Afriski: Next Generation

The niece and the nephew took a husband, a wife, and two kids each and took over the St Moritz snow week at Afriski in Lesotho. They went up Sani Pass. Thank goodness for the snow machines as there was no ‘free snow from heaven’ on the ground!

Victor Simmonds, Artist

Dad: “Victor Simmonds was a lovely chap and a very good artist. He was a little man, grey, a lot older than me. What? How old? Well, I was probably 35 then and he was grey. He was probably 50. He lodged with Ruth Wright on the plot next door to ours, Glen Khyber. I […]

Albert Fell

‘Just two schoolboys and me,’ I told the lady at the entrance to Albert Falls dam recreation area. OK, two adults and one pensioner, she said, totting up the fee. And sizing us up at a glance, bitch. Oh well, she was spot-on – they are in matric after all. They were after bass and […]

Eight Years Today

Already Tom’s memories are mainly The Legend of Mom, more than real memories. Jess remembers far more. So Tom had lots to say today about Mom. Jess was mainly quiet. As most years, Dizzi and Jon came round to clink a glass in your memory. Jess set a lovely formal table with flowers from the […]

Hluhluwe Veld Fire

A quick one-night trip to Hluhluwe saw very good birding but Jess was disappointed as the animals were in hiding, possibly due to the big fire which burnt the first day and through the night. She’s spoilt, though, as she still saw twelve species, all good close-up views including an elephant where she immediately said […]

Secrets of the Cavern

Off to the ‘Berg with the kids. To a hotel! A real hotel! The Cavern in the foothills of the Drakensberg. At last their Dad listened and took them somewhere they didn’t have to cook and clean! (This was back in 2012). They loved it. Especially once they worked out one of the secrets of […]

A Real Live African Jazz Pioneer

What do you do? I ask the old soldier sitting in my chair. I’m a musician in the army band he says. Aha! Cool! What do you play? asks I. The Saxophone, he says. The best of all the instruments! I flatter. How long have you been a soldier? Not long, he says, I joined […]

Workshop Swansong. Wait, a Curtain Call

Its ongoing. There’s even less stuff there, but some stuff is going to have to be pried from his tight reluctant fingers, maybe? The awl and the hand drill brace were Oupa’s in Boom street in PMB. The screwdriver and needle-nose pliers on the right were issued to Dad by the General Post Office when […]

Techno-fob-ia?

Stefanus wrote about a new thing. I paraphrased his rant: What a bloody stupid idea. The ‘Key Fob’ or ‘Keyless Start’ or ‘Keyless Go’ or ‘Proximity Key’. I have always thought it was a stupid idea but I wasn’t sure why. Tonight I found out why. Our friend John gets home with his wife after […]

Genetics

Hereditary traits can be passed on so strongly. And then sometimes not at all.Take my daughter Jessie. In some ways she’s the spitting image of her Dear Dad: She’s kind, she’s funny, she’s thoughtful, she can crack me up with some of her observations on life. I love the way she teases me – gentle […]

Workshop SwanSong

The old man has finally taken the momentous decision – after much kicking for touch, procrastination and setting obstacles in the way – to sell their house in Pietermaritzburg, home for the last (?) fourteen years, and – a way harder decision – sell his whole workshop; Machines, stacks of wood, hand power tools, hand […]