Welcome Back to the Family

Nine years 8 months Ill | Physical Advantage CBD / Mental Deuce

The very first car that I bought, in my 2nd (3rd?) year at Stellenbosch, was a secondhand (maybe third?)light yellow VW Passat. For the first time, I was a member of the VW family.

The car cost me R2500 and I purchased it thanks to a student loan from the Standard Bank.

My next car was bought in Oudtshoorn at the commencement of my military service at the Infantry School. It was a brand new burgundy red Toyota Corolla with a white stripe, and cost R7000 odd. It ended up in the car graveyard in Rawsonvillle. I wrote about that earlier in a previous blog.

Then I returned to the VW family – a white Jetta (thanks to Bruce) and then a few more Jetta’s and a bright red Kombi thanks to Pick ‘n Pay.

The big time was hit when the Merc was delivered, and the low time when it was collected, after Pick ‘n Pay paid me to resign.

Then followed the French Peugeot era, the one with the glass fishbowl top and the white  diesel one that became Pera’s wheels.

She had arrived there via a VW golf, a red Bantam Bakkie (truck), and a red CitiGolf.

When Pera got the white Peugeot from me, I replaced it with the silver Merc station wagon, and when she thought that a Merc could also be a boat, it ended up in the Markman graveyard and I bought the X-Trail.

Yesterday, thanks to our Salesman Sean and Group 1, the Peugeot was replaced with a white Polo 1.6 TDI Comfortline and so Pera returns to the VW family.

In the meantime, Sean started his vehicle life with the black Polo which has since become Phillip’s wheels. I’m too lazy to get up and look in the filing cabinet to see what the price was, but I could put a few of my first Jetta’s into that Polo! 

So Phillip’s inThe Family!

As for Sean, it’s a different car every day, but that’s the nature of his job. May he sell many more!

And my X-Trail makes me X-Family. 

I’m feeling sad that I may not drive her anymore and she’s feeling lonely locked up in the garage. So I guess we are going to have to find a new caring owner for her. Until then, she’ll come out on high days and holidays! Thats’s what happens when you are not part of The Family. It’s sometimes weddings; often funerals.

“But this is my life and I’m passing on the memories” …


Fly Me to the Moon

9 years 8 months Ill |Physical: Adv CBD / Mental : Adv CBD

It’s week 2 of my new medication.

From 1 tablet a day last week ( that’s over and above all the others), I now have to take three a day!

And now I’m flying again.

This morning at 4am, I experienced more side effects. A guy wearing a balaclava put his hand over my mouth and tried to smother me. I screamed! I screamed so loudly that Pera came running through from her bedroom. In the process, I had knocked over my glass of water and the reading lamp. I could have electrocuted myself!

Well, some of this happened and some not!

Lesson no 1 of the new meds: push back the pedastals next to the bed (at least until I’ve acclimatized to the increased dosage).

All very dramatic and very different to our quiet walk along the beach front on Sunday morning. 

We haven’t done that in a long while. 

The morning was crisp. The sea was flat.There was not a breath of wind. The sun was just edging from behind the wispy clouds. 

There were yachts out, canoes, walkers, runners, kids, the elderly – all doing their thing …

In me, the pills were doing their thing, and I was flying – despite the serenity of the occasion. On the positive side, I had not experienced any spasms since Saturday. And I had laid in for a while on Sunday morning, savouring that moment. On the negative side, I was seeing the world through the haziness of my meds again. I guess, you’ve got to take the good with the bad!

We walked from Hobie Beach to Something Good and back. Then a latte at Bluewaters cafe. 

We need to do this more often. 

Tonight is the Thomson retirement function at the Old Grey Club. Forty years for Tommo and thirty years for Pam. I’m looking forward to that and all the old (yes both meanings!) familiar faces.

Fly me to the moon … 

Two Dozen Birthdays

8 Years 8 Months Ill | Physical Advantage CBD / Mental Deuce

Friday 20 May is Sean’s birthday  – his 24th this year. It seems like the other day that we were celebrating his 21st at the North End Power Boat Club!

So, as always in our family, we celebrate special occasions by going out for supper. Sean’s choice was Rocamama’s! It reminded me of Fudruckers in Atlanta which we visited way back in October 2001 – just after September 11 when Sean was 9 and Phillip was 6! Man have they grown taller since then!

