Two Feet Matches up to Six Metres?

Sunday 31 October 2010: 4 years 1 month on …

Could it ever be true that two feet can match up to six metres?

Maybe not mathematically so; but what the mind wants, the mind wills. And we saw this proved again last night.

But let me start in the middle of the week. I spoke at a breakfast at Bluewaters Cafe on Wednesday morning about The Gift, and I will publish that discussion in due course. There were about forty people who attended, and I certainly enjoyed talking (albeit quite nervous) and the breakfast. I hope the guests enjoyed the breakfast, too.

After that, I really needed some rest! So, the rest of the week was just that – rest. Until Friday, that is!

The EP Kings were scheduled to play in a promotion/relegation game on Friday evening. They were to match up against the Puma’s and a win there would have catapulted our new provincial rugby franchise team back into the mainstream big time South African rugby where they once used to play.

Port Elizabeth was gripped with rugby fever and by Friday evening 45 000 tickets had been sold. The new Nelson Mandela Stadium built especially for the 2010 Football World Cup did not even see so many people for the football games.

I t was a sell-out! And we headed off for the stadium just after five pm. But, oh dear, what has happened to the efficiency that we experienced in June and which I wrote extensively about earlier in this year?

Three months that have passed since the Europeans (and notably the Germans) were running the Show. I wrote then Oh What a Circus, Oh What a Show. Now, the colonial power has withdrawn once again, and left us Africans to look after ourselves. Now, oh what a Circus! 

It would appear that, without outside help, we are just not able to do things for ourselves!

As I mentioned before, it was a sell-out. But, the security arrangements were slow and inefficient (and appeared to be scrapped totally towards the end when it became obvious that not all the spectators would be in the grounds by match time), the queues got longer and longer, tempers flared, seats were unobtainable, refreshment queues built up, food and drinks ran out, and when it was all over, only one gate on our side (where there were six!) was opened to let out the crowd.

No traffic control, no policemen, no traffic cops, no order, no World Cup efficiencies. Where have all the flowers gone? Long time passing …

But it was great seeing a packed stadium! Well-done Port Elizabeth – I just hope we see that again and that the rugby authorities did not do them a disservice by presenting such an amateur show on Friday night.

And the rugby? Unfortunately, the Kings could not match up to the Puma’s, and so, we won’t be there with the big names next year. Hopefully, that will happen in 2012!

That was not the end of the weekend’s rugby fever. In the biggest of the domestic rugby competitions, the ABSA Bank Currie Cup tournament, the Western Province Stormers were playing the KwaZulu Natal Sharks in Durban on Saturday evening. The final showdown between these two franchises became a national issue – with most people outside of the two provinces selecting a side to support. Either you were wearing black and white for the Sharks, or blue and white for the Stormers.

And me? Well, hailing from the Western Province, I’ve always been a Province supporter! But, when all was said and done, the Stormers could not match up to the Sharks, and so I found myself on the losing side yet again!

Not that I watched the game!

I was with sixty others at the Old Grey Club. Our mission was to win another battle. We were planning to see whether our two feet could match up to a six metre bed of hot doringhout (thornwood) coals!

We arrived at the Club at two. Claudius, the facilitator, took us through OUR games – mind games. How our brains work, all ten square metres of our cortex, and how we experience and label and perceive and achieve. And how we can get our minds to want and to will. The mind over matter stuff that we talk about in our every day parlance.

Some were adamant that they were going to walk barefoot over the coals, others were nervous, others uncertain.

When the fire was lit at four – with a loud whooof sound – some became a little more uncertain about this challenge that lay ahead.

Then, we practised, over and over again, the procedure, the anchor, the YES, the vision, the mind, the mantra – first in groups and then individually.

Then it was 7pm. It was dark. The practising was over.

We headed for the walkway – the bed of red-hot coals glowing in the darkness. The heat hit you and the adrenalin was pumping.

Our “getting rid of stuff” letter was thrown into the fire; the “what we want in life” letter went under the brick, the bare feet went into the water to clean, dried on the mat and then the anchor.

With my eyes on the stars and the cool moss below me, I walked over the coals until I was stopped on the other side. Feet into the water, the exhilaration, the “Y.. E.. S”, the ice, and the even more adrenalin!!

Yes, with control of the mind, the two feet matched up to the six metres, and won the day or should I rather say, the night!

We lost the rugby (x2) but the fire burnt and we celebrated late into the night.

