As is customary for us, Mr O and I spent Christmas with his family in Chelmsford (most of you will know that my family lives in South Africa and this is the most expensive time of the year to visit). It was a fantastic celebration ad always and here are the pictures to prove it.
I hope everyone got to have as awesome a festive break as I did. I already can’t wait for Christmas 2015!
… a story in pictures. While I was in South Africa I got to…
You might have noticed that I haven’t been around your blogs or replying to blog comments (or maybe not). The reason is that I’m in South Africa, where my family lives. As I mentioned in this week’s Throwback Thursday post, it’s my brother, Pete’s 30th birthday today. His lovely girlfriend, Nikki, has been planning a bit of a surprise party for him and since I adore both my brother and a good surprise, Mr Osbiston and I flew out on Tuesday and will be here until the 28th.
In order avoid ridiculous roaming charges the phone will mostly be off but I wouldn’t want to completely rob you lovely people of my ramblings I have prescheduled some posts.
This is my most beloved picture of me and Pete from when he lived in London. Welcome to your 30s, Kleinboet!
There’s no question that the relationship between a son and his father is life shaping. A father can be a hero, a mentor, a bully or even a mystery but whatever the shape connection, it’s always going to be complicated. So it’s not surprising that this family bond is the major theme in so many great movies. These are my favourites.
Lucas and Marcus
Played by: Mads Mikkelsen and Lasse Fogelstrøm
Film: The Hunt (2012)
The connection: Marcus is Lucas’ biggest supporter even in the face of terrible circumstances.
“Marcus: Bunch of bastards! Bunch of fucking bastards!“
Don Vito and Michael Corleone
Played by: Marlon Brando and Al Pacino
Film: The Godfather (1972)
The connection: Don Vito and Michael have very different ideas about what Michael should do with his life but Michael can’t bear to disappoint his father.
“Don Corleone: How’s your boy?
Michael: He’s good.
Don Corleone: You know, he looks more like you every day.
Michael: He’s smarter than I am. Three years old, and he can already read the funny papers.
Don Corleone: [laughs] Read the funny papers…“
Lorenzo and Calogero Anello
Played by: Robert Di Niro and Francis Capra/Lillo Brancato
Film: A Bronx Tale (1993)
The connection: Lorenzo is desperate to keep his son from the lure of the neighbourhood gangs by being a hardworking, honest role model
“Sonny: First of all, I respect you, Lorenzo, you’re a stand-up guy and we’re from the same neighbourhood, but don’t ever talk to me like that again. I tell yor kid to go to school, to go to college…
Lorenzo: You don’t understand: it’s not what you say, it’s what he sees, the clothes, the cars, the money, it’s everything. He tried to throw away his baseball cards because he said Mickey Mantle will never pay the rent.
Sonny: [laughs] He said that to you? I don’t believe this kid.
[They all laugh]
Lorenzo: That’s not funny. Not when your kid has a bigger bank account than you.
Sonny: I offered you a job, you said “No” to me.
Lorenzo: That’s right, and I say “No” now. Just leave my son alone, please.
Sonny: Don’t you see how I treat that kid? I treat him like he’s my son.
Lorenzo: He ain’t your son, he’s MY son.
Sonny: He’s what?
Lorenzo: He’s MY son!
Sonny: Hey, get the fuck outta here!
Lorenzo: [Shoved by the gangsters towards the door] I’m not afraid of you.
Sonny: You should be.
Lorenzo: I know who you are, Sonny, I know what you’re capable of, and I would never step out of line, you can ask anyone in the neighbourhood who knows me. But this time, you’re wrong. You don’t fool with a man’s family. This is my son, not yours.
Sonny: What are you gonna do, fight me?
Lorenzo: You stay away from my son!
Sonny: Get outta here before I give you a fucking slap!
Lorenzo: You just stay away from my son!
Sonny: Go ahead!
Lorenzo: I don’t care who you are! You stay away from my son!
[the gangsters force him out of the bar]“
Luke Skywalker and Darth Vade
Played by: Mark Hamill and David Prowse
Film: Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
The connection: Oh so complicated! Estrangement, the dark side, Darth’s terrible past…
“Darth Vader: There is no escape. Don’t make me destroy you.
Darth Vader: Luke, you do not yet realize your importance. You have only begun to discover your power. Join me, and I will complete your training. With our combined strength, we can end this destructive conflict and bring order to the galaxy.
Luke: I’ll never join you!
Darth Vader: If you only knew the power of the Dark Side. Obi-Wan never told you what happened to your father.
Luke: He told me enough! He told me *you* killed him!
Darth Vader: No. *I* am your father.
Luke: No. No. That’s not true. That’s impossible!
Darth Vader: Search your feelings, you *know* it to be true!
Luke: [anguished] No! No!“
Jim and his dad
Played by: Eugene Levy and Jason Biggs
Films: American Pie (1999), American Pie 2 (2001), American Wedding (2003), American Reunion (2012)
The connection: Jim’s dad has a tendency to be a little bit overly honest with his son… especially when it comes to sex but ultimately these two have a genuine close bond and are always there for each other
“Jim’s Dad: [talking about masturbation] It’s like banging a tennis ball against a brick wall, which can be fun. It can be fun, but it’s not a game.
Jim: It’s not a game.
Jim’s Dad: What you want is a partner to return the ball.“
Marlin and Nemo
Voiced by: Albert Brooks and Alexander Gould
Film: Finding Nemo (2003)
The connection: After Nemo is abducted, over-protective Marlin faces his fears and sets off on an epic journey to rescue his son
“Marlin: [Holding Nemo’s cracked egg in his fin] I promise to never let anything happen to you, Nemo.“
Ted and Billy Kramer
Played by: Dustin Hoffman and Justin Henry
Film: Kramer vs Kramer (1979)
The connection: After Ted’s wife leaves to “find herself”, he reluctantly takes over as sole parent discovering the joys of fatherhood on the way
“Billy Kramer: Daddy?
