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”

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!”

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 . .”

Earning Her Keep

Monica said ‘Don’t worry Mary you needn’t play today,’ but I protested: No Way, Ma! 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. SheContinue reading “Earning Her Keep”

Walking the Umgeni

It was a sad fact. The Umgeni was going to be dammed. Again. The fourth big dam on its course from the Dargle to the sea. Many people love dams. I hate them. They ruin the valleys and change nature for ever. Dams wipe out species – many before we even discover them; they floodContinue reading “Walking the Umgeni”

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”

Maputaland Beach Walk

The recipe: Fifteen glorious people and forty glorious kilometres of wide open sandy beaches of the Zululand or Maputaland coast. Years earlier I had hiked a section of the Wild Coast, far to the south. Ten of us were walking; two were guiding – Jabulani and DC walking up and down the dunes ahead andContinue reading “Maputaland Beach Walk”

Build-A-Boat

When we grew up outside Harrismith ca 1959 we couldn’t use the lounge. The lounge was filled edge-to-edge by an upside-down speedboat. The old man built his first speedboat in this lounge, shown below many decades later: Younger sis Sheila, in the picture with Mom & Dad, says he also built that fireplace. Then, afterContinue reading “Build-A-Boat”

A Cure for Texting n Driving

Do not text and drive. It’s called Distracted Driving and it’s dangerous. Especially now. My old man aged 95 and eight months in the shade took himself off to Wartburg and got his drivers licence renewed for a further five years. He will still be driving legally on a street near you at the ageContinue reading “A Cure for Texting n Driving”

Adventure in Deepest Darkest Zoolooland

I must tell you about a wonderful trip we went on recently (well, back in 2015 actually) to Deepest Darkest Zoolooland. It was actually a rugged and challenging course in which we were required to survive under tricky conditions, with carefully thought-out obstacles and challenges put in our way by the amazing outfit called: whoContinue reading “Adventure in Deepest Darkest Zoolooland”

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”

Zululand Adventure

Went on a magic trip this weekend. Sheila put a trip together led by a friend of hers Don Leitch, ex-Melmoth farmer and great birder. The first part was to Melmoth itself – or more accurately nearby Ntonjoneni to friends and fellow farmers Gavon and Sandy Calverley. We traveled with another of Skiboat’s many friends,Continue reading “Zululand Adventure”

Just Before Inanda Dam

1990 saw the completion of Inanda Dam on the Umgeni River. As always, a dam profoundly changes the river and the valley. Yet another river tamed to serve our insatiable thirst. Drown a valley to water lawns. It also changed the Dusi Canoe Marathon, inundating the Day Two sandbanks and creating a 10km flatwater haulContinue reading “Just Before Inanda Dam”

50. That’s fifty. Five zero. FIFTY! Eish!

Aitch doesn’t mess around. Suddenly a big marquee was pitched on the front lawn. What’s that for? I ask. We’re having a party, says me wife. Oh. OK. So tip-toe’ing discreetly past my half century mark is not going to happen? Nope. So I help the guys lay down a dance floor; and I carryContinue reading “50. That’s fifty. Five zero. FIFTY! Eish!”

Annie and her Sherpas summit Mt aux Sources

Mt aux Sources, winter 1998. Sheila organises a gang to summit the peak. Lots of people. Sheila can organise! Ann Euthemiou brings two strapping nephews as sherpas to haul her four-poster double bed and duvet up the chain ladder. I hand out my special paklightna snacks at all stops on the way up. Once upContinue reading “Annie and her Sherpas summit Mt aux Sources”