Category “English – Nonsense Novels”


Sunday, 30 October, 2016

By the time I arrived, the biker gang was there already, hanging around the counter of Molly’s Diner.  In spite of them swigging on their milk shakes, I did not feel intimidated.  I’m not that easily intimidated by 8-year olds, see.

The atmosphere held a palpable excitement, a mixture of parents and younger siblings getting ready for the show to begin.  This year Durbanville Prep School celebrated their 50th year with their annual concert, this time titled Jukebox Jive.   And what a show it was!

At the hop

The audience was captivated by the opening scene just as the biker gang was captivated by an (ageing) Molly, listening to her tales of the diner and its Jukebox that had been there since 1966, when she’d been there.  Which, of course, explains why she is by now slightly ageing.  Not that one would have noticed it, though.

Obladi oblada…verhoog

But speaking of age, you ain’t seen nothing yet.  The next moment an actor burst through onto the scene, with a just as captivating a dance.  I thought he might be slightly too old to be a learner of a school that only goes to grade 3.  I have difficulties guessing age, though.

I was thus relieved to be advised that coach Sampie was indeed somewhat closer to retirement age than to primary phase school going age.  But he ain’t lost none of his agility, I can tell you that.  I assume him to be the hip-hop coach.

With the help of the right song from the jukebox, the laaities in leathers then got tele-trans-time-sported back to the Cove of 1966.

Good golly, miss Molly….!

Impress them with your moves, bro.

Which the kids on stage duly did.  Jailhouse Rock, strait outa the fifties, ek sê.

And then Jimmy spotted her.

Would you be my girl?  Ba-ba-ba-barbara Ann…

Oh, and cleverly, Molly is suddenly her young 1966 self.

Time it was…

Barbara-Ann’s fun was then duly spoiled by her brother.  That’s mos the thing about siblings.

Dad says it’s time to go home, and “if my dad says it is ten o’clock, then it is ten o’clock”, Barbara-Ann explained.  Seriaas?  That’s clearly 1966.  Current day thinking considers “if my dad says it is ten o’clock” to simply mean the opening bet that sets in motion intricate negotiations regarding the true time to come home.

Enter Chi-Chi van der Merwe and Betty.  Man, need I say more….

Under the Boardwalk

Now Micky the sixties surfer started strutting his stuff.  Cool shirt.  Cool moves.  Cool hair.  Anything goes to get Barbara-Ann’s attention.  Which he duly does with some measure of success.

Then followed a cacophony of colours and dances.

Sonbrilletjies (no, not Al Debbo.  And if you don’t know who Al Debbo is, you are too young to read this anyway).   Followed by the Ossewa Jive (I kid you not), and then whole Hawai Huppelkind brigade joined in the fun.

The missing link

Around here somewhere I missed a chapter which was called Limbo.  Or actually, I did see it, I just missed when it started.  But worse than that, I realised I got the characters totally confused.  I was sure that Jimmy, the biker dude chasing Barbara-Ann, got switched!

Turns out he was indeed switched!  Jimmy the biker dude who is chasing Barbara-Ann #1 got taken ill.   So between scenes Jimmy the biker dude who is chasing Barbara-Ann#2 seemlessly took his place.

Sommer just like that.  The show must go on.  And it did!



Now here’s a tip for future business opportunities.  Everything in this scene had to do with sugar and sweets of all kinds.  Imagine you take a break here and open up the tuck shop for 10 minutes.  Just a thought, nuh?

Ok, I must say the Drakensberg Boys Choir ensemble at the back threw me out a bit, but I take this as a clever anachronism.

Surfs up

When surfer meets biker.

Jimmy’s bike, he sang, can’t be touched.  Meanwhile in the corner at Molly’s, his chum Vince/Freddy?  duly donned blow up arms and an orange tjoepie around the middle.  Haarh-haarh funny!

Jimmy took his Harley for a spin.  The convincing sound causes the fact that he actually had to push his bike across the stage to go virtually unnoticed.

Ok, by now you should have noticed that the play is based on the Grease story.

So Jimmy and company needed to get back to 2016, fifty years in the future.

Wherever you are

In this scene the two eras got split with dancers dressed in white and red dancing on opposite sides of the stage.  Then as they kept on dancing, the two eras began to blend into each other.  I thought it was rather cleverly done.

This little car of mine

Meanwhile the biker dudes were back into the future, tinkering on a car.  The mechanics went about their business with spanners the size of crowbars.  The dancing scene included a number of guys running around with car tyres.  One of them I would describe a slightly bigger than the rest.  This caused him to very casually and effortlessly go about with his tyre, with some deadpan facial expression to show just how effortless it was.

