Mall Crawling!

~~~ this blog post was not solicited by any person or organisation, I wasn’t paid or asked to write it ~~~

My son and I have always been mall rats, enjoying spending time window shopping and browsing in shops, and as our knucklehead is home for the weekend, the three of us decided to go and check out the new Mall of Africa today. We were dying to try the Krispy Kreme and Starbucks, but as it was a Saturday afternoon the queues were a little crazy, so we headed for Cinnabon instead.

requisite #mamalove selfie

We strolled around checking out the shops for hours, with my Glugster and the knucklehead getting stuck in BT Games and The Gadget Shop while I checked out places like Claire’s and Accessorize! 😀
We were very happy to note that the Ster Kinekor has a Cine Prestige (and an imax), so for future date nights we don’t have to drive for miles to see a movie in absolute comfort!
I was supposed to visit Kaz Lingerie on the mall’s opening day, but the insane traffic and crowds put me off completely, so I popped in there today. If, like me, you are particularly well endowed when it comes to boobage, and you need quality bras that won’t break the bank, Kaz is the place to go!! The ladies are incredible and they go out of their way to find the perfect bra for you! I had to giggle though- when my Glugster and I headed in there, the knucklehead waited outside! 😛

Ooh – and I was very impressed with the bathrooms! There were plenty of stalls in the ladies loo, and they were clean (which I think should go without saying in a brand new mall), but what I really liked was the one basin that has been lowered, the handbag hooks on the walls that are within reach of the loo, and the fact that the stalls are big enough to step into AND close the door behind you – without having to straddle the toilet seat! AND I wasn’t bashing my elbows on the walls of the stall!

20160507_IMG_143341

We spent an age in Hamleys toy shop, where I was delighted to find Schleich horses that I can add to my collection, and then we headed back to the food court for a very late “lunch”.
All the fast food places had queues for days, so since we were actually feeling like pizza we decided to try out Hello Tomato – which we had never heard of before seeing it today!

20160507_IMG_155131

While we waited for our pizzas, which were really yummy on thin crusts, the knucklehead went to carve his name in the wooden Africa-shaped boards they have set up in the food court for visitors to “autograph”.

20160507_IMG_154032

After we’d eaten we headed for the Checkers to try and take advantage of some specials they had on offer this weekend, but by then the mall had started to get REALLY busy so the queues for tills were crazy. We headed for the express tills as we only had 9 items, so we weren’t too long waiting, but the shop was uncomfortably full by then, with not a lot of room between the tills and the start of the shelves, so we decided to head home.

There is only one parking meter at each entrance at the moment, so you queue for a bit to pay for your parking, but you can pay by card – like the Gautrain ticket machines, so you don’t have to first go and find an ATM if, like us, you never carry cash anymore.

The mall itself is very beautiful, and inside it feels open and light and airy, and today we only really checked out the one level so we will definitely be heading back there, although it won’t be on a weekend if my husband has any say in the matter. 😛

Don’t Wait!

Four years ago, I got a phone call in the afternoon, after a completely normal, even pleasant day.
I was told that my six year old nephew, with whom I had a deep bond, had been killed in a car accident.
I didn’t stop crying for days. It still seems surreal. It still seems too incredible that I will never again hear his voice or talk to him.
I know that a part of the reason I still feel his loss and his absence so keenly, is because I allowed the anger and bitterness I feel towards his guardians to prevent me from at least talking to him on a regular basis. I regret it. I wish I could change it. I wish I could honour his memory and his nature with love and forgiveness.

In the preparation for his memorial service, we were looking for pictures of him through the many we had. Pictures of him with his father, him with his cousins, him with us, and I found lots of wonderful pictures of him with my knucklehead, and even a few with him and I together. I wished there were more. Those pictures are my treasures.

I realised with a start, during that exercise, that I had maybe a handful of pictures of my knucklehead and I together, and he was already a grown up! I had mostly been behind the camera while he was growing up, taking the pictures, but as is typical of many women – I had avoided the camera because I was too fat, had no make up on, was taking the picture… Whatever. And now it was too late to take those pictures.
