Kokstad Christmas – Part 2

The weather on Christmas morning was a tad warmer than it had been. The kids woke us around 7 ish and said coffee would be served in front of The Tree. So we got up and started to get into our Christmas finery.  The Earl put his foot into his shoe and said – “I can’t get my foot in – what’s in here?”


A frog in his shoe!

After releasing that little problem we headed over for the fun bit.


Pre-Breakfast snacks


The Tree


Simon and Grandpa waiting to start


Shan looking gorgeous in her Christmas outfit


Not to big to sit on Grampy’s lap


Our Beautiful Rural Family

Once fortified with Christmas cake, mince pies and coffee, we opened our gifts.   The process more than the actual gifts gave us the most pleasure.


The cats gave Shan a name for her bedroom!  Si got one too.


Gran and Grampy thrilled with a book all about The Kruger National Park


Military vehicle card game for Si


And some more Lego – which he just loves


After the gift opening ceremony a light brekkie was served.  I decided to skip it – I mean why eat oats when mince pies are so yummy!

Soon it was time to join the Bakers on the other side of Kaag’s Post for a Christmas Braai.  We pooled our chops, boerewors, carrot and pineapple salad and potato and butternut bake to the volume of food that others had brought. Of course there was way too much but it was all delicious and yes in spite of all good intentions we over-indulged on all the good stuff!


Sean seeing to the braai


Corne cooking pork on the Weber

Friends of the Bakers Corne and his lovely wife and kids joined us this year.   Robyn and Shan took the little girls horse riding on the front lawn.


The Bakers are soon to be leaving Kokstad and relocating to George so it was the last time we would be celebrating Christmas at their beautiful home.   Shan had us all write a sentence about the years of friendship we’ve had with them, printed out some memorable photographs and made the most stunning farewell card for them.


The Bakers


Robyn reads the card

I think the Bakers loved it.  Farewell Nicoline, Sean, Scott and Robyn.  We won’t be seeing you in Kokstad again but George is not so far away from Struisbaai so we hope to catch in The Western Cape soon.


We feast again!

You would think that after lunch nobody would want to move for the next few hours – but not these three young families.  They all went onto the front lawn and had an energetic game of soccer – an excellent way to work off the excess.


A fun game of soccer


Even the dogs joined in


Why don’t the humans give us the ball


And in the end a human pile-up!

What a great day it was.  It was cold by the time 5 o’clock came round but nothing could spoil our lovely Christmas.

Today we continued with celebrations when Andrew, Barbara and Shirl came over to share a roast gammon with us.   And for the rest of the week, I believe we will be living on leftovers!

Merry Christmas everyone.  Hope you all had a wonderful time with family and friends.





Kokstad Christmas – Part 1

Those of you who follow my blog regularly know that we are currently visiting our clan in Kokstad.  We started our Christmas celebrations early.  On Wednesday The Bakers came over for a pre-Christmas dinner. We wore the silly hats and pulled the surprise pack crackers and shared the corny jokes that popped out too.  It really got us all into the Christmas spirit


Nicoline, Shan and Scott


Simon and Robyn


Al, Si, Shan, Scott, Me, Earl, Lauren


Al, Nicoline, Shan, Scott, Si, Robyn, Sean, Me, Lauren

We have had unseasonably cold weather this December so when we saw that the sun would be shining on Thursday we headed off to a dam in the mountains so the ‘boys’ could do some fishing.  What a lovey cottage we had on The Du Plessis farm in the Swartberg.

It was Allan’s birthday on Friday.   He and Simon were out fishing very early on on their return we presented the gifts and had a slap-up breakfast to celebrate his special day.


My Rural Family


Scrumptious Birthday Breakfast

Al is such a great dad and his kids expressed this so well in the cards they made.


Al, Earl and Simon fished and caught a total of nine bass. They kept two which The Earl cooked for lunch when we were back home.

Because of the iffy weather we have not done much outdoorsy stuff but on Sunday at the rude hour of 6:30 am my son-in-law and granddaughter knocked on the door – Hey Gran – do you want to come for a walk.

I thought it would be a gentle stroll along gravel paths suitable for a 65 year old grandmother.


Like this

But no –  they took me on a bundu bashing ramble across farmlands, over barbed wire fences, through long, possibly snake-infested grass while dodging thorny thistles, low overhanging branches and rabbit holes.


Do you see the reed buck and the dog? – No?  That’s how long the grass was!

Cody smelt a reed buck – but it was too clever for him and kept dead still – all we could see were it’s horns sticking up from the long grass.


We bent over to get through the trees


And climbed through many tricky fences

The plan was to cross the river over a bridge and then take the shortcut back to their farm but somehow the it seemed not to be there and so we headed back through the long grass observing many pretty buck and birds before reaching home two hours after we started out!



It was all worth the effort for the pretty scenes we saw


Lovely river – no bridge

Considering that Shan and Al both have much longer legs than I, I think I did okay to keep up with them – Yes my limbs felt like jelly at the end of it but it was great fun.  I think I might join them again.

Today we celebrated Christmas with The Bakers and tomorrow we’re having the Macs over – More about that next time.


Merry Christmas

A Merry and Blessed Christmas to all my family and friends and those who read my blog.


Earl and I were the first ones up at 7 this morning and we started on the preparations. We set the tone for the day by putting on some Christmas music and by 10 0’clock  everybody was up and dressed and ready to open presents.

