23 September 2008

Arbour week, Arniston, CTN

Arbour Week

During the 1st week in September South Africa Celebrated Arbour Week.

I went out with our Indigenous Forest Rangers to schools and into the community to plant trees and teach people about the importance of indigenous trees. Here are some piccies!!


Friday 12th September

My day at work was full of nonsense; I was arranging stuff for the next week’s international costal clean-ups and was generally pretty busy. I jumped at the chance to go for a massage when Loren from the Farm txt me and said she was going. Just before I had my massage, I got a phone call from Mel telling me to get my bum down to Wilderness as we were going away for the weekend, so after my AMAZING massage I jumped in the car, getting to Wilderness by 7.30pm.

We took Adrian’s “Black bitch” (his Honda) and headed to George to buy essentials for the weekend (meat, wine, shredded cabbage) then started on our journey. Before leaving George Adi’s car broke down, and then miraculously started to work again. So we started on the long journey to Arniston, deciding that we would turn back if the car broke down again before Mossel Bay. The car broke down at Albertinia (just the other side of Mossel Bay) we were stuck there for hours at “Droppies Drankwinkle” (a bar that smelt of urine and served warm, dusty beer!) waiting for a mechanic, who said there was an electrical fault. He cut a couple of wires and sent us on out way.

We arrived at Arniston at 1am, and braaied until 6am.

Saturday 13th September

At 10am, after not much sleep, we were woken by Adrian and Eloise wanting to go to the beach. I made bacon and eggs for everyone then we headed down to the sea in the back of Eloise’s twin cab. The sea was a stunning turquoise and the weather was fantastic. Eloise and I went back to get the wetsuits as the sea was cold but we wanted to swim. After a while swimming everyone apart from me, Jimmy and Warren went to the shop (and to look for Mel who was pining over pimple man). We stayed on the beach and built an amazing sandcastle using the bucket and rake set that Mel had bought for me from Wilderness Caltex.

We all lazed on the beach for the rest of the afternoon, then went to the nearest town to get supplies for the evening. When we came back, Eloise gave us a tour of the old fishing town of Arniston, and then we all went a frolicked on the sand dunes and explored some caves.

We watched the sunset over the dunes before heading back to the house.

We braaied at a more sensible time this evening. Some of Eloise’s friends from CTN joined us and brought a sound system and disco lights. Mel and I made it out mission to finish our bag of wine (possibly a mistake). We spent most of the night dancing along with Warren and Jimmy, before heading to the beach at about 1am. I went to bed at 2 as I wanted to get up for low tide to do some snorkeling with Adi, everyone else stayed up to play 30 seconds.

Sunday 14th September

Guess what? Melaney and I were the only ones up in time for snorkeling, so instead we took a walk to the shop to get some loo roll. We stopped of for a coffee at the hotel before heading back to the house. By the time we got back everyone else was up. We lazed about on the lawn in the sun before tidying the house and heading home. We met Susie on our way; she had been in Cape Town. Adi’s car was doing well up until just after Swellendam, where it lost power and smelt like burning electricals. We pushed his car to the side of the road and lifted the bonnet. All of the wiring from the battery had melted into one sticky black mess. Mel and Adi struggled for about an hour to separate the wire. A passer by gave us the number of a local mechanic. He took one look and told us that it would take a good couple of days to fix, so Susie and Adi went to Swellendam to buy some tow rope.

After spending a while platting the rope, we hit the road heading for Heidelberg (38Km away). I was driving Susie’s Yaris at about 35Km/hr, we couldn’t go any faster as the towing loops were on opposite sides of the cars and the heavy Honda kept pulling the Yaris’s tail to the left, especially when we were in the dips of hills (of which there are many on this section) causing the Yaris to fish-tail. On the way up a very steep hill, I had to change the Yaris down into first. The toque was too much and the rope snapped. At this point Susie and I refused to tow any further as it was too dangerous. Adrian called the AA, who towed him back to Swellendam (costing R800!)

We went home in Susie’s car. I stopped at Wilderness over night. Adi stayed at a hotel in Swellendam.

