Does One Black Swallow Make a Summer?

 
Since the election of Mmusi Maimane as leader of the Democratic Alliance this past weekend,  there has been a newfound sense of euphoria and positivity in certain sections of the South African population, myself included.

Mmusi is seen as the modern day Moses who will be leading the diverse South African nation to its promised land.

But, thus far, the only euphoria that I have heard and read is that of my fellow white South Africans. 

If Mmusi and his DA wish to govern this country, they will have to draw Black voters to support the Party.

I look forward to seeing, hearing and reading about that selfsame euphoria displayed within our Black population.

Without it, we will continue to wander in the wilderness.

There is much to be done, but let us see and touch the future!

Rise the beloved country!

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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. 

 

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!)

 

JEEPers, this Baviaanskloof is Mooi!

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©2013 Edward C. Lunnon

Tuesday 7 May 2014: 6 years 8 months on …

Game ED

Some two weeks ago, the day before I went to Wynberg for the weekend, I received the following email from Mike Proctor-Sims via Lance du Plessis at AlgoaFM:

Hi Lance

Mike Holmes and I were fishing last weekend. Standing on a beach, rods in hand, with the fish not biting leads to lots of chatting and Mike came up with something you might be interested in. Holmes and I have a mutual friend who owns and manages the Baviaans Lodge, which straddles the Baviaans and Kouga mountains and various kloofs. Rob is an avid environmentalist and has built his lodge, which borders on the Baviaanskloof Wilderness Mega Reserve, using eco-friendly methods.

Mike was talking about this guy you have on your programme once a week who is suffering from an incurable disease and using his remaining time on earth to discover wonderful places, mainly in hte Eastern Cape. I have heard him on your show once or twice as well. Mike said the guy had mentioned that the Baviaanskloof was one such venue he would like to experience. I have spoken to Rob and he would be delighted to host him — you as well if you can get away.

The main feature is the natural beauty. Cycads, fynbos, indignous forests, streams, Bushman caves and really nice rustic accommodation to are the more sedate features while more challenging are river rafting and boating on the Koaga river and the 4X4 route that runs between his lodge and the main road through the Baviaanskloof, the dirt road joining Patensie and Willowmore.

There is a time factor involved if you are interested in a visit. The weather is good at the moment, neither too hot nor too cold but the cold is imminent.

I suggest you have a look at Rob’s two web sites www.baviaanslodge.co.za and www.baviaans-kouga4x4.com. There is no cell phone signal there but you can E-Mail him on rob@baviaanslodge.co.za and possibly organise a Skype conversation. If you do decide to make the trip both Mike Holmes and myself would be keen to possibly tag along to maybe do a magazine article.

Regards

Mike

This e-mail set in motion a sequence of events, further e-mails, SKYPE conversations, plans, “unplans”, replans and final plans that saw Sean and I set off for the Baviaanskloof on Saturday afternoon for an overnight stay at the Baviaans Lodge.

Unfortunately, to get all the parties involved to be able to co-ordinate diaries became a mission impossible.  Being a “pensioner”, I’m the easy one! Everyone else had “things” to do, but I am dependent on a driver and Sean was only available on Saturday afternoon after work.

My memory fails me often nowadays, and we actually left home twice! Firstly, after filling up with petrol, my petrol card had expired and couldn’t be used! I’d pay with the credit card then, only to find that my wallet wasn’t in the car. So then Sean paid and I’d refund him – we went back home to fetch the wallet – only to find it was under the car seat all along!

We had no sooner left Port Elizabeth along the N2 and I was telling Sean about a warning light that had gone on in the bus to Cape Town the previous week, when the self-same light came on in our Jeep Wrangler! So we stopped at Jefferys Bay and so did the warning light!

Then we went westwards along the Langkloof’s R62 to Kareedouw where we picked up two of Rob’s sons at the school hostel to take them with us to the Baviaans Lodge, our accommodation for the evening and their home.

We went back some two kilometres along the R62 to Assegaaibosch Station and then some 40 km north westwards to the Lodge. Despite only being 40km, the road winds up and down and round and round over the Kouga Mountains and River and so it took us about an hour and a half to get there at about 17h00.

