ED is in wED (finale) – 29 April 2015

(c) 2015 Edward C Lunnon

8 years 8 months ill …

Physical: Advantage CBD / Mental: Advantage Ed

  

It was the worst of times. It was the best of times.

It was round about March of 2010. I had been ill for 3 years.

Lance and I met at the Mugg and Bean at Greenacres and discussed the possibility of  doing a radio interview regarding my illness. I had been told that in 2010, three years into my illness, I could expect to become severely incapacitated and that, in all probability, I would die within the next two years.

So, we had our first interview on Wednesday 31 March 2010. The rest, so they say, is history.

Fast forward the clock. 260 interviews later.

I am not yet dead – nor am I severely incapacitated.

Algoa Country, the broadcast area, has got bigger to include the southern Cape and places like Plettenberg Bay,Knysna, George and Mossel  Bay. Together with the Border, the Eastern Cape, the Karoo … the listeners have increased across the country, on the air and online. The number of readers of my blogsite, which I commenced at the same time as our interviews, has increased from zero to just short of 200 000 hits.

I have in a small way been able to raise awareness about my illness, in particular,but in general about living life with whatever the hand is that is dealt to one. ED is in humblED by the reaction of the public and the support and assistance that he has received over these years. 

ED is in wED, yes, for one last time this coming week, but ED is also in blessED.

I am thankful and grateful to Lance du Plessis who believed in me from that first meeting, and who  has supported me and kept me talking behind that microphone during these last five years.

Thank you to AlgoaFM for allowing me those ten minutes every week. Judging by the response that I have received over the years, you cannot imagine how many lives have been touched across Algoa Country.

To the AlgoaFM colleagues who have met me in the passage, chatted to me and encouraged me, thank you for your support and encouragement. I shall miss you all. To Tove, Briony and KayCee, who have also at times interviewed me, thank you for your time and encouragement, too. Daphne, at the front door, always with a smile and a good word –  I shall miss that friendliness ever Wednesday morning!

Yes, it will be quite a change when from next week, I will wake up on a Wednesday and not have to think about the radio or the listeners. As my niece and nephew, Sebastian and Michelle, refer to me, the “radio man” is in retirED!

Thank you to all of you who have listened to me talking to you from the studio, my bed, London, Dublin, Phuket’s massage beds and the length and breadth of our beautiful country. It was only on one occassion, in the Western Cape’s Cederberg, that we were totally prevented from having our talk due to lack of reception!

You, the listeners, have listened in our homes, your offices, your cars, your favourite picnic stops, your forecourts, wherever … thank you for listening!

Thank you for listening, for sharing, and for caring!

We have seen and experienced and discussed numerous events over the last five years. We have seen the best of times and the worst of times. We have seen the best in people and the worst in people.

May I continue to encourage you to  Live Life each and every day. I invite you to continue accompanying me on my journey, however long or short that may still be, by reading my blogs on this site, http://www.edlunnon.wordpress.com or http://www.edlunnon.co.za.

I thank you for allowing me into your homes and into your lives.

Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika!

Don’t call me … I’ll call you

  

http://youtu.be/xERJ6TneF10

(C) 2015 Edward C Lunnon

8 years 7 months ill …

Physical: Deuce / Mental: Ed

ED is in wED for just three more weeks. Then, to quote the late Nelson Mandela, “I will be retiring from retirement”!

My weekly talks each Wednesday at 10h30 with Lance du Plessis on AlgoaFM will cease on 29 April, five years and 1 month after our first talk at the end of March 2010. I will have been interviewed 260 times.

The purpose of our initial discussion was to raise awareness about neurological illnesses. I retire in the knowledge that we have achieved that, but only too aware that it is but the first stepping stone in a lengthy pathway littered with many obstacles.

As long as my illness allows me, I will continue to write … And I hope that you and many others will continue to read!

Come home!

When New Zealand were most in need of a hero at Eden Park, up stepped a South African.

Grant Elliott, born and raised in Johannesburg, last night saw off the nation of his birth to book his adopted country a spot in Sunday’s Cricket World Cup final in Melbourne.

The 36-year-old, who moved to New Zealand in 2001, hit a six from the penultimate ball as the Black Caps chased down 298, setting a date with either Australia or India in the tournament showpiece.


