Sport

Horse Sickness

We were talking horseracing. About galloping knowledge and great expertise about the sport of kings, when along came someone who actually knows what he’s talking about (damn!). He also seems to have developed a disease since we last saw him: Horse Sickness: Probably ‘cos its lonely in the saddle in Port Elizabeth . . .

Dave ‘Scratchmo’ Simpson said: As you guys mention horse racing, meet my beloved Stormy Eclipse:

As you can see, Stormy is the most beautiful horse with a wonderful character and a great record – run 39 times with 9 wins.

Stormy’s sister is running at Turfontein on Saturday. So if you have (me: absolutely . . ) nothing to do, watch the 7th race on Channel 239. Her name is Storm Destiny. She has a chance. (And Hood was right! Could it be he knows what he’s talking about!?).

Stephen for you, I also have a filly – her name is Ample Glory and will begin racing this year. I am secretly confident that Ample will be the next Winx. Do you know when Winx will next race? – Her first race of the season was usually the Apollo Stakes at Randwick in mid Feb.

~~~~oo0oo~~~~

Stephen ‘Spatchmo’ Reed replied: Howzit Dawid. Good to hear from you. My racing knowledge is scrappy but I see Winx is due to run on 13 April as you probably know in the Queen Elizabeth stakes. She is certainly big news here in Aussie. Racing seems like a big thing everywhere. I see radio and news channels run 24/7 with racing reports including the SA Turffontein and Greyville races. [free to air, not pay channels]

As for ample glory, I googled it and all I could find is:

i’m writing a story about the glory of my AMPLE thighs.

But I will keep an eye out

~~~~oo0oo~~~~

Simpson: Hi Spatch, Well, it is really good to hear from you. My belated response comes from your mail going to junk.  I still see Hubby around and he still calls you Spatchmo and me Scratchmo.  

Hope all is going well in the mighty Oz. I guess my daughter Victoria will end up there, poor child, as she married an Aussie. Just joking – he is a hell of a nice guy – unlike those cheating cricketers and horse trainers. They have learned well from our insatiable politicians.

It is a little early to find the magnificent Ample Glory on the www as she will only make her first appearance in I guess about 3 to 5 months – but so far all is looking good. See attached pic of Ample with Frankie Dettori in the saddle:

If you don’t know Frankie – google him as he is a terrific character – getting most of the World’s best rides and has done some amazing things including winning the Arc de Triomf five times. When he wins, which is most of the time, he leaps out of the saddle in the winners circle, much to the delight of the crowds. Watch it on Youtube. I’ll convert you guys yet.

I got up early last Saturday to watch Winx win the Apollo Stakes at Randwick. She seems to not have lost any of her late speed from last year. Her next will probably be the Chipping Norton Stakes also at Randwick, this or next weekend, then George Ryder Stakes at Rosehill and the then the QE Stakes before retirement to make baby Winx’s. If you are living in Sydney, you and Wonderlikke Woman must go and watch her, you will not regret it. If you need a ticket, Winx’ jockey is a guy by the name of Hugh Bowman and he comes from the mighty metropolis of Mudgee. There is an optometrist there called Hogan who looks after the Bowman family eyes. So maybe he could swing you a ticket or two.

Keep in touch, Dawid Scratchmo Hood

~~~~oo0oo~~~~

Me: Hoodlum – I stared very hard at that picture after your glowing description, but all I could see was a brown horse and a tanned Italian. Am I missing summing?

I have added the mighty Hogan of Mudgee onto this thread for cheep tickets . .

~~~~oo0oo~~~~

Simpson: Yes Swannie, you noticed. Just testing your attention to detail. The dude on the back of my horse wishes he was Frankie.

~~~~oo0oo~~~~

Glen ‘Hogan’ Barker wrote: Thanks for adding me to this thread, Pete.

Yes, Hood is quite correct as last Thursday 14th I had Hugh Bowman’s parents come in to get their eyes checked. Quite a coincidence as their daughter, Hugh’s sister, lives a couple of hundred yards down the street from us, and they stayed the night. Their farm (or property as they call it here) is an hour west and further away from the ‘Big Smoke,’ i.e. Sydney, before all three of them went down there on Friday to watch the Apollo Stakes on Saturday for Winx’s 30th consecutive win.

