Friday, 29 March 2013

A Day At The Office

Lunch Break Over - Now Time To Work

Can I Help You?

So Much To Do - So Little Time

That's It For The Day - I Am Knackered!!!

Can We Go Home Already

Monday, 25 March 2013

March Long Weekend 21 - 24 March 2013

We decided that we needed a break. We have been working long hours, leaving home before 6.30 every morning and getting home after 6.30 every evening. We have worked every Saturday, except I never worked last Saturday, but most Saturdays we work a full day until 3 or 4, so although it is still early in the year, we are already over worked and tired.

The plan was to close both branches so we can all have a break, but that never worked out so just Mark and I had Friday off - Thursday being a public holiday and Friday a normal work day.

We have never been to Clarence before, which is a quaint little town in the Free State, so we decided to go there. As usual we left it until the last minute and battled to find available accommodation. We then luckily found accommodation on a Cherry Farm called Welgelegen Guest Farm.

We left at around 8 on Thursday morning. We hadn't been shopping, because we left work so late on Wednesday night and the plan was to buy food etc when we arrived there as it was self catering. We arrived at around lunchtime and the weekend started off badly with Chad having a huge wobbly, because as we arrived at the farm, we saw motorbikes and I had told them that motorbikes were not allowed - there was only mountain biking. Well that is what I assumed and did not ask. I prefer to bury my head in the sand when it comes to motorbikes and ignore the fact that both Chad and Mark now have motorbikes - something I don't like thinking about or talking about.

Well needless to say Chad was in a mood, Mark was disappointed and I was angry about the whole bike saga. Chad moaned and crouched, did not unpack then went off on his mountain bike without a helmet on and slops. Mark went riding with him after a bit. Mark came back to the Chalet and looked back and saw Chad lying on the ground and thought he was buggering around, but he had fallen off his bicycle and hit his head and grazed his legs. He came racing down a steep hill and his slop slipped on the peddle causing him to go tumbling down the hill on his head, with his bicycle on top of him. He was still in a mood because of the whole motorbike issue and the major wobbly turned into a mini family war, because he was hurt, hungry and in a mood. All that aside, I realized after his fall, just how damaged; frightened and traumatized he is from Clint's death. Chad lives in fear that he will die if he hurts himself, but keeps it all in and just lashes out in anger at us. The whole fact that Clint only had "minor injuries" according to the very people who should have medical and trauma knowledge and then died has severely traumatized Chad. He had a terrible panic attack and because he was angry with me, he also would not allow me to check if he was OK or badly injured.

So the start of our weekend was not the best.  We had not gone shopping for food on the way and by then found out the closet shop was in Bethlehem, 60Km's away - we had just driven through Bethlehem on our way to the farm. We did not even have sugar to give Chad sugar water for the shock - only coke. We then left to go shopping and he finally calmed down and realized he was not badly hurt and just got a fright. His headache slowly went away and he had calmed down. We went to Pick 'n Pay to buy groceries had something to eat then go back to the chalet and unpacked.

Mark and Chad then went off to cycle to the dam - this time wearing bicycle helmets and I drove down to the dam in the bakkie (pick up truck) with their fishing rods so they could fish. It was really peaceful and quiet with cows crazing and wild ducks in the dam. They farm apples and cherries and cattle as well as the guest farm.

We had a braai, sat around the fire and then went to bed quite early. It is really quiet and peaceful and very pretty on the farm - except the owner's family were riding their motorbikes up and down from the chalets to the main house and the noise from the bikes broke the peace and quiet of the countryside and just added to the fact that bikes were a huge bone of contention with us.

Friday morning we work up at around 8 to the sounds of motorbikes going up and down other than that it was very peaceful. There was no network signal there so Mark was having a break from his phone. We would pick up a bit of signal now and again, but because we were so close to the Lesotho border, we were picking up the Lesotho network and there was no way I was going to have another twelve thousand rand phone bill like I had in Mozambique. My phone is still on roaming so I kept it off, besides I only needed it to find out if everything was OK at home and with the animals. Mark's phone on the other hand went crazy every time we picked up signal or drove into town. It would be so lovely if we could for once go away without people phoning about their cars. Doctors don't even take calls when they are closed, but Mark has to always be available.

We went to Clarence for brunch. It is a quaint little town full of art galleries and antique shops.

After walking around the town for a bit, we drove around and then we went to Fouriesburg - a real one horse town and the only horse had already left. We were going to stop for a cold drink, but most of the shops were closed as they had no electricity so we just bought a cold drink from the sweet shop and left.

