For You Guys When I’m Not Around

For You Guys When I’m Not Around

Like, if I was on an island in the Okavango Delta sipping champagne out of cellphone reach and you can’t ask me for advice or money?* Then read this . . .
Love – I love you guys more than you’ll ever know. And I’m very very proud of you and so very very pleased I am lucky enough to have you as my children.
Kind – Be kind. Especially to the poor, meek and timid.
Help – Where you can. Help yourself, be kind to yourself (and hard on yourself as far as getting things done) but also help others wherever you can. It feels good, and it’s rewarding.
Do it for you – When you help people, don’t expect a reward; When you greet people, don’t expect a reply; Do it for you.
Work – When you’re at work, work. Work honestly and deliver. If you’re unhappy, don’t leave. Plan first. When you have your alternative ready, leave on your own terms, without rancour. If no alternative pans out, and where you are is really bad, then leave anyway, and work honestly and deliver on the next job. When you’re unemployed, you still have a job: Finding your next job. Work hard at finding it: Plan, prepare, talk to people, work at it.
Religion – Look into all religions. Understand their origins and the holes they were meant to fill. Know that we know far more now than they did then (even as recently as the 1950’s when L Ron Hubbard started his religion (called Scientology – hidden behind the recruiting front called Dianetics); Hell, we even know more now than in 2005 when Bobby Henderson started one of the kinder, more rational religions, The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Learn about how many Gods there are (hundreds) and what each one of their followers believe. Take the time to really understand religion. And when you have carefully worked out why people dismiss all gods other than their own, you will start to see how ALL gods have actually been created by humans. In their own likeness. To fill a need.
If learning about the world and how it works doesn’t satisfy your need for “why are we here”, and you feel you need to be a something, then become a Humanist. Read here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humanism – and when you have time to read slowly and read over & over, read here: http://infidels.org/library/modern/fred_edwords/humanism.html – its just 8 pages, well worth reading and re-reading.
Even better, DO something: Become a scout leader, a coach or a dance teacher.
Teach – Be a teacher. Even if you don’t become a teacher, still be a teacher in your life. Right near you there are children who need guidance and support and fun. If you have a car and they don’t, just take them to the beach once a month. Or take them fishing with you. Teach them how to attach a hook and cast. Teach them how to use a computer. Or to play a game. COMMIT to once a month.
Laugh – Laugh lots. Laugh with people, not at people.
Be scientific – Require evidence. When someone asks you to trust them, ask them to do you the courtesy of giving you proof, evidence, a link – or at least their statement in writing, signed by them (a lot of strong adamant statements evaporate – or at least dilute – when asked for in writing). “Trust me” is used by too many dishonest people to trust it. Look for evidence. And always get a receipt (remember my mantra “slip and change”!?)

Love again – Love people. Love them. Be gentle with them. Sure they can irritate you and frustrate you, but they’re great, all in all.
Mom – Mom loved you fiercely. She loved you with her whole heart – and was awfully proud of you. Same as me.

Well, we weren't married yet . . . .

.
Oscar Wilde said: Advice is great stuff – in the giving . . . .

*or if I have shuffled on . . .

Thutty Yizz! (that’s ’30yrs’ to you)

Aitch never held my culinary skills in high regard. Her favourite meal to mock was my chicken-onion-n-potato-in-a-pot special which she described as pale and tasteless. It wasn’t. It just looked bland. With enough red wine taken internally it was fine.

She was right about my braaiing skills, though. Luckily Tom’s genes skipped back about seven generations to when burning dead animals on a naked flame was considered an advance in civilisation, not like I believe it to be: a pointless exercise now that Eskom has been invented. So he is now my braaiing stunt double.

.

To show that I’m an early adopter, I’ll have everyone know that when Aitch met me back in ’85 there was already an AEG microwave ensconced in my bachelor flat, faithfully re-heating coffee, poaching eggs and heating up the half hamburgers I would find on my chest after a good night out.

Which same microwave gave up the ghost this week. That’s correct. My AEG microwave, bought on 26 March 1984 fizzled on me on the 26th of March 2014. How’s that for hi-fidelity?

.

And just to show I really will avoid playing the primitive pyromaniac if I can help it, here’s a picture of me pulling my shirt to hide that same microwave behind me at Kosi Bay, Zululand ca 2002. I snuck it into the kombi knowing their campsites had Eskom power and knowing that heating up Tommy’s bottles was a fiddle without it.

Kosi Greg'sBoat (10)

Update: Now I’m pissed off it packed up after only 30 years:

93-year-old woman is pissed off that her oven gave out on her after a lousy 53 years 

In 1963 John F Kennedy was president of the US, the Beatles had released their first album, and Winifred Hughes of Crewe, then 39, paid £79 for an ultra-modern Belling Classic electric oven. It turned out to be an amazing bargain. Winifred,­ now 92, used it almost every day since and, she says, “it never let me down”. Sadly, just last week, the thermostat finally gave up, and Winifred says she is “heartbroken” her beloved Belling is no more.