And those self-styled Rocamama hamburgers were also tall ones, together with medium chips (French fries), cheese cake and peanut butter milkshakes.  It was a meal with a difference.

Elsewhere on the Internet and on Facebook, you will be able to see the pictures and messages of Sean’s birthday. Funny to think that fifteen years ago there was no Facebook! Now, nothing much goes by unnoticed …

My new tablets are starting to take effect. The first week will be completed tomorrow and I’m starting to feel like Halley’s Comet spinning around the sun. Let’s hope the spasms will stop and the shakes will disappear.

Today, we went to buy a new bed. I’m spending more time lying down and our old one is getting tirED (much like me!). It’s difficult to believe that one bed of today could have bought me two motor cars of yesterday!

And talking about yesterday – this coming week sees us celebrating the retirement of Pam and Neil Thomson after some 30 and 40 years  respectively of teaching at The Grey. I’ll write more about that next week.

Until then, keep the new drugs coming!

Reunion 2016

9 Years 8 months ill | Physical: Advantage Ed / Mental: Deuce

I have written extensive notes before on the annual reunions that we celebrate in Port Elizabeth in the month of May.

Last week was Reunion Week once again.

The Grey Schools for Boys celebrated 160 years, the Collegiate Schools for Girls 142 years, Pera 40 years from Matric, Lindsay Scholtz (my niece) 10 years, Sean 6 years, Phillip 3 years and I must have the record for celebrating reunions and other peoples’ reunions from HHH, Sulphur High in Oklahoma, Stellenbosch University and Grey High!

This year I was invited as a guest by the Grey Class of 1986 celebrating their 30th Reunion. My sincerest thanks to Rob Elfick and the men of 1986 for including me in their celebrations. They were my third Matric class that I taught at Grey High.

Wednesday evening was the Selley Concert, Thursday was lunch at the Bridge Street Brewery, Old Boys rugby, the formal Dinner in the evening in the High School quad (500 men) and then the Old Grey Club.

Friday , I attended Lindsay’s speech at Collegiate (after my long-awaited appointment with my neurologist), then lunch at CTFM, cocktails at Grey Junior Pavilion, hockey and dinner.

Saturday was the rugby day, interspersed with drinks and dinners at various school venues and finally the final function at the Old Grey Club – the highlight for me being Neil Thomson’s impromptu The Retirement Tour outside on the Club deck!

And now for me is the beginning of new drugs! Oxpola on a trial for three weeks to stop the shakes and the spasms will hopefully do the trick and not leave all the side effects that these drugs seem to bring with them! I have also started yoga classes to help with stretching and breathing. This will helpfully also assist in keeping me moving. The back ops have helped so much in keeping me upright and walking. It’s difficult to believe that six months ago I could barely walk and certainly not without assistance of crutches and strollers!

Time for a haircut and a beard trim – things that have become difficult for me to do with my hands that don’t work properly anymore! My thanks to Grant at Front Cover Hairdressers for keeping me “but you look so good!”

Time Flies

9 Years 8 months Ill | Physical: Advantage CBD / Mental: Deuce

Almost a half of 2016 has passed us by. I recall my parents saying that the older ones gets, the quicker time passes by. I thought that was absolute trash. Now, however, I find myself experiencing and saying those self-same things.

During the last five months, I have spent time in St Georges Hospital for my second back operation. Then came that horrible second period of not sitting for six weeks.

I made up for it when I flew to Cape Town where I spent almost a month in the Western Cape. I was the guest speaker at the St Rand Rotary Club and we reminisced about my exchange student year in Oklahoma. There, I met up with Anita Miller and Ken Lester – my guardian while I was in the USA. It was special to have my Aunt, Pat Pretorius, there too.

Then came the HHH 1975 40 year reunion, and I spoke at their Saturday night formal dinner function in the Winelands of the Cape. So many people – so many memories!

I spent a few days with the Wusts in Kleinmond and two weeks with the Wusts in Durbanville. I was joined by the rest of the family to attend my Godson, Robbie Ogilvie’s wedding on 8 April at Rondekuil, Durbanville. Or Should I rather say the marriage celebration of Premanjani Devi Dasi and Jaya Gaura Das, as it was our first experience of a Hare Krishna wedding celebration.