Mark liked their Gazebos, so we had to take photos from all angles so that he can build one at home

He also took a fancy to this wire Landrover  in the sweet shop, but surprisingly enough, he did not buy it

We never cooked on Friday night, because we had so muck junk all day and left over food from the night before, so we just sat around the fire eating more junk. We had one of the farm dogs sitting by us. It was still a very young dog and Mark and Chad were so shocked that the dog turned its nose up to meat. Our dogs eat anything and carry on like scavengers who never get fed, yet they are so spoilt and are overweight.

On Saturday, we drove around then went to Fouriesburg - the one horse town with out a horse - to have lunch. Chad had a burger and Mark and I had the oxtail served in black potjie pots. The oxtail was OK, but the oxtail Mark makes is so much better and far tastier. I had rice and he had samp. It came with seat potatoes and beans. The beans were really awful - mixes with potato which is OK but it had ham or something and neither Mark nor I ate ours.

The worst part of self catering is when the chalets are not serviced, so I spent everyday washing dishes, which is not fun. Doing dishes is not my idea of a holiday - at home I don't do dishes - that is what a dishwasher is for. To add to that I never brought washing up clothes with or drying clothes and the only dish washing cloth there was in the chalet was a dirty cloth left soaking in the kitchen sink and you could see it had cleaned the floor or some dirty wall or something. There were also two grubby looking drying clothes, so I had to wash dishes with my hands not an easy task, but there is no way I will use dishes that have been washed with a cloth that has cleaned something other than dishes. So we roughed it in style, by washing dishes in a very different and novel way - but hygienically. Chad made us breakfast this morning and I feel so bad that I could not get the pan shiny clean, not having a spongy. I tried my best though.

On Saturday night we never cooked again, just nibbled on what was around so we came back with all the meat and groceries we rushed off to buy. We just sat around the fire, talking; reading and laughing.

The bad start to the weekend did not last and we had a really good weekend. It was really hot there, but rained last night and was rather chilly this morning, but the chalets were really warm.

2nd Bedroom

First Bedroom

Mark Cleaning The Kitchen


Chad Buggering Around Instead Of Packing The Car


Chad Relaxing After The Car Was Packed

Monday, 18 March 2013

Chad Growing Up

I have lost sight of Why I Blog. It is my journal of our every day lives, that might seem to some, not very exciting, but it is our journey and our lives. A place to look back on one day and remember everything - be it a small insignificant event or something big.

In February, my camera was stolen and all my photos gone forever, once again. We had a launch to open our new workshop and I left my camera on the table and someone took it. The person/s who stole it was very quick and sharp, because it was in front of everyone. Thanks to my procrastinating, I never downloaded our photos of our holiday in Mozambique, so I only have a few photos that I took with my blackberry. It makes me so mad, because the camera was not a fancy expensive camera, but the photos are priceless. Our staff were also very upset about the camera being stolen, because they wanted prints of the photos of themselves and I know they would not steal from us either. It is sickening that whilst the person was partaking in our hospitality and eating our food, drinking our drinks and smiling in our faces, they were stealing without an ounce of guilt. Besides the memories gone forever, it is such an invasion of your privacy when someone steals something so personal. They have an up to date exact account of the events in your life.

I am also mad at myself for always putting off until tomorrow, what I should be doing now. Although I now have my blog and SkyDrive to keep my pictures safe, they are both meaningless if I don't download the pictures.

To be honest, I have lost interest in my blog and every weekend I think about updating it and never do. I just don't have the right mindset at the moment to post and by the time I do post anything it is months late and seems silly to post. Time flies and before you know it, weeks and months have flown by.

Now to get to the title of today's post. I looked at Chad today and it is as if I just blinked my eyes and he grew up. BUT!!! did I blink my eyes, or have I had them closed for the past 6 years. I allowed him to turn 10, which was just four days short of two months after Clinty died. It was still so new and unreal, I had not absorbed it as yet. People may wander how I managed to have a normal semi-normal birthday for my one son, so soon after my other son died, but battled the following years. All I can say is the first birthday I was too numb to realize this was a reality after a year it started to become real. So Chad turned 10 and I have been stuck at the age of him being 10. These photos below are such a stark reminder that he is no longer a little boy of ten, but quite a grown up almost 16 year old.

And finally, he willingly let me take photos of him - he is growing up. He went from a little boy who loved his photo being taken to a tween who hated his photo being taken and now I am happy to see he is going back to his confident self.

As for the bikes that Mark has bought - that is something I cannot quite go into right now or talk type about just yet. But yes they do have bikes again. As the saying goes  "you can take the monkey out the bush, but you can't take the bush out the monkey" Well you can take the biker away from the bike, but you can never take the bike out of the biker. That is what it is like in this house, although Chad has never ridden on the roads, he rides pillion with Mark and I do not see a difference, but that is something for another day.

