The Road to Inner Peace

If you can start the day without caffeine,
If you can always be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains,
If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles,
If you can eat the same food every day and be grateful for it,
If you can understand when your loved ones are too busy to give you any time,
if you can take criticism and blame without resentment,
If you can conquer tension without medical help,
if you can relax without alcohol,
If you can sleep witout the aid of drugs,

Then you are probably the family dog!



Ka Ka En Ka: Ha Ha: ERRATA

Tuesday 30 August 2011: 4 years 11 months on …

Q: When is a friendship in danger of being ruined?

A: When you don’t get the details correct!

So after publishing KKNK* yesterday, I received the following sms’s and emails today:

Jeep! Jeep!

Thee Gordon Wright would never be seen dead, or alive, in a Jeep! It’s a Land Rover, Landy if you like, man van, Mandy, etc. But most certainly not a Jeep. Sies!”

“The Horror!”

“Poor Man-dy needs counselling”

“Man-Dy is still not talking to you ...”

And as for the hunters, I was kindly informed (reprimanded?) by e-mail that I had omitted the following eminent two members of the party:

 “Don’t forget Angus & Will Pringle as well.

Gus is a director at Drake Flemmer and Orsmond (  

Will is a teacher at Stirling High. Both from East London”


Then the dinner menu:


 Beetroot, Garlic & onion soup

Tomato tarte tatin with gorgonzola cheese & fresh basil


Seared Kudu medallions

with stir-fried sweet potato, garlic ginger & coriander and julienne carrots cooked in orange juice with a red wine reduction

Deboned leg of Karoo lamb

with potato timbale, fresh garden vegetables and a Madiera sauce


Gratin of crème almond nougat & granadilla sauce.

Can’t remember what the other dessert was… (neither can I!)


 (No wonder it’s billed as a culinary oasis in the heart of the Karoo!)

As the scribe and editor of Ed Lunnon’s Blog, BrainStorms, I hereby take the full blame and responsibility for my incorrect reporting (although in terms of the Disabilities Act No 27 of 1965 I am classified as being mentally disabled), and wish to apologize to all the individuals concerned: Man-Dy, Angus and Will Pringle, and ASG House.

I wish to assure you that there was no malice intended, and sincerely hope that no parties were compromised or jeopardized in any manner whatsoever.

I also wish to assure you that no animals were harmed or injured in any way during the course of this production (except, of course, those buck killed during the hunt).

Should any party feel aggrieved by any of these actions, I suggest that they instruct their legal counsel to engage with Thee Gordon Wright in order that they may dine together in the normal fashion of legal counsel at Gordon’s Restaurant.




Monday 29 August 2011: 4 years 11 months on … Advantage ED

(* Karoo-style Kindness, Neighbourliness and Kinship!)

A year and a half ago, in January 2010, I wrote I Was So Glad that I had Come!

It was about a trip that I had made to the striking Karoo, and last year’s SA Town of the Year, Graaff-Reinet, in order to watch Sean play cricket. I hadn’t been back since.

However, that changed on Thursday afternoon last week.

I had asked Gordon Wright if he was coming to PE in order for us to have a reunion of the previous weekend’s rugby celebrations! Instead, he invited us to Graaff-Reinet in order join in on the last hunt of the year (before the end of August signalled the end of the 2011 hunting season).

But Pera had a teachers’ conference on Saturday, Sean had a rugby braai and Phil had school commitments, so they could not go.

Gords suggested “come by yourself then”!

But I couldn’t drive by myself – Gords had a lift for me!

But I’ve never been a hunter (not  before and not since the one and only springbok I shot and wounded at Doorndraai at dusk, and then found and killed the following morning, led to my having to eat warm raw liver and having my face blooded!) –  Gords suggested “just join in for the walk and the atmosphere”!

But I’m ill – just park that in the garage for the weekend!

So within minutes my schedule for the weekend was arranged.

