Tom at the German Club

You can tan me hide when I’ve died, Clyde, and hang it up in the shed. ‘Cos I have developed a quite – not a very, but a quite – thick skin. I meet Bruce for a beer at The German Club, which has become a bit more like an Old Rhodesians Club. This isContinue reading “Tom at the German Club”

Lockdown Lookback

An old post from my pre-marriage blog vrystaatconfessions.com My first recollections are of life on the plot outside Harrismith, playing with Enoch and Casaia, childhood companions, kids of Lena Mazibuko, who looked after us as Mom and Dad worked in town. I remember Lena as kind and loving – and strict! The plot was wasContinue reading “Lockdown Lookback”

Phinda

Aitch thought she’d do nursing after school; very soon found out that wasn’t her, so she tried blood confusion. Well, that’s what I would say and she’d correct me: ‘Transfusion, Koos!’ Bit better, but then she discovered cardiovascular perfusion. Now that she regarded as a career! She loved it. About ten years later she leftContinue reading “Phinda”

Tommy’s Hilfiger Genes

Thomas Tommy Swanie junior was slightly hypermetropic for years but now he has finally inherited my fine genes and is now -0,75. Slightly short-sighted. Like me, he can also see into a lot, read between the lines, has great insight – and while his foresight is still developing, he has strong hindsight where he canContinue reading “Tommy’s Hilfiger Genes”

Is My Arse Red?

It actually happened. How often have we joked about it but every now and again you get a real live one. I sent an email to a colleague: I’m checking Gran’s eyes; today – five minutes ago. She’s 75 and has a fly and a cobweb running around in front of her one eye theContinue reading “Is My Arse Red?”

The Red-Faced Barbet

Aitch used to look at these Two-Puddly birds and say ‘Why Black-collared Barbet? they should be called Red-faced Barbet!’ There’s probably already a red-faced, I said; and I don’t know why I didn’t go looking then. I suppose life happened. Listen: Here’s why we called ours ‘Two-Puddly’ (old man Geoff Leslie used to call themContinue reading “The Red-Faced Barbet”

Aargh!! I Haydid !

I hate it! *** For years before 1989 I wanted to see a Bufftail – a Buff-spotted Flufftail. I heard plenty, but saw none. First at Hella Hella; Then in 1989 we moved into our first home in Westville and there was one in our yard! We heard him all the time! But still IContinue reading “Aargh!! I Haydid !”

Glorious Self Isolation

So I’m at home in self isolation. It’s like I’m underwater in a diving suit, ‘cept this suit is full of holes. The holes being my kids and their friends and their gregarious, roving ways. Yes, Dad, they say earnestly after getting my full explanation of what gives, having gazed deep into my eyes, noddingContinue reading “Glorious Self Isolation”

Corona Words of Wisdom

“Everything we do before a pandemic will seem alarmist. Everything we do after a pandemic will seem inadequate.” Don’t panic, but do prepare. Here’s why everyone should self-isolate: So if you’re wearing a mask at work right now; or telling your workers to stay home and work online; or insisting people wash their hands often;Continue reading “Corona Words of Wisdom”

Kosi Bay with a Boat

Kosi Bay is a wonderful place and the campsites are superb. Good birding and great habitat. It’s an estuary system comprising of four lakes – Amanzimnyama (dark waters), Nhlange (reeds), Mpungwini and Makhawulani – the system is connected by meandering channels and fringed wetlands before it runs into the Indian Ocean via a shallow channelContinue reading “Kosi Bay with a Boat”

Fogg's Folly

or Destiny Castle Driving through the beautiful Eastern Free State you see many flat-topped sandstone kopjes like these. But suddenly you say, ‘What’s on top of that one? It’s a CASTLE! Can’t be. But it is!’ Truth is, you knew it would be there – as you’ve been invited to visit it – to beContinue reading “Fogg's Folly”

Careful Where You Step!

Recording and reminiscing; with occasional bokdrols of wisdom. Possibly. Random, un-chronological memories after marriage, children and sundry other catastrophes. My pre-marriage blog is vrystaatconfessions.com. Bachelorhood! Beer! River trips! Beer! bokdrols – like pearls, but handle with care

Simes' Cottage in Lotheni

There’s a lovely old sandstone cottage in the Lotheni Valley, one of the Drakensberg / uKhahlamba’s beautiful valleys. We had some great adventures with good friends and our kids up there. As an adult retreat it’s my idea of paradise: no electricity, no cellphone reception, no wifi. Peace. Plenty of hot water, a gas stoveContinue reading “Simes' Cottage in Lotheni”

Washington Honeymoon

Fresh out of that Hole in Wyoming we landed in Seattle and immediately headed for the hills. Or the sound. Puget Sound. I’m a bit allergic to cities, so we picked up a little rental car – would you believe a Toyota Tercel, with all-wheel drive and six forward gears . . what? I’ve saidContinue reading “Washington Honeymoon”

Lochinvar Park in Zambia

In 1297 the Gordon family arrived at Lochinvar from Berwickshire. They established a castle on an island in the lake – or loch, as this was in Scotland. Lochinvar. In 1908 another Scot, Mr Horne, a cattle farmer from Botswana, arrived on the banks of the Kafue river in Northern Rhodesia long before it becameContinue reading “Lochinvar Park in Zambia”