Saturday, January 11, 2014

Pictures of before....and after. Scary stuff.

So the times, they have been a-changing at La Rochelle Hotel. (Just in case I am accused of saying they have been a-changing at La Rochelle itself!).

We have been busy fellows over the last few days, and the entire contents of the hotel are now in the lounge (general furniture), the dining room (cutlery, crockery, glassware, kitchen equipment - 'small'), Stateroom (sheets, pillows/cases, blankets, duvets, curtains, fire extinguishers etc) and the back of the kitchen (washing machines, fridges, freezers, ovens, and the hotel cat - Shupa)

So today is just a quick tour of La Rochelle - before..... and after. Ooooops - make that La Rochelle Hotel!

Here is the Lounge - before we started moving stuff around - laid up for a Christmas Dinner that we hosted...

And here is the same Lounge today. With 'stuff' all ready to be either sold or burned...

Here is how the kitchen looked before. This photo was taken during service of the last dinner we served - on 30th December 2013.

This is how the kitchen looks today - tonight in fact! This photo was taken from the exact same spot.


On the night of the 31st December, we hosted our usual New Years' Eve party - where folk with kids of roughly the same age as our all come to the hotel, bringing with them their drinks and food of some sort. This year we asked everyone to bring meat for a braai, and then either a salad or a pudding, and we just have a party - with no charge for the folk attending at all. It is our way of saying 'thank you and good luck' to local community every year. We had about 160 people, and had to put up a marquee because the weather was a little odd. As it turned out - we had a clear night.
So this is how the hotel verandah looked on New Years' Eve 2013/14...
and how it looks today ten days later... slightly different!

This is the dining room as it is today - with crockery, equipment and glassware scattered around...

The final picture is of the dining-room - as it was.

And this is, for me, a rather poignant picture, because it is the very last dinner served at La Rochelle Hotel, on the evening of 30th December 2013. Just as we had hosted a fantastic family group over Christmas, so too were we blessed with a fantastic group over New Year. In the fourteen Festive Seasons we have spent at La Rochelle, these two groups were the very best we have ever had the pleasure of hosting over this period.

And disturbing too, because when I told these very last guests that this was the very last dinner to be served (a 'Last Supper', sort of), and how sad and forlorn I was that it had come to this, they all seemed to find great humour at my predicament, and the laughter at my expense went on well into the night....

Not only the guests - if you look again, you will see the waiters also laughing at me.

Which is exactly the way that our time at La Rochelle should be remembered! Decent food, drinkable wine, great company, and above all, lots of laughter.

Have a great day!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

A brain drain - or a drain brain?

As regular readers of this blog will know, I very rarely devote an entire post to one person. However today, for about the third time ever, I shall do so, because I have some photographs of my daughter which cannot go unpublished!

A couple of readers queried my statement in the post about 'hats' that was published on 2nd December 2013, where-in I mentioned that we had been to South Africa to take one of my daughters for medical evaluation. Folk asked which daughter, and what was the problem?

This, then, is my daughter whom we took to South Africa...

The problem goes all the way back to February, when she started complaining of sore calves after sport, and she found that whenever she went on a long bus journey, her legs 'went to sleep'. Initially we thought it was a torn or damaged hamstring, but he situation developed to the point that when she swum 2 lengths in a gala (swim meet) in November, she cried from the pain. This is a kid who won a gold medal at a Level One Gala in South Africa a couple of years ago competing against children from all around Southern Africa.

She also plays squash, and in January was selected to play for Zimbabwe in her age group at a tournament in Harare...

Those of you who know her, will attest that she never does anything by halves, and this was a worrying time for us.

Here she is - in a typical pose of quiet reflection. (This photo was taken as she was studying hard for an important mathematics exam)....

So what 'evaluations were done - not just in South Africa, but also in Zimbabwe? Well, the list is impressive. All in all she underwent 3 MRI's, an X-ray, an ultrasound scan, a CT scan, and a nerve conduction test. She also had a brain scan, and these are the images I would like to share with you today. Here is the top view:

Then  the side view:


Then there is this - most astonishing picture, which proves that not only is her brain devoid of tumours and swellings, but it is, incredibly, of normal size! I sincerely hope her teachers will print it out and keep it as proof to show her when next she does something unexpected...

So - my daughter has a normal brain.

Hard to believe, isn't it?

In conclusion, the problem was eventually traced to a viral infection of the nerves in her leg, and she is now taking medication which will, hopefully, remedy the problem.

A large and sincere 'thank you' to everyone who included her, and us, in their prayers over this most difficult time.

Have a great day!