And after having coffee and croissants at Vovo Telo with Annette Jones and Liz Findlay on Friday morning, it was the packing procedure, which for me has become quite stressful:

Bag – check

Undies, warm socks, shoes – check

Pyjamas – check

Warm shirts, jeans – check

Warm jacket – check

Scarf, gloves, beanie – check

Toiletries – check

Wallet, wine, cell phone, charger – check

Pills, pills, pills, pills – check

More check and more check …

And then we were on our way – headed north on the R75: destination Graaff-Reinet. We being me and the newly acquainted Neville (at the wheel) and Lee-Anne Jones and their two sons. Before long, I discovered that Neville was the uncle of Craig Jones who was at Grey and played rugby with Sean – small Eastern Cape world yet again!

We arrived at the Wrights at about five pm– the ‘we’ now being some more couples staying the night and some delivering children to be baby-sat and collected, and just what appeared to me as a railway station of people arriving and leaving!

I was going to be sleeping at the Wright’s Andries Stockenström Guesthouse just down the road from their own home, so we off-loaded my bags there and then returned for drinks, dinner, drinks, discussion, drinks, discourse, drinks, dessert, drinks, drinks …

Plans were put in place for Saturday’s hunting excursion. Drinks.

We would be going to the Harris’s farm Tandjies View to hunt. Graeme and Helen Harris (nee Watermeyer) have been friends since I first moved to Port Elizabeth in 1984. Helen is Colleen Ogilvie’s sister (Dickie and Colleen farm at Doorndraai in the Aberdeen district) and it was at Helen’s house in Port Elizabeth many years ago that I swallowed the 20c piece in a game of quarters that subsequently became stuck in my intestine! To this day I have the X-rays of that meddlesome 20c piece! Drinks.

The Estimated Departure Time would be eight am! That meant that I would have to get up at six thirty so as to ‘defrost’ my body and get the limbs moving. Gordon was put in charge of phoning me to wake me up. Drinks.

Peter and his wife were only staying the night before heading off to New Bethesda on Saturday. But when he heard the plans being made, he decided to stay and hunt instead. Then, later, he decided not to go.

Well an early start to the morning required an early ‘go to bed’ – so after just one more drink for the road, I headed off to the Guesthouse round about 1am!

At 6h45 I received my “wake-up” call. I missed the “Wakey wakey, sunshine!” SMS at 6h16 because I had put my cell phone on ‘Phone calls Only’ sound mode and therefore did not get a beep from the Blackberry at 6h16!

‘Quick’ shower, tea, and I was collected at eight and ready to go … off to Tandjies View in Gordon’s Jeep known as the Man Van. Peter was there – he had changed his mind and was to hunt after all.

The hunters gathered at Graeme’s hunting lodge, a yet unnamed newly-renovated Italian prisoner-of-war built stone house with a magnificent view over  Spandauskop, the Tandjiesberg and Camdeboo. In sharp contrast to the brown and aridness of last year’s ‘in the drought’ visit, the Karoo is the greenest I have ever seen it. In some places, it looks like a lush green carpet that has been thrown out over the land. And put that with the bright orange of the flowering aloes, then what you have is a postcard picture of the glorious Karoo that the oil companies now want to frack-up in their exploration for gas!



Whilst the hunters did the hunting thing, I was given the more genteel version of breakfast with Helen and Graeme and their four daughters, Carmen, Lee-Anne, Michaela and Christine, and two of their boyfriends from Port Alfred. Then followed a bakkie tour of the farm, offloading of sheep, checking of water troughs and dams, windmills, and snacks and drinks.

Then back to meet the hunters at the lodge and drinks. Then we got a phone call to inform us that Peter’s wife who was coming to fetch him to head off belatedly to New Bethesda had experienced a mishap – the sump of the car had been “holed” on the gravel road. (They then had to stay with the Harris’s, and arrange to be collected from Uitenhage on Sunday and for the car to be towed to Graaff-Reinet on Monday to be repaired.)

At dusk, we headed back to the Guesthouse for drinks and dinner, prepared by Gordon, who within minutes had changed from hunting guide to sous chef and from camouflaged hunting gear to a white chef’s outfit! Gordon calls it “from veld to fork!”

Beetroot soup, drinks, kudu steaks, mutton, drinks, dessert, drinks …

Then at midnight we headed for the Graaff-Reinet Men’s Club (now also allows ‘ladies’!) for post-dinner drinks.

