on Shona to keep up.

And then it happened ……….. half way through the song/dance ……. we hear DOEF CRASH SMASH – and the Resort is plunged into the deepest darkness.

“What happened”  We hear as we are all frozen in some Egyptian pose.

“Someone has fallen off the stage”  We hear

That got us all moving ……. one of the Bokkies was hurt.

We rushed over to where the DOEF CRASH SMASH happened and there lay a Bokkie in full Egyptian attire crumpled on the floor.  The remains of the piping hot stage light shattered around her.  She was making the most peculiar noises.

“Are you hurt?”  I ask …… DUM QUESTION

Funny noise comes up at me

“…….. can you move?”

The light come on ……

We see one of our precious Bokkies lying in the shattered glass.

She is crying ……… crying with hysterical laughter.

She gets back on stage and we all sort of finish the dance and the hobble back stage.  We are all now hysterical, black Egyptian make-up is streaming down our faces, we are relieved …. our Bokkie is fine.

Back stage pandemonium has broken out …….. the whole cast thinks that someone has been seriously injured.  The Doctor (who very handily was back stage … he was part of the cast) couldn’t get near his potential patient, we are all rolling on the floor with laughter.  The poor man didn’t know who was injured because we were all dressed identically and we were all carrying on like seriously injured imbeciles.

Jenny rushes backstage – she also couldn’t work out who fell.

Once she worked out that we were all just idiots, but not injured idiots she said these words:

“Would you mind going on and finishing the Dance if you are all OK”

“Oh Ja!  sure not a problem …..”  We all had officially lost our minds.

We did it …… Sort of …… The crowd went wild.

Anyway, back to the curved ball.  This dance was such an amazing experience.  I have now decided to embrace curved balls in the future.  It took me out of my comfort zone.  It didn’t cost me a fortune – actually pittance.  I met amazing new people.  I had experiences that I never would have had.

It has also added another fun memory, to the already bursting memory bag with me and my friends.

In the end that is what it is all about ….. memories, OH!!!! and lots of laughs.  OH!!!! and lots of photos ………… did I tell you about the Youtube video? ………..


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With advertising by-lines like RIDE THIS ONE YOU WILL REMEMBER IT, and ARE YOU TOUGH ENOUGH?.  The annual Steeltek race at the Lurie Ruskamp promised to be at the very least a tough one.

Now Jamie and the Steeltek race have a history, and not a happy one ……… he has yet to finish a Steeltek with both himself and/or his bike intact …….. in fact …….. he has yet to finish a Steeltek race full stop.

Add to the mix this will be his last ride on his beloved Merida 29’er (its got to go up for sale on behalf of the sponsor to make way for the new …… to be announced).  Boy did he love this bike.

Add to this there is only one race this year, no kiddie dash, no family ride, no 30 kay – only 60 km and on a new course set to challenge the riders to their limits.  There is 2000 meters of climbing (more than the Karoo to Coast).  You are asked to check out the race profile before the race so that you dont start too fast.

Add to this ……. the Mountain Events, Fat Tracks and Steeltek have  dangled a once off cherry to the participants.  Finish the race in Sub-4 hours and you will get a special T-shirt.  Oh there was a nifty amount of prize money, but the T-shirt was the real cherry.

Add to this the weather has been playing up as normal.

All the riders wanted that T-shirt.  Top local and not so local riders started entering the race.

As we set off, Frans shouts to us, still under the comfort of his downy duvet.  “There is enough petrol to go 120 km – it will be plenty”


As we hit the J-bay turnoff it was as if the petrol tank started sucking its own juice.  50 kays left it said.  Crossing the Gamtoos – 30 kays (impossible! its not 20 km from J-bay turnoff to Gamtoos.  By the time we hit the Thornhill turn off it said 10 km.  We limped into Lurie.

Now,  Lurie is cycling heaven, all the names are there.  Lots of really nice bikes.  Lots of bike talk.  Eventually the cyclists set off.

