Tommy’s Hilfiger Genes

Thomas Tommy Swanie junior was slightly hypermetropic for years but now he has finally inherited my fine genes and is now -0,75. Slightly short-sighted.

Like me, he can also see into a lot, read between the lines, has great insight – and while his foresight is still developing, he has strong hindsight where he can very clearly see where things were not his fault but someone else should be blamed.

Whatta boykie.

I’ll nab a shot of him wearing his Tommy Hilfiger frames . . . in the pic above he’s fooling around in Mkhuze game reserve with my minus fours, saying the usual ‘Gawd! How do you see through these things!? Oh, there you are, with one eye I can see clearly!’

– Tom takes an ussie while I try to drink my camping coffee –


Steve replied: I can picture him giving you the inscrutable eye over those frames.
Question:  Did he first take a fancy to the Tommy Hilfigers, then make the discovery he could not see very well? Any chance he learned the art of accommodating a constant 0.75 to affect the outcome?? I know my daughter had that tendency. She loved a bit of extra minus while I felt I was committing a crime against  the memory of Frank Duro.  One day  working for me in Auckland NZ she ordered her own pair (‘yes please I will have those  with extra minus and a multicoat – the expensive one’). She celebrated her milestone when reaching -2.50! By then she was living away from home and found an optom that would give her all the minus she wanted – as long as she paid.


Me: Ha! Jurgen Tolksdorf taught me to be less scared of minus, especially if they have exophoria. Or was that euphoria!? Anyway, Duro himself would have re-assured you that ‘Alice’s Rectum’ . . ‘alles sal regkom.’

I’m a bit skeptical of the current big we must combat myopia thing. We’re glued to screens close-up, low myopia is no problem. I’d hate to have been hyperopic. I believe in combating high or increasing myopia, but moderate myopia is often an asset, in our close-up world. I tell moderate myopes your eyes are fine, your vision is fine, your near focus is fine, it’s just your far focus that’s out; relax, enjoy.


Later: Now Tom is astigmatic: -0,75 cyl. He’ll need to check before he goes for his learner driver’s licence, then we’ll put new lenses in his ‘old’ Tommy Hilfigers. Speaking of which: No sign of any interest in getting his learners! Talks of driving at 300kmh but no real urgency to start. Amazing. I couldn’t wait!

Here’s an older Tom in his Tommy Hilfigers:

– Tommy Hilfiger Swanepoel – March 2020 –

Jess is in hiding. Six attempts at her learners has deflated her. Anyway, they both walk far distances, take taxis and use ride-hailing apps bolt (taxify) and uber, so maybe that lessens the pressure of getting your licence? Also, Dad’s taxi . .


alles sal regkom – all will be well; or, ‘all will come right’

ussie – selfie for two

Poephol 2 (updated)

It’s true I have been a poephol in the past. But that was behind me. I now knew more. I was wiser. So when I got to the toll booth at Marianhill and reached for my bag on the front seat next to me I thought it must have slipped off. I pulled over. And I searched. And searched again.

So now my recent past flashed before my very eyes. I had parked my sleek white Ranger 4X2 3litre diesel – turbodiesel actually – bakkie on the pavement outside the old man’s place and left my bag on the front seat. I now remembered thinking I shouldn’t really do that but it’s fine and I won’t be long. After that I had driven to Azania to visit Mom, also parking outside on the pavement. The bag may or may not still have been next to me – I don’t know. I didn’t need my wallet, ID card, drivers licence or credit cards to visit my folks. Nor did I need my Petzl head torch or my new tiny Canon camera.

Nor . . MY ZEISS BINNIES!! Oh shit! NOW this was a disaster! The other stuff I could do without, but I cannot live without my binoculars! DAMN!!


It’s three days later. I’ve been to the traffic department. The lady fetched me out of the queue and took me to the front along with some old people. I think it had to do with handsomeness. The clipboard she gave me said this:

I’ve been to the police station – very helpful; they took my case in Montclair Durban, even though ‘the incident’ happened in Pietermaritzburg. They sent me my case number for insurance the same day via sms. Tomorrow I go to Home Affairs. The bank is sending new cards. Insurance has emailed me – they’ll pay R20k towards new binocs. This is almost behind me again. I now know more. I am wiser.

Oh, and at the toll? One of the guys who works there said can you send me ewallet? I said Good Idea! Instead of a huge backtracking detour he paid R12 for me and I sent R50 to his ewallet. Win-Win.


poephol – South African – The anus; (derogatory: a stupid or unpleasant person). Origin: 1960s. From Afrikaans poephol from poep + hol – literally shit hole; arsehole, asshole.