Ted Kramer: Yeah?
Billy Kramer: I’m sorry.
Ted Kramer: I’m sorry too. I want you to go to sleep because it’s really late.
Billy Kramer: Daddy?
Ted Kramer: Now what is it?
Billy Kramer: Are you going away?
Ted Kramer: No. I’m staying here with you. You can’t get rid of me that easy.
Billy Kramer: That’s why Mommy left, isn’t it? Because I was bad?
Ted Kramer: Is that what you think? No. That’s not it, Billy. Your mom loves you very much… and the reason she left has nothing to do with you. I don’t know if this will make sense, but I’ll try to explain it to you. I think the reason why Mommy left… was because for a long time… I kept trying to make her be a certain kind of person. A certain kind of wife that I thought she was supposed to be. And she just wasn’t like that. She was… She just wasn’t like that. I think that she tried for so long to make me happy… and when she couldn’t, she tried to talk to me about it. But I wasn’t listening. I was too busy, too wrapped up… just thinking about myself. And I thought that anytime I was happy, she was happy. But I think underneath she was very sad. Mommy stayed here longer than she wanted because she loves you so much. And the reason why Mommy couldn’t stay anymore… was because she couldn’t stand me. She didn’t leave because of you. She left because of me. Go to sleep now because it’s really late, oay? Good night. Sleep tight.
Billy Kramer: Don’t let the bedbugs bite.
Ted Kramer: See you in the morning light.
Billy Kramer: Daddy?
Ted Kramer: Yeah?
Billy Kramer: I love you.
Ted Kramer: I love you too.“
Antonio and Bruno Ricci
Played by: Lamberto Maggiorani and Enzo Staiola
Film: Bicycle Thieves (1948)
The connection: Despite their very tough circumstances, Antonio manages to find joy in spending time with his son.
“Antonio Ricci: [He and his son are at a restaurant; together they notice a nearby table, occupied by an apparently well-off family who seem to be eating quite well] To eat like that, you’d have to earn at least a million a month.“
Hal and Oliver Fields
Played by: Christopher Plummer and Ewan McGregor
Film: Beginners (2010)
The connection: As Hal confesses his the truth about his sexuality as well as his terminal illness to Oliver, the two take on Hal’s last years together
“Oliver: Why are you telling them you’re turning the corner?
Hal: Well, uh…
Oliver: You, you have stage four cancer.
Hal: It’s not as bad as it sounds.
Oliver: Pop – There is no stage five.
Hal: [chuckles] That’s not what it means.
Oliver: Well, then what does it mean?
Hal: It just means that it’s been through three other stages.“
Guido and Giosué Orefice
Played by: Roberto Benigni and Giorgio Cantarini
Film: Life is Beautiful (1997)
The connection: Guido sacrifices everything to protect Giosué Orefice after the two of them are placed in a concentration camp
“Giosué Orefice: “No Jews or Dogs Allowed.” Why do all the shops say, “No Jews Allowed”?
Guido: Oh, that. “Not Allowed” signs are the latest trend! The other day, I was in a shop with my friend the kangaroo, but their sign said, “No Kangaroos Allowed,” and I said to my friend, “Well, what can I do? They don’t allow kangaroos.”
Giosué Orefice: Why doesn’t our shop have a “Not Allowed” sign?
Guido: Well, tomorrow, we’ll put one up. We won’t let in anything we don’t like. What don’t you like?
Giosué Orefice: Spiders.
Guido: Good. I don’t like Visigoths. Tomorrow, we’ll get sign: “No Spiders or Visigoths Allowed.” “
For the past few days Mr Osbiston and I have been visiting with his family in Essex where we usually celebrate Christmas (in case anyone doesn’t know, my family is in South Africa and visiting at Christmas is insanely expensive).
I love spending time with Paul’s family, especially over the festive season because they have some awesome traditions.
Christmas Eve always means games and before we settled into Balderdash, we tried out a new game that involved pulling a card from a box and then describing a celebrity the celebrity on it to your partner. The best clue of the night (and I won’t name who it came from) was “that black paedophile” for Michael Jackson. Lol! Oh dear.
Mr Osbiston also came across a Santa top, which meant that I got to take this awesome picture of him. It’s probably my favourite picture I’ve ever taken of my husband… which says a lot for my weird sense of humour.
On Christmas Day Mr Osbiston Snr and I decided to go for a run. I hadn’t run since my birthday so I was a bit worried I was going to keel over but I managed about 4km in a sensible time and didn’t get too cold apart from my ears.
I was utterly, utterly spoiled coming away with more presents that I can even mention, including a fabulous onesie from my husband, perfume, clothes, pajamas, a running watch, recipe books, a scarf, tea… and the list goes on.
Then of course Doctor Who… which was… confusing. I love the Doctor but I really feel like it’s lost its sense of fun.
We used the after dinner period to do a dry run of the Boxing Day singalong. Paul and his dad are both really musical so it’s a great opportunity for them to play and sing together and for the rest of us to join in and ruin it.
Boxing Day brought Christmas round two and we were joined by his Aunt Phyllis, Aunt Andrea, Uncle John and cousins, Finn and Kyran who are 13 and 8. It’s always fun having kids around at Christmas and these two are no different. Although possibly Finn shouldn’t have stayed up quite so late playing games the night before and I’m not quite sure what Kyran is doing with these mini cracker screwdrivers.
Paul’s mum always buys great table presents and this year all the boys got bowties. I think Paul’s went especially well with the Shite Shirt I bought him for Christmas.
And here’s Paul’s Aunt Phyll with his brother, David, wearing one of the headscarves that the ladies got.
The evening ended with the second singalong, which was even noisier and slightly made me pity the neighbours.
