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Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Comrades marathon

This Sunday past the 29th of May was Comrades day here in KZN. The Comrades is an ultra marathon of  89km between Pietermaritzburg and Durban. This year was the 86th Comrades and was an up run from Durban to Pietermaritzburg. Next year it will be a down run from Pmburg to Durban.

Comrades was started by a group of ex World War One servicemen, who wanted to do something to commemorate the comradeship they experienced during the war. Back then in the 1920's it was a very casual affair, with stops at pubs along the route to replenish lost fluids. The Comrades has been run almost without a break, except for the war years, during the Second World War.

Today it's a very different story, with a punishing training schedule for would be participants. None of today's Comrades runners would even dream of stopping at a pub for a beer. I stand corrected, but I think if you wished to enter the race you have to deliver proof of having run at least 2 normal marathons and have completed it within the prescribed time. The modern Comrades is an international event with runners coming from all over the world to participate.

The old Comrades spirit lives on though with runners helping each other where nescessary, which is allowed. The more professional  athlete's though, have only one goal and that is to win. There is big money at stake. For most though it's a fun thing and a way of pushing your limits.

This years Comrades had 19,600 runners, less than usual, of which 11,374 finished in the prescribed time of 11 hours. The winner for the 3rd time running this year was Stephen Muzhingi of Zimbabwe, who came in at a time of 5:32.45. The ladies section was won by Elena Nurgalieva of Russia at a time of 6:24.11. Her twin sister Olesya came second about 11 seconds after her. Between the two of them they have won the ladies section 8 times in the last 9 years.


Stephen Muzhingi crossing the finish line.


The Russian twins (centre I think).

South Africa's Comrades hero is Bruce Fordice who won it 10 times in a row, during the 1980's & 90's. He is still running at an age most of us are sitting in our rocking chairs. The Estcourt athletic club was well represented at this years race and did well, all finishing under the 11 hour cut off time.

Monday, 30 May 2011

Witchdocter

Witch doctor throwing the bones for purposes of divination.


Stephanus Erasmus knew who Mosiko was, of course. But I wasn't sure if Mosiko knew Stephanus. So I introduced them. On another day people would have laughed at the way I did it. But at the moment it didn't seem so funny, somehow.
"Mosiko," I said, "this is *Baas Prophet Stephanus Erasmus."
"And, *Oom Stephanus," I said, "this is Witch-Docter Mosiko."


Mosiko raised his eyes slightly and glanced at Erasmus. Erasmus looked straight back at Mosiko and tried to stare him out of countenance. I knew the power with which Stephanus Erasmus could look at you. So I wondered what was going to happen. But Mosiko looked down again, and kept his eyes down on the sand.


Now I remembered how I felt that day when Stephanus Erasmus had looked at me and I was ready to believe that I was a cut open springbok. But at the same moment I realised tha Mosiko looked down in a way that seemed to mean that he didn't think that Stephanus was a man of enough importance for him to stare out of countenance. It was as though he thought there were other things for him to do but look at Stephanus.


The Mosiko spoke.


"Tell me what you want to know, *Baas Stephanus," he said, "and I will prophesy for you."


I saw the grass, and the veld and the stones. I saw a long splash of sunlight on Mosiko's naked back. But for a little while I neither saw nor heard anything else. For it was a deadly thing and the *kaffir had said it to a white man. And I knew that the others also felt it to be a deadly thing. We stood there, waiting. I was not sure whether to be glad or sorry that I had come. The time seemed so very long in passing.


"Kaffir," Stephanus said at last, "you have no right here on a white mans *outspan. We have come to throw you off it. I am going to kick you. You'll see what a white man's boot is like."


Mosiko did not move. It seemed as though he had heard nothing Stephanus had said to him. He appeared to be thinking of something else - something very old and very far away.


Then Stephanus took a step forward. He paused for a moment. We all looked down.


Frans Steyn was the first to laugh. It was strange and unnatural at first to hear Frans Steyn's laughter. Everything up till then had been tense and even frightening. But immediately afterwards we all burst out laughing together. We laughed loudly and uproariously. You could have heard us at the other side of the *bult.