The Friday celebration continued from noon until late that evening. Then we went to 11 Bell Street Paarl (soon to be sold) to supper and sleepover with the Peaches. The next morning, Sean and Phillip went to Stellenbosch to watch the Grey vs Paul Roos derby encounters.

Pera and I joined the Ogilvie family at wine tasting, lunch and almost supper on the family wine farm, Altydgedacht, just outside Durbanville.

We drove back to Port Elizabeth on Sunday with a stop in Plettenberg Bay to offload David Bryant and to visit a while at the Bryant’s.

I had no sooner got back to PE when I was informed of the passing of classmate Derek Dollman. So another flight back to the Western Cape for that funeral. Thanks to the Smits, Riaan and his wife, for their hospitality in looking after me.

And thanks to Lance Faure for the lifts, the friendship and their hospitality during my stays in the Cape.

I cancelled my trip to Stellenbosch Helshoogte Old Boy’s meeting this past Friday. On Saturday we spent the afternoon with Ingrid and Anton and it was good catching up. Sunday we had lunch together with the boys and Pera’s mom for Mothers Day at the PE Deep Sea Diving Club.

I have left out much and many. Please forgive me – I will amend later! The joys of computers!

And now it’s the week of the mother of all reunions in Port Elizabeth at The Grey, and Pera’s 40th at Collegiate. PE will be abuzz with those reunions and those at Pearson and Victoria Park High.

Music at the Selley Concert, meals at the various dinners around town, drinks at the pubs and camaraderie in the City will see this week speed by, too.

We’ll chat next week …

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna

Krishna Krishna Hare Hare

Hare Rama Hare Rama

Rama Rama Hare Hare


9 years 8 months Ill | Mentally and physically: Deuce

Canada burns in and around Ft McMurray in Alberta.

It’s hard to believe that, this time last year, we were preparing for out trip to Kelowna, Vancouver and Calgary.

This last week, the first in May 2016, saw us spend May Day weekend in St Francis Bay attending the Rishworths housewarming of their new house on the canals, and visiting the Southwoods and the Nortjes at their lovely homes on the St Francis Links.

This week also sees the end of the proliferation of public holidays that we have in the first six months of every year. Now it’s work time and downhill to Christmas and to the tenth anniversary of my being ill. Can you believe it?

Yesterday morning, I visited my sister Ingrid who has been ill since last Christmas. Our thoughts and prayers remain with her during these difficult times. Then I started my first yoga class which we think may be helpful in keeping me going in these post-operative months. Sometimes I forget that I have had two major back operations during the last six months.

Thanks God that I can walk again without the use of walking aids and that excruciating pain that I was getting last year  is now a thing of the past.

I have been waiting now for two weeks in order to see the neurologist. New tremors have started and I’m feeling like an earth tremor at six on the Richter scale. It’s so disappointing that our neurologists are so busy and that one has to wait ages for an appointment. New patients take up to six months to get a consultation!

It’s about as long as I waited to get an upgrade for my smartphone yesterday – in the process I filled in so many forms and signed so many jittery signatures! I think I destroyed as many forests as the fires are doing in Canada! Thank goodness for Wolma Kemp from Graaff-Reinett who was behind me in the queue. We chatted and passed the time and he stopped me from losing my fragile temper!

And I signed my life away … This next week is a visit to the lawyers and the accountants …the signing doesn’t stop!

You are important to us …

9 years 7 months ill … Physical Advantage CBD / Mental Advantage ED

I have not written for ages, because of both physical and mental constraints, but also because I’ve been traveling again!

I will try and join the dots …

Yesterday, I returned from Cape Town. It was a rushed three day visit to the Western Cape in order to attend my classmate Derek Lionel Dollman’s funeral. More of that later …

But I had a rushed return too. Straight from the airport, Phillip rushed me to Advice Works to see Ryan Truelove.They are looking at my financial portfolio. It took far longer than I had anticipated and I sent Phillip home. Besides lots of talking, I signed a form to allow them to peruse my financial status ( or lack thereof!).

