Africa, Canoe & Kayak, Life, Nostalgia, Sport

R.I.P Linda Grewar

Linda Grewar was a Kingfisher paddler from back around 1990. She and Bernie Garcin paddled really well – a number of mixed doubles podium finishes on the Dusi, Fish and Umzimkulu. Then she buzzed off ‘overseas’.

In May 2016 Bernie gave me Linda’s address, so I wrote¬† to her:

Hey Linda! – LONG time no hear!
Meantime I have freely been using your name in vain in the Umko book we put together for this year’s 50th running of the marathon and for a story on an Umko trip Bernie and I did where you helped us out with driving. MOONS ago!

Last I heard you were out East teaching English, now I hear you’re in England. I’m glad, as in my considered opinion, a lot of Englishmen could do with being taught English proper!

Me I’m raising kids at my age, they’re 18 and 14 now.

I haven’t paddled for ages, but I have bought a new boat (no logic involved; actually, keep it secret, I’m planning a big comeback). Be careful when you look at the pics of me and Bernie with my new boat – you may get a fright!

bernie_detox1.jpg

Saw Greg Bennett yesterday. He’s well. Thanks to the Umko book project I have seen or spoken to a lot of the old paddling guys in the last year that I hadn’t seen for ages. Allie Peter, Mike Frizelle, Ernie Alder and various other maniacs are currently trudging south down the whole Wild Coast. Three to four weeks from the bottom end of Natal, ending in East London or Kei River or somewhere down there in Darkest Eastern Cape.

Fill me in on your movements since – when? – about 1990!?

Cheers now – Love to you – Pete Swanie

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Linda replied: Hi Pete – So good to hear from you after so long. Yes, I was out East, in Taiwan. I then also taught English in Slovakia and Czech Republic before ending up here in the UK. I live in Esher, Surrey and was teaching fairly close by, in Surbiton. As Karen probably told you, I was diagnosed with stage four cancer in January- one hell of a surprise, as you can imagine. So far, I have had a course of radiotherapy and have had four sessions of chemo. Obviously I have not been able to work since I have been ill and things are quite hard financially.

Is it possible to buy hard copies of the Umko book? My brother is keen to get one and he can buy me one at the same time! Those days are but a distant memory now . . . All the best – Love, Linda

Me: Dammit. Dammit! What a bliksem! Bloody cancer! Good luck with your treatment. Hope it goes well.

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** May 2018 – Bernie contacted me to tell me Linda had passed away. Dammit. Bloody cancer.

Canoe & Kayak, Life, Sport

R.I.P Ernie Alder

Dammit n SHIT!! Ernie died!

Fuckity fuck.

It’s bullshit. He wasn’t ready. He wasn’t finished. He wasn’t even close to wrapping up all the things he still planned to do.

Damn! Too soon.

A very special human being.

The wake will be held in Ernie’s Pub in Kingfisher Canoe Club on the banks of the Umgeni River in Durban. You KNOW you have led a really wonderful life when you’re going to be saluted in a pub named after you while you were still in your prime by your mates!

Ernie's Pub

Ernest Alder – 17/08/1942 – 21/01/2018

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Also:

Involved in the Caister old age home while his Mom was there;

Involved in a game farm up near Mkhuze;

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Ernie on the Umko;

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Travis Wilkinson of KCC wrote:

It is with a heavy heart that I write of the passing of Ernie Alder!
There are very few truly selfless individuals, those that give of their time beyond what could ever be expected without seeking reward or adulation!
Ernie you will, for me, always be synonymous with KCC and there will never be a time, driving in to the car park, that I do not look for your vehicle, your welcoming smile or your loudhailer!
Rest in peace my friend, you did so much to assist me in my time as chairman and for the numerous chairs before and those that came after.
Your legacy will forever be intertwined with the history of KCC and you will be sorely missed at the club and along the many riverbanks and boat pounds across the country!

A gentleman, a gentle man! We will miss you – Elvis Kingfisher

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Aitch, Canoe & Kayak, Family & Kids, Life

That Institution

As we were going to have a small wedding out in the sticks, we held a Pre-Nuptial-Party at Kingfisher Canoe Club back in 1988 to celebrate with friends who couldn’t make it or who hadn’t cracked the nod. Who to invite and who to discreetly ignore is one of the things that makes the lead-up to tying the knot vrot with danger as anyone who has gone singing to the gallows well knows.

I was reminded yesterday about that happy gathering by Barbara Mason, who I only occasionally see as she lives a normal and sane life, parallel to the madcap canoeing world that links me to her hubby Charles (him a legendary paddler, me a used-to-be wannabe).

She told me she quotes from my speech of that night to this day. I had forgotten that I’d even spoken, but she assures me I spake thus:

“Aitch and I gave careful consideration to the pros and cons of getting married, but we decided to go ahead and get married anyway.”

Pre-Nuptial Party_crop

(Check the invite! Remember typewriters?)