Category “Johnie’s Journal”

Argentina – Part 3

Thursday, 21 October, 2010

March 2006: La Plata

By JJ Jonker  

It was easy to navigate La Plata on foot using a map from the hotel, as the town is laid out in a square grid of streets and avenues – all numbered – with a few diagonals that run from corner to corner. Wherever the diagonals cross (every 6 streets/aves) there is a roundabout or park with vandalised sculptures and monuments. 

All streets are one-ways, except for the tree-lined main arteries (every 6) with NO traffic signs. Everybody yields (or is supposed to) to the right. So you only slow down through the intersection, check and go. This slows down all traffic to around 40km/h. Unless your mode of transport happens to be the double cab bakkie of the Police Airwing, in which case you don’t slow down. Everyone else must maar look out on your behalf. 

At the top of the town (6 streets up from our hotel), there is a park with a zoo, and we walked up there around 10 am. The surrounding streets are popular for jogging, and a number of people partaking in a road race passed us. The park is well laid out, and appears to be from a more opulent era, with maintenance now sorely lacking. There is an impressive sports complex, including a stadium with a well-maintained pitch. But the buildings are dilapidated, ticket windows shuttered, gates chained up, dry 6-lane looks-like half-olympic size swimming pool, filled in public pool in the park, dirty dam, abandoned/non-operative rental paddle boats, missing plaques and statues, general vandalism, graffiti and even an observatory, which has been closed down.   


The zoo itself has quite a variety of animals, mostly one of each, but we saw lions, tiger, black bear, empty jaguar cage, giraffe, Indian elephant, two monstrous white rhinos (never seen such huge ones before, not even at home), their equivalent of springbok, eland and silver jackals, emus, a wallaby, llama, flamingos, macaws, buzzards, marmoset monkeys and a werfbobbejaan [baboon]. Rubber trees squeeze palm trees to stay upright – reminding one of the trees growing through Inca temple ruins. 

The zoo buildings also are pretty much in need of maintenance. Paving is broken due to tree roots, windows smashed and boarded up, the toilet facilities have no lights, seats or paper, with general upkeep lacking everywhere. 

At lunchtime, a restaurant opens on the pavement outside the zoo. It is literally a take-away restaurant – they take the restaurant away at the end of the day, until next Sunday. 

We unfortunately did not know that this was going to happen, as the pavement was empty when we entered the zoo, and had by that time already consumed a terrible mini-pizza at a kiosk inside the zoo. But the smell was divine, exactly like boerewors. Also just about any cut of meat you can think of, hanging in pieces the size you normally see in a butchery, which is then cut up as per order prior to cooking. Lots of families have lunch here, making a happy noise. 

Police presence is very evident – wearing day-glow orange bibs – patrolling the streets against car-theft. We witnessed a local being arrested right opposite the side-walk restaurant. The perpetrator did not want to come quietly, and the policeman was sitting on top of him, unable to let go to get the hand-cuffs on. It took 3 more officers (one a lady) to get him handcuffed and on his feet, and still he tried to head-butt them. The original arresting officer, once he dusted himself and got his breath back, was physically chased away by the lady officer. She probably correctly understood that he was now going to bliksem [stuff up] the skelm [offender] that gave him so much trouble. He probably did later, when there weren’t so many witnesses around. 

The highest point in town is marked by …

The theory of evolution

Thursday, 21 October, 2010

The origin of buildings

[It’s just a theory, really….]

By JJ Jonker

Many years ago, just about right after the coming into existence of man – as in Homo Sapiens – the requirements for survival were very basic. This was well summed up by Maslow (a while later) as depicted graphically below:

Back then, man was mucking about pretty much at the bottom of this hierarchy, slowly progressing to Level 2, where as part of Safety and Security, shelter became an important issue. Primarily from the elements, but also from wild animals and later – following Cain’s poor example – against the attack of other groups wanting his possessions. The last parameter had not changed much over time and we still have the same problem today.

Now, as the anthropologists have discovered, man at the time was a hunter/gatherer. The men hunted, the women gathered. He lived in a cave which gave good shelter against the elements, but  was pretty much a sitting duck once trapped there by the Tsotsis of that time.

This was a major drawback, as he only became aware of any threat once it was upon him, and this was the main reason why a lifestyle change took place – moving into a more open environment. The challenge was now to design and put up a free-standing structure of some sort to provide the required shelter – this in itself being quite an evolution. Lateral thinking, we would call it today.

Once he had cleared the area – so he could see sufficiently into the distance – man reasoned that seeing as he now has this piece of bare level ground, he may as well plant something there. This would reduce his risk in getting killed during a hunting expedition and also extend significantly the time he could sit in the shade of a tree and drink beer.

