Just Call Me Wally

It was 1981 and we were new in Durban. We decided to watch the Comrades Marathon, an 89km exercise in insanity being run “up” from the coast at Durban to the heights of Sleepy Hollow that year. Those days it was easy to follow the race: You just got in the way, parked wherever andContinue reading “Just Call Me Wally”

Fresh in the USA

Fresh from the City of Sin and Laughter, OFS, where I’d spent my first seventeen years, I arrived in New York with great expectations. I was READY – more than ready! – to see the big wide world. After landing we – the gang of South African Rotary Exchange students -were bussed to a hotelContinue reading “Fresh in the USA”

Hello Cock goes missing

Uncle Jack Kemp had a big dilemma. He loved a party and there were two parties on, one at our house and the other at Ronnie from Threeburgh’s place. To get from the one brandy bottle to the other he had to walk down our front steps, down our little-used front path and out theContinue reading “Hello Cock goes missing”

Geronim-Oh-No!!

When modern man decided to pinch water from the Tugela river and pump it uphill to satisfy the Vaalies’ thirst, our area around Harrismith and Bergville saw a flurry of activity and an influx of new people. A bus arrived at school and a flock of new kids tumbled out. They were cruelly christened DieContinue reading “Geronim-Oh-No!!”

A trumpet? Or were we just trumped?

We would meet on The Bend, Kai’s paradise on the Tugela outside Bergville. The guys from Doories in Johannesburg studying to be optometrists and engineers at the Wits Tech and the gals from NTC in Pietermaritzburg, studying to be teachers of the future fine upstanding youth of SA. We would meet specifically to practice settingContinue reading “A trumpet? Or were we just trumped?”

Call the Engine, Call the Engine . .

Farnie, is that a box of matches in your pocket? asked stern Uncle Louis. No Dad, its just a block of wood. We were having lunch on their smallholding east of Harrismith and father Louis knew enough to ask, but not enough to check. After lunch we were off into the veld and once outContinue reading “Call the Engine, Call the Engine . .”

An Old Mystery: Whose fault?

There were two reasons we ‘borrowed’ Gerrie’s 1961 black Saab 93 late one night: (1.) If you don’t give a car a run the battery can go flat, and (2.) We had Larry the American Rotary Exchange student with us, who might have heard that the Free State can be a very boring place withContinue reading “An Old Mystery: Whose fault?”

I’m fifteen?

The mighty Vulgar river had risen! It was flowing way higher than usual, and had overflown its banks. We needed to get onto it! So Pierre and I dusted off the open blue and red fibreglass canoe the old man had bought us and headed off downstream early one summer morning from below the weirContinue reading “I’m fifteen?”

Brief Sojourn at Hotel Command

Fresh from officers course at Roberts Heights (then it was called Voortrekkerhoogte, now it’s called Thaba Tshwane) this brand-new lieutenant is sent as adjudant to Natal Command, fondly known as Hotel Command. I’m given my own room just above Marine Parade and told to leave my shoes outside the door. Not for religious reasons –Continue reading “Brief Sojourn at Hotel Command”