My Vegetarians

2013/12/27 Meals: We usually have a vegetarian meal a week. If I have my way its phutu, mfino and speckled beans. Wonderful stuff. The kids love it, but feel obliged to rev me throughout “WHAT!? No meat!? Are we too poor, Dad? This is dodge, Dad! Kinda homeless, Dad!”

Ja Ja! Eat up, I say.

Little shits.

This xmas I picked Tobias’ cabbage and spinach fresh from the garden, boiled it with onions, then drained and added olive oil and simmered with garlic, salt and barbecue spices. Big knobs of butter when served. They gobbled it up after the usual wrinkle-nosed high-pitched HMMMM!? Tom reserves for anything “dodge”. Sometimes I’ll add potato for a sort-of bubble n squeak.

I have to add the occasional green just in case Aitch does peek down from the clouds. Wouldn’t want to get into trouble . . .


puthu – dry mealie meal (maize or corn) porridge;

mfino – spinach or other dark green leaves; in the Free State growing up we called it meroho, Sesotho for ‘vegetable’;

Urgent Phone Call at Work

I’ve left the kids alone at home, so when the ladies at work say “He says it’s urgent!” I take it.

It’s Tom.

Dad! We need to get a lamb roast and rosemary and garlic and small-cut vegetables to roast. It’s a slow roast and we don’t have any rice or lamb stock in the pantry!

OK Tom, we’ll go straight to the shops when I get home.
My 12yr-old has been watching a cooking show on the box.

Tom chef.jpg


Terry wrote:

Oh that is super funny!! Alone as in NO adults at all?


None. Cecelia on leave. Tobias is only Mon Wed Thurs.

So far they have been boringly safe and haven’t set anything on fire. It’ll come . . .

Under a previous regime I’d have been in trouble . .

As I would have been for Tom losing lots of skin and getting a huge heat rash when he fished topless all day the first day at Happy Wanderers. Aitch put more sunblock on them in a week than I have in 2,5 years.


Hey its not cool to be too black, I hear!! Loads of sunscreen or she will haunt you!!

We’re all so aware of that, but remembering to do it . . .

Tito Mboweni’s son got picked up by the cops for being too black! I imagine that happens all the time. We’re very aware of that, too!

Kids are watching old Bill Cosby DVD’s (over & over until they know all the words OBH!)
Quite striking how they have chosen all the actors in it to be light-skinned – some to the point of whiteness! Bill himself is by far the darkest of the “Huxtable family”!

The funny thing is I “met” Bill Cosby in 1969 when an exchange student from upstate New York came to Harrismith. He brought a vinyl LP with him:

cosby LP.jpg

Here I am 45yrs later listening to my kids listening to Cosby.


And my kids and I always said Bill Cosby was just a dark Pete Swanepoel 😀


This was 2014. Now all our Cosby stuff has been destroyed before discarding it. Sad, but he’s history in our books

Mkhuze Peach

Date: 13 January 2013

We stopped in at the Hluhluwe Spar to buy provisions on our way further north to camp in Mkhuze. Busy, crowded, more basic than city Spars, we gather our stuff and pay at the till.

As we cross the road to the bakkie, Tom looks up at me, lugging his Spar plastic bags:
“You realise you were the only peach in there, Dad?” he asks.
“People were thinking ‘What’s that umLungu doing in here?’ he says.

Actually, I think they were wondering why that umLungu takes so much cheek from that umfana.


umLungu – dignified pale person

umfana – precocious, insolent younger person


Jessie, and Jaynee’s Fairies

Jess saw fairies in Jayne Janetsky’s Gauteng country garden way back around 2005. Jayne had little fairies and fairy lights among the fascinating boulders hidden in an indigenous forest copse. Also hanging from the branches and around the pond. Jess has always remembered them and still refers to them from time to time, years later. So it was a lovely surprise to get this email from Jayne – now living in Mocambique:

2017/05/26, Jayne Janetzky wrote: Thought Jess may like to look through a book I wrote for grandson Tyler – it’s about the faeries she remembers.

Talented daughter-in-law Ansobel did the illustrations!

Jayne Faeries Book_2

Wonderful! I replied. And the best part of all – It’s ALL TRUE! I was there, I saw it! The great big rocks, the pond, the fairies themselves! The lights! Jess will love it.

I found an aerial view of Jayne’s cottage and its magical garden.

Jayne's The rock

Here I arrowed the cottage with the (really, genuinely) magic adult veranda where liquid flowed and wondrous meals were served. The popping of champagne corks was an everyday sound here – now that is truly magical! Also 1. The flat rocks which made such an interesting feature in the front garden; 2. The magical forest with a trail through it past high boulders and a pond, every nook and cranny with fairies and fairy lights and candles! Jaynee knows how to do theatre!


Adults who do things that kids never forget are magic adults.


Mini Migration

This morning on my stoep there was a bewilderbeast migration across the plains. In miniature.20180304_070449[1].jpg

As time passed they grew in numbers. They trudged across the barren surface seeking water and new grazing.

Which they found in the form of dog food and spilt cooldrink, Sambucca and the teenagers being their generous suppliers.

I flew over the cooldrink waterhole.


In these waterholes lurk mini-crocodiles, ready to pounce and have them some mini-wildebeast beef. Probably. I’m guessing.

Maybe I should set up a webcam?


stoep – veranda; patio

Sambucca – fierce guard Labrador; part-greyhound for a brief minute once a day when I get home; Here seen on her way to the gallows (or a hairbrush and de-ticking)

Sambucca to the gallows (3)

Tembe Elephant Park

Yes, said TomTom, he’d join us! YAY! So we head back to Tembe Ele Park after nine years.

It rained and the sun shone and we had grey skies and then it rained hard. We ate well, drank a bit, got wet and had a lot of fun. Jess had a little wobbly when this tusker approached the vehicle, but he was chilled and just ambled past us.

Tembe Ele Park-002

There was no wifi, but Tom simply set up my phone as a hotspot and ate my data, his problem solved.

Tembe Ele Park-001

Tembe Ele Park-003

Tembe Ele Park Feb2018 (250).jpg
There’s a webcam here: See

We had a lovely time and I do believe I’ll get Tom out to a wild area again. I’ll not rush it though, I’ll bide my time.

Tembe Ele Park Map Brochure.jpg





Hey guys, I’m at the shops. Anything you need?

Jess: Buy me a chocolate please.

Tom: Ja! I’ll send you a list.

Tom's Needs