It’s a Small, Small World

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Yesterday I received a “friend” request from Peter Pringle who was at HHH school with me and now lives in Australia on Phillip Island (our youngest’s name).

Peter was friends with Nico Malan at Matieland and Nico, now deceased, was the sister of Tillie Wust who is married to Jacobus Wust who is the brother of Willem Wust. They feature often in my blogs.

I studied at Stellenbosch with the Wust brothers and it was from Willem!s home in Eversdal that I was diagnosed with CBD on 8 February 2007.

I stayed with the Wusts in Kleinmond just before Christmas and will be staying with them next week when I go to Cape Town to meet with Dr Glynn Jones, my Stellenbosch roomie who is coming to SA on holiday from Canada.

The Wusts previous holiday home was in Pringle Bay.

I was MC at Glynn and Carol’s wedding in Plattekloof as I was at Tillie and Jacobus’s wedding in the Sanlamsaal at the Neelsie in Stellenbosch.

Sean, our eldest, heads off to Australia next month, to be bestman at his friend’s wedding.

The Circle of Life in a small, small world!

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I Remember Home in the Western Cape

7 years 7 months ill …

Physical: Advantage CBD / Mental: Deuce

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I remember …

My residence, Helshoogte, at Stellenbosch University where I lived from 1976 – 1981 and became the first English-speaking Primarius in 1981.

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I remember …

that the passages seemed longer than they are now, that the doors weren’t locked, that there was no chicken on the entrance ramp, there was definitely no swimming pool on the top floor and no pub in the res. The committee room was not so elaborate and Simonsberg is still in the same position!

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I remember …

tennis courts and parking areas where there are now new residences. And they still play rugby at Coetzenberg on a Friday afternoon at 17h00, much to the delight of all the students.

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I remember …

going home to The Strand, where my my sister Lynne (and Anton), their children Nicolette (and Morne) and Michelle (and Sebastian) and the grandchildren Nina and Hannah … the next generations … still live.

the magnificent windstill evenings over False Bay, the crowds walking along Melkbaai Beach and the sun setting over Table Mountain and the Cape Peninsula.

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I remember …

the N2 back to Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape, via Grabouw and Mossel Bay.

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Welcome to University

7 years 4 months on …

Today, I accompanied Phillip to a welcoming session for 7000 odd first year students at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) here in Port Elizabeth.

He was in his shorts, t-shirt and slops and I in my jeans, casual shirt and track shoes.

It took me back some 38 years when I started as a first year student at Stellenbosch University in 1976.

I recall my mother driving me to Stellenbosch and joining us at a welcoming dinner for first year students and their parents. I was then wearing a jacket and tie and she was wearing a hat – such was the auspiciousness of the occassion!

I was then the first in the Lunnon lineage to attend a University – part of a select few. If I remember correctly from the speeches today, we were told that from 25 000 applicants only 7000 made the grade this year at NMMU.

So, whatever the dress and wherever the University, it remains an auspicious occasion and a tremendous privilege to be able to attend an institution of higher learning.

It carries with it tremendous responsibilities and awesome opportunities to obtain the richest possible educational experience.

Arguably, the core purpose of a university is knowledge production and its use to make a difference in society.

Good luck, Phillip, the next generation! I must admit a tinge of jealousy today and I wish it were me doing it all over again. With the knowledge I have now, I would do it differently, or would I …?

Dare I hope to be here still when you graduate in 2017 with a B.Eng degree?

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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.

Live AlgoaFM Broadcast: Wednesday 28 September 2011

Broadcast No 76:
 
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If you missed this broadcast, you can listen to it now.

2B or not 2B – that is the question!

Wednesday 20 July 2011: 4 years 10 months on … Advantage CBD

Today, 42 years ago in 1969, I was twelve years old and in Std 5 (now Grade 7) at Hendrik Louw Primary School in The Strand. It was the day that Neil Armstrong became the first human being to walk on the moon.

“One small step for man. One giant leap for mankind!” were his first and THE first human words uttered from the moon.

In 1975, on 15 July, I was fortunate to be at the Johnson Mission Control Centre in Houston,Texas– from where all American space missions are controlled and monitored – when the joint Apollo/Soyuz mission took place. It was the last Apollo mission until the shuttle programme started in 1981.

