Play the Warsaw Concerto!

Play the Warsaw Concerto, demanded 99yr-old Louise at Mom’s retirement home today. Ooh, says Mom – eight years younger and has always respected her elders – I used to play it, but I don’t think I could play it now. You go right back to the piano now and try! ordered Louise. Mom says she’sContinue reading “Play the Warsaw Concerto!”

Cousin Liz

We are ten cousins from the four children of Ouma Elizabeth and Oupa Paul Fouche Swanepoel of Pietermaritzburg. Our cousin Liz Grundling-Fortmann in Camperdown passed away in 2018 and a gathering of family and friends took place in Camperdown where Liz lived most of her life, to salute a special lady. Afterwards, I wrote toContinue reading “Cousin Liz”

Songs Mom Still Plays – 7

CHATTANOOGA CHOO CHOO From the film “Sun Valley Serenade” (1941) (Lyrics: Mack Gordon / Music: Harry Warren) Pardon me boy, is that the Chattanooga Choo Choo? Track 29, boy you can give me a shine. I can afford to board a Chattanooga Choo Choo, I’ve got my fare and just a trifle to spare. YouContinue reading “Songs Mom Still Plays – 7”

Songs Mom Still Plays – 6

MELODY OF LOVE [Melodie D’Amour] Henri Salvador (m) 1903 Leo Johns (Eng l) 1949 as recorded by – The Ames Bros 1957; Eduardo Almani & his Orch ’53; David Carroll & his Orch ’55; Leo Diamond ’55; The Ink Spots ’55; Joe Loss & his Orchestra ’57; Edmundo Ros & his Orchestra ’57; Jane MorganContinue reading “Songs Mom Still Plays – 6”

Songs Mom Still Plays – 5

‘When the Sun says Goodbye to the Mountain’ – (1936 M: Larry Vincent / T: Harry Pease) The Masqueraders, Dir. George Scott Wood V. Sam Costa Recorded 27th November 1936; Also recorded by: Geraldo, V. Monte Rey Comedian Harmonists; Roy Fox; Primo Scala & His Accordion Band; Susan McCann 1983 Original lyrics: When the sunContinue reading “Songs Mom Still Plays – 5”

Songs Mom Still Plays – 4

Cruisin Down the River, On a Sunday Afternoon “Cruising Down the River” is a 1946 popular recording song; winner of a public songwriting competition held in the UK. Words and music were written in 1945 by two middle-aged women named Eily Beadell and Nell Tollerton. One of the original early recordings of this song issuedContinue reading “Songs Mom Still Plays – 4”

Songs Mom Still Plays – 3

Mom has played the piano for about eighty years. First Granny Bland’s Ottobach, then her own Bentley she bought from her aunt Marie Bain. She can no longer read her sheet music, so doesn’t play her classical music anymore, but she still plays our favourite popular singalong and dance songs. I thought I’d know theContinue reading “Songs Mom Still Plays – 3”

Lockdown Lookback -4

Here’s a stirring tale of Boy Scouts and Girl Guides and my family. It also obliquely references a lockdown and social distancing. In fact a much longer lockdown than we have endured: From 13 October 1899 to 17 May 1900, the people of Mahikeng – which the Poms called Mafeking – were locked down andContinue reading “Lockdown Lookback -4”

Songs Mom Still Plays – 2

“Poor Little Angeline” – by (maybe) Will Grosz, Hugh Williams, S. Wilson & Jimmy Kennedy – 1936 ~~~oo0oo~~~ She was sweet sixteen, Little Angeline, always dancing on the village green, as the boys went by, you could hear them cry, Poor Little Angeline. Oh her eyes were brown and her hair hung down, laddered stockingsContinue reading “Songs Mom Still Plays – 2”

Songs Mom Still Plays – 1

Over on my blog about the olden days in the Orange Free State – you know, when knights were bold and nights were cold – I’m running a series on the classical music pieces Mom Used to Play on her piano while we were growing up. Chopin, Mozart, Beethoven, Liszt and fellas like that. ThoseContinue reading “Songs Mom Still Plays – 1”

Emergency Room: Hello, Don’t Worry . .

So this is what mother Mary probably felt like! It’s 3am and still no sign or word of the little blighter. Then ***pring pring*** . . Hello, is that Mr Swanepoel? This is Andrew of Medical Rescue Emergency Services Shit! Worst fears and all that Don’t worry Thomas is fine Phew! I have him hereContinue reading “Emergency Room: Hello, Don’t Worry . .”

The Reindeer got . .

Mother Mary stumbled a bit through her 2019 rendition of Jingled Bowels . . She wasn’t up to her usual high standards. When she finished she turned to Sheila, who was filming her, and said: ‘The Reindeer Got A Puncture!’ I wondered if the reindeer hadn’t got . . . . stuck into the champagne??Continue reading “The Reindeer got . .”

A Fascinating Case History

I took Mom to the ophthalmologist in Pietermaritzburg. She’d had some visual phenomena and her description of a curtain falling over her vision against the wall made me decide she must be seen right away. My good friend and colleague Owen Hilliar gave me the duty roster and I phoned the surgeon on duty –Continue reading “A Fascinating Case History”

Earning Her Keep

Monica said ‘Don’t worry Mary you needn’t play today,’ but I protested: No Way, you have to play! How else will you earn your keep? So she gamely fired up her stootoot – isithuthuthu – and beetled off to the dining room where her friend ‘Mauritius’ was in her wheelchair, waiting for supper. She rockedContinue reading “Earning Her Keep”

Medical Rounds

7.30am Jessie to the dentist up the road in Westville. A filling dropped out. I leave her there – she can walk home. 10am Mother Mary to the ophthalmologist in Pietermaritzburg (PMB). R. 6/18 and L. 6/36 no worse than before; Pressures holding good with the drops; field loss very near to the macula. AllContinue reading “Medical Rounds”

She’s Ninety One Today; She’s Ninety One . .

‘She’s got the key of the door; Never been ninety one before . .’ The lovely ladies at Azania gave Mom a special cake and a rousing song. Maybe due to austerity measures each candle used has to represent thutty years. Also due to fire regulations, maybe? And ‘part thereof’ probably doesn’t count: you haveContinue reading “She’s Ninety One Today; She’s Ninety One . .”