There we met up with the stragglers from a Club soup evening that included Helen’s cousin, Julian Murray, and Johann Minnaar, optician in town and father of Henry Minnaar who was Sean’s room mate at Grey’s hostel last year and is now an engineering student at the University of Pretoria. Drinks.

And, slowly the party got smaller and we returned home. Drinks … and Gordon disappeared and it was only Neville, Lee-Anne and I left – discussing the world, and life and religion and the purpose of life and God and a drink to Life and just one more for the road.

 At four am I had my midnight pills and then got into my heated bed at the guesthouse … and slept till ten!

Then breakfast, then back to the Harris’s for drinks and roast lunch, and at three thirty, we headed south for Port Elizabeth.

The James Blunt and Elvis Blue concert was due to start at 20h00 at the indoor sports centre of the Nelson Mandela University. I disembarked from the car at 18h45 and re-embarked ten minutes later after a quick change and a hamburger.

The Marriots from Queenstown had invited us to attend the show. And what a show it was:

“And this is what we’ve got, and what we’ve got is gold …”

Life is surely gold … and for this weekend’s fun, games, laughter, friendship and kindness, kinship and neighbourliness, we owe such a big thank you to the Wrights, the Harris’s, the Jones’s and the Marriots.

“For food, friends and fellowship, we thank thee O Lord!”

Raise a glass to Priceless Moments!


Hello all!

I find it amazing how people see things so differently.  To one person, a sunset can take their breath away because of its magnificent beauty, and to another person it is just the end of the day.

We see things through the filters of our own reality, often not how they really are.  Wanting to be a winner is fantastic; determining to be a loser is tragic. Ultimately, succeeding and failing in life boils down to how we want to see ourselves.

 “Where the loser saw barriers, the winner saw hurdles.” Robert Brault

Barriers stop our progress; hurdles are there to be overcome!  Sometimes we need to stop and look at a barrier and determine to see it as a hurdle.  The energy used to get over the hurdle can be immense, but ultimately it is worth it!

Winston Churchill said, “The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” 

Become your own motivator and see things through optimistic eyes. See the opportunity in the hurdle and you will get over it!

So today, turn stumbling blocks into stepping stones and barriers into hurdles.

Have a great day today!

 (With thanks to and written by Mike Lacey-Smith)





Flying with the Wright Brothers – Good Fella’s

Tuesday 23 August 2011: 4 years 11 months on … Advantage ED

When I arrived in Port Elizabeth in January 1984, there were some 14 of us who began our teaching careers together at Grey. We were all male, mostly single and had come either from University or our two-year military service. (Sadly, most of the 14 have subsequently left the teaching profession!)

As members of staff at The Grey, we automatically became members of the Old Greys’ Union and hence members of the Old Grey Club in Lennox Street, Glendinningvale.

I boarded with Steve Fourie’s parents in Walmer until I could move into the Grey’s Meriway Hostel.

But, for most of us, one could say that our address was c/o The Old Grey Club, Lennox Street, Glendinningvale, Port Elizabeth!

We spent most of our non-teaching time at the OGE, as we called it then. There we played / watched hockey, cricket, squash; socialised with Old Greys, Grey parents, our  current teaching (and previous) colleagues and became friends of employees such as Club Manager Viv and bar”lady” “Lucky Lips”!

Those who frequented the pub in those days will remember (as the law required) the Men’s Pub, the separate Ladies’ Lounge, the Pool Room and the “tiekie box” (public telephone) to which many patrons would be called when time got late and partners/wives became anxious about their where-abouts. (Ironically, it was to that very tiekie box that I was called in November 1986 to be told the news that my mother had passed away in The Strand.) Of course, in the cell phone era, the tiekie box no longer exists!

On my first visit to the OGE, I was introduced to retired teacher “Sand Shark” Harry Davies. Subsequently, the group disappeared and left me with Sand Shark and the buying of the drinks! I discovered quickly that Harry had the unique gift of accepting drinks and then disappearing when it became his turn for the next round. I had been set up on my first visit!