For our final day of Christmas celebrations, Paul’s cousin, Marc, his wife, Sam and the youngest member of the family, Poppy (aged two) came over. Of course Poppy provided most of the entertainment because she is utterly adorable. No singing this time though.
We finished off the evening with films in our onesies, which is how I think all Christmases should end. I already can’t wait for Christmas 2014.
Movie families tend to come in two varieties… the perfect Brady Bunch type or the completely off-kilter type. I have to admit that I much prefer the more unusual on-screen family, because let’s face it no one really has the perfect family. So with that in mind these are my top 10 dysfunctional movie families.
Films: The Addams Family (1991), The Addams Family Values (1993)
Starring: Anjelica Huston, Raul Julia, Christopher Lloyd, Christina Ricci
Key dysfunctions: Where to start? This eccentric family glories in the macabre and has more than a few odd members.
Most entertaining member: Cousin It, who is covered from head to toe in long hair.
“Morticia: Have you spoken to her parents?
Susan Firkins, Wednesday’s Teacher: Well, Wednesday brought in this picture: Calpurnia Addams.
Morticia: Wednesday’s great-aunt Calpurnia. She was burned as a witch in 1706. They said she danced naked in the town square and enslaved the minister.
Susan Firkins, Wednesday’s Teacher: Really?
Morticia: Oh, yes. But don’t worry. We’ve told Wednesday college first. ”
Film: Sixteen Candles (1984)
Starring: Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, Justin Henry
Key dysfunctions: The whole family forgets poor Sam’s sixteenth birthday. They are also utterly inappropriate at every junction with Sam’s grandparents obsessed with her boobs and her sister hopped up on muscle relaxants at her own wedding.
Most interesting member: Long Duk Dong, the family’s exchange student
Grandma Helen: Oh Sam, let me look at you. Fred, she’s gotten her boobies.
Grandpa Fred: [chuckles] I better go get my magnifying glass.
Grandma Helen: Oh, and they are so Perky.
Grandma Helen: [reaches to cup them]
Samantha: [cut to Sam’s bedroom] I can’t believe my Grandmother actually felt me up.
Film: Meet the Fockers (2004)
Starring: Ben Stiller, Robert De Niro, Barbara Streisand, Dustin Hoffman
Key dysfunctions: The Fockers are overly affectionate, overly familiar and clearly completely incapable of considering anyone else’s perceptions after naming their son Gaylord.
Most interesting member: For me it has to be patriarch, Bernie , because he reminds me so much of my own dad. He even looks like Dustin Hoffman.
“[the Fockers’ outgoing message]
Bernie Focker: Hello, you’ve reached the Fockers. We’re not around, so leave us a message. Goodbye. Roz, how the hell do you shut this thing off?
Roz Focker: I have no idea. Just press a button.
Bernie Focker: All right, I’m pretty sure it’s off. Honey, you want a chimichanga?
Roz Focker: I thought they give you gas.
Bernie Focker: A little bit, but it’s worth it.
Roz Focker: Yeah, worth it for you, but I’m the one that gets the fumes.
Bernie Focker: Honey, I’m in the mood for a chimichanga!
Roz Focker: So make a chimichang…
Film: Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
Starring: Toni Colette, Steve Carrell, Abigail Breslin, Greg Kinnear, Paul Dano, Alan Arkin
Key dysfunctions: The grandad is obsessed with drugs and porn, the teenage son never speaks, the uncle is suicidal and dad is a failed motivational speaker… what could go wrong?
Most interesting member: It has to be grandad, Edwin, who teaches seven year-old Olive a strip tease for her “talent” in a pageant.
“Sheryl: You know, like it or not, we’re still your family, for better or worse…
Dwayne: No, you’re *not* my family! I don’t wanna *be* your family! I hate you fucking people! Divorce? Bankrupt? Suicide? You’re fucking losers, you’re losers! No, please just leave me here, Mom. Please, please, please. Please… just leave me here.”
Film: Donnie Darko (2001)
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone
Key dysfunctions: This whole family is bent around son, Donnie’s mental illness and bizarre behaviour, pushing them all out of alignment
“Donnie: You’re such a fuck-ass!
Rose Darko: Please.
Elizabeth: What? Did you just call me a “fuck-ass”?
Rose Darko: Elizabeth, that’s enough.
Elizabeth: You can go suck a fuck.
Donnie: Oh, please, tell me, Elizabeth, how exactly does one suck a fuck?
Elizabeth: You want me to tell you?
Donnie: Please, tell me.
Rose Darko: We will not have this at the dinner table.
Donnie: [Mouthing] I’m all ears! “
Film: Buffalo 66 (1998)
Starring: Vincent Gallo, Christina Ricci, Anjelica Huston
Key dysfunctions: Everyone in this family seems to be living in a weird state of denial where they talk to each other but never actually reveal any truth.
Most interesting member: Son, Billy, who has told his family he works for the government and kidnaps a stranger to pretend to be his girlfriend covering up for the fact that he has actually been in prison.
“Billy Brown: I’m asking you to come there and make me look good. Alright? And if you make a fool out of me, I swear to God, I’ll kill you right there. Boom! Right in front of Mommy and Daddy. And I’ll tell you something else, you make me look bad… I will never ever talk to you again, ever. But if you do a good job, well, then you can be my best friend. My best friend that I’ve ever had. You hear me? “
Film: American Beauty (1999)
Starring: Wes Bentley, Chris Cooper, Allison Janney
Key dysfunctions: Dad is a violent, homophobic closet case, mom is off her face on prescription drugs and son, Ricky sells weed and is more than a little bit stalkery.
Most interesting member: It has to be Ricky and his “creative” courting techniques
“Colonel Frank Fitts: Where did you get that?
Ricky Fitts: From my job.
Colonel Frank Fitts: Don’t lie to me. Now, I saw you with him.
Ricky Fitts: You were watching me?
