Elston Olympics 2013

The little-known 2013 Elston Place Olympic Games was a thing. Games I. Not XVI or XXII. No, I.

Tom earned 2 golds (run & soccer ball); Lungelo earned 2 golds (swim & cycle) ; One event was drawn (stone throw); Therefore they ended up Equal Olympic Champs!

– the offical Olympic Timekeeper’s station – with those stones visible –

The Games started officially with four Olympians; then one competitor DNF and one withdrew to go home for lunch.


Stone throwing was interesting. I found ten smooth, small-egg-sized stones in Aitch’s stuff. She had lots and lots of all sizes. I upended an outside black bin and placed an empty 10kg HTH bucket on it, also upended. I placed this target about 8m from a walkway so there’d be no encroaching – there was a clear place to stand. I then gooi’d five stones at the HTH bucket and hit it five times. I did grow up in Herriesmif and gooi’ing fings wif a stone was a fing, I’ll admit.

Tom stepped up; Five throws, five misses. Some by a puzzling large margin. Lungelo sniggered, stepped up: Five throws five misses. Some quite literally by about 4m at 8m distance! I had to give frowing fings wif a stone lessons before they started hitting the bucket occasionally! Bloody mis-spent youth they had, it would appear!


Terry Brauer wrote Feb 2013: This so reminds me of Pinaster Street Olympics, FA cup finals – cricket, soccer, tennis, ad nauseum – Ryan and Deon!!


gooi – frow

frow – throw

My Rugger Bugger

The man has decided its rugby this year, so I get lots of tackle-talk and tales of dragging tyres across the field.

Went to fetch him yesterday and watched a while. He’s going to get a crick in his neck from looking up at the other guys. At least he was catching and passing well with the ball all slick in the drizzle.

He has a new name among the rugger ous now:

– third standing fella from left –


They lost a few games – this one:

. . but then won this game against Penzance and started winning most of their games after that.

– my flank is kneeling –


Senior Citizens Hippy Revival

Just returned from a gathering in Harrismith where my sole function was to bring the average age of the attendants down to a respectable level.

Pierre’s joint 60th along with Jill Venning and Mark Raz Russel. Pierre builds, Jill farms, Mark runs Finlay’s general trading store – and the golf club – in Harrismith. At their age a “joint” gathering also describes one of the main topics of discussion among the creaking decrepit.
60’s themed, most of the inmates came predictably dressed as hippies. I went as a hippie who admired Elvis’ dress style post-cheeseburgers. I was Sure to Wear some Flowers in my Wig. Some wore safari suits with a comb in vey sock. One wore an old English-type boys school uniform: blazer, cap, short pants and polished shoes. Most wore wigs – and most needed them. Oh, and John Venning very predictably – but later than usual – got round to dropping his trousers.

Fine mates from way back!! With Tuffy Joe Joubert and Pierre duP du Plessis
Fine mates from way back!! Posing with young Tuffy Joe Joubert and old Pierre duP du Plessis. We might not fit together on the back seat of a Saab, nor in the rear compartment of a Beetle anymore.

Actually the evening was saved visually and average age-wise by a flock of kids and their friends, so I could relax and act second-childhood. There were two of Pierre’s blondes there, Michele & Natasha, Mark’s son & daughter and Jill’s two as well, Kirsty was one. They were also dressed as hippies, and they were looking like the pictures from back then and how we all imagined we looked. Luckily there were no mirrors at the venue that I saw. Some aesthetically-delightful sixties-style minis and boots on show.

An excellent one-man band played all the right stuff, so it was a good thing it was loud or it would have been ruined by everyone singing along. Myself I would have had half-hour gaps with no music so we could hear each others’ lies, but no, when the band-man was resting someone cranked on some good ole vinyl LP or other. Probably the bloody youngsters (we must start practicing to grumble).

Pierre gave a speech! Well, he joined Jill & Raz in a well-rehearsed threesome form of poetry rending in which they painted themselves in a good light and we listened politely.

Sheila rounded up a flock of ancient Methodists for a group shot, so three Swanepoels, three du Plessis, three Woods, and Tuffy Joubert posed for the Methylated Spirits Revival. Lulu tried to join in but we wouldn’t have it, her being blerrie NG Kerk an’ all. She protested that she had come to guild once, to no avail.

