Thaai’s 50th birthday @ Ilifu

My time in Hogsback is always made up of memorable moments of bliss. I just have to report on yet another amazing happening at Ilifu! We celebrated Thaaitjie, JD’s niece (yes I am her aunt even though I am way- way younger than 50…) 50th birthday in granda style right here in Ilifu’s fairytale garden.

She pictured the occasion with long laden tables, flowers, abundant wine and champagne, not to mention beautiful people chattering over exquisite food, while music played to the sound of nature shaking the dust off her blossoming veil…Uhmmm, I think she got all that and way, way more. Someone up there must also think that she is really a very special person, and organised the most accommodating weather to make her wildest dream come true

The occasion kicked off with me and Thaai finally arriving in Hogsback on the Wednesday night after having to abandon my ailing car in Bloemfontein and borrowing my sis’s car to get us here (thanx Ellie- so much for lending me your brand spanking new baby- nobody else would have done that!) Thaai then set off to go and fetch her long-time friends, Louise and Nonnie in East Londen, two hours away. Nonnie is the Italian connection and has bravely volunteered to come and do the cooking for this most momentous day. She also brought with her ready made sauces and all her pasta making equipment as everything (all the pasta) were to be made from scratch.

We started the celebrations early and had a pre-birthday jive-dinner as it was Nonnie’s birthday on the Thursday and we had to make sure that the Italian music was going to work for the Saterday. Mitti, Roy, Cecile Dolf also arrived and we kicked off with Hogsback filet in a cream sauce and Lakoekaracha to which we had a bit of a cha-cha-cha.

Friday was the day for the baking af THE cake. And what a cake it was. More or less a hundred layers were individually created with a filling in between and a 2die4 glaze over the top. The girls truly excelled themselves. In the mean time the rest of the troops arrived in droves and Friday night was spent around the fireplace, chit-chatting and catching up on family and friends

Saturday morning we all got up nice and early in anticipation of all the preparations. It was a communal affair with the kids pitching in to help Nonnie and Louise make the ravioli and gnocchi. I sat in front of the oven to keep a watchful eye on the busty breads and Thaai and the rest of the team decorated the shed and set the tables ablaze with flowers from the garden. And you won’t believe, somewhere in between all the happy crazy-ness, Louise still managed to give me and Thaai a facial. We got covered in seaweed guaranteed to eliminate at least 10 years off our ages.

The whole day was like a celebration in itself but the actual lunch was so divine!! I have already booked Nonnie and the gang for my 40th birthday as well. Lientjie entertained us with little titbits from their childhood and all the Vissers, as per usual with occasions like these, shed bucketfuls of joyful tears. We ate Ravioli and we ate Gnocchi and we sipped wine while Italian lovers belted out Vilamoura in the
background. Who would have thought that we would survive Thaai till 50!

To finish off a good celebration, we said goodbye to to a lovely day by saluting the last rays of a lovely day disappearing over the graceful hills of Hogsback
at the lookout. We did forget the champagne glasses and resorted to sipping champagne straight from the bottle, only to find that it is an impossible task and had to content with bubbles up our noses.

All good gatherings (where the family get together) is never complete without a jubilant sing-a-long with Miranda at the piano. She braved adverse conditions on my moth eaten honkie tonk piano to provide graceful harmony to our illustrious voices. I did bring a high tech feature in by projecting some of the
lyrics via my data projector to try to eliminate some of the La-la-la’s that we always resort to. Thaai opened her presents and was particularly pleased with her card from Mark, wishing her a glamorous 40th.

Sunday brought with it peace and brunch followed by general chilling out manoeuvres. The family indulged in playing 30seconds and we were joined by farmer Brown and his fandamily. Mark treated us to a delightful supper of pasta with a Mark sauce and we can say with certainty that Thaai’s 50th were an illustrious occasion.

So thank you for allowing us all to have such an amazing time with you, Thaai. And as always, Hogsback is a place where la granda dreams are bound to come true.

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