In the meantime Jimmy confided in (the now older again) Molly how he missed Barbara-Ann.  And then Molly comes up with this pearl of wisdom:

“Strange things happen if you believe.  But you must love rock and roll”. 

Aah, man!  My faith has been restored!


Predictably, Jimmy decided to go back to Barbara-Ann in 1966.

“Me too,” reckoned his one mate.

“Ja, me three,” chirped the other grapgat.

Forget him

Not to be outdone, the surfer dude also arrived in a sun yellow car to woo Barbara-Ann with.

Aah, Mickey, you’re so pretty.

His mates showed off their sixpacks – neatly koki drawn on their torsos!

And then reality struck.  Barbara-Ann’s boet came to fetch her again, berating her for her room that looked like a pig sty.  Nuh?  I thought that only happens in 2016? Thank you, I feel better now.

Bad moon rising

Well, you know mos, it had to happen.  The bikers and the surfers met up again, and not madly in love with each other.  With Barbara-Ann, of course, the object of affection for …

Skywalker goes to Bloemfontein

Tuesday, 12 April, 2016

Going on a road trip

The Modern Pentathlon national championships South Africa were held in Bloemfontein in April this year.  Kleinboet made it into the Western Cape team, and I decided to join the lot going up to Bloemfontein.  Just to keep an eye on him.

We made up part of the Boland contingent of the Western Cape team, which in turn were made up to a large extent from the boys of Paul Roos.  We departed early on the Thursday morning with a minibus and trailer from Stellenbosch.  Well, for me half past five in the morning is early, given that I had to leave home before 04h00 that morning to get to Stellenbosch.

We have not even left Stellenbosch when a quietness setlled  down on the bus with everyone asleep.  Except Coenie, of course, which was rather reasonable, given that he was driving the minibus.

There had been a mutual and total misunderstanding by all the athletes as to how the pit stops would work.  At the first post dawn stop just past Worcester, they were advised that this was a 10 minutes loo stop only.  But no, everyone also ordered some takeaways to eat.  The result was that a planned 10 minute stop became a 35 minute stop.

Near De Doorns Coenie’s lack of sleep the previous night (and obviously whilst driving too) caught up with him, and he swopped seats with Gerhard.  We managed to not stop at Laingsburg.  Trucks ruled supreme on the road between Laingsburg and Beaufort-West.

As we entered Beaufort-West I noticed that Club Lipstick does not exist anymore.  Not that I ever visited it, but two decades ago we considered it a bit of a landmark on the Southern side of town.  I just knew that this is a snippet of information that the readers of this publication were just dying to know.  We had to take on fuel, so this time the kids were free to take their time.  Which they duly did.  We considered this our lunch stop.


The exercise was repeated at Three sisters.   To our dismay we realised that we had been on the road for close to 7 hours already, and this was only the half way mark.

The upside of modern times is that all kids nowadays have are-we-there-yet deflectors, powered by either MTN, Vodacom or CellC.

Are we there yet suppressor

That, of course, takes some strain off the driver of the vehicle not having to provide running commentary on the progress being made.

There were not much planning put into fuel stops. As we stopped so often, we just filled up as we went along.   Somehow, though, we got it wrong.  At Colesberg the designated petrol stop was under construction, so we attended the nearby KFC instead.  They did not have unleaded fuel on offer.  Nor any  other fuel, for that matter.  The kids ordered food yet again.  I don’t know what it is with them.  If they don’t need to pee the need to eat!

Hop on the bus gus

With the fuel gauge still sitting comfortably at half, we set off for the last stretch to Bloemfontein.  As dusk approached, though, we realised we are running out of both fuel and towns.  After missing Springfontein South, we managed to get the Springfontein North turn off.  I’m not making this up.  This town with a population of 3699 people, has two entrances, duly marked, and really far apart.

After filling up yet again, we could then set off for the last 140 odd km’s knowing we will not run out of fuel. I even allowed my full weight back on the seat.

At 19h07 we reached Bohmer secondary school, where we were to stay in the school res.  The lady on the GPS had some fun first by making us drive right around Böhmer school’s residence before allowing us in at the main gate.

After getting everyone settled in, and some showered and cleaned up, we went to the nearby pizza outlet to get dinner.

Pizza order

For the rest of the weekend, most of us were spoilt with good meals at the res, which Coenie had arranged with juffrou Anna.

And that was the end of day one.

Getting ready

On Friday morning Gerhard and Coenie had to go to the airport to fetch one of the team members who flew in from Cape Town.  For reasons that will in due time will become evident, this member will be referred to by a pseudo name to prevent any embarrassment to any parties. And because fiction and facts might have become slightly mixed as far as the tales relating to him is concerned.  Skywalker still attended a maths olympiad the previous evening, hence his inability to travel with the team.

