Lights Out!

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

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This is the fourth day since Pera left for Auckland and the – I’ve lost track – sixth (?) day of load shedding!

This weekend, we have been without electricity, fixed line telephones, internet and petrol.

As I started writing this, at 18h00, the lights have just gone off again!

I watched a press interview of the top people at ESKOM this afternoon.

Pleased to note that the CEO says “We do not have a crisis”!

My cramps also appear to have switched off – hopefully the quinine has kicked in – but now I can’t kick out! I have gout!

So much for my good intentions of writing tonight – I’ll try tomorrow when there is light!

The Prodigal Sister

Watch here the unannounced surprise visit today of my wife Pera from Port Elizabeth South Africa to her sister Bridget Southwood Gibbs in Auckland New Zealand after a separation of some ten years … All organised secretively by Bridget’s husband Derek Gibbs … Thanks D! Click here: https://www.facebook.com/ed.lunnon/posts/10152840510348257

and here:

https://www.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10205266744376588&id=772778256

and here https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10205253480404997

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Grey High School Port Elizabeth Nelson Mandela Bay South Africa

My out-of-town Facebook friends, my American friends and family, my New Zealand family, my worldwide friends and family, my Facebook friends and followers:

take just a few minutes and look at this video of my city and school, Grey High and Grey Junior School for boys.

This is what brought me to Port Elizabeth, this is where I worked and where Pera works, this is where our two sons, Sean and Phillip were schooled and where they lived in the Grey Boarding House, this is why we and the Grey Family are so blessED to have a fine educational institution in a country where so many have so little … Count your blessings count them one by one !

I think Sir George Grey and Mr John Paterson MP would be suitably impressed if they would be able to return for next year’s 100th birthday celebrations of The Grey’s Mill Park Campus.

Many happy returns of The Grey!

Click here to view the school and the city:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=OCl-6KXLsS4

Zip em Down

(C) 2014 Edward C Lunnon
8 years 2 months ill …
Physical: Deuce / Mental: Advantage Ed

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A few weeks ago, I spent time with Terri and Chris Pickels at Chrislyn and Crisscross Adventures in Addo. We canoed, birdwatched, quad-biked and braaied.

This last Sunday, I returned to Addo to spend time with the Tayler-Smiths. Matthew is on holiday, out from Florida and the “boats” of the romantic seas of the world!

Two years ago ,just before he headed off to the boats, we had sat on the banks of the Sundays River on their farm Happy Lands (just upstream from the Pickel’s place) and he had told me of their vision for an adventure area. We had got quite excited but it was difficult to imagine then what was envisaged – especially looking at all the bushland, reeds and rocks.

But, in Matt’s absence, his brother Ryan has proceeded with the hard work and, in September, Addo Adrenalin opened to the public. I was there to try out the zip line!

They gave me all the stats in the rundown to the trip, but I guess i was a little tense and don’t remember too much!

The trip across the river on the pont and the walk up the rather steep cliff of the banks of the Sundays was quite tiring for me. But I made it!

Then up the tower to witness the most magnificent view of the Sundays River Valley – known locally as The Valley!

Then the final attachments of the ropes and the harness and the pulleys, a deep breath and I was gone!

A step from the platform into the void, and then I zipped down, some 500m across the river and into the landing area on the other side!

Another rush of Addo Adrenalin …

We (almost the entire Tayler-Smith compliment, spouses and grandchildren) sat on the stoep of Happy Lands and what a happy afternoon. Lunch and the chit chat passed far too quickly and too soon it was time to go back to Port Elizabeth.

So, once again, thanks for Addo and Sunlands hospitality.

And, to the readers, if you are looking for Adventure – head north out of Port Elizabeth for 40 minutes to Addo (even if it’s raining in PE as it was on Sunday – the sun was shining in The Valley!).

Go zip it down …

There, in amongst the Citrus orchards of the Eastern Cape, you will find the sunshine of the folks of the Valley, and Crisscross Adventures and Adrenalin Addo. Try it out for yourself and be pleasantly surprised.

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The Week that was …5 November 2014

(c) 2014 Edward C. Lunnon

8 years 1 month ill …
Physical: Deuce / Mental: Adv Ed

* The Herald reports on 22 October that “A paralyzed man can walk again after revolutionary treatment hailed as a breakthrough”.

Nerve cells were transplanted from Darek Fidyaka’s nose into his severed spinal column. (in Poland). He was paralyzed from the chest down but can now walk again.

* I start taking Coconut Oil in my coffee. The oil is highly recommended for people with neurological illnesses. Let’s see what happens. I’m also now taking ten carbolev (generic tablets at least, thanks to GEMS) tablets a day. Let’s hope for good results!

* Rob Stear is laid to rest. RIP. And then Monday we hear that Richard Stretch had passed away, and last night further bad news of how The Big C has encroached into our friends and family circle. I am devastated and our prayers and thoughts are with all concerned.