Funniest thing was the youngsters drilling us for tales of yore. We told them tales of what their Moms and Dads got up to when they were their age to gasps of outrage when they thought of how their folks had raised them all strictly and with rules and curfews. I had to tell Lettuce Leaf’s kids the old one about how all the trouble started in the Garden of Eden when Adam said to Eve “Ek het your leaf”.

I went home soon after 2.30am leaving quite a few senior citizens and even more young uns still dancing. A few were slurring so that I couldn’t get what the hell they were saying but they seemed happy with my nods and smiles and ‘Quite right!‘s and ‘Serious?‘s. Of course some of those were nearer 70 than 60 which makes the ‘hoesê?‘s quite frequent!

We stayed at Heritage House, Pierre & Erika’s beautifully restored old house-next-door which they run as a bed & breakfast, so post-party we gathered in the kitchen till after 3am. Later we gathered for a big breakfast at the Table of Knowledge in Heike’s restaurant on the slopes of 42-second Hill just below the quarry where Jock Grant would blast his dynamite, rattling the dorp’s windows.

Some of the Harrismith farmers are doing spectacularly well. Lodges in Tuli Block, Lodges near the Olifants river, big herds of disease-free Ramaposas, massive wild free-range earthworm farms, lodges on their farms (see http://www.buffalohillspgr.co.za/ and http://www.lalanathi.co.za/). They’re also buying “townhouses” – big old sandstone houses in town which they revamp and extend for staying over if they’re a bit too aled to  drive home to their farms! I spose you could call them Safe Houses.

And so some more upstanding citizens became senior citizens!

That whistling noise you hear in your ears is not tinnitis. It’s the sound of the plummeting reaching terminal velocity . . . . .

Unreasonable Bastid

Jess got home from her last day of school on Thursday with a friend.
To stay the night.
Oh. OK.

It’s Saturday and the friend is still here.
Not a word, nor a call, nor an sms from a Mom or a Dad.

Now they want another friend to visit.
OK. Get him to ask his Mom or Dad and get them to call me. You know how it works, Jess.

They mXit him. Then they give me the Mom’s cell number. He says I must call her.
Jess, you know the drill: Get him to ask his Mom or Dad and get them to call me – like I said.
Ah, Dad!
Yes, my dear. That’s the way it has always been. It hasn’t changed.

Bloody hell. Of course, they haven’t called, so she didn’t come.

I have now sms’d the parents of the girl who is still mysteriously here, asking “When are you fetching her?”

Angel Fevvers From Above

Went to watch a troupe of French “Angels” flying high above the city hall last night. Me and the kids with Cecelia Shozi and her two girls.
We met Bruce & Heather and Vicky there, sitting on the base of a statue.

Cables had been strung from the top of the city hall spire over to other buildings and between various other buildings, criss-crossing the square in front of city hall, where Jannie Smuts and Queen Vic and other umlungus stoically endure the pigeon shit. Some cables went from the top of buildings such as 320 West Street down at about a 70º angle to Aliwal Street.

Angel fevvers
Pity few of the cables are visible in my pic – I should draw them in!

I was looking forward to the madness!

After a while an old sapurity (Tom’s word) guard came up to me where I was peering up at the cables with Tom on my shoulders and told me there’s gonna be an hour’s delay. We joked about the angels having to preen their wings and I said I was worried one of these angels might come and take me away.

“Oh, no, sir” he says to me “Yours will be black  and carry a scythe, and he’ll come from up there” pointing at the blackened top floor of 320 West Street which had recently burnt out. Then it started raining and the wind came up, so I decided there’s no way the angels will fly and off we went home.

Then Sheila wrote:

Oh no – what a pity you left.


I was there and it was utterly enchanting. We came out of the concert (in the city hall) at about 8.30pm and it was drizzling ever so slightly, but even that stopped before the angels started flying. It was pure magic.

The fevvers (as Deon Joubert would have called them, back in Harrismith in the 60s) floating down made it look as though it was snowing, ‘specially in the spotlights.

I couldn’t help thinking that there must be a hellavu lot of kaalgat chickens skoffeling around today – I have never seen so many fevvers – and they were real!

