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 […]

A Royal Stir (rup)

During the Royal visit to South Africa in 1947 – this was the royal family from that small country called England, not the Zulu Royal Family or anything – there was great excitement! A special train was built, medals were struck and prime ministerships were lost – although Onse Jannie Smuts didn’t know yet that […]

The Cherries in Ficksburg . .

. . were delightful. But they were all chaperoned by big ugly old males: Oh well, I made the most of it by looking for Vrystaat poppies. At least some of them were unaccompanied: And the local birds were also obliging: Saturday Supper was delicious. Cafe Chocolat hidden in a massive pile of priceless collectibles: […]

Possible Lost Opportunity

In the shadow of old Platberg this weekend I sat down to lunch with an array of superb swimmers at my table. On my right was Sonja du Plessis, Top Ten swimmer; and on my right was Lyn du Plessis, Top Ten swimmer; and on my right was Pierre du Plessis, Top Ten swimmer. And […]

My Famous Friends – #1

** this blog is mainly after I got married in 1988; my other blog vrystaatconfessions.com is essentially pre-marriage; sometimes things don’t fit neatly into one or the other – they overlap; so occasionally I copy and paste ** Tuffy has hit the bright lights. School friend and class mate Mariette van Wyk edits a lovely […]

Lost Talent

I’ve lost my beautiful singing voice! All of a sudden even I don’t think I sing wonderfully anymore! The kids have never thought so, philistines, and will ask me after the opening bar “Please don’t sing, Dad”. In fact I’ve used it as a weapon: “Want me to sing to you?” sometimes gets them to […]

Deja Bloody Vu

Can you believe it? The irresponsibility! Tom is writing exams, writes five and decides he wants to write the last three when I can invigilate. The others have been invigilated by his tutor Langelihle and another third-year student Rebecca. So we settle on Saturday afternoon and Sunday. Except he arranges for Ryan to come around […]

Lepidopterism

From: pete swanepoel home Sent: Thursday, August 21, 2014 7:03 PM Subject: Lepidopterists lead exciting lives! This from my LepSoc newsletter: Hi everyone; We will be doing a day trip to Tswaing crater, just north of Pretoria, on the 24th September, where special butterflies such as Brown-lined Sapphires, Saffron Sapphires, Hutchinson’s Highfliers, etc. can be […]

Long Lost Letter

Donald Coleman was my good mate and older side-kick in Harrismith up to around 1964. He died in a car crash (alone in the car) around 1975 (I have no detail of what exactly happened). In around 2011 or 2012 I found a letter on the floor of my garage at 10 Elston Place. It […]

A Slow Walk, My China

Way back in around 1962 Donald Coleman and I walked home from school. The Harrismith Kleinspan School. It was about a mile and we set off around 1pm. When we got home we got the “Where have you been!?” treatment. Apparently it was 5pm already and getting dark and cold. Well, we wouldn’t have known […]