Flower Fountain

We mocked Bloemfontein as Flower Fountain and always looked on Durban as the big city, seldom Joburg, as we would head 299km to the coast not 268km inland to JHB when going for any city business. Bloem never featured. It was 378km and more of a backwater. Once you got there, you’d ask yourself WHY?Continue reading “Flower Fountain”

Comrade Skim

Six foot four inch Pete Stoute was running the Comrades Marathon, that foolish 89km exercise in torture held annually in KwaZuluNatal, when suddenly he heard a shout from around knee-level: “Yiss, Stoute, hoezit?” He looked around, nothing. He looked down: There was Skim, short and round as a beachball, choofing alongside. Skim du Preez, kranigeContinue reading “Comrade Skim”

On Not Playing Rugby

Matric. Rugby season. I’m not playing. Old pipe-smoking, Andy Capp cap-wearing, grog-loving, moustachioed Stollie Beukes came up to me at school and asked straight-forwardly and politely, no weaseling, no guilt-suggesting. That’s him ‘playing goalie’ above. “Ons kort a paar manne in die derdespan. Sal jy vir ons speel?” “Ja, sekerlik,” I said, “Sal ek oefeningsContinue reading “On Not Playing Rugby”

Rugby Heroes – or ‘Delusion’

Ode to a Tighthead Prop – Author unknown (but probly some Kiwi – they tend to wax forth after a few). The poem could also be called ‘Delusions of Grandeur.’ It was midway through the season we were just outside the four and although I know we won it I can’t recall the score. ButContinue reading “Rugby Heroes – or ‘Delusion’”

Uh, Correction, Mrs Bedford!

** recycled post ** updated ** In 1969 a bunch of us were taken to Durban to watch a rugby test match Springboks against the Australian Wallabies. “Our” Tommy Bedford was captain of the ‘Boks. We didn’t know it, but it was to be his last game. Schoolboy “seats” were flat on your bum onContinue reading “Uh, Correction, Mrs Bedford!”

Bain of Harrismith

My granny Annie had an older brother Ginger. He was the oldest of the seven ‘Royal Bains’ and a great sportsman. They owned the Royal Hotel and were not to be confused with the ‘Central Bains’, who owned the Central Hotel! Playing rugby for Hilton, ‘Bain of Harrismith’ became the ‘Bane of Michaelhouse’ in theContinue reading “Bain of Harrismith”

Please Release Me Let Me Go!

July 1970. The All Blacks were on tour. We had gone to Bethlehem – surely the only town in the world where a big sign saying FAKKELHOF welcomes you as you drive in? – to see them play. Bryan Williams, the first Maori allowed to play in South Africa (inconveniently fast, handsome and popular) scoredContinue reading “Please Release Me Let Me Go!”

A Brief Encounter

I had skipped rugby in matric, then played seven games of high school American football in Oklahoma. When I got to Johannesburg I was ready to play rugby again, but as there was little sport at the Wits Tech, friend Glen Barker joined Wanderers club. He had a car, so I joined him and offContinue reading “A Brief Encounter”

Rugby Free State u/13 Champs

It was quite a year. I had shot up and was the tallest blonde in the team (Coenie Meyer was the only other one!), but our real strength lay in an outstanding flyhalf called De Wet Ras and great teamwork. We were coached by a tennis champ called Bruce who inspired us to give ourContinue reading “Rugby Free State u/13 Champs”

Playing in the Snow

1973, on my way back from the States, I fly to New York on a Monday in December and ask for a flight to Johannesburg via London. ‘Sorry you can’t. Your ticket is non-transferable, and the next SAA flight is via Rio on Friday’. The old man had paid for my ticket on his shinyContinue reading “Playing in the Snow”