Light in the Night

©2012 Edward C. Lunnon

Tuesday 30 October 2012: 6 years 1 month on …

Physical Advantage CBD / Mental Advantage CBD

As I write this, I am watching on TV the devastation that superstorm Sandy is leaving in its wake in the eastern states of the USA. It is one of the biggest – if not the biggest storm – ever to have hit the United States.

The storm has moved in from the Atlantic Ocean and has swept in from the East Coast visiting, amongst others, the states of New York, New Jersey, Virginia,  Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Baltimore …

A thirteen foot high tidal surge, rain and wind has left New York New York, Atlantic City and other  towns and cities reeling under floods, fire and snow!

New York is powerless!

Indeed, one week before the American Presidential election, the State of these States has been declared a “major disaster” by President Obama. However, there will be many stories of personal heroism and human endeavour.

It affects me!

It affects me because these are areas of the US that I have been privileged to live in and visit and because I have friends and family who live there.

I am as familiar with Battery Park, Manhattan, Ground Zero, Central Park, Wall Street and Fifth Avenue in New York as I am with St Georges Park, Third Avenue Dip, Brickmakers, Target Kloof and Port Alfred.

The latter places, of course, all being here in the Eastern Cape where we also faced the fury of Mother Nature last weekend when some 200 – 300 mm of rain was dumped on us.

Despite the devastation, there have been tales of personal heroism and human endeavour.

That has affected me too!

Not only because we witnessed the rain and the devastation first hand, not only because it angered me so much that a lot of the damage could have been prevented by better maintenance, preparation and supervision, but also because we got caught up in the floods.

We went out on Saturday evening for supper to celebrate Phillip’s prefectship. On our way home, down Wychwood Avenue, we got caught up in the water that had flooded the road. The car stalled and we had to be towed out.

On Monday it was towed to Maritime and on Tuesday I was informed that all was well – the engine was turning and would require a bit of TLC to get it back into shape.

However, on Wednesday, I was informed that it had been the wrong car (!) and that mine would not start. Yesterday, I was told that my car would have to be written off! We especially bought the station wagon because of my illness – it is automatic and has space for a wheelchair and whatever else.

I am devastated.

I have lost my health, my job, my holiday house and now my car.

I am devastated.

But, as I have said so many times before, it is in the darkness of the storms that life throws at you that you have to look for the little flicker of light that will keep you going.

I have to pick myself up from yet another blow.

I will find that flicker and the light will shine bright! 

Don’t stress about us in SA!


by Paul Harris, October 28 2012, 09:26 |
Paul Harris. Picture: MARTIN RHODES


A letter from FirstRand founder and former executive Paul Harris to a concerned friend has gone viral. Here is an edited version:

Hi Jeff

HOPE all is well with you guys. I will drop you a line later with the family news but I would first like to respond to the e-mail you sent me attaching an article by Clem Sunter, which seemed to concern you about us here in South Africa.

You also sent me an article last year by Moeletsi Mbeki warning about the danger of an “Arab Spring” in South Africa. I often get e-mails like this from “concerned friends” worried about us, which is sweet of you guys. Of course we are concerned. Some worrying things have happened but we have been through and survived much worse in much more volatile environments. Including the Boer War, two World Wars, apartheid, the financial crisis without a bank bailout, the Rindapest, Ge Korsten and Die Antwoord!

However, for as long as I can remember there have always been people who think SA has five years left before we go over the cliff. No change from when I was at school in the sixties. The five years went down to a few months at times in the eighties!

But it seems the people who are the most worried live far from the cliff in places like Toronto, Auckland, London and other wet and cold places. Also from St Ives and Rose Bay in Sydney, Dallas and Europe and other “safe places” that are in the grip of the global financial crisis, which by the way is quite scary. Many of them have survived decades of rolling “five years left” since they left South Africa. So maybe they will be right one day!

My message is, please don’t stress about us in South Africa. We are fine. We are cool. We know we live in the most beautiful country in the world with warm and vibrant people. There are more people here with smiles on their faces than in any country I have ever been to.