The Montclair police captain said he’d forward the docket to PMB. I thought, All I Want Is A Case Number, and wondered if there was any point. Next day I got a call from Alexander Road police station: Where is Lincoln Park? I explained exactly and she was puzzled: Is it a gated estate? she asked. Then I clicked! It’s Lincoln Meade, not Lincoln Park, sorry! Oh, OK, now she knows where it is. The next day another call: Any chance of a surveillance camera at the scene of the incident? he asked. I said No. What else was in the bag? A little Canon camera. What make were the binoculars? Zeiss. OK, we’ll do our best, sir, he said. I’m ashamed to say I thought they’d do nothing. But they did follow up. Well done, guys!


postscript: It gets worse! Sheila found my bag with everything still intact inside it in the old man’s lounge, where I must have carefully placed it, proving I am actually very organised – I hadn’t left it in my car after all! ** sigh! ** Tomorrow, exactly one week after first reporting it missing I will be phoning the insurance company and the police in PMB to cancel – false alarm!

I admit to being rather delighted! I get an uninsured camera back; my head torch back; my binocs back without having to pay extra to get new ones; and my ID card back without having to queue; It feels like I just played a Country and Western song backwards.


The Learners Licence Learning Curve

Sat with Jess in the long queue at the Marianhill Drivers Test Centre.


This time we had all the required ducks waddling in formation like Egyptian goslings (which are ducks, not true geese) and R150 later we had a booking for two days time: Jessie’s first attempt at her learners test!

She came out with a stiff upper lip but it was quivering and when in the car and driving out she dissolved and blubbed ‘I failed!’ – even though we had rehearsed how it didn’t matter, how the first attempt is often failed and how persevering was the main thing. She still didn’t like it and was NEVER going to try again.

But she will.

Reality Show

I did my five-yearly drivers’ licence renewal. Its a good thing when you think the last time I did it I was an irresponsible 52yr-old. In and out in just under an hour, and all the people pretty pleasant or neutral, so no sweat. The only problem arose when I looked at my form after I’d coughed the R250.

They gave me 6/9 vision (AELOHCT – there, I’m 6/6, dammit), and put a Check-Your-Mate photo of some old bald bastard with jowels and three chins on it! He looks like a bloody FreeState farmer caught in the headlights.

Still, I’m not going back. I’ll just keep it.

The Ancient Marinades

So the old man went to Maritzburg College for their 150th anniversary 1863-2013* on Saturday. Sheila ignored his protests and arranged it all, including getting free tickets. He’s 91 and was in the 1938 matric class when College was a mere 75yrs old. He bailed out around April and went to work for the GPO – general post office – then off to the war as soon as he could.

Wonder what memories were swirling around here? Walking up to your familiar school entrance seventy five years after your last walk up that path.

PGS Maritzb College (2)
PGS Maritzb College memorial

He thought he’d be the oldest there, but he was trumped by the only other chap from the 1930’s: 97 year old Cyril Crompton – Matric 1933!!

Cyril Crompton (97) and Pieter Swanepoel (91)
– how’s that head of hair!? –

Cyril had driven down from JHB on his own! – watch out on the roads!
He’s driving back on his own tomorrow, but will be stopping off in Underberg to play bowls.

My old man believes in much activity. He does woodwork and metalwork, making clocks, furniture, mosaics and turning wooden bowls, etc; Drives around buying stuff at auctions, butcheries, SPCA sales, etc. Talks about selling stuff, but seldom gets round to it – too busy buying stuff!

He firmly believes “keeping busy” is the reason for his longevity.
So he asks the older Cyril: What do you do to keep busy?
Cyril: Oh, a bit of gardening. The rest of the time I drink beer.

Cyril gave the old man a book he wrote on the war. They were both in North Africa and Italy. In his book “For The Adventure Of It” he writes how he survived the Battle of Sidi Rezegh, one of the most costly in lives in South Africa’s history.  He was captured, the ship was torpedoed and he was taken on a death march from eastern Germany – now Poland – away from the advancing Russian Army.  A gripping story.

Later, the school put their mugs on a mug:

– mug says 2016 so I have some dates mixed up –


Sheila read and vetted my post:

All spot-on except for the free tickets. Lunch was R140 pp. The organisers wore sworn to secrecy. Cyril was delightful, flirting with me throughout. I sat between him and Dad. We all loved the whole day. Will write a proper report which I’ll send Robbie Sharratt plus a pic of Dad and Cyril. Love Sheila

– Dad in 1937 –
– the 1937 U/15 athletics champion donates some wood-turned trophies to his alma mater –

Footnote: Cyril lost his drivers licence due to failing eyesight at 99, played bowls till he was 100, then passed away. Dad has renewed his drivers licence at ninety five and eight months, valid for five years!


Read a lovely article in the Sandton Chronicle about Cyril when he turned one hundred. In it he says “My secret to a long life is Castle Lager and cane spirits, my two favourite drinks.” Funny that: For years we listened to Dad expound how the secret to him not being as bad as other drinkers was cane spirits and water. The colour in brandy and whisky was somehow bad, as were mixers – according to him.

– read about his book at Echoing Green Press