On Sundays, we would watch cricket/hockey (depending on the season), celebrate the victory/defeat (depending on the outcome of the match) and then as regular as clockwork and non-dependent on anything, head off for El Cid Steakhouse in Parliament Street. Tommo was the resident singer and Pam worked the till at the door.

Sunday evenings could become messy and Monday mornings first break often called for greasy take-away hamburgers delivered to the staff room from the Hamburger Hut at the top of Russell Road.

Well, those hamburgers are a far cry from the fare now offered at The Club. For a while now, the Club has been managed by local restaurateurs Cassies. The menu is short and good value for money. There is a daily special and a new innovation is Dinner Theatre. Sunday carvery is a special.

Sean, Phillip and I have made it almost a weekly Friday Club lunch date of the steak, egg and chips. Most weeks we are joined by various other friends and Old Greys.

And so, last Thursday evening, via Facebook, I advised that we would be having pre-rugby test match dinner at The Club on Friday afternoon.

And we were joined on Friday by a number of people who were all in town for the Test – Tim White, Bert and Wendy Henderson and their friends, Graaff-Reinett farmer Graeme Harris (brother- in- law of Aberdeen farmer  Dickie Ogilvie – himself an ex-colleague, erstwhile OGE hockey player, cricketer and patron, and my bestman when we married), Roche van As, a number of other out-of town rugby visitors, some of Sean’s friends and THEE.. Gordon Wright (Restaurateur and Guesthouse owner from Graaff-Reinett).

I had met Gordon before (at The Club) when they still lived in PE. Earlier this year, we made contact again when he asked me to assist with the anti-fracking campaign that currently dominates Karoo thinking. (Fracking is a process that energy companies use to free up underground gas and which has proved to be detrimental to the environment (especially groundwater)).

Well, the lunch date became a long one, and eventually we left in time for supper, which was going to be a true-to-tradition braai at Gordon’s brother, Bernard’s home.

And who should be there?

Besides Graeme, Gordon, Bernard, Roche and I, there were:

Bernard’s wife, Sharleen, was the hostess.

Chris Wright who is technical manager at AlgoaFM was there.  I see him every Wednesday when I do my weekly programme. I had not known they were brothers!

And Damien Wright was there. He is Chris’s son and assists with the technical issues in studio when presenters are out of town.  He presses the knobs when I sit alone in studio and Lance broadcasts from out-of town. I did not know they were family!

And a few others, whose names and faces now fade into oblivion.

Later in the evening, I “discovered” that Briar Wright was the matriarch of the seven-sibling-strong Wright family. Briar is a driving force behind the Parkinson’s Support Group in PE. I met her  when I first became ill, and attended their group meetings after I was initially diagnosed with possible Parkinson’s Disease. We have subsequently met several times over the last five years of my later diagnosed CBD illness.

The moral of the story: never say anything to any person about anyone you would not say directly to their face – inevitably, it turns out they are friends, family or neighbours!

What started as the pre-test lunch became a lengthy affair, lasting till midnight on Friday. But we were facing the All Blacks the next day, and we had to be well-prepared. There was much to plan and discuss, and many toasts to propose!

By eleven thirty, we had filed our flight plans with the Wright Brothers, and it was time to go.

We phoned the Good Fella’s chauffeur service call-centre.

Operator ‘Stevo’ made the necessary arrangements and an sms was received at 23h41. “Evening, your driver is Andre Ungerer.  If you would like to verify the driver’s ID please call GF’s. My name is ‘Stevo’.”

At 23h42, an sms was received: “Good evening, your driver is on route and will arrive in roughly 25 min. Regards gfellas.”

And, thanks to kind sponsorship by Good Fella’s, at midnight, our pumpkin turned into a Good Fella’s carriage, and we arrived home safely – in time for the Test that lay ahead.

(And apologies to Sharleen Wright, who I almost did not recognise when I saw her at the rugby on Saturday afternoon.  We’ll have to organise a make-up braai!)

Life’s Not All Black

Monday 22 August 2011: 4 years 11 months on … Advantage ED

Friday night had been another late one!