Young people are returning in droves with skills and a positive attitude. Collectively we bumble along and stuff many things up while letting off a hell of a lot of steam (have you heard of a chap called Julius Malema?). Yet in between South Africans do some amazing things like win a few gold medals, big golf tournaments and cricket and rugby matches.

The South Africans I know get off their butts and do things to build our country rather than whinge from a position of comfort. We actively participate in projects that improve the lot of underprivileged communities. I would not trade for anything last Saturday in a hall full of 1500 African teachers singing at the top of their voices and demonstrating their commitment to improving education in their communities.

We have our challenges and surprises. The standard deviation of our emotions are set at MAX. You are never just a “little bit happy” or a “little bit sad”. At one moment you can be “off the scale” pissed off or frustrated or sad or worried or fearful or depressed. The next moment you are “off the scale” exhilarated, or enchanted, or inspired, or humbled by a kind deed, or surprised by something beautiful. It makes life interesting and worth living.

We also have passionate debates about the future of SA. Helped of course by red wine which you must taste again because it is getting better every year! Clem makes a great contribution to the debate as others like Moletsi Mbeki do. Russell Loubser, the former head of the JSE, made a feisty speech the other day that has whipped up emotions. Up to MAX on the emotions meter of the ANC Youth League whose campaign for nationalisation of the mines was attributed to people who have IQs equal to room temperature.

South African politics has always been volatile, we have opinions that could not be further apart and it evokes emotion on a massive scale. Interesting and stimulating for those that want to take it seriously but noise in the system to me. Fortunately we are rid of apartheid that would have definitely pushed us over the cliff. These are the birth pangs of a new and unpredictable democracy. So buckle up and enjoy the ride and contribute! That is the message I convey to South Africans.

Sad as it is, it is true that the South African diaspora has a largely negative influence on confidence in South Africa. It would not be a problem if their fretting about how long we will last before we go over the cliff was merely a reflection of their concern for us, their friends and family.

The problem is that it does impact foreign investment, which is important for economic growth. A person who is thinking of coming to visit or investing is often put off by listening wide-eyed to the stories of people who have gapped it.

As you know I host many foreign visitors and I have never, EVER, met anyone who has visited for the first time without being blown away by the beauty of the country and the warmth of the people. It is not for nothing that South Africa has the highest ratio of repeat visitors of all long-haul destinations.

So, Jeff, how can I help you stop stressing out about us? Maybe best is that you get exposed to some articles and websites that give a more balanced and uplifting perspective of South Africa. So please don’t worry and if you get a chance, put in a good word for us.

All the best


* This article was first published in Sunday Times: Business Times

Mr Mayor (or Whoever is in Charge?)

I feel so safe and comforted that the Mayor and his spin doctors (and his TV crew) are visiting the residents of the Metro (including Essexvale) spreading the good news and to reassure us that all is under control. What I would like to ask you Mr Mayor – on that TV camera of yours – is where is that to-do maintenance list of your Council, who is responsible for actioning it, how much of all this d…

amage could have been averted by ongoing maintenance, why did you not remove the trees under that bridge weeks ago, why are the lights in Target Kloof and outside my home not working, where is the money coming from now, are we still going to play soccer, why are there three people working fixing that bridge whilst fifteen are standing there with spades in their hands doing nothing, do they also get R12 500 per month, why were the private enterprises in Brickmakers cleaning up yesterday already when the municipal employees were nowhere to be seen, where was the traffic dept in all of this, whoheads up that dept,,, just for starters Mr Mayor … I’m gatvol figuratively and literally like the “gate” outside the airport … I think we deserve answers
Sir, not recorded feel-good hospital visits …
  Of course , I am tired of being a bystander to our country being raped by Zuma and Wayile and Co …by the way where is the premier of the Eastern Cape …havent heard a word from her since the storm set in ..or is she somewhere in Sweden encouraging our twin sister city to send tourists to a province that has been flooded off the map!