The End of the Beginning (and the Beginning of the Next)

Tuesday 26 October 2010: 4 years 1 month on …

“You have a condition called corticalbasal degeneration.  You will become severely incapacitated within three years … and may have some five years left. Go back to Port Elizabeth and enjoy what time you have left …”

Those are the words that I remember from my consultation with Prof Carr at Tygerberg Hospital on 8 February 2007.

I set myself three goals, one of which was to see Sean finish his grade 11 year and enter his matric (Grade 12/Senior) year at High School. That was a year ago now, and I reached that goal quite comfortably.  I then set a new goal of attending his Valedictory Service at the end of 2010. I have slowed down and it has been more difficult to get here.

But, here I am, and – thank God – still not severely incapacitated. Although I am aware that the last few weeks have been the most difficult so far, I am still able to manage well.

And, here Sean is, finished with High School and about to write his final examinations over the next six weeks.

Eighteen years into Life and the last twelve years spent at school preparing for that Life. The last week or so has been hectically spent by him and his mates (and their families!) celebrating the end of those formative beginning years.

All of this has been well-documented and pictured on that new “can’t live without” in our lives, that euphemistically called social networking site FACEBOOK. (Our generation seems to have done quite well without it, but somehow have also slowly become addicted to it!)

First, they had their formal dinner at the Edward Hotel. A crowd of his mates arrived at our home before the dinner to have photographs taken.

I spoke to the matrics on Tuesday in the school hall ( read Fasten Your Seat Belts).

Then there was the Heritage March last Wednesday afternoon. With the military band resplendent in their reds leading the way, the Grade 12 class marches in their cadet uniforms from the present school buildings in Mill Park (just 3 years short of its centenary – will I be here in 2013 for that and Phil’s Valedictory? – my next  goal!).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gHX7qC_fZM

They march towards St George’s Park, around Park Drive, cross Rink Street and down Pearson Street (I wondered if that Pearson is family of the current Junior School Headmaster Lindsay Pearson?) and head for the original school building on the Donkin, opened in 1859 as the Grey Institute for the first classes of the Junior School there.

The original buildings were bought by the Mediterranean Shipping Line and they have spent millions restoring both the school and the Rectory.

The school leavers form up with their “backs to the Southern Seas” in front of the school “with its front to the Southern Seas”. And so, witnessed by their parents and friends and many Old Greys, at the top of The Hill and with the white beaches and the Indian Ocean below, the Rector, Neil Crawford spoke to them about the wise man who built his house upon the rock, as opposed to the foolish man who built upon the sand.

 After Bible reading, prayers and the school song, the boys get to throw their berets into the air and to “klaar-out” for the last time. This is all very emotional and stirring stuff and the beginning of the many tears that flow over the next few days.

Wednesday evening saw the Officers and NCO’s celebrate the end of their year at a formal mess dinner in the school restaurant.

 Thursday is the Prize-giving and Valedictory services. Congratulations to all the prize-winners and the new Headboy, Alex Blumberg, and all the new prefects who were announced at those functions. Graeme Clarke, the outgoing head prefect made a very stirring speech as his farewell to the school, on behalf of his peers.

After the Valedictory Service, the parents all lined the avenue together with the staff and boys remaining behind, and bid our son’s farewell from the school, as they “walked ‘neath the Tower” for the first and last time as a school boy – and then headed off to the Old Grey Club at Kemsley Park.

Continuing with tradition, there, we, the fathers and them, our sons and now the newest Old Greys, had lunch together. (The mothers now head off to another venue, Elizabeth Place, this year, to tea and reminisce together.)

And then, after lunch, we all met up at what has become a new tradition – Barneys on the Beachfront.  At age 14, I was bringing Sean home after an evening cricket practice at Framesby when I reminded him that Mom was out and we were going home to an empty house. He suggested then that we go to Barneys for a beer! When I advised him that it was a bit soon for that, he invited me to have his first beer with him at Barneys when he turned 18! He would buy the round.

Well, (and although not his first beer!), true to his word, he bought the first round (with my money!).

There, the celebrations lasted well into the night, complete with school song and “For all the Saints” sung with gusto on the tables and chairs. Dad eventually got home after Son!

Twelve years as school mates and family friends have come to an end – the end of the beginning of the preparatory years.

And, now, after a week of festivities, the final crunch lies ahead, with school-leaving examinations taking place over the next six weeks. Then, it’s the Plett Rage, when our school-leavers and students head off to that wonderful place, Plettenberg Bay, to do whatever they do best in Plett!