On 30 November 2000, I visited the Kennedy Space Centre at Cape Canaveral in Florida from where Apollo 11 and all other American space missions are launched. There, I witnessed the awesome launching of space shuttle, Endeavour, from Launch Pad 39B.

Since the tests flights of Enterprise aboard a jumbo jet in 1977, from the launch of Columbia in 1982 to the final flight of Atlantis, there have been 355 astronauts on 135 space shuttle missions.

Challenger and Columbia were lost (the former on blast-off and the latter on re-entry), while the other three shuttles that went into space – Discovery, Endeavour and Atlantis – will be preserved in museums.

Last Friday afternoon, friend Eddie Terblanche and I watched the last launch of a shuttle, Atlantis, on CNN whilst enjoying a cold one at the new Zest Urban Cafe in Walmer.

And, as I write, Atlantis is on its way back to earth for the very last time and scheduled to land at Cape Canaveral tomorrow morning at 05h57 (EST) – 11h57 (SAST).

I have been an avid space follower since my early days at Primary school and I shall be glued to the television set yet again tomorrow morning. Now, watching on TV makes it almost like being there.

However, then, in 1969, whilst the rest of the world watched that moon-trip of Apollo 11 intently on TV, we had to be content to listen to the broadcast on radio – on what was known as the “A” (English) programme. We did not have TV in South Africa yet.

That only came seven years later, in 1976, when after returning from the United States, I lived in Helshoogte Residence as a first year student at Stellenbosch University.

I originally shared Room A208 with Glynn Jones from Tulbagh. He was a medical student, later became Dr Jones, married Carol (it was to be the first of many weddings at which I officiated as the MC) and then immigrated to Canada. (I had a phone call from him a while ago from somewhere near the North Pole where he was doing medical visits to an Eskimo settlement!)

Before he emigrated, we socialised and travelled quite a bit (together with Dr Shelley Cohen and others whose names now evade me). We often visited their holiday home on the Breede River at Silver Strand near Robertson, and also did a trip to Windhoek, Etosha Pan and the Fish River Canyon in South West Africa (now Namibia).

In 1977, our second year at Stellenbosch, Glynn and my other medical student friends moved to Hippokrates and Huis Fransie Van Zyl in Tygerberg at the University’s medical school (where I would be diagnosed with CBD thirty years later in 2007).

I remained on the second floor in Helshoogte, but moved to B201 on Section 2B. A few years later, when I became a House Committee member, I moved to A701 on the seventh floor before I ended up in my final year in the Primarius’s “suite” A401/402 on section 4A.

On section 2B we wore t-shirts with a slogan “2B or not 2B” – a parody of Shakespeare‘s famous words!

This past weekend, 2B and Stellenbosch was on my mind as we headed off in pursuit of, what I call, the B’s of our South African Society – the pillars that support our way of life on the southernmost coast of the African continent:

Biltong, Braai, Beer, Brandy, Boeremusiek and Buddies!

On Friday morning, we were on our way to the Castle Lager Biltong Festival in Somerset East.

The slogan for the festival is “KOM HANG SAAM MET ONS”! Like biltong hanging out to dry, we were going to be “hanging out” with our Buddies this weekend.

First, we travelled east from Port Elizabeth along the N2 and then turned north at Nanaga along the N10, past Paterson and over the Olifantshoek Pass.

Just past Kommadagga, we passed the Schneider’s farm (Lynne was at Stellenbosh with me – in Minerva Residence) and at Middleton Manor, we stopped on the banks of the Fish River for lunch with friends Michelle and Colin van Niekerk (whose sons, Carl, Hugh and Angus have been with Sean and Phillip all these years at Grey). 

After a tasty Karoo roast (and a snooze), we moved onto Grant and Sarine Abrahamson on their farm west of Somerset East. I taught Grant in my first year of teaching at Grey and their son Anthony and daughter Abigail are now at Grey and Collegiate.

In those teaching years, I often visited Somerset East:  the Abrahamsons as well as Helena (Kitshoff) Glennie (who had also been at Stellenbosh with me, in Harmonie Residence) and Richard Glennie, who had been at Grey. (I had been MC at their wedding, too, when they got married in my home town of Somerset West!)

The Abrahamsons now run East Cape Safaris and, for supper, we joined them and their American hunter guests from Kansas USA.  With Kansas being the state just north of Oklahoma, I had lots to discuss!

 

On Saturday morning, we all headed for the show grounds in town.  There one could find more than enough of the B’s: biltong at most of the many stalls selling anything and everything from artwork to food (genuine African art – but when turned over displayed the words “Made in China!”), the Boeremusiek (blaring from the stage in the centre of the showground to the many who were seated on their camp chairs (and all the others who were walking around), the Buddies and friends who were also there, and then, of course, the beers and brandy and whatever other booze that was being served in the marquee that dominated the showgrounds. All in all, an affair displaying our truly African culture!

Late afternoon, we decided to head back to the farm for a brief lie-down and rest before we would return for the evening programme.

Well, return we did not – instead we all ended up sitting around the fire in the bouma (another South African “B”) and participating in that greatest of the South African B’s – the traditional Braaivleis!

So, it was with a sense of contentment that we headed back to Port Elizabeth on Sunday. I had left with some apprehension, as I had not travelled for some while and have been finding it more and more difficult to sit. Whilst it was uncomfortable and slightly sore, I proved that I can still do it, and hopefully will still be able to do many more trips.

I always enjoy visiting my Buddies, and together with all the other B’s, we had enjoyed yet another special weekend just “hanging out”. Thank you to all who made it possible!

“2B or not 2B?” – if that is the question, then surely there is only one answer: how truly awesome it is “2B”!

 

 

 

 

 

Heaven is a Place on Earth

19 April 2010: 3 years 7 months on . . .

 

If Heaven is a place on earth, then surely that place must be Stellenbosch. Maybe I am biased, only because Stellenbosch is the birthplace of one Edward Charles Lunnon!

Affectionately known as Stellies to thousands of students, it is the second oldest town in South Africa (after Cape Town) and was founded in 1679 as an agricultural settlement. It has been an important educational centre for over a century and is the home to the famed Stellenbosch University, as well as schools such as Paul Roos Gymnasium, Rhenish Institute for Girls and Bloemhof Girls’ School.

It is at the heart of the South African winelands and is surrounded by majestic mountain ranges, and orchards and, of course, the vineyards crawling over the hilltops for as far as the eyes can see and creeping up the bases of the blue mountain peaks. At this time of the year – autumn – the usually green leaves take on the resplendent colours of red and orange and yellow.

Dorp Street has the longest row of historic buildings in the country and De Braak, the once village green used for military parades is still surrounded by the quaint old buildings of the 17th and 18th centuries (and now also surrounded by the informal traders that have become a part of our South African landscape!)

Besides being my birthplace, I also studied here when I returned from the USA in 1976. I lived in Helshoogte for six years. Helshoogte is not only one of the tallest peaks surrounding the town, but it is also the tallest 9 story residence of some 300 men, of which I had the privilege of being the Primarius – head student – in 1981.

So this is where I obtained my degrees and diplomas and I also returned here in 2004 when I obtained a PDHIV/AIDS Management Cum Laude. I not only received my formal education here, but I made many friends here, many with whom I still have contact today – I guess, they are a part of my informal education that I obtained here (arguably more important than the formal education!) and the basis of many stories and reminiscing that still takes place today.

The whole family is here for the weekend, because Sean and Phillip are playing rugby against Paul Roos. They are part of a contingent of hundreds of Grey boys who are here to play tennis, rugby, hockey, chess, catch fish and whatever . . .

On the way down, with Sean at the wheel again, we spent Thursday night in Knysna. There we caught up with Herman and Sally (friends from my business days) in their magnificent home that overlooks the Knysna lagoon.

The boys have travelled extensively with us since birth, and time spent together in this way has been some of the best quality time that we spend together as a family. When not sleeping, conversation moves from history to geography to bantering and even to the odd occasional mathematical calculation which is thrown in. These travelling times are and have always been special moments for us – whether it has been England, USA, Durban, the Drakensberg, Kruger National Park, Gauteng, the West Coast, the Karoo, the Western Cape or the Garden Route.