Did I mention that Lurie Ruskamp is in the middle of nowhere, except, close to Lurie.  To my horror I find out that Lurie does NOT have a petrol station and somehow I must get petrol in Hankey .

“How far is Hankey?”  I ask .

“20 km” the oke says.

“Oh dear”  I say “I only have enough petrol to go 10 km”

“Ag then its about 10, but dont worry its all downhill”  He retorts.

I decided since its a four hour wait I will try my luck at getting to Hankey, and if I get stuck I will phone a friend at the race.

Off I go, as I start the car the light starts beeping ………. 0 km’s it says.  I decide to see it through.

Now next time someone says to you “Its all downhill”, dont believe them.  I have never been so happy to see Sarah Baartmans grave in my life, I think I made hankey on fumes in the Ford.

Anyway …….. The car and I get back armed with 300 bucks in the tank and now I can relax.

The race has started claiming it first victims.  Last year, at this race I saw one oke limp home with s SQUARE wheel, I kid you not, it was square.

After 2h31 mins Jason Meaton flew in ….. “Shew that was tough”

Ten mins later Conrad Viljoen ….. “Tough”

and a mere 4 minutes later Jason Reed ……. “Toughest Ever!!!!”

And these guys are top top riders at the peak of their game.

More casualties came in, and still Jamie and his friend Nick are out there.

The riders start dribbling in, each of them heaving a sigh of relief as they come over the finsh.

At the 3 hour 40 mark I see Jamie in his Custom Bike shirt comming up the big finish hill.  He had made the 4 hour cut off AND he had got the T-shirt.  A few minutes later Nick came in …… he also got a T-shirt.

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The last sub 4’s dribbled in, and then the wait began for the rest of the field.  The question on everyones lips as they rode in was “Did you get the T-shirt?”

The T-shirt was important, 4 pieces of white cotton sewn together with some printing on it became a major aquisition at the Steeltek.  I proved that you were Tough Enough.

Which all got me thinking. Sometimes we need these physical reminders that we are good enough.

Rosie and Jamie gave Frans  a mug which says # 1 DaD,  he knows he is a good Dad, but boy does he love his mug.  Many years ago ……… many many years ago, Jamie painted Rosie a mug saying “MY BEST SISTER”, that she is his only sister is irrelevant, after he gave her the mug they were nice to each other for about two minutes and then the bickering started again.  I keep the mug in memory of those two minutes.

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I have a sticker …….. yes a sticker saying “MOMS TAXI” ……….. mmmmmm, I wonder …. does this mean I am tough enough?


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Rosie comes to me last night,  “Mom, next time you go to the supermarket can you please buy strawberries?”

“OK”  I mumble not really paying attention because I get approximately 1 bazillion requests starting with “Mom, next time you go to the supermarket ……………”.

ZZZZZPHUTTT!!!!!!!!! I wake up.

I then start looking around the kitchen ………. In corner number 1 we have a fine display of slightly off apples.  Just down from corner number one the brown bananas are resting.  A month ago Nutella was the rage and now it lays lonely in the depths of the grocery cupboard.  I just know the strawberries are going to hit the same fate.

The thought of eating the apples, Nutella, bananas and now strawberries seriously outweighs reality.

Anyway …………. onto the party.  I REALLY think, that, for a kid, the thought of having a birthday party seriously outweighs the reality which a party brings.  Over the years the most stressed I have ever seen a kid, is at their own party when things dont go according to “thought-vs-reality”.

I remember (and the parents reading this will too), one child who hit the ceiling because their mother put sparklers on her cake instead of candles,  the time when all the kids vomited over the lounge because they ate too much of the dreaded combination of hotdog-sweets-cheapfizzycooldring (my house),  the time when hitting the pinyata turned into a war zone (my house),  the time when the little sister showed all his friends her new pajamas …….. but most of all I remember a time when, years ago, a 13 year old girl had a party and her best friend disappeared half way through with another friend and ruined her day.     Parties are bad news.

So when Rosie came to us and said she wanted a house party for her 13th, my heart hit the floor.  The last couple of years we have swopped out party for pony camp.  Sent a cake to the pony camp and we had a win-win.