The atmosphere was fantastic – with great shouts going up everything the angels released huge bags of fevvers all over us. I had my binocs and you could see the angels were having huge fun.



FROM A REPORT: Angels paid Durban a visit this week, bringing magical moments of “light, sound and heavenly activity and a sense of cohesion, unity and humanity shared” to quote Bongani Tembe, South Africa’s commissioner general for the French Season in South Africa that opening in June and ended with the angels.

Strange feathered creatures edging along zipwires strung from high above street level outside the city hall. Glittering winged figures. Flying. Gliding playfully above crowds of spectators invited to the free sky spectacle by the heavenly Place des Anges.

At first the feathers fell like thick flakes of snow; then the flurries became almost a blizzard as the area became a mysterious new place.

Magical Moment of Light put Durban on the map alongside Piccadilly Circus and the 2012 Olympics in London, Moscow, Tokyo and Perth to name a few places where Les Studios de Cirque have taken their angels and feathers.

For thirty minutes, the twisting and twirling trapeze artists careened across the sky in graceful flight, slowly performing tricks and turns, before releasing a cascade of feathers from suitcases and umbrellas on the crowds below.

“Taking place in the creative heart of Durban, the show also serves to remind all of the city’s magnificent architectural beauty and artistic value, and to revive a sense of pride during these moments of playfulness.”

While the crowds gathered in the plaza in front of Durban’s city hall waiting for the aerial show, guests and dignitaries inside the city hall — first bored by some overlong speeches (the speakers were apparently given two minutes each — but some took up to twenty!) — were enchanted by the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra and three extraordinary KwaZulu-Natal choirs.





Tom got two more. One for flying a paper plane in class. The other for shirt out and socks down. Shirt out or Socks down No. 132

I said (ala Paul Simon):

¶ “You’re in trouble, boy and now you’re headed in for more. It’s the same old story: ¶

Either you build a paper plane that flies the length of the passage or . . . ”

No problem. Fold fold fold fold fold, flick. We high-fived before it even landed.

See, Dad, I made it for Teshail and it was passed around the class and then came back to me. I threw it at Teshail but it went too far and landed on Mr Verster’s desk.

Ok, boy. I see.

Jessie’s Prizegiving

Grade 8 – 2012

Jess got a number of certificates. Best being the floating trophy for 1st in English.
And she sang in the choir with John Didlick and Sure Gooding. “You raise me up”
Tom was hugely proud of Big Sis . .

A hilarious speech by the only girl in matric. Rambling, giggling, slating slander of all the teachers and kids. No holds barred.
“I’m leaving now, what you gonna do?” approach.
Had the hall crying with laughter.
Catherine someone.

But Will He Wear It?

I looked on in amazement as Aitch looked at kids dress-up suits in the market in Hong Kong.

Surely he’s too old for these? I asked, knowledgeably.

She just smiled, and bought the one he would be LEAST likely to wear: A dragon suit with a hood, clawed gloves and a thick stuffed tail with scales running right down the back and long tail. Most uncomfortable if you lay on that thick tail, I thought.

Well, of course he LOVED it. Wore it for years – till it was threadbare! Both in bed as jarmies and out in public.

Moms just know.

2010Dec18 Tommy Trish Aitch.JPG

What Do Dads Know Anyway!?

Had a 10yr old crawl into bed with me last night.

OK, Dad? he asked.
Sure, Boy. But I’ve only got a sheet, will you be warm enough?
He just smiled knowingly. He was carrying Girry the Giraffe whose tummy is stuffed with a fleecy blanket. He unzipped her, pulled out the blanket and snuggled under it, his head on Girry’s as a pillow.


You know, when your Mom bought Girry for you I said to her: “Do you think he’ll like that? Isn’t he too old for that?” She just looked at me smugly and said: “He’ll LOVE it”.

Mommy knew everything, says Tom.


Paintball Party

Tom’s party: Eight boys and two girls, so two teams of five.

Right, the Blues defend this fort and the Greens defend that fort. Hide behind structure, take careful aim and don’t shoot someone at point blank range. Try and take over the other guys’ fort.


You have 100 paint pellets each, conserve your ammunition. Take careful aim and fire single shots.





