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Saturday, 26 January 2013


A very interesting young man with a very interesting blog.

I took this quote off the blog mentioned above.

To all those who commented on my previous post about Smokey, thank you. 

"Smoke(y) gets in your eyes." R.I.P

Quote: The only thing better than a cat is a kitten.

He crawled deep into my heart, that's why there are tears in my eyes, for a short while he was a part of my life but he left an indelible memory.

On the farm where I live there are five dwellings, the original old farm house where the farmers son and daughter in law life, the "new" farm house where the farmer lives, and three cottages built around a large oval garden. The whole complex is fenced in and the original farm house has a diamond mesh fence surrounding it. My cottage is directly opposite the old farm house. In the large back yard of the old farm house, securely fenced off, lives a very bad tempered Rottweiler. Smokey somehow managed to get through this fence and the Rottweiler made short work of him sometime Monday night. 

Click to enlarge.

The day he crawled into my heart, taken in the school staff room. Photo by Hazel Stanley. Hazel found the kittens dumped on the road on her way to school.

View of the old farm house from my back door. A small piece of paradise, unfortunately there is always a snake in Paradise.

On Monday afternoon late, Enrico Bucceri, (aka the Italian leprechaun), a colleague of mine who also lives on the farm now, had coffee with me. About 5:30 pm he went home and Smokey followed him. Booch, as Enrico is known to all, adopted Smokey's brother and Smokey just loved to play with him. When the two of them got to Boochs' cottage the two cats ran off to play in the garden. Later Boochs' kitten returned and he assumed that Smokey had gone home. 

I hunted high and low for him until late but to no avail. Next morning I phoned Owen, the farmer, and asked him to keep an eye out for my kitten, about a half hour later he phoned to tell me the sad news.

There are ten dogs on the farm, four large dogs and six small dogs. Smokey played with nine of them, he might even have thought he was a dog, so he had no fear of dogs.

The Italian leprechauns cottage partially visible on the right. This cottage suddenly became vacant in November last year and the leprechaun decided he would would like to rent it.

"He ain't heavy, he's my brother." Smokey using Sissy as a mattress. Photo taken by E Bucceri.

His chair.

Bird watching, with intent.

Rest in peace my little friend.

Monday, 21 January 2013


I always enjoy this blog. Not another Episcopalian blog. Obviously not a fan of President Obama.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Ages of a man. (A short biography)

During the move from my old cottage to where I live now I came across these photos of me, covering most of my life.

         Ps. 39: 4 - 5 (KJV)

        " Lord, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is: that I   may know how frail I am.
          Behold thy hast made my days as an hand breadth:..."

Photo above 1948. Not quite a year old. I did have a primary school photo, grade one, of me in all my gap-toothed glory, but somehow it has got mislaid, so the next photo is a jump of about 13 years.

High school photo, 1963. A very serious young man. I left school at the end of 1964 with a grade 10 certificate, known back then as a Junior Certificate. After completing my army training I enrolled with a correspondence school and completed my Matric, (Gd 12) I never liked school but I have always liked learning.

1966 Basic infantry training, (fit as a fiddle and able to run 20 km with one stop half way)1 S. S. B.,. (1 Special Service Battalion). This battalion was formed in the Depression years of the 1930's to provide employment for unemployed young men. During the 2nd World War the battalion earned a fearsome reputation in North Africa and later in Italy.

Photo above taken in 1974 while I was recovering from a severe illness. I had just spent three months in hospital and weighed about 30 kg's (70 lbs), took me another 9 months of recuperation before I could go back to work. Still had all my hair though, the baby is a niece of mine.

Wedding day 4th April 1980, 32 years old. I have been to several weddings during my lifetime, but I never enjoyed one of them as much as I enjoyed my own. This is and old Polaroid photo. Though the wedding was fun the marriage only lasted 12 years, my wife and I have been separated,  (not divorced) for 20 years. The long distance (1500 km) relationship works pretty well for us though.

Graduation day December 1994, 47 years old B Bibl. degree in Library and Information Science.(University of Stellenbosch). I got a lot of criticism from some people for wasting time at my age and going to university. A year later I enrolled for a post graduate Honours degree with UNISA, (University of South Africa).It took me two years of study, after hours, to complete, and I passed with distinction. UNISA is a distance learning institution, with students from all around the world. What most people don't know is that UNISA is one of the worlds biggest universities.

Self portrait taken a few months ago. Healthy, wealthy,and wise(?). Definitely healthy, the other two I'm still working on. One thing that I've learnt over the years is that education does not equal wisdom.

Ps 16: 6. (KJV)
  "The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage."

Life hasn't been all sunshine and roses, and there have been some deep, dark valleys along the way. Many, maybe most, of my youthful dreams and ambitions came to nothing, but all in all life has treated me pretty well and I have nothing to complain about, but lots to be grateful for.