It’s Raining Pink Trees in Graaff-Reinet



Pink Trees for Pauline and

Pink Trees for Pauline Day Friday 19 October 2012

See pics here

No End to Caring – St Francis Hospice

Thursday 18 October 2012: 6 years 1 month on … Physical Advantage CBD/Mental Deuce

I receive weekly visits from the Port Elizabeth St Francis Hospice team of Sr Gill le Roux, Sr Janice Malkinson, Jenny Nickall and Isaac Rubin.

Jokingly, I refer that they come to check that I have not yet decided to make the jump off the Van Stadens Bridge outside Port Elizabeth, which has become notorious for being the place where locals, with no hope, commit suicide. The Bridge of Despair lately claimed its eightieth-odd victim!

However, I am indebted to them for their service to me. They have become my light in an ever-increasing darkening world and my company in a lonely world. They are my assistance, my life-line, my helping hand, my listening ear, my crutch to lean on and my shoulder to cry on – truly, there is “no end to their caring”!

My family and I are relieved to have such professional support. Somehow, saying THANK YOU does not nearly seem enough!

So that is why I am appealing to you to help me to help them to help US.

Other people, too, that you know, perhaps a friend, associate or family member, will need their support in the future.

We owe it to the community of our Metro to maintain our vital services and ask that YOU be part of the plan to ensure that Hospice will be available to them. It currently costs +- R500 ($70) per patient per month, on average, to provide their holistic service.

Hospice cannot depend upon large funders and donors alone. Every cent donated by individuals starts as a drop, then becomes a trickle, a flow and eventually a stream!

  1. Should you wish to make an immediate cash contribution, the banking details are reflected below.
  2. Please also consider a regular monthly EFT transfer into that bank account.
  3. You may also consider the lasting gift of a bequest to Hospice in your will. Contact your attorney or advisor to set this in motion.
  4. You may also wish to supply us with postal addresses, e-mail contacts and cell (mobile) numbers of your circle of family, friends and associates to enable Hospice to build a database which will, in time, through fundraising campaigns and from which members may also benefit, secure the financial future of Hospice, a service of care and compassion which is benefiting me and so many others now.

Thank you for supporting your fellow man.

‘Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much’. (Helen Keller)


Trevor Wiblin                                                                     Sr Nonnie Mdaka

Executive Director                                                        Nursing Services Director


ED Lunnon



Banking Details:

St Francis Hospice

Standard Bank, Rink Street (05-04-17)

Cheque account #080 260 349


Donations of R100 or more qualify the donor for a tax deduction in terms of Section 18(a) of the SA Income Tax Act.



Return this to St Francis Hospice by providing the following details of family, friends and associates through the comment section on this website or blogsite, e-mail, fax or phone:


Postal Address

Cell (mobile) Number

e-mail address


St Francis Hospice

Phone:  (041) 360 7070

Fax:  (041) 360 1279


Grey Prefect Induction 26 October 2009

Then – Sean Lunnon

Grey Turns to Brown

©2012 Edward C. Lunnon

Monday 15 October 2012: 6 years 1 month on … Physical Advantage CBD/Mental Deuce

In my very first blog “Three Years On ” written on Tuesday, 27 October 2009, I wrote the following:

October 2009 and it’s now been three years since I became ill in September 2006. When the illness was diagnosed in February 2007, Professor Carr said that I would, most probably, have another three years of quality life left. It was the morning of 8 February 2007 when he looked at me over his desk – “Go back to PE and enjoy the next three years”, he said, “that’s all you have left.”

I set myself three goals at that stage – firstly, I wanted to see Phillip leave Grey Junior School at the end of 2008 (tick!); secondly, I wanted to attend the 25th reunion of the 1984 Grey matric class in May 2009 (tick!) and then, thirdly, I wanted to be at the valedictory service at Grey High in October 2009.