He started cultivating the soil ploughing with some antelope which he captured and domesticated. Soon he was farming comfortably. Thus it came to be that all the activities on the lowest level of Maslow’s triangle had been accomplished, and it was now time to progress to the next level – shelter.

So he planted some posts interconnected with an inner and outer lattice of green boughs, filling the cavity with rocks. This worked really well in summer, due to the excellent ventilation and flow-through of air promoted by the gaps between these rocks.

During winter however, it was a very different story. The wind came right through these same gaps, and man realized that he needed to update his design in order to eliminate this problem. What to do, what to do …..

Then it hit him. Cowpats. Just pick them up from behind the plough and plaster the gaps between the rocks shut. And it worked real fine. Bear in mind that this came way before the invention of the wheel, so rates as a major discovery.

Seeing as man had used mostly bull dung for this plastering purpose and that the word “house” did not exist yet, he would at the end of a hard day’s ploughing announce: I’m going bulldung now”. Which meant that he was going home to have a beer.

Of course all this happened before man could even write, so this story was told around the fire, generation after generation, and by the time that it was actually recorded in writing, the term “bulldung” had become somewhat corrupted.

This was mainly due to ancient man’s migration downwards through Africa, and the way the colloquial pronunciation varied the further south he went. This is a natural phenomenon and still the case today, e.g. in Gauteng (north) the second vowel is pronounced ê, and in the Western Cape (south) as è. In the same way, “uh” changed to “ih”, and bulldung became bullding).

Through the next couple of millennia …

Carbon Tax

Thursday, 21 October, 2010

By Johnie Jonker

A report from the Nordic website of ICE News stated the following:

Denmark wants to tax cow farts

The latest climate-friendly tax being proposed in the Danish parliament focuses on the methane emissions that come from cattle when they break wind. The agricultural methane tax is certainly one of the more controversial measures currently being considered by the government.

The Tax Commission, which is behind the measure, estimates that each cow releases around four tonnes of methane each year simply by passing gas. In comparison, the average car emits just 2.7 tonnes of unwelcome emissions per year. Naturally, the Agriculture Council and many other groups have been lobbying hard against the new proposal. For the full report visit:

This goes a long way to explaining why the implementation of carbon tax on motor vehicles worldwide – and recently also here – has been based on a complete misunderstanding, and should be abolished immediately.

The trouble started due to the different ways in which various regions pronounce the same word, e.g. the fact that although still classified as English, the Queen’s version differs considerably from that of the American and Australian versions, to name but two.

The actual event was a speech made by Bruce Wallaby from PATROL (People Against Taxation, Randomly or Otherwise of Litres) – litres of course referring to the displacement of car engines – in the Australian Outback. For those who are not familiar with this organization, they were previously known as FLOB (Four Litres Or Bust), but once again due to their colloquial pronunciation of this acronym in English, this sounded too much like an unsuccessful venture, hence the renaming.

There is also the theory that the new name was chosen because of the organization’s modus operandi.  Small communities in the Outback were targeted initially with their cause. Due to the absence of soapboxes at these venues (all burnt up for fire-wood) Bruce had nothing to stand on to elevate him somewhat above his audience during these speeches, so he stood on the roof-rack of his 1960s vintage large Nissan SUV.

One of these events was attended by a journalist commissioned by the EU – which has its headquarters in Brussels – on a fact-finding mission regarding pollution causes. This is how it came about that while Bruce was emphasizing exactly what the newspaper report above stated – that pollution caused by COWS is a much bigger problem than that of motor vehicles – Roel Aerts (the Belgian journalist) was jotting down what he heard.

Now, prior to coming out to Australia, Roel had studied some of the pronunciation differences pointed out above, and also some key words. For instance, being from the Flemish part of Belgium, a motor vehicle was known to him as a “wagen”, but he knew that Down Under they would use the word “car” instead.

What he also picked up – sharp guy! – was that the Australians tend to not pronounce the “r” at the end of some words, and also stretch short vowels, so when Bruce mentioned the word “Cows”, Roel heard “Caaes” and translated this to mean “Cars”.

Back home, Roel reported his findings to the EU, resulting in – straight away – carbon tax being slapped on motor vehicles throughout Europe, from where it spread worldwide.

So in fact – and actually what Bruce had said – it’s the COWS and not the CARS that is responsible for the major portion of the world’s pollution.