Colonel Frank Fitts: What did he make you do?
Ricky Fitts: Oh, Dad, you don’t really think that me and Mr. Burnham were…
Colonel Frank Fitts: Don’t you laugh at me. Now, I will not sit back and watch my only son become a cock-sucker!
Ricky Fitts: Jesus, what is it with you?
Colonel Frank Fitts: I swear to God, I will throw you out of the house and never look at you again!
Ricky Fitts: You mean that?
Colonel Frank Fitts: You’re damn straight I do. I’d rather you were dead than be a fuckin’ faggot.
Ricky Fitts: You’re right. I suck dick for money.
Colonel Frank Fitts: Boy, don’t start.
Ricky Fitts: Two thousand dollars – I’m that good.
Colonel Frank Fitts: Get out!
Ricky Fitts: And you should see me fuck. I’m the best piece of ass in three States.
Colonel Frank Fitts: Get out. I don’t ever want to see you again!
Ricky Fitts: What a sad old man you are. “
Film: American Beauty (1999)
Starring: Kevin Spacey, Annette Benning. Thora Birch, Mena Suvari
Key dysfunctions: Mostly the fact that they all hate each other behind their perfect suburban veneer.
Most interesting member: Dad, Lester, whose midlife crisis is manifesting itself in furious masturbation, drug use and lusting after teenage girls
“Carolyn Burnham: Your father and I were just discussing his day at work. Why don’t you tell our daughter about it, honey?
Lester Burnham: Janie, today I quit my job. And then I told my boss to go fuck himself, and then I blackmailed him for almost sixty thousand dollars. Pass the asparagus.
Carolyn Burnham: Your father seems to think this kind of behavior is something to be proud of.
Lester Burnham: And your mother seems to prefer that I go through life like a fucking prisoner while she keeps my dick in a mason jar under the sink.
Carolyn Burnham: How dare you speak to me that way in front of her. And I marvel that you can be so contemptuous of me, on the same day that you LOSE your job.
Lester Burnham: Lose it? I didn’t lose it. It’s not like, “Whoops! Where’d my job go?” I QUIT. Someone pass the asparagus, please.”
Film: Everything is Illuminated (2005)
Starring: Eugene Hutz, Elijah Wood, Boris Leskin
Key dysfunctions: Dad is a violent bully who arranges tours for American Jews to find their Ukrainian relatives (despite hating American Jews and their relatives), Grandad has fake psychosomatic blindness and son, Alex thinks it’s a good idea to teach his younger brother about life using porn mags
Most interesting member: Gradfather, who has all kinds of secrets from the rest of the family… and who has named his seeing eye dog Sammy Davis Jr Jr
“Alex: [voice over] This is my miniature brother, Igor. I am tutoring him to be a man of this world. For an example, I exhibited him a smutty magazine three days yore.
Igor: [in Russian] Why is it dubbed sixty-nine?
Alex: [voice over] I explain it to him that this is because it was invented in the year 1969. I know this because my friend Grisha knows a friend of the nephew of the inventor.
Igor: [in Russian] What did people do before 1969?
Alex: [voice over] He is a genius, my miniature brother. He will be made a VIP if I have a thing to do with it.”
Film: Stoker (2013)
Key dysfunctions: Well there are two sociopaths in the family along with a worryingly unhinged mother.
“Most interesting member: Mysterious Uncle Charlie
“Evelyn Stoker: You know, I’ve often wondered why it is we have children in the first place. And the conclusion I’ve come to is… At some point in our lives we realize things are screwed up beyond repair. So we decide to start again. Wipe the slate clean. Start fresh. And then we have children. Little carbon copies we can turn to and say, “You will do what I could not. You will succeed where I have failed.” Because we want someone to get it right this time. But not me… Personally speaking I can’t wait to watch life tear you apart.”
I spent Easter weekend with my in-laws in Chelmsford last weekend. Like me, the whole family are big cinephiles so it was suggested that each family member pick a film in order to create a weekend long family movie marathon… with no vetoes. As there are five of us, this should have resulted in five films but we somehow underestimated the amount of lying in, cooking and visiting we needed to do and never quite got to my brother-in-law, David’s as yet undisclosed pick. So that leaves us with four films for The Film Friday Easter Family Special Edition.
