Note: I go back to my posts to add / amend as I remember things and as people mention things, so the posts evolve. I know (and respect) that some bloggers don’t change once they’ve posted, or add a clear note when they do. That’s good, but as this is a personal blog with the aim of one day editing them all into a hazy memoir, this way works for me.
Turns out it wasn’t about us at all. But besides that, a lovely book and a fine achievement, Terry! Proud of ya!
Men in dresses, men in hats. Being Terry, though, the sterling – often leading – efforts of women were mentioned too, in this story of her church and its centenary. It was her parents’ church and hers for all of her life – that’s well over . . . um, many years and some decades. Not the full hundred though.
I got a nice message from the author in my copy:
Glad she acknowledges my underrated acting abilities!
Mom was watching the movie Titanic when the frailcare nurses came mid-movie and hauled her off to bed.
Ever co-operative, dear old Mom sighed and accepted. The next day she asked two fellow inmates who had stayed on: “What happened!? Did it sink all the way to the bottom, or did it land on an iceberg and drift to safety?”
“They gave me a blank look,” she tells me. “Looked at me as though I was mad.” “Oops,” she says, “They didn’t get my little joke.”
Undeterred, she tells me with a chuckle , “Next time I’ll ask them what happened with Cain and Abel,” she says . “Did Cain kill Abel in the end?” I’ll ask them.
Breakfast at Kwalata Lodge was delish. I had a egg n bacon usual, Jess had an omelette with cheese, potato and onions and loved it, so the next day we had the same.
The third morning we ordered the same again. Our meal arrived with our waitress carrying mine and the chef carrying Jessie’s. That was different.
‘We have made a mistake,’ said our waitress. ‘I made the mistake,’ said the chef. ‘I read tomato instead of potato! My bad!’ He was looking at me. I looked at Jess and waited.
‘I’m sure that will be fine,’ said Jess. ‘Don’t worry, I’ll eat that.’ The two looked relieved and hurried away. Well done goggo said I. You’re a kind and lovely person. ‘Well, they were honest and decent about it and the chef came himself, he didn’t make the waitress do it,’ said my Jessie. Proud of ya love!
(I think the only pics I took at Kwalata was that lovely moth with the trompe-l’œil trailing edges to its wings that look folded backwards. Bright yellow thorax when it flew)
When Jess hit seven weeks off her opioid addiction – and seven weeks of enduring Dad – halfway to her goal of beating her last record, I said, ‘You Choose a Place To Stay Tonight Jess!’ like it was something new. She mostly did that for us anyway, using lekkeslaap.co.za or booking.com apps. But her budget was usually Under R1000 and this time – it wasn’t.
I thought Here Comes a Luxury Game Lodge, but no. It was a suite in The Lost Palace at Sun City:
As we walked into our room she knew she’d made the right choice: Dad! Look at the size of the TV! she grinned.
There are at least ten Saint Francisii. I’m sure most were skelms, so why a lovely place on South Africa’s shores is named St Francis I do not know. I bet Saartjie Baartman wouldn’t know either.
Lekker place to visit though. Cheap, too. We found a luxury fully-catered mansion where we were treated like royalty for FREE! We had our own bedrooms, me and Jess, three cordon bleu meals a day, guided tours of the harbour, walks along the beaches and a boat trip in the canals and on the Krom river, all included. And it was Easter, high season!
OK, confession: We were guests of generous good friends Mike & Yvonne who rescued us from the Easter crush. My usual procrastination meaning I hadn’t looked ahead and seen the long weekend looming. Hey! It’s not easy when every day is like a Sunday. Perpetual loafing can make your brain mushy. OK, mushier.
Thank goodness he has Elizanne for a spot of normality. See, young David Scratchmo suffers from some strange delusions. Like thinking he’s a goeie kykende ou, thinking his lop-eared puppy is beautiful, and thinking it matters which brown horse wins a horse race. I’ve tried to tell him it makes no difference and it’s pointless taking all the horses to one end of a field and putting small people on them to slap them to the other end, cos we know one of the brown horses always comes first. He came back with this strange statement: There Are No Brown Racehorses, Koos. Can you believe it? As a race-goer of some experience I have seen dozens of brown race horses at the track that time that I went to the Rothmans July!
I spose its cos of my kindly pointing this fact out to him that he didn’t have a brown racehorse in his lounge when Jess and I visited him and Elizanne in their lovely home in that unpronounceable city formerly know as Pee Ee. He had instead, an old semi-retired black race horse in his lounge.
