11 October 2010: 4 years 1 month on …
Phew! What a week it’s been. If the disease doesn’t kill me, then surely this hectic schedule will! And this was supposed to be my rest week!
It was exactly a year ago today that I fell and broke my elbow. That resulted in surgery and two months of having a situation of “Look Mom No Hands!” – a sort of de’ja vu of what lies ahead. It also resulted in the writing of my e-mail “Three years on …” which was the first entry and the start of what has become this blog site and our radio programme ED is in wED. (By the way, for those who don’t know, the word blog simply comes from the contraction of the words weB LOG … an online web-based computerised diary if you like.)
It also poured with rain on that Sunday evening that I fell down the steps and so it was exactly a year ago today that we had our last good rains in Port Elizabeth. We need that rain so desperately . .
But back to this week: On Wednesday evening I watched the Centrestage Simon & Garfunkel – CSNY show. Thursday was spent with Nadine sorting out the admin things. On Friday morning, I completed the application for a new passport with Q-4-U (anything to avoid having to go to Home Affairs again!) and then went to Vovo Telo Coffee shop in Central with Annette Jones. (I wonder how much is spent on cups of coffee on any one day in the world’s coffee shops! It must be a multimillion dollar industry that has been built up around the humble coffee mug.)
Friday afternoon was spent at the printers. In the evening we attended Bev Parker’s birthday party (not a wedding yet, but at least no funerals for a while!) In between all of that, I was trying desperately to get my Dragon voice recognition software working, but still no luck.
Saturday morning saw an early rise in order to go to Grahamstown to watch Sean play cricket against St Andrews. We all travelled with Andrew and Cindy de Wet – despite me telling Andrew on the radio on Wednesday that I was the moer in with him for phoning me early on Wednesday morning.
For Andrew, being a farmer in the Somerset East district, seven thirty in the morning is certainly not early. But, for me, getting up in the morning is becoming more and more difficult, and 9h00 is now becoming the norm. After that, it takes a while to get the limbs moving and the head feeling a bit clearer.
Sometimes, I wish that I did not have to go to sleep at night. Then, I would not have to “defrost” in the morning. It is the time of day that I find the most difficult and have to guard most against becoming negative and depressed. It is also that time when the tears flow the easiest. It is best to get up immediately when I wake up because lying in bed is uncomfortable and leads to “woe is me”. (this morning has been one of those mornings, so writing a blog becomes a way of occupying my mind and keeping me out of the quicksand.)
Initially, I had decided not to go to Grahamstown because I was concerned about the early rising after a late evening. I also had to attend a Stellenbosch University function at the new Radisson Blu Hotel on Saturday evening which was scheduled to start at 18h00. That meant that we would have to leave Grahamstown by 16h00, and it was highly unlikely that the cricket would be finished by then.
However, Andrew agreed to leave early in order to get me back to PE on time. As luck would have it, his son went in to bat just as we were scheduled to leave. So, we left a bit later and drove like the wind. Along the way home, we got the news that our team, the Grey Seconds, had beaten St Andrews.
We got back just before six, and I hurriedly showered and sped off to Summerstrand, getting there just before six thirty! I had invited Helshoogte Old Boys to the meeting in order to establish a local branch here. A handful arrived, and I received a few e-mails of apologies. What was lacking in numbers was made up in spirit, and we will definitely have another meeting soon in order to formalise Helshoogte Old Boys Eastern Cape!
So, another late evening! And another early morning!
I had been invited by Aimee Weyer-Henderson, the head of Alexandra House at Collegiate Junior School for Girls, to speak at their House Day on Monday morning. Her father Philip had been in the 1984 Matric class – my first year of teaching – at Grey High. We had lived in the Grey boarding house together, so we have known each other for some 26 years now. (In those days, he called me Sir!)
Part of the invitation was to spend the weekend at their farm Toekomst (Future), between Jansenville and Somerset East, supposedly in order to firm up the requirements for the talk.
I had agreed but had forgotten to look at my diary. It was later that I discovered that I had the US function on Saturday evening, and so the supposed weekend visit became a day visit on Sunday!
Cheryl Weyer (the teacher in charge of Alexandra House) and her husband, Mark, long-time friends from the days when Pera taught at Collegiate, were also invited, and they kindly picked us up at 07h30.
Off to the Karoo for Sunday lunch. We arrived at 09h30, did the coffee and koeksister thing, then headed off in the cut-off Kia bus (that is the game ranging vehicle!) for a tour of the farm (and the two new pivots!) and a view of the Darlington Dam and Johnny’s little shack at the dam that he is busy building. (Johnny is Philip’s ‘little’ brother that I taught a few years after Philip, and Pera has taught Johnny’s son (the next generation) at Grey Junior.)
It is here, in the Karoo, that one can see the true extent of the devastating drought that we are experiencing. Even the thorn trees are dying! The only green are the fields being irrigated by the pivots – also visible if you Google Earth those surroundings: an oasis of green in an otherwise large arid and brown desert-like area. The farmers here are also experiencing their problems and challenges that life has thrown at them.
Indeed, the Toekomst looks bleak if we don’t get rain soon. We need that rain so desperately . . .
After the little tour, a few icy cold frosties were very welcome in the air-conditioned pub in the homestead. And then a superb lunch of roast Karoo lamb and venison (kudu) and all the trimmings – including a magnificent dessert of the best tarted up ice-cream I have had in a long while.
After lunch, the young ladies challenged the adults to a game of 30 Seconds, and, despite the cheating, the adults won comfortably!
Thanks Philip and Lise for a wonderful day. Although, we didn’t spend too much time planning for the House Day on Monday, we headed off home after having spent a few wonderful hours with you and your family.
I still had to think about what I was going to discuss with the young Collegiate girls. That was Sunday evening’s chore, and I fell asleep doing that!
So, Monday morning was yet another early one. Firstly, to finish off my speech – hastily scribbled on pieces of scrap paper and entitled LIVING POSITIVELY. And then, to rush off to the school to deliver the speech to the hall full of 500 girls, some parents and some staff members.
What a delight it was to see the manner in which they responded to my talk and to my questions. I will document that speech in yet another blog.
But, after having interacted with those girls on Monday, and on Sunday, and with Sean’s matric friends the previous weekend, I am left feeling that we are so fortunate that our children are being well-educated at our city schools.
Our TOEKOMST is in their hands, and they would appear to be good hands. The sad part is that those good hands, in many cases, will be lost to our city, to our province and, most probably, to our country.
There is still so much to do to ensure our TOEKOMST and our children’s TOEKOMST in this southern part of Africa. We need THAT political rain so desperately, too . . .