Long Time No See

giraffe©2013 Edward C. Lunnon
Friday 23 August 2013: 6 years 11 months on …
Physical: Advantage CBD / Mental: Deuce

My last check-up in Cape Town was in December last year.

At the time I had discussed with the good professor the painful problem that I had in my left buttock and upper left leg.

Everything else that I experience is uncomfortable but not painful!

We have tried everything – I mean everything! – to alleviate the pain, especially aggravated when sitting or lying down.

He suggested that I should see a specialist in Port Elizabeth who was doing work in this regard.

So when I returned home, I made an appointment to see her.

Only one problem – she is so busy that the earliest appointment I could get was on Thursday 22 August 2013 – eight months in the future!

I asked Dr Britz in Port Elizabeth to see if he could speed up the process and the response I got was that I would be put on a waiting list in case there was a cancellation.

All this time I have just lived with the ongoing pain.

I received a call last month that there was a cancellation and I could visit the next day! As luck would have it, I was busy with a motor neurone disease meeting and was not able to go.

So yesterday the big day arrived.

Armed with my R800 for the consultation, my medical aid card and ID document (which I had been reminded on a few occasions to bring along), I went to see the specialist.

Well, a good lesson for any patient is to discuss the payment with the doctor personally. It so happened that there was a discount involved because I had been there previously. Thank you very much!

The rest would be forwarded to the god of medical aids in this country. I think that soon we will Discover that the funds there have also dried up!

After a thorough examination, it was recommended that maybe a cortisone injection into my hip joint would assist.

It was just a jab of a prick and a little EINA!

Some anti-inflammatory capsules would round off this exercise in self-discovery and trial-and-error medication. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

By last night, the pain was a little worse and by this morning, even more so.
Let’s hope it will improve as the day wears on.

And no more sitting for the rest of the day … is this what a giraffe feels like standing all day?

ED is in wED 7 Aug 2013: AlgoaFM Podcast

Listen here to the broadcast: wED 7 August 2013 with Martin Groenewald, the Grey PE 1st team player injured in Bloemfontein.

Click below:

Thanks for listening!

martin

The Shades of Grey

©2013 Edward C. Lunnon

Thursday 1 August 2013: 6 years 11 months on …

Physical: Advantage CBD / Mental: Deuce

It was about half past two last Friday afternoon. The odometer on my car read 88 888 km and we were just passing over the longest and largest South African river, the Orange River,  from the Northern Cape Province into the Province of the Free State.

Three provinces in a day!

In the past we have done this trip by train (see my previous blogs) but now the South African railways have become non (dys?)-functional and they are unable to supply rolling stock. It’s such a sorry sight to see so many worn-out carriages parked along the way of hundreds of kilometres of unused and deserted and disintegrating railway tracks!  (Phill reckons his life mission is to get the trains back on track.  Steve Jobs said “The ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do! So go, Phill!

So, we (Pera, Phill, Brad McKenzie and I) had departed by car from Port Elizabeth, in the Eastern Cape Province, at nine, and left behind us Uitenhage, Jansenville, Graaff-Reinet (where we had lunch at the Polka Restaurant), Middleburg, Noupoort and Coleburg.

Still to come along the N1 – our country’s major arterial route – was Springfontein, Trompsburg, Edenburg and then our destination:  Bloemfontein, the Judicial Capital City of South Africa and home of our country’s Supreme Court of Appeal. It is the third capital city of South Africa, the product of compromise when SA was formed in 1910, with the other Capital cities, of course, being Cape Town, the Legislative Capital  with its Houses of Parliament and the Administrative Capital, Pretoria (or Tshwane, as it is being called by some nowadays) with its imposing Union Buildings.

Bloemfontein is also known as the Rose City. But we weren’t here to pick flowers and flowers we certainly didn’t collect!

The purpose of our trip was rugby: Grey High from PE versus Grey College from Bloem and Phillip’s last school away game for Tommo’s mighty Thirds. It would also be the end our school boy sporting trips – first Sean’s rugby and cricket career and then Phillip’s rugby, cricket and waterpolo career now also drawing to a close.

So this was a rather nostalgic trip for all of us. One which I had not really looked forward to, as I had been very busy, tired and experiencing a bit of pain in my left buttock and left leg. A long eight hour trip was not what the doctor ordered for me. But Phill on his learner’s licence had driven us most of the way. I took over for the last stretch into Bloem!

We arrived at our guest house, Blessings, in the suburb of Dan Pienaar (recommended by the Engelbrechts of Paarl), at about 17h00. We had got lost a few times – Bloemfontein also being a city of the modern day New South African compromise as well: renamed Nelson Mandela Drive lies next to Kenneth Kaunda Avenue lies next to Walter Sisulu Avenue lies next to Gen Dan Pienaar, Gen Hertzog, Kmdt Senekal, Unie Avenue, President Kruger – and the GPS doesn’t always know the changes!

Anyway, we were there safely! Supper was to be at the Villa Bella Casa. We would join our Pretoria friends Thomas and Marzette Moolman who were sleeping over in Bloem on their way home from a holiday in the Eastern Cape. They had visited us earlier in the week from Port Alfred and Marzette had left her diary next to the bed when they had left last Thursday. So we arranged to meet in Bloem to return the diary!

Well, a good supper later and some great company and red wine, and the diary has come back with us to Port Elizabeth!

Because the First Team game was being televised, Phill’s Third Team game was brought forward to seven o’clock on Saturday morning! So it was a very early start for us – and a very cold start! The temperature was about 4 degrees C and my picture of a scrum has the moon in the background and the frost at our feet! Every picture tells a story …

Phill’s  3rd team loss with a deficit of about 50 points was about the average tale of the day with scores coming in from about 120 high to only one Grey Port Elizabeth team (the u14B!) clocking up a narrow win!  He also played in the second half of the 2nd team as the injury count went higher and higher. The hardness of the ground and the hardness of the opposition do not seem to go well with our Port Elizabeth sons! Yet, we return second year after second year (of course, they visit us at the coast every other year) to be taught a severe lesson in rugby playing!

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In the First Team game we also witnessed that horrific accident to Martin Groenewald when he broke both the tibia and fibula in his leg. It sounded like a gunshot going off and put a damper on the rest of the play. Unfortunately, once again (and never ever) were we able to beat Grey Bloem 1st team in Bloemfontein.

Our thoughts, prayers and good wishes accompany Martin (who lives with Phillip in the Grey hostel) on his long road to full recovery. The operation which he underwent on Saturday evening was successful and as I write this, he has now arrived back at his home in Humansdorp. It takes the worst in Life to bring out the best in mankind, and once again, we have witnessed the outpouring of the kindness of friends and strangers who have offered their assistance to the family in so many different ways.

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We spent the rest of the afternoon socialising at the Bloemfontein Old Grey Clubhouse, had a quick zizz at Blessings, and then went for supper at the Block and Cellar. It looked like Port Elizabeth was empty because there were so many Algoa Bay locals having supper there on Saturday evening.  It’s always fun socialising with other parents in this way and maybe one of the reasons why we do these trips so willingly and eagerly. They surely will be missed by us and will become part of the memory box of our strange journey through this trip that we call Life!

Our return journey started at nine on Sunday – retracing our steps back the way we had come; except this time we stopped for lunch and petrol at the Steers in Colesburg (full tank used up – literally and figuratively – to Bloemfontein, and three quarters of a tank used down to Pe!). We arrived back in Port Elizabeth at about five, safe and sound, worn-out and weary, and nostalgic about never having to do this school trip again.

The shadows of Life get longer, and the Shades of Grey get darker. 

 

Lousy Blogger

©2013 Edward C. Lunnon

Monday 15 July 2013: 6 years 10 months on …

Physical: Deuce / Mental: Advantage ED

I saw that someone commented on my blog site that I was a lousy blogger! I surely am.

Let me try and justify that lousiness:

I have been very busy – various projects and lots of travelling.

The internet and my wireless connection are playing up – South Africa must have the worst and slowest internet connection in the world. It’s so frustrating! And when the internet goes down, so does the help desk at MWEB! Fat help that is!

Mentally, I have not been in a good place. Almost seven years of illness is starting to take its toll on my tired and weakening body and my fighting and busy mind. The cloudiness in my mind also appears to be getting worse. I have difficulty in putting myself into time and place. The writing is not so easy anymore …

And physically, the most difficult thing that prevents me from writing is, believe it or not, my inability to sit comfortably. Pressure on my bum immediately sets my body off into all kinds of muscle contractions and spasms. If only I could find an answer to this one! And my appointment with a specialist that has been recommended, made in January, is only in August! Roll on August and hopefully a solution!

So please forgive me as I (slowly) try and keep you updated with my comings and goings … I will try and do that for as long as I can.

Tuesday morning, after Sister Gill’s visit at ten, I had Holy Communion with Rev Rowan Rodgers from the Newton Park Methodist Church at eleven. Then a good hour long massage session from Julian Fletcher – the best in town if you can get hold of him! I also booked him for Friday morning – but with Julian that’s no guarantee that he’ll be there!

Last Wednesday, after my radio show and weekly coffee at Bluewaters café, I managed to get in a short gym session. I walked for about half an hour on the treadmill and find that walking definitely keeps the leg muscles going.  In the afternoon I had my weekly beard trim and my monthly haircut. Grant at Front Cover in Newton Park (041 363 2529) keeps me looking good, so if you need a haircut, give them a chance.

Thursday I had lunch with Ben Roff at Spargos. It’s always a pleasure catching up with what’s happening in the real world!

Friday morning, we packed for our trip to Somerset East – heading off to the Abrahamsons and the Biltong Festival. We haven’t been there for two years, although it feels like it was yesterday! (See my blog 2B or not 2B written in August 2011 – you can just use the ARCHIVE section on the right hand side of my blog or else the SEARCH blog also on the right hand side of the blog.)

In life, just when things are going smoothly and everything is hunky dory, suddenly something happens to upset the apple cart.

So a relatively short two and a half hour trip to Somerset East becomes a bit of a challenge. Just before we left Port Elizabeth, I heard on the radio that the Olifantshoek Pass was closed as a result of a truck accident. It would be closed for the next five hours!

And that’s our route to Somerset East …

So, one can’t let life get you down – you need to get the upper hand and make alternative arrangements; make decisions now!

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Instead, we took the R75 from Port Elizabeth north-westwards towards Jansenville. Some 20 km from Wolwefontein we turned eastwards on the gravel road R400 through Waterford, past the Darlington Dam and the northern section of the Addo Elephant Park.

Some 30 km from Waterford we turned left and travelled north east on the road to Somerset East. Fifty km from there we entered Grant’s farm Kaalplaas – East Cape Safaris – from the south rather than from the north as we would usually have travelled.

In Afrikaans we say “’n Boer maak ‘n plan” (a farmer makes a plan), and we had overcome the challenge of the closed pass. Along the way, we travelled an unfamiliar route to us, through the Noorsveld, and seen another beautiful part of our wonderful Eastern Cape.

It’s another example of how one can address challenges in life – we could have stayed at home and said we can’t get there or we could have found an alternative, which we did, and become all the more richer for having done so.

And it only took us three hours – half an hour longer – to get there. I mustn’t forget to add that Phillip was at the wheel for the first time on a long trip and on a gravel road. His learner’s licence was due to be upgraded to a full driver’s licence after his 18th birthday, but alas the traffic department has been on strike (together with the electricity department and whoever else seems to go out at the drop of a hat these days!) He drove so well – there and back – so hopefully now we’ll be able to get him an appointment for a driver’s licence test soon (the traffic department re-opened this morning, but, unfortunately, Phill has returned to school today!)

We braaied and kuiered (visited) on Friday evening  with Grant and Sarine, his parents, their children and the cousins in their beautiful bouma (and two Scandinavian hunters).

On Saturday morning, after a very large BREAKFAST!, we headed off to the Biltong festival in town. However, we did not stay too long this time – it would appear that the festival is starting to lose its appeal and we were slightly disappointed by the stalls, entertainment and attendance.  It will be interesting to see how much longer this festival remains on the festival calendar.

It was hot at 25 degrees.

We returned to the farm, watched rugby on TV and ate yet again! This time we were joined by Ben, an American hunter who had just arrived from Seattle and Abrie, the professional hunter, who bambooed our outside stoep ceiling last year.

On Sunday morning, it was cold at 10 degrees. After breakfast, we headed home, again with Phill at the wheel, but this time headed back to Port Elizabeth from Somerset East and Middleton along the usual national route N10 via Kommadagga, the now open Olifantshoek Pass, Paterson and Nanaga.

The weekend had come to an end far too quickly – don’t they all? – and then it was time to prepare for back to school this morning. The three week winter holiday had also come to an end!

This morning, it’s back to me and Charlie at home. Even the God’s are crying in the form of the cold and drizzle. I really miss having the company at home! I think Charlie does, too, because he wants all my attention and he is wearing me down.

Please excuse the errors in my blogs – my mind is not as clear as it has been, my fingers not so nimble and the errors slip through. I’ll correct them later when I feel better. The voice recognition Dragon software is frustrating me and the internet is slow again!

ED is in week EnDing wED 29 May 2013

©2013 Edward C. Lunnon

Monday 27 May 2013: 6 years 8 months on …

Game ED

It’s been another busy week, with little time to write. And when I’ve had the time, I haven’t had the energy!

So here comes another skeleton, with hopefully the flesh put in at a later stage!

  •       Mon 20 May – we celebrated Sean’s 21st birthday at the Coachman Steakhouse; party to follow!
  •       Tue 21 May – visit from Gill (Hospice); haircut with Grant @ front cover: Newton Park; meeting with Mike Halbert (accounts); drinks at VP Tennis Club with the Tuesday Boys’ Tennis Club of Wembley Tennis Club
  •         Wed 22 May – AlgoaFM; coffee at Bluewaters café; gym; Sean’s u21 rugby at Old Grey; Neil Thomson and Rodger Gilson in Centre Stage’s Simon and Garfunkel Tribute
  •        Thu 23 May – visit from Isaac; physio with Christelle Smit; Sean’s car at garage
  •          Fri 24 May – visit from Ben; meeting PeFM
  •          Sat 25 May – day trip to Grahamstown: Grey vs St Andrews (Phillip)
  •          Sun 26 May – reunion meeting of our Investment Club at our home
  •          Mon 27 May – meeting with Sr Gaynor Bishop of the MNDA(Port Elizabeth)
  •         Tue 28 May – meeting with Sr Gill (Hospice)  

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Circa 60

About 60 – that’s the meaning of the above title and that’s our ages – give or take a good few years in all our respective cases.