R100 each, 100 bullets each, less than 100 seconds total !

WestwoodPaintballParty (12)

Tom's Paintball Party - Copy.jpg

Tom turned eleven.

It’s Lo-onely in the Saddle . . .*

Jessie lost all her songs on her Blackberry. Also all her photos. Just disappeared. Much sadness.

She started uploading new songs slowly from her friends.

This morning she comes running to me “Dad! Dad! All my songs are back! I’ve got 173 songs! Also all my photos are back!”

I said ‘You must have played a Country & Western song backwards, love.’

She just looked at me blankly, thinking ‘What’s he on about?’

Different generation. Double generation gap, in fact.


*. . . since my horse died.


Everyone knows if you play Rock n Roll backwards you get Satanic Verses.

If you play Bles Bridges backwards you get potjiekos recipes.

If you play Country and Western backwards you get your dog back, you get your girlfriend back, you get your house back, you get your modified pickup truck back . . . and your lost songs on your cellphone!


Hijack Anniversary

15 August 2012 – sms from Belinda:

Hey Pete! I stand to be corrected, but it was 10 or 11 years ago tonight we met some uninvited visitors at your house after a St Lizzie’s parents meeting! Just a thought I had.

(I was taken off from our home by five armed guys in Belinda’s VW Polo that night, and dropped off on the M19 onramp onto the N2 South. A truck driver stopped and took me to a garage. Cops then fetched me and took me home. Her car was recovered the next day. Belinda and the Griffiths had come for coffee after a pre-school parents gathering. I was carrying little Em to Belinda’s car when I was jumped).

Pearls Before Swine

On Friday, August 3, 2012, Pete wrote: You can’t understand teenagers. Whenever I offer to sing to Jess and her friends to save her the cost of tickets to hear Justin Bieber or whoever, she says “OmiGawd, Dad, NO!”
When she’s in the car with friends and I offer to sing instead of listening to their CD’s, iPods, Blackberrys, bluetooth to my speakers, or whatever, I get a loud chorus of “No Thanks Pete!!” and whispered giggles to Jess about her weird Dad.

But she has a soft heart. Yesterday she came to me and said “Dad maybe old people would want to listen to you sing.”


Steve Reed wrote: Want to listen to you sing?  Only old people who are drunk and who are also wanting to sing. I suspect this type of forced exposure to our dubious talents ( though with only the best of  intentions ) would have been responsible for a substantial degree of traumatic stress to our own kid . . . Character building though. 

Anyhow, good to see the SAfricans doing well in the Olympic medals. 

Aussies have brought a bunch of retired sportsmen out to have a go. The pre – Sydney games sports development initiative is now a thing of the past.

Go the ZA’s! . . and good on the Kiwis.

I wrote: Ah, austerity over posterity? The calvinist ideal. Usually used to deny poor people their fair share; but in this particular case I agree with it, I’m afraid. ‘Specially here, where much money is spent looking for medals (and my favourite: building plush, empty, white-elephant stadiums) while people have no jobs, houses or electricity. Even lotto gives money to ruddy sports clubs rather than genuine charities. Bums me.


Back to singing: Fine tradition, drunk warbling.

Steve: One of Australia’s best has yet again done his country ‘proud’ . . .

Australian Olympic rower will offer his apologies to the shop owners whose windows he damaged. Booth will also pay more than $2000 to the owners in a bid to avoid criminal charges. The 21-year-old Melbourne University student was intoxicated during the incident as the team was out celebrating.

The men’s eight rowing team qualified 6th just hours before the incident. The Australian Olympic Committee have little doubt of Booth’s involvement and say he is responsible for all reparations. Many believe the incident has caused embarrassment for the Australian Olympic team. (Me: Drunkenness has cause Aussie embarrassment? C’mon! Get real).

Booth fainted and hit his head at the police station after being arrested. He was then taken to hospital as a precaution. 

And no, they take NO DRUGS…

I wrote: Having once (long ago) experimented with this very same drug, I have to keep quiet at times like this . . .

Steve: Still doing controlled experiments myself. Let’s call it research. 

I wrote: Yep – C2H5OH taken internally . . ongoing experimentation.