San Juan Honeyprune

We spent a week in Washington on our ’88 honeymoon. Way up in the San Juan islands, across the Puget Sound by ferry, on Orcas Island.

Anacortes_Orcas Ferry

Our little cabin above Doe Bay was cosy, but we’d seen a sign saying “suits optional” and were curious. It was an outdoor hot tub. We figured the sign meant bathing suits, not formal suits (we had a South African giggle at the wording), so removing all our kit we slid into the steaming tub overlooking the picturesque bay.

To Aitch’s consternation we were joined by four more people, she being kinda shy. We had a lovely chat about Washington, Canada, Africa, America – and after a long soak they hopped out up the steep ladder, causing the polite among us to avert their gaze from the under-chassis glimpse this afforded one.
Aitch wanted out, but only after the last of the ‘locals’ had left did she make the climb, looking decidedly prune-skin.
That memory gave us fond chuckles for 23 years!

Lonely Planet review of Doe Bay (decades later):

There are resorts, and then there’s Doe Bay, 18 miles east of Eastsound on the island’s easternmost shore – as lovely a spot as any on Orcas. By far the least expensive resort in the San Juans (Ooh! Caught out! Yes, ours WAS a budget honeymoon!), Doe Bay has the atmosphere of an artists’ commune cum hippie retreat cum New Age center. Accommodations include campsites, a small hostel with dormitory and private rooms, and various cabins and yurts, most with views of the water. There’s also a natural-foods store, a café, yoga classes, an organic garden and special discounts for guests who arrive by bike. The sauna and clothing-optional hot tub are set apart on one side of a creek.
Read more 

Moving? Don’t use Swanie’s Van Lines!

We were moving don’t ask me why. I would happily die here, I said to Aitch. “It’s outside the best schools’ catchment area” Aitch said to me. Which was why I was loading stuff into a rented trailer after fifteen years in River Drive.

Look, it wasn’t a bad trailer. It was – OK, it was a BIG trailer. And it was cheap. It was covered, too, in case it rained, which it didn’t. We had picked Pickfords to do the bulk removal, but I was doing the fragile and precious stuff, me being reliable, dependable, organised, punctual – OK, some of those. We were only moving about 4km to our new temporary home while Aitch searched in earnest for her ideal place.

Picture frames, certain favourite pot plants, some old furniture was expertly packed by me, learning as I went.

So I hitched it to the kombi and off we go. River Drive is right at the bottom where you have to be to be on a river, so I gunned the kombi up the steep hill. She battled at first but then seemed to catch power and roared off lustily. I started humming that song from the removals ad on TV. Y’know: The toothless ou driving along oblivious that his load is falling off the back . . ?

A glance in the mirror showed the trailer right there behind me. Except it was getting smaller . . . Whoa! The trailer had escaped! Which is why the kombi had suddenly felt quick! I watched in horror as it careered down the hill heading straight for Geoffrey’s new gate and wall!

Yanking up the handbrake, I leapt out and ran after it in slow motion, like in a movie. Pointlessly. What would I have done if I’d caught it? Luckily it slewed to the right and hit a small palm tree on the pavement just before Geoff’s gate and smacked to a halt.

Ignoring the big gouge out of the tar where the disselboom had hit the ground, I reversed the kombi up to it, hitched it up again (checking the ball hitch more closely this time), and gunned the kombi up the steep hill . . .

Moving-Truck-Losing-Furniture

I would clean the potting soil off the pictures later.

footnote:

We found a lovely new home in the Palmiet River valley right near “the right schools”, just as Aitch had planned. Then – Murphy’s Law – the kids were sent off to a remedial school in town 20km away!! The best-laid plans of mice and Aitch . . .


Aitch did have the last laugh, though:

https://bewilderbees.wordpress.com/2015/01/20/a-plan-comes-together/

R.I.P Faye Barker

Glen’s Mom died. She had been a bit spaced out the last few years, Alzheimers-like, but physically better than Denis. However, as can happen, she has gone before him. He too is not 100% with-it in his mind. He is also frail, in a wheelchair and couldn’t attend the memorial service at Selborne. The family had a gathering for him at La Domaine in Hillcrest where he and Faye have been for the last decade or so.

FayeBarker

Glen & family flew out, and his three sisters and brother were there, all married with kids. The service was held in the Umzinto church that Faye was baptised in 82yrs ago, and that they had been married in, about 60yrs ago. Denis had it moved brick-by-brick and tile-by tile and stained glass windows and wooden pews, pulpit ‘n all to Selborne about 12yrs ago for their 50th wedding anniversary and they had repeated their vows in it. ‘Mazing! Denis always had such a shrewd and imaginative eye: Selborne needed a chapel for weddings, he’d have had to build one, and this was just so much better than a new building with no history!