Anyway, Coenie and Gerhard left shortly after six the morning for the airport.  The flight would land halfpast seven. They allowed ample time for Bloemfontein’s pre-peak hour traffic.  Bloemfontein she is mos big.  With the plane being delayed, they had lots of time having fun at the airport. Bloemfontein airport is mos also big.

After the plane landed and everyone disembarked, though, Skywalker was nowhere to be found.  After calling in the assistance of security to go check and recheck the plane, Skywalker was found.

Luke Sky

Sitting at a table, minding his own business, having a coffee and toasted sandwich, totally oblivious to various search parties sent out to find him.

Team talk

Later, with everyone back at the res, a team meeting was held.  Amongst other things, the purpose being to check everyone’s clothing was in order.  That is no small feat.  Modern pentathlon requires you to have swimming gear, running gear, fencing gear, shooting gear, and if you are a senior  participant, also a horse and gear for riding same horse.  Fortunately, though, the horses are normally supplied at the venue, so no need to bring your own.

I digress.  At this briefing it dawned upon Skywalker that he left all his fencing gear at home.  The good news was that he had his speedo and running shoes with him.  As good fortune would have it,  another team member still had to join the team, and he would be departing within the next hour to catch the plane.  Hasty arrangements were made to have the left behind clothing shipped out to Bloemfontein.




Thursday, 5 March, 2015

In principle, I prefer to learn from other’s mistakes. Preferably from a distance. Sometimes, though, things are forced upon you, and you have no choice but to learn from own experience.

Recently our area has become invaded by an intruder specie of wasps.   I have now removed a number of these wasp nests from my residence, with mixed success.

In one instance I spotted these buzzers entering one of my roof tiles at the front of my house – at the very highest point from ground level possible on my erf. But having been fairly successful on previous occasions, I waited until dusk one afternoon and decided to tackle these guys.

I got my (friend’s) telescopic ladder that could, with a stretch, make it to that point of the roof. I then took two canisters of aerosol, said to be effective under circumstances, put it in a plastic bag over my shoulder, and took the long road to the roof.

Upon reaching the destination I immediately realised it was a mistake. I should have sent my wife to do this job. This was really **** high! You see, up to the height of say three to four bricks I can still get back to ground level without assistance, but this was way higher than what I consider palatable.

Somehow the wasps became aware of me, with a few of them coming to have a look. They were supposed to be asleep that time of the day. But it is for this purpose that I mos armed myself with the doom fogger.   A slight technicality stood in the way of utilising my weapons of choice, though. See, to reach into the plastic bag to get the doom, I had to let go of the ladder with either one or two hands.

My brain instructed my right hand to let go of the ladder and reach into the plastic bag. Both hands told my brain to take a hike. Funny how white my knuckles became.

I realised that the only way to get them to let go, was to motion some movement downwards. Which I then duly did. I slowly made my way down to the ground again. Very slowly. So that I do not disturb the wasps, that is.

OK, new plan. I took the ladder around the house and put it up at a level where the ground was a lot closer to the roof. Approaching the wasp nest from the other side not only gave met the element of surprise, it also allowed me to crawl over the roof on all fours, rather than to dangle from a ladder.

This was much better.

I took up station near the roof tile under which the nest was. The two cans of doom fogger I put down neatly besides me so that I can grab them easily. See, I first have to lift the roof tile a bit to get to them.

It turns out this roof tile was rather stubborn. Moving it quietly was not an option.

Watching from a distance, my wife raised her doubts as to the wisdom of this exercise and urged me to leave it to the experts. She’s going to call the vet, she said.

I would have preferred her to call the doctor, maybe, rather than the vet, but before I could suggest that, the nest seemed to explode with all the wasps suddenly getting out.

Like Billy the Kid (maybe more like Lucky Luke) I rolled over to foil the attack. I grabbed my double rollie doom fogger and started squirting away. Any wasp coming near were either suffocated or drowned in the doom fogger, depending on the distance. Some might even have died of poisoning. One or two made it through my defences and landed on me, but by that time they were too, well, doomed to launch a proper attack.

I nevertheless urged them firmly to leave me alone. At about that time the neighbour came out and wanted to know what the shouting is about. Unfortunately I could not comment on that. I was busy talking to the wasps. I was not aware of any shouting.

Actually, I was started to enjoy this. I could foil the attacks zapping wildly in all directions with the doom fogger. Take that fogger. Gotha!