Then, on to Stellies. Sean is in the process of deciding where to study next year and so a bit of promotion work for Stellenbosch is necessary from my side.

Firstly, we go to the Neelsie, the Langenhoven Student Centre, which is where, as students, we played bridge, drank copious amounts of coffee and ate many plates of “slap” chips (fries) on cold rainy winter days. These were supposedly inter-lecture breaks, but often served as the lectures themselves!

We are just in time to watch Koshuis (inter-Residence) rugby at Coetzenberg at 17h00. This is the breeding ground of Danie Craven and of South African and Springbok rugby and often the experimental ground for rugby rules that are later implemented around the world.  Some ten games of rugby taking place simultaneously with hundreds of students watching from the sidelines and often on the field of play. The decorum, the dress, the drinks, the comments, are all part of the show – maybe this will guide Sean’s thinking a bit, although the amount of Afrikaans heard is still a concern for him!

Then the 20-minute drive to Durbanville, where we are staying with old university friends, Willem and Gretel, and are later joined by Kobus and Tillie, also old Maties, for the obligatory braai and red wine. And the reminiscing . . . and the stories.

On Saturday morning, we head off back to Stellies, first to watch Phillip’s team and then Sean’s team. Then, it’s the turn of the first rugby team where we learn another life lesson. Despite the odds being against you, don’t give up and you, too, can come to within 5 points of winning the game.

(Travelling is becoming more difficult for me, and on Friday morning, I heard myself saying that this would be the last trip! I need to learn not to give up so easily . . .)

I also met up on the sideline with my eldest sister, Lyn, and her husband, Anton, who have come from The Strand to see us. Then there is ex varsity housemate, Rabe Botha who I haven’t seen for 30 years and I just missed Steve Fourie’s parents (due to my poor memory!) with whom I lodged when I first moved to Port Elizabeth in 1984.  

After the rugby, we have a bite to eat at the Dros. Amongst downtown development and a club/pub/restaurant/eatery/drinkery on every Stellies street corner, part of the Dros has been maintained, including the façade.  It is also the first in what has now become a national chain of restaurants.

In my student days, the Dros was the student name for the Drostdy Hotel. It was one of three popular “watering holes” in Stellies, the others being Tollies and Die Akker (where Neil Thomson – an ex teaching colleague and still at Grey and now Sean’s rugby coach) played with his band Leatherbone!) In those days, beers (LION was the popular choice) were 50 cents each and Tassies (Tassenberg) was the red wine of choice (I can’t remember the price!) They also served a midnight student rump steak and chips for R2.50. This came from my pocket-money, after I had spent my R1000 per annum bursary from AECI on tuition fees of R300 and R600 for annual residence fees (including three meals a day!) A 300-page hard covered economics textbook that I threw out the other day had its price pencilled on the front page – R7.99 (and, by the way, only ten pages of chapter 4 had been separated – the rest of the book was amazingly still untouched after 34 years!)

If you really wanted to splash out, you took your date to the Lanzerac Hotel for a cheese lunch on a Friday afternoon (she always ordered a ginger square!) at the princely price of R2.00. Inevitably, you had to return to res later in the afternoon to get a tie, as ties were mandatory after 6pm!

This has been a weekend of memories. But on Sunday morning, we have to head back to Port Elizabeth, this time via the country’s major arterial route, the N1. It heads north from Cape Town, to Bloemfontein, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Messina and Beit Bridge at the Zimbabwean border on the Limpopo River. We will leave it at Worcester and turn east via Robertson and Ashton, and then link up with the N2 to Port Elizabeth at Swellendam. It is the third oldest white settlement in South Africa, (founded in 1746) and to where my grandfather, Walter Charles, came from England as the postmaster at the beginning of the 20th century. The desk that I am working at now was a gift from the people of Swellendam when he retired there on 1 November 1923.

Some 30 km from Cape Town, at Paarl, the road approaches the Drakenstein Mountains and enters the Huguenot Tunnel, which has been tunnelled through the base of the mountain for easier access to the north. After spending some ten minutes in the darkness of the tunnel, suddenly you see the light shining in from the Worcester side.

It reminds me that no matter what one’s circumstances are, there is always light at the end of every tunnel. Heaven is indeed a place . . .