Tom’s Next Car

On the way to school this morning he gave me a lecture on the need for us to get a BMW.
I said “Ain’t gonna happen” so he tried for an Audi.
I said “Our kombi is our holiday-on-wheels”. He said it’s like being dropped off in a taxi.

What he really wants is a Jaguar or a Ferrari. Maybe like this one? Sold for R54m this week.

Ferrari R54m

“And where would we fit Jess, Tom?” He thought that was a novel idea, worrying about such trivialities when we were talking serious matters.

Anyway, R54m – pshaw!
This one is R299m:
Ferrari 1962 GTO 250

A classic Ferrari first built for Sir Stirling Moss has sold for a world record £22.7-million (R299-million), making it the most expensive car in the world.

The 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO

My Pasta Chef

Dragging the juicer out of the pantry, TomTom looked at me.

And now?

I want to mix some pasta dough, Dad.

That’s the juicer, boy, here’s the Kenwood chef.


Mixes the stuff, whips it up, then kneads it by hand;

Next thing he has a pasta machine clamped to the kitchen table. It has never been used before. Or not that I have seen, anyway! Rolls out the dough, puts it through the machine to cut tagliatelli or penne strips.

Tom pasta1

I need to dry these out now, Dad, where can I put them?

On the granite, fella, and we’ll cover them with a dry cloth.

All gleaned by his own self from the “Techniques” chapter in one of Aitch’s books “Pasta & Pizza Presto”. He’s going to cook it for lunch after school tomorrow, he informs me. I’ll taste it, fella.

He did, I did, It was delicious!

I Get A Bum Rap

Snoozing on Tommy’s bed tonight he lies down and puts his head on my stomach, disturbing me with the racket coming from his Blackberry.

Dad, listen to this rap: It’s 2 Chainz, he’s cool, huh?

All I can hear is a string of chanted F-words.
Dad, he says, taking a picture of my face from navel-level, You could be a rap star. We could call you 2 Chinz.

Hoses himself. So clever. Little squirt.


Jess also took a pic with her distortifying setting:
Dad & Jess


Sassy Tom 2012

Sitting with Tom watching Le Mans when he harks back a disgusting snot sniff.
Sis man, I say, digging him in the ribs.
Are you picking on me cos I’m black? he protests.
No, I say, because you’re disgusting.
Us blacks sniff like that, Dad, he says!


Jon asked: How do you argue further along this line?

I said: Too busy laffin to say anything. We both hosed ourselves for about ten minutes!

Solemnish Ceremony

I gathered the kids and said “Let’s go and bury Mom’s ashes with Bella. We’ve been meaning to do it for ages, let’s do it now.”

Her ashes had been keeping an eye on us from the mantelpiece. Now it was time for ceremony.

We trooped down under the trees to the spot where Tobias and I had buried Bella and where we had prepared a hole for the little box containing Aitch’s remains.

I gathered my thoughts and cleared my throat and . . .

“ANTS!” the kids shouted, slapping their legs and running away back to the house.

Ah well, I had a little private ceremony, shaking with laughter. Aitch would have enjoyed that (though she’d have had something to say about decorum).

MiniShova Downhill Ride

Early morning start in Hillcrest for the 35km downhill cruise.


Whizzed down the hill again this year, with TomTom keeping up his undertaking not to whinge once. He didn’t.
And he beat his Dad across the line.


MiniShova (4)
Jess got the family gold, though, tiring of the dawdling boys and zooming off in the last few km’s as always.
Sheila dropped us off in Hillcrest again, and we fetched the bakkie at her flat after the “race”. The steepest uphills are those after the finish – from the Moses MaFIFA stadium to her flat – after breakfast!

You too, TomTom!
You too, TomTom!

Sindi's medal! Well done, girl!
Sindi’s medal! Well done, girl!

Lovely day.
My bum is sore, Dad.


The Hamstring Hop

Absolutely not, I told Aitch. Forget it. I’ll pull a hamstring, I told her. NO WAY.

So I line up for the Dad’s 100m race at Livingstone Primary School. Me and twenty other Dad’s half my age. I’m wearing long pants, long-sleeve shirt and a tie. I’ve removed my leather shoes. Typical delusion of just maybe I can do well at this. After all my time of 11 seconds dead stood for over twenty years and how much can one deteriorate from sixteen to fifty five? Sure, I had probably slowed down a bit, but the question was How Much?

I politely fall back into the second row on the grid to let the pushy okes ahead. There should have been seeding races so I could get pole position AND THEY’RE OFF!

Within five metres I’m four metres behind so I deliver my famous kick and start the dreaded Hamstring Hop. I TOLD her, but did she listen? From the roar of the crowd I hear one distinctive loud peal of laughter rising above all the hundreds of shouting voices.

By the time I finish the three young adonis’ that got gold silver and bronze have already left the podium.

Is Africa for Sissies After All?

I wrote to some of you when I went to the Master of the High Court of KwaZulu Natal to start a frustrating six month process of queuing and waiting to be appointed as executor of Aitch’s estate. I’d been told: Six Months!

The long and the short of that story was I got forgotten outside someone’s door and when the first lady who had helped me saw me (and probably my sad face) she said “Are you still waiting there?” and took me under her wing.
Three hours later I left with the letter of appointment in my hand! Not “We’ll post it”, nor “We’ll phone you” nor “You phone us”. Done and dusted! In my hand!