I wish I had taken those pictures, or had someone take pictures of me with my boy. Pictures with bot of our faces in them.
Now I take a selfie with my son, or I hand my phone-slash-camera to someone else, every time I see him. I love these pictures.

BeFunky Collage

I also take selfies with my family when I see them – my mom and dad, my sisters, my gran… To me the pictures are very special. I know not everyone sees photos as all that important, preferring to make memories rather than take pictures, but my pictures are a part of my memories and I look at them often.

I never part company with my son, or my husband, or my parents and siblings, without telling them I love them. I never want to feel the heartache I feel now because I didn’t talk to them enough.

Don’t wait to take pictures of you and your children together. Selfies are fun. Play silly buggers in a photobooth. Celebrate special occasions. Don’t wait till you’ve done your hair or you’re better dressed.

You can’t go back.

We’re Eight!

2007

My sweet love.

2008

My Glugster.

2009

My husband.

2010

My best friend.

2011

My mentor.

2012

My motivator.

2013

My butt kicker when I need one.

2014

My support.

2015

Eight years ago, I was a happily single, single mom to a teenage son, with 2 cats at home, a blog, and a job I was good at but didn’t really like. I had been single for 7 years and I had no intention of changing that.

Then I walked into a restaurant after a particularly shitty day, you stood up to greet me as I was shown to the table, and there was an ice cold Black Label waiting for me.
Eight hours later we realised that all the tables and chairs were stacked up around us, and all the wait staff were standing at the restaurant door, waiting for us to come back to earth.
Two weeks later I announced to my family and the internet that I got a boyfriend for Christmas.

Thank you for loving me. Thank you for indulging me. Thank you for being a father to my son.

I love you, my darling Glugster.

I am still on cloud nine.

Sad, Sad Santarama Miniland

Last weekend, my Glugster decided he wasn’t in the mood to stay home and binge on series, so he Googled up a storm to see what was free in Joburg, and decided we must go and see the James Hall Museum of Transport, since it’s free entry. I love museums, with many fond memories of trekking through all kinds of different ones with my family, so I was very keen.
Off we went, only to discover that the place is closed on the third weekend of every month!
Not wanting to waste our drive out there, we did some more Googling and found the Bensusan Museum Of Photography And Library, but it was also closed already.

Then we remembered we had driven past Santarama Miniland on the way to the transport museum, so we decided to stop there. There were a few buses and cars in the parking lot, so it looked busy, and parts of the giant van Riebeeck statue had been repainted. My Glugs has fond memories of visiting the place as a child, and I’d never been, so we were both keen on visiting it.
There was nobody at the gate as we walked in, and there was the racket of happy kids from inside, so when we met up with someone just inside and she said there was a graduation party going on, I asked if we could walk around while they partied on, and we didn’t pay an entry fee.

The first thing we saw as we went through was a run down putt-putt course, and a HUGE statue of Michael Jackson! Huge as in two or three stories tall! Of all things!

We carried on down the path, rather aimlessly as there didn’t seem to be any directions or guide anywhere, it became clear why we hadn’t been asked to pay an entry fee.
Neglected is not the word.
Abandoned. Forgotten. Dilapidated.
Only the party venue in the corner behind the entrance is still maintained.

santarama_heyday_004

March 2014: image credit The Citizen

As we walked around we were horrified by the ruin. It was almost too depressing to take pictures. The harbour is mostly empty. The giant shark – which I don’t get – has had dots and eyelashes drawn on it, and it now lounges in smelly mud. Some of the signs have been re-written by hand, with a permanent marker- the horrendous spelling a testament to disinterest. There are dead birds in various states of decay just lying around.
On the street side of the park, a tree has fallen over and collapsed the fence.

edit 20151114_134147

2015

edit 20151114_134647

2015

edit 20151114_134901_Neels

2015

edit 20151114_135042_Neels

2015

edit 20151114_134715_Neels

2015

edit 20151114_134405

2015

When we got home I took to Google to try and find out what the hell had happened.

