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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Proud mom, nervous mom & excited mom....

Yes I am so proud! My little eleven year-old girl, Shannon, won the regional round of the Dros Kidz Super Stars competition! (For anyone who doesn't know- the Dros is a family restaurant chain) She did the best performance she has ever done! As I watched her, I could not believe it was the same child her started singing 3 years ago. The shyness had completely vanished and she took to the stage like a natural! Even if she doesn't get further than this round, I will still be so happy for her- her eyes literally sparkled with joy when she won!

And oh boy am I nervous & excited now too! She will compete tomorrow night (19 March) at the Dros in Midrand in the semi-finals (provincial round). They select 6-7 kids (as far as I know) to go through to the finals on 1st of April at the Silver Lakes Dros. I am beyond excited coz if she does go through, that happens to be the date of my 40th birthday! My niece says it's fate- and has already decided that Shannon will be in the finals. Well we're all rooting for her of course and praying that she is selected.

Shannon of course is really excited about the competition- especially due to the fact that the winner receives R100 000 in prizes! This includes a recording contract - she dreams everyday of recording her own CD!

So that's our exciting news at the moment!

I have almost finished my "Blue Dancers" painting - I'll glaze it next week and then also start my monochromatic paintings - I want to do two small square portraits in sepia tones of each of the kids. I'm really looking forward to that!

Last week we visited the gorgeous village of Franschhoek for 4 days. Our friends, Neal & Rika, invited us to join them from Wednesday till Saturday at the Franschhoek Country House. We stayed in one of the villa suites. What an absolute treat! It really is probably the most amazing place I have ever stayed in! It beats staying at the Palace of the Lost city by far!
Our friend, Mandy who manages a large liquor store, arranged private tours at two wine estates. What fun! We first visited Haute Cabriere, with its infamous Pierre Jourdan sparkling wine - made in the French M├ęthode Cap Classique. We ended up having a fabulous lunch in the restaurant there afterwards. Needless to say it was quite an inebriating day! Enough said!

The next day we visited L'Ormorins - owned by the Rupert family. Wow- what an estate! After a vineyard tour, we went on a cellar tour. They were harvesting so it was really interesting. The grapes were being moved in small crates from the vineyard (to avoid being pressed too much) into refrigerators while waiting to be hand sorted (the green stems and over-ripe berries are removed). After that, the conveyor belt moves them through a machine which lightly crushes the grapes as these particular ones had very strong skins and needed help bursting during the fermentation process. Fermentation takes place in new French oak barrels which cost around R9000 each. So the slightly crushed berries are poured straight into the barrels. They also add dry ice which helps to keep any oxygen out the barrel so the grapes cannot oxidise.

The natural yeast on the berries (grey powdery residue on skins) is the only yeast they use at L'Ormorins to ferment the berries. They believe in keeping everything as natural as possible. From not adding minerals etc to the soil and only using the minimum amount of pesticides. In fact they rely on birds to help with insects and feel that even if the birds also eat the berries, it doesn't matter as they prefer quality grapes over quantity. So interesting!

After going through the cellar, we tasted some wine - and bought some- and then ended off with a tour of the Franschhoek Motor Museum where we saw some 300 cars housed in 3 large barn-style rooms. As much as I have really not much interest in cars, I found the museum really interesting. The cars ranged from some of the first cars ever made right up to the 2002 Enzo Ferrari (I think there were only 3 made if my memory serves me correctly). The cost of each car and the entire collection is simply not up for topic there. We were told that the one particular Mercedes (forget the model now), was bought on auction for R17 million rand on auction (around $1.7 million)- and that's just ONE car!

Reece is sick at home today with a cold-so he is here nagging me, so I'd better go. Will post photos later of Franschhoek and of Shannon singing.

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