My Durban friend of Eastern Cape extraction tells me they speak four languages in this neck of the woods: English (of a sort), Afrikaans (of a sort), isiXhosa (of a sort), and Lower Albany. This turned out to be true, so I reached out to young Allister Gordon-Peter in desperation for translation services, but he was unreachable. So I struggled on alone among the boets and the swaers that inhabit this strange country.
Turns out he was doing the Pondo Plod from Port Edward to Mtentu, Mkambathi and beyond, shuffling southwards from shebeen to shebeen along the beach in the teeth of a howling Westerly, pretending he was having fun.
The only part sounding like fun was that some shebeens now have Black Label beer in 1l (one THOUSAND millilitre!) ‘quart’ bottles, so that helped. Him and his ilk (all older’n me, much older – months!) can only do the blerrie hike thanks to frequent copious ingestion of strong drugs. These fools have done this trudging many times, suffering as they do from perseveration. When they paddle a river or hike a mountain or shoot a rhebuck, they do it over and over, year after year.
They have even done some hikes unsupported, camping rough, though nowadays as they age and grow decrepit they more often engage in ‘slackpacking,’ aka ‘limping,’ using motorised transport to carry their swag, sleep in four-poster featherbeds en route, and get tucked into bed by kind Pondo mamas. I’ve heard.
Rumour has it their drugs of choice include, but may not be limited to, Black Label, anti-inflammatories and an occasional puff of boom.
Eventually Alli phoned me, apologising for being out of blue teeth and off the line for the last week, and advised me to backtrack to Hogsback for some beautiful scenery and beer.
Which advice I followed, only to find the pub here doesn’t have 1l Black Label bottles. It was fake news. I’m having to drink milk stout and Old Brown.
Footnote: I’m told the specific brand of boom they rook in the Eesin Kyp is called ‘Pondoland Cabbage’ and just one amateur-rolled spliff gets you speaking fluent Lower Albany; slowly in lo-ong sentences with many words repeated. Look, boet, this is what I’m told hey.
Met old school chum Fluff in Bloemfontein for coffee. We were in pre-school together at Kathy Putterill’s home, went on to the Kleinspan school, then the Volkskool down the road, all the way to matric up in the high school on the hill below Platberg.
Great chat over coffee, followed by an ussie taken by Fluff (see above) – he remembers to actually take pictures. I too often remember afterwards!
Driving south-west out of Bloem towards the Groot Gariep river a beep on the phone and there was the image, sent by Fluffy.
I showed it to Jess and asked, “Can you believe we’re the same age?”
NO WAY! says my darling daughter, wide-eyed.
So how much younger do you think he is than me, Jess?
“Dad, I thought he was like, in his early fifties.”
No supper for you tonight! I laughed.
Pointedly explained to her that he is actually 68 and 13 days, whereas I am a mere 67. He is actually a full SIX WEEKS older than me, Jess!
As I left Botswana’s Khama Rhino Sanctuary I spoke to a German couple who said they were going to exit Botswana at Gaberone “cos they want to drive longer in Bots – they like it here.” So I changed plan and did the same. Instead of heading east to Martin’s Drift / Groblersbrug border post, I meandered south to the Tlokweng / Kopfontein crossing.
As afternoon approached the old familiar Where To Stay dilemma started – not my favourite part of my meandering life. For a change I decided to ask someone, as Groot Marico turned out to be a surprisingly not-groot dorpie. The Wag n Biekie Pub looked enticing, set in a shady garden.
Three manne looked comfortable at the pub. One my age was nursing a brandy n coke; one who said he was the youngest oke left in the Groot Marico at 36, nursing a brandy n coke; and Brian, nut farmer. ‘No not macadamias, the climate is wrong. Pecans,’ nursing a brandy n coke. Once Brian and his gabbas had sussed me out – What you doin’? Where you goin’? How old are you? Where do you hail from? – he hopped onto the phone to sort out a place for me to spend the night: Hello Liddy my darling. Listen, Wild Bill Hickok has come to town and is needing a bed, can you help him sweetheart?
Liddy could, so Brian drew what he assured me was a very accurate map to get to Evergreen farm I couldn’t miss it. Luckily I listened carefully as he scribbled.
I bought a round then, as when they heard it was my first visit they winked at the barmaid and she brought me a glass of amarula liquer. ‘Watch out, don’t choke hey! There’s something in it,’ I was warned. I thought maybe a chilli but turned out to be a cherry, which I slukked.
While the kind ladies in the pub kitchen made me a supper to take home we all had another dop, then I departed with thanks for the lekker hospitality.
