Now I Know

Ole man phones on his new cellphone. FINALLY a cellphone like I always wanted. As usual, its a one-way call; he can’t hear me, but I can listen. The phone is perfect. BIG numbers, which display BIG on the screen when pushed AND I can actually hear when I push the button; And get this,Continue reading “Now I Know”

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”

Lockdown Lookback -1

An old post from my pre-marriage blog vrystaatconfessions.com My first recollections are of life on the plot outside Harrismith, playing with Enoch and Casaia, childhood companions, kids of Lena Mazibuko, who looked after us as Mom and Dad worked in town. I remember Lena as kind and loving – and strict! The plot was wasContinue reading “Lockdown Lookback -1”

Surprise Windfall Pension !

Out of the blue, the ole man received R7800 in May, he says. Then R7800 in July. A surprise pension from the UK !!? The Poms giving something back for World War 2 !? If that’s what it is – £780 after 70 years! – it amounts to about ten quid a year! Did theyContinue reading “Surprise Windfall Pension !”

Sheila at Fugitives Drift Lodge – Sit Still!

Sheila worked at Fugitives Drift Lodge with David and Nicky Rattray for a while and met many interesting people and characters from all over the world. She should write about the weird folk she met – the judges and military men and colonial types and rich folk and historians and chief constables and all theContinue reading “Sheila at Fugitives Drift Lodge – Sit Still!”

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”

The Goatitudes – 5. Say WHAT!

Mom has a bad spell so I visit her in frail care in PMB Sunday. While I was there she had a much worse spell, fading, then going far-away-staring-eyed and then collapsing, limp as a ragdoll. This after she’d played the piano then ate supper and drank a cup of tea. I caught her andContinue reading “The Goatitudes – 5. Say WHAT!”

Victor Simmonds, Artist

Dad: “Victor Simmonds was a lovely chap and a very good artist. He was a little man, grey, a lot older than me. What? How old? Well, I was probably 35 then and he was grey. He was probably 50. He lodged with Ruth Wright on the plot next door to ours, Glen Khyber. IContinue reading “Victor Simmonds, Artist”

Workshop Swansong – Wait, a Curtain Call

Its ongoing. There’s even less stuff there, but some stuff is going to have to be pried from his tight reluctant fingers, maybe? The awl and the hand drill brace were Oupa’s in Boom street in PMB. The screwdriver and needle-nose pliers on the right were issued to Dad by the General Post Office whenContinue reading “Workshop Swansong – Wait, a Curtain Call”

Old Man’s SWA Memories

The ole man’s first visit to South West Africa was by train in 1939. The trip cost six pounds return. His father being a railway man, he probably got a good family-rate deal. He would have ‘entrained’ here. where Oupa worked: . . crossed all of South Africa to Upington, then passed through Keetmanshoop, RehobothContinue reading “Old Man’s SWA Memories”

The Goatitudes – 6. Duelling Banjous

As we left Mother Mary today – at the old aged home Retirement Village – he used to call them old aged homes and be very anti but now suddenly they’re OK and they’re retirement villages cos he has just made an offer on a cottage there, deciding at age 96 that it might beContinue reading “The Goatitudes – 6. Duelling Banjous”

16 Ivy Road

Mom was on furlough from the home – Azalea Gardens. Sheila fetched her and Barbara, Linda, Tholo and the two terrors Mary-Kate and Dawie and I joined them at 16 Ivy Road in Lincoln Meade, Pietermaritzburg. What a lovely day – a great lunch, fun with the kids and ending with a surprise: ancient moviesContinue reading “16 Ivy Road”

Is This A Chisel?

So the old man buys 24 pfeil carving chisels from a fellow woodworker for R500. He already has carving chisels, but this is a bargain he can’t resist. He’s fully aware of the value of pfeils – “the best in the business”. His mate probably wasn’t!? He makes a box for them, adding value: TheyContinue reading “Is This A Chisel?”

Umvoti Villa Xmas

Went to the farm for boxing day as ninety-year-old Mom had suffered three or four TIA’s starting early xmas morning. Very distressing. Couldn’t remember if she’d had xmas or not and could not at all remember opening pressies with the great grandkids. She recovered well and was fine later, but weak – and often worriedContinue reading “Umvoti Villa Xmas”

DIY Bush Wedding

I don’t do DIY. I was going to say except for our wedding, but on reflection, I also did that the way I do everything: Stand back and watch as others do it all, encouraging and applauding while trying to save money. What I did do was buy the booze and fill Mike Lello’s IsuzuContinue reading “DIY Bush Wedding”