This 1991, Roddy Doyle classic was my mum-in-law’s pick… possibly because she’s of Irish descent, but also quite possibly because of its fab soundtrack. Robert Arkins plays Jimmy Rabbitte, an aspiring music manager who puts together a band in the hope of bringing soul music to Dublin. Under his, and mysterious horn player, Joey “The Lips” Fagan’s, “expert” tutelage it’s not long before The Commitments start to experience success. But tensions between band mates are never far from the forefront and Jimmy will have to fight if he’s going to keep his dream alive. This is a pretty predictable plot but the musical elements are excellent if you’re a soul fan. Overall the best thing about The Commitments is the hilarious and very typically bawdy Irish banter. Great for a laugh with a bit of heart. 3.5/5
Being of a science fiction bent, this was Paul’s pick. After an unnamed virus has wiped out most of mankind and sent the survivors below the surface, violent prisoner, James Cole (Bruce Willis) is sent back in time to find information about the origins of the disease in exchange for a pardon. Returned to the wrong year, Cole finds himself locked up in a mental institution where he meets two people who are going to change not only his life but also the future: fellow patient, Jeffrey Goines (Brad Pitt) and psychiatrist, Kathryn Railly (Madeline Stowe). This film has the particular madness of Terry Gilliam stamped all over it. Dystopian future: check. Sinister and controlling government: check. Mysterious and terrifying medical machines: check. Characters with exaggerated movements and sounds: check. Intense and overpowering score: Check. It’s almost Brazil 2. If you like that kind of thing, like I do, you’ll love this. Pitt reminds us yet again that he wears crazy very well and Brucie does a good turn of unhinged with a heart. Excellent. 4/5
Paul inherited his love affair with Sci-Fi from his dad, who picked this 1951 alien invasion epic. Alien Klaatu (Michael Rennie) arrives on earth with a message and is promptly shot and incarcerated by Americans. Adamant that he wants to speak to representatives of all earth’s people at once, Klaatu implores the American president to arrange this. It being the height of the Cold War, he of course refuses. Klaatu then goes to ground in a type of boarding house, where he meets widow, Helen Benson (Patricia Neal) and her son, Bobby (Billy Gray). As his time starts to run out, he must put his faith in Helen to help him get his message across, while also preventing the giant robot he’s left in his spaceship from kicking the shit out of everyone. I think I might have found this more compelling if Klaatu’s message had been a little more compelling but at the time that it was made it must have been a great reflection on Cold War hysteria and the poor relations between different countries. It wasn’t really for me, but apparently it’s a thousand times better than the 2008 Keanu Reeves remake. 3.5/5
The last pick was mine… and I couldn’t resist a film I’ve watched over and over again for the last fourteen years. Loosely inspired by The Taming of the Shrew, 10 Things I Hate About You follows the story of Cameron James (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who falls for Bianca Stratford (Laris Oleynik) on his first day at a new school. Unfortunately there’s a catch – Bianca’s dad won’t let her date until her sister Kat (Julia Stiles) does and Kat happens to be a “heinous bitch” with no interest in the boys at school. With the help of his dorky best mate, Michael (David Krumholtz), Cameron tricks handsome twat, Joey Donner (Andrew Keegan) – who also happens to have a Jones for Bianca – into paying mysterious school nutter, Patrick Verona (Heath Ledger) to win over and date Kat. On the surface this is a relatively predictable teen romcom but somehow it has that elusive magic ingredient that makes it so much more. Is it the whip smart and endlessly quotable dialogue? The magnificently deranged supporting characters (my favourite being Allison Janney playing Ms Perky, the dirty novel writing school counsellor)? The epic soundtrack? Heath Ledger in his first featured film role playing the bad boy all teen girl fantasies are based on – you know that one that’s a bit dangerous on the outside but a total romantic underneath? Probably Heath. It also benefits from excellent set-pieces and female characters you can both identify with and root for. My only criticism is that the absence of Bianca and Kat’s mother, which is alluded to but never explained is underutilised. They just don’t make teen movies like they used to! 4.5/5
Have you ever had a movie marathon with your family? If you did, what do you think everyone would pick?
Christmas… it came and went with great excitement as well as impressive amounts of sloth and gluttony.
There were more than enough presents.
And Christmas Eve onesies.
And more than a little glamour on Christmas day.
I was utterly spoilt by all, especially my husband.
And nothing will ever quite top the Boxing Day sing-along.
Now to return to a life without, in the words of Cat Hurley, a daily cheeseboard.
After almost a month Mr Osbiston and I are back on British soil. Despite the fact that it’s rather a lot colder here than it was in South Africa and that we very much miss our friends and family that we left behind, it’s rather nice to be back in our little flat.
There is no way to describe our trip other than awesome… despite the fact that on the way to Johannesburg we got stuck in Frankfurt for 14 hours. Damn you, Lufthansa!
While all the time we spent hanging out in Joburg and exploring Stellenbosch, there were two major highlights to the trip. The first highlight was Lauren and Beert’s amazing wedding at which I got to be a bridesmaid. The “flame of love” themed ceremony took place at Kaapsehoop near Nelspruit, a stunning small town resort surrounded by wild horses. Although the beautiful bride was impressively zen I can’t help but think that I must have caused some stress since the Lufthansa debacle meant we only arrived three hours before the wedding!
The other highlight was Paul and my second wedding. From my perspective it was quite different from the first wedding. In one way it was much more relaxed but I might have over relaxed since I woke up four days before the wedding and realised that I had done almost nothing. Fortunately I had Maid-Of-Honour Extraordinaire, Bronwyn Costine, at my side… without whom there might not have been a wedding at all.
This time the wedding took place at my old high school, which might sound a bit random, but the building is incredibly beautiful. We exchanged our vows under the trees in the front garden, with Lauren as our chief ceremoniser and then danced the night away in the hall. This time we went the whole hog and had our first dance to the slightly unusual choice of I Got Love by The King Blues. I think the show might have been stolen somewhat by Nolan and his seven month old daughter, Aiden, joining us for the father-daughter/mother-son dance.
I can’t thank everyone who helped us with the preparations enough. It was such a special day. Below are just a few photos from the day… and no you do not want to know what it took to get my hair that big…
It’s hard to summarise a two and a half week holiday into a blog so I’m going for the approach of photos and bullet points.
Places Paul and I visited:
- Port Elizabeth
- Cape Town
Cool things we did together:
- Visited the Apartheid Museum
- Had a traditional township lunch at Chaf Pozi in Soweto
- Made a braai on the side of my gran’s sink
- Took a road trip through the Eastern Cape
- Spent a day on the beach
- Adopted Cubana as our PE local
- Got roped into an impromptu Neil Diamond and brandy “festival” by my uncle
- Visited the Two Oceans aquarium
- Attended the Brampton Wine Studio launch in Stellenbosch and got caricatured.
- Had lunch at the Dros with a big group of old friends
People who we hung out with:
My dad, Pat, Nan, Stirling, Bron, Dave, Lauren G, Beert, my mom, Peppie, Auntie Rene, Oom Jan, Brend, Nadia, Roy, Anneke, Pete, Nikki, Belinda, Hein, Lauren H, Barb, Kirsten, Kirsty, Donna, Trevor, Megan, Anton M, Anton H, Rus, Ang, Ric, Jules, Noles, KT, Callum, Matthew and Jessica…
Thank-you to everyone who made us feel welcome and especially those who opened their homes to us!
