A Diary of the Craziest Day-Off Ever

James Preston Reply 6:46 AM
Looking at this photo you would never have thought
the wind was that bad. It wasn't, until our race was
about to start.
Firstly, a big thank you for the Birthday Wishes last week Friday. I had a wonderful weekend and all your messages, chocolates, gifts and wishes mean a lot to me. Birthdays are my love language.

The Midmar Mile wasn't exactly a success. I had trained my butt off (well, actually my pectorals off) for a month to try and break 35 minutes. But you can train all you like, if the weather's bad, you're in trouble. There was a 35km/h crosswind blowing diagonally across/toward the swim route, and every freestyle stroke was a hand into a wave. It was blowing so strong it actually turned me around at one stage! Yes, I lifted my head up (something I don't do enough when swimming Midmar) only to see everyone was swimming towards me!

But still, clocking 38:50 under 40 mins in those conditions was OK. But missing a goal after so much training was a bit of a letdown. It taught me that you can't win 'em all. As an "achiever", I love achieving goals. But you have to accept the losses sometimes.

Now, this week's Blog is one I've been wanting to do for a while now. A short diary about one of the most eventful days you could ever experience.

It happened 2 days after Christmas 2013, when Corinne, Joel and I decided to take a good friend of ours, Jennifer Weir, up to Albert Falls for the day. Something we like doing every few months. Just get out in the open South African air for a day.

But this day wasn't like any other day.

It started with the typical mad rush of trying to get out for the day with a toddler. Between actually remembering and then packing everything you might just need for baby, it can take you hours!

Jen arrived right on schedule (as she normally does) at 8am. We thought that would give us enough time to have breakfast, pack, and be ready. We were wrong.

We left home at 9am, and still had to hit the Supermarket for our picnic snacks. Between that and filling up with petrol, we got going at 9:30am.

Normal day ahead? Seemed it at the time...

We then decided to visit a different dam than the usual Albert Falls. Kwazulu-Natal has some beautiful dams spread out across the Province, each with protected areas of South African bush. And apparently "Nagle Dam" was one of the pearls.

So we figured we'd give it a shot.

But after 45 mins of driving through some of the remotest, rural landscape you can find, we were beginning to wonder how good an idea it was.

We arrived at the gate. Which was overgrown with Bush, unmanned, and wide open. Anyone could drive in or out, which we did... nervously.

The dam and its surrounding landscape is indeed beautiful. But there was one other person at the entire dam, and it just didn't feel right. Or safe. Especially with 2 ladies and a baby around. The ladies convinced me to take the extra 45 mins trip to Albert Falls.

So bye-bye Nagle. You were fun. But you had to go.

Thanks to a single "Pietermaritzburg" sign at a T-junction, we took an unchartered road following up the escarpment of KZN's beautiful Table Mountain, which, once ascended, gave us this beautiful view of the Nagle Landscape...

After 45 mins of seriously unchartered yet typically beautiful KZN landscape, and a wrong turn into a fun township, we made it to the glorious Albert Falls. After spending 20 mins driving around looking for a spot, we unloaded. Only to realise we didn't have cheese.

NO CHEESE!? What will go on our rolls with ham, butter and sauce?

So we all shoved in the car, shot out to the Cafe´ just outside the dam to buy cheese. And an ice-cream, of course.

We finally unloaded for the second time, only to be overwhelmed with flies. Did anyone bring Peaceful Sleep? No? How about citronella? No? Note for next trip.

An hour later, as we were settling, a storm blew in from nowhere and the heavens opened. It poured. And poured.

We were stuck in our car thinking "what now?"

The Midlands Mall!

We decided to take the 20min drive to Pietermaritzburg's Midlands Mall would be better than sitting in a humid car all afternoon.

It was. Much better.

We walked the entire length of KZN's 4th biggest mall. Bought coffee. Shopped at Woolworths. Bought 2014 diaries from Typo (why doesn't Durban have a Typo!?). Had a milkshake at Fego. And took Joel to the funpark.

At the funpark, and after over an hour in the Mall, the windows revealed the sun had miraculously re-appeared.

It got into my wife's head that we should go back to Albert Falls. It was 5pm. Joel gets fed at 5:30pm. KFC fixed that.

We bought some uncrumbed chicken and mash from KFC, and headed back.

It was beautiful. The rain-soaked landscape provided a glorious setting. This Giraffe, in some lucky millionaire's garden, was testament to that.

We climbed out the car and enjoyed the empty dam.

 We breathed in the fresh air.
As did Joel. He loved the open spaces once more and was his character-filled self one again...

 Pulling all kinds of faces.

But as you can see in the top right of this pic...

... the rain came back. Yes. It came back.

We had just unpacked, ready to enjoy the country evening and feed Joel. Until the heavens opened. Again.

We stuffed everything into the car, and figured we better call it day. Before it started raining pigs. Or something crazier.

And so concluded the craziest day-off ever. The most eventful day I have ever experienced. And I've experienced a lot.

  • Packing.
  • The Shops.
  • Petrol.
  • Nagle Dam.
  • Table Mountain.
  • Pietermaritzburg Township.
  • Albert Falls.
  • No cheese.
  • Cafe´.
  • Albert Falls.
  • Flies.
  • Rain.
  • Midlands Mall.
  • Midlands Mall.
  • Midlands Mall.
  • Funpark.
  • KFC.
  • Albert Falls.
  • Rain.
  • Home.

Don't ask me what we had for dinner. I can't remember. Your brain can only process so much in one day.

To our friend Jennifer Weir, thanks for sticking it out with us. This Blog is dedicated to you! I told you I'd Blog about it!

What was your craziest day like? Tell us some stories!

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Spiritual Blog of 2013!

Spiritual Blog of 2013!

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