On Wings of a Trike

Thursday, 14 October, 2010

By Johnie Jonker

During every holiday, in addition to caravans, a good number of cars tow trailers with motorcycles, quad bikes and boats, to be used at the holiday destination. Not seen recently though, is someone towing a micro-light aircraft.

The one time I do remember noticing one, was when it was behind my car on the way to De Put, my friend Charl’s farm in the Karoo.  De Put is located distance-wise just about dead-centre between Aberdeen, Murraysburg and Nelspoort. This was the first time I had towed over such a distance, but as the trike is designed to fold up compactly, and due to it weighing less than 150kg, quite an easy tow.

First we had to attend to a make-shift landing strip on a salt-pan (32°18’58.2”S, 23°32’53.72”E). 


The trike in the background belonged to a neighbouring farmer. It shared the hangar with an owl, which regularly plastered the wing. 

Oh, the pumpkin? Well, yes. The wind started blowing very strongly in the afternoon, and the upwind wingtip needed to be tied down to prevent the trike from being flipped upside down. The neighbour’s wing we could peg down with a piece of fencing post that was on the back of the bakkie, but all that was left for ZS-WGR, was the pumpkin. It worked just fine.

Some of the farm labourers had flattened the bushes,  although calling the bushes dead sticks, would be more accurate. Taxiing out the farm gate from the garden, was quite a novel experience.  I mean, picture this:  “Please open the gate, son. I’m going for my daily water-point inspection”.

Take-off on the road at the homestead was possible, but landing at the same location not, in spite of Charl having graded the road with a blade attached to his tractor to rid it of loose stones. The Class-C road was just too narrow, with a converging telephone line, middelmannetjie and flood-humps to boot;  the least amount of cross-wind pushed the trike off track when power was taken off during the flare. This possibility fortunately occurred to us prior to the maiden take-off, and the alternative landing spot was prepared the previous day.

Now might be a good time to mention that I have a bit of a reputation. 

Nothing serious, really.  In any event, in spite of my reputation  I had passengers for every flight. As reward, the guys that prepared the runway were offered a flip, but only one accepted. So up we went, with an intercom connection in the helmets to enable pilot and passenger to communicate with each other.  Via the intercom I pointed out the familiar features that my passenger knew from ground level.  However, my headset remained deathly silent. My enquiry whether he could hear me eventually elicited a very high-pitched “yes?”,  squeaked by my witlessly scared passenger.  I realised that the tallest perspective he had ever experienced to date was standing on top of a windpomp platform, hanging on for dear life, looking for missing sheep.

Realising the state of my passenger I returned to base.  Upon being asked by Charl how it was, my passenger very politely, though unconvincingly, responded that it was “good”. When pushed for an answer which spot he liked most, the response was a rather more accurate: “Right here where I’m standing now, sir”.…

Karoo pictures

Thursday, 14 October, 2010

Pictures by Johnie Jonker


Sometimes there is water – even in the Karoo.


Some folks have left, though

A bekslaner  gate (a ‘chin hitter’ would be a fairly accurate translation)

Trusted companion.  Mode of transport.  Grandstand seat. Leisure traveller too.

Local wise man says:  no tube.  Put in as many plugs as necessary.

Local wise man also says:  don’t bother making the plugs neat on the outside.  Karoo bossies will do it for you.

Die ‘Hall’

Tuesday, 12 October, 2010


Deur Johnie Jonker 

Jare gelede het daar op St Helenabaai ‘n man gewoon met die van Jonker, maar mens sou verskoon kon word as jy gedink het sy van was Meneerjonker, want dis hoe die meeste mense hom aangespreek het.

Meneerjonker was die bestuurder van een van die visfabrieke, Suid-Oranje Visserye Bpk, geleë te Sandy Punt.  As jy van Vredenburg af gekom het, het jy eers by West Point, Brandhuis, Steenberg’s Cove (met die hotel, polisiestasie, slaghuis, winkel en poskantoor) verbygery. Dan om die draai by die Pienaars se plaas op linkerkant, en net daarna SOV aan die regterkant. Hierdie fabriek was die breinkind van wyle AP du Preez, en die ontstaan daarvan is genoodsaak deur vooruitgang, en wel van die volgende aard.

AP du Preez se eerste fabriek, Midwest Canning Co, was langs die Pedro’s se Padkafee (deesdae ‘n backpacker’s lodge) binne die rifbeskutte Vioolbaai geleë.  Eendag met spring gety kom een van die bote terug van die see af kaai toe via die gaping in die rif met ‘n buitengewone swaar vrag vis (jy kon dit nog nie ‘n vistreiler noem nie, want dit was te klein, maar dit sou in die plaaslike spreektaal onder die kategorie van “skeide” val).

