On the Road Again (2)

Tuesday 1 October 2013: 7 years 1 month on …

Physical Advantage CBD / Mental Deuce

(continued from “On the Road Again”)

Unlike Port Elizabeth, Cape Town is spoilt for shows. There were a number to choose from and I had heard rave reviews about “Blood Brothers”.

So we decided to head over from the Southern Suburbs to the Northern Suburbs – in travelling terms for Phill, the learner driver, from the N2 to the N1, via the Black River Parkway. We would book tickets and then go and visit Gretel and Willem Wüst in Eversdal before the show.

At the Century City Shopping Centre, we tried to book tickets via Computicket at Checkers.  The lines were down! I also couldn’t get hold of Gretel on the phone, but managed to get hold of Willem. He would be home soon, but we weren’t sure about his wife. And I would buy two theatre tickets for them too – too bad if Gretel had something else on!

The staff member was not too excited about helping to get tickets but with some coaxing from me, eventually started tickling the computer keyboard and suddenly it went online! But, they were mostly sold out – we couldn’t get six seats together. One in the front row, two in the next row and two right on the other side of the Theatre on the Bay would have to suffice.

Into the N1 rush hour traffic we progressed to Eversdal, had a quick supper, and the headed back via the City Bowl, over Kloof Nek and into Camps Bay on the Atlantic Ocean seaboard of the Cape Peninsula.

It was all worth it – a great musical adapted for Cape Town from the original British version. It tells the story of a set of twins separated at birth only to be re-united in later life with interesting ramifications. The issues of nurture versus nature and wealthy versus poor all brought together in the music adapted by David Kramer and in the Cape Town dialect and humour of the Cape Coloured.

It was past midnight when we dropped the Wüsts in Durbanville and then took the R300 back to The Strand. A long, unplanned day came to a tiresome, but exciting, end.

We slept in on Thursday morning. Then, we headed off to the Somerset Mall. I was sore and tired, and mall-trudging was not on my list of priorities. But what a small world – we sat down to lunch next to Beverley Keeling, our friend from Pretoria who was also holidaying in the Cape.  We had last seen her and her family in Pretoria when we returned from Thailand last year.

Then home for a snooze – before I headed off to Rondebosch to meet up with ex-scholar of mine Nico de Vries. We were going to Groot Constantia to attend a Cape Town dinner of the Old Greys’ Union.

(Pera and Phill would head off with Sebastian to cocktails at the Mount Nelson Hotel and then dinner at the Asian Restaurant in Kloof Nek.)

It was great meeting up with 175 Old Greys and many of my ex-pupils. The venue was exquisite and for a moment I thought we were in Cana of Galilee – even the water seemed to be turned into wine (red, of course!)

IMG-20130926-00673.jpg

Ex-Rector and my ex-boss, Dieter Pakendorf, was there, as was the present Rector, Neil Crawford, and all the office bearers of the Old Grey Union. Ex-Springboks Bob Skinstad and Andrew Patterson (also an Old Grey) were there and they managed to keep the talking going, even when it became apparent that guest speakers Siya Kholisi and JJ Engelbrecht – current Springboks and Old Greys – did not get there! (They had been held up at an Aussie/Springbok affair before the big game at Newlands on Saturday.)

There were too many people to mention – but it was a great evening, and I was astonished to see so many photographs that I appeared in later on Facebook. I certainly don’t remember posing for those!

Neither do I remember too much about the trip back to Rondebosch or the stowaway that we found in the car and delivered in Pinelands! I was surprised in the morning to see that I had remembered to take home with me the lovely Old Grey glasses we were given and the box of Lady Anne Barnard wine that I had won in the lucky draw!  

Pera had wanted to return to Port Elizabeth on Friday morning. I managed to delay that to early Saturday morning!

So, on Friday, we visited Vergelegen, the farm given to Willem Adriaan van der Stel by the Dutch East India Company in the 1700’s and now owned by Anglo-American. It was a tour through South African history.

Later, we wine-tasted and lunched and unfortunately missed my Aunty Frieda Stanbridge who manages the wine centre there, but was on holiday. She is the wife of my late mother’s youngest brother Eric Stanbridge (also known as Uncle Bully or just Stan!)

And then it was time to say goodbyes – first to my sister Lynn and Anton and then for supper back to Durbanville and goodbyes to Gretel and Willem.

Sebastian had in the meantime got suite tickets for the Rugby Test at Newlands and the Wüsts were having a family gathering on Sunday – me being the adopted “sixth” of the five Wüst brothers!

I would have had my arm twisted to stay, but not Pera – so early on Saturday morning we headed off back to Port Elizabeth – with Phill, as ever, at the wheel.

IMG-20130928-00692.jpg

We stopped off at Greyton for breakfast – a really must-see little dorp between Caledon and Riviersonderend. There was also an unplanned stop near Swellendam as a result of a horrific car accident and some casualties. It brings home the fragility of human life!

A petrol refill and a light (s)lunch at The Rod and Reel in Plettenberg Bay were our last stops of the trip, before we eventually arrived home with 5 minutes remaining of the Newlands Test!

It was a painful return trip for me – both emotionally and physically. Emotionally, because I am always sad to leave my Western Cape home and my friends and family there; but this time also physically: my butt and left leg started paining in Swellendam and never let up – not till now! It is the first time since I have been ill that I have experienced such pain.  Not even my visit for a massage yesterday has improved it – if anything, it has got worse!

On my return to The Bay, I always wonder if I will see the Cape of Good Hope again. I guess if a car trip of eighth hours is too much for me physically, there is always a plane trip of one hour!

And, maybe, just maybe, Phillip will be in Stellenbosch next year.

Thirty Years On

©2013 Edward C. Lunnon

Friday 7 June 2013: 6 years 9 months on …

Game ED

Thirty years ago to the month, June 1983, I arrived in Port Elizabeth for the first time.

I was born in Stellenbosch and had been raised in the Western Cape. After having finished my schooling in Oklahoma, USA and graduating from Stellenbosch University, I completed my military service in Oudtshoorn in 1982/1983.

In the possession of a Higher Diploma in Education and an Education Department Bursary to be repaid, I had applied for a position in Port Elizabeth.

The post had been advertised in the Cape Provincial Education Gazette in early 1982 at the beginning of my two year stint in the military:

“The Cape Education Department has a vacancy for a teacher to head up a newly established Port Elizabeth Computer Studies Centre based at the Grey High School for Boys.”

I applied to The Rector (!), Post Box X0002, Cooper’s Kloof 6002 – rector being a term unknown to me – and was duly appointed to the post based on my submitted CV and no interview.

In June 1983, during my “seven days” leave, I thought it wise to travel from Oudtshoorn to Port Elizabeth to view this computer centre and school at which I would be teaching.

Hence, my very first arrival at the Mill Park campus of Grey and my very first view of the magnificent school buildings and the Clock Tower.

tower

I started teaching in January 1984 under Rector Dieter Pakendorf (together with some 15 other new staff members including André van Staden – now Pearson Headmaster and Mike Thomson – now at Michaelhouse. Sadly, most have left teaching.)

I was one of the first to leave. Although I left (twice but finally) at the end of 1988 after a five year stint of teaching to the lure of the business sector, it was an association with The Grey that has spanned thirty years.

I have written and spoken much about the events that occurred and the people that crossed my path during that time. They form a part of my tapestry of Life.

I never really lost touch with the school and returned often under Rector Simpson to address various groups on various subjects ranging from Information Technology to Industrial Relations and Management Principles.

Ironically, during my business career, the Company celebrated its year-end functions in the De Waal Hall and on two occasions I was awarded and promoted on the stage of the school hall!

Shortly after leaving teaching, Pera (then at Collegiate Junior) and I got married. Sean entered the world and entered Grey Junior in 1999 and matriculated from Grey High in 2010. Pera joined the Grey Junior staff in 2003. Phillip started at Grey Junior in 2002. I was now firmly a Grey teaching spouse and a Grey Parent.

In 2005, Rector Crawford asked me to assist in the accounting department and I returned to teaching for a brief term to assist the boys who were matriculating in that year with accountancy. (Interestingly enough, this was my major subject and one that was not offered as a subject when I first started teaching at The Grey. When Rector Pakendorf was quizzed on this by prospective appplicants he would refer the family to the Commercial School in Linkside. Grey, he said, was an ‘academic’ school!)

After becoming ill, diagnosed with corticalbasal degeneration and retiring in 2006, I assisted the schools with numerous projects including the perimeter wall, the Grey-V trains for parents to Bloemfontein, the Supporters’ Club, the Old Grey data base …

But, according to the old adage, all good things come to an end.

And so it is, in four month’s time, when Phillip walks ‘neath the Tower in October 2013, it will bring to and end my direct association of thirty years with The Grey.

The memories will continue. (As will, for a while, I guess, my being a wheelchair critic and accepting my now new title, the spouse of Mrs Lunnon from the Grey Junior School!)

I shall always be grateful for those memories provided by The Grey and for two sons who have been fortunate to receive their schooling at such a fine and proud institution.

Our thanks must go to the Rector, Headmaster and successive groups of teachers at Grey High and Grey Junior who have played a role in educating our sons, both in the classroom and on the playing fields. They are both fine examples of Grey Men, so take a bow, all of you who have assisted us in their upbringing and in their preparation for an unknown, uncertain and imperfect world.

I shall remain a proud member of the Old Greys’ Union – never to be an ‘Old Grey’; because, as I am constantly reminded by my Old Grey sons, if you were not schooled at Grey, not even a transfusion of Blue Blood, can make you an Old Grey!

TRIA JUNCTO IN UNO

 

20130607-165858.jpg