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.

Africa, Family & Kids, Home, Life

Fecundity

When we got to River Drive in 1989 we were warned it was a fertile zone and if you weren’t careful babies would start popping out all over. This was from the Lellos who had produced three offspring there; the Greenbergs, two; The Hockeys, a few, Donna was the only one around then; the Howard-and-Dofs, three boys; And there were others. We were blissfully child-free and at least half of us were determined to remain that way.

Then the Naudes arrived and produced two boys but we had stood firm, determinedly child-free ’til 1999. When we left that river in 2003 we only had two children, having managed to sell three others after fattening them up and putting a smile on their faces.

In Elston Place there was a swarm of children; The pool was always overflowing. They all soon learned the gate code and the place was like a railway station. And nothing has changed in the thirteen years we’ve been here. Here’s the latest crop with Jess – who turned eight the month we arrived here. She goes down the road to visit most evenings:

– they worship our Jessie –

Three of these are kids of the older kids who used to swim in the pool when we first arrived!

Here are some of the early-days kids with a young Jessie leaning back:

Elston Place gang (2)
Africa, Family & Kids, Travel, Travel Africa, Wildlife, Game Reserves

Mkhuze Peach needs a Balaclava

Later we go on a night game drive in an open vehicle with Patrick, ‘our’ Mkhuze Ezemvelo Ranger. The three of us and a family of four from Durban. On the drive I realise that of the eight people on the vehicle I am the only one reflecting an excessive amount of moonlight from my ‘peachy’ face. Probably scaring the animals.

I’ll have to get meself a balaclava.

Image

Oxpecker collage
Oxpecker collage

 

Aitch, Family & Kids, Travel Africa

On Safari with a Bushman – 1. The Decision

We’d been meaning to go for ages but, you know – procrastination.

The idea of a long road trip up north is a common dream and – like many Saffers – we planned to do it ‘one day’: A “safari!” – a Swahili word meaning just plain journey. Probably originally from the Arabic سفر (safar) meaning a journey;

Then one lazy day at home in 2003 I read a lovely interview with an Austrian bloke who had traveled down through Africa on his own from Vienna to Cape Town on a motorbike. The journalist interviewing him asked him about the trip, his adventures, his highlights and his challenges. He’d had a fun time.

The journo then looked down at his bike and said: “Hey – this is a dead-ordinary street bike! What on earth made you choose this bike for your African safari?”

“Choose it?” he said “I didn’t choose it. I had it”. That did it! I got up right there and then and started pacing around. ‘Acting strangely’, according to Aitch.

Within a few months of reading that Wake-Up! What Are You Waiting For? call we had hopped into our white VW kombi petrol 2,3i 2WD with 195 000km on the clock and headed north.

Bluetts Spaggiaris Visit (7)

Two little problems: While procrastinating we had adopted Jessie, now five, and Tommy, now 22 months old. But what the heck, even after we’d modified the kombi it was still a six-seater. There was room for them!

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Saffers – South Africans

Africa, Aitch, Family & Kids, Life, Sport

I shoulda said Gosh! or Darn!

Jaynee J had a luxury courtesy suite at Centurion Park cricket ground and she invited us to watch a game. The Springboks / Proteas were playing someone in an international test match. 2001, so Sri Lanka, maybe.

Jayne called it her ‘champagne suite’. Jayne Janetsky could POUR, and – as always – she had laid in enough stock for a siege. Or a rainy day. And that day Centurion Park was not like this:

Centurion cricket ground

It was like this:

Jayne J Champagne Suite Centurion Cricket (2)
Me telling Jessie “See love, this is cricket: Not much happens”

This led to puddle-jumping with Jess behind the stadium:

I had great fun watching the people. Especially a guy in the next-door Telkom box, scanning the crowd with powerful binoculars, looking for girls. Whenever he saw someone watching him he’d say “I’m looking for my sister”.

We had to take two year-old Jessica along and it wasn’t really her thing. It rained off and on, so we were indoors with Celebrity Guest Barman Johnno Green, who was intent on quality control, sampling and plying. Aitch and I took turns amusing Jess and keeping her (mostly) out of the adults’ hair.

Jayne J Centurion Champagne Suite

After a while (cricket matches carry on and on and when you think they MUST be finished, surely? – they stop for tea) I had to feed and change Jess and decided to take her back to Jayne’s home. Change of scenery for her and a break for the adults.

On the way back to the stadium, with freshly-fed and -wiped Jessie strapped in the car seat behind me, I missed the freeway off-ramp to the stadium. Didn’t have a clue how I’d get back to the stadium now, so I was kinda tense and focused and fuming. What if I missed Jayne’s famous lunch? Finally I figured it out and managed a tricky u-turn after the next off-ramp and got back on track. Finally I could relax.

“Pete?” came a little voice from behind me.

Yes my love?

“FUCK!”

“FUCK FUCK FUCK!!”

Oh, boy . . . . .

Family & Kids, Travel

Racial Profiling

While staying in friend Ian Whitton’s lovely cottage outside Stanford, near Hermanus, we visited the mission town of Elim and its mission station, tsurts and watermill:

hermanus-elim-stanford-1

In the village we stopped for some cooldrinks. The family decided to stay in the car as I ducked into a little roadside store. A line of little kids were sitting leaning against the wall all in a row outside the door, watching me.

 

Four-year-old Jess changed her mind and ran after me, grabbing my hand as I drew level with the local gang. Where they’d looked at me rather disinterestedly, they now perked up. One dug her mate in the ribs with her elbow: “Kyk! Sy’s ‘n Hotnot!” she exclaimed excitedly.

Family & Kids, School

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)!