~~~~oo0oo~~~~

Me: 30th consecutive win! That’s insane. Must be a record, surely?

Tell me Hood, it’s a brown horse, right? They seem to be faster, generally . . .

(thought I’d throw in a bit of insider knowledge and expertise there . . )

~~~~oo0oo~~~~

But Hood came up with two other words for ‘brown’, can you believe it, just to pour cold water on my theory: ‘Sorry Swannie, but there are three main colours of race horses: Grays, Bays and Chestnuts, so the bad news is that brown horses never win.’

Now, I knew horse racing was rigged, but I never guessed it was this bad . .

PS: I think Ample Thighs would be a good name for a race horse.

Wildlife, Game Reserves

Blue-Banded Bee

A gorgeous Aussie!

What a beaut Aussie bee! Snapped in flight in a Brisbane garden by Saffer-Kiwi-Aussie ace photographer Steve Reed.

Solitary bees, they don’t hang around in groups. They nest in tunnels in clay or sandstone – but don’t trust me, do some research.

Which reminds me of one of Aitch – Trish – don’t say Patricia! – ‘s favourite songs:

– they hang around in groups like battle-weary troops –
Africa, Aitch, Family & Kids, Home, Motorcars_Automobiles

Techno-fob-ia?

Stefanus wrote about a new thing. I paraphrased his rant:

What a bloody stupid idea. The ‘Key Fob’ or ‘Keyless Start’ or ‘Keyless Go’ or ‘Proximity Key’. I have always thought it was a stupid idea but I wasn’t sure why. Tonight I found out why.

Our friend John gets home with his wife after several stops, including our place for a while. Cannot find his ‘fob’; realises the car might have started because his wife had the other fob in her handbag. Panics.

After much driving around and searching in various places, including our place, it ‘turns up’ under his drivers seat where he insists he had searched several times. But ‘it had gone into a crevice.’

Steve expostulates: It’s a lousy idea! You could leave your key fob behind and drive 300 km without knowing you don’t have it, because the car opens and starts with the proximity of the duplicate ‘fob’ in your wife’s handbag. Frikkin stupid, really. Although in hindsight he could have narrowed the search by checking to see if the car would start without his wife’s keys being nearby . . .

~~~~~ooo000ooo~~~~~

I wrote:

Aha! A technophobe!

I’m going to ask them to implant mine in a crevice so I can never lose it.

And I won’t let them fob me off.

~~~~~ooo000ooo~~~~~

Steve:

Technophobe – yes. Ask my older brother.

Ja, but how will you avoid forgetting the rest of your keys – the ones that are attached to the – er – transponder? Having your own practice I am pretty sure you have a bunch of keys like a prison guard anyway.

~~~~~ooo000ooo~~~~~

Me:

Me? Keys? Nope.

I am lucky enough to have an “Open Sesame” lifestyle. The practice is always open when I get there at a leisurely hour, and my home is always open. Overrun with bloody kids who all know the 1299# that opens the gate from outside. Me and security are strangers.

Thank goodness for Raksha and the keys at work and Cecelia and the no keys at home.

Sadly, I do have to carry the one single key for the 2007 Ford 4X2 3litre diesel double cab bakkie. White. I lost the canopy key so now it doesn’t lock. Help yourself to my toolbox back there. At times I do spend some time looking for the damn thing on the odd occasions when I put it in a clever place instead of the usual on the kitchen counter. For some reason my Ford key says ‘Mazda.’

~~~~~ooo000ooo~~~~~

Steve:

I should have realised I was speaking to the wrong person. We tend to lock stuff by and large. Someone came and had an overnight scratch around Wendy’s unlocked car a while ago. Front door gets locked at night or if we are not around. We regularly get wide-eyed warnings from the neighbours about dodgy people seen snooping around the street.

Office keys: I am the first to arrive by a half an hour (OCD) so key needed.

~~~~~ooo000ooo~~~~~

Me:

I am weird that way. Partly slackness, partly – slackness. Been very lucky and fully aware that could change.

1984 – Marriott road flat – nothing. No incidents.

1989 – 7 River Drive Westville – pre-kids. Zanele said she saw an umfaan in our room and she said ‘Hey! Wenzani?’ and he scuttled off through the burglar bars, which were big enough for him to get through.