I have told you about Stephanus Erasmus's *veldskoens, and that the were broken on top. Well now in walking to the outspan, the last *riem had burst lose, and Stephanus Erasmus stood there with his right foot raised from the ground and a broken shoe dangling from the instep.


Stephanus never kicked Mosiko. When we had finished laughing we got him to come back home. Stephanus walked slowly, carrying the broken shoe in his hand and picking the soft places to walk on, where the burnt grass wouldn't stick into his bare foot.


Stephaus Erasmus had lost his power.


But I knew that even if his shoe hadn't been broken, Stephanus would never have kicked Mosiko. I could see by the look in his eyes that when he took the step forward and Mosiko didn't move, that Stephanus had been beaten for always.


The Prophet, short story by Herman Charles Bosman.


*Baas - Boss, not so long ago, in South Africa, Blacks were expected to address every white man as Boss, even those younger than them.


*Oom - Uncle, a honorific title given to all older males in the Afrikaans comunity.


*Kaffir - derogatory term for a black man similar to nigger in America.


*Outspan - where oxen were unyoked to rest and graze before continuing.


Among the Afrikaner "backvelder's" (Hilly billies) so called prophets held a special attraction for these superstitious people. They were all a bunch of frauds but they miss-lead many people.



Sunday, 29 May 2011

Family

Visited with my brother Boyce and his wife Gloria in Pietermaritzburg. My brother works in a hardware store and Gloria is a church minister. They live in a suburb called Glenwood. The name is much grander than the suburb deserves. This is a "coloured" suburb. Coloured in South Africa means mixed race. During the Apartheid years each race group had designated areas where they were allowed to live. This was one of the areas designated coloured.

This is an extremely poor area with many unemployed people. Most of those who are employed have low paying jobs due to a lack of education. Gloria is the minister of the Congregational church here. This church serves three denominations, Anglican, Methodist and Congregational, they all worship together in three languages, Afrikaans, isiZulu and English.Gloria is an ordained Methodist preacher.

This is a photo taken from the front steps of my brother and my sister-in-law's house, the church manse. Note how small the houses are but every one is neatly kept. The manse, with it's three bedrooms, kitchen, lounge, dining room and study, looks like a palace compared to the other houses.

Way back in the bad old days it would have been unheard of for whites to live in an area like this.

The hillside in the background is covered with shacks of still poorer people. What always strikes me when I visit here is how happy and content the people are. They are also very friendly, they like to stop and chat with you over the gate.

Last night tragedy struck and a house about four doors up the road burnt down. They had very little and now they have nothing. Neighbours took them in and cared for them. I was fast asleep when it happened and did not even hear the clamour of fire engines and police cars. My brother came and woke me up. There was not much we could do as there already was a huge crowd of people at the scene getting in the way of the police and fire fighters. Fortunately no one was injured.

It's good to visit with your family every now and again. Catch up with the latest news, remember things that happened during you childhood together and other good things.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

H Camping/Rapture.

I have been following with interest all the comments about Camping's Rapture prediction on various blogs, and all of them very interesting.

I'm no Bible scholar but I think there are only three things you can say with any certainty regarding the prophecy in the book of Revelation, and they are;

1. Jesus is Lord and He is coming again, of this we can be certain.

2. We have to be ready for His coming.

3. He will take care of his people.

Anything else is presumption, or even worse, arrogance.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Aids & South Africa

One of South Africa's greatest problems is AIDS. Not a few thousand people infected but millions. The first two AIDS cases were identified in South Africa in 1983, by 1986 there were 46 identified cases. Most of these were homosexuals. Today the disease is mostly heterosexual. In 1990 only 1% of the population was infected. In 1991 South Africa's northern borders with the rest of Africa were opened, after being basically a no go area for many decades for South Africans. The N1 highway which runs from Cape Town in the south to Mussena on our northern border, and from there connects to roads leading north through Zimbawe to Zambia and further, became known as the AIDS highway.

In 2009 the number of people infected with  HIV/AIDS had risen to 5.6 million. Some people dispute this figure and say it's more like 6.6 million.

In 2009 310,000 people died of AIDS. The percentage of infection had risen 17.8% for people between the ages of 15 - 49.

One in three women, 33%, between the ages of 25 - 29 were infected with HIV/AIDS.

One in four men between the ages of 30 - 34, 25%, were infected with HIV/AIDS.

Three hundred and thirty thousand children under the age of 15 were infected with HIV/AIDS.

There were 1.9 million AIDS orphans, some say 3.5 million.

Forty thousand children are infected with HIV/AIDS each year. Most of this mother to child transmission.

There were 79,000 child headed households in 2009, where both parents had succumbed  to HIV/AIDS.

Thirty seven percent of those infected were on ARV's (anti retro viral's).

Twenty eight percent of people in the world, living with both HIV/AIDS & TB are in South Africa. TB in SA is highly drug resistant.

In KwaZuluNatal 37% of pregnant women tested positive for HIV/AIDS. Today in 2011 some parts of northern KwaZuluNatal the infection rate is 40%.


This map shows the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Africa. Starting from the north moving south the % gets higher and higher.


This map of South Africa Shows most of the Major cities, also give the population and life expectancy of 49 years. In 1994 the average life expectancy was 60+ years. Not so high in Western terms but much higher than the rest of sub Saharan Africa. The name Messina of the town on the northern border of Zimbawe was changed some years ago to Mussina.

One of the many forms of AIDS awareness campaigns initiated by the government.

All these figures above are just statistics, none of them tell of the suffering caused by this disease. In our school there are two children that are HIV positive, both in grade 3 and both on ARV's. there might be more but we are not aware of them. Two of our cleaning staff have full blown AIDS and are also on ARV's. One of our groundsmen has lost 10 brothers and sisters to AIDS. There 11 children have now become his responsibility.

Saturdays have become official funeral days in South Africa. On not one of the thousands of death certificates, issued each year for people who have passed away of AIDS, does the word AIDS appear. Only the secondary causes of death are ever given, TB, heart disease, pneumonia, etc. so people live in denial regarding the disease. One our local funeral parlour's reckons that on a quiet Saturday they bury 30 people, usually it's about a hundred. Cities and towns all over are running out of cemetery space. Most Africans will have nothing to do with cremation.

When it comes to AIDS orphans it's usually the aged grandparents who bear the burden of caring for these children. Often there is no one and the children must fend for themselves. 

The economic and social implications are enormous. The economically active members of society are those worse affected. It is said that if it were not for AIDS our economic growth could be 1% higher per annum than it is now. Many children grow up without adult supervision and the transfer of social and other values one learns from your parents. 

Only God can rectify this situation. None of man's plans seem to be working.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Sky

I have been fascinated by the sky over our region lately. Every moment of every day shows a different sky, no two days are the same.


At this time of the year we should have clear blue sky without any cloud. Yet here we are getting well into winter and rain predicted for tomorrow. This morning the gently sculpted shape and delicate colours caught my eye. Delicate, almost pastel, shades of pink and blue and soft grey's. Not to mention the variety of textures. I don't think my camera quite got what I saw.




This afternoon while working at the computer I happened to glance out of the window and saw the sunset over the highway.


The sunset is totally different from the mornings sunrise. Nothing boring about God's creation.




All day long God sends us these visions of beauty and we don't notice. Even the fact that my compost heap is under the tree, even the trucks on the highway can't spoil the glory of His sunset. God goes to a great deal of trouble to ensure that we don't live in a boring creation.


The second sunset photo was taken a few minutes later. We take these things for granted that God created this beauty, gave us miraculous  eyes with which to see them, and a mind and imagination with which to appreciate them. How is it that people can still doubt His existence? Yet many believe it all came about by chance. 


Scientists will tell you that it's due to the refraction of light through the clouds, etc. And scientifically they are right, but what about spiritually and emotionally. Why does it touch us spiritually and emotionally, why can't we just look at it from a scientific viewpoint and remain untouched? Even an atheist is emotionally moved by this beauty.