Then one of the cans ran empty. Oeps. I felt the balance of power shifting ever so slightly. I wondered whether now might be a good time to maybe start negotiating with the wasps, but most of them seemed pretty fogged up.  So I rather started retreating back to the ladder. Fortunately the wasps seemed to have run a bit out of steam, and I could make my way off the roof in orderly fashion.

The nest is now still there.  And I notice the wasps has since moved back to their nest.

Well, you win some, you lose some.…


Sunday, 22 February, 2015

We recently had the privilege of being able to slip away from home for the weekend.  We booked a self catering unit at Kariza guest house  in Yzerfontein.

Yzer Map

Arriving at Yzerfontein we first attended at the SPAR to get the necessary goodies for the weekend.  As I got out of my car, I was immediately approached by a vendor who sold leather belts.  I suspect this is an eventuality that befalls anyone who stops there with any registration other than CK.  The vendor introduced himself as Robert, but hastened to add “not Mugabe.”   Fortunately I had my belt on and could show Robert a convincing reason why I would not be interested in his belts.

Robert clearly was not to be easily convinced.  He could see I had a belt on, but his is kudu leather, no less.  I should not pass up the opportunity to buy one of his kudu leather belts.  “Ask me how much,” Robert invited me.

I’m a sucker for convincing sales people.  But this time I decided I will stand firm and not let myself be bamboozled into a sale (which it would be, rather than a purchase) of something I do not want, regardless of how cheap it might be.  Apart from previous bad experiences at the hands of a Zambian, and Israeli and a con man  respectively, I thought I might try to impress my wife by not budging.

So in the end I did not ask Robert for the price of his belts, nor did I buy one.  And I can sincerely say it had nothing to do with him being named Robert.  I mean, there are mos some very upstanding Roberts in our world.  I’m thinking Mcbride, Leibrandt, Sobukwe, just to name a few mos.

Anyway,  we eventually arrived at Kariza.


The welcome note left us in no doubt that we were at the right place.


The purpose of the weekend was for my wife to work on her writing, and for me to catch up a bit on my reading.  So the setting was perfect.


From my bed I could see Dassen Island in the distance.


Slightly to the left Table Mountain was visible in the far distance.


Well, we put the weekend to good use.  Sitting on the stoep even saw a chick or two passing through.


We interrupting our reading and writing respectively with braai and eating.



And as I was taught at school to end an essays:  a good time was had by us.…

That thing of the Pharisee

Sunday, 22 February, 2015

I should have known it could not end well.

Picture this, nuh. I’m walking through a shopping centre, minding my own business. I reckon I have become rather good in dodging these sales people that spring a surprise on you and try to sell stuff to you that both you and them know you neither need nor want. I’m always embarrassed to try a new biscuit or whatever and to then nót buy it. So I do the thing of the Pharisee in the biblical parable of old and pass the other way.

So how this girl got it right, I do not know. But the next thing I know, this very beautiful girl had me by the arm and steered (more like pulling, I’d say) me to her open kiosk in the middle of the broad passage of the shopping centre.

At first I was totally flabbergasted by the strange sounds the girl made. After a while I started catching up on the accent. She was actually speaking a good English, it is only the accent that took me a while to realise it is actually English.

“I show you someteeng?” she explained. With the third attempt I understood. Strange, how quickly your ear can adjust. She then grabbed me by the hand.

“You see da lines on yourrrr nail? Everrrrybody has them.”

No sh*t, Sherlock, huh? I thought she was going to read the lines on my hand and tell me my fortune. Not so. The next thing she grabs this funny little brush and starts polishing / massaging / brushing my nail. When she was done, I had this very shiny thumb nail. She pulled my hand to her and pressed it between her breasts.

“Now notting weel take thees off,” she said with conviction. Well, I would hope so.

The next moment she holds something under my nose. Obviously she was now going to give me chloroform and abduct me and have her way with me. So I took a deep breath.

“Thees ees ceutex, ok?” she explained.

She grabbed my thumb again – well, actually for the duration of this whole exercised she never once let go of her grip on my arm. She was making sure I do not escape before she concluded her sales pitch. Another sniff from the cutex and my sinuses were as clear as it had not been in months. She attacked my shiny thumb nail with the cutex, but the shine remains.

Only now did I understand what she meant with “notting weel take thees off.” It was the shine that would remain, not her …… aaah, never mind.

OK, I understand now. And your point is? I wondered, but did not dare to ask.

“You know what happens thees month?”

Aha, trick question. I ran a few possibilities through my memory. School already started, holiday has come and gone, no rugby match to speak of, maybe an eclipse of the sun, I tried.

“No, eet ees Valentines day.”

