ED is in week EnDing Mon 13 August 2012

5 years 11 months on … Advantage ED

  • Mon 6: Visit by Isaac; Water restored
  • Tue 7 : Meeting of MNDA of SA at Old Grey Club – talks by physiotherapist and Charl Parkin
  • Wed 8: Kevin Paul in AlgoaFM studio with me; Trip to East London; Drinks with Old Boys at EL Golf Club
  • Thu 9: Womens Day; Grey vs Selborne; Philip’s last rugby in EL (lose), 1st Team Win; Drinks with Scholtz’s at Beach front; Seve’s Mom passes away
  • Fri 10: Return to PE
  • Sat 11: No electricity for 15 hours until Sat evening
  • Sun 12: Gym; Closing ceremony of Olympic Games in London
  • Mon 13: Seve’s mom’s funeral; Double walk on the golf course

Memories are Made of This

Tuesday 10 May 2011: 4 years 8 months on … ADVANTAGE CBD

I have made much about my and our family travels over the years. Before I got married, I was fortunate to travel extensively overseas. Thereafter, it happened less frequently because of logistics and cost. However, as the boys grew up, besides holidays, we also spent a lot of time following them around the country as they became involved in various school activities.

We have been to all four of the old South African provinces to watch school sport and listen to the orchestra – Pretoria, Durban, Pietermaritzburg, Bloemfontein and Cape Town. In the Eastern Cape, over the years, we have frequently visited Queenstown, King Williams Town, East London, Graaff-Reinet, George, Knysna, Grahamstown, Uitenhage and Despatch!

Our travels with the boys have been some of the best memories that I have – besides the sport and the performances, our discussions in the car, the scenery, the history and geography – even the mathematics sometimes – have made all those trips very worthwhile.

We have visited old friends and made new friends around the country, gone sight-seeing, attended shows – Phantom of the Opera in Cape Town (together with the Thomsons, Stapletons and Scholtz’s) comes to mind, gone shopping and seen the country.

I have written a number of blogs about these trips, notably “Heaven is a Place on Earth” and “I was so Glad that I had come”!

“Heaven is a place on Earth” describes our trip to Stellenbosch round about this time last year (2010) for the annual derby day against Paul Roos Gymnasium (incidentally where I did my practical teaching as a student at Stellenbosch University).

The previous year (2009) we had visited Wynberg in Cape Town in May. I had not started writing blogs yet so I have no record of that trip. However, despite my short-term memory leaving me in the lurch, my long-term memory remains almost intact.

I had attempted to organize a bus trip for parents to Cape Town for that long weekend. We were due to stop over in Rawsonville at a University friend, Stanley Louw’s wine farm, stay at the Newlands Sun Hotel, take in a  show, ABBA, at the Artscape Theatre on the Friday night and a Super 14 Rugby match at Newlands on the Saturday (and, of course, watch our sons play against Wynberg.) However, it was just at the time of the economic crunch taking its toll on our South African pockets, and I had to cancel the plans at the last moment because of insufficient numbers.

So we drove instead. We stayed over, as usual with the Kapps in Knysna, and then stayed with the Reelers in Pinelands. After the rugby Saturday, we watched the Stormers play at Newlands, and then discovered a delightful pizza place in Rondebosch. On Sunday, on the way home, we stopped over for lunch at the Rod and Reel in Plettenberg Bay!

Two years before that, May 2007, I had just been diagnosed with CBD in the January and had to make a return visit to Tygerberg Hospital at the time of the Wynberg encounter. I flew down to Cape Town, saw the doctor and very little of the rugby, as I recall spending the Saturday afternoon assisting Dylan Collins (Head Boy 2006) who had eaten a suspect hamburger and was not feeling too well!

Despite the bus trip to Wynberg being cancelled and my illness taking its toll, I had organised two very successful train trips for parents to Grey Bloemfontein in August 2007 and again in August 2009. I called it the Grey-V Train, One and Two!

In 2007 we were almost 250 parents who filled the train. We left Port Elizabeth station 4 hours late (due to a train accident at Addo) – after having emptied the picnic baskets at a party on platform 5! – and encountered the coldest night of the year and snow in the Karoo and the Free State. We arrived late in Bloemfontein and some parents (including us) did not even get to see our sons play!

However, the memories and the stories of that trip will remain legendary. So much so, that when 2009 came round, the demand for another train was there. Unfortunately, due to a number of factors, notably the SA Railways not being able to guarantee a train, it was a last-minute rush and we did not have as many passengers as the previous trip. This time we only arrived an hour late and managed to keep warm on the train (but the Heavens opened in Bloem and it poured with rain!)

And so, all these trips have very special memories and I could highlight many over the past 27 years since I became associated with Grey, first as a teacher and then as a parent.

Last weekend, it was time for the Wynberg trip again. With Sean out of school and Phillip not playing rugby temporarily this term, there was really no reason to go to Cape Town, except to make an excuse to go! And I don’t really have to look too far to find such an excuse to go home to the Western Cape!

Besides Grey rugby, the Stormers were also playing the Crusaders at Newlands, so we looked at all our options! But, much as we tried, nothing worked – I doubted my ability to sit in the car for eight hours, Sean was writing a test, there were no flights available, the Newlands seats were sold out, the price of petrol has just increased YET again, I didn’t want to drive in the dark, etc … so, in the end, we made the difficult, but sensible, decision to stay at home.

So we were at home on Sunday afternoon when we got the news of the tragic death of grade 8 pupil, Stefan Ehlers, and his mother, Theresa, in an accident on the way back from Cape Town when their car hit a kudu near Willowmore. The father, Rian, was admitted to hospital but escaped serious injury and was discharged Monday. Our sincerest condolences go to their family at this sad time.

My condolences also go to the family of Robin Small, an ex-colleague of mine at Grey who also passed away this week after having battled cancer for some time. His memorial service took place at Grey yesterday.

We cannot predict the future

We cannot change the past

We have just the present moment

We must treat it as our last 

This week, hundreds of Old Greys will converge on Port Elizabeth for their annual reunion.  Since last year’s gathering, we have lost a number of our family, friends, acquaintances and colleagues. We remember all of them for having enriched our lives along the way.

So my message to you is, if you are having doubts about attending this weekend (or, for that matter, doing whatever you have been putting off or have been uncertain about), make the decision now to join in the reminiscing and the fun. Live for the moment.

We have just the present moment – We must treat it as our last.

 

Over The Hill

Monday 24 January 2011: 4 years 4 months on …

My late father had a stroke in 1969 which left him completely paralyzed on his right side and unable to talk (save for 3 or 4 words). At the time, I was in Standard 5, my eldest sister Lyn in High School (Standard 8), my younger sister Ingrid in Primary School (Standard 1) and my youngest sister June, at 4 years old, not yet even in school.

My late mother had her hands full, looking after a disabled husband and raising four children!

After his stroke (and until he passed away in 1976), we never had the luxury of a holiday. Mind you, before his stroke we seldom went away on a holiday either.

There is one holiday, however, that I remember well. Our green Studebaker towed a Gypsy caravan (the silver variety) from The Strand north to Bloemfontein, south to East London and then down the coast, visiting Port Elizabeth, Jeffery’s Bay and Knysna along the way. (It was in Bloemfontein that my Dad left a message for a friend that Herbie Lunnon was in the caravan park, and he almost did not get to see the friend because the message was relayed by the secretary as “Herbie’s linen was in the caravan park”!)

Whenever we traveled, we never stopped at restaurants for meals. In fact, I don’t think that places like the Wimpy, Golden Egg or Steers existed in those days (or maybe we just couldn’t afford to stop there!)

Instead, Mom packed the picnic basket (a large brown cane one with a lid) and inside was the black metal flask with coffee and the drumsticks, hard-boiled eggs, fried sausage, and sandwiches (mostly wrapped in the obligatory silver aluminium foil).

We would stop along the national road at the concrete table with the concrete stools, usually under a few trees that had been planted there for shade, and the concrete bin for the throw-away rubbish. A meal stop would include the obligatory wee stop and the waves to the passers-by.

But before we stopped, we would play all kinds of games in the car to keep us busy and designed to prevent us from fighting. The wireless would either be on the “A” programme (the English SABC programme, as opposed to the “B” programme – Afrikaans) or on Springbok Radio, and one had to constantly keep turning the dial in order to keep the wireless on the programme – often the sound would just fade away into a rowdy static racket!

And in between the stops we would constantly ask “How much further?” or “When will we get to Three Sisters, or Colesberg or Hanover or …?” 

Something I learnt from my Dad (Things my Father said!) and which has transferred itself into our own family travels, was his usual reply, “Round the next corner!” or “Over the Hill!”

But our destination was never over that hill or round that corner, to which Dad would reply “I said the NEXT hill!”

And the reason I have been thinking of this is because it reminds me that in Life we never know what lies around the corner or over that hill. And we just don’t know how much further we have to travel.

 

But we need to stay busy with our radio and our games to keep us from fighting, and we need to have our short-term and long-term goals like our regular stops, our next corner and next hill and our next town to make the journey more exciting.

During these past holidays, we stayed on the St Francis Links for a week or so. Not being a golfer myself, I watched the players pass by on their golf journey.

They start their course and play eighteen holes. Each one comes with its unique built-in challenges and the ever-changing wind and weather patterns.  They have to adapt each stroke by assessing the challenge and choosing the correct club, often with the help (for better of for worse!) of their companions, and by playing the stroke with the necessary acumen.

However, the play doesn’t necessarily go (and seldom goes!) according to the plan. Often your ball is lost and your way is lost and frequently a standby plan or improvisation needs to be implemented in order to get you out of the rough.

In my case, as the CBD relentlessly attacks my body, I progress from one hole to the next, and each time a club gets removed from the bag. As I proceed, I have fewer clubs at my disposal to master each succeeding green, and the round becomes more and more challenging. How many more holes I do not know, but the respite of the 19th hole lies somewhere there in the distance.

As I said, I was never a golfer, but I have run the Knysna. And it’s become like running the Knysna.

You don’t know if it’s the half marathon or the full, but you become increasingly tired along the way and I am starting to feel over the hill.

I keep on watching out for that finishing line. How much further?

Is it around the next corner or over the hill? Is there a next one?

The End of an Era

Monday 16 August 2010: 3 years 11 months on …

Pussy Cat Pussy Cat

Where have you been?

I’ve been to London

To see the Queen

Londres is my favourite city in all the world.

Ironically, my surname LUNNON was originally a habitation name for someone who came from London or a nickname for one who had made a trip to London or had some other connection with the City.

 

In my case, I first got the name and was then so fortunate to have visited there no less than seven times – the first time in January 1976 when, aged 19, I was returning from my year in the USA.

 

Then I went back in June 1981 on my student tour of Europe, in June 1985 on the Grey Cricket Tour of UK and Holland, in December 1987 en route to the USA, in June 1999 on holiday in the UK with Pera, in October 2001 with Pera, Sean and Phillip on returning from the USA and in November 2008 when I was in the UK thanks to my matric class of 1984.   

 

It was only on the last visit that I got to see the Queen – up close and personal – on her way in her horse-drawn carriage to officially open Parliament at Westminster.

 

But then I have also seen the diminutive Queen Elizabeth – up close and personal – in Port Elizabeth when she visited here in 1995. (And, despite the utterances of some politicians of the present day, there is no connection between the Elizabeth as in the Queen and the Elizabeth as in the Port – the latter being Elizabeth Donkin, the wife of Sir Rufane Donkin, who named this seaport in 1820 after his then late wife who had passed away in 1818 at the age of 27).

 

Like it or not, we just don’t seem to be able to get away from our Colonial English roots.

 

And so, this past weekend saw us leaving Port Elizabeth for London again – only this time it was East London, just 300 km east up the N2 in the area that is known as The Border. In the 18th and 19th centuries, this area was the war-torn border between the arriving white European settlers from the west and the migrating black Xhosa tribes from the east.

 

The tourist signs along the N2 refer to Frontier Land, and, on Friday morning, with Sean at the wheel, we passed a number of these signs as we headed east this time and passed through Grahamstown, Peddie and King William’s Town en route to East London – now also referred to as Buffalo City.

 

East London had a particular attraction for my late father, Herbert Louis Lunnon. When I was ten, our family went on a rare holiday – a unique caravan tour through South Africa. I remember our caravan parked in the East London caravan park on a site high up on the terraces facing the Indian Ocean somewhere behind where the Holiday Inn (Garden Court) is today.

 

Mom and Dad loved the place and Dad always wanted to retire there. Sadly, Dad never retired because just two years later, in 1969, at the age of 52, he suffered a debilitating stroke that left him totally paralysed and speechless until he passed away in 1976.

 

In 1977, I recall my Mom, Doris, bringing Ingrid, June and I on a return visit to East London. We stayed in the Bliss Holiday Flats on the beachfront – they are still there today!

 

I recall being quite scared in King William’s Town, where we were caught up in masses, if not millions, of Black people who were attending the funeral of Black Consciousness leader, Steve Biko who had died (committed suicide, read as murdered!) in police custody some days earlier.  

 

Sadly, Mom, too, never retired. She died at the early age of 55 in 1986 – my third year of teaching at Grey.

 

I also got to enjoy East London during my business career. Almost weekly visits led me to have an almost permanent apartment, C3, at the Blue Lagoon. The Highlander brings back fond memories. I know Slummies (or Slumtown as some prefer to call it) like the back of my hand. It was said that there are four women for every one man in Slummies!

 

But, on to the next generation and last weekend: This time, Sean, Phillip and I passed through King uneventfully. The only excitement there was when we stopped at the Buffalo Wimpy in order to have a wee.

 

As I walked into the cloakroom, I heard Lance Du Plessis behind me. (Lance is my interviewer on AlgoaFM: Ed is in Wed and after 5 months of interviews, I’d recognise that voice anywhere! As I spun around to say hello, I became aware that he was not there – only his voice on the radio that was broadcasting on the loudspeakers in the cloakroom!

 

I suddenly realised the power of radio, all the strange places that it was to be heard and the impact that our radio programme was having. (Wherever we went in East London over the weekend, I was known or introduced as the “Ed from the Radio”!) Once again, I have been humbled by the opportunity to raise awareness of CBD that is being afforded me by AlgoaFM and Lance!

 

Phillip and Sean were playing rugby against Selborne College on Saturday morning. But Sean had to be at the school at 11h30 to set up for a music evening. The Grey Symphonic Winds, The Grey Voices, The Grey Strings and The Grey Orchestra were scheduled to entertain us, together with the Selborne Military Band, on Friday evening.

 

This was it!

 

It would be Sean’s last appearance as a schoolboy trombonist in the Grey Orchestra. It would also be his last appearance on Saturday morning playing rugby for his school in the Reds – Grey’s Third rugby team.

 

Well, the weekend started on a high note (!) with superb performances by the musicians, but the enthusiasm became flatter and flatter, as one Grey sport team after the other turned in a loss!

 

Sean managed to put his team into the lead by creating a break for a fine try. But, in the presence of a poor kicking performance by their regular kicker, Sean was given the conversion kick. He missed, and it left Grey just one point ahead of Selborne.

 

And then, Selborne were awarded a penalty – it was over, they moved two points ahead, and the final whistle was blown. Selborne won by two points!

 

I guess Sean will always remember that last game as the one that they could have drawn IF he had kicked over that conversion!

 

But, at the end of this era, remember Sean, that wonderful break, that wonderful try, and ten years of wonderful rugby that you have experienced since your under 9 days.

 

Remember what you have learned – from that first game in Queenstown when, quietly on the back seat of the car you told us that your team was going to play rugby against Queens and no-one even knew how to play the game!

 

Remember the players that you have played with and against along the way. Remember all the friends that you have made.

 

Remember the coaches that have spent hours training you.

 

Remember the many families that have hosted you, and the boys that we have hosted.

 

Remember the many and happy trips we have made together to Bloemfontein, Queenstown, Cape Town, King William’s Town, Graaff-Reinet, Stellenbosch, Durban, Pietermaritzberg and East London.

 

Remember the sportsmanship and the wonderful example that you have set for Phillip.

 

Remember the many hours of pleasure that you have given your Mom and Dad as we have watched you from where we have stood and sat next to the many sport fields that you have played on.

 

Remember all the friends that, through your activities, we have made along the way.

 

 Remember the FUN!

 

Remember the wonderful music that you have played for us, and we pray that you will be able to keep on playing – on the fields and in the music halls – for many years to come.

 

On Friday night, your Orchestra played “Band of Brothers” by Michael Kamen. Remember the band of brothers that you have at Grey.

 

Above all, remember that, as on the sports fields, you do not win everything in Life.

 

Life’s not fair, and when the knocks come, as they always do, and when we perceive life to be unfair, as some parents perceived the referees on Saturday, it doesn’t help to rant and rave and to shout abuse, as some parents did on Saturday.

 

It’s how you take the knocks that count! And, you have already shown us, Sean, that you can take the knocks.

 

In the end, as Grantland Rice said,

 

For when the One Great Scorer comes to mark against your name, He writes — not that you won or lost — but how you played the Game.

 

Remember, that you have made us very proud parents.

 

And, the rest of the weekend?

 

We had a great time. Friday evening, after the show, we had supper at the Black Bull with Robbie and Clair Blair, Frank and Jenny Collier, Ronel Charalambous and Stuart Keene. And the Band of Brothers!

 

We stayed on the beachfront at Cintsa in David Nosworthy’s (ex pupil and currently touring as coach with the emerging Proteas cricket side) beach house (thanks to Rory Lavender’s arrangements).

 

Saturday evening, we called back the past and braaied with Uwe and Carol Tinhoff, residents in Beacon Bay and friends of mine from the business days, and the days when we were still able to run the Knysna Forest Marathon!