 It brings back memories of my very own end of exams at Stellenbosch University, when we (four guys and a girl – names to remain anonymous to protect innocent persons!) arrived at the Piesang’s River Caravan Park – music (70’s and 80’s!) blaring from the car speakers, and were refused entry based on the fact that the Park was a family park and the owners were unable to distinguish a family in our Peugeot! We ended up camping at the Plett Caravan Park …

Nowadays, it’s all much more formalised and organised and patronised and socialised.

 I’m sure there will be many stories to write (and some not to write) about. In the meantime, a lot of hard work lies ahead. Good luck, with your exams, school-leavers, and good luck to us all, as we all face the beginning of the next of our lives!

Living Positively

19 October 2010: 4 years 1 month on …

This past week has been the most difficult for me, physically, since I became ill.

My left arm and my left leg have become decidedly weaker. My leg wants to give way under me and it takes a very concerted and concentrated effort to raise my arm.

Every movement is more difficult and taking more energy. It feels like standing under water and trying to walk and lift my arms. There is an ever-increasing resistance to moving my limbs. However, my right leg still remains unaffected.

This all tires me and I have very little energy. It is taking longer in the mornings to get going and most mornings I feel like I have a massive hangover! Even that is taking longer to clear.

One would think that lying down would assist in rejuvenating one’s vigour, but, strangely enough, lying down is the most uncomfortable position to be in, especially if I lie on my back or left side. The best way to lie down is to lie on my right side.

Mentally, I am not doing all that well either and it is so important now for me to take heed of all the things that I have been talking about. I have to take control of my mind and get the better of this creeping alien that is taking hold of my body.

Last Monday, I was asked to speak at Collegiate Junior School for Girls about Living Positively.

I had never spoken to young girls between ten and thirteen years’ old before, so I was a bit unsure of how to handle the subject with all 500 of them.

I thought that they would know more about sport than Life, and so I asked them to imagine that I was an alien from Mars and had never been exposed to sport before. I asked them to explain to me what attributes were required to be successful at sport.

They played right into my hands and mentioned a whole long list, including fun, enjoyment, fitness, rules, goals, plans, fairness, integrity, drive, honesty, modesty, humbleness, giving your best, being the best, giving your all, teamwork , etc.

I told them that Living Life was somewhat like playing sport, and in order to be successful at Life, it was important to live Life positively and to display the attributes that they had mentioned.

What did it mean to live a positive Life? They answered a positive Life was one that was constructive, helpful and beneficial.

So we unpacked some of the things we needed to live POSITIVELY. I tied them in with each letter of the word POSITIVELY.

P:         Plan and prepare. Know where you are going and what has to be done. Don’t be a cork that is blown around on the ocean by the winds. Rather be a sailing ship that sets its direction and uses the wind to go where it wants to go.

O:        Occupy yourself. Take Ownership of your life. Be in charge of your life and stay busy. Don’t just hang around doing nothing, and waiting for life to take charge of you.

S:         Surround yourself with Supportive people. Stay away from negative and destructive people. Mix with people who will Support you and build you up – constructive people. I asked what happens in quicksand, and a little girl gave us a graphic display of how the quicksand sucks one in! That’s what negative people do to you – they just suck you into the depths.

I:          Involve yourself in your Interests and your community. Get Involved in Clubs, groups, sport, church, help others. Do something that Interests you.

T:         Take Time out for yourself; spoil yourself, rest, listen to the music, smell the roses, be mindful of the little things in Life and make Time for yourself. Be a Team Player.

I:          Inspire yourself and others. Look at new Ideas, read books and the Bible, use the Internet, talk to others, look around you for good luck stories, think of new Ideas

V:         Verbal reinforcement – Voice positive things. Talk positive talk. Encourage yourself and others. Watch what you say. Word and Deed is so important.

E:         Be Enthusiastic and Enjoy all you do in Every moment. Don’t wait for disaster (eg illness, death, disability etc) to strike before you do that. Enjoy Every moment from the present one!

L:         My personal mantra: Be an ACE –        Live and Leave             A bundantly

                                                                        Laugh                           C ontinuously

                                                                        Love                            E ndlessly        

Y:         Why? What is the purpose of Life?

This is the most difficult question of all. But it is the most important. It’s the cement that keeps everything else together.