My shadow, and that of the motley crew I knew from Umzinto cricket days (when in absolute desperation they would ask me to be the tenth man, unable to find eleven, and I would make a duck, drop a catch and do very well at lunch and in the bar afterwards), didn’t darken the door. We politely allowed it to fill up and stood outside under the trees. They had a speaker so we could hear what was going on inside, and a marquee with chairs for old bullets. Heard all the hymns (or both of them) in stereo as the insiders and the outsiders sang at different speeds. And in different keys. All Things Bright & Beautiful and Awesome Wonder.

Glen, Jane, Denise & Sharon spoke, as did a few of the grandkids. They did really well. Hats off to them! A friend of Faye’s told a lovely story of how she would do anything for Denis, but drew the line when he went through a brief spell of supporting the National Party. He asked her for a cake for their meeting and she told him he could bake his own bloody National Party cake! I can imagine Denis himself telling that story with great delight!

Saw a number of old Highflats, Dumisa, Umzinto, Durban, Tegwaan gang and Umdoni/Pennington district faces that I recognised. They looked the same, but as though someone had stuck a bicycle pump in their rings and pumped them up a bit. Even got a few of their names right. Ali was an exception to the pump rule: She’s still as slim as ever. There were a few others who hadn’t expanded, too. Told them I was worried about them.

I remember Faye as a wonderfully warm and welcoming person with a mischievous smile and a wicked sense of humour. Playing tennis. Organising. Hosting. Driving a Citroën. At speed.

——————————————————————–

Postscript:

Faye & Denis Barker fostered or adopted a third daughter Sharon Baker, from the Ethelbert Children’s Home yonks ago. I met her when she was studying nursing and I was in the weermag. Met her again at Faye’s funeral. She has two daughters – also adopted from the ECH! The younger one (I’d guess around 17) was there with her.

Response from Dave Hill:

Special people the Barkers. I remember so well being deposited at Kearsney from Kitwe Zambia in 1967. Twelve years old and I didn’t know anyone. My dad introduced me to Denis, they were in the same class, and Glen. Every long weekend, half term etc I went to Umzinto where we played on the farm and Denis taught me to water ski on Ifafa lagoon, can you believe that? I’m talking about the lagoon! They knew how hard it was for me and looked after me whilst I found my feet. I’ve never forgotten that.
Years later I drilled the first boreholes at Selborne for Denis and over the years have returned there to drill others. Denis always made a fuss of me at the Selborne Farmers Classic which I have played for years, sadly now played at Mndoni due to politics that Denis was embroiled in at some point with the Germans. We have kept in touch for years via email which he hasn’t been able to do for years now, and he proudly sent me a signed copy of his book “Zulus at Bay”. 
All of us can’t believe that he has outlived Faye. Glen told me yesterday how frail he is and how he needs 24/7 care. Luckily they can afford it.
Funny how the world goes round.
David Hill

Response from Dave Simpson:

Hi David and Pete,

Thanks for these amazing stories of two wonderful people, but of course none of it comes as a surprise as we know they have hearts of gold. You are right about Faye being the kind and gentle lady who always made us feel so welcome in their homes in Umzinto and Selborne. I did not know about the Chapel, but Denis certainly was a visionary and a pioneer in the golfing industry, with the development of Selborne, being one of the first and still one of the best. Denis took me around Selborne golf course when construction
had just started. He already had the entire golf course development pictured in the finest detail, as if it was already there.

Pete thanks for explaining the mystery of the third daughter.

Thanks also for Glen’s telephone number. I managed to get hold of him yesterday – no need to guess where he was – playing the 18th at Durban Country Club with his son Robert. He does return home to Aussie today.

David, Selborne in all its forms, the stud and then the golf development, was certainly a labour of love for Denis. Although I did not get to know the full story, the Kraut at Selborne must be an ass of extreme proportions. He was undoubtedly a source of great anguish for Denis. Hopefully this is all in the past for him.

Best regards, Dave

=======ooo000ooo=======

Smoked! I’ll take two please

Mother Mary (85 in 2013) went into Pick ‘n Pay looking for smoked hocks to use for making soup.

Two delightful ladies behind the butchery counter looked at her curiously when she asked for smoked hocks.

What?” they asked “Smoked ‘ocks?”

Yes,” she replied, “smoked hocks.”

No, sorry, we don’t have smoked ‘ocks.”.

But I bought some here last month and made the most delicious soup!” she protested mildly.

.

The two of them looked at each other, turned to her and the one said decisively, “We have never had a smoked ox in this shop.”