Years later Aitch found her Zeiss binocs were missing. ‘Stolen!’ she announced. I thought no, ‘Misplaced.’ She thought ‘Poephol, stolen!’ Two years later we found them in the socks drawer.

Then post-kids I got hijacked and taken off in a friend’s car. That wasn’t good.

2003 – 10 Windsor Avenue Westville – Break and enter while we were out and Aitch’s binocs WERE taken. Also her wedding ring. She replaced only the binocs with a shiny newer model – insurance. I still have the new ones.

2005 – 10 Elston Place Westville – nothing.

The reason I have a keypad at the gate where friends just enter the last four digits of their cell number and Open Sesame is I hate closed gates. I once – ca1982 – waited on the pavement in Argyle road outside the palatial home of one of Barks’ friends, ringing the doorbell in vain. Party inside, so they couldn’t hear. Pre-cellphone days. Eventually went home and resolved never to live in a fuckin prison. Still don’t.

Weird? OK.

Confession: I do insist the kids practice common sense security and keep doors locked if they’re alone at home and when they leave the home unattended!

~~~~~ooo000ooo~~~~~

umfaan – youngster

Hey! Wenzani? – Oy! Whatchadoin’?

Poephol – husband

~~~~~ooo000ooo~~~~~

Talking of phobias, isn’t this a lovely one?

The Fear Of Giants: fee-fi-phobia

Africa, Books, Wildlife, Game Reserves

Hover

There are about 6000 species of hoverfly. They disguise themselves as wasps but they’re harmless little buggers and they do a great deal of good pollinating and eating pests like aphids. They love flowers and nectar so they hang around lovely perfume-smelling things:

A rose by any other name on the deck at Mogotlho Lodge

My cellphone pics and videos of the Khwai River hoverfly weren’t great so I didn’t post this until my ex-Saffer-turned-Kiwi, now in Aussie, mate Stephen Charles Reed sent a better picture of a Brisbane hoverfly.

– Steve’s pic you can see the wings –
– cropped for a closer view –
Stunning Hoverflies

They are amazing hoverers! They can hold dead still in mid-air and then flick to another spot in any direction, zip! just like that. They can do anything mid-air:

. . . even get it on! If that’s the female below, she’s like Ginger Rogers, who could do everything Fred Astaire did, backwards and in high heels!

~~~~~ooo000ooo~~~~~

All this made me go looking and I found a new hero. Fredrik Sjöberg lives on Runmarö Island in Sweden and looks for hoverflies, butterflies, beetles and anything that else that might flit by. He wrote a wonderful book on hoverflies, life the universe and everything which his publishers thought might sell 1600 copies in five years. Well, he sold 30 000 and has since published it in numerous other countries! Then – I told you he’s my hero – he won the IgNobel Prize for Literature in 2016!!

IgNobel LITERATURE PRIZE [SWEDEN] — Fredrik Sjöberg, for his three-volume autobiographical work about the pleasures of collecting flies that are dead, and flies that are not yet dead. REFERENCE: The Fly Trap is the first volume of Fredrik Sjöberg’s autobiographical trilogy, En flugsamlares väg (“The Path of a Fly Collector”), and the first to be published in English. Pantheon Books, 2015, ISBN 978-1101870150.

Learn more and see some beautiful pics here.

We humans finally started to learn how to hover in 1907 when the French brothers Breguet flew the Gyroplane No.1 quadcopter about 0.61 m above ground for a minute. Hoverflies all around the world laughed at us.

——-ooo000ooo——-

Years before I had been fascinated by proboscis flies.

Africa, Aitch, Canoe & Kayak, Family & Kids, Life, Nostalgia, Travel USA, Wildlife, Game Reserves

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, while trying to save money.

What I did do was buy the booze and fill Mike Lello’s Isuzu Trooper and trailer with it and drive it out to Barry and Lyn’s farm Game Valley Estates – or just Hella Hella – on the Friday. Lots of rain, muddy roads. It had been a wet summer following the huge September 1987 flood.

Wedding Hella Hella Isuzu Trooper.jpg

Like most bachelors when they do fall, I headed off cheerfully to meet my fate, all my own advice forgotten, marching singing to the gallows!

Luckily Saturday cleared up. I always sing ‘The robots change when I go thru, the clouds dissolve and the skies turn blue, and EVERYBODY loves me baby – – – what’s the matter with you!?

And the clouds did dissolve . . It got Sunny. Then Hot. Then Scorching Humid Sultry.

Wedding Hella Hella (4)

Barry’s old 4X4 Ford F150 gave people a tug up slippery Hella Hella Pass so they could get to their lodgings at the nearby Qunu Falls Lodge. The Brauers, the du Plessis, the Reeds, the Schoemans, the Stoutes, the Stewarts. The Hills live nearby. Family stayed in the concrete A-frame lodge on the farm.

Wedding Hella Hella.jpg

The sauna was pitched on the lawn under the Hella Hella mountain.

The beautiful Hella Hella Kop

The Porters were linked up to ESKOM but just because ESKOM has arrived does not mean that when you throw a switch with a flourish that anything will happen.

And so it was on our wedding day that ESKOM was feeling a bit off that day and we were without krag, power, lights and fridges.

Enter David Hurle Hill !! He roared off in his bakkie and fetched a huge diesel generator on a trailer. David is a Drrrillerr and will drill you a borehole. In fact his company motto is ‘On The Hole Our Work Is Boring.’ He linked up and threw a switch with a flourish and nothing happened. She was not wekking, as David Hurle Hill would say.

Enter Enea Spaggiari!! All the way from Italy via Kenya and Petit outside Benoni. He climbed up onto and over and under the trailer and fiddled with wires and threw a switch with a flourish and Let There Be Light! Music! and Cold Beers!

Wedding Hella Hella (3)

Iona coaches her daughter: Make all the big decisions, but make him think he made them . . . Aitch: Ha Ha I already do that . . .

Wedding Hella Hella (7).jpg
– plotting –

Then the usual stuff, the ominous music Tun Tun Ta Da!; The father of the bride having second thoughts; Guys thinking hm hm hm; Ladies smiling; Aitch saying – ‘Honour? OK; – Obey? Are you mad!?’ and so on:

Wedding Hella Hella-001.jpg

Then The Lies! You just can’t trust some people. Ten years prior to this I had done a very good job being his best man and if he had paid attention he’d have learned something. Like, to stick to the flattering truth and not tell scurrilous alternative truths that nobody wants to hear. At least nobody called the object of your attentions wants to hear them . . .

Brauer spinning yarns

Followed by The Truth, plain and unvarnished:

Wedding 1988 speech.jpg

At last, we could change into shorts and relax and party. Later came The Getaway:

Wedding Hella Hella Getaway Car.jpg

We wore getaway kit appropriate for our honeymoon. We were headed for Deepest Darkest America.

~~~~~ooo000ooo~~~~~

On the Monday friend Allie Peter flew over Hella Hella in a helicopter and took pics of Rapid 5&6 looking downstream and then back upstream:

~~~~~ooo000ooo~~~~~

Twenty Five Years Later – 28 Feb 2013

—– Original Message —–

Crazy, innit! 25yrs ago today Aitch and I got hitched down in the Hella Hella valley in a fun DIY game farm wedding.
She made it to 23yrs of married bliss (OK, she might have had something to say at this point . . ) and one month short of 26yrs together. We celebrated that 25yrs-together milestone in August 2010.

Thinking of all you good peeps that made our wedding so memorable – that’s the bachelor days before, the day itself, and the 25yrs since!

Cheers!

Lotsa love – Pete – and now Jessica & Tommy!

BTW, Lyn and Barry Porter of Hella Hella also died in 2011:
Lyn in January – also breast cancer; Barry in April – hospital infection; And then Aitch in July.

~~~~oo000oo~~~~

Dave Hill: I remember it well – I ‘nipped’ home to fetch my generator when the power went off.

Pete Stoute: Remember the week-end like yesterday! Struggling up the other side of Hella Hella to the Qunu Falls hotel in the mud and rain – Dave Hill saving the day with a BIG generator.

Will have an extra glass of vino this evening – great mates and good times.