“Our” being Neil and Pam Thomson, Anton and Ingrid Scholtz, Alan and Trish Stapleton and Pera and I.

And our connection being that some 20 years ago we started what we called our Investment Club.

We met once a month on a rotational basis at each couple’s home for a meal, and each couple “invested” R100 into the Club – Pera and I put in R100 each. My duty was to invest the monthly amount of R500 and to grow the money so that at some point in the future (round about now) we would cash in our investments and go on a “world cruise” together!

Two ‘hiccups’ occurred – firstly, each couple produced two more people and the group therefore grew from eight to sixteen people. Our children spoke at school about the Investment Club meetings that they attended on the last Sunday (or whichever it was) of each month! Heaven alone knows what their teachers and friends thought about this!

Secondly, at the end of year two, I think it was, when we saw the balance slowly growing in our investment account, we were tempted to draw the money and go away for a weekend together.

So, after that, we never ever gave the money a chance to grow enough for our world cruise, but we did, on an annual basis – round about Reconciliation Day public holiday in December – cash in the funds and spend a long weekend together.

We visited places like Hog’s Back, Katberg, Keurbooms, Knysna, Blanco, Blue Lagoon, East London, St Francis Bay and wherever the following criteria were met:

No self-catering by the ladies, within close driving distance of Port Elizabeth, activities for the adults and the children, inexpensive (at least within the constraints of our Investment Account balance), etc …

Well, we never would have had enough for that world cruise, but we invested tremendously in our children’s social upbringing and in their readiness for life. They learned to climb mountains, read hotel menus, order “passion fruit and lemonades”, play golf, ride horses, stage theatre productions, play carpet bowls, manage becoming lost and a host of other things that one could add to the list.

We all learned to enjoy friends and family and life and nature and good times together.

In the process, we amassed many happy memories and photographs and stories along the way.

Unfortunately, as the years passed by, and we all got older, it became more and more difficult to co-ordinate our diaries and do things together. So, some eight (?) years ago, we finally called an end to our Investment Club.

But, thanks to the labours of Pera, we managed to have a reunion of the adult members of the Club this past Sunday. Someone suggested that the Investment Club be renamed the Pensioners’ Club!

Needless to say, we reminisced (that which we could remember!) and laughed and ate and drank to Life!

Memories are made of this! (and please correct any of the above-mentioned “facts” that may be incorrect!)

 

For the Last Time

ED is in the week EnDing wED 24 April 2013

  • Wed 17: Happy Lands Addo Women’s Institute meeting and AlgoaFM broadcast / Maggie Thatcher’s funeral / Fathers’ Rugby meeting at Grey
  • Thu 18: Visit Isaac / Lunch Gavin / Haircut / Blast in West, Texas
  • Fri 19: Visit Ben, Jenny / Lunch Andrew / Host boys from Paul Roos / Watched CNN – Boston
  • Sat 20: Rugby vs Paul Roos at Grey / Kings vs Bulls at NMB Stadium / Power Boat Club
  • Sun 21: Relax and Sleep and London Marathon!
  • Mon 22: Sean’s car at TAVCOR / Phil’s SU application forms / Arrange trip to Wynberg and HH Reunion
  • Tue 23: Willie Bosch/Brian Bezuidenhout: APDStellenbosch

FOR THE LAST TIME

©2013 Edward C. Lunnon

Tuesday 23 April 2013: 6 years 7 months on …

GAME ED

Sean left school at the end of 2010. I had set it as one of my goals to see him get into matric and to leave school.

That was because I had been told in February 2007 that I would be “severely incapacitated” by 2010 (three years!) and dead by 2012 (five years!).

Well, now it’s 2013 and Phillip is in matric and I’m not dead and neither am I severely incapacitated! I am grateful for this extra time.

I haven’t even set myself a goal of seeing Phil getting to the end of his school career! I have just assumed that I will still be here. I just don’t know anymore!

But, what I do know is that everything we do with Phil at school this year is “for the last time”. The chicks are slowly leaving the nest, and by next year, we will no longer have children at school. That chapter will be closed.

It was the last encounter with Paul Roos Gymnasium from Stellenbosch this past Saturday. (I did my practice teaching at Paul Roos way back in 1979.)

This Saturday is our last encounter against Wynberg in Cape Town, and I hope to go down to the Western Cape for that. Then there’s Bloemfontein later this year and NO I’m not organising any trains for parents to Bloemfontein! I did one in 2007 and one in 2009 and they were the best, coldest, latest, drunken trips to Bloem that I have ever done. Luckily, I don’t think the SA Railways even has spare coaches any more, and I’m not even going to try to find out if they know where their rolling stock is!

But as one door closes, the next one opens. So today I had to fill in some forms for Phillip’s application to Stellenbosch University next year. He wants to do mechanical engineering at my Alma Mater.

It was a scene of déja vu. I could see myself filling in my own university application forms 40 years ago! The difference is that we physically filled in paper forms and made bank deposits – now it’s all “online” and EFT transfers!

We’ll keep our fingers crossed that his application will be successful. And he wants to stay in Helshoogte Residence – she was my very happy home for 6 years. And I was her primarius in 1981.

And while I’m filling in Phil’s application forms on the one side, I am also busy filling in my forms to attend Helshoogte’s fortieth birthday party next month.

Even though it clashes with the reunion in May of my last matric class that I taught at Grey, I certainly won’t miss “Heaven is a place on Earth” – Stellenbosch, my birthplace and place of my education. Born and bred in Matieland!

So I’m trying to juggle times and planes and lifts and accommodation to maximise my attendance at both reunion functions on that second weekend in May. Of all the 52 weeks of the year, why, oh, why are these two reunions on the same weekend? Life can not just be simple, can it? Not even with good old customer service.

Not for the last time, I hope, I headed off to Tavcor Motors this afternoon. Last year, I had some bad service from them with Sean’s car and often businesses mess up even more when they go into recovery mode. Not them!

They have made it up to me in leaps and bounds. I can only thank and congratulate Garrick and his two PA’s, Elaine and Yolande, for the most unbelievable excellent service – way beyond the call of duty – that they have given to me with the repairing of Sean’s Polo that was damaged in the hailstorm outside Graaff-Reinet two months ago. If this is the type of service that they offer then I can only recommend them in future.

And not for the last time have we witnessed the things that we have seen this past week: bombings at Boston; explosions at West, Texas; earthquakes in China; floods in the Eastern Cape …

I will write more later.

ED is in cEDerberg

©2013 Edward C. Lunnon

Tuesday 9 April 2013: 6 years 7 months on …

Physical: Advantage Ed / Mental: Advantage ED

On Good Friday, at 6am, we headed off westwards along the N2 – destination the Swartruggens and the Cederberg in the Western Cape.

The original plan was to go from Ladismith through the Seweweekspoort Pass to the N1 at Laingsburg.

But the weather changed the plans (which included a breakfast at Hartenbos with the Engelbrechts, friends from Stellenbosch student days) and eventually we did Swellendam, Bonnievale, Montagu, Koo Valley, N1, Touws River and finally the gravel road to Kagga Kamma (Place of water) Game Reserve – arriving there at 18h00!

Friday night, in our cottage for the next week, became an early night with no hot water!

Saturday morning was an early morning to watch the Kings on TV at the bar – the only TV at the resort. Furthermore, there was no TV, no cell phone reception, no wireless, no Facebook, and even the electricity went off for a while later in the week!

We were here to relax and that we did!

A 4km hike through the bush and over the boulders left me with a swollen, sore, sprained ankle on my good foot! So no more walks for me! You just can’t win!

Pera managed another 8km walk later in the week and not even the heavy rain deterred her. Sean and I got worried and drove out to find her – which we only managed on the second rescue mission attempt.

Other times, armed with the map, we hit the various 4×4 routes and tried to spot the game – little that there was: a few buck, ostriches, zebra, snakes, birds and thousands of rocks in all formations! The Bushmen (San / Khoi) paintings got us talking … from 6000 years to 600 years old! A past long forgotten …

Phillip is training for the rugby season – so what we walked, he ran, and he ran, and he ran again and all of this at the altitude of Table Mountain!

Sean was the chauffeur and clung to the wheel – from here to there and back and every other trip we made.

That included our Easter Monday trip to Ceres and Tulbagh where we met up with my family Sebastian, Michelle and Hannah. Lunch, for me a lovely snoek pie, was eaten at the old Toll house in the Mitchell’s Pass and dessert (chocolate pancakes) at the historic Church Street in Tulbagh. Buildings from our more recent colonial European history just 400 years ago! Not even the 6,9 Richter scale earthquake on the 29th September 1969 at 22h29 which I remember well from my Std 5 schooldays and which had its epicentre in this area could destroy this history of our country. It woke us up and had us running into the street in The Strand, my hometown – here it killed some 9 people.

Our other road trip was north through the Cederberg via Algeria (where I had camped as a high school scholar) to Clanwilliam where I tried the babotie and we tea’d at the Rooibos factory at the centre of our unigue Rooibos industry. Home from there took us through Citrusdal and its citrus farms, over a steep, curved gravel pass back to Oppi-Berg and the Kagga Kamma.

