Snow’s Here!

Pictures coming through from friends in lockdown in Harrismith and district The top photo is the view from friend Koos Beukes’ stoep of the Maluti mountains on the Lesotho border. In the middle ground is Qwa Qwa kop. What a magnificent view! The others look like views of the Drakensberg from the N3 highway. SharedContinue reading “Snow’s Here!”

Lockdown Lookback – 6

This lookback to 1972 came about because of a photo from 1967 which triggered memories! First the old photo, sent by Mariette who got it from Janetta – both of them feature. Taken in the Drakensberg on a weekend to beautiful Thendele above Royal Natal National Park. One memory led to another and then weContinue reading “Lockdown Lookback – 6”

Mother Mary under Lockdown

She’s reading Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations. ‘I can’t follow the plot but I’m enjoying the descriptions of the Thames, the muddy banks, the river traffic . . ‘ Apparently there’s a Miss Haversham in the book – she was let down by her to-be on the day of her wedding – she stayed in herContinue reading “Mother Mary under Lockdown”

A Vrystaat Shepherd’s Cottage

Shepherds’ cottages in Lesotho are often quite primitive affairs, used itinerantly as their flocks graze in that area; then moving on to pastures new, where – especially in winter – a new shelter may be built, or an old one re-roofed with available grass or shrubs. We enjoyed their hospitality there when we went upContinue reading “A Vrystaat Shepherd’s Cottage”

Songs Mom Still Plays – 7

CHATTANOOGA CHOO CHOO From the film “Sun Valley Serenade” (1941) (Lyrics: Mack Gordon / Music: Harry Warren) Pardon me boy, is that the Chattanooga Choo Choo? Track 29, boy you can give me a shine. I can afford to board a Chattanooga Choo Choo, I’ve got my fare and just a trifle to spare. YouContinue reading “Songs Mom Still Plays – 7”

Songs Mom Still Plays – 6

MELODY OF LOVE [Melodie D’Amour] Henri Salvador (m) 1903 Leo Johns (Eng l) 1949 as recorded by – The Ames Bros 1957; Eduardo Almani & his Orch ’53; David Carroll & his Orch ’55; Leo Diamond ’55; The Ink Spots ’55; Joe Loss & his Orchestra ’57; Edmundo Ros & his Orchestra ’57; Jane MorganContinue reading “Songs Mom Still Plays – 6”

Songs Mom Still Plays – 5

‘When the Sun says Goodbye to the Mountain’ – (1936 M: Larry Vincent / T: Harry Pease) The Masqueraders, Dir. George Scott Wood V. Sam Costa Recorded 27th November 1936; Also recorded by: Geraldo, V. Monte Rey Comedian Harmonists; Roy Fox; Primo Scala & His Accordion Band; Susan McCann 1983 Original lyrics: When the sunContinue reading “Songs Mom Still Plays – 5”

Lockdown Lookback -4

Here’s a stirring tale of Boy Scouts and Girl Guides and my family. It also obliquely references a lockdown and social distancing. In fact a much longer lockdown than we have endured: From 13 October 1899 to 17 May 1900, the people of Mahikeng – which the Poms called Mafeking – were locked down andContinue reading “Lockdown Lookback -4”

Lockdown Lookback -3

Another random re-post from way back called: “Uh, Correction, Mrs Bedford!” from my pre-marriage blog vrystaatconfessions.com – chosen as I was recently sent 48yr-old evidence by a classmate! In 1969 a bunch of us were taken to Durban to watch a rugby test match – Springboks against the Australian Wallabies. “Our” Tommy Bedford was captainContinue reading “Lockdown Lookback -3”

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”

Fogg's Folly

or Destiny Castle Driving through the beautiful Eastern Free State you see many flat-topped sandstone kopjes like these. But suddenly you say, ‘What’s on top of that one? It’s a CASTLE! Can’t be. But it is!’ Truth is, you knew it would be there – as you’ve been invited to visit it – to beContinue reading “Fogg's Folly”

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

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”

A Fascinating Case History

I took Mom to the ophthalmologist in Pietermaritzburg. She’d had some visual phenomena and her description of a curtain falling over her vision against the wall made me decide she must be seen right away. My good friend and colleague Owen Hilliar gave me the duty roster and I phoned the surgeon on duty –Continue reading “A Fascinating Case History”

Earning Her Keep

Monica said ‘Don’t worry Mary you needn’t play today,’ but I protested: No Way, you have to play! How else will you earn your keep? So she gamely fired up her stootoot – isithuthuthu – and beetled off to the dining room where her friend ‘Mauritius’ was in her wheelchair, waiting for supper. She rockedContinue reading “Earning Her Keep”

A Mystery Unraveled – Platberg Report

A guest post! A more factual and detailed report on this day by Nigel Hemming. This year’s Mystery Tour took us to Harrismith in the Free State where, amongst other things, we were to visit the Platberg Nature Reserve (PNR) and take a drive up to the top of the mountain before descending partway forContinue reading “A Mystery Unraveled – Platberg Report”