It all seems like a distant memory now since being back to work.
All I can say is that it was absolutely amazing!
We left England on the 29th March, despite South African Airways best efforts – they had double booked the plane and scattered everybody in individual seats, even though we had pre-allocated and had printed confirmation!!. Luckily, I am used to “The African way” and after a few strong words, we at least managed to get in small family groups which was fine.
I want to say a big thanks to Sarah Godwin of Travel Counsellors for sorting out the tickets and travel arrangements – she is brilliant and I will never try to do this on my own again as she got an overall better deal as well as sorting lots of other details out too.
Our good friends Neale and Sam James of Breathe Pictures came with us to record our special event, and so the photos started from Heathrow really right until we got home – this will be a pretty unique wedding album when its finished as they took hundreds of pictures throughout the week. My Cousin’s wife, Cathy, brought along a bear called Barney, who has been photoed in all sorts of places – she wouldnt let me take it on the rifle range though……funnily, it was strip/internally searched at Heathrow, much to the ammusement of fellow passengers!
Anyway, as you know, we arranged this wedding “blind”, relying on our friends Coen and Alta Vermaak to arrange the whole wedding – we only knew the colour schemes and thats about it really. We were just happy to accept whatever happened and enjoy the day. As it happened (also knowing Coen and Alta as we do) everything was just perfect.
The venue, Heia Safari Lodge in Muldersdrift was simply beautiful. Set in 600 Hectares, it has a huge dam packed with fish, loads of animals including Rhino & Giraffes as well as tons of plains game (Zebra, Wildebeest, Springbok, Impala etc) just roaming freely around the camp and tons of birds too. My uncle Rod has now become a “twitcher” and was often seen creeping about, binoculars in hand….
Freckles, the large male Giraffe, was in the track as we arrived – Karen Loves Giraffes and it seemed that even he had come to greet us! He was also at the gate when we departed too – do they know?
As expected, there was another “Bachelor Party” sorted at a friends plot just up the road so all the boys went off for a quick drink – yeh right!
It was a joint party – Korbus, who owned the plot by the river was also celebrating a birthday. The Brits, who had never experienced a proper African Jawl before, were a little apprehensive when we arrived at the rivers edge to just a table full of booze and a Braai, but they soon got into the spirit of it – literally – and were introduced to Richeleau and Coke – the staple drink for Afrikaners.
Korbus is a great chap – completely mental though. I owe him a debt of gratitude for saving both Karen and Courtney from being swept out to sea in a rip tide a few years ago. He is a brilliant spear fisherman and gets towed out to sea about a mile and simply free dives for fish amongst the sharks etc – clinically insane I think. He also has two Dalmatians as guard dogs, who he can get to attack on command. Well he wanted to show the Brits this and got the dogs so wound up, one attacked him and bit him badly on the side of his head! Neale didn’t get any pictures of this as he basically ran for cover when the dog went mental (as did the rest of us too!), but then Korbus’s father in law tried to disinfect the wound with Whiskey and Coen had to pin Korbus down…..what fun!
Anyway, the stories can go on, but I think I will save them for a rainy day.
Needless to say, we got married at 4:30pm – Karen looked stunning – its not often I am speachless – as did our two daughters, Kelly and Courtney who were our Bridesmaids. I also managed to get Coen in a suit – I am told its a first as well – and the day went off without a hitch.
The video cameraman did break the ice though. As Karen arrived next to me and the Minister was just starting his piece, the cameraman managed to knock one of the pedestals carrying flowers over with a boom mic. There was an almighty crash and I though Alta was going to strangle him – but we all laughed and then settled down to the ceremony.
Afterwards, we arranged for Zulu dancers to perform, whilst we went off for photos etc – I am told they were brilliant, we only saw about 10 minutes so I cant wait to see them on the video when we get it.
I only have one picture at the moment as Neale is busy working on them – so here it is!