edit 20151114_140849_Neels

2015

The place is 42 years old, opened in September 1973 by SANTA to aid in fundraising for their fight against TB, and whilst they still own it the place was put under new management in about 2010. Perhaps after 42 years a level of neglect is to be expected, but this was quite ridiculous.

2013 picture credit: PathFinda

2013 picture credit: PathFinda

edit 20151114_134217

2015

The Hop-on Hop-off bus doesn’t even stop there anymore, although it used to!

I found the following on Jozikids amongst a string of negative reviews, but clearly things didn’t get much further after Mr Pillay posted:

Friday, 8th April 2011 at 01:28:34 PM
The Website had been updated on the day that I spoke to you, the price change as well as the fact that Miniland is under new management and ongoing repairs / maintenance. Santarama Miniland is actually owned and operated by the South African National Tuberculous Association. 
The place is under new management and ongoing maintenance / upgrade, we apologise for any inconvenience caused during this time of upgrading and assure our client’s that Santarama Miniland’s management team are doing everything in their power to restore Santarama to originality as quick as possible so as to eliminate any future disappointments. 
Regards 
Mr Pillay 
Property & Asset Manager 

Strangely enough, SouthAfrica.com still describes Miniland as “…a truly enjoyable and rewarding Johannesburg attraction…” with “…an amazing replica of the Dromedaris… a venue for parties, functions, events and weddings…” even though the ship was destroyed by fire in September 2013! There’s no trace of the ship now, but it used to look like this, and my Glugster remembers walking around on it.

santarama_heyday_006

picture credit: 2summers

Looking at pictures of the park in its heyday makes me wish it had been maintained… There were little people in and on the models, and the models themselves had lights, music, and moving parts. There was a water feature running from a mini-Howick Falls, into a mini-Wagendrift dam, down a little river into a mini-harbour.
The mini-train doesn’t exist anymore let alone run on its overgrown track, although it’s said to be “in for repairs”, and there are pieces of a little display train now scattered around the park.

santarama_heyday_003

image credit: MAHALA

edit 20151114_134339

2015

Robben Island has moved!

RobbenIsland

2011 image credit: MAHALA

edit 20151114_140107_Neels

2015

I found this picture of the Maatjiesfontein display from way back when…

And look at it now…

edit 20151114_135250

2015

It’s very sad, and really not worth a visit.

The SAKKS Koi Show

On Sunday my Glugs and I went to the 2015 SAKKS Gauteng Koi Show at Val Bonne Country Estate (which we wouldn’t have found without the GPS).
We had a koi pond at our old house, and we’ve had several koi, but we don’t have a pond anymore and we miss it. My Glugs introduced me to the joys of koi keeping, and since he does all the pond maintenance and PT, I just get to enjoy the fish.

2015-05-24 12.34.55

The koi contest was something else, let me tell you. Some of the fish that had been entered were almost a metre long! And exquisite! We walked round and round the big pools where the  fish were on display before heading to the stands where there were all kinds of koi for sale.
Without a pond to put them in we didn’t buy any koi, but there were so many I would have loved to take home! I think if my Glugs and I could do so, we’d have a garden that was at least half-koi pond!

Just for interest’s sake, here are some of my favourite koi varieties, and if I could I’d have at least one of each of these!
koi3 koi5 koi1

And these ones Glugs and I both like…

koi2koi4koi6

And Modderfontein Reserve (Val Bonne is inside the reserve) is like a hidden jewel. We couldn’t get over how beautiful the place is, with a few dams, walking trails, biking trails, and a beautiful picnic area next to “Fisheagle Dam”.
Unfortunately we can’t take our pooches with us, but we’re actually keen to go back and have a picnic.

2015-05-24 12.55.17 2015-05-24 12.54.35

So apart from fish-phobic Shebeeliciousness, who probably wouldn’t even read the post since I put “koi” in the title, what do you think of them?

Have you been to the Modderfontein Reserve?