O, shucks, good thing you remind me. I totally forgot. Oh, but hang on, it is also my wife’s birthday, I remember.

“That is good,” she swooned. She sells just the stuff that my wife would want. “And your daughter,” said she. “Do you have a daughterrrr?”

I hate it when people ask these personal questions. I always suspect a phishing scam in progress. Yet, I find myself mumbling a feeble “yes”.

“And how old ees shee?”

That is none of your business, I thought, but nevertheless find myself parting with this information too.

“Now see, because you arrrr my firrrst customerrr forrr today, I make you a verrrry special deal.”

So there is the lesson. One should not go shopping this early. It is the early worm that gets caught. But now just because (a) I am her first customer, and (b) she is very nice, she will now offer me two of these nail sets for the price of one. However, by now I got wind of the price she had in mind. And for that price I could fit a new tyre on my car.

“Arrrr you frrrrom Cape Town?” she asked.

Aha, an opportunity to change the subject and escape from this sales pitch routine. Yes I and, and where are you from?

“I’m frrrrom Isrrrrael,” she said.

But she does not let go of me. I meekly explain that the price she is talking about is what a tyre would cost me, and that both our washing machine and the tumble dryer have reached the end of their life cycles.

“Oh, but come looook, I show you someteeng.” She dragged me around her computer so that I could see the screen – and the menacing price of the product. Ke-tiek-etiek-etiek, she attacked the keyboard, and wala! The price suddenly halved. How cool is that, huh?

“How doo youu like that?”

Well, it’s still the price of half a tyre, but if that is what it would cost to allow me to escape from her grip with dignity, it suddenly became palatable.

Ok, so I left home to buy chlorine for the pool. I return home with a little thingy that does something to ladies’ nails, and no chlorine.

The lady did mention something about a lifelong warranty on some of the products, but that part was told when she once again had my hand firmly between her breasts, so was not quite sure what she was referring to.

But on the bright side, I had something for my wife for her birthday.

“Oh, you got bamboozled by that girl in the shopping centre,” my wife exclaimed when she opened it.

Now I ask you, what on earth gave her that idea.…

The scary world of the hearing

Thursday, 19 February, 2015


Since I can remember I did not hear excessively well. It was never too big a problem, really. I got by for five decades without major hassles that I’m aware of.

But then my family developed a hearing problem. They suddenly had a problem with my hearing.

Next thing I know I am ushered into the room of an audiologist. She sat me down on a chair in this small room (more like a closet, really) and closed the door. But with her outside, looking in through the window.   I just knew this is trouble. I mean, why lock me up in a sound proofed room if you do not intend doing something to me that is going to make me scream.

I meekly obeyed her orders after she gestured to me to put a set of head phones on that was in front of me.

Well, it did not turn out too badly. She ran a few words past me that I had to repeat to her. Just to have fun I gave her a few wrong answers. After a whole battery of tests she allowed me out of the closet again. She concluded that I do not hear well. No sh*t, Sherlock! She suggested hearing aids to alleviate what she termed “the problem”.

She presented us (yes, my wife would not allow me to go without her in case I did not pitch) with various options. Inside the ear. Outside the ear. Inside and outside the ear. Colour coded, you name it.

It turns out the stuff costs what I got for the last car that I traded in. So I suggested that we just get the largest possible dummy hearing aids in a neon fluerescent shocking colour. Then everyone can see I have hearing aids, and they would then automatically speak up. Problem solved.

I heard my wife say something that sounded like “cheap skate”, but I must be mistaken. She’s normally a kind lady, but she was rather firm in advising me that my idea is not a good idea. Nobody ever listens to me.

In any event, after some hassling, haggling, and serious discussions with my friendly banker, I eventually left the audiologist with a hearing aid in each ear.

Man! What a scary world I entered.

The audiologist and the receptionist bid me a friendly farewell. But why they had to shout is beyond me.

I might have mentioned previously here and there that my bakkie has let me down from time to time. But she is now fine, really. But suddenly I hear noises from the engine (and various other places) that I have never heard before. Before I got to the first traffic light I had to do breathing exercises to calm myself down. I was just convinced the bakkie is at the point of total collapse.

Once I took out the hearing aids, though, the bakkie was fine again.

Upon my arrival home I could hear a huge fracas going on inside. That’s not our style. We’re normally quite a docile bunch. I stormed into the house to calm everybody down, only to find them sitting around the dinner table chatting amicably. But why is everybody shouting!

I went outside into my garden just to collect myself. There, in the quiet remoteness I started relaxing. Being outside earshot of everyone, I even allowed myself to let a soft little flatulent escape. Absolutely simultaneously someone else let rip with a really loud fart. How uncouth!