Irony …. Read what The Public Protector said in London this weekend …


Thuli calls on expats to come home

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IOL Thuli Madonsela501INDEPENDENT MEDIAPublic Protector Thuli Madonsela File photo: Matthews Baloyi

Pretoria – Public Protector Advocate Thuli Madonsela has called on expatriates in Europe and other parts of the world to come back to South Africa and play a part in transforming the country in pursuit of an inclusive society rooted in human rights, including social justice. 

She was addressing the Homecoming Revolution-Speed Meet Africa event in London, UK, at the weekend.

The two-day event sought to encourage Africans living outside the continent to return to their native lands with skills and knowledge gained abroad to contribute to the development of their countries.

“Please come back to South Africa to lay your brick in this great transformation project in pursuit of our constitutional dream of the South Africa that belongs to all who live in it, black and white… where every person’s potential is freed and their lives improved.”

  

She told expats that they would have opportunities to play a significant role in the world as global citizens while based in South Africa, the land of their birth or ancestry. 

There were, she said, hundreds of scarce skills jobs back home, waiting for South Africans in the diaspora just as there were business opportunities in all areas of life. 

She added that the problems the country faced were opportunities for South Africans to bring in an international perspective, combined with knowledge of the local complexities and peculiarities. 

  

The Public Protector argued that the rejection of corruption and accountability lapses among those entrusted with public power was, in fact, an example of the good that was happening: “The fact that we talk about these lapses is because wrongdoing is rejected and reported by people and a free and vigilant media…” 

Pretoria News

How’s your Mother?



(c) 2015 Edward C Lunnon 

8 years 6 months ill …

Physical: Advantage CBD / Mental: Deuce

It was January of 1984. 

I had completed my matric, a year of studies in Oklahoma, USA, my university education at Stellenbosch and two years in the defence force at Oudtshoorn.

Now it was work time, and together with some 15 other new teachers I arrived at Grey High School in Port Elizabeth at the beginning of the new academic year. The chairs were meticulously arranged in a circle in the office and just one remained unoccupied. The incumbant must have got cold feet because the man in charge, we learnt later, did not make such mundane errors!

That person in charge, the Headmaster, introduced himself to us as Mr Dieter Pakendorf, the Rector, and would henceforth be addressed either as such or for less formal occassions we could use the word “Sir”!

The meticulous arrangement of the chairs was indicative of the man’s style – military, precise, exact, strict, unambiguous, unerring, authentic, conscientious, rigid and true.

He shared many pearls of wisdom with us that morning. One, I recall, was that no new teacher was to smile at his class before Easter. You ensured that you started with the discipline in your upper hand and then gradually relinquished it. The other way round would not work  – never start off being friendly and then trying to become a disciplinarian! Once lost, he said, it was always lost!

He was small in stature. But his presence filled the room, any room, that office, the De Waal Hall. the hostel and indeed the whole school building  and gounds of the Mill Park campus, now in its 100th year.

And just as his diminutive presence filled the space that he entered, just so did his presence fill those that he encountered with fear and trepidation – whether you were a pupil or a teacher.

There were many issues that one, as a staff member, had to bring to his attention, or discuss with him. I was not the only person who would spend agonising days and nights pondering the correct approach and practicing the appropiate vocabulary. 

Then came the moment.

You would muster up the courage, proceed down the stairwell from the staff room to the Rector’ Study, only to turn around at his door and return the way you had come!

Your courage had failed you.

Time and again you would attempt the landing approach into his office. Eventually, it would happen – and I don’t recall him ever asking you to sit down to discuss the issue. His mind was too quick for that!

Whatever problem you had pondered about – often for days and weeks – would be listened to, summarised, analysed and categorised. A few possible and probable scenarios were sketched, each with its own outcome and positives and negatives. Within minutes, he would spurt forth the correct decission “according to Dieter” aand, come hell or high water, he would stick to that decision, even if it meant that he would have to apologise in the long run!

He stood by his word, he stood by his decision and he stood by his man and his staff member! Even in show downs with parents, he would  back his staff member to the hilt in front of the parent, only to call you back on the departure of the parent and to reprimand you for having made the wrong educational decision and to remind you that should it happen again you would not be able to depend on his protection!

