The Old Pont

It’s 2015 and I’m on the banks of the Umtamvuna on the border of the old Transkei  and old Natal. It’s paradise. There’s a broad deep river, a great sunset and the sounds of herons, guineas and francolin settling for the night. Also a black cuckoo complaining he’s feeling indisposed.

All of it drowned out by my camping neighbours from BoksburgBenoniBrakpan whose fokkins are matched by the  local South Coast chicks’ fuckings. Loud music. LOUD. Did we ever play it this loud? Well yes, but it wasn’t a mixture of much-too-current  and rooi rokkies, bakgats, Meidjie en Lola.

‘Kinell!!

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At least my three 13yr-olds are in their element. They’re at the riverside on the wooden peir catching Africa, real crabs and imaginary fish.

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My second double G&T from the bar is helping, also a good book.

But it’s hard not to eavesdrop. One oke has just chooned a chick he met that evening she’s a fokkin’ pussy and another chick complained confidentially to her mate that “Mandy’s a problem when she gets drunk: She takes off all her clothes”. Obviously entirely a chicks-only problem, I think, peeping out of my tent.

The next night the gazebo next to our tent on the opposite side gets going. I meet a swaying Kehle nearly my age in the ablution block and over the communal urinal he tells me that he’s from ‘Toti and his wife works in Umthatha and they’re gathering with family and isn’t it *hic* WONDERFUL how peaceful and quiet it is here on the Umtamvuna compared to the din of the city *hic*? I would agree with him except I can hardly hear him as his party has a massive boombox thundering deep bass  while the ladies of the party are singing and ululating to an entirely different choon. The car is playing modern while the aunties are shouting traditional.

Squeaking through every now and then is the paid lone guitarist at the camp pub on the far side of the gazebo. He’s doing stuff I actually recognise – umlungu hits from the 70’s, but he’s losing the volume fight.

Later on the three 13yr-olds in our tent (I’m sleeping in the bakkie) get the giggles as they hear what’s happening around them.

Bloody hell! I’m looking forward to peace and quiet back in the city.

At least the nearby coast was peaceful:

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Money’s Worth

Hey, I went haring around on my bike on Sunday – first time in a long time! A friend took the kids on the 10km fun ride, so I had no-one to shepherd and could indulge meself.

This was just like the old days. Single track, through pine forests, up and down rocky paths, across streams and along game trails. Flat-out downhill, bones shaking apart and quite often thinking Oh, sh*t, now I’ve gone a bridge too far and I’m going to see my rear end!”, but I only fell once and then in slow motion down a very steep rocky path when my front wheel jammed against a rock and I slowly went over the handle-bars to land safely in the grass.

On some of the tight turns they had banked corners, so you could hit them leaning right down and squeeze your back brake and skid round and jerk upright just in time for the next corner. Lekk-aah!

The trail started near the Umtamvuna river and the high point was on the cliff-edge overlooking the gorge in the wildlife reserve with the white-water rapids far below – stunning! (see feature pic – not mine)

Uphills, though “r not us”. I get off and push and enjoy the scenery. Everyone granny-gears their way past me, then I whizz past many of them on the downhills.

Gravity likes me.
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Gayle, who had accompanied the kids gave this report: At the top of the first long climb, not 2km into their 10km ride Tom turned to her and asked:

Gayle, how much did it cost to enter this?
Twenty Rand Tom, she replied.

Well, I think I’ve had my Twenty Rands’ worth, he puffed.

They huffed . .
Tom into his stride through the bananas – 2008

The next year we did it again, the kids old hands by now: