Flying High on Jungle Juice

©2013 Edward C. Lunnon

Monday 12 August 2013: 6 years 11 months on …

Physical: Advantage CBD / Mental: Deuce

Since returning from Bloemfontein at the end of July, it’s been another hectic few weeks!

Firstly, I Discovered on my way to Bloem when I filled up the car that there was no money in my bank account!

I then Discovered that my disability benefit had not been paid into my account by my insurers! So, between my broker and me, it took many calls, emails etc. to get that sorted out. Stress and tension don’t do me any good, and not being paid one’s “salary” leads to all kinds of problems at the bank when your debit orders have to be paid! Thank goodness, I Discovered that just in time, and with some fast remedial work, I was able to minimize the damage. I’m still waiting to hear why it happened – it’s not the first time!

In between that I met with my bank broker, Kyle Jacobs, at the newly revamped South Ender pub in Walmer; Michael Halbert who helps me with my personal finances, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University meeting to discuss Phillip’s academic future, Nadine van Westenbrugge to help with admin and the Ratepayers meeting to discuss how best to combat non-service delivery in the Metro. I have been diligently distributing protest letters in the neighbourhood!

I had drinks at the Pitch & Putter with Len van Kempen, lunch with Ben Roth and his father at Finezz, brunch with Annette Jones and Liz Findlay at La Boca and Kevin Paul’s farewell party at Finezz before he headed off to the International Swimming Championships in Canada, where he will be swimming this week.

At Bluewaters Café, there have been visits from radio listeners, the Coggers and the Serfonteins.

I have had my home visits from Gill, the Hospice nurse, and Isaac, my weekly chat buddy!

And then there’s a video which Adrian is filming about my life and which will be shown at Mpekweni Sun in September.  I am writing the script which also takes a lot of time!  

Meetings and calls were made to the Groenewalds in Humansdorp to arrange for Martin (injured in Bloemfontein) and his Dad Adriaan to appear on our radio show last week.

Julian Fletcher has been at the house on Fridays to massage my tired muscles and I have been to see Stuart Dicke twice on Mondays for some physiotherapy and Johnny Raath for some gym work. My weekly haircuts and beard trims are done by Grant at Front Cover in Newton Park (phone 041 363 2529).

Tuesday was the monthly Motor Neurone disease meeting at the Old Grey Club with Stuart Dicke as the guest speaker.

Then there have been a few blogs to write, and updating my blog and web sites with pictures and text!

On Thursday evening I attended Mandy Gurr’s benefit show, Gino Fabbri’s Just Laughter, at the Old Grey Club, with additional background singing by Mandy herself on a CD that I burned off the internet!

And then rugby, rugby, rugby … Phillip’s last school games against Framesby last week and Selborne College this last Friday (Women’s Day). The Boarding House Fundraiser Farmers’ Day was arranged at the same time to maximise profits.

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Phill’s team lost to Framesby last Saturday but beat Selborne this week. The First Team won both encounters – with Framesby being an exciting last ten minute charge to win the game and Selborne being a white wash victory for Grey! The Firsts are “flying high” at the moment having come to the end of the rugby season with an unbeaten record against Eastern Cape schools.

I was flying high on Friday, too; after having had a number of the “Jungle Juices” (orange juice and cane spirits) sold at the Farmers’ Market. I’m not too sure what the interactive effects are of my medication and the cane, but for a while there my body appeared to be working normally!

 It was really pleasant visiting under the wonderful red Bedouin tent which had been erected in the matric quad to keep us dry from the steady rain which fell on Thursday and Friday. After going home with Sean and Phillip in the late afternoon, I slept right through until Saturday morning!

Congratulations must be extended to Niekerk and Ingrid Ferreira, all the boarder parents and the boarders for having arranged such a vibey and, I hope, a profitable Market Day!

On Sunday, we had a quiet restful family lunch at the Chartroom of the Yacht Club in the Port Elizabeth harbour.

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Today is a blog write day, a visit from Iain Fyfe, ex-Grey teacher (Sean’s u15A rugby coach) visiting from Hong Kong where he has taught English for the last six years – he left just after I became ill and was happy to see me still in such “good” health, a visit to the physio and the gym and something more mundane like getting the roof repairers in to check on the leaks in the stoep roof!

This has been just another “quiet” week in my life – the week that was!

I need more Jungle Juice (and Carbolev and Lyrica) to keep me going!

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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. 

 

Birth Days and Birthdays

©2013 Edward C. Lunnon

Tuesday 23 July 2013: 6 years 10 months on …

Physical: Advantage CBD / Mental: Advantage CBD

Not many of us are born into Buckingham Palace – in our lifetime maybe some three in 7 billion!

Yesterday, 22 July 2013, saw baby Prince “Edward Charles”* Cambridge, a future King of Great Britain, born into the British House of Windsor.

I will not be here on this earth when he rides down the Mall in London to St Paul’s Cathedral or to Westminster Abbey to be invested as the next King of the Realm. Whether SKY News broadcasts in High Definition to a special wide screen in a comfy viewing lounge in Heaven, or whether one just views from Heaven the goings-on on planet Earth through extra strong binoculars, I do not know.

Maybe one just attends the occasions on earth in a spirit form?

What I do know, and despite the comfortable trappings of the Palace into which this Baby has been born, he, too, like any of us will –  wear nappies, teethe, grow up, be educated, experience high days and low days, cry and laugh, become ill (not having to worry about a medical aid!), have arguments, do things that are “right” and “wrong”,  be spoken about, celebrate special occasions, attend funerals and weddings, get old, be part of a family, get married and have future kings and queens, and have birthdays and die!

These past few weeks, we have had our fair share of family celebrations surrounding birthdays.

Charles IV (2), Phillip (18), Sean (21) and Granny (80) have all had their birthdays. Last Friday evening, we celebrated Sean’s 21st. Not quite as they do it at Buckingham Palace, but almost, and with similar traditions that go with these celebrations. I made a speech (see next blog), Graeme Clarke and David Bryant (ex school mates) spoke about some of their experiences together, Phillip proposed a wonderful toast to his brother and Sean entertained us with his response.

I was very proud of our sons.

As I was when we watched Grey play rugby against Daniel Pienaar on Saturday. Phillip captained the Third Team and his older, but shorter brother, Sean, was the referee. An occasion to remember, not most of all because a DP player tackled the ref! Phill also ended up being called upon to play the second half for the Second team game! So it was quite an afternoon for us to remember.

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Our sons have not exactly grown up in Buckingham Palace but Ryan Road has done them just as well! They are our Princes. Long may they live – at least to see the investiture of the King that was born yesterday.

(* My very personal recommendation …)

Reunion Time

©2013 Edward C. Lunnon

Monday 20 May 2013: 6 years 8 months on …

Game ED

I haven’t written for a while – not because I’m too ill but because I just haven’t had time! I’m flying high and living life in the fast lane!

Today is Sean’s 21st birthday! Another milestone in his and our lives and one which 6 years and eight months ago I never thought I would see.

Yes, today we celebrate 21 happy years of Sean’s life. As I said to him this morning, he has brightened all our lives and the world is richer for having him in it. I pray that God may spare us all to share many more happy years together. He teaches me so much about life and how one should handle its challenges and its ups and downs.

We are so proud of you, Son, and wish you a challenging, rewarding and trouble-free journey. May the Jeeps and Journeys of life carry you safely through to the other side and may the 4×4’s, the diff locks, the GPS’s and all the other gadgets help you when the going gets tough:  Life is never an easy ride – not for anyone and not for sissy’s!

Legally, you are now out there on your own, but remember, we are always here to provide you with a safe harbour and love and affection. There will always be food on the table – hopefully, we will see you more often than that!

Congratulations and God speed!

Sean will have a party later when his friends are in town – tonight we will celebrate in Lunnon family tradition by going out for supper at The Coachman!

It’s also the end of a very busy two weeks for me!

I will try and highlight the last two weeks and pencil in the flesh later:

Mon 6 May – returned from Baviaanskloof

Tue 7 May – MND Meeting: Laughter, the best medicine; braai at VP Tennis Club with Gordon Kotze and friends

Wed 8 May – AlgoaFM, Selley Concert, start of Grey Reunion at Old Grey Club

Thu 9 May – Old Greys’ Dinner

Fri 10 May – School Assembly, Lunch in the long room with class of 1988, Parade, Supper at Arkenstone (Class of ’88), flight to Cape Town, 40 year Birthday Celebrations at Helshoogte Stellenbosch until 3h00

Sat 11 May – Breakfast at Res, wine-tasting at Blaauwklippen, Dinner at In the Vine, Somerset West

Sun 12 May – Mothers Day: Church and brunch at res, to Durbanville (Wusts)

Mon 13 May – Tygerberg Hospital, Lunch at Tygervalley with Louis VII and Corne, Paarl (Engelbrechts – Rodeberg Lodge), Taal Monument, Paarl Rock

Tue 14 May – Coastal tour to Hermanus, lunch with Noel and Spekkies, back to Paarl via Villiersdorp and Franschoek

Wed 15 May – Via Stellenbosch to Strand (Van Jaarsvelds), Beach, Ridgways

Thu 16 May – Cape Town, Aunty Pat, Vergelegen (Deon Adriaanse)

Fri 17 May – Lunch Stellenbosch (Katz), Uncle Eric, Karen H and Sonja VR, Koshuis rugby,

Sat 18 May – Aunty Doreen and Uncle Peter (Gordons Bay), Lourensford (Andre, Willem, Gretel), Supper (Irene and Pieter)

Sun 19 May – return to Port Elizabeth (plane delayed with flat wheel)

Mon 20 May – Sean’s birthday and recovery time

MONDAY 20 MAY – DEVESTATING TORNADO IN MOORE, OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA

State song and Anthem

Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain,

And the wavin’ wheat can sure smell sweet

When the wind comes right behind the rain.

Oklahoma, ev’ry night my honey lamb and I

Sit alone and talk and watch a hawk makin’ lazy circles in the sky.

We know we belong to the land

And the land we belong to is grand!

And when we say – Yeeow] A-yip-i-o-ee ay!

We’re only sayin’ You’re doin’ fine, Oklahoma! Oklahoma – O.K.

Sir’s on Strike

©2013 Edward C. Lunnon

Tuesday 30 April: 6 years 7 months on …

Game ED

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As we left Port Elizabeth in the dark at 6am last Thursday morning, headed for Cape Town, the news reader on the radio was reading about strikes – bus drivers and teachers.

Well, neither in this bus was on strike!

I was travelling in the school bus with Grey’s 1st rugby team to their annual encounter with Wynberg Boys’ High. A teacher was at the wheel, the coaches were there, the team was there and I was accompanying them to watch Phillip play his last school rugby game in the Cape. Because of work commitments, Pera and Sean were unable to go, and I was only too thankful to get a lift on the bus.

Listening to the news and seeing firsthand the contribution that these teachers make to our children’s education, I was grateful for the dedication of so many teachers that we are privileged to experience.

Not many would be up at that time of the morning, accompanying, chauffeuring, coaching and driving. The irony being that it was exactly those teachers who would not do these things that were now on strike! Wanting more for doing less!

In front of us and behind us over the next four days, many other buses (with non-striking drivers?) transporting hundreds of boys and teachers, and many cars with parents and children, would all be heading for Cape Town – and back.

It wasn’t a pleasant trip. Warning lights, strange noises, flat wheel and no air-conditioning on a 30 degree day added to the stress. But I was home in Strand at 16h00.

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My nephew-in-law Sebastian picked me up at the N2 national road and by 18h00 I was having a walk along Milk Bay Beach. I had grown up on this beach and the weather was picture perfect!

Later, my sister Lyn and brother-in-law Anton came to visit for a quick catch-up!

On Friday morning we headed for Stellenbosch and a visit to Helshoogte to discuss the upcoming 40th reunion to which I will return in two weeks’ time. It was great catching up with current prim Jason Katz and seeing all the new developments in the House and on the University campus. More residences and buildings are rising on areas that used to be our parking places!

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Stopping in for coffee at La Romantica was also an exercise in struggling to find parking (Stellenbosch has become a driver’s nightmare).  Not only the parking was full, but also the pub at eleven in the morning – everyone was watching Super 15 rugby! So this was how economic South Africa spends its Friday mornings … all whilst the bus drivers strike and cause mayhem country wide for higher wages!

The usual Friday Ridgway braai followed, together with a large group of participants catching up on the business of The Strand, and then, after a short nap, we headed for Wynberg.

The Grey Old Boys were playing golf against Wynberg Old Boys and we joined them at the nineteenth hole – the Billy Bowden pub at Wynberg High.

It was great catching up with many Old Boys that I had taught over the years – it started on Friday evening and continued throughout the day on Saturday: Hill, De Vries, Hofmeyer, Etellin, Landsberg, Morris, etc. (I always referred to my pupils by their surnames, so twenty five years later and my memory problems, I often forget the first names!)

There were some of Sean’s classmates who came to say hello – all students in the Western Cape now: Graham and David Clark, Robbie Van Eck, JJ Swart, Neil Wessels …

Even old Rector Dieter Pakendorf and his wife Maureen were there – and it’s always a pleasure visiting with my sharp ex-boss – despite the toll taken by age and health!

And Hansie Harker was there!

Many Old Greys will remember Hansie. In my time, he was the messenger, duplicator (on the Roneo machine!), deliverer and fetcher – the admin guy extraordinaire!  (Even been the painter at my home!)

In his forty years at the school, I don’t think he’s been on strike for 1 day! And he’s approaching retirement days and, like so many of us, also experiencing health issues.

He’d never been further than George and had never flown in an aeroplane. But …

All that changed this past weekend when the school flew him to Cape Town, and took him on the touristy things and even a trip up Table Mountain!

 Phillip’s 3rd team (“Tommo’s Reds” in which Sean also played in his day!) did us proud. They came back from a large deficit at the half to eventually win the game: another lesson in “never give up”!   It was an exciting game to watch and made up for the losses of the second and first team.

Too soon it was all over – and we left Cape Town at 19h00 on Saturday evening on a through-the night trip back to Port Elizabeth (my first!) arriving at home at three thirty in the morning.

Thank God that He made Sundays a rest-day!

My thanks, too, must go to the non-striking teacher and bus driver Daryl Wicht for getting me safely there and back, Rory and Tim for their company, Sebastian and Nico de Vries for their hospitality and to all the others who made this last school trip to the Western Cape possible for me.

For me, it was a real feel-good weekend … I’m still not sure I know or understand any educational benefits of these short-term, long-range, high cost sporting trips that we do. Maybe, someone, someday, will explain that to me …

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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.

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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)?

 

Lifting Our Spirits

©2013 Edward C. Lunnon

Tuesday 26 February 2013: 6 years 5 months on …

Physical: Advantage CBD / Mental: Advantage ED

It’s the end of February 2013 and there’s not even a leap year day to make it one day longer.

Two months of the twelve – two twelfths, or as a mathematician would say: the fraction reduced to its simplest form of one sixth of the year – gone! And, most probably with it, all the good intentions and New Year resolutions have also gone.

Gone but definitely not forgotten.

Health wise these have been two difficult months for me. I have more tremors and spasms, more loss of use of three of my four limbs, headaches and problems with my eyes, weak neck muscles, loss of memory, tiredness and increasing speech problems.

