Recording, reminiscing and occasional bokdrols of wisdom.
Random, un-chronological memories.
bokdrols – like pearls, but handle with care
A combination Sesotho / Setswana word, it means ‘good clean health’.
I had volunteered on the train before, in Bergville; Now Trish and I joined it in Underberg. At the time it was a pet project of Jannie Ferreira, optometry professor at RAU (now the University of Johannesburg). So it was full of RAU students. We had a kombi and on the way up from Durban to act as volunteer supervisor, we repaired to the bottle store and bought champagne, thinking we’d load everyone up and drive off to where we could watch the sun set and quaff champers.
Well, we did that, but well after sunset, as we couldn’t stop till we’d seen the last patient. No way we were going to say, ‘Sorry, come back tomorrow’ to poor people who had come from afar.
After that we went to a farmhouse (the local vet, I believe) where were treated to a lovely braai.
There are now two Phelophepa trains and the services it provides have increased. Long may it thrive and arrive at remote stations to provide needs and care and happiness – both to the people waiting at the sidings and to the students onboard.
My carguard Bridget knows I’m a wildlife n nature fan so she usually has something in that vein to tell me.
Lately she’s been watching a weekly TV program about the sea.
Today she couldn’t wait to tell me about the shark whales;
“You must just see these shark whales! They’re the biggest sharks out!” she says as I open my car door;
I said It’s the biggest fish in the sea, that whale shark. She looked at me, too polite to tell me I’m talking kak.
“Anyway,” she says, “the shark whales were fighting with the dolphins but now they’re playing together. The bottleneck dolphins.”
You can learn a lot from octogenarian Bridget. She says she’s going to watch Safari Live next.
Our two walks in the wilderness with the Taylors, Foggs, Janice Hallot and Gayle Adlam blur into one and I have got the photos all mixed up, so here are some more memories from 1999 or 2005.
On the drier of our two walks there was little surface water about, so around the campfire one night . .
. . when my companions were suitably lubricated, I put one of my (many) pet theories to them. Tomorrow, instead of walking about scaring the animals, let’s go to that waterhole we saw where a stream joins the Mfolosi river and get comfortable and simply lurk there till lunchtime! Let the animals come to us. Who’s in favour?
To my surprise and delight they were all so mellow and agreeable they voted in favour and we did just that. It was wonderful! We got comfortable a nice distance from the water and watched as all sorts of birds and animals came to drink. My idea of heaven: Lurking with telescope, binoculars and books!
These were slackpacking walks, so our kit was carried to the outlying camp by these handy bongolos. Here you can see Dizzi looking for her luggage, saying “Where’s my bongolo? Why don’t they have number plates?”
On the wetter walk it got hot one day and we asked the men if we could swim. They said they knew just the spot. Miles later we got to the river at their swimming hole. But it was occupied:
Two buffs, an ele and a lioness had all had the same idea. We didn’t argue with them, we trudged on. Miles later we crossed the river again, and had a swim. Sort of. Luckily no pictures were taken. These were of a shoes-off river crossing, footwear and footprints:
The walks end with a last night back at base camp. We had left celebration supplies there in anticipation.
Then a champagne breakfast kombi drive before we left the park.
imbongolo – donkey
Denyse took most of the lovely animal photos
Memory is a Dodgy Business. I remembered the scene so clearly. Standing next to a fresh buffalo carcase red with blood; looking around, nervous that the lions who had obviously recently killed it might come back and be annoyed with us.
We were on a walk in the beautiful wilderness area of Mfolosi game reserve; no roads and restricted access; accompanied by our two armed rangers we weren’t in any specific danger, but the feeling of ‘we’d better be careful’ was there, and I kept scanning the area around us.
Or that’s how I remembered it over the years. An actual picture painted a different picture! Photographic evidence of how dodgy one’s memory can be and how the years can enhance it! The top picture was sort of my memory; Here’s the actual carcase: No lion would want to look at it! Nor a hyena, nor a vulture!
Aitch took the picture with her point-and-shoot Nikon. Our group photographer is the Tarzan-like oke on the left. He had the penis-substitute camera and bossed us around and lined us up and made us pose (poeseer, he said), and fiddled with his f-stop. A purist, he was still deeply into film and darkroom development theory. So where’s his picture?
He’d forgotten to put film in the camera. We have not let Taylor forget it.
“In Memoriam A.H.H.” is a poem by the British poet Alfred Lord Tennyson, completed in 1849. It is a requiem for the poet’s beloved Cambridge friend Arthur Henry Hallam, who died suddenly in Vienna in 1833. It contains some of Tennyson’s most accomplished lyrical work, and is an unusually sustained exercise in lyric verse. It is widely considered to be one of the great poems of the 19th century.
The original title of the poem was “The Way of the Soul”, and this might give an idea of how the poem is an account of all Tennyson’s thoughts and emotions as he grieves over the death of a close friend. He views the cruelty of nature and mortality in light of materialist science and faith.
The most frequently quoted lines in the poem are perhaps
I don’ believe it! In a high-wind storm the beautiful big old fig tree which made the corner – it was THE feature of that whole block! – at the top of our road fell down!
I stopped to look, and Jess and Sindi spotted each other. Sindi came running across from Juke’s Pizza where she was working. Typical Sindi, a run, a hug, much to tell:
Here’s the worst part: Seems we don’t have any pics of the old tree standing! We’d taken it for granted and now it’s gone!
I searched my albums and found ONE pic of it standing earlier this year – but barely visible in the dead of night! If you use your imagination you can catch its outline way in the background between Lungelo and Tom’s heads:
. . in the garden.
Daughters and exotic weeds. This one a YTT – Yesterday Today and Tomorrow.
When Jess said Have You SEEN Those Flowers? I knew right away which ones she meant as she pointed out my bedroom window. * sigh * I’d been meaning to hoick it out but . . procrastination. Now it’ll have to wait till “Jessie’s” flowers are gone.
Brunfelsia is a South American and Caribbean genus. Some species have an interesting poison that can kill dogs foolish enough to munch on them; Some have hallucinogenic properties; Some get pollinated by hawk moths, some by butterflies, some by hummingbirds.
Kids – six of them! – driving me crazy so I pack a flask of coffee, some buttermilk rusks, grab my binocs and waai. Three minutes away to the Palmiet Nature Reserve on my doorstep.
Two hours later off to Pigeon Valley in town for another two hours. Palmiet is only 90ha in size and Pigeon Valley a tiny 10ha, but they’re rich in plant and birdlife. These collages are just some of the birds I saw and heard today in the two reserves:
I spotted an old landsnail shell in a tree hollow. New life sprouting out of it.
I pinched the pics from all over the internet, and some from Friends of Pigeon Valley‘s Crispin Hemson and Sheryl Halstead. Thank you!
waai – bugger off