“Dont you want a HUGE wad of money instead?”  We offered desperately.

“NOPE ………. I havent had a party for 3 years and I want a party”  She answered shattering all our hopes.

“OK Rosie, give me a full list of who you want to invite, how the party must pan out and what you want to do and eat”

VOEPS!!!!!!!!!!!! She hauls a page out of her pocket.

It reads as follows:

Kids to come here after school.
Afternoon just spent chilling which should include a slippyslide, canoes, paddle skis, surfboards and snacks.
Get ready for party
Boys to arrive and have party, which should include, good music, jam jars, mini hamburgers, mini hotdogs, sweets, disco ball, marshmallows, and, (wait for it) a photobooth!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Boys to leave at 10.00 pm
Girls to stay for sleepover and video.
Everyone to leave on Saturday.

Under this she has a list of 44 kids that she would like to invite to the party.

I eye this lot out ……… slowly ……….. very slowly I say to her, “Rosie we will have to negotiate a bit here ……..”  Her face drops.

I suddenly wish we were in a position to whisk these 40 kids to an exotic location have thee party and come home ……… NO!!!!!!!!!!!!! the bank account screams at me.

I start with the list …….. on it are her FAB new group of friends, some of her FAB class friends, her FAB St Francis friends, her FAB Woodridge friends and her FAB J-Bay friends.  Also on the list are 2 girls  that I know have made her life hell over the last year.  “Why them?”  I ask,  “Im too scared not to invite them, and maybe they will be nice to me if I invite them”  (They were not …….. but this is another story).  Anyway I then said to her that about a quarter of the people wont make it due to other commitments – only 2 couldnt make it.

So this is what we did:

Slippy-slide – We bought a HUGE (well 40 meters) of black plastic.
Jam Jars – (these are fancy drinks served in jars)  We found 50 jars and made our own
PHOTO BOOTH – Would have cost about R2000.00 we borrowed props, set up a corner and did our own.

We decided boys and girls all to arrive at once ………. boys to leave at 10 and the remaining 28 girls to sleep over.

Well ……. the day of the party arrived and the kids all arrived at 2.  And in retrospect they were amazing.  They just got on with it.  The boys set up the slippy slide and found a cricket bat …… that was them.  The slippy slide, canoes and just about anything that floats were an absolute hit.  At about 7 the kids put the music on and danced their socks off.

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Only once did the kids have a request ………  “Uncle (Oom)”, the one boy came to Frans, “Do you have blits and wood so we can make a night fire on the beach”

These 40-odd kids just got on with it, nothing fancy supplied, all from different schools, towns, different backgrounds and languages …….. they got down to having a great time.

When they boys left they all shook Frans hand.  Then the girls settled in for a PJ party with videos and lots of giggling.

Sometimes the thought of something is as great as the actual.

Now back to the strawberries ………..









Karoo 2 Coast 2013 004

I really love my friends.  They are funny, compassionate and most of all, they do not take themselves too seriously.

Our tight little group of 6 friends are all different ages, different home environments, different interests and completely different career paths.  But we gel and we have lots of fun.

We call ourselves the Bokkies, bit stupid isnt it?

Anyway ………. by some quirk of nature 4 of our group ended up at the annual Karoo 2 Coast cycle race.  Remember the one ………. 100 kays of hell from Uniondale to Knysna “not for the faint hearted!”.

1 of the Bokkies was actually entered into the race and the 3 lazy couch potatoes left were drivers and support for our husbands.  We each traveled with our siblings in tow.

To say the least finding accommodation in Uniondale the night before the race, is near but impossible unless you book a year in advance.  So to get us all in one place we decided to opt for the campsite on the local high school grounds.  It wasnt cheap, R250.00 per tent for the night and a tent is enough to fit a single mattrass in it and that is it!  You dont get bedding, just a tent and a bare mattress.  Each family books two tents, one for the adults and one for the kids ……. a squash but it was only for one night.  Oh …….. you also get the use of the outside school showers and loo’s – 2 showers and 6 loo’s.