Evergreen farm’s chalet was great and the monster burger I had for supper was delish.
The next day I discovered the Groot Marico river runs gin-clear as it’s source is an ‘oog’ – a large dolomitic hole in the ground, a spectacular scuba diving spot.
It flows northwards; for a stretch it is named Madikwene River, then reverts to the name Marico, bends northeastwards and forms the border between South Africa and Botswana. Further downstream the Crocodile River joins the Marico from the right and the name of the stream after the confluence becomes the famous Limpopo River.
So we did *sometimes* go where the signs *sometimes* said Maybe You Shouldn’t.
We were rescued by friendly Damara ous in the Namib desert, by feisty ous in tight khaki shorts on Mocambican beaches, and by faithful Bahá’ís at their picnic on the Báb’s birthday on a Malawian beach. Bless em all.
We three of the august bakgat editorial team had great fun while friend Charles was writing his autobiography Bakgat. One of the causes for mirth and ribbing was centred around punctuation, with some wanting precision and others wanting to be slapgat in bakgat. You can read about the fun here, but here’s an excerpt showing Barbara’s humour:
Puncture-ation: Deep discussions were held on punctuation. Commas and apostrophes were debated the most. Barbara:I’ve been reading a book on punctuation written with a lot of humour by someone who calls herself a stickler for correct pronunciation and punctuation. She dithers outside a charity shop that has a sign in the window which reads, “Can you spare any old records.”There is no question mark! Should she go in and mention it? “But what will I do if the elderly charity shop lady gives me the usual disbelieving stare and then tells me to “Bugger off, get a life and mind your own business?”
Pete: Well, Barbs knows my sympathies lie not with the author, but firmly with the elderly charity shop lady!
Much later I read about 18th century author Timothy Dexter in wikipedia and had to tell Barbara about him!
At age 50, Dexter authored the book A Pickle for the Knowing Ones, in which he complained about politicians, the clergy and his wife. The book contains 8,847 words without any punctuation and with unorthodox spelling and capitalization. One section begins:
Ime the first Lord in the younited States of A mercary Now of Newburyport it is the voise of the peopel and I cant Help it and so Let it goue
Here’s my email to the Masons, suggesting ‘Punctuation – a good solution perhaps for our 3rd edition of Bakgat?’
Dexter’s first edition was self-published – like Bakgat – in Salem Massachusetts in 1802. In the second edition this successful eccentric practical-minded author responded to complaints about the book’s lack of punctuation by adding an extra page of 11 lines of punctuation marks with the instruction that printers and readers could insert them wherever needed—or, in his words, “thay may peper and solt it as they plese”.
bakgat – from Afrikaans meaning cool; nice; expression of appreciation for something well done; often stated ‘no, bakgat man’
slapgat – also from Afrikaans meaning ‘lazy.’ Used to denote a person not pulling his/her weight, or doing something haphazardly or carelessly – literally, a slack or lazy arse.
commas – in case anyone feels like I’m short, here are a few commas they can use in my writing , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Thanks Timothy Dexter
I first heard about this lovely lodge on Jejane Private Nature Reserve“up towards the Olifants River area” way back last century. Now at last I got to visit thanks to Carl and Mandy, co-owners with four other families – all farmers around Harrismith and Bergville.
It was everything I’d imagined and more; we had a lovely stay with game drives, lots of laughter, great meals, lots of beer, sunshine, lots of rain. Carl and I were on our best behaviour as we were outnumbered, Mandy having brought in three young lasses from her distant past to stand by her. They cheekily nominated me Airfryer Fundi, pretending they didn’t know what to do with the machine; so I pushed, pulled and stroked various knobs so they could cook dinner.
The rain was lovely – not as hectic as in the Kruger Park next door. Dams and pans that were mud puddles filled rapidly and overflowed. Streams rushed all over, threatening road crossings, but the level would soon drop and the roads remained good as the water soaked into the sand.
The manne were curious at least, won’t say envious. Tom had caught five fish before the other ten or so anglers on the beach caught their first. Hey, Rasta! What bait are you using? Then they started catching too. And then the fish went off the bite. Tom only caught anther two. All small stone bream, he called them.
Maybe Tom had an advantage though? He had, after all, fished here before, in 2005:
This time he was his own gillie. No smelly fish bait for me.
Three days in Mfolosi’s Mpila camp with two demure young ladies.
We saw a few confrontations: Two male impala, two male lions, four rhino, with one male threatening the others. Nothing much came of these feints and threats, despite the loud shouts which came from the back seat, where the two demure young ladies were seated: FIGHT! Fuck him up!