I jumped, startled, and looked around to see who crept up on me, but there was nobody. I was still alone. Oh, my! I’m starting to hear things!

These things happen, you know. And these gasses can really be a bit of a bother sometimes. So unfortunately I felt the urge to let another little one of these fellas escape. Again I hear this thunder around me. I investigated to see whether someone was hiding behind the tree. Nope, nobody there.   It’s really strange.

I have a bad feeling about these hearing aids, I’m telling you.…

Holiday over

Wednesday, 11 February, 2015

Real life

This year I have a house sitter who stays in my house, looks after the dogs, keep the pool clean, water the garden, and in general check my property to the exclusion of burglars.

One morning he sends me a message that his car had been stolen from the garage. Fortunately (for me) it turned out to have been stolen not from my garage, but from his parents’ house.

We always want to know where our kids are. Gouritsmond is probably the safest place in the country, but still. It is a bit uncomfortable, though, when the kids WhatsApp you 04h00 in the morning to advise that they have returned to their tents.

Life savers guard the beach every day. Usually there are no strong currents at Gourits, so I would assume them to become very bored. One afternoon at the sea, though, they seem to have a perfect little storm, so to speak, with the backwash and the current being just right for people to get in trouble. We witnessed them collecting a little girl being drawn in by the backwash. She was not really in serious danger, although she probably might eventually have been had it not been for the life saver’s quick response. Apparently she was their seventh save for the day.


Camping seems to be a bit of an equalizer between classes. Granted, you could arrive there with very luxurious equipment. But in general the whole camping setup would appear to make the difference between the have-a-lots and the have-less fade away.  Except if you are an avid angler, there is not necessarily much to do that really has to be done. Everything can wait. Meaning that one spends time with neighbours and friends that in the ordinary rush would not have happened.



Whilst preparing the fire for the after dinner roly poly on old year’s eve I got a call from a relative. He’s coming over for coffee tomorrow morning. “Is after eight all right?” he asks.  Of course I say it is fine.   I mean, of course he is kidding. Who comes for coffee anywhere near eight in the morning of New Year’s morning.

Well, it turned out he does. Just past eight he and a friend pulls up at the camp site. As it happened this was the hottest day of the holiday, and by that time we could not stand the heat in the caravan in any event. Even at that hour we did battle finding enough shade for us to have our coffee without breaking a sweat.

Leaving, but not on a jet plane

That last day before leaving for home always turns out the same. In spite of our undertakings to ourselves to enjoy the day to the full, half way through the day we find ourselves starting to slowly lose the holiday feeling and starting putting things right for the big packing that would happen only later the evening.

And when that is done, it is a juggling exercise to organise the stuff so that enough space remains to still sleep that one last night.

So this time we decided to short circuit the whole exercise. A day before our scheduled departure we got up at first light and started packing. By eleven the morning everything was packed, the caravan hitched, and ready to leave.

Oh, not quite. I still need to check the caravan’s rear lights. Normally it works. I always hope it does, because save for scratching the contact points with sand paper, I have no remedy for the event that it does not work.

The trip home goes somewhat slower than with a jet plane, I’m afraid. Just short of five hours later, covering the 360 km at an averaged GPS speed of 76 km/h we arrive home. Thankful for a very nice holiday, and for the tow vehicle not playing up in any way!



Holiday Season 2014 – Part 2

Saturday, 10 January, 2015


Preparing food is nogals a big thing when camping.

I’m not much of a cook, but under the watchful eye of my wife I can these days boil water and even some more without causing injury.

Braai is, of course, the preferred mode of cooking. A conditio sine qua non, so to speak, for camping.


A lamb chops and wors combination is a good start. The chicken kebabs we got from the big shop in Mossel Bay went down well. Only, we too late realised that the red bits on it were chili that the chef chose to add to his spices. We don’t actually do chili.

Potatoes, buttered and covered in feta cheese and then wrapped in tinfoil to bake in the coals make a fine side platter.

For quicker food we make pasta, or resort to vetkoek and mince. OK, to go even quicker we sommer attend Koffiestories, the new coffee shop at Gouritsmond.  They serve milk tart pancakes as a novelty.  Pancake filled with milk tart filling.  So what you see is pancake, but what you taste is milk tart.

Potbrood takes a bit of time, but it can in itself make a principal meal.

One morning our angler neighbour’s fishing expedition came to nought, and we decided on an impromptu brunch.  Brunch in the form of sausage, eggs, tamato, pineaple, greenpeppers, onions and toast all done on the pan on the fire.

Die brunch pan

No, not all at once.  Step by step, until you get to the end result.