Saturday morning found me feeling a bit fragile, but there’s nothing a hot shower and a hot cup of coffee can’t do … and fifteen Carbolev, Lyrica and some other tablets – my daily supply to keep me moving!

Last year’s FIFA World Cup slogan was “You can feel it in the Air!” With today’s Tri-Nations rugby international between SA and NZ taking place at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, once again you could feel it in the air. Wherever you went, there was a feeling of excitement and expectation.

I decided not to join the others at Old Grey Club for pre-game drinks. That may have been dangerous on top of all the medication. And I didn’t want to end up in a state which I saw on a poster later on: “If found passed out, wake me for the 7’s!” (taking place in Port Elizabeth in December this year!).


So, I got dressed in my green and gold Springbok supporter’s shirt and SA Zuma scarf and lazed around until it was time for Noelene Jorgensen to pick me up at two. Elsewhere, in Ryan Street – a normally quiet crescent where we live, people were arriving and leaving: a buzz of activity in green and gold outfits all headed for the Stadium.

Driving through North End and around the North End Lake, the excitement continued to increase, as did the numbers of people, the music volume and the noise levels. Wall-to-wall supporters – a few in the characteristic black and white colours of the All Blacks, but predominantly green and gold of the Bokke.

We had a reserved parking bay in the precinct of the stadium, so it was a matter of minutes before we were sitting in the Keypak suite up on the fourth floor.  It was two thirty – two and a half hours to kick-off and the stadium was still relatively empty. The SA Schools team was playing the French under 19 team. My eyes were on the crowd more than the rugby game.

The hospitality and company in the suite was excellent. Eats, drinks, snacks, chats, singing, music, the teams warming up … and the stadium became fuller and fuller, until just before five it was filled to capacity – 45 000 screaming fans.

And then the moment arrived – the teams came out of the tunnel and took up their places for the National Anthems. The atmosphere was electrifying.

Goose bump stuff and maybe just a tear.

“God defend our free land. God defend New Zealand.”

“Let us live and die for Freedom in South Africa our Land.”

Then … The Haka … drowned out by the crowd singing Shosholoza!

These were moments that were etched in my memory, moments I will not forget.

Eighty minutes of hard, hard rugby and the rest is hard fact and history.

At seven pm, the huge electronic scoreboards told the tale: South Africa 18 New Zealand 5.

But across the land (and across the globe) the stories continued in the streets, the marquees, the pubs, the restaurants, the taverns and the homes into the wee hours of the morning and, indeed, into Sunday, Monday and … as long as rugby lives and death do us part!

We celebrated the win in the suite until about nine. Noelene dropped me off at home and I was planning to go straight to bed. Until Sean BBM’d me from the Club – “come have a drink with us, Dad J

And, the rubber arm was twisted yet again! Father and Son celebrated our win together – priceless moments!

It wasn’t until one o’clock on Sunday morning that we got home.

 Yes, Life’s not All Black. There’s a lot of fertile green and a pot of gold out there. We need to continue to chase it and to defend it when we find it and hold onto it.

When it comes to Life, it’s a matter of

Pause, crouch, touch, engage!


Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Sunday 21 August 2011: 4 years 11 months on … Advantage ED

Maureen McGovern sings the song “There’s got to be a morning after”. It is the theme song of the movie POSEIDON ADVENTURE.

This morning was the “morning after” a very long and busy and wonderful two weeks!

I woke at nine to find a BBM message on my Blackberry. It was from an ex-pupil of mine, Dr Konrad van Staden, firming up a rather loose arrangement to “have brunch together on Sunday morning”.

The “winter” weather was still magnificent, so brunch was on! He suggested nine thirty at Tiffany’s on the beach front.

Good idea – except for the nine thirty!

It would take me at least an hour to “defrost”, shower and make myself look pretty. I certainly didn’t feel pretty – not after the Bokke’s win over the All Blacks last night.

I messaged back and suggested ten thirty as a hopeful alternative.

Going once, going twice, sold to the gentleman receiving the message on the other side.

So a “quick” (in my terms) shower, dress, two of my yellow pot o’gold Carbolev tablets, a cup of coffee and I was on my way to the beachfront. (Pera was going to a 21st, Sean was at the NSRI doing weekend duty and Phillip was still sleeping!)