* Three of our national sportsmen/woman pass away in tragic circumstances.

* Tinus Linee ex Springbok and WP rugby player and MND patient passes away in Paarl

* We attend Grey Staff Soiree now in its 26th year

* I do the zip line at Adrenalin Addo on Happy Lands farm and spend the day with the Tayler-Smiths

* David Maynier, ex pupil and now shadow minister of Defence in the SA Parliamen, came to visit and we had a beer at Something Good

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Walk and Fly

8 years 1 month ill …

Physical Deuce / Mental ED

(c) 2014 Edward C Lunnon

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I am angry!

This morning we have heard of yet another killing – this time the captain of our national soccer team shot down in cold blood.

I have written an open letter to the President of the RSA. Decisive action is needed to stop the lawlessness and crime in our country.

This comes after a wonderful weekend. A weekend that shows us just how we could live in this country of ours.

It started off with the Big Walk for Cancer. Nine thousand people walking five kilometers along the beach front of Port Elizabeth. All this to raise awareness and funds for cancer treatment in our City.

The weather was fine and the atmosphere electric. Singing and dancing and music and merriment, and in the process, a record established for the most number of feet through a hotel foyer of the Boardwalk Hotel.

Pera and I were two of the nine thousand!

Then we moved up to the Port Elizabeth Airport for the Bay West Air Show. All this to raise funds for the MTR Children’s Home in our City.

What an excited crowd – I’m not sure how many but the place was choc-a-bloc full.

“Oohs “and “aaahs” from little boys and little girls and not so little boys and little girls! The things that dreams are made of and the defining moments that determine the future occupation and pasttimes of so many little people.

Pictures grace all the pages of the social media and print media this morning.

These are the things that determine whether people remain in this country or flee overseas, as so many of our friends and family do.

We’re all on a high as we return home to watch the Currie Cup rugby final between the Lions and the WP – and WP wins! Even higher we go!

And what a choice of activities we had this weekend: in between walking and flying, we could have celebrated the Oktoberfest, attended the Aurora fete, tasted the whiskey and the cigars at the Fairview Expo, viewed the Bedford Gardens, …

All enough to make you high – the joys of Africa!

But then this morning’s news brings you crashing back to the realities of Africa!

And as I write this, my younger sister Ingrid and my niece Lindsay are visiting my youngest sister June in the Land of the Long White Cloud –  Aotearoa. Travel safe, enjoy and keep the pics flowing for our armchair travelogue!

I am not only angry. I am also galla!

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An Open Letter to the President of the ANC (and by default) the President of the RSA

Dear Mr Zuma (I’m not sure you deserve the title Mr President)

When Chris Hani was shot, Madiba spoke on TV and assured the Rainbow Nation that our country was in good hands – that all was under control!

Yet another killing – one too many and a bridge too far!

Surely, the time has come for you to show some statesmanship, Mr Zuma. Carpe Diem – seize the moment – and reassure us that all is still well in our country and in your hands!

Tell us what your plan of action is to stop all these senseless killings! Or do you intend retiring to the Nkandla bunker whilst the rest of the country gets involved in a Wild West shoot out? You surely don’t want a Western solution to an African problem!

You, Mr Zuma, are in charge and the buck stops with you! You can’t just take from us – it’s time to pay back!

Please tell us what you intend to do!

We cannot continue with this mayhem and lawlessness, from the veld around Vosloorus, to the Pretoria penthouses, and from the fields of our farms to the shopping centers of Somerset West! From all these senseless shootings of innocent people to the stupidity of shooting traffic lights in our main streets – it’s lawlessness and it’s got to be stopped!

The Biblical Jacob, father of the 12 tribes of Israel, was determined to work long and hard for what was required and we learn from his life that security does not lie in the accumulation of goods.

The People of South Africa deserve no less from you!

CRY (no, Weep) the BELOVED COUNTRY!

Ed Lunnon

PS Please, Sir, don’t put that Social Worker on the TV at noon today … In our darkest hours, we need the President to light our way!

HHH40 Reunion 2014 (Part 2)

8 years 1 month ill …
(c) 2014 Edward C Lunnnon

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I said some more than sixty replied in the affirmative. I’m still not sure exactly how many attended – there were still people booking on the Friday morning that the reunion started and some arrived without booking!

The more, the merrier!

Originally, one event was what I had in my mind. But as more people from afar replied, that grew to three official events – and a few more unofficial get-togethers!

All were planned from Port Elizabeth for the weekend of 26 – 28 September 2014. I had also arranged to return to the Cape on 13 September in order to ensure that everything was in place (and an excuse, I guess, to go “home”!).

Communication with everyone was problematic. Not many of my era are computer-linked via the internet and some don’t even have an e-mail address! I had to resort to letters, envelopes, stamps and the Post Office – when last did you post a letter in a red letter box?