Along the way, the view is stunning and the wow’s became Wows became WOWS! The final descent into the Valley of the Lodge is an OMG WOW WOW WOW!!

No words can do the area justice – hence the pictures attached to this blog should tell the story, and even then, they often don’t tell the full story.

We met Rob at the Lodge, then were shown to our cottage and after unpacking and freshening up, returned to the lodge for a chat, drinks and supper.

No electricity, no TV (to watch the Kings – TG we only heard the score the next day!) but only paraffin lamps, chatter, red wine and a meal fit for the Kings – onion soup, herbed chicken and malva pudding with hot custard made us ready to hit the sack and settle down under the duvets on a dark, quiet, chilly, crystal-clear evening up in the mountains.

The only light outside was the wispy white constellations of the Milky Way – gazillions of shimmering stars, suns, planets, galaxies, shooting stars, and all those other things of which I comprehend so little. It’s all too much for my little pea brain to understand – I don’t even try to understand – but I can and do appreciate the beauty and the Godliness of it all! I wonder sometimes when the time will come when I, too, will be glistening away somewhere up there …

That wasn’t the only flickering.

The little flames in our bedside lamps (real lamps!) and our eyelids flickered in unison. I think our eyelids closed as we blew out those lamps and before our heads hit the pillows! It put two meanings to the term “lights out”!

Sleeping in we did, because we could and, thankfully, had it not been for the crows knocking on the roof that woke us up, we would have been more than just the slightly late that we were for our pre-arranged 9 o’clock breakfast time!

Cereal, juice, yoghurt and eggs, bacon, beans, tomatoes and fritters rounded off with hot homemade buns and filter coffee were set before us and almost sent me back to bed for more sleep!

But we had a trip to do. From the Lodge, a 4×4 entry route northwards into the Baviaans Kloof proper (which runs 120km from Willowmore in the west to Patensie in the east) provides 32 kilometres of unrivalled scenery.  We must have covered some half that distance: up and down and over and round and down and up and then, unfortunately, because of the time constraints, a u-turn and did it all again in reverse back to the Lodge! The Jeep did us proud.

This is a unique, wilderness area right on our doorstep. Each twist and turn in the road would reveal different vegetation, depending on whether it was on the windward or the leeward side of the rugged mountains. Grassy plains next to fynbos, winding rivers and streams, cycads and red and white proteas and other members of this unique plant species, geographical features, spectacular kloofs and bird life had us constantly grabbing for our cell phone cameras to take just another pic!

From the highest spot that we went to, we could see St Francis Bay away to the east and the Outeniqua Mountains at George away to the west. In between, luscious green valleys are interspersed by flat-topped plateaus and soaring blue mountain peaks.

Rob, our host, cook and guide, told us snippets about the history, the geology, the fauna, the flora, the endangered species, the secrets, the inhabitants, the rock art, the caves and the rock overhangs.

There is obviously far too much to talk about and to see and to do, and too little time to do it in!

So it was with a heavy heart that Sean and I left at two (with the kids piled in the back to return to school). But we will be back, I hope, to savour some more of this pristine, remote nature lovers’ paradise.

 Our thanks are extended to Mike Proctor-Sims and Mike Holmes for conceiving the idea and to Rob le Roux and his family for hosting us and for their warm hospitality. It was a truly unforgettable experience.

  

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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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

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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Never Give Up – Care Ministry

Saturday 9 February 2013: 6 years 5 months on …

Physical: Deuce / Mental: Advantage ED

Last Tuesday evening, I was the guest speaker at CARE MINISTRY, Port Elizabeth.

The organisation carries on activities which are of a philanthropic and benevolent nature, having regard to the needs, interests and well-being of the general public and in particular those people affected by HIV / AIDS.

My message to them was simple:

Life in all its facets that it presents to us is a GIFT. Whether we are a CARE-Giver or a CARE-taker – NEVER GIVE UP!

We watched this video of Arthur Boorman – thanks for watching it too:

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