All trips in and out of Kagga Kamma took us over 15km of rough, corrugated, pot-holed, stony gravel road and over the Katbakkies Pass or Skittery Pass – no barriers and sometimes an incline over close to 45 degrees!

Other passes we traversed during the week were Kogmanskloof,Burgers, Rooihoogte, Die Venster, Gydo, Mitchells, Middleberg, Meiringspoort, Ghwarriepoort, Buyspoort, Perdepoort, Swanepoelspoort, and national roads we used were the N2, N1, N7, N12, N9 and numerous other minor tarred and gravel roads.

At the resort, we braaied, ate at the restaurant (a beef strip salad with balsamic vinegar was my favourite), russled up, with Pera’s help, a number of great recipes (and an exploded boiled egg in the microwave!) There was no shop in this wilderness to buy supplies, so Sean invented a recipe for French toast when the egg supply ran low!

It was great family time and so besides the kitchen and cooking duties, we played board games, chess, read, chatted, drank, laughed, discussed, questioned and gazed at and almost touched the stars in a clear black night sky.

All too soon it came to an end, and so last Friday saw us leaving at 10H00. This time we took the inland Karoo route, travelling from Touws River through Laingsburg and Prince Albert (where we lunched – another try of babotie for me!) and then on through the Swartberg through De Rust and Willowmore to Doorndraai in the Aberdeen District, where we spent the weekend with friends Dickie and Colleen Ogilvie and their daughter Megan. (Dickie and I taught together at Grey in the eighties and he was my bestman when Pera and I got married in 1990.)

Both Sean and Phillip learned to drive here on the farm – tractors, “skadonk” and whatever other bakkies were available. We all have good recollections and happy memories of this place.

We worked out that we had not visited the farm since just before I became ill – seven years ago! So we picked up on the news and the “skinder”, drank the beers and the brandy and ate the lamb and the lard and the “pap” and the potatoes (roasted, of course!)

 A weekend of friendship fit for Kings – we had followed our rugby team on Twitter and they had drawn with the Brumbies on Friday morning, too, so life was sweet!

All good things come to an end, and so Sunday lunch time indicated that it was time to head back to Port Elizabeth and to home, where we arrived at 17H00.

It was a great trip providing us with good family bonding time and an appreciation of the beauty of our country and of life.

The car was heavier – with many memories, and stones collected in the Tanqua Karoo (the driest area of South Africa) and plants from the Great Karoo and the Camdeboo.

We are truly privileged. Life is good!

There is a sign on the wall at the reception area of Kagga Kamma. It reads:

“Sometimes you find yourself in the middle of nowhere and sometimes, in the middle of nowhere, you find yourself.”

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Rest for the Wicket

©2013 Edward C. Lunnon

Monday 25 March 2013: 6 years 6 months on …

Physical: Deuce / Mental: Advantage ED

ED is in week EnDing wED 27 March 2013

Wed 20 Mar:        AlgoaFM; Gym; Sean Old Grey Rugby vs Crusaders

Thu 21 Mar:          Human Rights Day; Grey 1st bt Westville in Grahamstown; lunch at Rat

Fri 22 Mar:            Braai at home with Clarkes and Stapletons

Sat 23 Mar:           Kings vs Crusaders; Michaela’s 21st birthday party at Dexter’s Den

Sun 24 Mar:          Lunch at Bluewaters café; Proteas bt Pakistan; Rest …

Mon 25 Mar:        Meeting with Melanie (Hospice); Physio; Visit Ackermanns; Rugby Madibaz vs Maties

Tue 26 Mar:          Visit Sr Gill (Hospice); Rest …

It was diarised as a quiet week! A week of rest …

But, this has been a busy week and Human Rights Day long weekend. By Saturday, I was exhausted and had to leave Michaela Botha’s 21st birthday party early. Thank goodness for Sean driving me home at ten. They got home at two am, I was told! This has become the 21st birthday party season!

Friday and Saturday were especially difficult for me – I think it’s partly due to the heat (36 degrees in Grahamstown on Thursday!) and partly due to the busy schedule. I’m just not up to all the travelling, late nights, and occasional beers anymore!

Anyway, I woke up late on Sunday morning feeling much better and, after lunch at Bluewaters café, just lazed on the couch – watching the Proteas beat Pakistan in the last of the One Day Internationals. It was also a cool day and hopefully the start of autumn and the approaching winter weather. I thrive on the colder weather!

The long weekend was special.

It has become a lonely world for me. No work to go to in the morning, no daily interaction with other people, no work functions, few and fewer visitors – as the months go by my world becomes a smaller place and it becomes more difficult to understand what my contribution is to this world.

Even when I have company it becomes difficult to share my world with them. They are so busy with their worlds that no longer have relevance for me and so we live in two different worlds. We live past each other.

