Trader Horn and Me

Reading Tramp Royal again! So here’s a re-post from 2016: I lapped up the famous Trader Horn books ‘The Ivory Coast in the Earlies’ and ‘Harold the Webbed.’ I’m still looking for their third book ‘The Waters of Africa.’ ‘Their’ being his and the special and talented lady whose sudden insight made it happen whenContinue reading “Trader Horn and Me”

What a Collection!

Optometric colleagues and classmates from way back in 1977, Di Fotherby, Ray Schoeman, Terry Saks, Pete Brauer and I met at Zena Jacobson’s lovely home in Sandton a while back – 16 Feb – and how very fortuitous that turned out to be, as we have been a great support group for each other duringContinue reading “What a Collection!”

First Cuckoo in 1913

I was thinking about the seasons and how we look out for our first Yellow-billed Kite every year around Spring. We also love hearing the first Piet-My-Vrou and other cuckoo calls. Richard Lydekker (1849 – 1915) was an English naturalist, geologist and writer of numerous books on natural history. In fact, about thirty books inContinue reading “First Cuckoo in 1913”

Darwin Day

Charles Darwin was born 210 years ago today. He died aged 73 in 1882. One of the single most profound ideas ever to enter a human brain seeped into his around 1836 or 1837 and stewed and bubbled there until in 1858 he was jolted into action and finally published his stunning insight. No, NOTContinue reading “Darwin Day”

Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg is a volunteer effort to digitise and archive books and other cultural works and make them freely available on the internet. It was started in 1971 by Michael Hart, a student at the University of Illinois. The university had a Xerox Sigma 5 mainframe computer in their Materials Research Lab. By befriending theContinue reading “Project Gutenberg”

Writing A Book

I think people should write down their stories. In particular I thought Charles Mason should write his as he has paddled one particular crazy-ass canoe marathon every summer for fifty years in a row! Insanity like that should be noted and recorded for posterity. Psychologists should be looking into it. I mean he won theContinue reading “Writing A Book”

Hacks, Shifts and Contrivances

The internet is full of ‘hacks’: Simple and – sometimes – effective solutions to everyday problems (or ‘problems’). Often quirky or inelegant. Sometimes satirised. Here’s a typical geek hack: I found some camping hacks – these are a bit more real: A shoe-holder kitchen; eggs in a bottle; toilet paper jar; a handy tent floor;Continue reading “Hacks, Shifts and Contrivances”

Possible World Record

I may be in line for a world record soon. We’ll know in about 190 years time. I read it here- Seems the Slowest Selling Book Ever was a 1716 translation of the New Testament from Coptic into Latin by David Wilkins. He sold 191 copies. Well, as far as underachievement goes that’s piffling stuff!Continue reading “Possible World Record”

No Respect . .

. . for their own natural history! They found it by boring but they wouldn’t have found it boring – we all love reading about ourselves. If they’d navigated to the right page they’d have found their ancestors – or cousins – in here. ~~~oo0oo~~~ 2020: Clearing out old books during the April 2020 lockdown,Continue reading “No Respect . .”

wu wei

My garden is a wonderful tangle of KwaZulu indigenous growth gone wild. Interfered with only by my best man Tobias Gumede’s earnestly-felt desire to do something. Recently he trimmed the undergrowth near the birdbath and the spot where beautiful turquoise Araneus apricus spins her web each night and takes it down every morning. I hadContinue reading “wu wei”