Sheila Swanepoel: Those pics are great. What a wonderful record of a very special day.
I remember the incredible heat and how you, Pierre and Pete sneaked off and changed into shorts straight after the ceremony. And how the phone kept ringing in the middle of the ceremony in the house.
Linda was flower girl, Robbie was so proud of his brand new red “tight”

Wedding 1988 Linda Robbie (1).jpg

. . and Jeff kept putting off going to change, saying that he was charge of the antelope on the spit – he dithered for so long that there was no time to change and that pleased him no end.
Bess & I sneaked down to the pool for a kaalgat swim and found Iona had beaten us to it!

Steve Reed: Will always remember the weekend; a great occasion. I think it was thanks to Mike and Yvonne in the 4×4 that we traveled safely back through the mud to our lodgings. Fond memories – raising a glass tonight to all of you!

I remember Brauer chasing a tight deadline speech writing – wise.

Pete Brauer: Damn. Been holding my breath during this stroll thru memory lane hoping that no-one noticed at the time or that no-one would still remember that poor last-minute effort.

Terry Brauer: Steve nothing has changed! PB has his own website called lastminute.com

Steve Reed: Speech was excellent. Not many can compose a wedding speech while putting on a tie with the other hand. Besides, Swannie probably tasked Brauer with the job as he was getting dressed himself.

Terry Brauer: Yip Brauer remains an orator of note and Swanepoel continues to notify me he is coming to stay usually on the day when he lands in Pretoria – 😀 Those old dogs ain’t gonna learn new tricks but love them both! T

Pete Swanie: I had prepared well in advance.

Wedding Hella Hella Groom scribbles truth.jpg

Brauer procrastinated and ignored my two rules: Keep it short; and NO LIES.

Wedding Hella Hella Brauer scribbles lies.jpg

Pete Brauer: If I stuck to the latter rule the first would have fallen into place quite easily.

Tanza Crouch: Thinking of you, Aitch, Tommy and Jessy at this time. My spider days at Hella Hella are very special to me and Aitch, Barry and Lyn were very special people.

~~~oo0oo~~~

Turn up the volume:

~~~oo0oo~~~

Africa, Free State, Vrystaat, Life, Wildlife, Game Reserves

Lepidopterism

Lepidopterists lead exciting lives!

This from my LepSoc newsletter: Hi everyone; We will be doing a day trip to Tswaing crater, just north of Pretoria, on the 24th September, where special butterflies such as Brown-lined Sapphires, Saffron Sapphires, Hutchinson’s Highfliers, etc. can be seen.

~~~~o0o~~~~
Us lepidopterists see not only these high fliers, but others such as Skollies, Nightfighters, Pirates, Policemen and Admirals. Playboys and Pansies are also sought-after! One can go prancing after them wearing a pith helmet and waving a net! What’s not to love?

There’s even one called swanepoelii and one called brauerii

Lepidopterism is one of the more fun diseases to contract, and lepidopterists lead exciting lives!
~~~~o0o~~~~

Soutar wrote:

Keep your net stockings on.

We off to Karkloof today. Will try to bring back a dead Karkloof Blue.

That and a Pink Elephant.

~~~~o0o~~~~

Me:

¶¶ . . and a Stuffed Delegorgue’s Pigeon, a Dead Cape Parrot and . .

¶¶ Planks from a Yellowwood Tree . . ¶¶

.

Hey! We could write a song like that . . .

~~~~o0o~~~~

steve reed wrote:

When we lived in Clarens we had an annual visitation by what must have been the self-same Swanepoel. Khaki clad solitary figure, fleet-footing round the village with his net like something out of Peter Pan. Regarded by the locals with great interest (and a good level of suspicion ) . . .

~~~~o0o~~~~

A Real-Life Lepidoptometrist:

Hilton Pike is a nimble optometrist fella who darts around lithely with a butterfly net, holding it rather like Obelix doesn’t hold his menhirs. A talented lad, young Hilton, he builds fancy hi-fidelity speakers, refurbishes phoropters and mounts butterflies with pins on polystyrene in glass cabinets, all the while making children. Lovely chap, I miss him. Where is he?

– pinned specimens – from DA Swanepoel’s book –
– from LepSoc‘s stunning website –

One of me own: Lepi Fordus radiatorii

Butterfly Ford radiatorii

Swanepoel, David Abraham (1912–1990). Swanepoel began collecting in 1925. Pennington’s Butterflies of southern Africa (Pringle et al. 1994) describes Swanepoel as follows: ‘Probably no other person has spent as much time and effort in the pursuit of butterflies in the field as this great collector, who had the tremendous gift of being able to excite others about butterflies. His immaculate collection is in the Transvaal Museum. He discovered many new species and subspecies and published many descriptions of new taxa.’

– ah, and he looks the part! –

His list of publications includes the book Butterflies of South Africa: where, when and how they fly, published in 1953 in Holland at his own cost. At the time, it was one of the most valuable reference guides to South African butterflies, citing his many collection localities across the length and breadth of South Africa. He collaborated closely with both Georges van Son and Ken Pennington. Popular names for many of South Africa’s butterflies were proposed by him. (SANBI Biodiversity Series 16 (2010)6 – ).

Swanepoel ended his book with these words: ‘In laying down my pen at the end of what has been to me a pleasure able task, I take occasion to dedicate this book to all naturalists and friends, without whose kindness and ungrudging aid it must inevitable have left much to be desired; and to those naturalists who may one day wander over the numerous paths that have afforded me so many happy, unforgettable hours – these would hardly have been possible without the grace of the Creator of all the beautiful forms described in this book. As mentioned in the introduction, this work is by no means complete, and if one day it is revised by some future observer, may he fulfil my dearest wish by building a great entomological castle upon this small foundation stone.’ (Epilogue of D.A. Swanepoel’s book, page 316).

Read more about David A Swanepoel and other pioneering flutterby enthusiasts – here.

I was lucky enough to meet Ivor Migdoll, who wrote the next butterfly book (as far as I know, the first field guide) in 1987. He came to me for his glasses in Durban, and we had some good chats and I loved using his book (since mislaid!).

– I will try to find a copy of Ivor’s book –

And of course we are all lucky now to have Steve Woodhall, who has built on these two books’ foundations – as well as the big Pennington Butterfly ‘bible’ – and brought out his vastly improved field guide in 2005. He tells the story of how Ivor Migdoll became ill and quietly withdrew from public life. Pippa Parker of Struik Nature told him they were planning a completely new edition of the Field Guide to Butterflies (Ivor’s best-selling book) but could not get hold of him. I did some digging and discovered that he had a horrible, little-known condition called ‘burning mouth syndrome’ and could hardly speak. Hence his reluctance. And so the new book was born:

Life

Now they’re called . .

. . screenagers.

This was new to me.

Here we are, screenagers. Their screen-centric devices have become appendages they cannot live without, their dependency on real-time consumption, constant connectivity and an ever-expanding universe of expectations just grows, their digital maturity reaching new and higher levels. Get used to it!

Not only are there ever-more digital consumers, but more consumers own multiple smart devices. This is creating new digital services and experiences, and generating more business opportunities across every industry, age group and facet of human life.

Rita Sawtell wrote: Whatever next…..

Me: Oh, next is worse: Headsets for 3D virtual reality. this is getting bigger and bigger.

VR headset.jpg


Rita: Would you really walk around with one of those on your head?

Me: Doesn’t matter what WE would do – we’re gonna have to get used to it. Soon millions of screenagers will be doing just that. And people will be longing for the days when they thought them looking down at a screen was annoying!

You’ll say “Let’s go to the Kruger Park for the holidays” and they’ll say “Nah! Went yesterday and saw it all”. And they WILL HAVE! They’ll have seen – and even “experienced” – far more than you could hope to see in ten trips.

I think this is why dying is not as bad as its made out to be. After a while you’re just READY for it!

Rita: You made me laugh out loud! That’s hysterical. We have nothing to look forward to – except death.

Steve Reed: There is one thing worse than a screenager: the late converter. 
A recently-acquired top end smartphone in the hands of a 50-plus! They stop everything when it beeps, keep trying to show you photos and how clever it is, and comment loudly about everything it does or even louder when it does not do what it is supposed to do. 
At least the kids keep it low key and know much more about phone etiquette . . or how to keep their phones quiet anyway. 
Most phones that go off in the testing room very loudly belong to 50-plus patients. And it’s usually an AC/DC ringtone. Or Freddie Mercury.