Passing the Garden Court I saw a bit of a commotion – people all over, police vehicles, flashing lights. For a moment I wondered who had bashed/robbed/shot who, but then I saw the big green and gold bus with the word SPRINGBOKS emblazoned over it.

The current World rugby champions and the victors of last night’s Battle at the Boet – sorry, Massacre at the Madiba – were just leaving their hotel and I guess making their way to the airport. The onlookers and autograph hunters were there in their droves. Well done chaps on beating the All Blacks 18 – 5! Suddenly, the gold price will go up, the petrol price down, the exchange rate more favourable and life in Africa just wonderful!

I arrived at Tiffany’s just a few minutes before the Van Staden family – Konrad, Nelmarie and Lean.

Passers-by (some looked like they on their way home after last night’s rugby) were still dressed in their green and gold Springbok shirts – we wondered if this was the third day of the same clothes (Friday being Green Shirt day, Saturday match day and now ‘home-time’ day!)

The company was great; the breakfast of orange juice, bacon, eggs, sausage, toast etc magnificent; the weather terrific and the view of Algoa Bay absolutely stunning. So much for the Windy City– this week it has lived up to its other name: The Friendly City – just ask any rugby supporter!

Forget about the doctor – this was just what the patient ordered (and needed on the morning after).

After breakfast, we went for a walk on Humewood Beach. I haven’t been there in years.

 Lean kept me entertained with his fertile imagination and stories of dragons, swords, and the angels.

Well, I headed home and, for the first time in a while, treated myself to an afternoon nap.

I needed it.

The angels have been particularly good to me in the last few weeks.

And, as I dozed off, in the haziness of my medication, tiredness, remnants of last night’s festivities and a full tummy, I thought of how blessed I am, and all that I have managed to do in the last two weeks.

I will write about these two weeks later ….in reverse order!



Take My Blues Away

 Tuesday 9 August 2011: 4 years 11 months on … Advantage ED

Women’s Day!

Last year, round about this time, I wrote Piece of Paradise and Ed and Elvis.

In both blogs I wrote about trips to the Southern Cape, including the Garden Route, and about visits with friend Jan Hoogendyk who had entered the SA Idols contest.

Well, history tells us that Jan went on to win SA Idols 2010 as Elvis Blue, and Sean and I were pleased to break into his heavy schedule and to meet up with him for a quick cuppachino at Dulce’s a while ago. I’m still hoping to get him to Port Elizabeth for a show.

And this past long weekend, we went on to visit the Southern Cape once again. Exactly a year after visiting Plettenberg Bay in 2010, we were back in 2011.

Friday night was a busy (and long one for me!) By invitation of Mr Squash, Alan Stapleton, we attended the re-opening of Crusaders Squash Club with its new glass-backed courts! But Saturday morning at 11, we left on time for Plett, just two hours westwards along the N2 from Port Elizabeth. Sean is now a year into his driver’s licence and once again, is behind the wheel. (Phillip has just got his licence – in Uitenhage – to drive a scooter, but he remained in PE to do advanced maths and an IT project for school.)

At one pm sharp we took the drive around the corner at The Crags, just before Keurbooms Strand and the River. The view before you of the Plettenberg Bay and the Robberg Peninsula takes some beating.

We were spending the weekend with John and Wendy Clarke. (John had told me, almost five years ago when I became ill, that many would go before me! Now he is convalescing from Guillain-Barre disease, which, just a few weeks ago, had paralysed him within a few hours!)

After lunch, we went for a long walk along the beach, from Keurbooms River, along the lagoon spit and all the way to the river mouth at (what used to be until it was flooded away) Lookout Beach. John tried his hand at fishing, something that just a few weeks ago he was unable to do! The views of the blue ocean and the blue mountains – some still capped with white snow from the recent falls – that surround this impressive Bay are spectacular. We even had the pleasure of viewing a display by a lonesome whale just beyond the surf.

