Pulling a Fa(s)t One

Greg Bennett told me about his latest Yamaha outboard motor over coffee the other morning – a 425hp beast. “Stands taller than me with my hand stretched skywards” he said. This reminded me of the time we went out to Hazelmere to test his then-biggest outboard motor: I think it was 225hp. I was slalomContinue reading “Pulling a Fa(s)t One”

Slalom Handicap

Two Springbok paddlers were watching me intently as I nimbly maneuvered my boat through the water. As I got to the gate that they were judging I ducked into an eddy and rested on my paddle, getting my breath back and having a chuckle at how clumsily I had bashed through the last gate. AndContinue reading “Slalom Handicap”

Come With Me To The Station

The old man inviting me to go someplace! How’s that!? I hopped into the old faded-blue VW Kombi OHS 153. This sounded interesting. We never went to the railway station. We’d go near there to the old MOTH hall and occasionally to the circus field when the Big Top was pitched there! But never toContinue reading “Come With Me To The Station”

Early Bird Books

We grew up with Roberts Bird Book in the house. First edition, but about the sixth impression. It still had its dust jacket with the kingfishers and bee-eaters beautifully depicted on it. Mom and Dad still have it – I took this pic at their home in Pietermaritzburg. We also had a newer McLachlan &Continue reading “Early Bird Books”

An Inordinate Fondness for Beetles

Asked what could be inferred about the Creator from a study of His works, British scientist and naturalist JBS Haldane replied: “The Creator, if he existed, had an inordinate fondness for beetles” Now it’s true he meant the one on the left, not the one on the right, but still . . My gran Annie’sContinue reading “An Inordinate Fondness for Beetles”

Frank's Death at 9 Stuart Street

‘Mom! Dad’s in pain,’ said Mary, out of breath. She’d run up to the Caltex garage in Warden Street. Annie drove her back and took her husband Frank Bland to Frank Reitz, his friend, rugby team-mate and physician/surgeon. Gallstones, a gallbladder op needed, was the verdict. Mom was fifteen, ‘about to write my JC‘ –Continue reading “Frank's Death at 9 Stuart Street”

Boy Scouts – 1st Harrismith

Let’s paint the ’42nd’ up on 42nd Hill! Yeah! We’ll shoot up there with some whitewash and paint it quickly. We Boy Scouts needed a PROJECT – a ‘good deed’ – and this seemed a good one. Everyone would notice and be impressed by the shiny white freshly-whitewashed stones spelling out ’42nd’ compared to theContinue reading “Boy Scouts – 1st Harrismith”

Volkskool – Primary School

Mom went to this school, as did all three of us kids. Annie (Mom’s Mom) may have, too? Before us, Etienne Joubert went, and he remembers: Playing ‘Hasie’ under the Bluegums near the old Golf club house; Playing ‘Bok-bok’ behind the bottom class rooms; Eating ‘Manna’ under the Bluegums; Playing marbles in the main playground.Continue reading “Volkskool – Primary School”