Yesterday I finally admitted defeat after searching for Jess & Tom’s adoption papers (the ones that say “asof uit u gebore” – ‘as if born of you’) high and low in our upside-down house. I had turned over everything at home, in the garage, at work, at Trish’s Mom’s place, everywhere five times, so I turned with resignation and trepidation to plan B: Apply for replacement forms from the Department of Justice.

I phoned Ms Miya (who I seem to think we dealt with – her name was on a 2004 letter – the only thing I could find) and she said “I’ve moved from that section, but I’ll help you my lovie”!
And she did: She phoned me back in a few hours and said “When can you come and fetch them?”
How’s that!?

I went first thing this morning to the Pinetown children’s court. Walked in at 7.45am and walked out at 7.48am with the forms in my hand!

Very worrying, though. Are we going soft?

Fietsry in the Karkloof

So we enter the 19km event at Karkloof on our pushbikes. Me n Jessie.
Aitch n Tom are going to do the 10km.

We head off and Jess does well, stays on her bike on some gentle uphills, no pushing.
Riding up one hill after 4 or 5 km we hear a whooshing sound, and a wheezing and a loud shoosh and huh and a muttered curse and I realise its not a train or a wind turbine, it’s an oke saying “Spekkies – howzit?”. Young David Hill, peaking this early. He’s let himself go, as they say, since last season when he did Tuli in Botswana and was a shadow of his former self, and is paying the price. Finds his bike has lost all its former zippiness.

We rode together a while, but then gravity took over and off went Hill downhill at an ever-increasing speed on his high-tech multi-shock softail plenty thousand Rand special just when Jess ran out of steam and decided to chill a bit.

MTB Dave Hill

Hill’s bike

After another few kays I realised I was probably leading my category and was in for a podium finish and a prize: First SLOBO home (Seriously Lazy Old Bald Optometrists division). Jess was OK on the downhills (if rather cautious) and slow on all uphills – including some sections of “Dad, come back and push my bike for me”. Even so, I thought I had the win in the bag and was rehearsing my acceptance speech when, with much creaking and panting, an OLDER, BALDER optometrist pulled up next to me and called out “Swanepoel!”. It was young Graham Lewis, who, although MUCH older than me, was probably competing for my crown! I tried to delay him but he was eager to move on, so – although I could have blown his doors off – I let him go (on his twenty year old, unsprung bottle store delivery fiets, with his knees whizzing past his ears his seat was so low) as I had to wait for Jess. Ah, well, silver medal, I thought.

MTB Graham Lewis

Lewis’ bike

Meantime, back at the 10km, Aitch was waiting for 24yrs of trouble on six legs – Tom and the Bainbridge twins Peter and Philip. And waiting, and waiting. Hordes of cyclists passed her as she looked back in vain. Fifty, sixty of the slowcoaches they had been ahead of went past. “Have you seen three little boys?” she eventually started asking. Someone had: “I saw three little guys lying down in the grass near the drinks table chatting away” said an observant soul. Back went Aitch to roust them out and get them back on their wheels. “We were talking, Ma” was the explanation.

Just before prize-giving I had a thought and scurried over to have a quiet word with the officials. “First SLOBO home: Swanepoel” came the announcement over the tannoy system, and I stepped onto the podium to receive gold – to tremendous applause. Lewis had been disqualified, and quite rightly so. He’s running the Comrades ultra-marathon again this year, which quite clearly ruled him out on the important “SL” part of the category. Justice had prevailed.

Hair Today

Years ago I wrote about my hairdresser then. She had more to do than my hairdresser now.

I went and saw her one day and realised I’d chosen the wrong time. Fergie was getting married to the porky ‘prince’ and all the ladies were glued to the telly, ooh-ing and aah-ing.

Bloody ‘Royal Family’ mania!

I can come back later, I offered.

No, its fine, she fibbed and set to trimming my locks, out of view of the Pomp-ing Ceremony.

Have you seen!? she asked in her pronounced Affies or Dirkie Uys accent.

No, not really interested, said anti-monarchist me.

Ag, Saah-ra looked so beautiful as she stepped out of the cart, she gushed.


– home hairdresser with Tiger –

Now my CURRENT hairdresser is something else. Saw her yesterday. Much less to do, but hey!

Presses her boobs against me; Stands with her thighs on either side of mine; Pats me tenderly; Fusses over me; Quite a performance. And charges me nothing! FREE haircuts for me.

Course, I’m married to her . . .


Floating Shelves

Defying gravity, the shelves hover . . or to paraphrase the famous Douglas Adams –
“They hang in the sky in much the same way that bricks don’t.”

No brackets, no trusses, no nails. No visible means of support. They’re just . . . THERE.

Oddly, they did not get rave reviews from various lesser carpenters. Envy, perhaps?



TomTom has to keep a holiday diary for school. Daily entries. Verbally he can be quite verbose. When a story can be told in ten words, he can take twenty, then repeat them in case you weren’t listening.

So we went shopping and walked for miles in Westwood centre, then drove to the Pavilion, looking for soccer collectable cards and an album. Plus we had Kentucky Fried chicken and a Tab, bought plasters for him and disprins for me. And he listened to music on his headphones in the kombi.

In his diary he wrote: I have soka cards frommy Dad. That was it.

Earlier, we had arranged to go to the Palmiet River* at the bottom of our road.  Aitch was out, so I told TomTom we should leave a note for Mom to tell her where we’d gone.

He wrote a big note. It said – in glossy silver pen: We have gone.

On my insistence he added some detail:

And we well come back


*Our Palmiet fossicking turned up tadpoles, mayfly nymphs, baby frogs, freshwater shrimps and little fish fry. Maybe he’ll write about them.