A extra special thank-you to Bron, the Laurens, Barb, Kirsty, Kirsten and Donna for my surprise bachelorette party. From the wedding dress fittings, to the spa to the penis veil and the mountain of shots… I had a blast!
Can’t wait to get back in December!
It’s been some time since I had a proper family Christmas. The last time I went home for the “festive season” in 2005 my dad and I had an ostrich salad on his patio but after my parents split up in 1996, our Christmases had been sort of odd separate affairs… I even remember by brother working on Christmas Day the one year. What I’m talking about is the kind of Christmas where we headed to my grandmother’s place at the beach and all the cousins arrived and everyone ate way too much and argued incessantly and there was a big present opening ceremony and we all got to be together.
I didn’t realise how much I missed all of it until I got to Paul’s parents’ house on Christmas Eve. For the next three days every family member of Paul’s that I had ever met made an appearance. There were cousins, grandparents and aunts and uncles. The food was outrageous in its quantity, the booze endlessly flowing and the board games somewhat outrageous. You know that you’ve reached a new stage in your life when you’re playing Cranium and using a pensioner as a puppet.
Of course I was also outrageously spoilt. Paul gave me the most beautiful Swarovski crystal necklace, as well as a cape and a new organiser and the mountain of gifts from his family included a gorgeous faux fur leopard print coat, a hat socks, cupcake cases, DVDs, bath products, scarves… and best of all my own signature fragrance from Paul’s dad who is a perfumer. Beyonce has nothing on me! Paul was thrilled with his gifts, his favourite being the Xbox he got from his parents. I’m not going to say anything other than that he managed to finish one of the games in 15 hours… over two days… I did a lot of reading.
It was a wonderful Christmas and more than ever I now feel like part of the Osbiston family. Thanks to everyone who was there for making my first Christmas with Paul so special.
This weekend Paul and I headed over to his parent’s house in Essex to celebrate his mum’s birthday. As always there was hardly a dull moment. I had expected a bit of a quiet Friday night but with Paul’s mum out for the night at her work Xmas dinner, the boys had other ideas… and the ringleader was none other than Paul’s dad.
It seems Mr Osbiston Snr had bought a rather large collection of ales and after dinner persuaded Paul, David and I that we should have an “ale tasting” session. Cue all the bottles appearing and being decanted one by one into four glasses. Following this we had to taste and rate each ale, while notes were meticulously taken. I’m not sure I was very helpful. I don’t think comments like “this smells like earthworms” would make it into the “Grand Book of British Ales”. In the end we declared some ale with a rabbit on it (forever known to me in the future as Bunny Ale) the winner and moved onto port and cheese (obviously a genius idea). The combination of ale, port, cheese dreams and sleeping with the heating on meant that we didn’t feel all that healthy in the morning.
However a hangover is no reason to stop moving and we headed off to have a drink with Paul’s friend, Rich, in what must be the nastiest old man pub in the world. True to my usual charm, as we walked in, I said, “what is that smell?” very loudly. Not sure the bar lady was particularly impressed with me. We rounded off the evening with a lovely Italian dinner, followed by me quietly falling asleep on the couch… classy… I still blame the ale.
On Sunday I mostly entertained Paul’s grandmother, who appears to have taken a shine to me. You have to watch her though. She’s a bit of a crafty one. On the trip home I felt a hand go up my sleeve and couldn’t figure out what was going on until I realised that she was carefully doing a little check to see if part of the sleeve on my coat was attached.
I have full confidence that Xmas is going to be very interesting…
There are very few things in life that are guaranteed but one thing is almost certain and that is that you’re going to have a good time on a Saturday night at Suburban, which is why we picked it for our engagement party. The cocktails are delicious, the happy hour is dangerous and the music is awesome.
We were lucky to be surrounded by both family and friends and I sincerely believe a good time was had by all. If the insane group dance to I Need A Hero is anything to go by it was the party of the century.
Although I have to admit that my most asked question of the night was “where is Spider-Pig?” He did get dressed up for the night but Suburban has a strictly humans only possibility so he had to stay home and keep an eye on the flat. I think he was laughing though because I might just possibly had one or two too many cocktails and didn’t feel very clever this morning.
Thank-you to everyone who came and shared the night with us, we can’t wait to see you all at the wedding!
Those of you with eagle eyes will notice that I’ve updated the header on this blog from “The chronicles of a 20-something, music-junkie, aspiring writer in London-Town” to “The chronicles of a 30-ish, music-junkie, aspiring writer in London-Town”. That’s right, kids. As of Saturday, I am officially 30. I can’t quite decide if it’s a shock to the system or not. I guess in some ways I’ve been thinking about the concept of being in my 30’s since I turned 29 but in other ways, it’s 30… THIRTY! There’s a THREE at the front of that!!!!
But anyway, existential age-related crises aside, I have had a particularly lovely birthday weekend this year. On Friday after work Paul and I headed to Chelmo to join his family for bonfire night fireworks at Paul’s old high school. Of course, because it’s England, it absolutely poured, but that did little to quell the enthusiasm of not only the small children running around but also Paul’s dad. I had mulled wine so I was happy, although it does get cold a lot faster when it’s been diluted by rain. Wish they’d served it in Starbucks-like takeaway coffee cups!
After a delicious curry dinner and much jolliness around the table, it was declared my birthday at midnight and I was swamped with gifts from Paul and his family including recipe books (believe it or not there is a zombie cupcake book and I now own it), a digital photo frame, another beautiful cake stand, a digital photo frame, a book about the history of cooking, silicone teacup shaped fairy cake cases and Guess Who? (which is a board game for six year olds that I recently discovered and am happy playing all day). I don’t think I have ever had so many presents for one birthday. Talk about being spoilt!