On the domestic front, we lost my car in the October floods, property in the November St Francis fire, the dishwasher on Christmas Day, the oven, the blocked drains, the flood of water through the roof in the cloudburst three weeks ago, Sean’s pocked hail-damaged car (now in for a month’s repairs) in the Graaff-Reinet storm … and the list continues.

On the national stage we have seen more and more corruption and potholes, theft, lies, poor health and education facilities and general “service delivery” issues. There have been the mine strikes and the farm labour unrest and riots. The murders, the rapes, the car accidents and manslaughter on the roads continue unabated.

As various Days of Remembrance and Activism have been called, we have worn black clothes and red and yellow and pink and blue and green and … nothing seems to make a difference.

Who even remembers the name of the young girl raped and murdered in Bredasdorp any more?

Then, of course, we have endured the Reeva Steenkamp / Oscar Pistorius saga of the last two weeks, and long, I know, will that continue.

However, there have been the Lifting our Spirits “feel good” stories too.

The last few months have seen the “Searching for Sugarman” – the documentary telling the story and playing the music of Rodriguez who, despite being a non-entity in the USA, was in the eighties, and is today again, a great music phenomenon in this country.

There are so many Life Lessons to learn from this human story (see my blog SEARCHING FOR SUGARMAN).

The cherry on the cake, of course, was the crowning of the movie on Sunday night with an Oscar as the best Documentary of 2012!  

After the storms, there has been sublime weather hosting  the trip into The Bay on The Jester, the Concert in the Park with the EP Philharmonic Orchestra, the annual Redhouse River Mile (ironically now moved to the Sundays River – which in itself tells us the story that if Life hand us lemons turn it into lemonade!)

Sean spent the weekend doing what he does best – on duty at the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI).  At no cost to himself, other than a few hours of his own personal time, he jumps from roofs and helicopters into the sea, gets to swim and be hoisted back out of the water and gets to save lives when duty calls.

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Phillip was lifting his spirits by throwing a javelin at a school athletics meeting at the Westbourne Oval – a sport in which he has only recently become involved.

Pera is painting, and her first attempt is on exhibition at this time! So her spirits are also lifted and will be even more so when she makes her first sale!

It was good to go out on Saturday evening to that wonderful Shrine of Togetherness that has been left to our Port Elizabethan citizens as part of the 2011 FIFA World Cup ® legacy. It surely lives up to its name as the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium!

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All in all, as one compares the various stadia around the country built for the football spectacular, it would appear that ours is the best used now. It really is an asset to our City and hopefully will be maintained and utilised even more for many years to come.

It has been built in just the right spot.  A spectacular building by any means, access is so easy and quick, and getting home a dream (even without a single traffic cop on duty!)  The view is stunning from which ever seat you sit in the house. And it brings the people of the City – all of us – together in a place where we can forget all the problems of the day and for a brief few hours celebrate our togetherness as human beings.

So the excitement on Saturday was palpable. For the first time, our Eastern Province Southern Kings were playing in the South African conference against the teams of the Australian and New Zealand conferences of the Super 15 rugby competition.

Our fledgling minnows, written off by most, supposedly didn’t stand a chance against the Western Force of Australia. No side has gone into Super Rugby and won its opening game!

Yet, with pride, passion, guts and determination we beat them 22-10. (And underlining the Southern King’s winning status was two try scorer eighteen- year-old Sergeal Petersen, who just three months ago was a pupil at Grey High playing with our own sons!)

Like Life, his are the first steps of a long competition – sometimes up; sometimes down!  

And Life is the Art of Drawing – without an eraser!  Unlike Phil’s six javelin throws, we only get one attempt at Life. We all have experiences where we wished now that we could turn back the clock. But our experiences, and how we handle them, determine our destiny.

What’s important to remember is that life will continue to throw the bad at us… and the good! We have to get up … and there is so much to lift our spirits – to help us to get up – be it music or meals or movies; sea or sports or swimming; art or athletics or Academy Awards.  

Queen Victoria said “As long as there’s tea, there’s hope”!

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