Charlie

The daily programme involves Charlie, our Jack Russell, who is my company when I get up in the morning and for the rest of the day. Barbara, our domestic, is there … with the vacuum cleaner! For the rest, I am kept busy by all my medical appointments, hospice visits and whatever other projects that I have found to keep me busy.

 I am not good at keeping my own company!

However, there’s my desktop, my laptop, my IPad and my Blackberry that I couldn’t live without.

They are so challenging but so exciting, and when they go on the blink like this weekend (because of the Seacom cable problem in the Mediterranean Sea somewhere between Egypt and France, MWEB tells me) then I have withdrawal symptoms. Thank goodness for DSTV and Discovery and BBC and SKY and CNN and Richard Attenborough’s AFRICA and Great Britain! We live in an exciting and wonderful world!

So, yes, the long weekend was special to have everyone home – Pera from her work, Sean from his work and Phillip from the boarding house at school.  Suddenly, there is chatter and laughter and banter and talk in the house again. It makes a huge difference and is even more noticeable when I get up on Monday morning in an empty house again!

This weekend is Easter long weekend and then school holidays – I look forward to having everyone at home once more!

And a huge congratulations to Phillip who was awarded his academic half-colours at school on Monday!

What started out as a possible 24-hour internet problem is now being touted as possibly a two week problem! How did we work in the years BG (before Google)?

 

Kings Rule, Don’t They?

©2013 Edward C. Lunnon

Monday 11 March 2013: 6 years 6 months on …

Physical: Deuce / Mental: Advantage ED

stadium

Our Super 15 rugby franchise, the Southern Kings, was born into this region in a tempestuous sea of politics. In the lifeboat they now occupy, they now meet the storms of the other 14 franchises, the rugby supporting communities of three nations and a wild political arena of lions (no puns intended!)

It’s now sink or swim time!

Two weeks ago they beat the Western Force of Australia in their opening match. Last Saturday they narrowly lost to the Sharks of KwaZulu-Natal. I was at both matches and my grateful thanks to Brendan Kelly and the EP Powerboat Association for inviting me to join them before and after the game at their wonderful facilities in the shadow of our magnificent Mandela Bay Stadium. (Parking places at R200 for the season right there at the stadium are available by contacting Brendan on 083 458 5721.)

The Kings team has engendered a new spirit in the inhabitants of this, the poorest of the nine provinces of South Africa. Whatever the future holds, the present euphoria must not be allowed to dissipate.

Mentally, they must stay on top. It’s like fighting life, illness, disappointment, disaster, financial ruin and whatever …

Life is rarely simple and straightforward and prosperous and happy. If it is, it isn’t for long.

There are ups and downs of all kinds, new innovations and the rapid discarding of obsolete items. There are economic swings and stock market crashes, wars, assassinations and elections. We live in a world of hazard and difficulty.

We have to put our heads down and plough our way through it all. We have to remember that unexpected things do happen – both good and bad!

Life unfolds, sometimes with adversity, always with hard work, and occasionally with undeserved fortune.

Life is a strange mixture of joy and sadness; hope and despair; health and sickness; and success and failure.

So, however hard things might be, it is important not to give in to despair.

Live without regret! I try to do so and some days are easier than others. I find I am so busy just trying to live life every day that I forget why I am living at all.

I do have some regrets and I wrote about some of these in my last blog. But I also need to let go of them!

Here some ways, suggested by Alex Blackwell, of ensuring that when your last day arrives, you can look back on a life that mattered:

(On your marks (1 – 10), get set (11 – 20), go (21 – 30))

  1.       Avoid the someday syndrome – tomorrow is not soon enough!
  2.       Take responsibility for your life and live every moment. YOU own it!
  3.       Take an honest look in the mirror – start now!
  4.       Acknowledge your reality. Change what needs changing and heal what needs healing.
  5.       Know your truth, listen to your inner voice and your inner wisdom.
  6.       Be thankful for what you have. Gratitude opens your heart wider to receive even more.
  7.       Be your own best friend – enjoy the person you are.
  8.       Perfection isn’t required and mistakes are welcomed.
  9.      Don’t waste time living someone else’s life.
  10.     Think differently to find what brings you the most happiness, peace and purpose.
  11.     Ask for what you want and believe that you are worthy to receive it.
  12.    Flush out all the BS – the Belief Systems that tell you that you are too old or too young, or that you are not smart enough or too          damaged!
  13.   Transform negative thoughts into positive beliefs.
  14.   Let go of negative attachments and past mistakes – including all your regrets!
  15.   Face your fears – you can’t avoid them and pretending they don’t exist won’t make them go away.
  16.   Believe you CAN be the best in yourself. You can!
  17.   Become the person you want to be. Step outside your comfort zone, claim your voice and realize your worth.
  18.   Make time to follow your desires.
  19.   Love what you do. If you don’t, begin moving in the direction of what you are passionate about.
  20.   Look forward to your journey and not just the destination. There will be potholes and digressions along the way.
  21.   But keep moving forward (even when life is hard).
  22.   Savour each moment – it’s the only one guaranteed.
  23.   Walk your path at your own speed and in your own way. It doesn’t matter how others are walking their paths.
  24.   Smile more – it’s a simple act that can help you through life’s most challenging situations.
  25.   Forgive more – yourself and others.
  26.   Love more and share your love.
  27.   Be kind to others.
  28.   Take chances – you will never know what might happen!
  29.   Pain is inevitable – suffering is optional.
  30.   Seek counsel, advice and friendship when you get stuck and can’t see where the path is taking you.