The next day I got to partake in Paul’s cousin, Kyran’s fifth birthday party. It had little in common with my birthday experiences as a child. When I was a kid, you had some mates around to run in the garden and eat jelly… maybe play a little pass the parcel or musical chairs and if you were lucky someone might bring you a colouring book or a puzzle as gift. It was wonderful. Now it seems you have to hire out some kind of party venue and hand out designer goodie bags and every present is intended to outdo the next. Kyran’s general boredom as he ripped the paper off remote control trucks, monster machine garages, Ben 10 (WTF is Ben 10 anyway) watches and massive Star Wars battleships was palpable and in the end he settled for building the Lego Paul and I had bought him which was the smallest present by miles. I think I have to say I like my childhood better. The high/lowlight of the event was being cornered by Paul’s other cousins Finn and Jacob, who are 10, and being asked about our sex life. Apparently it was sex-ed week at school. Not sure what they’re teaching them but if Finn and Jake’s hand gestures are anything to go by, they’ve got a lot to learn. Unfortunately it meant our romantic home made dinner plans fell by the wayside as no one wanted us to leave.
Yesterday we headed back to our beloved Brighton, where Paul surprised me with a delicious traditional fish ‘n chip dinner at the Palm Court Restaurant before managing to win me a stuffed Spider-Pig from the arcade. My hero! Spider-Pig and I were both thrilled to discover that we were staying in the Ophelia Fancy room at Hotel Pelirocco. I’ll admit that apart from a couple of very strong cocktails in the hotel bar we hardly left our room but if your room looked like this would you leave?
It has certainly been a weekend of two halves. On Friday, the lovely Barbara held her birthday oparty at Amuse Bouche in Parsons Green, a place where the wine (and champagne and beer and tequila) flows like water. It certainly was a fab do and I promise that I didn’t use it as an excuse to flash my diamonds at everyone… okay maybe a little bit… but then I have only had my proper ring back from the jewellers for 4 days and the novelty is far from wearing off. I have to do a little shout out to Hilton and Lyndon’s sister, Gillian, who I finally met after about a year of facebook exchanges and I must say she is every bit as lovely as I imagined her to be. The endless glasses of sauvignon blanc that kept appearing in front of me certainly got to me and I remember blurrily deciding that there was no way we should continue to another bar and leading Paul to the tube, only for him to insist on buying bacon on the way home.
I woke up feeling like a corpse and to some degree wishing I was one. Although we were due at Coll’s birthday lunch, I would not have been able to get out of bed for an audience with the queen. Fortunately Paul didn’t want me to die… or suffer and waited on me hand and foot, managing to nurse me back to semi-health by about 7pm. Essentially the entire day was a write-off but bizarrely still lovely fun because I got to spend the day with Paul, which no amount of hangover can ruin… and really I think Paul had a wonderful time because he got to go grocery shopping without me, meaning that we now have enough chilli cheese, Monster Munch, wine gums and bottled sauce to last at least a week.
Today we headed off to the Docklands for lunch with Paul’s family. I hadn’t realised just how much I had missed them all until I actually saw them. I really have to say the one downside of Paul and I living together is not getting to spend as much time at Casa de Osbiston with the family I now love second only to my own. It didn’t take long for the afternoon to dissolve into hilarity. We spent the afternoon in a weird and wonderful little pub near Crossharbour that had far too many board games for its own good and in between David and I trying to find Wally on the Where’s Wally Board Game (yes, l really) and playing endless games of Guess Who, I know I had a fab time at the very least and I really hope everyone else did too. Plus we had the added value of a little bit of celebrity glamour when Blake Harrison (Neil from The Inbetweeners) popped in for a drink.
Now, all that’s left is the wind down to Monday and poor Paul is already fast asleep on the couch!
I don’t think that I have ever done more in a visit than I did in my most recent trip to SA… and it was the shortest trip I have ever made. I am not going to bore you with a million details… so think of this as a highlights reel…
An appearance in Slaapstad
I spent two out of my first four days in Cape Town catching up with my brother and his lovely girlfriend, Nikki. Although this was the first time I met Nikki, it took me about 10 minutes to fall in love with her and I can completely understand why my brother is crazy about her. I also managed to have dinner with B, who I have missed desperately since her return to SA and her rugged new man, Heinrich. And if that wasn’t enough I even managed a few beers with my old friend, Rob… who is as funny as ever..
The first leg of my holiday also afforded me some time to hang out with my mom, aunt, uncle and grandmother… all of whom are real characters. Between my grandmother’s refusal to wear her hearing aid (nothing better than listening to the Afrikaans news at roof lifting volume), her continuous forays into the guava plantation, my uncle’s claims that Bronwyn’s wedding had been called off and could now stay forever and my mother’s continuous foraging for hot water bottles, it was like being wrapped up in a warm blanket. There’s nothing like family.
Going to the chapel and we’re going to get married…
My arrival in Johannesburg presented me with the most Zen bride I have ever encountered. If I ever have to mount a military operation I want Bronwyn to be my general… the girl could plan a missile launch and make NASA look bad. There was much bonding and scurrying around, I got motor boated by Lauren’s four month old son, Callum ( who I might kidnap) and found just enough spare time to get manicures and pedicures while drinking champagne.
The wedding was gorgeous, the bride was beautiful and the shoes stayed on till at least 10pm… and I have never been flung around the dancefloor by so many friends with such abandon… it’s a miracle I had the energy to catch the bouquet*.
Bron and David really are the perfect couple and I know they’re going to be together forever!
Escape to the dadside
I spent my last two days with “teenage excitable superdad” as my colleagues call my father… mostly being lethargic, listening to the endless details of his latest financial investments and eating too much… which is what we do best.
Would you know I’m already counting the days till I go back in March, fiancé in tow.