Plettenberg Bay is to South Africa something like Monaco is to the French Riviera. The views of the Robberg Peninsula and the Tsitsikamma Mountains are spectacular. The homes on Millionaire’s Row are stunning and possibly extravagant.

Juxtaposed to this display of the country’s wealth, just on the other side of the N2, is the squalor of the tin shacks, the RDP houses and rows of outside toilets (ironically, at one stage, this township was  named Flushing Meadows!).

It is a common-place sight in our country: the haves and the have-nots right next to each other. One sees it in Johannesburg’s Sandton and Alexandria; in Cape Town’s Constantia and Hout Bay and Khayalitsha; and, in fact, in every South African city, town, village and township.

It is a display that could quite easily begin a discussion on the Fairness of Life (who said that Life’s fair?) and fuel a debate on socialism. Many years ago, I recall our then domestic assistant, Lorna, looking at this display of empty holiday homes and not understanding why so many of these large homes were only occupied for just a few weeks in each year!

As I write this, the youth of London and indeed Britain, have gone on the rampage. SKY News is showing pictures of wanton destruction, looting, arson and plain downright criminality and theft. If this can happen in a so-called First World Country, it reminds me how much of a tinder box we sit on here in South Africa!

When I was in doing my military service at the Infantry School in Oudtshoorn in 1982/83, we often came to Keurbooms for weekends. I had to AWOL, as I was just a troopie in my first year whilst my brother-in-law Anton and his mates were officers in their second year!

Indeed, my first visits to this magnificent part of the world were whilst I was studying at Stellenbosch University. We came to Plett at the end of every year once we had finished our final examinations. It was the beginning of what is now the much more formalised “Plett Rage” that takes place annually in December and now draws not only thousands of University students but also thousands of finishing off high school matric pupils from all over the country.

I remember one trip, arriving in the Peugeot (nicknamed the Pugget!) and being kicked out of the then Piesangs River Caravan Park, because the five of us – one woman and four men – did not represent a family unit of any kind, and that park supposedly only catered for families! We ended up camping at the Plett Park instead.

Within a few days we collected enough to fly the lady back to Cape Town and we continued enjoying what was then the pub at the Beacon Island Hotel, the Grape Vine (?) underneath the Hotel, the Formosa Inn and the Arches.

On our evening trip back to Cape Town, the Pugget overheated near Knysna, and we filled the radiator with salt water out of the Knysna Lagoon! We later pitched our tent on the front lawn of the Du Toits in George – and they found a squatter camp in their garden the next morning!

Those were the carefree student days of bright sunshine, braaivleis, beer and bankcruptcy!

In later years, our family often visited this area too and we have explored most of the Plett, Keurbooms, Knysna, George area – the Garden Route of South Africa. We also bought a plot of land at Sanderlings on the Keurbooms River, and had plans drawn up for a holiday house there, before we decided to buy in St Francis Bay instead.

Saturday evening we braaied with the Bryants, Sunday we slept in and then walked the beach, as we did on Monday. We talked, we walked, we ate, we slept and John fished – something I still do not do voluntarily!

It was a weekend of re-charging the batteries, depressing the blues, enjoying friendships and living Life!



Good afternoon all

Life is jam-packed full of possibilities!  Every second of every precious day has options and opportunities.  Times do get dark, and if we cast our eyes to the floor we miss the glimpses of solutions.

Looking inward is not bad.  It lets us source all our past experiences and find solutions based on a life time of experience and the learning from others.  Closing our eyes to our inner vision just leaves us in limbo, and no-person’s land if you will.

Become a possibilitarian.  No matter how dark things seem to be or actually are, raise your sights and see possibilities – always see them, for they’re always there.” (Norman Vincent Peale)

Lifting our heads up is hard when we are tired and deflated, it takes an act of the will and it is a conscious decision!  If we look ahead, we will see that there are paths we can choose, options to be explored and escape routes if necessary.

There are always options, some easier, some so much harder to action, but at least they are there if we choose to look at them.  A head lifted up sees things coming and can act; a head dropped in defeat is helpless and vulnerable.

So today, lift up your head; see the possibilities because they are there if you just care to look for them!

Have a great day today!

(Thanks to and written by Mike Lacey-Smith)