Thursday, last week, was the valedictory service for the matrics of 2009 – the third of my goals and,yes, tick!. With it, came the big announcement of the 2010 prefects. We were proud when Sean’s name was read amongst the group of 21. So Thursday evening meant celebratory pizza’s, Sunday we braaied with the Clarkes (Graeme is Headboy and David, is a prefect too) and Stapletons, and Monday 26 October, saw us at the Induction Ceremony and tea at the school.

And I now have to reset my goals – Sean’s valedictory service and lunch at Old Grey (and Barney’s!) in October 2010 and – dare I beat the medical odds and plan so far ahead? – Valedictory 2012/2013 for Phillip!

I’ll see you there . . .

A year later, on Tuesday 26 October 2010, I wrote in my blog “The End of the Beginning (and the Beginning of the Next)”:

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.”


Well, another two years on and I have made it!

This past Friday 12 October 2012, was the valedictory service for the matrics of 2012 and with it, came the “big” announcement of the 2013 prefects.

I am still here – much slower than before, but Thank God, still here for Phillip! I am still able to manage.

As the parents are not told in advance who the prefects will be, we were not present at the announcement. But, within seconds of the announcement, Sean had BBM’d me to give me the good news. When I contacted Pera, she had already been told by the Junior School Headmaster, Lindsay Pearson.

We were proud that this time Phillip’s name was read out amongst the group of 20 odd. But with Phillip in the boarding house and Pera away at Kariega Game Reserve for the weekend celebrations of Sandy Rushmere’s 50th birthday, the celebratory dinner will have to take place next week. On Friday night, Sean and I did the “Barneys” thing!

On Tuesday 16 October we will attend the Induction Ceremony and tea at the school. 

This time Lloyd Brown is the Headboy. Congratulations Lloyd. Just that name comes a long way!

I have come many years with the Brown family. In my first year of teaching, Lloyd’s uncle, Lindsay, was in my mathematics class and in the 1984 matric class. The Seiko watch I wear today is a result of the generosity of Linday and that maths class!

Through him, I became friends with (Uncle) Peter and (Aunty) Dr Lorna Brown (Lloyd’s grandparents), Wayne (Lloyd’s father) – then a first year accounting student at UPE – and his girlfriend Janet (Lloyd’s mother), and Duncan (Lloyd’s uncle) who was still at Grey and also one of my erstwhile maths students.

We visited often in Villiers Road – it was a home from home! We (including Dickie Ogilvie and Neil “Tommo” Thomson) attended the opening of the Brown’s Long Room, the 21st parties at Arlington Racecourse and climbed through windows in Villiers Rd in the early hours of the morning when returning from the “beachfront parties”  and waking the household – the house was seldom securely locked.

The Opening of the Browns’ Long Room – Villiers Rd, Port Elizabeth

We did the “land support thing” of the Texan Challenge from Port Elizabeth to East London, the Keurbooms River thing, the” Taurus Rising” video series thing and all the “things” and gadgets and foods that Peter bought for his Long Room – he had wireless TV long before any one else had dreamed that it was possible to have a TV set in every room of the house!

In later years, my family and the Brown families have continued those friendships. Shortly after I became ill, I was kindly hosted by Lindsay and Elaine (and their two children Martin and Meggie) at their lovely home in Andoversford, Gloucestershire, near Cheltenham in England .

Sadly, Uncle Peter – who I was also privileged to do the Rotary “thing” with – is no longer with us. Lloyd, I know, like us, your Gampsy is a proud granddad today!

Felix Baumgartner, the Austrian who jumped from a height of some 36km yesterday and in so doing broke four world records (highest manned balloon flight, highest freefall, fastest freefall and longest freefall), said the following:

“Sometimes you have to go up really high to realize just how small you are!”

That is so true in life for any achievement – Headboy, prefect, captain, MD, headmaster, President, whatever. Let us never forget that!

Good luck Lloyd, Phillip and all those who will be in leadership positions in 2013.


Wayne Browns 21st Arlington Race Course port Elizabeth