The Luckiest 13

This previous weekend, Friday fell on the 13th. I have to confess I am a bit superstitious so as we were all going to be driving long distances I was a bit antsy. This weekend was Caitlin and Wes’ wedding ceremony. They had booked a house via Air B&B and as we had not seen it in person we were a wee bit anxious.

Ok, by ‘we’ I mean ‘me’. I was anxious.

We spent all morning packing up all of the kids Christmas gifts and loads of food we were taking to share. Norm went down to Hout Bay to try and repair the tyre on my car which looked a bit low when we went out on Thursday. It turned out I needed all new tyres and they could not repair the damaged one, nor could they replace it. Today Norm went down and had all of my tires replaced with nice new ones and he paid for it! I am a lucky woman.

Once he got back from the garage we decided to rather take the truck as I was not keen on taking the car with the spare on it for such a long distance. Norm’s petrol gauge in his truck seems to be broken so we were a bit worried about that but it seemed the less risky of the two issues.

But regardless of our transport choice, we safely arrived at the Lake Lodge on Theewaterskloof Dam near Franschhoek Pass and that is what matters. It was a beautiful area of the country where we had not really adventured. The trees and fields were so green and it was so gorgeous from every angle.

When we arrived at the house Caitlin and Wes were already there so we unloaded the truck and put everyone’s Christmas gifts in their rooms, unpacked our cases and packed away the snacks and food. Slowly everyone trickled in until the expected 15 people were all there. Everyone got stuck into shots and drinks and there was a very festive atmosphere with all of us in high spirits.

Josh and Cole had fun practicing fly fishing.

The first evening the boys lit a big fire on the back patio and grilled / ‘braaied’ some boerewors and chicken sausages. A few of the boys had a swim in the lake as it got very hot when they were cooking at the fire.

Wes had made a big batch of potato salad and some caramelised onions. Caitlin and Lily made a few green salads to round it out and cut some bread rolls to serve the sausages in. Simple but filling fare.

We all had a big munch and kept up the drinking and celebrating. The strong wind blowing in from the lake was quite a challenge but it never got really cold to me, however everyone else had on jackets. There was a games room with a pool table, a foosball table and a table top tennis set. Norm and I played a game of pool at one point. You would never be bored there no matter the weather. There was a big family seating area inside with a group of 3 large couches clustered around a free standing fire place, there was a bar with barstools, there was a giant dining table inside and another outside with patio benches which we pinched to use for the ceremony seating. There was also an area outside at the front of the house where you could sit around a firepit in an area that was more protected from the winds.

The next morning we all woke up early as there was so much to do. Hugh, Caitlin’s dad, had built a wooden arch to hang flowers from to serve as an altar of sorts.

Wes and his sister Paige cooked bacon and scrambled eggs for a late brunch around midday, The electricity was off for most of the day so we all had to rush to get ready quickly when it came back on at 12. I had 3 cold showers throughout my visit as the power was never on long enough for the water to heat up. As it was so hot I did not really mind other than when washing my hair.

The girls spent all day putting the décor together and designing the ceremony area and the tables. Everyone had brought various bits and pieces to add in to the boho design, candles, flowers and all sorts of things. Once Caitlin was finally ready (about half an hour late much to the elevation of Wes’s stress levels) we were all asked to get seated. It was a bit like herding cats who had been at the cat nip.

Finally everyone took their place and the ceremony could begin.

We all boohooed at how beautiful Caitlin looked when she came walking through the garden with her father. You can hear someone sniffling in the background of the video (probably me).

Caitlin and Wes looked so perfect together. Caitlin had her dress made by a local lady who had also made a friend’s wedding dress. Caitlin just sent some images to her for ideas and it was made up quickly and professionally and I think the dress is absolutely stunning. It is very much Caitlin’s style, elegant, practical and comfortable.

I loved seeing Norm conduct the ceremony. He did a great job at keeping the sequence of events flowing.

After the vows and the rings were exchanged we all joined together in a circle to throw rose petals at the happy couple.

Then they snapped pics of all of the family groups. First, the parents: from left, Norm, Me, father of the bride Hugh, his wife Byki, Caitlin, Wes, and finally Wes’ parents Susan and Joe.

Then the siblings all had a pic, from left, Wes’ sister Paige, my son Trevor, Caitlin, Wes, my youngest daughter Lily and their stepsister Migz.

Poor Caitlin got pulled around and forced to pose all over the property. The house we rented is on a working apple farm so they took her for a stroll in the orchards. I love this ethereal photo.

She looked absolutely exquisite.

I snapped a selfy with my two favourite men in the entire universe, my son Trevor and my darling husband.