Steven Hawkings author of a "Brief history of time", will have us believe that we are basically just a computer, nothing more than robots. Yet all this beauty is stored in my computers memory, shows up on the screen, but it reacts not at all. Why? If we are just computers why do we react spiritually and emotionally? Because we are spiritual beings, not robots, made in the spiritual image of God.





Monday, 23 May 2011

Boomy dam 2

Quote: For you and me today is all we have, tomorrow is a mirage that may never become a reality.
Louis L'Amour.


I used to enjoy reading Louis L'Amour's books. Not your normal run of the mill Western.


Went fishing at Boomy dam on Wednesday.


All set out and ready to pack into my old work horse. Amazing how much paraphernalia you need to catch a fish. 


The grove of pin oaks next to Boomy dam in all their autumn glory. Just the place for a relaxing picnic.


My float tube ready for boarding. I realised while I putting my fins on that I need to do some stretching exercises, my feet seemed further away from my hands than they were last year.


English oaks growing at the edge of the water. My fly-line can bee seen floating on the water, I was fishing the shallows and amongst the  grass, growing in the shallows.


It was a perfect day for fishing, not too hot or cold, and just enough breeze to put a riffle on the water. The ambient temperature was 11 degrees Celsius warming to 18 degrees. Water temperature was 4 degrees Celsius, about 39 degrees Fahrenheit. The only possible negative was that the barometric pressure was way down to just over 28 inches, which is strange for this time of the year, as there is usually a high pressure system over the country during the autumn and winter. There seems to much disagreement among the "experts" as to the effect low barometric pressure has on fishing. 


Well I fished every square inch of that dam. I fished deep I fished shallow. I tried fast retrieves, slow retrieves and static fishing. I tried everything but to no avail. Had one bump while I was daydreaming. Hope my winter trout fishing is not going to be as bad as my summer bass fishing.


The wiggle tail flies that Mark sent me from California are just lovely to watch in the water. If ever a fly had "life", it were these flies. Any trout that was in the slightest mood for eating, would have eaten these flies. I fished other flies but went back to the wiggle tails as they seemed to be the most visible in water that still had it's summer murkiness. I'm going to tie myself a few dozen of these.


Other than no fish the day was perfect. Floating on a float-tube must be the most relaxing way of fishing. Listened to the wind rattling the dry leaves of the trees, watching  the birds going about their business. Was particularly jealous of a King fisher's success in catching minnows. Watched an antelope grazing on the bank hardly a fly-line's length away, unaware that it was a potential enemy floating on the water.


Birds there were in droves, most of the smaller ones I could not identify. I identified blue cranes, a whole flock of them in the pasture next to the pond, a marabou stork hunting in the shallows, hadeda ibis's hunting for insects on the bank. There was a noisy bunch of Egyptian geese squabbling in the trees, flocks of Natal yellow billed ducks, also known as whistling ducks. landed and took off during the day. Cape vultures circled overhead. And a very small species of duck I'd never seen before that seemed very un-preturbed by my presence. Last a pair of cormorants who also seemed to be having more luck than me.


Later in the day I could hear the shotgun blasts of the duck and geese hunters on other dams in the area. Some people object to the hunting of these ducks and geese, but farming has created perfect conditions by building dams and planting enough fodder for geese to graze on. Egyptian geese have especially benefited and have become something of a pest, flattening whole fields of young maize and wheat. Egyptian geese are particularly good parents, with up to 80% of the brood surviving. So something has to be done to keep the numbers in check. South Africa is said to be something of a wing shooters paradise, with many species of birds that can be hunted in the winter months. 


Won't be fishing for a week or two. Will be visiting my brother in Pietermaritzburg next weekend and expecting a visitor the weekend after that. Soon it will be the three week school midwinter holiday and I'll try and get as much fishing done as possible.


Willow tree reflections.



Sunday, 22 May 2011

Rape

Every Sunday in our church there is time for testimony, prayer request or just sharing.