He never fraternised with his parents nor his staff. What was said was said using the least number of words required. In fact, he never encouraged idle chatter and seldom, if ever, initiated trivial or petty conversation.

He left staff functions first in order to allow the staff to let down their hair, and made it quite clear at functions after sport events when staff members should leave and end the party. For some or other reason he would approach me and advise “Mr Lunnon, it’s time for your friends to leave!” He certainly did not mince his words!

In the hostel, he and the hostel staff ate breakfast together with the boarders every morning.

We were quite a jovial bunch of young teachers in our early twenties. But whatever we would be discussing when he joined the table would be killed off in a matter of seconds by him. So we each had to bring three topics of conversation to breakfast table, so that when he killed one subject, we would have another to contnue with – until such time as we had run out of suitable subjects!

And the morning when he poured the orange juice out of the silver milk jug and over his jungle oats, in full view of all at the table, not a single soul would have dared a smile let alone a hearty laugh!

Personal matters were never discussed, so it came as quite a surprise one morning when The Rector looked up at me and enquired how my (ill) mother was. She had actually passed away six months earlier, so my sort of garbled response was “She’s fine Sir, she passed away in November!”

To this day, the standard form of greeting between Tony Reeler (now Headmaster of Pretoria Boys High School) and I is “Mr Lunnon / Mr Reeler, how’s your mother?!”

Desspite his serious attitude, he always looked at  his happiest when dressed in his grey suit, he would drive the school’s blue tractor around the Philip field or on the ash athletics track! To me, he always seemed more at home on the tractor than in his black robes. But his school, The Grey, came first and he punted it at every occassion, whether it was to the Boys, the parents, the Provincial Rugby Club that he chaired or the UPE Council that he headed.

After i had left teaching, I received a call from Lorraine (Coetzee) Schumann his secretary. She enquired whether I was wearing a jacket and tie because the rector had invited me for drinks at St Georges CluB that afternoon.

I thought she was joking and was setting me up. After all, the rector had never invited me for a social engagement at school never mind after having left the school.

I drove past St Georges that afternoon just to check, and lo and behold the grey Sierra was parked there. I went in to find the Rector and Ronnie Draper.

I was greeted with a “good afternoon, Mr Lunnon”, and I replied “Good afternoon, Sir!”

” Dieter” he said, call me “Dieter”! 

“Yes Sir,”  I replied! 

To this day, I don’t know of any of his staff members who would call him Dieter to his face!  

I was offered a beer and with no further word spoken, a plate of snacks was put in front of me. I took a meatball off the plate holding the toothpick at the top of the stick with the meatball below. I was quite nervous at this my fist personal social encounter with the Rector.

The meatball fell off the stick onto the floor.

With nothing being said, he moved the plate over to me yet again. This time he picked up the meatball, turned the toothpick around so that the balll rested on his fingers and handed the toothpick over to me, ensuring that if it slipped it would simply rest on my fingers! I imagined that he must have said to himself “what a fool!!” but he wasnt like that.

He guided you and led you and taught you in the way he did so well, quietly, few words, practically and by example.

Despite the outward appearance, he really cared about you as a person, whether  it was to offer you a job back at the school (which what that meeting was all about) or whether he was concerned about my future teaching and job decisions, my house I bought in Ryan Street (Maureen, he told me with pride was a Ryan!) or an invite to visit at their Nature’s Valley home.

He cared deeply about his school and would say that the parents’ role stopped at the front gate. From thereon inwards, was his role and that of his staff. I often wonder how his teaching style would have gone down in the new South African era! My computer laboratory, the first of its kind in Port Elizabeth, received all the assistance that he could muster.

He cared about his country and in the height of apartheid days the black hostel staff would be requested to sing at the BODA banquet, none other then the original African national anthem Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika.

And he cared about his Grey boys. He left them, in his unique way, a legacy that would be difficult to find elsewhere. it would be difficult to find a product of Dieter Pakendorf, staff member or pupil, who would be unable to say that he did not learn something from the man.

In 2010 I heard him make an unprepared speech at the 25th reunion function of that year. Despite his illness already taking over his faculties, the Rector did not disappoint. He moved from person to person in the room and recalled an appropriate story for each person.