So Chad has an on road and an off road bike and I have aged another tenfold as my eyes slowly start opening and I start noticing life going on around me.

Talking about growing up, I was absolutely gob-smacked the other day when I saw one of Clinty's friends for the first time in many years. Mark told me that this boy, Shaun had come to the workshop when I was out and then I forgot about it. One day this guy walked in and said "hello how you?" I just answered back politely and he said you don't remember me do you. A few blank minutes past and I said "Are you Shaun" I could not believe how different and grown up he was. When Mark had told me that he had seen him, I picture this 17 year old teenager and not a 23 year old grown up young man. One thing I must say Clint's friends were all really good guys. They might have been mischievous and naughty at school, but they were genuinely good polite boys that were so a part of our lives. Their teachers might not agree with me and strangely Clint  was good friends with boys that were really naughty at school, but he always stuck to his own morals and never did things against his better judgment, yet those same boys were well mannered, kind and lovely boys who were always welcome in our house. They were not arrogant or show offs, just very humble boys. I wish Chad could find friends like the friends that Clinty had.

Chad All Grown Up - slideshows

Sunday, 17 March 2013

16 March 2013 - Remembering Clinty

The 16th of March, should have no significance in our lives. It should just be a date, like every other random date in the calendar, but the afternoon of 15th of March 2007, changed all that for us. It was the start of the hell our lives would become.

It has been 6 years of pure grief and hell. Six years may seem like a long time, but it feels like just yesterday. The events of the 15th of March 2007 are still very fresh in my mind and nothing can change how that day ended.

The 16 March 2013 started with the skies dark, grey and pouring with rain - the universe was crying buckets of tears, with a swollen heart just like mine. It was another year gone by without our precious darling Clinty and nothing will ever change that. 6 years ago it was not a reality, I always believed that I could do something to change the fact that Clint was dead. That it was impossible that I would never see him again. I could never see myself saying my child died a year ago, 2 years ago, ten years ago etc. My brain and mind was so damaged, for years I believed that I could change the outcome of that evening, that there was a happy ending, I was just waiting for it to happen.

When people say time heals, it doesn't. What heals is the damage done to your spirit and mind and brain - the pain never goes away it just intensifies, but what you learn to do and what time allows you to do - is to hide your true feelings from the world. No one knows the pain behind the smiles and laughter - the false smiles and laughter.

The other thing that time has done, is to make me realize that I cannot carry on allowing Chad's life to have ended on the day Clinty died. That is one thing I know and accept that Clinty wouldn't have wanted to happen. Clint was not spiteful or self absorbed when he was alive. He put others before him and I know he would have wanted Chad to have a "normal" life filled with fun and happiness - as best as possible without him. So slowly I have tried to carry on for Chad's sake.

Every year I have said that I will buy a memorial plaque on the next anniversary of Clint's death, but the next anniversary is always too soon. Every year I say the next year we will scatter Clint's ashes - something Mark really feels we should do - but again that year is too soon and I can't do it. By putting up a memorial plaque and scattering Clint's ashes will mean that I have accepted his death and that is something else I will never accept.

I had planned to go through all the cards we received and the messages from friends and family and put them on this page yesterday, but that is also too soon. I couldn't do it - so I started taking pictures of some of the things written on the day of his funeral to post here, but soon stopped as it was too painful.

Besides I often wonder how many people who said they will never forget Clint, do still actually remember him.

One person who never forgets, who never even knew me and I don't think she even knew Clint personally. Her son went to school with Clint and they were not even friends as such. They were in the same math class and obviously spoke and were friendly, being a very small school, but they could not be classed as friends.

Well Janet never forgets. Clint's very good friend, Michael's mom is also Janet, but it is not that Janet. The other Janet never forgets and every year on the 16th March, I get the most beautiful bouquet of flowers from her. Again this year she sent me flowers and a text message. She never forgets and her flowers and thoughts mean so much.

These flowers are the ones she sent this year:

I had to go to the dentist yesterday, because I had an infected socket from an abscess I had last week and after the tooth was pulled the socket became infected. It was the worst day to go to the dentist, but Mark would not let me leave it in case it got as bad as the last time that I had to have emergency surgery. After that I tried to sleep then we went to buy flowers for Clint's room and garden.

Last weekend we went to Hartbeespoort dam for lunch and stopped at a place that sells fresh produce directly from farmers and I found this beautiful plaque which we bought for Clint's garden.

Later in the afternoon, I tried to go through all the cards that we received when Clinty died, but just took some photos of the messages in the memorial book we have.

And as always, Garfield came and sat with me in Clinty's garden

Clinty you will never be forgotten by those who truly loved you and you will always be sorely missed and loved my angel.
I love you so much my precious Clinty

Remembering Clinty 16 March 2013 - slideshow

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