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”

Bain of Harrismith

My granny Annie had an older brother Ginger. He was the oldest of the seven Royal Bains and a great sportsman. They owned the Royal Hotel and were not to be confused with the Central Bains, who owned the Central Hotel! This old report was reprinted in the 1997 Hilton vs Michaelhouse sports day brochure: Continue reading “Bain of Harrismith”

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”

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”

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”

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”

Emergency Room: Hello, Don’t Worry . .

So this is what mother Mary probably felt like! It’s 3am and still no sign or word of the little blighter. Then ***pring pring*** . . Hello, is that Mr Swanepoel? This is Andrew of Medical Rescue Emergency Services Shit! Worst fears and all that Don’t worry Thomas is fine Phew! I have him hereContinue reading “Emergency Room: Hello, Don’t Worry . .”

Lion Kills and Weddings – Live Footage!

Jessie discovered and avidly watched live-streamed game drives on the internet. Most were from the Maasai Mara in Kenya, and the Sabi Sands in our South African lowveld. Then she found out ‘her connection’ to it: The producer was a big supporter of hers when she first arrived in our home as a little girl!Continue reading “Lion Kills and Weddings – Live Footage!”

Mfolosi in March

Just a day trip. Late start, so it was already warm and quiet by the time we got there. Bird list: Barbets, Crested and Acacia Pied; Bulbul, Dark-capped; Greenbul, Sombre; Eagles, Long-crested and Brown Snake-; Shrike, Red-backed and Fiscal; Bush-shrikes, Gorgeous and Orange-breasted; Starlings, Cape Glossy and Violet-backed; Swallows, Wire-tailed and Lesser Striped; Kite, Yellow-billed;Continue reading “Mfolosi in March”

Annie’s Kings and Queens

(this blog is about happenings, disasters, surprises and chaos since I caught marriage and kids. But every now and then I re-post a story from my blissful, trouble-free, beer-fuelled bachelor days blog. Here’s one): I joked that my gran Annie thought ‘the queen’ was also the queen of South Africa. Elizabeth Two, not Pieter-Dirk. AndContinue reading “Annie’s Kings and Queens”

Bang! Another Hole In The Head!

Straight into the same trap – from being dozy! ‘Dad, I need an eyebrow piercing.’ Sure Jess, get it one day when you have the money and you’re living on your own, love. Strategically she drops the subject till the old man has forgotten all about it. So ten minutes later she comes from aContinue reading “Bang! Another Hole In The Head!”

Our Cul de Sac

What an interesting cul de sac is Elston Place. Sure there are five boring houses with abelungu in them, and one high-wall complex called Maroela or Marula something with faceless people living in it who don’t know that if you live in a ten-gate dead end you GREET everyone who lives there . . orContinue reading “Our Cul de Sac”

Bullshit, Frankincense and Myrrh

Or biblically, gold, frankincense and myrrh. Gold is valuable, frankincense and myrrh not so much. but BULLSHIT! Now, bullshit: Bullshit has made billions. Take how you were bullshitted and went Oooh! and Aaah! when you were told gold, frankincense and myrrh, even when you didn’t know what the hell they were talking about, and whenContinue reading “Bullshit, Frankincense and Myrrh”