My neighbour, being the avid angler, comes home from time to time with fish to braai.  These, I’m told, are called “silver”, although it is red.  Perfectly logical mos.


For the past many years a friend donated a lamb for a spit braai for old year’s eve. Due to bad weather, though, the lamb was this time reduced to tjops, ribs, and leg of lamb. The ribs were made in a potjie, with onions, where it simmered for three hours to make for marvelous rib.  Well, so I’m told.  By the time I got to the pot there was nothing left!

This was followed up by roly-poly desert also made in the potjie on the fire.  I managed to get the ‘before’ picture.

Roly Poly

There was no time for the ‘after’ picture.  I did not think the empty potjie would count for an ‘after’ picture.

In the beginning we used to stock the caravan up before coming to Gouritsmond. It turns out, though, that meat is somewhat cheaper at the local shop than in town. So from time to time we got some really good steaks to grill on the coals.

One morning my wife went to buy steak, but she was advised by the lad manning the power tools there that he cut his hand, and there will be not further meat cutting for the day. Which is probably not a bad idea. I also thought one might want to wait a day or two before you buy meat again. Just to be sure, you know.

Some 7km away is the Stoepsit restaurant pretty much in the middle of nothing. That turned out to be a rather nice hangout. The kids went there for a dance on old year’s eve.

My neighbour does afval potjie (tripe) but swears by one butcher only from whom he sources his afval. I don’t do afval, although I have to admit his end product looks rather appetizing.

Christmas dinner with the family at Montagu is an elaborate affair. It actually starts with the previous evening’s dinner with a braai. Having the meat still simmering on the coals by 22h30 is not strange.

Christmas dinner consisted of chicken, leg of lamb, mustard jelly, cucumber jelly (no, really) roast potatoes. The previous evening’s Casata ice cream is equalled by grandma’s trifle and ice cream.

Ok, I guess you know what this is?


Yeah, I knew you knew.  So what is missing?

This, of course!

The complete picture

Shake, rattle and roll

The waves can be rather hectic at Gourits at times. And if it is windy, the wind chill factor can become pretty uncomfortable.

One morning my wife decides to go for a swim. I advise her to rather leave her sunglasses. She reckons it sits tight enough – the waves will not rob her of her shades. I’m watching from a safe distance. Too chilly for me to go into the water.

The first wave knocks her down and takes the sunglasses. I watch in awe as my wife lunges after her sunglasses. She will clearly not let it go without a fight. The sunglasses appear to have wings, though. She misses them, then makes a dive role and pounce on them again. Miss again. Dive role to the other direction, lunge, miss again!

She interrupts her endeavours to wave bravely at me. I wave back.

Then she proceeds, her endeavours now even more acrobatic than before. She does like a backward summersault roll. Pretty impressive.

She stops and wave at me again. Oh, it seems she is beckoning me to her this time. I jog down to where she sits in the waves. When I reach her she gives me a disapproving look. I quickly check. Could I have another price tag on my red swimming trunks that I have missed?

No, she can’t get up, she says. She did not even notice her sunglasses went missing. All the action I have been witnessing was her endeavours to stand up, each time to be thwarted by a fresh wave that keeps her down.

But in addition to that, she is now bogged down by some 15kg’s of sand that becamed logged in her swimming suit. I get berated for ignoring her gestures for assistance.


Of mice and men

Across the road from us three generations are camping. Grandpa is from Cape Town. Son in law from Gauteng. Grandpa gets up a lot earlier than son in law. As does his two year old grandson.

Then grandpa takes his grandson under his tutelage and teaches him basic values and wisdom. Such as: “Stormers is best”.

After a few days the father gets wind of this, though.

So he then starts indoctronating his son with garbage such as “Blue Bulls always win.”

Some people, huh?


HOLIDAY SEASON 2014 – part 1

Wednesday, 7 January, 2015

Getting the wheels ready

Last year my holiday ended with my whole rig and my family being delivered at our house by a tow truck.

Travelling in style

The thing with these little discomforts is that it normally makes for good reading. Afterwards.

After our rather peculiar mode of arriving home, I was under pressure to have the family transport upgraded to something that the family would perceive as more reliable. My seventeen year old vehicle with 290 000km’s on the clock just did not do it for the family any more. I was not yet convinced that a replacement was called for.

But I was overtaken by events. Our second set of wheels (also older than a decade) suddenly needed acute repairs that simply did not seem worth its while. So I had to replace those wheels. And thus, I still have my trusted bakkie.

But in a bit of de ja vu I started experiencing mechanical problems on my bakkie just in the month before departure. With three weeks to go and all moving parts in the starter circuit already replaced with new ones, I still had a problem getting the bakkie to start when hot. My auto electrician then performed an experimental repair that he believed would solved what turned out to be a voltage drop.