 (Thanks to Alex Blackwell, the Bridgemaker, for the 30 Ways to Live)

Be the King in your Kingdom.  It’s hard work, but then being a King is hard work.

However, it has its rewards and ensures that your life counts for something.

In the final analysis, “thine be the kingdom” – and you get to sing “Regrets, I HAD a few, but then again, too few to mention.”

 

Watch spectator fight at S15 rugby game between Kings and Sharks by clicking on the link below:

http://www.sport24.co.za/Multimedia/Rugby/Super15/Fan-fight-20130312

Regrets, I Have a Few …

©2013 Edward C. Lunnon

Tuesday 5 March 2013: 6 years 6 months on …

Physical: Advantage CBD / Mental: Advantage ED

Aurora Hospital is raising funds by selling a recipe book with local citizens’ favourite recipes. I have been asked to contribute my recipe and a picture of me.

So I headed off to the photographer Beverley Darlow last Monday and that put into motion the need for the Lunnon family to do a family shoot – something we have been trying to do for years!

I eventually managed to organise an appointment for Wednesday afternoon at four thirty. In a major logistical arrangement for us, the four would come from different directions and meet at the studio in Walmer.

But, as luck would have it, at three I got a call from Bev to postpone the shoot as her daughter had been rushed to hospital that morning and was still waiting to be seen!

So, thanks to modern technology, Blackberry and cyber-diaries, the appointment was shifted to Saturday afternoon at one thirty.

Well, cut a long story short, we eventually managed to complete the shoot on Saturday and now await the final product to arrive.

Our home walls would be so different and bare without pictures (photos?). They are the storeroom of our memories and the depot of our past.  The work put in to getting them there is often taken for granted but they remind us of our previous generations and us in better days! Just about all the photos that I have seen on walls depict the happy things of life. Despite the circumstances, the pictures usually display smiles and laughter – maybe sometimes even a forced smile!

I would not be able to be a model! Hundreds of shots taken from one direction and then another – just in the hope of getting THAT particular shot:  the right lighting, the right smile, the right background, the right clothes, the right composure, the right angle, the right body language …

But it gave me time to think, both during Saturday afternoon, and on Sunday when I went for a long walk along Sardinia Bay Beach in the most sublime weather that we have been experiencing of late,  

I thought about the last seven years (almost) of my illness and how it has affected the family. Life, certainly for me, and especially for them, has been very different to that which most other families experience.

Pera has become a bread-winner, a housewife, a Mom and a carer – each one a very difficult job in itself but the four together, juggling between the various roles, become an incredible act to master! Not one for the feint-hearted!

Throughout their high school careers, the boys have lived with an ill father and everything that goes with that. They are preparing for life but at the same time are only too aware of preparations for my death.

I thought of how different it was all supposed to be. I thought of what it should have been like and could have been like. For once, I allowed myself to think back – to look at those old photographs of my memories.

Regrets? Yes, as the song says, “I have a few” … but these I will mention!

I regret that I haven’t been able to be a proper husband and father. I regret that I haven’t been able to fulfil an occupation. I regret that my “job” has been a “pensioner” since age 49 – after all, we as human beings are often defined by the job we do! I regret that I haven’t been able to contribute in every aspect to society. I regret that my life as a healthy and well and productive human being has been cut short. I regret that I haven’t been able to entirely support my family financially. I regret that I have now lost 84 salary cheques (and you can calculate what loss that is!)

I am not feeling sorry for myself and I don’t want anyone to have to do that for me! Because, whilst there are regrets, there are so many other things for which to be thankful. When I have spoken at public meetings, I have highlighted many of the gifts that my illness has brought.

I want especially to thank those people who remember us financially and who choose to do so anonymously. Their generosity and kindness have made that I have so much less to worry about, that we have not wanted and that the boys are receiving their education and preparation for life.

One day, when the family pictures taken this week adorn the walls of the homes of this generation of Lunnons and those to come afterwards, there will be much to unlock in the memory banks that they will create.

After all, every picture tells a story (and a story behind that story that the picture doesn’t tell )!

And regrets? There are ways of dealing with them too. I will write about that next time.