Tag Archives: Cape Town

Mama Thembu’s getting married today

2007 - At a 'P Party'

2007 – At a ‘P Party’

A decade is a really long time. In a decade:

  • Legwarmers went from über-cool to oh-my-God-I-can’t-believe-I-wore those.
  • Billy Ray Cyrus went from rocking to ‘Who’s that?’.
  • Fondues went from the height of chic to let’s-just-hide-it-under-the-stairs.
  • Hummers were so hot, and then so not, before a decade was out.
  • Lazer disks crashed and burned.
  • Cell phones went from brick-sized to pebble-sized.
  • I stayed married.
2008 - A 21st at Albisini Dam

2008 – A 21st at Albisini Dam

Yes, this month is my 10-year wedding anniversary. My Mister and I have been married since 2003 – I was just a little 23-year old chicken and he was just a little 30-year boy. What did we know? Well, apparently we know enough to stay married for 10 years! Yes, I know that sounds really arrogant, but I believe this is a milestone to be proud of, so I’ll ride the wave while I can. And, while it’s ‘just’ our 10-year anniversary, we’ve been together for 16 years. So I am very proud of us.

Let me tell you a little bit about our wedding. I don’t think I’ve ever been a conventional type of person. Sometimes I’ve even gone out of me way to do just the opposite because I felt like being otherwise. So, for the big day, I researched different wedding ceremony traditions and either completely excluded those I didn’t like, or changed them in a way that suited our personalities a little better. My poor mother was mortified. But I think I do that regularly – mortify her.

Here are some of the traditions I discovered and didn’t like (they may or may not be true, but the interweb said they were true):

Bachelor’s and bachelorette parties

I told my Mister-to-be how I felt about the message these parties sent. They’re a celebration, or rather a mourning, of the end of an old life and the beginning of a new, less exciting life. By the time we were married we had been together for six years – nothing was changing; there WAS no old and new life. Also, I felt it was offensive that one would want a party that says, ‘Ooh, my life was fun. Now’s it’s going to be crap. Let me get drunk’. Don’t you find that just a little insulting?

The wearing of veils

Women wore veils in the days where arranged marriages were far more commonplace. The veils were there to hide the bride’s face until the ‘I dos’ had been said and the groom couldn’t back out. This little tit-bit of info offended my sensibilities, so I refused to wear a veil.

Father giving away the bride

This one was a really simple decision to make:  I do not, have never and will never BELONG to anyone. Therefore, I was no-one’s to give away in the first place. I asked my brother to ‘escort’ me down the aisle in case I tripped on my train and so I wouldn’t get lonely.

Seeing each other before the wedding

I don’t know what this is all about – I think it’s similar to the wearing a veil story – but I needed to see my Mister before the ceremony. I was so overwhelmed and freaked out and no one could calm me down, so I insisted someone fetch him to come and chat with me as I got ready.

2013 - A wedding in Cape Town

2013 – A wedding in Cape Town

Despite these potential wedding pitfalls, and me breaking tradition, and Mister seeing my face, we made it through the ceremony, the reception (just barely), the morning after (when South Africa was playing Australia in the Rugby World Cup), the honeymoon, the anti-climax after the honeymoon and the subsequent 9 years and 48 weeks that included the birth of a gorgeous little girl. Well done, Mister. I love you and thanks for putting up with mortifying me.

2013 - with our amazing baba

2013 – with our amazing baba

If you’re celebrating something this month, grab a copy of the October issue of Essentials magazine and read our feature on the top road-trip routes in South Africa – what a fab way to celebrate with loved ones!


I’m leaving on a jet plane

So tomorrow I’m flying to Cape Town for a lunchtime launch for a well known store’s Christmas food products. I’m excited but, I have to admit, a little nervous too. And there are a couple of reasons for this…

1. I’ve never flown anywhere alone before. I know… I’m 33 and I’ve always flown with someone – my Mister or, when I was younger, my parents. So this first trip alone is a little scary. And very grown up. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I still think of myself as being 17, so doing grown-up things is daunting.


2. I’ve never been more than a few kilometres away from my baby, Holly. And now I’m going to be on the other side of the country. With no car! Not that having a car would help me but still, I’d feel somehow more in control if I had transport I was maneuvering by myself. But I’m being dropped at the Gautrain station by Mister, zoomed to the airport by the train driver, flown to Cape Town by a pilot and driven by a driver to the launch. I’m going to be completely out of control. The. Whole. Day. (You’ve probably gathered that I’m the type of person who feels more comfortable when she’s in control of her environment and situation. If not – I am.)


3. I’m going on a plane without luggage. And, for some reason, that makes me feel really uncomfortable. Like I won’t have what I need when I need it. But that’s ridiculous. I’ll have my giant mommy bag with everything I usually carry around and never use. For some people it may be freeing travelling unencumbered, with just the wind in their hair and their boarding pass in their hand – but not me! I need to be weighted down by bags and jackets and books and scalding coffee and a sarmie.

4. I may sit next to a strange person on the plane. One who wants to chat or who has broccoli in his teeth and who’s wearing an anorak. Whenever I’ve flown with my Mister I’ve always used him as the security buffer between me and weirdly-dressed (an smelling) strangers. I have a thing about my personal space and aeroplanes definitely test me by insisting I invite other people to sit virtually on my lap or grunt in my ear.

Big girl panties

So tomorrow I’ll take my well-packed mommy bag, stocked with everything I may need in the far reaches of the country. I’ll pull on my big girl panties and navigate South Africa’s first high-speed underground rail system alone. I’ll sit next to the perfect stranger, whom the airline teams me up with. And I’ll listen silently as they cough, sneeze and grunt right next to me.

