Spotter of Note

Jess is my spotter in the game reserves. ‘Dad What’s That?’ she’ll say time and again. And it’s always something interesting. Once she said ‘Dad What’s That?’ and I peered and peered and eventually saw it after she’d told me exactly where to look – a snake in a tree as we were driving past!Continue reading “Spotter of Note”

Play the Warsaw Concerto!

Play the Warsaw Concerto, demanded 99yr-old Louise at Mom’s retirement home today. Ooh, says Mom – eight years younger and has always respected her elders – I used to play it, but I don’t think I could play it now. You go right back to the piano now and try! ordered Louise. Mom says she’sContinue reading “Play the Warsaw Concerto!”

Mother Mary under Lockdown

She’s reading Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations. ‘I can’t follow the plot but I’m enjoying the descriptions of the Thames, the muddy banks, the river traffic . . ‘ Apparently there’s a Miss Haversham in the book – she was let down by her to-be on the day of her wedding – she stayed in herContinue reading “Mother Mary under Lockdown”

Cousin Liz

We are ten cousins from the four children of Ouma Elizabeth and Oupa Paul Fouche Swanepoel of Pietermaritzburg. Our cousin Liz Grundling-Fortmann in Camperdown passed away in 2018 and a gathering of family and friends took place in Camperdown where Liz lived most of her life, to salute a special lady. Afterwards, I wrote toContinue reading “Cousin Liz”

Mow a Meadow

One Man Went to Mow Went to Mow a Meadow . . . Usually Tobias Gumede mows, but he’s in lockdown in Jozini, so the amateur had to do it. And there were repercussions . . . . . The next week TomTom voluteered to mow! Yes! I shouted! ‘For money, of course’ he added.Continue reading “Mow a Meadow”

A Vrystaat Shepherd’s Cottage

Shepherds’ cottages in Lesotho are often quite primitive affairs, used itinerantly as their flocks graze in that area; then moving on to pastures new, where – especially in winter – a new shelter may be built, or an old one re-roofed with available grass or shrubs. We enjoyed their hospitality there when we went upContinue reading “A Vrystaat Shepherd’s Cottage”

Songs Mom Still Plays – 7

CHATTANOOGA CHOO CHOO From the film “Sun Valley Serenade” (1941) (Lyrics: Mack Gordon / Music: Harry Warren) Pardon me boy, is that the Chattanooga Choo Choo? Track 29, boy you can give me a shine. I can afford to board a Chattanooga Choo Choo, I’ve got my fare and just a trifle to spare. YouContinue reading “Songs Mom Still Plays – 7”

Songs Mom Still Plays – 5

‘When the Sun says Goodbye to the Mountain’ – (1936 M: Larry Vincent / T: Harry Pease) The Masqueraders, Dir. George Scott Wood V. Sam Costa Recorded 27th November 1936; Also recorded by: Geraldo, V. Monte Rey Comedian Harmonists; Roy Fox; Primo Scala & His Accordion Band; Susan McCann 1983 Original lyrics: When the sunContinue reading “Songs Mom Still Plays – 5”

Songs Mom Still Plays – 4

Cruisin Down the River, On a Sunday Afternoon “Cruising Down the River” is a 1946 popular recording song; winner of a public songwriting competition held in the UK. Words and music were written in 1945 by two middle-aged women named Eily Beadell and Nell Tollerton. One of the original early recordings of this song issuedContinue reading “Songs Mom Still Plays – 4”

Songs Mom Still Plays – 3

Mom has played the piano for about eighty years. First Granny Bland’s Ottobach, then her own Bentley she bought from her aunt Marie Bain. She can no longer read her sheet music, so doesn’t play her classical music anymore, but she still plays our favourite popular singalong and dance songs. I thought I’d know theContinue reading “Songs Mom Still Plays – 3”

Lockdown Lookback -4

Here’s a stirring tale of Boy Scouts and Girl Guides and my family. It also obliquely references a lockdown and social distancing. In fact a much longer lockdown than we have endured: From 13 October 1899 to 17 May 1900, the people of Mahikeng – which the Poms called Mafeking – were locked down andContinue reading “Lockdown Lookback -4”

Songs Mom Still Plays – 2

“Poor Little Angeline” – by (maybe) Will Grosz, Hugh Williams, S. Wilson & Jimmy Kennedy – 1936 ~~~oo0oo~~~ She was sweet sixteen, Little Angeline, always dancing on the village green, as the boys went by, you could hear them cry, Poor Little Angeline. Oh her eyes were brown and her hair hung down, laddered stockingsContinue reading “Songs Mom Still Plays – 2”

Songs Mom Still Plays – 1

Over on my blog about the olden days in the Orange Free State – you know, when knights were bold and nights were cold – I’m running a series on the classical music pieces Mom Used to Play on her piano while we were growing up. Chopin, Mozart, Beethoven, Liszt and fellas like that. ThoseContinue reading “Songs Mom Still Plays – 1”

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”