This morning Philip Steyn, a young farmer who farms about 15km outside town, stood up and told us of a shocking incident that happened on Friday. While he was on his tractor bailing hay, one the Zulu women who lives on his farm came running up to him and asked him to phone for an ambulance. The women's two small daughters were attacked and raped on the way to school. The youngest is six and the oldest nine. The youngest has already been released from hospital but the older one is still in hospital and very badly injured. Philip was very emotional when he told us what happened and asked us to pray for them, especially for the older one who's name is Busi.

So where ever you are pray for Busi. I don't know if one could ever really recover from such an awful trauma.

Rape is a common occurrence in South Africa, the statistics are shocking. I don't know the actual figures but ten's of thousands of women are raped each year in this country. The problem is that with our high HIV/AIDS infection rates, rape can be a death sentence.

There is a common believe, spread by Sangoma's (witch doctors) (yes we still have them here), that sex with a virgin will cure you of AIDS , this could have been the motive for this attack Rape victims are automatically put on a course of ARV's (Anti retrovirals) to try and prevent infection but this does not always help.

Wanted to post a piece about my fishing trip on Wednesday but this weighed too heavily on my heart.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Mampoer

Mampoer an alcoholic liquor distilled traditionally in South Africa from wildfruit such as maroela's or any other fruit, peaches, etc. If you distil it from grapes its called witblitz, white lightning. In America the name for the same thing is moonshine, in Ireland, poteen. In America it's made of corn and in Ireland from potatoes.

In 1924 the distillation of mampoer was declared illegal unless you purchased a licence at great cost. This was to protect the Cape wine and brandy industry and Government taxes. Stills had to be fixed, and of a certain size. Portable stills became illegal. Every drop of mampoer had to recorded and taxed by the excise man.

Well for the freedom loving Hilly Billy types of the Groot Marico it was tantamount to war. Illegal stills sprang up every where. It was an expression of your democratic rights to have an illegal still hidden away somewhere. A wagon load of peaches transported over long distances brought in a poor return. Those same peaches turned into mampoer, were easy to transport and sell, and brought in a good cash income.

The name mampoer is said to be derived from the Pedi chief, Mampoeroe, or Mampuru, who's tribe brewed liquor from wild maroela fruit.

What got me thinking about mampoer is the short story by Herman Charles Bosman, Mampoer.
Here is a short excerpt.

The berries of the *karee-boom (Oom schalk Lourens said, nodding his head in the direction of the tall tree whose shadows were creeping towards the edge of the stoep) may not make the best kind of mampoer that there is. What I mean is that the karee-brandy is not as potent as the brandy you distil from *moepels or maroelas. Even peach brandy, they say can make you forget the *rust in the corn quicker than the mampoer you make from karee berries.


But karee-mampoer is white and soft to look at, and the smoke that comes from it when you pull the cork out of the bottle is pale and rises up in slow curves. And in time of drought, when you have been standing at the borehole all day, pumping water for the cattle, so that by evening water has got a bitter taste for you, then it is very soothing to sit on the stoep, like now, and to get somebody to pull the cork out of this kind of mampoer. Your hands will be sore and stiff from the pump handle, so if you try and pull it out the cork will seem as deep down in the bottle as the water in the borehole.


Many years ago, when I was a young man, and I sat here, on the front stoep, and I saw the white smoke floating away slowly and gracefully from the mouth of the bottle, and with a far-off fragrance, I used to think that the smoke looked like a young girl walking veiled under the stars. And now that I have grown old, and I look at the smoke, I imagine it is a young girl walking under the stars, and still veiled. I have never found out who she is.


*karee-boom, wild fruit tree.
*moepels and maroelas, wild fruit.
*rust, blight.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Highmoor 2.

A few more photos of Highmoor. But before that in my post about fishing at Boomy dam 30th April, I wrote about my frustration of not catching anything even though I tried every fly in the book. Mark of the blog Northern California Trout took pity on me and said he would send me some "wiggle tail" flies. Well they arrived in my post box at school this morning, and they look great, can't wait to try them. Mark enclosed these flies in a very handy dry fly box. So actually two presents in one. Wednesday is municipal elections in South Africa, and schools will be closed  Many schools are used as polling stations. So you know what I'll be doing on Wednesday.Thanks Mark for your generosity!!

