Twilight River Serenade

When I paddled the Berg river marathon in 1983, that crazy 200km (‘241km Pete!’ Giel van Deventer reminds me. He’s the Berg historian) f-f-freezing f-f-flatwater f-f-foolishness, the oldest oke in the race was Ole man Myers (ancient: 60 if he was a day). He lost his boat one night when the waters rose (he’d left it too close to the bank). Next day he had to find it downstream and take it back to the start – and so arrived at that leg’s finish VERY late – even after me.

When word came to the camp that he was arriving we all gathered on the bank to welcome him.

He paddled up in the dark singing:
Roamin’ in the gloamin’
by the bonny banks of Clyde . .


Ian Myers


Dragging Them Up

Off to the Palmiet River with Josh, James, Lungelo & TomTom. I’m the Dad.
Crossing the stream I took their kit so they could cross unencumbered. And so who dropped Tom’s bag but me. It fell below my feet in a little rapid, and – luckily – got stuck. Dad! He shouts. My Walkman is in there! I should have carried it myself!
Reaching down I find there’s something big and rubbery caught between my lap and my chest preventing me from getting down past my toes to snag the bag. It’s my boep.
This sets me giggling, so now I have a jumping rubbery thing stuck between my lap and my chest and an irritated son who can’t understand why I don’t just reach further and grab, but I’m perched on a rock, short on reach and laughing, so I’m not much use.
Bliksem! I’m going to touch my toes ten times this evening. Well, reach towards them anyway. After supper.

After catching & releasing their usual crop of dragonfly nymphs, fish fry, freshwater prawns and water beetles, they get bored and turn to throwing with a stone. Each throw is accompanied by a triumphant YES! and a fist pump.
Oy! I remonstrate. Focus, you lot! Set a real target and hit it, don’t just gooi and shout YES! like you scored a goal for Arsenhole, you wengers.

SO I line them up. RIGHT: Five stones each and I’ll nominate a target. See that big white rock in mid-stream? (about a metre high, 1.5m wide and 15m away). That’s your target. Easy Peasy, Dad!
Not one hit. NOT ONE. Twenty consecutive misses. They were humble for a full three seconds.

They were much better at catching. I got each one to perch on a rock in the rapids and threw marshmallows at them from 10m. They each caught three and only a total of two dropped in the Palmiet (and got eaten anyway).

And you can see they’ve all had caring Moms: Here’s your cooldrink (a 2litre bottle of 7up Zero). Drink up and pass on.
Where are the cups to drink out of?
Just sip and pass on. Make sure there’s less, not more in the bottle after you sip.
I’m not allowed to let it touch my lips.
Why not?
Germs are good for you. DRINK!!
They all drank.

Gonna have to take them camping. Toughen them up.

And yes I did gooi stones at that rock and I hit it dead square every time. I grew up gooing wif a stone.

Palmiet Josh (1)
The Palmiet on our doorstep

Slack Mountaineering

Aitch and I took Jess & Tom up Table Mountain in Cape Town. We took the cable car up, and Aitch took it down as well.

Table MTN walk (24)

Here the kids are – about to walk down Platteklip Gorge.

Platteklip Gorge

They bounded down like rock rabbits. I felt my knees wobbling about halfway down, so I sat down ‘to examine some interesting little flowers’. Was stiff for three days after!

Aitch’s Drumbeat for sale

From a yachting website:

For Sale: Used 60’6″ Clare Lallow Cruising Sailboat 1957. 

Sir Max Aitken (‘Lord Beaverbrook’)’s Drumbeat Is For Sale. Totally Rebuilt In The Early 90s At Berthon,  Has Had Truck Loads Of Money Hurled At Her Since. Special, Original And Thoroughly Useable Piece Of Our Maritime Heritage.

Trish sailed in her as navigator and chef in about 1983 from the Caribbean to the UK where she headed for a refitting (the boat! not the girlfriend-to-be!).


Aitch at the helm