Africa, Family & Kids, Food, Travel Africa

Sheffield Beach Tribal Gathering

When I found them they were huddled together like Vaalies on a beach. Oh, wait! They WERE Vaalies on a beach. I should have taken a picture of Brauer’s beach outfit: A double-padded fluffy anorak. Sort of a Tshwane Tshpeedo. And a hoed.

We soon scurried off the dreaded sand in search of lunch. In their defence, it was blowing a gale. I kindly took them on a guided tour of – what place was it? – and then speedily straight to Canelands overlooking ve beach.

Back at the cottage:

– ‘thinks’ – is this old top in an anorak in pain? What’s that noise? –

Their cottage overlooked the beach from on high and despite being grandkid-infested, was very pleasant except for the absence of beer.

Perched high on a cliff, it puzzled me. I thought I remembered our cottage back in 1980 as being right on the beach . .

~~~~oo0oo~~~~

. . and then I remembered: It was Blythedale Beach in 1980. Not Sheffield . .

Sat, Feb 12, 2011(Newser) – An asteroid all but buzzed Earth on Friday, NASA has revealed. The asteroid, known as 2011 CQ1, passed just 3,405 miles above the Earth’s surface as it hung a sharp turn around the planet. That’s the closest near-miss ever recorded, beating a record set by a rock in 2004 by a few hundred miles. The asteroid was just a meter wide, small enough that Earth’s gravity would affect its course, in this case bending its path 60 degrees. Not that there was any real danger if the asteroid had veered into Earth’s atmosphere . . OK, they’re starting to talk nonsense so we’ll cut them off there.

Me: Brings to mind the heroics on Blythedale Beach when we single-handedly (the other hand was holding cheap liquor) fended off the comet which was threatening planet Earth at the time. Whether it was the coleanders and coriander and spatulas or the alcohol fumes from our breath that caused it to veer away is a moot point: Bottom line is it BALEKA’d and the planet was saved.
Funny how little credit we have got for that over the years. Maybe we fell asleep at the medal awards ceremony . .

Steve reed wrote: Jees – I had [almost] forgotten that heroic weekend. I now recall the collander, and making do with some pretty substandard alcohol [probably not a GREAT wine as in 4 Hillside]. Also I recall some of us may have slept on the beach. Bulletproof days. Was that Filly with us as well as her friend whom I remember clearly was from Marandellas in Zim. Wait! A flashback:

‘Comet – it makes your breath small clean;

Comet – it tastes like gliserine.. ‘

Of iets. Not sure that I want to remember too much more…

Me: So many flashbacks! Maybe as the brain cells die, those old pickled ones gain more prominence? Maybe the flashes are vitreous detachments? Surreal. The sales jingle for comet continues:

‘Comet! It makes you vomit

So take some Comet

and vomit

Today . . ‘

Hooligans. I was innocent. I fell amongst thieves . .

But its all true. You can check the 1980 newspapers: How many comets hit Blythedale beach that year? NONE. Not one.

OK, so our comet – probably 8P/Tuttle 1980XIII – may have been further away at 37,821,000km, but it was 4500m in size, not a puny 1m rock. So it’s still a good thing we were out there all night shaking our fists at it, daring it to approach.

~~~~oo0oo~~~~

The next day the weather improved, so I claimed some credit: ‘Did you get the good weather I prayed for for you guys?’

Brauer: You clearly have a more direct line then this bunch of unbelievers.

The sun shone down on them. Smiling grandkids, happy windloos days. Actually I hadn’t actually prayed. I pulled some strings. As St Peter I have connections, so I called on the Roman god Venti and the Egyptian god Amun about the wind. Together, they delivered. Bacchus was unable to help with the wine situation.

Family & Kids, Life, Sport, Travel Africa

Hook, Line & Sinker

In  2008 we took ourselves up to Mabibi. Lovely snorkelling spot on the Zululand coast. Aitch had just finished her chemo and this is what she chose as her “what would you like to do now?” With best friends Jon & Dizzi.

