Careful where you step!

Recording, reminiscing and occasional bokdrols of wisdom.

Random, un-chronological memories.

bokdrols – like pearls, but handle with care

 

 

Old Geysers and Wheelchairs

Me ole Mum has slowed down somewhat. Walks with a walker now. But she’s still young – only turns 90 in September. We were discussing mobility this morning as she had a friend visit her who ‘can hardly walk’ according to Mom. ‘It took ages to get her into the house from the car and then just as long back to the car’ says Mom. ‘I told her she should get a walker like mine’ she said.

I said she should actually get a wheelchair. Makes it easier for everyone. Mom fully agreed. I said ‘For example: If you and I were to leave your house, walk down the driveway, cross the road and then walk back, it would take us ages with you and your walker. With a wheelchair I could whizz you there and back at normal walking pace’. Absolutely, she agreed. Quite right.

‘So shall I get you a wheelchair?’, I asked.

“OH GOODNESS NO! FOR ME? I DON’T NEED A WHEELCHAIR!” she said emphatically.

When we’d stopped laughing we agreed: Advice is only good in the giving. Taking advice? Not so much.

Yay! Fathers Day

Breakfast at Badgers in Helen Joseph Road with Jess and two of her mates. A large greasy soulfood brekker on a windy Durban morning. I was made a present of the bill, too.

20180617_111609[1]

Tom and a mate went off to have a haircut. On their return they offered me their Fathers Day pressie: A large braai with them doing everything including the buying. I just had to pay. I saw them get a bonfire blazing and some time later this evening a plate was marched in, loaded with beef short ribs and boerewors with a token vegetable teetering on the edge: a chicken wing, braai’d golden brown.

I shoulda taken a pic but I only remembered halfway through. Delicious! Washed down with Cardboardeaux – a 2018 vintage.

Jess also made a card:

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Ocean Cruise 1934

Janie & Lizzie Swanepoel

I told Dad I’d taken the kids on a boat trip to Maputo and he remembered his two older Swanepoel sisters Janie and Lizzie going on a trip from Maritzburg to Durban by train then to the same city in Moçambique by ship back in 1934. The city was called Lourenco Marques back then and the ship was called the Julio or Giulio or Duilio or the Giulio Cesar, he said.

Oupa would have organised the train trip at a special rate or free, being a railway man! This is where he worked:

pietermaritzburg-railway-station-natal1

Dad remembers the whole trip costing them seven pounds each, all in. Here’s a ticket from the Giulio Cesare in 1923, the year it was launched:

ticket-ss-giulio-cesare

I went looking and found – as so often – that Dad’s memory was good. Maybe the Grundlinghs and Solomons know more about this trip? What an adventure it must have been for the girls! Dad said he was worried sick they wouldn’t return! He was eleven years old.

Here’s the ship’s service history:

The SS Giulio Cesare was used on Genoa and Naples to South America voyages but also served North American ports. Until 1925 the SS Giulio Cesare and the SS Duilio were the two largest ships in the Italian merchant fleet.

In November 1933, the Giulio Cesare was reconditioned and made ready to serve on the Mediterranean – South Africa Service.

giulio-pc-2

A feature of this ship was the Club situated on the boat-deck, with a bar. The ship also featured a saloon dining room, galleries and a ballroom. Second class was situated amidships. Talkie apparatus were also fitted to the ship and a long-distance wireless telephone was also available.

Tourist class accommodation was situated astern and also had several public rooms. The tourist passengers shared an open air swimming pool with the 2nd class passengers.

guileo_brochure_pool

Name:

SS Giulio Cesare

Namesake:

Julius Caesar

Owner:

Italia Line (Navigazione Generale Italiana)

Port of registry:

Italy

Route:

Italy-South America & Cruising

Builder:

Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson, Ltd, Newcastle-on-Tyne, United Kingdom.

Launched:

7 February 1920

Completed:

March 1922

Maiden voyage:

1923

Homeport:

Genoa

General characteristics

Class:

Ocean liner

Tonnage:

22,576 grt

Length:

636 feet

Beam:

76.15 feet

Depth:

66.3 feet

Decks:

4

Installed power:

  • four sets of geared steam turbines manufactured by Wallsend Slipway

  • six boilers D.E. & four boilers S.E. creating 220lb of steam pressure by Wallsend Slipway & Engineering Company Ltd. Newcastle-on-Tyne

  • 21,800 shaft horse power

Propulsion:

Quadruple screw

Speed:

20 knots

Capacity:

Total passengers: First Class: 244 Second Class: 306 Tourist Class:1800

Notes:

Paintwork: White hull and upper works ; Boot-topping green

    • Funnels white with red and black tops and narrow green band

Her fate:

During WW2, SS Giulio Cesare was chartered to the International Red Cross for a time before being laid-up in the port of Trieste. She was sunk there by Allied aircraft on 10 July 1944, along with the SS Duilio.

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Accurate Reporting

In the 2016 rugby season I wrote:

Affies came to Westville this past weekend and SLAUGHTERED us. I don’t think we won a single rugger match. Our firsts lost 65-0.

Today the local free rag arrived and I caught a glimpse of the sport heading and did a double-take:

“Westville slays Pretoria giant”

Turns out only the hockey received any coverage in the paper!

.

In true journalistic tradition I sent the headline, and not the rugby news, to my full-of-Elon Pretoria Boys High Old Boy china.

Jess and her Tummy Mummy

Jessica & ThembiJessie’s Tummy Mummy Thembi became a good friend thanks to Aitch and her conscientious follow-up and ‘adoption’ of Thembi.

Aitch nurtured her and encouraged and empowered her. She arranged classes such as computer and sewing courses; she had her teeth seen to and hugely improved by the state orthodontists at Addington and King Edward hospitals.

Once a month she would take Jessie – and me and Tom sometimes – to meet for lunch with Thembi when we would also take her supplies and goods to sell; Jessie loved those lunches. She and Thembi would gossip and giggle and point at people walking past commenting on their looks, dress, gait, whatever. Scandalous! They loved it!

Once we took her back to Port Shepstone so she could show her Mom and Gran that Jess was fine.

Thembi's Mom and Gran
Thembi’s Mom and Gran seated

Thembi met a guy who was very good to her and was very happy but tragically she then contracted AIDS; Aitch pitched right in and arranged to meet the lady doctor in charge at King Edward and saw to it that Thembi got her treatment on time. She sickened rather quickly though, and grew weak.

Jess wrote to her when I visited her in Addington:

Thembi card frm Jess Jan2010

She died in Addington hospital. I took her boyfriend and brother Dumi in the kombi to buy a coffin and then to fetch her body; then arranged for them to get her remains – and themselves – to Port Shepstone.

 

 

Honeysucker to the Rescue

* updated *

Dad! Who farted!? exclaims Jess this morning, wrinkling up her nose.

Not me! Not me! Not me! say all three of us, each suspecting that someone is holding back. Or not holding back?

Soon the mystery is solved as we hear a rumbling in the road at the bottom of our garden. Someone must have been full of shit and the honeysucker has come to the rescue. It’s slurping up the neighbours’ overflow, as it were. Just as well. We don’t want to become known as an effluent suburb!

Sewer Honeysucker Truck

Ours was a boring municipal truck, white and blue, this one from Hillcrest looks better: A pink honeysucker, YAY!!