And, finally I’ll relinquish transportational control to the professionals. I’ll look at it as a type of ‘flooding’ therapy session or Fear Factor where I’m forced to confront my deepest fears. Let’s just hope there aren’t millions of beetles going clickity clack that I have to cover myself in. That’s where I draw the line.

10 things I learnt on my Easter holiday

  1. When flying with a baby you do in fact need planea birth  certificate for identification. This is something the airline (I won’t mention any names) fails to mention on their tickets or website. So, when you pitch up at the airport, with an hour before boarding CLOSES, and are told you need to make the 50-minute round trip back to your house plus the 20-minute drive to and from long-term parking, don’t be surprised. Fortunately a gentleman did tell us we could use our medical aid card if Holly’s name was on it. Fortunately again, no one asked to see her identification. Really. After all of that. But now you know.
  2. If you’re travelling with a baby, board the plane first, or as close to first as possible. Everyone knows that travelling with a baby includes being encumbered with:


  • a nappy bag containing the contents of the baby’s bedroom
  • a cooler bag with the entire contents of the fridge
  • your own handbag containing everything you own
  • a carry-on bag with miscellaneous items of varying degrees of importance including picture frames (long story), camera, iPad, Kindle, book and sunscreen
  • a jersey and fashionable scarf
  • a hat and sunglasses
  • a cup of coffee and a bottle of water.

So encumbered, you walk down the aeroplane aisle and bash other passengers in the face.

3.  Your baby’s nappy won’t spontaneously combust if your baby cries. No, it’s not pleasant to hear shrill screaming and heaving sobs but we’re not encouraging our babies to cry. They’re unhappy, and we’re trying to figure out why. And when we do, we’ll try to make them stop. So, Lady in the Seat behind Me, you can take your hands off your ears – I know you’re not enjoying the noise.

4.  The seats on the plane aren’t big enough for one person, let alone one person and a baby and definitely not one person and a baby when the passenger in front puts his seat back. It’s less than a two-hour flight, Mister. You don’t need to recline.

5.  Rush hour traffic the day before the Easter long weekend in Cape Town is no place for a baby. That is all.

6.  If you’re in Cape Town ever, pack for ALL seasons – you’ll experience them all in one day. This is not a bad thing – if you like summer, you’ll get it; if you like winter, you’ll get that too. Cape Town, because it is a friendly city, caters for everyone’s likes.


7.  When you have a baby you can’t do all the things you did before – you can’t go out at night without organising a baby sitter, you can’t drive around for hours sightseeing or looking for stuff to do and you can’t go to crowded restaurants or events because babies don’t really like the kerfuffle. But that’s ok, because you don’t want or need to. Sitting watching your baba playing is sometimes all the entertainment you need. Throw in a delicious glass of wine and the scene is set for a perfect evening.

8.  When you go away over Easter calories don’t count. It’s one of those unexplained phenomena – scientists are stumped and have tried for millennia to understand it but have failed. Just eat your chocolate and go with it.

9.  Sometimes it’s OK for the baby to lick the couch/chair/fridge/grass/dog.

Lick grass

10.  Despite your best intentions, it’s very very difficult to drink only one glass of yummy  wine. But that’s fine. Why should you deprive yourself? You owe it to yourself to have another glass.

Early retirement


Soon the Mister and I will be moving into a retirement village. And by soon I don’t mean that time’s flying and it feels like any day now we’ll be retired and looking to spend our post-work years playing bowls and bingo. No, what I mean is, in the next few months we may actually be moving into a retirement village to live with my mother-in-law.

Let me take this opportunity to tell you a little about my mother-in-law (MIL). MIL has the Wisdom of Solomon and the patience of Job and Job’s entire extended family. I’ve witnessed these qualities first-hand on a number of occasions, mostly involving a seven-and-a-half month-old grandchild who won’t sleep, but the very first time I was made aware of their depth was on my honeymoon.
Not many people have the opportunity to spend their honeymoon with their mother-in-law. In fact, most people in their right mind wouldn’t want to spend their first few days as a married couple with any of their family. However, having been initiated a long time ago into the strange rituals and customs of the Mister’s family, very little surprises me anymore. From stories of exciting and oddball ancestors, like Aunt Happy the entertainer, to the great grandfather of illegitimate children who owned a large portion of a prestigious and well-known Cape Town suburb. Eccentricity and outlandish behaviour has become the norm for me, so why would spending time with MIL on our honeymoon be strange?

It can’t have been easy sharing a holiday house with a very excitable toddler and an Italian extended family. Just getting up in the morning and trying to arrange an outing to suit the tastes of six outspoken and exceptionally volatile adults and a spirited and emotional little girl takes the acumen, endurance, serenity and diplomacy that even the most hardened hostage negotiator would envy. However, MIL ‘s fortitude prevailed and the improbable little group of tourists were given a tour of Cape Town and it’s surrounds most tour guides would find hard put to match.

Cape Town

So back to our moving in with MIL: our house is going on the market in a few days and may sell quite quickly. If that happens we’ll need somewhere to live. And that’s why we’ll be testing the retirement village waters 20 to 30 years before we’re actually eligible to be moving into one. And I’m not complaining, in fact I’m really excited by the prospect of living with a mom again. How lovely to come home from work, kick off my shoes and go lie in front of the telly for an hour or two before I’m called to dinner. It’ll be just like being back at school again with someone looking after me.

And this moving back in with mom, or in our case mom and MIL, seems to be a new trend. For various reasons lots of people seem to be doing it. Whether it’s because the economy has dictated it, people are looking for new work, or as it would be in our case, you’re between houses, the home of the parents seems to offer the sanctuary it always has. Take a read in the March issue of Essentials magazine about others who’ve had to move back in with their parents and then drop us a comment if you’ve had a similar experience. And have a look at the Essentials website for more interesting reads www.essentials.co.za.