A few years ago Grey was playing rugby against Paul Roos in Stellenbosch. I was not there but my youngest son Philip later told me that a man had called him over and asked him if he was related to Ed Lunnon. Phillip said he thought it was a previous Rector because he recognized the man from the painting in the De Waal Hall. Indeed it was the ex-Rector and once again he showed his concern and astute intellectual ability by recognizing me in my son and by passing on his good wishes to me.

He showed just why he will remain a revered Rector of The Grey.

I was sad that I could not attend his funeral in Cape Town, but I will be there at the reunion ceremony when his ashes will be interred into the wall of the De Waal Hall. It is somewhat ironical that in our later years we have both had to battle similar neurological illnesses. We certainly weren’t given the easy ones!

It was a privilege and a pleasure to teach under you, Sir. I will count those as some of the special days of my life and I shall remain indebted to you for employing me, not once, but twice!

Maybe now, you can let me know just how my mother is!

 

The Jones Affair (2)

(c) 2015 Edward C Lunnon
Physical: Advantage CBD / Mental: Advantage ED

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Glynn and Carol and the family left Cape Town last week headed for the KwaZulu Natal South Coast, then Johannesburg and then a Private Game Reserve in the North.

We said our goodbyes on Wednesday afternoon. But Glynn phoned on Thursday morning to advise me that we had not said proper goodbyes!

I find it easier nowadays not to say “proper” goodbyes. I’ve never been one to like saying goodbye anyway and the tears flow quite freely when I don’t know whether it’s just goodbye until the next time or whether it’s farewell!

So for me it’s easier just to say “cheers!” and another meeting along the way becomes a bonus. After the “cheers”, I turn around, walk away and wipe away the tears.

That’s what I did on Wednesday and that’s what I will do tomorrow when I leave Cape Town to return to Port Elizabeth.

The last two weeks have been a whirlwind of activity.

And wherever we have been we have had to fight the load-shedding problem – Worcester, Durbanville and Stanford!

On Saturday, after having caught up with Riaan on Friday evening (it was a long catch-up), i headed off with Sebastian and Michelle to Hermanus, Stanford, De Kelders and Gansbaai. The weather was superb and the beers were good on “Die Dekkie” in Gansbaai!

Sunday we popped in at Kleinmond and then attended Aunty Doreen’s 90th birthday party at Bikini Beach in Gordons Bay. Doreen is my Dad’s last surviving sibling (of six) and cousins came from far and wide (even Jeannie from Perth Australia) to help celebrate this special occassion. Unfortunately we missed the cousins braai on Saturday night!

Sunday evening we got together with the Muller family (my sister Lynn and her crowd) and said our goodbyes there too.

On Monday I returned to Gretel and Willem in Durbanville. I saw my neurologist in the evening and had summer with him and his wife Helen.

It’s always a pleasure catching up and exploring my CBD even further. I am so grateful that I have a specialist neurologist like Franclo that has my disease and life in his hands. We have built up a special relationship over the last eight years since that first time that we met at Tygerberg Hospital!

Tonight I will meet with Dr Shelley Hellig (Cohen) who also studied with us at Stellenbosch. We holidayed together in South West Africa. There will be much reminiscing and laughter before we too will say our goodbyes tonight.

It’s been quite a fortnight!

Goodbye Cape Town!

The Jones Affair

(C) 2015 Edward C Lunnon

8 years 5 months ill …
Physical: Deuce Mental: Advantage Ed

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My erstwhile roommate from Stellies 1976 and his extended family have returned to SouthAfrica from Canada for a three week holiday.

Dr Glynn and Mrs Carol Jones – I was MC at their wedding in 1979 – and their four children B (and his wife Jessanna), Nichola (and her husband Matthew), Cameron and Bryce, and the six grandchildren, Eternity, Jeremiah, Gabriel and Eden and Isaac and Isabella – are all in town – Cape Town, and I have been invited to join them!

So, I have been in the Cape since last Wednesday.

Firstly, with my family Sebastian and Michelle and Lynne and Anton in The Strand, and then with Willem and Gretel Wust in Durbanille.

The Jones arrived on Thursday and since then it has been a whirlwind of activities.

A day of catching up and then sight-seeing: Table Mountain, Cape Point, Boulder Beach, Cape Peninsula, Chapmans Peak, Waterfront, Simonstown, Ceres, Worcester, Stellenbosch, … the list continues and ends with a braai and more braais!