 

And Sunday morning, we visited the new Hemmingways Mall and met up with Stella Heuer, an ex-business associate of mine. (Stella arranged a contract for me to do HIV/AIDS training in the rolling hills of Transkei in 2004 – but that’s another story for another time!)

 

Our visit was brief, because we had to get back to PE for Sean to get to … rugby practice at 15h00! It’s BODAs vs DAYPOTS on Friday. So much for the end of the era …

 

 

  

Wash and Blow Dry

Friday 13 August 2010: 3 years 11 months on …

I first grew a moustache when I was a student at Stellenbosch. Why, I can’t remember – but I guess it must have had something to do with less time spent shaving in the morning!

I’ve always been a night person – stay up and party through the night. I learned that as a student. Many nights, I didn’t sleep at all! Even as recent as March last year, after the Graeme College Rugby festival, we partied with Hennie le Roux (ex Springbok of 1995 World Cup fame) at the Rat and Parrot and danced – I learned that as a student, too – at a nameless place across the road until the wee hours of the morning.

And then Scottie and I sat on the hilltop at the Settlers’ Monument until the sun rose over Grahamstown at six am. We healed all the world’s ills (except mine!) and got close to God as we discussed religion and faith and everlasting life! 

Yes, I’ve always been a night person. I’ve never been a morning person. So, I guess that I would have tried anything that would allow me to sleep in for a few minutes longer.

I even tried a beard when we were visiting the Greek Islands during our European tour of 1981. It was never really a very successful beard, but not having to shave did save another few minutes!

Ironically, it was when shaving, almost four years ago now, that I began to realize that there was something wrong with my left hand. Now – with my illness – I am even less of a morning person. The first few hours of the morning are when I am least able to move.

The moustache has stayed permanently, but changed from black to grey, since the mid seventies. I’ve only shaved it off once, a few years ago, when I lost a bet, and then regrew it immediately!

But the old grey beard comes and goes. Normally, it appears as the winter months arrive and comes off when summer approaches.

Hence, it came off last week again. I’ve got rid of the grey for a few months! And, it’s good exercise for my hands to grasp a razor once again!

But my hair had started looking really long and unkempt. And, Pera, my regular hairdresser, had offered to cut it earlier in the week, when she was cutting Sean and Phillip’s hair. I hadn’t been feeling well, so I declined the offer then.

However, last night, Wayne Kallis, local entertainer with Centre Stage, was looking for guys to volunteer to have their hair cut by “lady friends” of his. We passed a few comments to each other via cyber space regarding this request.

I wasn’t quite sure whether this was a catch or not. It’s strange how we have become reluctant to accept anything that is free or cheap – there are so many scams and fly-by-nights out there!

I jokingly enquired whether there were “extra’s” and Wayne replied that he wasn’t even sure if there were haircuts involved! 

I offered my services, anyway, and was told to report to the Hair Academy in Newton Park at three this afternoon.

So, in preparing for our trip to East London, and in between having my car serviced at Maritime and washed and blown dry at the car wash (remember we still have water restrictions and may not use hosepipes to wash cars), I also received a makeover – a wash, cut and blow dry!

It all turned out to be a group of hairdressing students who required a certain number of guinea pigs to practice on and prepare themselves for their forthcoming examinations.

I haven’t been pampered so much in a long time. But now, the hair’s gone and the beard’s gone and the moustache is trimmed. And, I feel like a new penny, and I look so good … and I feel like I can party through the night again!

And I’m ready for East London (the Highlander at the Blue Lagoon, maybe?) but I’m going to have to get up a few minutes earlier in order to shave …

Attitude

There once was a woman who woke up one morning, looked in the mirror,
and noticed she had only three hairs on her head.
‘Well,’ she said, ‘I think I’ll braid my hair today.’
So she did and she had a wonderful day. 

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror
and saw that she had only two hairs on her head.

‘H-M-M,’ she said, ‘I think I’ll part my hair down the middle today.’
So she did and she had a grand day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed
that she had only one hair on her head.

‘Well,’ she said, ‘today I’m going to wear my hair in a pony tail.’
So she did, and she had a fun, fun day.
The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and
noticed that there wasn’t a single hair on her head.
‘YAY!’ she exclaimed. ‘I don’t have to fix my hair today!’
Attitude is everything.
Be kinder than necessary,
for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.
Live simply,
Love generously,
Care deeply,
Speak kindly,
and pray continually.
Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass…
It’s about learning to dance in the rain.