Small stream on the way to Kamloops dam, also a tributary of the Little Mooi.

Wooden foot bridge crossing the stream. This structure is much sturdier than it looks.

About 20 meters down stream, the stream enters this "kloof", the direct translation from Afrikaans would be cleft. In the US I suppose it might be called a canyon. If you fell off the foot bridge it would be a very long slide to the bottom.

This view gives you an idea of the ruggedness of the country.

Photo across Kamloops dam.

 Sudden change in the weather, and the temperature drops drastically. Photo across Salmo dam towards Giants Castle.
On my way back to the car I walked to the edge of the Kloof, and took this photo of the Little Mooi's head waters. About a 100 metre drop, almost sheer.

Taken from almost the same spot as the previous photo, but looking downstream. The next photo is to the right and shows where the stream crossed by the foot bridge enters the main kloof. As you can see I didn't stand to close to the edge.


The bottom of the kloof and stream, crossed by the foot bridge in a previous photo, entering from the right.


Basically the same shot as above but not zoomed in.


The trail back to the footbridge. This is very rugged country and it can be very dangerous, and this is just the Little Berg, foothills of the Drakensburg proper. Anyone who wishes to hike here has to fill in the mountain register, stating number of persons in the party hiking, (minimum of two, but four or more recommended) where you will be hiking to, and which trail you will use, (trails are named). When you return you must sign out in the mountain register. If you don't they will think you are lost or injured and start looking for you.

The big killer here is the weather, which can change in minutes. Even in summer it can suddenly get bitterly cold.

One of the trail markers, this one reads "aasvoelkransgrot", or translated in to English, Vulture's Cliff Cave. Wonder if Og of Gorges Grouse blog, will find this cave to his liking. Better check it out for him.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Highmoor.

Took a trip to Highmoor Nature Reserve in the Drakensberg today, Sunday 15th. They don't call it Highmoor for nothing, it is high, about 2000 metres. The road to Highmoor , is the same road through the Kamberg valley that I took going to Kamberg Nature Reserve, but instead of turning off as you do to Kamberg you carry straight on.


Took some photos of the Berg as I approached. I had never been to Highmoor before, so it was a surprise for me when I saw how close I got.


Giants Castle on the left of the photo, Well tended farm in the foreground.


Took this photo, on the way, of the avenue of trees leading into Brackenwaters farm. This farm has a large dam, which the fishing club I belong to has access. Good fishing for bass in the summer and trout in the winter.


Narrow bridge on the road to Highmoor. The last bit of the road to the gate is gravel, but well maintained.

Mountain stream upstream of the narrow bridge.

Down stream of the narrow bridge. The water below the bridge was quite deep. Looked so cool and inviting, had to fight the urge to jump in. This is a tributary of the Little Mooi River, a brown trout stream. The Little Mooi flows into the Mooi river, also brown trout water. (Mooi, Afrikaans for beautiful, or pretty) Brown and rainbows don't occur in the same water together. Though both were seeded in these waters. In some streams Rainbows took over, in others brown trout.

Entrance to Highmoor.

Warning sign at the entrance, and they ain't kidding.

Start of the climb into the mountains.

Looking down into the gorge from the road. A long way to the bottom.

Fore head, nose and chin of the giant of Giants Castle. Taken on the trail to the first dam.

This is for Kay in Canada. The Rainbow trout in South Africa originally came from the Kamloops area in Canada.

I still have a lot of photos of my day in Highmoor, but I'll save them for another post.

Rule no 1 when fishing in the high mountains, taken warm clothing. The weather changes in minutes. I rediscovered that today.

No cabins at Highmoor, but you can camp, the cost R25 per person, about US$7.50. Just come prepared for cold nights.

The Moon 5.


Final excerpt from the short story, Drieka and the moon, by Herman Charles Bosman.

