Buckle the Blacksmith

After Maritzburg College, Dad joined the General Post Office as an apprentice electrician. 1938. Here’s a spirit level he was issued with that day: While he was still apprenticing, he tried to enlist but was sent back. He was transferred to Harrismith, from where he again made his way to Durban and was sent homeContinue reading “Buckle the Blacksmith”

Running on Women Power

A lovely post on Women in Ornithology by ornithology historian Bob Montgomerie led me to thinking about Women in – well, My Working Life. First there was Mom. Mary Methodist. In the Platberg Bottle Store. And Annemarie Maeder, also in the bottle store with Mom. Always in the background, too, was your ‘panel of Moms’Continue reading “Running on Women Power”

My Umko Marathon

There he goes, no lifejacket as was the way those days. . . another guy might be wearing full lifejacket and helmet but he’d be disqualified: wasn’t wearing his club colours! Such was ‘safety’ back when ships were made of wood and men were made of iron! I roared in 140th – looks like 152Continue reading “My Umko Marathon”

A Slice of Vrystaat

I was born in Harrismith in 1955, as was Mom Mary in 1928, and her Mom Annie in 1893. Annie thought “the queen” of that little island left of France was also the queen of South Africa (and for much of her life she was right!). To balance that, there’s this side of the family.Continue reading “A Slice of Vrystaat”

Manfred’s Zimbali

Long before Zimbali became an over-priced gated estate for the rich to hide in, Manfred Bacher, augenoptikermeister from Austria aus, built a yacht in his Umhlanga backyard and called it Zimbali. Or SMS Zimbali, I’d say. He said Zimbali meant ‘forever young,’ which is what he wished for himself and might have been if itContinue reading “Manfred’s Zimbali”

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”

Quadruply Certifiable

The Comrades Marathon’s Quadruple Green Number is awarded only to people who are certifiably crazy. The award – and membership of that exclusive club – means you have run the 89km Comrades ultra-marathon at least forty times! Holy shit!! 47 Medals RaceNo Name 403 Louis Massyn 916 Barry Holland 45 Medals RaceNo Name 183 DaveContinue reading “Quadruply Certifiable”

Platberg Pilgrimage

Harrismith had the biggest influx of people in its history recently. Well, that would be my guess. I don’t think even the Rhino Rally ever brought in THIS amount of people! I mean those rowwe hard-drinking okes fit a maximum of two people on their vehicles . . . . . whereas I would guessContinue reading “Platberg Pilgrimage”

Blithe Spirits

Durban ca 1980 – I’ve been sent here by the army; I know very little about this Last Outpost of the British Empire, but my friend, fellow Free Stater Steve Reed, has been here almost a year so he knows everything. And he knows some girls. The papers announced that some comet was due toContinue reading “Blithe Spirits”

Conquering of the Boers, 2018

Harrismith is still a lekker dorp thanks to some hard-drinking maniacs that hang out there, bitter-einders clinging to life behind the boerewors curtain. See this report – reproduced below – of a highly important, highly competitive Boer War re-enactment golf – or moer-en-soek – tournament last year. ~~~~oo0oo~~~~ Conquering of the Boers Her Majesty TheContinue reading “Conquering of the Boers, 2018”