We get there, unpack, check bikes, gps, go-pro’s and tents and all amble down to the showgrounds where 5000 odd other cyclists, families and friends are all converging.  We eat in the massive hall and then amble on back to tent-camp for a good nights sleep.

At about 6 pm we started getting the inkling that the night was going to be cold and I mean really cold …….. as in low single figures or minus figure cold.

Frans and I realise very quickly that it simply wasnt going to work having Jamie and Rosie share a single mattress in a tiny little red tent so we give our tent to Rosie and we pitch our own little tent next to our car – about a 100 meters from the red tents.  We have our last cup of coffee, say our goodnights to all our mates and snuggle in for the evening.

But boy did a lot happen after dark ……….. this is the story

Now (lets call her) Bokkie 1 has a complete aversion to public toilets and bathrooms.  They scar her.  She keeps an “emergency” kit in her handbag of hand sanitisers, toilet seat cleaning sanitisers (didnt know you got these!), wet wipes, tissue paper ……. the lot …… just in case she may have to use the public ablution system.  A school toilet in the middle of a rugby field is a nightmare for her.  Porta-potties are out of the question.  So in the middle of a sub-zero degree night when she wakes up and has an urge she knows she is in trouble.

She prods her hubby …….. “Honey please come to the toilet with me I’m scared” .  The bathrooms are quite far from the tents.

“Dont be scared”  He reassures her “Just scream if something goes wrong and I will be there in a flash!”

So off she goes, clips her headlamp on, and leaves the zip on the tent unzipped and goes to the loo.  She ran to the loos as if her life depended on it.  She forgets her “emergency bag”, but all she want to do is get back to her nice warm tent.

Now getting to the loos is a piece of cake,  returning to her tent was another story.  She dashes out of the toilets and looks at the sea of red tents with dismay.

“Which one is ours?”  She thinks “Oh!! thats right I left the zip open”.  She carries on running up and down, even listening for the heavy snorer who, as luck had it, was in the tent next to them.

Just as she was going to scream her hubbies name she spots the unzipped tent.  Opens the flap and sees that her hubby has wrapped their beige and white duvet completely around himself AND he has positioned himself in the middle of the mattress.

“Where am I supposed to lie now”, she says sarcastically.

So her hubbies feet, which are now his head, raised up and says “ya ya ya”, she quickly looks at his head, which should have been the feet and notices the face is not quite the same as her hubbies.   At this point she blinds the poor oke with her head torch.  “Can I help you” says the feet, head ……….. whatever!

“Oh Figtree”    Screeches Bokkie 1 and stumbles out of the tent that wasn”t quite hers.

Two tents down Bokkie 2 wakes up with the same urge.  Now she has a real problem, she is sleeping with her 5 year old little boy ……. and if she leaves and he wakes up, leaves the tent, gets lost in Uniondale ……….. .  Now what can she do?  She starts fumbling in the dark and feels or rathers smells something familiar ……… baby powder ………

“Ummm ……. this could work”.  After some amazing acrobatic and contortionist movements the deed is done.  But what to do with the bottle.  Under the mattress it goes.

Next to the car, I have refused to remove any item of clothing because it is so cold.  I am in the tent sleeping with all my clothes, even my tekkies, beenie, hoodie the lot.  Frans is mumbling that he has never slept next to a “Bergie” before.

At about 3 am there is some loud knocking on the tent.  I sit up scared to death …… The uniondale ghost?

The tent is like an igloo ……. it is totally covered with a sheet of ice.

“I’m cold” , Says the ghost

“No shit sherlock!”  I reply to ghostie who sounds remarkably like Rosie.

“ROSIE!!!!!”  I question

“Yes Mommy”,  She must be really cold to be calling me Mommy.

So I crack open the tent, and in my bergie clothes bundle her into the car.

The next morning we all wake up.  Jamie stretches as says …… “What a great nights sleep”

Bokkie 1 refuses to leave her tent.

Bokkie 2’s Hubby asks ……….. “Sweetheart …….. wheres the baby powder??????”