Accurate Reporting

In the 2016 rugby season I wrote:

Affies came to Westville this past weekend and SLAUGHTERED us. I don’t think we won a single rugger match. Our firsts lost 65-0.

Today the local free rag arrived and I caught a glimpse of the sport heading and did a double-take:

“Westville slays Pretoria giant”

Turns out only the hockey received any coverage in the paper!


In true journalistic tradition I sent the headline, and not the rugby news, to my full-of-Elon Pretoria Boys High Old Boy china.

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 behave pronto.

Even the neighbourhood kids give a resounding NO THANKS PETE! when I suggest I sing to them in Italian instead of putting Nicky Minaj on the car stereo.

Aitch was the only person who ever said “I love it when you sing” but then she also called me “My handsome oke” so I pinch-of-salted her compliment. She would always ask me to sing “the evening song” when we were driving after dark: Kris Kristofferson’s “Best of all possible worlds”. Of course that’s mainly  gruffly mumbled, so that helped.

Of course I used to sing beautifully. The teacher who trained the seunskoor in Harrismith Laerskool  said so. I was a soprano and looked down on the altos who, though necessary as backup, weren’t in the same league as us squeakers. One directly behind me used to bellow in my ear: ‘Dek jou hol met bowse off hollie!’ FalalalaLA lalalala’

One day the discerning teacher Juffrou Cronje, chose me to sing a solo in the next konsert.

Then tragedy struck! My balls dropped. They handled it very diplomatically. By ignoring it and cancelling practice. The konsert didn’t materialise (co-incidence? Surely they didn’t cancel a concert just because one boy suffered testicular descent?) and by the time the next one came around I hadn’t been banished – just consigned to the back and asked to turn it down.


Terry Brauer wrote: Oh Pete I am STILL laughing! But never let the kids be the judge of whether you can sing! They are just embarrassed by most of what we do anyway.  🙂


Oh well, there’s still a lotta drinks that I aint drunk . . .



Islamic Fundamentals

When Aitch died it was two Muslim Moms that stepped forward and calmly and without fuss saved my butt. They re-organised their lift club to include me and kept me informed of what was happening at school. I did the morning ‘deliver’ school run every third week, while they shared the afternoon ‘fetch’ school run between them, insisting I needn’t do it as I was working and they were home Moms.

Then every year they’d give ME presents “to thank me for my help”! Five and a half years they just sorted me out, reminding me of events, juggling times when needed. We were all flexible, swopping times as needed by any of us in special circumstances.

They were fundamentally fantastic.

Thank you Sarah and Katie (Saarah and Katija)!


Jessie’s Show & Tell – and Aitch’s Legacy

Jessie’s grade 10 class had Dr Chris Barnard and heart transplants as a subject last week.

When she told me I asked “Did you tell them your Mama worked with him?”
Actually, no she hadn’t. She vaguely knew Mom had done it, but wasn’t confident enough to step forward. My shy Jess.

So out with Aitch’s old albums of her working next to the old charmer (still quite young then) who had tried to get her to go out with him one night, as he apparently did with all the nubiles on the team. And there was Aitch in theatre greens and mask: The cardio-vascular perfusionist operating the heart-lung machine (‘the oxygenator’) that kept the patient alive once the blood circulation had been diverted away from their own heart and lungs. And there was a heart in a jar.

Aitch & Barnard at the heart-lung machine
The Prof and The Mom 

Off to school went the album the next day and Jess was the focus of much attention and oohing and aahing.

The Prison Lady

I went to hand over the cash we had raised after the first school swimming gala to the bursar. Livingstone school, around 2011.

TomTom accompanied me.

Livingstone Walkathon (8)
Much counting and signing and Tom showing off his swimming “medals” with Rick making all the right noises from behind the hatch at the bursar’s office.
As we left, Tom says to me: “We call her the Prison Lady. You see all the bars she’s behind? Look, even her door has burglar bars!”
Oh, I said, I wonder if she has to sleep in there all night?
“No”, he says airily, “she has her own keys”.


When I told Rick about this, she told me how one little kid had peered at her through the bars and asked:
“Do you have food?”

Yay! Study leave! Freedom!

Dad, I’ve got tomorrow off for study leave!  “Can we go to the Pavilion?”, says Jess, pulling my leg, rattling my cage and testing my alertness.

Luckily I twig she’s revving me and I say, “SURE, dear! Let’s spend the whole day there and spend LOTS of money!’

Tom pipes up in the background: “He’s saying no”.


2012/11/04 Brauer wrote:

What her Dof Dad seems to have overlooked is that she might be majoring in sociology and there’s no better place to do research than at the Pavilion.


Oh, she’s definitely majoring in sociHology. She and Rita Durban went shopping to Pavilion today. When I got home she was hopping up and down: All those clothes she’s been on at me about for AGES she’s finally got!
And is she CHUFFED!?
I had a fashion parade tonight. Mostly shorts, baggies and short tops.

She has one dress. I think she has worn it once.
She wore beautiful black slacks and a short salmon-coloured top to her cousin’s wedding.
She dances here all day every day, but wouldn’t dance at the wedding.
My Jess.

Her main focus now is her 15th birthday party. This Saturday. Dancing disco with boys, then a sleepover, girls-only.



To Tremendous Applause . . .

Dropped Tom off this morning. First day, last term.

He was great, full of beans. We chatted a bit and he didn’t roll his eyes much when I repeated my Better Marks, Less Detentions speech.

“Gotta go Dad”, he says as he fist-bumps me and rolls off the back seat “My fan club’s waiting”.