Thonga Beach Mabibi (11)

We luxuriated in the lodge and went for a daily snorkel in the reef at the point nearby. Lolling around the shallow reef checking out flocks of fish of all shapes n sizes one day, Aitch suddenly rose up and leapt about shrieking something about a sore earlobe. Luckily the water was only thigh deep so she could wade shorewards shouting ouch! and eina!

Six year-old TomTom had seen the fish, got out and rushed off to fetch his tackle. Getting back he had cast in where he’d seen the pansizers, and caught his Ma!!

Life

Save Vetch’s Beach !!

It’s the ONLY bit of beach in the whole of KZN with a reef catching the breakers and leaving a protected beach for beginners to learn to swim, to paddle, to love the waves.

The only walk-in reef in urban Durban where snorkellers can cut their teeth in clear protected waters (and divers can do their first dive without driving miles to Sordwana or Umkomaas, and then taking a boat out);

(and besides, it’s the beach where I taught a Scottish medical student to paddleski back in 1980 and her bikini top came off without her noticing it and I continued the lessons with a topless chick for the only time in my life. It’s worth preserving this beach, I’d say!)

Vetch'sBeach (2)

Family & Kids, Life, Travel, Travel Africa, Wildlife, Game Reserves

Cape Vidal Storm Disaster

We took the trailer and found a lovely campsite and settled in.

Bushman Camping - Annotated trailer

Tom was a mad keen fisherman and Jess loved the waves. Blissful. Peaceful. Tom had his first real fishing rod – a huge surf rod given to him by Trish’s Dad Gompa Neil. Jess was mad keen on gymnastics and swimming back then. Game drives were not as exciting – let’s go back to the beach! – but when I let them drive they were thrilled again. Such an easy-to-please stage of their lives!

– Cape Vidal Jess 2005 –
– Cape Vidal Tom 2005 –
– Cape Vidal 2005 –

While the gillie unties knots and baits up, the fisherman dreams of big catches: C’mon gillie, move it up already!

– gillie prepares the tackle. Ace fisherman looks on –

When we got back to camp from the beach things had changed: The Boksburg and Benoni Fishing and Hengel Club had moved in with their V8 4X4’s, their caravans, tents and boats with twin 200hp Yamahas, and surrounded us! There goes the neighbourhood, we thought. Huge tents and gazebos and afdaks and windscreens, caravans and trailers had sprung up, complete with large braais, TV satellite dishes and you-name-it!

Lovely people. We soon struck up a conversation with our nearest neighbour. The Boksburg and Benoni Fishing and Hengel Club had been coming to Vidal for their annual By-Die-See excursion for decades. Highlight of the year, he told us. That night there was revelry and much smoke and brandy, but not too late – they planned an early start the next day to get their boats out to sea to fill their hatches and deep freezes. Serious fishermen, these.

Things settled and the night went quiet a while; then a big storm sprang up. Soon the wind was howling through the trees and our trailer-top tent was rocking. I climbed down to check all was secured. Soon afterwards I heard an almighty crack and the sound of something heavy falling and striking a tent pole. Uh! Oh! I thought and listened to the voices in the dark all around us, barely audible above the howling gale.

Soon a few engines were started and I thought “Here we go, they’re revving up their 4X4’s and the boat motors ready for a first-light departure”. Then a chainsaw started snarling and I thought “Give it a break, guys! Wait till morning!” but it carried on! Mayhem!

At last there was quiet. Next morning I hailed our neighbour: “Hey! Did you survive the storm?” He came scurrying over and in a hushed voice said “Yes, but Joan didn’t!”

Turns out a massive branch had fallen on top of one of their friends sleeping in a tent, missing her husband by inches. Durban friends of ours camping nearby went to assist as the lady was a vet. She had to give them the sad news that Joan’s chest was crushed, she had no chance and had died instantly. The police arrived, then a mortuary van. The whole gang from the Boksburg and Benoni Fishing and Hengel Club, tight-knit friends as they were, packed up and left to accompany Joan’s husband home, the adventure over before it had really started.

We had a look at the branch: Now in pieces, it had been over 3m long and over 50cm in diameter and had fallen from about 10m up. What a bummer.

~~~~oo0oo~~~~