If you are on the sports field and don’t know what you are playing, it becomes difficult to play.

If you don’t know Y you are here, then it becomes difficult to do what you need to do.

Some believe they are here to prepare for heaven, some believe they come back again, some say it’s just a one-way trip to death, others don’t even think about Y!

Often teachers don’t know the answers to a question and then give their pupils the question to sort out for homework. So I suggested that the young ladies should take this question home for homework: they needed to think about Y they were here in the first place!

If they put all of the above together, I suggested that they could Live Positively!

————-

On Wednesday evening, we were eating out in a restaurant when a young girl came over to our table. She asked me if I was Mr Lunnon, and then thanked me for talking to them about Life. I was truly humbled. I forgot to ask her name, but she looks the splitting image of her Mom, whom I know, and so I was able to trace her later.

Thank you so much, Miss Scheepers, for teaching me yet another thing about positive living – the inestimable value of that small thing of saying Thank You!

————–

I need to practice what I preach from this moment. I, too, need to Live Positively!

(Today, I spoke to the matriculants at Grey High on their second last day at school. I spoke to them about “Fasten your Seat Belts!” – which you may read in an earlier blog).

Toekomst

11 October 2010: 4 years 1 month on …

Phew! What a week it’s been. If the disease doesn’t kill me, then surely this hectic schedule will! And this was supposed to be my rest week!

It was exactly a year ago today that I fell and broke my elbow. That resulted in surgery and two months of having a situation of “Look Mom No Hands!”  – a sort of de’ja vu of what lies ahead. It also resulted in the writing of my e-mail “Three years on …” which was the first entry and the start of what has become this blog site and our radio programme ED is in wED. (By the way, for those who don’t know, the word blog simply comes from the contraction of the words weB  LOG … an online web-based computerised diary if you like.)

It also poured with rain on that Sunday evening that I fell down the steps and so it was exactly a year ago today that we had our last good rains in Port Elizabeth. We need that rain so desperately . .

But back to this week: On Wednesday evening I watched the Centrestage Simon & Garfunkel – CSNY show. Thursday was spent with Nadine sorting out the admin things. On Friday morning, I completed the application for a new passport with Q-4-U (anything to avoid having to go to Home Affairs again!) and then went to Vovo Telo Coffee shop in Central with Annette Jones. (I wonder how much is spent on cups of coffee on any one day in the world’s coffee shops! It must be a multimillion dollar industry that has been built up around the humble coffee mug.)

Friday afternoon was spent at the printers. In the evening we attended Bev Parker’s birthday party (not a wedding yet, but at least no funerals for a while!) In between all of that, I was trying desperately to get my Dragon voice recognition software working, but still no luck.  

Saturday morning saw an early rise in order to go to Grahamstown to watch Sean play cricket against St Andrews. We all travelled with Andrew and Cindy de Wet – despite me telling Andrew on the radio on Wednesday that I was the moer in with him for phoning me early on Wednesday morning.

For Andrew, being a farmer in the Somerset East district, seven thirty in the morning is certainly not early. But, for me, getting up in the morning is becoming more and more difficult, and 9h00 is now becoming the norm. After that, it takes a while to get the limbs moving and the head feeling a bit clearer.

Sometimes, I wish that I did not have to go to sleep at night. Then, I would not have to “defrost” in the morning. It is the time of day that I find the most difficult and have to guard most against becoming negative and depressed. It is also that time when the tears flow the easiest. It is best to get up immediately when I wake up because lying in bed is uncomfortable and leads to “woe is me”. (this morning has been one of those mornings, so writing a blog becomes a way of occupying my mind and keeping me out of the quicksand.)

Initially, I had decided not to go to Grahamstown because I was concerned about the early rising after a late evening. I also had to attend a Stellenbosch University function at the new Radisson Blu Hotel on Saturday evening which was scheduled to start at 18h00. That meant that we would have to leave Grahamstown by 16h00, and it was highly unlikely that the cricket would be finished by then.

However, Andrew agreed to leave early in order to get me back to PE on time. As luck would have it, his son went in to bat just as we were scheduled to leave. So, we left a bit later and drove like the wind. Along the way home, we got the news that our team, the Grey Seconds, had beaten St Andrews.

We got back just before six, and I hurriedly showered and sped off to Summerstrand, getting there just before six thirty! I had invited Helshoogte Old Boys to the meeting in order to establish a local branch here. A handful arrived, and I received a few e-mails of apologies. What was lacking in numbers was made up in spirit, and we will definitely have another meeting soon in order to formalise Helshoogte Old Boys Eastern Cape!