In between I met up with Faith and Ike Vavatsinedes and Riaan Pienaar (also Stellies) and his wife , and a hoard of friends belonging to the Wusts! I also managed to slip in evening drinks and dinner with some of the ex and present SA Navy engineers who studied with us at Stellenbosch and resided in what was then known as SAS Helshoogte.

As we made more memories, we remembered the old ones of almost 40 years ago. We contacted and Im still hoping to see Dr Shelley Cohen in Paarl with whom, together with my sister Ingrid and Glynn, we had the most unbelievable holiday in the then South West Africa way back in 1977.

This is just the skeleton of week 5 of 2016 … the memories will live on and I will try to share more of my unbelievable experiences.

My grateful thanks must be extended to all those people mentioned above who have made it possible for me to return to the Cape. Also to Carol’s brother Alan Friend in Durbanville for his amazing hospitality!

And to Glynn and Carol and their amazing family – it has been my absolute pleasure to be the addition in the Toyota Quantum and my apologies for often being the very backseat driver!

The ride continues …

Power to the People

Cry the beloved country for the mess that we are in regarding the (lack of) power supply.

The megatwats have let us down once again! And we cannot condone their inefficiencies!

But let’s not be tripped up by the problem. Let’s be innovative and see how we can beat the crisis.

Let us shine … Let us shine … Let us shine!

Please comment and leave your ideas on how to beat the energy crisis. Never mind how big or small the idea, let’s see what you can come up with …

#megatwats
#powertothepeople
#shinethebelovedcountry

What A Ride!

(c) 2015 Edward C Lunnon
8 years 4 months ill …
Pysical: Advantage CBD / Mental: Advantage Ed

25th Wedding Anniversary Edition

Ratanga2014

This has been a week of occassion:

Back to school after 6 weeks of holiday which saw Pera in New Zealand with Bridget and June, me in Kleinmond with the Wusts, us in Cape Town with the Ridgways and Mullers and Southwoods and Peaches, and us in St Francis Bay with a houseful of Sean’s and Phillip’s friends and the Southwoods. Rolls went back into the water and out came the wakeboard and the ski’s!

We did Christmas in Strand, Ratanga and War Horse and Grand Beach in Cape Town, Farmer’s Market and Thirsty Scarecrow in Stellenbosch and Vergelegen in Somerset West with Gaby and Vera.

The week has been about getting back to “normal” things – all the domestic issues and haircuts, massages, pills, chemists, doctors, dentists, visits from Isaac and Gill from the Hospice.

Carol and Glynn Jones (my university roommate) from Canada contacted me after 36 years and we will meet up soon in the Cape.

AB tumbled the cricket records.

We got to visit with Pam and Neil Thomson and Wendy and John Clarke.

Pera had her annual back to school dinner at home with her teaching colleagues.

Forty years ago, this week,  I departed to the United States

Today is our Silver Wedding Anniversary. Tonight we celebrate.

What a ride it’s been and continues to be!

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A Load of Shed!

(c) 2014 Edward C Lunnon
Physical: Advantage CBD / Mental: Deuce
8 years 4 months ill …

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The last two weeks have been difficult.

More deaths (Phillip Hughes, the cricketer in Aus; John Lynch, Old Greys ex President in PE; Pierre Corkie, ex-teacher from Grey Bloem in Yemen).

More load shedding in the country as we face an uncertain electrical future.

More problems with petrol supplies and telephone communications.

More health challenges for me including bronchitis and gout, and more quinine tablets for the increasing spasms.

The last two weeks have been exciting.

We spent the weekend at the Bathurst Country Affair Food and Wine festival with my sister Ingrid and her husband Anton.

Sean and Phillip headed for Plettenberg Bay.

Pera has gone to New Zealand to surprise visit her sister Bridget whom she hasn’t seen in the last fourteen years.

The last two weeks have been hectic.

Planning for Christmas, preparing for Cape Town, packing for trips, sorting out taxes, attending Christmas parties and consulting doctors.

The last two weeks have been emotional.

Deaths, cancer diagnoses, illness, more CBD cases, hellos and goodbyes.

The last two weeks have been just a typical period in the experience and journey that we call Life.