Darron Nel took me home and then off I went to visit my sister. I fell into bed after supper – exhausted!

By this morning, the beeps had started and the phone calls came streaming in … It was my broker, Discovery, Sanlam, Liberty Life, bank consultant, Standard Bank ,… Suddenly, they were all concerned about my welfare! Some I haven’t heard from in years! Now, I must know that “you are important to us!

Was it me or was it my meager investments they were all interested in?

Bang went my lie in and my quiet Friday morning of rest and recuperation!

The minister at Derek’s funeral spoke a lot about heaven where, according to him, Derek has gone and where some of us hope we are going … He mentioned nothing of the financial systems there .

It surely can’t be heaven if all those people and institutions are going there too?


It’s Cool in the Cape

9 years 6 months ill | Physical Advantage Ed / Mental Advantage Ed

The horrible south Easter has been blowing in the Cape – the Cape Doctor they call it.

And we surely need the doctor in our family right now. My prayers and good wishes are with all my family members currently in hospital: my sister Ingrid, my uncles Peter and Bully, Sebastians’s Dad …. I have forgotten that I too am ill!

The weather has cooled down too. I like that! And the Cape is always cool … I am home for a few weeks.

Tonight, I speak to the Rotary Club which hosted me to the USA in 1974. And the weekend is the 40th Reunion of the HHH class of 1975. I shall share my story there too. I am Happy, Humbled and HonourED.

Thank you to everyone who makes it possible for me to travel and for the invites that keep coming in for me to share my story.

Hopefully, the more I speak, the more people will learn about this horrible disease of CBD. Someday, a cure will be found.

And in the process, I am blessed to meet up with family and friends who have travelled with me and made up the tapestry of my life.

Yes, the Cape is Cool!

Standing Room Only

But just because you bury something, that doesn’t mean it stops existing. ~ Jenny Han

Ill 9 years 6 months …| Mental Deuce / Physical Deuce

I had my first op on 11 November last year to alleviate the pain in my butt and legs, and to allow me to walk.

Then followed a few weeks of respite over the Christmas / New Year holidays.

On 25 January 2016 I had the second op. All this time, for 6 weeks after no 1 and again after no 2, I have been able to lie down, stand or walk, but NO sitting.

So for three months it’s been standing room only!

Today I saw the specialist, one week earlier than expected. The last visit he said “We are not out of the woods yet!”

Today he said, “Dit lyk goed!” (It’s looking good!”)

I left his surgery with my back brace in my hand, I had my first sit in three months, and Ihad a smile on my face!

My neighbor had given me a lift to the hospital (again!). This time on his 50th birthday. Thanks Dickie for all the lifts and looking after me and for your neighborliness. It reminded me of my 50th birthday, when almost ten years ago now, I received the news that I had corticalbasal degeneration with possibly 5 years to live. And here I’m heading for ten years now. It hasn’t been easy.

It’s a pity that the CBD can’t be healed in the same manner as the back! I’m only too thankful to be able to walk again!

ScramblED Signal

9 Years 5 months Ill | Mental: Advantage CBD / Physical: Advantage CBD 

The last time I wrote about having a junction box that works. I believe the correct name for that junction box is a splitter.

All of that, of course, presupposes that the signal that reaches the junction box is a good one. Those of us fortunate to receive a good DSTV signal into our decoder or explorer or whatever it’s called nowadays, know that we sometimes have the signal interrupted at source, sometimes because of a storm on the other side of the world. In that case, we lose the signal and receive no picture or sound and there is very little we can do about that until the fundi’ correct the problem.

In my case, the signal leaves the brain and proceeds down the spine to that all so important junction box.

However, because the corticalbasal degeneration that I have, the illness in my brain at source, means that there is not a clean signal coming into the system at all. There is a problem somewhere between the action, the satellite, the satellite dish and the Explora.

There are no fundi’s, no,specialists, who can correct the problem. No one knows how or what, and the incoming signal becomes weaker and weaker, the picture breaks up, and the sound softer and softer.

Every now and then we read that someone has found a solution, that Joost is looking so much better, that a miracle cure has been found,that the technicians are working on it, please just be patient, we will fix the problem!

May that day come soon – I have been waiting for almost ten years now for the incoming signal to be unscramblED.