So, another late evening! And another early morning!

I had been invited by Aimee Weyer-Henderson, the head of Alexandra House at Collegiate Junior School for Girls, to speak at their House Day on Monday morning. Her father Philip had been in the 1984 Matric class – my first year of teaching – at Grey High. We had lived in the Grey boarding house together, so we have known each other for some 26 years now. (In those days, he called me Sir!)

Part of the invitation was to spend the weekend at their farm Toekomst  (Future),  between Jansenville and Somerset East, supposedly in order to firm up the requirements for the talk.

I had agreed but had forgotten to look at my diary. It was later that I discovered that I had the US function on Saturday evening, and so the supposed weekend visit became a day visit on Sunday!

Cheryl Weyer (the teacher in charge of Alexandra House) and her husband, Mark, long-time friends from the days when Pera taught at Collegiate, were also invited, and they kindly picked us up at 07h30.

Off to the Karoo for Sunday lunch. We arrived at 09h30, did the coffee and koeksister  thing, then headed off in the cut-off Kia bus (that is the game ranging vehicle!) for a tour of the farm (and the two new pivots!) and a view of the Darlington Dam and Johnny’s little shack at the dam that he is busy building. (Johnny is Philip’s ‘little’ brother that I taught a few years after Philip, and Pera has taught Johnny’s son (the next generation) at Grey Junior.)

It is here, in the Karoo, that one can see the true extent of the devastating drought that we are experiencing. Even the thorn trees are dying! The only green are the fields being irrigated by the pivots – also visible if you Google Earth those surroundings:  an oasis of green in an otherwise large arid and brown desert-like area. The farmers here are also experiencing their problems and challenges that life has thrown at them.

Indeed, the Toekomst looks bleak if we don’t get rain soon. We need that rain so desperately . . .

After the little tour, a few icy cold frosties were very welcome in the air-conditioned pub in the homestead.  And then a superb lunch of roast Karoo lamb and venison (kudu) and all the trimmings – including a magnificent dessert of the best tarted up ice-cream I have had in a long while.

After lunch, the young ladies challenged the adults to a game of 30 Seconds, and, despite the cheating, the adults won comfortably!

 Thanks Philip and Lise for a wonderful day. Although, we didn’t spend too much time planning for the House Day on Monday, we headed off home after having spent a few wonderful hours with you and your family.

I still had to think about what I was going to discuss with the young Collegiate girls. That was Sunday evening’s chore, and I fell asleep doing that!

So, Monday morning was yet another early one. Firstly, to finish off my speech – hastily scribbled on pieces of scrap paper and entitled LIVING POSITIVELY. And then, to rush off to the school to deliver the speech to the hall full of 500 girls, some parents and some staff members.

What a delight it was to see the manner in which they responded to my talk and to my questions. I will document that speech in yet another blog.

But, after having interacted with those girls on Monday, and on Sunday, and with Sean’s matric friends the previous weekend, I am left feeling that we are so fortunate that our children are being well-educated at our city schools.

Our TOEKOMST is in their hands, and they would appear to be good hands. The sad part is that those good hands, in many cases, will be lost to our city, to our province and, most probably, to our country.

There is still so much to do to ensure our TOEKOMST and our children’s TOEKOMST  in this southern part of Africa. We need THAT political rain so desperately, too . . .

 

Striking a Chord

7 October 2010: 4 years 1 month on …

DUKE ORSINO says:

If music be the food of love, play on;
Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die.

(from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, 1602)

Orsino is asking for more music because he is frustrated in his courtship of Countess Olivia. He muses that an excess of music might cure his obsession with love, in the way that eating too much removes one’s appetite for food.

Music plays an important part in Shakespeare’s plays and is often used to carry the plot. It’s reasonable to surmise that he did believe it to be ‘the food of love’.

In my own life, I have found music to be the food for my soul. In my darkest moments, it is music that brings the light; in my saddest moments, it is music that brings a smile, when I am feeling down, it is music that raises me up.

Yesterday, on our AlgoaFM radio programme, ED is in wED, I played the well-known song of Simon and Garfunkel Bridge over Troubled Water.