Friday, 18 January 2013

How it works .....IN THE USA.

How it works......... IN THE USA

John Smith, an American started the day early having set his alarm clock
for 6 am … 

While his coffeepot 

was perking, he shaved with his 
electric razor

He put on a 
dress shirt 

designer jeans 

tennis shoes

After cooking his breakfast in his new electric skillet

he sat down with his 

to see how much he could spend today. After setting his watch

to the radio 

he got in his car 

filled it with GAS
(from Saudi Arabia ) 

and continued his search
for a good paying AMERICAN JOB. 

At the end of yet another discouraging
 and fruitless day 
checking his DELL Computer 
( made in MALAYSIA ),

John decided to relax for a while.
He put on his sandals 

poured himself a glass of wine 

and turned on his TV 

and then wondered why he can't find a good paying job


You gotta keep this one c

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Concentration camps.

Concentration camps.

Auschwitz? No British concentration camps in South Africa 1900 – 1902.

This photo of Lizzy van Zyl, was taken just before she died.

Unknown. Did he survive, I wouldn't think so.

This little girls mother had obviously combed her hair so she would look "good" for the photo.

In August 1899 the Anglo Boer War, (1899 - 1902) broke out between the mighty British Empire and two small South African Republics, the Zuid Afrikaansche Republiek, (Transvaal) and the Free State Republic. This war also known as the South African War was started by Britain ostensibly to protect the rights of the thousands of foreign mines workers, but in reality it was to gain complete control of the mineral wealth, (gold & diamonds).

South Africa. The blue is British Cape colony and the red, Natal colony. Orange, the Free State Republic, also known as the Model Republic because it was so well run. The green part the Zuid Afrikaansche Republiek, also know as the Traansvaal. The British had no argument with the Free State, they had stolen the Free State diamond fields a decade earlier, but the Free State'rs decide to side with their kin across the Vaal River.

The armed forces of both Republics never exceeded 50,000 and during the guerrilla fase was down to less than 20,000. The British forces, (eventually totaling more than 300,000) after some severe setbacks soon completed their invasion and occupied both capitals and other major centers. Occupy a country’s capital and the war is over right? Wrong, it had only started.

The Boer forces were highly mobile mounted Kommando’s, each man supplied his own horse and supplies, the Mauser rifles and ammunition were supplied by the Government. Uniform? Well uniform was whatever you were wearing when you left home.  Every burgher, (citizen) was a natural horseman, (almost born in the saddle you could say) and a crack shot with a rifle, miss, there was no such thing.

Out in the veld the Boers led the British a merry dance, attack suddenly and disappear. Ambush, and before the Brits could wipe out their eyes, the Boers disappeared like mist before the sun. When they needed food and clothing they just stopped at the nearest farm, where the women and children were looking after the home front. Arms and ammunition they took from the British, when theirs ran out.

Boers at war. The man in the middle is General Peter de Wet. Note the old grey beard on the left, boys from the age of 16 to old men of 70 plus, went to war. The General would have had no "Military academy" training. All officer were elected by their men, and if they were useless just as easily demoted back to the ranks.

For the British this was an untenable situation, a war against some Hilly Billy, peasant farmers, which should have been over in a few weeks, (home by Christmas) was dragging on and on and costing millions of pounds a month, and thousands of lives. Lord Kitchner, (he of the famous poster, above), came up with the idea, deprive the Boer forces of their source of supply, ie, the farms and families of the Boer fighters. Thus was born his scorched earth policy. More than 30,000 farms and 40 towns were destroyed, 90% of all livestock destroyed and all crops burned. My great grandfather, Andries Eksteen’s, (he was POW in Ceylon at the time) farm was one of those slated for destruction. Fortunately for him, the black farm workers, had herded all the livestock into the hills. The British troops set fire to the house and rode off to the next farm. The Sotho workers put the fire out and hid all the family’s possessions in caves. (many of these workers died in British concentration camps which were set up for blacks. Estimates of black deaths in these camps vary from between 40,000 to 100,000). When my great grandfather returned from prisoner of war camp, in Ceylon, he found a basically working farm, most of the other POW’s returned to poverty and destitution.

Burning farm house, strange how people must record their sins. After the war the British parliament voted a three million pound reconstruction package, about as much as it cost to wage the war for a month.

(Horatio Kitchner, 1st Earl Kitchner. Butcher of South Africa and butcher of Omdurman, (1889)(30,000+ Fuzzy Wuzzyz killed, 15,000 killed outright and 15,000 left to die of their wounds on the battle field. British casualties? 48. British hero. The epitome of Victorian manhood.)