Well, there is not much left for me to tell you. In the days that followed, Drieka Breytenbach was always in my thoughts. Her long, loose hair and her red lips and her feet that had been in the roadside sand with mine. But if she really was the ghost that I had at first taken her to be, I could not have been more afraid of her.


And it seemed singular that, while it had been my words, spoken in the moonlight, that helped to bring Drieka and me together, it was Drieka's hot breath, whispering wild words in my ear, that had sent me so suddenly from her side.


Once or twice I even felt sorry for having left in that fashion.


And later on when I heard that Drieka Breytenbach had gone back to Schweiser-Reneke, and that her husband had been shot dead with his own Mauser by one of the black farm workers, I was not surprised. In fact I had expected it. Only it did not seem right, somehow, that Drieka should have got a  farm worker to do the thing that I had refused to do.


All photos used in The Moon posts, from the Internet.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

The Moon 4.


This is the penultimate part of Drieka and the moon, by Herman Charles Bosman.

We were holding hands then, sitting on the grass with our feet in the road, and Drieka leant  her head on my shoulder, and her long hair stirred against my face, but I looked only at her feet. And I thought for a moment that I loved her. And I did not love her because her body was beautiful, or because she had red lips, or because her eyes were blue. In that moment I did not understand about her body or her red lips or her eyes. I loved her for her feet; and because her feet were in the road next to mine.

And yet all the time I felt, far away at the back of my mind, that it was the moon that was doing these things to me.

"You have got good feet for walking on," I said to Drieka.

"Braam Venter would have said that I have got good feet for dancing on," Drieka answered, laughing. And I began to grow jealous of Braam Venter.

The next thing I knew was that Drieka had thrown herself into my arms.

"Do you think I'm very beautiful, Schalk?" she asked.

"You are very beautiful, Drieka," I answered slowly, "very beautiful."

"Will you do something for me Schalk?" Drieka asked again, and her red lips were very close to my cheek. "Will you do something for me if I love you very much?"

"What do you want me to do Drieka?"

She drew my head down to her lips and whispered hot words in my ear.

And so it came about that I thrust her from me suddenly. I jumped unsteadily to my feet; found my horse and rode away. I left Drieka Breytenbach where I had found her, under the thorn-tree by the roadside, with her hot whisperings still ringing in my ears, and before I reached home the moon had set behind the Dwarsberge*.

*Berge, mountains.

Braai. (BBQ)

Quote: "To see the world in a grain of sand
               And heaven in a wild flower,
               Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
               And eternity in an hour."


               Auguries of  innocence (Extracts) By William Blake.
One of my favourite poets.

Last night the Italian Leprechaun and I had one of our get together's.  Put some meat on the fire and opened a can or two of Guinness stout. Very good it was too, then we proceeded as usual to solve the world's problems, philosophise and generally chew the fat.(no pun intended)

We sat outside for about four hours until the cold drove us inside.

The Italian Leprechaun puffing on his pipe with. My landlord promised me, cross his heart, etc., that he will be painting my cottage this coming week. Will have a special post if this comes true!

Yours truly.

 Flames, the fire in our braai.


Found this picture on the Internet. As you can see South Africans take their braaing very seriously. Just noticed that this truck has an NE licence plate which is an Estcourt licence plate. In Kzn we still use the system of licence numbers according to your magisterial district. ND, Durban, NP, Pietermaritzburg. The rest of the country uses a computer generated licence numbers, ending with the initials of the province, eg., GP, Gauteng Province.

Many families braai on a Sunday after church. Ostensibly to save mom the hassle of cooking. Mom then spends hours in the kitchen preparing salads, bread rolls and dessert, while dad does the hard work of holding a beer can in his hand and watching the meat burn. Afterwards mom cleans up and washes the dishes.

The Kids? Well the kids are sulking, the wanted to go to Mac Donalds or the Wimpy for a burger and milkshake.

Friday, 13 May 2011

Sunrise over Estcourt.

Coming to work this morning I took this photo.

Sunrise over Estcourt at 06:40. A beautiful start to a great day.

Taken 10 minutes later from the school grounds.

Taken ten minutes after the one above.