The song has special significance for me:

In 1985, on the Grey UK cricket tour, I saw, for the first time (and bought), a CD player in London. I also bought three CD’s: Simon and Garfunkel, Bruce Springsteen and Wham. It must have been the first CD player in Port Elizabeth. But, at that time, CD’s were unobtainable here, and so, until Michaels, off Main Street, started selling them (at almost R200 a shot!) all we had to listen to were those three titles.

The Philips CD player was a novelty in the boarding house at Grey where I lived at the time, but the 3 CD’s almost wore through! Bridge over Troubled Water played time and time again!

I still have the player and the three CD’s! (However, the player cannot play CD’s with more than 10 tracks!) And, anyway, CD players are now also obsolete!

Gary Hemmings, an ex-pupil of mine at Grey, is now the owner of CENTRESTAGE PRODUCTIONS (www.centrestage.co.za). They specialize in entertainment in the Eastern Cape and regularly bring us musical shows in Port Elizabeth and East London.

Presently, the show produced is Striking a Chord – memories of Simon and Garfunkel and CSNY: Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.

The two lead singers are Rodger Gilson and Neil Thomson.

Rodger is my pharmacist and supplies me monthly with my “pot-of-gold” – the white container that contains my little yellow Carbolev tablets. Six of these tablets provide me with my daily fix of dopamine, the chemical that the brain requires to send its messages to the muscles and to maintain movement in the body. For some unknown reason, my brain no longer produces sufficient dopamine, and that is why my body is becoming paralyzed. It’s something like running out of petrol in your car – when there’s no more and the tank is empty, everything just grinds to a halt and stops!

Rodger is the lead singer of Bridge over Troubled Water in the show which I saw last night.

Accompanying him is Neil (Tommo) Thomson.

I first saw and heard Neil when I was at Stellenbosch University in the late seventies. He was a teacher who had taken time off to sing professionally with a band called Leather Bone. I often listened to him singing at De Akker, a pub well-known to successive generations of Maties (Stellenbosch students). 

When I started teaching at Grey High in Port Elizabeth, Neil was on the staff. He is currently the longest serving teacher on that staff (together with his wife, Pam, and their son, Gregory. Lynn, their daughter, is currently acting in Johannesburg in the production EVITA -which is the show that the 1985 Cricket Touring Party went to see in London – to the dismay of some of the reluctant theatre-goers!).

In those years, Neil did many gigs around Port Elizabeth – the most remembered of which must be the Sunday nights at El Cid Restaurant in Parliament Street. Pam worked the till at the door, and Neil sang. And we, his colleagues, together with Port Elizabethans from near and far, dined and wined at the steakhouse on most Sunday evenings (usually after a lazy Sunday spent at the Old Grey Club in Lennox Street!) We never did work out whether Sunday evenings were the last day of the previous week or the first day of the new week! Whichever way, Monday mornings were frequently a problem in the classroom and “private reading” by pupils was often a good option (as were hamburgers from the Hamburger Hut in Russell Road delivered at first break to the staff room!)

And Pam and Neil’s home in Prospect Road was the scene of many a party, some planned and some impromptu. The Tiger’s Arms worked overtime on many an occasion!

There are many memories that many people have from those special days. Amongst so many others, I remember the semi-formal farewell to David Capel, an erstwhile professional cricket coach at Grey, the pre-launch 1985 UK Cricket Tour party, my very own bachelor’s party (not too much remembered other than the venue!) and Dickie and Colleen Ogilvie’s farewell party when they moved to the Karoo in 1987. Grace was always said with everyone under the tables!

Neil also played into the wee hours of the morning at our wedding reception at St Alban’s prison in January 1990, and last year, this time, at Pera’s 50th birthday party at Dexter’s Den at Grey Junior School.

In fact, there will be few Port Elizabeth families who have not had or heard Neil (some say PE’s John Denver!) play at a function. Whether at a formal function or at home, the guitar is usually nearby (sometime he needs to be persuaded and sometimes he just will not play and sing!) But, more often than not, you will hear Neil sing Southern Cross – always a favourite of the now late Peter Brown.

He sang it again last night at the Centrestage production which was a fundraiser for Collegiate High’s 2011 European hockey tour.

When you see the Southern Cross
For the first time
You understand now
Why you came this way
‘Cause the truth you might be runnin’ from
Is so small.
But it’s as big as the promise
The promise of a comin’ day.
So I’m sailing for tomorrow

The words reminded me of yet another friend, Jan Hoogendyk, from George. He has now become a famous, yet still ever so humble, personality known as Elvis Blue in the South African music scene as a result of his participation in the SA IDOLS show on MNET TV.