Grandpa warned the boys that Santa was not going to be too generous this year and that they were now too big for presents.   Really?   So they decided instead to give him a big surprise.  They presented him with the biggest box from under the tree.

IMG_3395He read the note – Dear Earl – From Santa.

He looked somewhat surprised – Who is Santa?  he asked.  The boys just laughed.

He ripped of the wrapping then opened the box only to find another, then another inside until the final one which looked like it might hold a new cell phone.  By now the boys could hardly contain themselves. Then – omigosh what is this – A small piece of black coal! And  a note – Dear Earl – You’ve been a naughty boy – Love Santa!

The boys were rolling on the floor laughing and Earl’s face was a picture – we have it all on video – That will teach you for teasing your lads, Grandpa!

Luckily he has a sense of humour and he loved the pressie they finally gave him – biltong and a book – H is for Hawk – which is all about falconry.



I was spoiled with my favourite perfume and some choccies


Laurie did her Christmas shopping in Thailand so we all got Thai pressies


Jay said he looked like Grandpa in his new shorts!


Josh looking pleased with some Man products – Girls beware!


The girls wearing their gifts from each other – With Jay getting in on the scene!

There were 10 of us for a traditional Christmas lunch.


The Turkey just out the oven


Ready to tuck in!

We served turkey stuffed with pork sausage and Smoked Gammon with all the trimmings – gem squash, sweet potato, butternut and a Greek Salad.

Dessert was Carrol’s famous trifle and we had mince pies for afternoon tea.

A wonderful time was had by all.






Struisbaai Holiday Day 11 – Christmas in Struisbaai

Christmas Day – and the first time in the 30 years I have been with Earl that we have had Christmas here in Struisbaai!   And yes – it has been stunning.

We usually celebrate Christmas with our kids in Kokstad and I, the photographer, insist that everybody is dressed before we open presents.  This year the tradition with the support of Lauren and Allan was changed somewhat – everybody had to have an early morning run/walk/swim then return to shower and dress before present opening could begin.  Simon, Shannon and Josh were up at the proverbial Sparrow’s f*&t and looked decidedly grumpy when they were told that present opening was not going to happen.  They roused Jay and he was instantly alert and ready to go. Lauren roused her sister and a Christmas miracle happened. She came albeit reluctantly, to the beach with us!

Struisbaai Beach with the good sports going for a morning jog

Struisbaai Beach with the good sports going for a morning jog – Jay at rapid pace, Granny at steady slow slog, Josh encouraging Shan to hurry up.

Once on the beach were like playful puppies again and ready to enjoy the early morning low tide and sea breeze.   Jay ran right on ahead, Shannon decided to wait for her parents, Josh kept pace with Jay for a while then ran back to get Simon and then caught up with me just before the Big B where I turn (Jay was already well on his way back to the start point)   Sisi is only eight and was doing jolly well.  Of course they beat me back but what a pleasure to see my grandsons enjoying an outdoor activity together.

Granny pace

Granny pace

Best part of the day

Best part of the day

Back home once everybody was washed and dressed we started the present opening ceremony.  Si did the handing out and I of course did most of the photography.

Waiting for Christmas

Waiting for Christmas

Look what Santa gave me

Look what Santa gave me

Oh Wow

Oh Wow

Cool Stuff

Cool Stuff

Simon reading the names

Simon reading the names

How do I read this novel?

How do I read this novel?

You don't read it. It reads to you!

You don’t read it. It reads to you!

The gift chosen by Joshua was a tiny clock set in an old fashioned telephone.  It came in a wooden box – so when Lisa opened it she thought it was jewellery box.  Big surprise when she found another little gift inside.

An old fashioned telephone  clock! Just what I always wanted

An old fashioned telephone clock! Just what I always wanted

Laurie's gift to Simon

Laurie’s gift to Simon

Jay and Shan

Jay and Shan

Josh opening his gift

Josh opening his gift

Thanks Kids!

Thanks Kids!

The kids couldn’t wait to try out Simon and Shannon’s new game and there were shrieks and giggles as they tried to figure out the words from clues given in less than 30 seconds a go.

Kids playing Thirty Seconds

Kids playing Thirty Seconds

After breakfast we headed to the beach where the kids had fun on the boogy boards and the parents mainly lay in the sun.  The tide was coming in and so the four cousins tried to fight it with their forts and castles.  It was great to see that Jay and Joshua, in spite of being in their teens were quite happy to join the younger ones in this simple game.

Having fun on Struisbaai Beach

Having fun on Struisbaai Beach

036 Jay



Having fun

Shannon joins in

The tide finally came and chased them from their fortress and it was time to get out of the sun.

Our youngest, Laurie, had Christmas lunch with her father’s family and then drove up to join us in time for Christmas supper.   It was wonderful to have the extended blended family together again.

Our Dinner was cooked in the Weber

Our Dinner was cooked in the Weber

Lauren prepared delicious peri peri chicken livers for our starter.

Getting the starter together

Getting the starter together

The kids were exhausted after an exciting and fun-filled day and after helping most efficiently with the cleaning up were all in bed by 9 o’clock.  The adults relaxed with a cup of coffee and watched Love Actually and enjoyed the Christmas Lights.

Allan and Laurie enjoying the Christmas Lights

Allan and Laurie enjoying the Christmas Lights