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

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