*Contrary to popular belief I did not elbow anyone in the head to catch the bouquet it just landed perfectly in my hands… strangely prophetic. Especially when you consider that my horoscope in the Metro said this yesterday:
“You seem to be running late with your work and this may well be due to the new and improved air that your love life has taken on of late. Proposals await some of your sign.”
I spent the last week of my holiday totally in the family zone. My family is pretty scattered so it’s rare that so many of us get together but I had two of my cousins, their partners, my mum, my aunt and my uncle all in one place. Although very little actually happened, it seemed like endless chaos. We ate way too much and talked ridiculous amounts of rubbish and reconnected. It was wonderful.
I also got a particularly amazing gift from my aunt. She wore my great grandmother’s engagement ring for years and I have always wanted it. It’s a gold and diamond ring in the shape of a flower from the 30’s that my aunt had made into a pinkie ring when my uncle passed away. This year she decided to pass it on and since I’m the only girl in the family, it’s been passed on to me. I haven’t taken it off since. Although I live in the constant terror of losing it since it’s just a little too big.
My trip home was the trip of doom. I will never attempt to fit in so many different legs of journey into one go. On Saturday morning we left Queenstown at 7am and drove two hours to East London, which is the closest airport and coincidentally where I was born. From there I flew to Johannesburg, where I had a good seven hours to fill before the next flight. Fortunately I was not confined to OR Tambo International and got to have lunch with my dad before popping into B and Dave’s housewarming party for a quick strawberry daiquiri and to return everything I had borrowed (from the photos it looks like it got a lot more rowdy after I left).
When I did get to ort (as my late uncle’s brother calls it), I had the fortune of getting to see Taigh who was also en route to London for an internship in Hertfordshire. I haven’t seen her in two years so it was a very noisy and excitable reunion. That was when the good stuff ended.
I got stuck next to a husband and wife and two small children in a four seater, which they’d expected to have to themselves. I managed to move a row forward and leave them to their chaos but I lost my aisle seat and ended up next to whisky boy, who managed to drink solidly for about 6 hours of the flight before snoring like a tank. Not that that mattered since not only the kids behind me but everyone of the about 20 kids on the plane wailed incessantly for the entire flight.
Arriving in Doha I attempted to sleep in a chair and woke up from my light doze to find a man staring at me as if he had never seen a human female in his life before. He did not break contact for a second. I probably should have told him to fuck off but the fight was out of me, so I moved. It was already a five hour layover, which I wasn’t excited about but when the flight was delayed by an hour and a half I briefly considered suicide.
Flight two would probably have been okay if I had slept at all in the last 24 hours but everything hurt and I could not get comfortable at all. By the time I arrived at Heathrow at 7pm, I felt and looked like someone who had been travelling across Eastern Europe by camel for six months. It was not pretty. Needless to say I slept like a corpse last night and spent most of today roaming around my house in my PJ’s and catching up on Doctor Who and Being Human. (Doctor Who… exciting but seriously, Russell one fucking concept at a time, okay? You can’t write everythingthateverhappenedincreation into a two hour special. Being Human… whoa dark! Not sure if George needs to be naked ALL THE TIME though. I mean he has a nice ass but the man must be getting cold!)
It is wonderful being back. Wonderfully cold and dark and London and since the city is pretty much my boyfriend, it’s good to be back in his arms. And I missed my little family here almost as much as I miss my family in SA when I’m away. It really is time for the invention of teleportation so I can be in two places at once.
Tomorrow work. Yay… well kinda. I mean I actually do miss working but somehow when I’m away I panic that I’ve forgotten something important and am returning to a mess. I’m sure this won’t be true… will it?
I’m almost two weeks into my holiday and what is occupying my mind? Is it the outrageously drunken New Year’s Eve I spent with B and Dave (and the very unpleasant recovery period)? Is it the constant teasing of my poor father over his advancing years and diminutive size (it’s how I express my love for the old fart and he knows it)? Is it the week B and I spent varnishing her bar and reliving our teens (Wayne’s World is still just as funny as it was fifteen years ago but I can’t imagine why I thought I looked good with a lesbian tow truck driver haircut)? Is it all the lovely dinners, lunches and moments I had with the Jozi crew and all the new and almost arrivals I met (Steve Biko, by this time next year you will be a real boy… watch out Mr and Mrs Hertenberger)? Is it Barb and my epic road trip to and from the Midlands where we sampled everything that South African radio has to offer (East Coast Radio and Radio 2000 – surprisingly good. Pretoria FM and Radio Kakkeranda – not so good)? Is it Ryan and Yvonne’s breathtaking wedding that put all the other weddings I’ve been to to shame?
No, it’s the sudden reappearance of Band Boy. Y’all remember Band Boy, don’t you? I was smitten, he vanished abruptly with no explanation… After 8 months of absolute silence, Band Boy messaged me… to “chat”, dredging up a whole bunch of feelings that I had boxed and forgotten about. I guess no matter how over something you are, having it explode back into your life is like having a scab ripped off an almost healed wound. Following the “chat”, I kind of understand why Band Boy vanished when he did, although attempting to communicate as if nothing happened was very difficult to deal with. I guess I’m just not sure what Band Boy wants from me and there’s also the confusion of his liquid facebook relationship status. One minute he has a girlfriend, one minute he doesn’t… I just wonder if his girlfriend, if there is one, knows he’s contacting me, even if it’s as innocent as I assume it is. Maybe it’s a crisis of conscience. Dude, you’re probably reading this. You’re forgiven. It’s over. I am incapable of bearing a grudge. I’m not mad at you anymore.
Fortunately, I am currently with my mama visiting my grandmother before we head off in the morning with my wonderful aunt (who I didn’t expect to see this holiday) in tow to Queenstown, where I can catch up with my remaining cousins, after seeing Thys today, way too briefly, and also see my uncle who is the final surprise addition to my trip. I can’t wait. With my mum, my aunt and I in close quarters, the hysteria has already set in and it can only get better.