Monday 15th September.

I woke up in the morning next to what sounded like Darth Vader. Mel was ill and struggling to breath. I went to the caltex to get her some medicine, and then left for home. I stopped in Knysna to get a tyre changed on my car, then arrived at work by 10am.

So far as the black bitch goes…life is not good. The dealership in Swellendam could not source the parts, and wanted R4000 to tow it to George. Luckily for Adi his parents we on their way to Groot Brak Rivier so towed him. On the way the tow rope snapped, which also snapped Adi’s bumper. A week later, and finally the parts have been sourced; although it looks like the end is nigh as Adi has decided to sell it as soon as it is fixed!

Susie’s sad goodbye!

Friday 19th September

I finished work at midday and drove down to Wilderness to pick up Melaaney. Just before Sedgefield I got a call from Mum saying she had been in a car accident, but luckily she was ok, just very bruised!!

I took my car to “Wilderness wash” before I went to Mel’s house, as it stank of cow poo after a week of doing River Clean-ups in the community. By the time we had loaded the car etc. it was 3pm and we headed on out way. We swapped drivers at half way. The journey was fairly uneventful, apart from bumping onto a guy who had been stalking Mel on our night clubbing at Carouse when we stopped to fill up with petrol!

We got to Mel’s house at Table View at about 8pm. Her parents are lovely, and very pleased to see their daughter. Mel’s Mum had left little toblerone bars on the pillows for us! We had supper then headed to Long Street to meet up with Jimmy and Susie.

We went to Long St CafĂ©, where we drank a couple of cocktails, then went dancing at Pretoria’s (formally Jo’bergs). I spent the night at Susie’s uncle’s beautiful house in Lundudno so that Mel could spend some time alone with her folks on Saturday morning.

Saturday 20th September

We had planned to go to Kirstenbosh botanical gardens to watch the sunrise, but tequila had quashed that plan. Instead we got up around 9am and went to the beach. At lunchtime we went to Canal Walk Mall to meet Mel and grab some lunch. There was a flying display happening that was shaking the windows of the shopping centre as the planes were breaking through the sound barrier! After lunch, Susie went to say bye to her family and pack, Jermaine went to visit his family, and Mel went to her cousin’s son’s 1yr Birthday party. As I had no family to visit I went underwear shopping instead, getting thoroughly distressed as all the pretty bras only went up to a C cup!! After a long and arduous trek around the mall, I finally found success at good old Wollies (our M&S equivalent)

Mel met me back at the Mall and we shopped for a prezzie for Susie then headed back to Mel’s for supper and to make Susie’s card. We met Susie at the airport at nearly 10pm. She was very tearful. By the time we had all had a coffee it was time for her to board. It was horrible watching her and Jermaine say goodbye, and Jimmy did really well not to cry until after Susie had left. Jimmy had brought his friends, Darren and Darren. We arranged to meet Jimmy and the 2 Darrens at a club in Durbenville. We got to the club and it was rubbish, so we went to hustle at the pool bar next door and intended to go back to the club later when it got better. The boys met us at the pool bar and after just a couple of games we hit the dance floor. The “Power of Mel” was as always working the dance floor, and after plenty of tequila Jimmy was working the pole!! I was dezzie driver but it didn’t matter as I still pulled out the moves, and at 4:30 am when we were pretty much the only people left on the dance floor I suggested that we should head home!!

I stayed at Mel’s house in her sister’s bed, although Mel ended up joining me for a spooning sesh with about 5 blankets as it was freezing!

Sunday 21st September

Mel got up at about 9am to spend some time with her folks, I rolled out of bed at a more tasteful time of about 10:30. I met with Jill from Karongwe, who happens to live just around the corner from Mel, for a delicious carrot cake and iced coffee. We sat and chatted for a couple of hours, then I collected Mel and we wet to get Jimmy. We left CTN at about 4pm and Fabio got us to Wilderness by 7:30pm (I’m just waiting for all the speeding fines) We spent an hour at Mels to re-group (nap time for me) and have some jelly with fruit. I was home by 11pm and went straight to sleep!!!