There were two birthdays on the steam train and the pictures are from Tom’s. He turned four. 2005. Aitch arranged a magic day after much preparation, cake-construction and Mom-liaison. Here she orchestrates:
I was on the train and we had a lovely day. Later Luke, Tom’s big china, turned four and had the same birthday. On Luke’s birthday I was a designated driver, taking a car to the end-point to take stuff and ferry passengers.
So I wasn’t on the train on Luke’s birthday trip when he flew out of the window.
But first: These pictures are of Tom’s birthday:
Here’s our Luke-fella with Mom Terry. Both on the train and at the stop for Tom’s party (you can see TomTom’s cake). On his way up he was without make-up, and on his way back he was all face-painted:
On his big day the same train journey was arranged; Up, then a party in Inchanga and then down: the return journey. Afterwards, I got back to Hillcrest; To Stokers where the journey starts and ends; When the train puffed in I heard a strange tale: Tom huffed and puffed, “Dad, Dad! Luke flew out the window!” The adults said Luke had fallen out of the train and been taken to hospital. I was aghast! What!?
Later the tale unfolded. Luke had fallen out while the train was choofing along. His Dad Steve had leapt up and wanted to jump out after him, but the train was going too fast so he hared through the carriages, rushing through the gaps till he got to the front and could attract the attention of the driver who stopped the train. Steve ran back and found Luke with some railroad trackside dwellers, who had found Lukie-boy – maybe even seen him fall.
The hospital checked our Lukie-boy over bone-by-bone and organ-by-organ and pronounced him all intact. Massive sighs of relief!
Amazingly, Luke later also said he’d “flown out the window” so who knows what actually happened? Weird!
Every year Trish got a professional photographer to the kids’ parties. Me, I’m scrooge. I’ll take the pictures. I can do this! So at the kids’ uShaka Waterworld party I tried to photograph everyone. But I didn’t get one of lovely young Hannah, and she left early.
I told Tom.
“Doesn’t matter”, he says, “She’s a brownie/blondie hair kinda person”.
Oh. That’s obviously okay then.
Tom with friends whose pics DID matter . .
Joining the fourteen year-olds and the ten year-olds parties was not a clever idea! These below do not blend well with those above! I rushed around searching for bodies all day. Never again!
Just returned from a gathering in Harrismith where my sole function was to bring the average age of the attendants down to a respectable level.
Pierre’s joint 60th along with Jill Venning and Mark Raz Russel. Pierre builds, Jill farms, Mark runs Finlay’s general trading store – and the golf club – in Harrismith. At their age a “joint” gathering also describes one of the main topics of discussion among the creaking decrepit.
60’s themed, most of the inmates came predictably dressed as hippies. I went as a hippie who admired Elvis’ dress style post-cheeseburgers. I was Sure to Wear some Flowers in my Wig. Some wore safari suits with a comb in vey sock. One wore an old English-type boys school uniform: blazer, cap, short pants and polished shoes. Most wore wigs – and most needed them. Oh, and John Venning very predictably – but later than usual – got round to dropping his trousers.
Actually the evening was saved visually and average age-wise by a flock of kids and their friends, so I could relax and act second-childhood. There were two of Pierre’s blondes there, Michele & Natasha, Mark’s son & daughter and Jill’s two as well, Kirsty was one. They were also dressed as hippies, and they were looking like the pictures from back then and how we all imagined we looked. Luckily there were no mirrors at the venue that I saw. Some aesthetically-delightful sixties-style minis and boots on show.
An excellent one-man band played all the right stuff, so it was a good thing it was loud or it would have been ruined by everyone singing along. Myself I would have had half-hour gaps with no music so we could hear each others’ lies, but no, when the band-man was resting someone cranked on some good ole vinyl LP or other. Probably the bloody youngsters (we must start practicing to grumble).
Pierre gave a speech! Well, he joined Jill & Raz in a well-rehearsed threesome form of poetry rending in which they painted themselves in a good light and we listened politely.
Sheila rounded up a flock of ancient Methodists for a group shot, so three Swanepoels, three du Plessis, three Woods, and Tuffy Joubert posed for the Methylated Spirits Revival. Lulu tried to join in but we wouldn’t have it, her being blerrie NG Kerk an’ all. She protested that she had come to guild once, to no avail.
Funniest thing was the youngsters drilling us for tales of yore. We told them tales of what their Moms and Dads got up to when they were their age to gasps of outrage when they thought of how their folks had raised them all strictly and with rules and curfews. I had to tell Lettuce Leaf’s kids the old one about how all the trouble started in the Garden of Eden when Adam said to Eve “Ek het your leaf”.
I went home soon after 2.30am leaving quite a few senior citizens and even more young uns still dancing. A few were slurring so that I couldn’t get what the hell they were saying but they seemed happy with my nods and smiles and ‘Quite right!‘s and ‘Serious?‘s. Of course some of those were nearer 70 than 60 which makes the ‘hoesê?‘s quite frequent!
We stayed at Heritage House, Pierre & Erika’s beautifully restored old house-next-door which they run as a bed & breakfast, so post-party we gathered in the kitchen till after 3am. Later we gathered for a big breakfast at the Table of Knowledge in Heike’s restaurant on the slopes of 42-second Hill just below the quarry where Jock Grant would blast his dynamite, rattling the dorp’s windows.
Some of the Harrismith farmers are doing spectacularly well. Lodges in Tuli Block, Lodges near the Olifants river, big herds of disease-free Ramaposas, massive wild free-range earthworm farms, lodges on their farms (see http://www.buffalohillspgr.co.za/ and http://www.lalanathi.co.za/). They’re also buying “townhouses” – big old sandstone houses in town which they revamp and extend for staying over if they’re a bit too aled to drive home to their farms! I spose you could call them Safe Houses.
And so some more upstanding citizens became senior citizens!
That whistling noise you hear in your ears is not tinnitis. It’s the sound of the plummeting reaching terminal velocity . . . . .