Norm looked so handsome and I was very proud of him.

While they were taking the photos of Caitlin and Wes, Norm and I popped loads of snacks into the oven and we put out a bit of a spread for people to nibble on to keep them upright with all of the drinking! We put out loads of chicken and beef samosas, arancini balls, sesame chicken bits, grapes, cheeses, fresh loaves of bread, hummus, dips and crackers. Everyone had a bit of a bite to keep them going.

For the post-wedding dinner we had decided to go to a restaurant rather than deal with caterers or cooking ourselves. We had booked a shuttle to take us into Franschhoek to Allora Restaurant. It was about a half hour drive of curves and chaos in that van.

We had a huge table for 15 set up on their patio. It was such a hot evening but was quite windy but it was too warm to sit inside so this was perfect.

We were given menus and popped open the bottles of wine we had brought with us (we paid corkage) and ordered drinks and chatted. The waiter came around to take our orders and told us that due to load shedding the kitchen extractor fan was not working so they would not be able to grill anything because of the smoke, and they also could not deep fry anything as the fryer takes up too much electricity for the generator to cope. We were highly annoyed at this since we had booked in advance, phoned ahead to confirm and spoke to them when we were seated so it is not as if they did not have time to discuss their limitations.

We expressed that we were unhappy as many of us had decided to order steaks. The waiter obviously realised he was risking a table of 15 people walking off to find a new venue and went to speak to the chef who decided that as it was early and we were basically the only table ordering steaks, we could put our order in quickly before the venue filled up.

I ordered the Filleto alla Aurora but as they could not do fries I had it with pasta and knicked a wee bit of Norm’s mushroom sauce as he ordered the Filleto ai Porcini.

My steak was cooked perfectly and once I doctored up my rather plain pasta with the mushroom sauce, added in some garlic, chili and parmesan that was on the table, I was as happy as could be.

After dinner the shuttle collected us and we went back to the house for speeches and to cut the cake. We all took a glass of champagne and both of the fathers gave a speech and we toasted the beautiful couple.

Caitlin’s step-sister Migz had made the most gorgeous carrot cake and brought some krispy kremes to decorate it as we all love them.

Such a beautiful couple cutting a beautiful cake, what could go wrong? Luckily Caitlin has fast hands and saved the slice from flopping onto the ground.

After the cake was served we all changed into comfy clothes and went out to the firepit where the boys had scavenged for loads of driftwood and built a roaring fire.

Everyone stayed up until they were ready to crash, some early and some late. It was a long and exhausting day.

The next morning we all got up and made instant coffee using a kettle on the gas stove as once again it was load-shedding. Everyone made a slow start and packed up and one by one everyone hit the road. We stopped at Peregrine Farm Stall on our way and got a gorgeous pie, I had chicken and Norm had spinach and feta. We made a slow journey home and arrived just after one pm and did a hand over with the house sitter. The dogs were happy to see us as always.

Today would have been my maternal Grandfather’s birthday and he would be 128 years old. His mother was full blooded Cherokee so he is one side that contributes to my lineage.

It is also Lily, my baby girl’s, birthday. She is now at the end of her first trimester and is looking so adorable with her little 3 month preggo belly. She looked so beautiful at the wedding all in black with bright red jewelry and lipstick.

Trevor told her she looked like me with her dark hair, red lips and bright jewelry. It is a great compliment as she is so beautiful. She laughed because everything she was wearing was second hand from me. The necklace was a gift from a friend who has since passed away so that made me smile to think of him being there with us in spirit.

Tonight Norm and I cooked dinner and ate together outside. He cooked fillet steaks and halloumi and I cooked the last pack of arancini balls left from our trip and made a salad. It was perfect food with a perfect view with my perfect husband.

I have had the most amazing weekend with family. Everyone got on so well and did their best to make it perfect for Cait and Wes. A wedding can be immense pressure and they did everything just the way they wanted, with no interference from anyone. I was so pleased for them that it turned out so perfectly.

I have 3 amazing, gorgeous, kind and loving ‘children’, a grand-baby on the way and the best husband any woman could ask for. My Mom is still relatively healthy and in great spirits. Norm and I both have jobs we enjoy. I could not ask for more. In fact all that I am currently receiving was manifested last year.

I wish you all a fabulous 2023, if you can visualise it, it can happen. Make it happen.

Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxox

*Yes my videos are being weird, go watch them directly via the instagram link cos I am over the faffing 🙂

2 thoughts on “The Luckiest 13

  1. Chris Qualls

    I’ve been enjoying the photos you’ve posted on Instagram. And it’s wonderful that Norm conducted the service! A true blending of families, past and present! #congratulationstoall

    Liked by 1 person

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