The functions planned were a get-together at the school on Friday including tea with the current staff, a tour of the new school buildings and an spitbraai in the evening.

Saturday was winetasting at Vergelegen Estate, rugby and starters at Erinvale Golf Course and Dinner (courses 2 and 3) at Lourensfords Millhouse Restaurant.

Sunday was a brunch and farewell at The Lord Charles Hotel.

I arrived in Cape Town on my late father’s birthday (it would have been his 99th!). In between all the arrangements, thanks to my niece and her husband, Michelle and Sebastian Ridgway, and friends Gretel and Willem Wust from Durbanville, I was able to visit family, friends, wine farms, pubs, restaurants, etc etc. The Cape of Good Hope does not seem to run out of entertainment options.

I celebrated my 58th birthday in the CBD (not my illness!) of Cape Town and in style with my Strand family. I haven’t done that in many a year!

All the time, the reunion dates came closer. People started arriving early in the week, like Kevin Russell from England, Piet Faure from Johannesburg and Carl Groenewald from Pietermaritzburg. We ate various meals at various places, from Gordon’s Bay Harbour to Helderberg’s Slopes.

Cecil Bond arrived the previous Saturday from Vancouver – and he and his wife and I managed to get in a few good visiting hours at The Lord Charles. He then also managed, in addition to our function, a SACS reunion in Cape Town and a family 60th birthday party in Kimberley!

And yes, despite the best of plans, things do go wrong! As the guests were arriving at the front door on Friday, the pub organisers were threatening to withdraw because they still had not received my EFT deposit from the bank!

Imagine a reunion without a pub!

The dinner was double booked and I had to improvise a two stage dinner at two different venues!

But, the people arrived, the memories were unlocked, the camaraderie gelled, the wine flowed and the chatting continued, by some, until four in the morning!

Too soon, it was all over. But not the pics, the memories, the history and the renewed friendships.

I was so pleased that I had persevered, despite the difficulties, to continue with the arrangements and to renew the links.

I was so pleased that we had all come.

I had finished what I had been doing and stopped working. It was all good, so then I rested!

And, before I flew back to Port Elizabeth on Tuesday morning, I managed to slip in a visit to my neurologist at Tygerberg Hospital Dr Henning and his lovely wife Helen. The supper was great, the pills were upped and the company was good!

I did wipe back a tear as the British Airways plane took off over the Cape Flats, False Bay and the Hottentots-Holland Mountains.

“Our school has done well, may it ere excel …”

HHH40 Reunion: 2014 (1)

8 years 1 month ill …
Mental: Advantage Ed / Physival: Deuce
(c) 2014 Edward C Lunnon

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I went to Hendrik Louw Primary School in The Strand, Hottentots-Holland High School in Somerset West and Sulphur High School in Sulphur, Oklahoma, USA.

I then attended Stellenbosch University and did some of my practical teacher training at Paul Roos Gymnasium in Stellenbosch and Hottentots-Holland High School.

I did some brief teaching at Sulphur High and taught for five years at Grey High School in Port Elizabeth from 1984 to 1988.

I have also lectured at what was the PE Technikon, the University of Port Elizabeth and the UPE Business School.

My sister is a teacher, my brother-in-law is a teacher and my wife is a teacher. Teaching is in our blood!

Five years ago, in 2009, I organised the 25 year reunion of the very first class that I had taught at Grey – the Grey Class of 1984. Grey is a school with a very strong Old Boys’ Union and has annual reunions for many of its classes – the 10, 20, 25, 30, 50, 60 and many more! Thousands of Old Boys return to their Alma Mater every year.

This year, I assisted a bit with the 30 year return of the Class of 1984. My health would not allow me more than just “a bit”!

Whilst busy with those arrangements, in May of this year 2014, it dawned on me that I had matriculated in 1974 and had been out of school myself for 40 years! Not once, in the ensuing years, had our class ever had a reunion and most of us have never seen each other since we left “… the Valley famed both far and wide since the days of Van der Stel”!

So, when the Grey reunion had finished in May, I started with the arduous task of trying to organise a reunion for my own class in a school where reunions are not annual events but held on a very “los and vas” basis!

I had a few names of HHH classmates on Facebook. Like throwing that proverbial stone into the water and watching the rings that that creates, I approached those first few people to gauge the water – would anyone really be interested in getting together after 40 years?

The rings kept getting bigger an bigger, and soon we had the complete name list of 99 people. With the most unbelievable sleuthing skills by Annemarie Nieuwoudt (Sherlock Holmes!) we managed, in three months, to find that nine of our class had passed away. Of the remaining 90, we traced and spoke to 89 (all except our headboy) and received affirmative replies from over 60 of our class mates!

The stage had been set for a good reunion! (to be continued …)