It was back in June that I played his song Lately on our radio show. He was then interviewed by Lance du Plessis and sang unplugged in the studio for the listeners of the Eastern Cape. (you can hear this on my blog site: Elvis in Studio)

This Sunday evening, he will be reaching for the stars again – his Southern Cross. He will be sailing for tomorrow, the promise of a comin’ day, as he sings for a place in the top spot of the competition. And guess what he will be singing? – none other than Bridge over Troubled Water! Good luck, Elvis!

When you’re weary 
Feeling small 
When tears are in your eyes 
I will dry them all 

I’m on your side 
When times get rough 
And friends just can’t be found 
Like a bridge over troubled water 
I will lay me down 
Like a bridge over troubled water 
I will lay me down 

When you’re down and out 
When you’re on the street 
When evening falls so hard 
I will comfort you 

I’ll take your part 
When darkness comes 
And pain is all around 
Like a bridge over troubled water 
I will lay me down 
Like a bridge over troubled water 
I will lay me down 

Sail on Silver Girl, 
Sail on by 
Your time has come to shine 
All your dreams are on their way 

See how they shine 
If you need a friend 
I’m sailing right behind 
Like a bridge over troubled water 
I will ease your mind 
Like a bridge over troubled water 
I will ease your mind

This blog is dedicated to all people who, today, are weary, feeling small and have tears in their eyes – know that you will be comforted and your mind will be eased!

The Miracle Man

Wed 6 October 2010: 4 years 1 month on …

Heinrich is a business associate of my brother-in-law Paul. He left Port Elizabeth and went to China on business a few weeks ago. He was perfectly healthy.

He returned to Port Elizabeth last week in an air ambulance. He is paralyzed from the neck down.

I went to visit him this afternoon at the hospital.

Despite the prognosis, he is already showing movement in his hands and arm.

He has set himself the goal of walking out of the hospital.

Heinrich, this video’s for you and we are there for you, each little step of your new way.

God bless you, my new friend!

NEIL DIAMOND LIVE @ Nelson Mandela Stadium Port Elizabeth

NEIL DIAMOND LIVE FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER IN SOUTH AFRICA

 
Port Elizabeth on Friday 8 April 2011
 
I will sponsor 2 tickets: Leave a comment below telling us about a person you know who is dealing with a “Life Challenge” and why you believe that person should receive the tickets. Please leave your contact details.
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Algoa FM and Big Concerts are incredibly excited to announce that Neil Diamond will be performing LIVE in South Africa for the very first time during April 2011.  One of the most anticipated live music events ever seen on these shores, Neil Diamond will be performing four shows in the new stadiums built for the FIFA Soccer World Cup –including the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth.

The tour kicks off on the 2nd of April at FNB Stadium, Johannesburg, 5th April at the Moses Mabhida Stadium Durban, 8th April at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth and ending on 11th April at the Cape Town Stadium.

Algoa FM Programme Director Alfie Jay says: “We are just thrilled at the prospect of hosting an artist of this calibre in the Eastern Cape during our 25th birthday celebrations – Neil Diamond is a legendary songwriter.”  Over the course of a career that kicked in with the rush of “Cherry Cherry” in 1966 and continues to crescendo nearly four decades later, Neil Diamond has never failed to surprise and delight fans with fresh approaches to music that moves him the most deeply. Across the years, his songs and his unmistakable voice continue transforming his concerts into nothing less than standing room only communal celebrations, intimate encounters between the artist and his millions of fans. He has sold over 120 million albums and set box office records at major venues all over the world.

Across a musical career stretching nearly 50 years, Neil Diamond has sold more than 128 million albums worldwide. He has charted a staggering 37 Top 10 singles and 18 Top 10 albums. In September 2010, it was announced that Neil Diamond is nominated for The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.  His last studio album, “Home Before Dark” (2008), debuted at #1 in the U.S. and internationally.  His 2009 DVD, “Hot August Night/ NYC,” has been certified double platinum. A Grammy Award-winning artist, Diamond is a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame and is a recipient of the Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award, one of the highest honours bestowed upon songwriters.  Diamond’s many other achievements include a Golden Globe Award and 12 Grammy nominations. He was NARAS’s 2009 MusiCares Person of the Year.

Tickets available at Computicket from 09:00am on Saturday 9th October 2010.  http://www.computicket.com or 0839158000.