My sis's friend was getting married and in a flash we decided: why not come down for the weekend?
That is now - from Ireland to South Africa.
She did it to a day exactly 10 years ago as well, when our cousin got married. Within 48 hours we flew down to Cape Town, drove up the West Coast, dipped our toes in the icy, icy waters of Strandfontein, joined a family wedding in Lutzville, drove back south and stopped every now and then: for a seaside lunch at Muisbosskerm, beach runs at Elandsbaai and Lambertsbaai, and ran into Cape Town airport with sea sand clinging to our legs :-)
So we did it again.
She arrived Friday morning, and after meeting a friend, we did a quick shopping pit stop, picked up the boys and started packing.
Saturday morning we hit the N3.
Crossing the Drakensberg we saw clouds and fog gathering near Montrose.
|Legend has it that a boy fell into a rock crevice hereabouts, could not be rescued and in the end was shot by his father. There's even an old Afrikaans poem telling this tale.|
Some crochet came along! My sis sat in the back and did a few squares for Yarn Indaba 2014, I re-started (for the last time!) my Summer Throw. Still using the Mount Vernon pattern, but switched to Vinnis Nikkim instead of the Bambi, and using the simulated braided join now.
As we descended into KwaZulu-Natal, the clouds got darker.
|Don't let the names fool you - we're not in the Highlands|
But much like the Highland cattle, Zululand cows also stray into the road:
Funerals are big business, and this is a common sight in rural areas on a Saturday. It has, unfortunately also turned into a "be seen" occasion, with fashion, girls and cars being flaunted.
And then we arrived in Dundee, among billowing clouds and rumbling thunder, and the church ceremony ended with a ferocious thunder storm. Off to the reception and what's more fun than a farm wedding in a shed? This one had beautiful old hard-wood chairs, raw brick and white and green flowers. A hoard of children were occupied in another beautifully renovated shed by a handful of nannies.
Turns out that the farm's previous owner was my MIL's uncle!
Luckily there were lot of candles - another mother of all thunderstorms broke loose and the electricity went out at least three times.
|Loose bunches of green and white flowers and foliage in glass jars decorated the tables.|
Happiness - three university friends reunited! My sis is on the right - I loved her tea frock.
Even though we only ate at 20h30, it was such a happy occasion, dripping with rain everywhere, kids asleep all over and just general joy.
The next day, as we were so near, and it presented an "educational opportunity", I convinced the dear, suffering husband to make the 80 km detour roundtrip to the Blood River/Ncome museum complex.
At Blood River, a definitive battle in Voortrekker-Afrikaner history took place, during which a relatively small group of Voortrekkers defeated the huge Zulu army. They made a vow to God to build a church should they be spared, which they did in Pietermaritzburg.
The reason for the battle?
The Voortrekkers launched a revenge commando after two previous attacks by the Zulu.
The Zulu defended their land against an invasion of foreigners.
It ended in blood.
|A life-sized replica of the ox-wagon lager marks the spot where the Voortrekkers took position.|
|Across the river, a brand-new complex commemorating the Zulu side has been completed. It was built in the shape of the "buffalo horn" attack formation ; this exhibit displaying the shields of the different regiments.|
|Bloedrivier to the left, Ncome to the right, and the river still divides them. A reconciliation bridge between the two sites is under construction|
Driving in Zululand, you have to be careful. But our goats are clever - they listen to and react to the sound of a hooter.
(Cattle don't, they'll jump around any which way. Donkeys just ignore you and will stand where they are. Chicken will just blindly run).
And then we headed back for the long drive home past the plains of the Free State and Gauteng.
And then it was Monday and time for her to go home to Ireland :-(
But not before we fitted in a crochet-with-coffee get-together with friends! We hooked quite a few squares, and received a huge number more to deliver to deliver to the organisers.
More about that...later.