The homeless women and children? Concentrate them in special camps, hence the term “Concentration camps.” Conditions in these camps were horrendous, inadequate food and shelter and very little medical care. Typhoid, measles, whooping cough, and other infectious diseases were rife.  The food supplied was barely enough to survive on, never mind fight off infections. My grandmother was a baby of about one year old when she entered one of these camps, and survived, but ended up completely deaf due to contracting a whole host of the above  mentioned diseases.

British propaganda photo. New arrivals in camp having tea. 

The death toll eventually reached almost 28,000, most of these were women and children. You might say “but compared to what happened later in the 20th Century  that hardly counts”. True, but when you consider that this was 10% of the total Boer population, it counts.

Result:  An extremely paranoid Afrikaner nation, (the only people on the continent of Africa who call themselves “African” as their national/tribal name) and eventually “Apartheid”. They were never going to allow others to rule them again. 

The bitterness left by the war lasted well into the 70's of the 20th Century, and here's me more than a hundred years later and I still remember it.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Fiscal cliff, a prophecy?

I hope not, where America goes the rest of the World gets dragged along.

As Angela Merkel of Germany told the Greeks, "How hard can it be? You spend less than you earn! Simple!

This year the US budget exceeds tax income by about 30%! 

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Politicians and nappies. (Diapers)

Saw this in today's  "Weekend Witness, January, 5th, 2013. Thought it funny and so true.  If only you could get rid of the politicians as easily as nappies, some of the blighters just won't go.

Click to enlarge.


Friday, 4 January 2013

Your intrepid African fly fisherman.

Your intrepid African fly fisherman braved the dangers and hardships of Africa to bring you one photo of one 6 inch rainbow trout. Even if though I say so myself, a very beautiful little fish and worth all the effort to catch it.

Click to enlarge.

Wild rainbow, this stream was stocked once more than a hundred years ago and never again. Since then these fish have thrived and flourished here in the cool, pure, crystal clear waters.

The best part though is I caught it on a fly I tied myself, a Zack nymph, (a South African fly) and with a 2 weight fly rod I built. This little fish gave a very good account of itself in the fast water, putting a serious bend in the 2 weight.

The setting, Injasuthi Nature Reserve.

The flat rock and it's pool. (See dialog below). 

While I was assembling my fly rod next to the road bridge crossing the stream, a car (huge 4 x 4 actually) stopped next to me and a young man stuck his head out, and said, "Walk down stream about 200 meters to a big flat rock and you'll find great fishing in the pool below it. Fish on the bottom with a weighted nymph and add some split shot to keep the fly down, the water is deep, and the fish are holding right on the bottom". Then he drove off with a wave and, "Good fishing".

I first tried my luck about 50 meters upstream, where I have often fished, missed several strikes, then decided to follow the young mans advice and head downstream. Just below the bridge was a nice looking bit of water so I decided to try there first. But I eventually gave up, not because I thought I would not catch anything but because I got tired  of waving back and greeting everyone as they drove or walked over the bridge. South Africans are a friendly lot and will greet, and talk to, anyone and everyone. So I headed downstream to the fabled flat rock and it's pool full of fish.

Easier said than done, usually one could walk right next to the stream, but the water was up, bank to bank, so it meant walking through the bush and grass above the stream bank. Now in theory that doesn't sound too bad but the grass is a meter to a meter and a half tall, it's hard and tough, to add to the fun, there are hard tough shrubs, just as tall, (or taller) and thorn bushes. Furthermore you are walking on boulders from the size of your fist to the size of your head. The grass is so thick you can't see the ground so you put your feet down hoping to luck, and this is great snake country. As I pushed and struggled my way through this "jungle" I kept thumping my wading staff on the ground to scare of any snakes.

An open patch on my route downstream.

To cut a long story short it took me almost 40 minutes to cover the 200 meters, only when I got there did I see there was a much easier route directly from the road. Well you live and learn. (I hope).

The pool, there is an eddy just in front of the rock and a deep undercut under the rock and under the grassy bank. I got several takes by letting my fly drift right through to the tail of the pool and swing, but missed them. My problem was that although my nymph had a bead head and a few turns of lead wire it wasn't enough to get really deep enough, and my container of split-shot was lying at home. 

A view upstream. Although the water was flowing very fast, there are plenty of nice holding spots. Against the far bank was a deep run with a nice undercut.

Cape Grass bird, (Sphenoeacus afer). I spotted this bird on my way out, habitat; rank grass-land. Well the grass here can be described as very rank.

Just another S#@t day in Africa.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Out of the mouth of babes.

From 1996 to 1999 I had the privilege to teach at an Industrial school for girls, (milder form of the old reformatories). Below is one grade 10 girl's answer as to what National income is. This was part of the November 1997, gd 10 Business economics test paper.

This photo really needs to be enlarged.

Click to enlarge. 

I don't think anyone could disagree with her answer.