Problem is, I would only finally know whether it worked when the bakkie travelled a bit. Which would mean that only on the first leg of my holiday travel would I know. So just to be sure we decided that the second set of wheels has to travel along as a back-up vehicle. It did remind me of the mechanic to whom I spoke shortly after I acquired my bakkie many years ago. He said of course I can go do heavy offroading in Kaokoland with said bakkie, as long as the tow truck went along.

The departure is the now well known drill, ie getting the caravan out without taking bits of gutters, gates, walls and bougainvilla along. After doing this for ten years, we now seem to have got the hang of it.  We now get it right without the shouting and the cursing that the neighbours used to complain about. There is just no replacement for experience.

After the pit stop at Worcester it was with trepidation that I started my bakkie again. And walaa! It started! It seems like my autolec actually got the problem fixed! I am happy to report that, in the end, the bakkie gave sterling service.

Off to sea

At Gouritsmond’s annual library book sale I buy two books for the quiet moments of the holiday. Robert Ludlum’s Matarese Circle, and Geoffrey Archer’s Eagle Trap. I’m not sure either of these gentlemen would be happy to know that their works of art are being sold for the equivalent of the princely sum of some 17 British cents (R3) each. But then again, with the strength of the Pound Sterling one never knows. I certainly got a lot of value for my money.

Holidaying at the sea, of course, makes it mandatory to go to the beach.

On day one I accompany my 12-year old just to check on him. When his older boet was that age the two of us got swept away by a strong backwash that came close to turning out tragically. So I prefer to keep an eye on the chap.

Gourits strand

For the occasion I don my brand new garish red trunks. It seems to hit a nerve on the beach. I cannot help but notice the people taking cognisance of me. Some even openly point at my larnie swimming trunks. Although I profess to be a humble man I have to confess that I do have an ego. Which ego took kindly to the attention of especially the girls on the beach. So I put a bit of a swagger in my step and pull in my tummy. Until my son asks me why I am so blue in the face. I then quietly let out my breath again.

This was not a bad start to the holiday at all, I thought.

Back at the caravan I notice that the price tag is still sitting on the outside of my trunks. Given the good response I had on the beach I considered keeping the tag, but decided against it. One should probably not overdo things, nuh?…

One Trick Donkeys

Wednesday, 10 December, 2014

OK, maybe they have more tricks up their sleeves.  But I witnessed only the one.  The one where Gloria and Poppy carried our picnic stuff over the Polka Hills farmlands.

In the winelands between Kuilsriver and Stellenbosch, Swiss born Luca and Ingrid Bein run a private wine cellar which they feed from 2,2 hectares of Merlot grapes.


Source:  Map data ©2014 AfriGIS (Pty) Ltd, Google

The farm is situated on the Polkadraai (Polka turn) road.   The road used to be the road connecting Kuilsriver and Stellenbosch.  The Polkadraai was a notorious bend in the road claiming many a not so sober student victim.  It still is a notorious bend, but it has since been bypassed with a dual carraige way going pretty straight now.  The road is still known as Polkadraai, though.

Luca and Ingrid’s wine making is a rather scientific affair, making use of precision viticulture.  No, I have not idea what it is either, but it sounds mighty grand.  From what I understand it includes having arial pictures taken of the vinyard in red and infra red range,  from which they can judge the performance of the grapes, resulting in them being able to bottle four distinct Merlot’s from these 2,2 hectares.

But what Luca and Ingrid also do, is to take groups on a donkey walk picnic.

Setting off from the cellar, you walk about five kilometers through the scenic vineyards of some of the Polka draai farms, with the donkeys Gloria and Poppy carrying all the goodies for the picnic.

Polkadraai heuwels

Source:  Map data ©2014 AfriGIS (Pty) Ltd, Google

Ingrid and Gloria

False Bay viewThe notorious Polkadraai.


At the picnic spot the donkeys are unloaded.

Eseltjies rus

The blankets are put out.

Komberse uit

And the table set.

Tafel gedek

In between our hosts give some running commentary on the scene, the production of wine, and other interesting facts.

Ingrid & Luca

Then you do picnic.

And taste their wines.

Bein Merlot

And have a nice time.

Whilst tasting their wines.

The donkeys have a rest.


And then, much later, you walk back to the cellar where you started off.  However, the route is planned so that the stretch back to the cellar after the picnic is down hill and very short.

The wall in the cellar displays proof of the Bein’s wine making acumen.




O, and don’t forget:  don’t mess with the donkey’s parking space, nuh.