Toe steek die boot se kiel vas op die sandbodem, en moes wag vir hoogwater om te kon afdryf. Intussen blokkeer dit die ingang deur die rif, en die ander vol skeide kan ook nie vis aflaai nie.

Geen problem:  die opening in die rif word dieper geskiet, en vir ‘n ruk lank is die ou sakie opgelos, maar AP du Preez weet dat dit net ‘n kwessie van tyd is voordat nuwe bote heelwat groter as die huidiges gaan wees, en dan glad nie deur die passasie kan vaar nie. Toe bou hy solank ‘n nuwe fabriek, SOV.

Nadat die nuwe fabriek ingebruik geneem is, is daar nog vir ‘n ruk lank kreef verpak by Midwest, want dit is gevang deur skeide (40 voet Tjak-Tjakkies) wat wel deur die rif kon kom, maar dis ook later gestaak. Toe ontstaan die vraag:  Wat nou gemaak met die ou fabriek, want dit staan nou leeg en loop gevolglik sleg deur onder vandalisme.

[Dit was great fun om die klein venstertjies van die gebou met klippe uit te gooi – so is my vertel – PGJ]

Waar die nuwe fabriek wel tekort geskiet het, was in stoorspasie om die sakke vismeel te stoor, 20 op ‘n pallet, 4 pallette hoog. Want as al die fabrieke volstoom gewerk het, kon SAS & H nie voorbly met die wegry daarvan met hulle RIO trokke na Vredenburg se stasie nie (die bestaan ook nie meer nie, verstaan ek), vanwaar dit verder versprei is.

 Daar word toe besluit om Midwest vir ‘n transito stoor te gebruik, en oom Gert Smit (sien ry heeldag, week na week vismeel aan met die MAN trok na die ou fabriek, wat net so 2 km weg was, tot die Spoorweë die agterstand ingehaal het.

November breek aan, met jaar-eind-funksies wat deur elke gemeenskap gehou word en wat gewoonlik uit ‘n dans met ‘n plaaslike orkes bestaan. Die probleem is net, daar is nie ‘n danssaal op St Helenabaai nie.

Omdat die visseisoen destyds geloop vanaf 1 Januarie tot 31 Augustus, was al die vismeel teen Oktober egter reeds weggery “dorp” (Vredenburg) toe, en die organiseerders kom toe op die idee om te hoor of hulle nie een van Midwest se leë vismeelstore kon gebruik vir hulle funksie nie.

Daar was voordele in vir beide partye: Die dans-organiseerders kry die saal verniet, en die fabriek kry ‘n baie mooi skoongemaakte stoorplek terug vir die nuwe seisoen.  Dus ‘n simbiotiese verhouding. Die een of twee aande in die jaar wat Meneerjonker en sy gesin tot die vroeë oggend-ure moes wakker lê en die musiek verduur (dit was nie sy soort nie) wat van die see af …

The Professional Objector – Comment

Friday, 17 September, 2010

By Johnie Jonker

Judging by a number of reader responses on articles and letters published in Leisure Wheels – and other magazines – a subspecies of humanis objectus appears to have evolved over time.

The content of their opinion differs from that of regular readers – humanis commentus – in that it would highlight some negative aspect – often mistakenly – in the name of safety, environmental issues, etc.

Recent examples are comments on a) two ecstatic young boys sitting behind the bullbar of a Defender riding through water, b) someone camping under “holy” Baobabs and c) for me on a more personal level, “allowing” passengers to ride in the boot of a car seated on a camping chair.

Of course some comments are perfectly valid and in agreement with the opinion of the vast majority of readers, e.g. issues related to littering and taking more than photographs.

But there are cases where, regardless the instigative source of the comment, the moral high ground is invariably taken with a distorted sense of righteousness, and the action categorized in accordance with the reader’s own (generally conservative) frame of reference.

A few years back my wife was reversing out of the garage when two armed thugs attempted to hijack her car. During the ensuing struggle for her handbag she let go of the brakes.  This caused the two open front doors to act as an anchor as it hit the gate, resulting in the doors being bent back next to the fenders.  The hijackers then lost interest (can you believe it!) in the car and settled for the handbag only.  Apart from the damage to the car and my wife being shaken up emotionally, no harm was done, although it could have ended in tragedy. But it did not end in tragedy.  This is my first point.

My second point: When my son was a toddler, playing on the lawn where I was gardening, he showed me a bee that was crawling through the grass. I explained to him what bees do when threatened and that it was best to leave it alone. At that stage we did not know whether he may be allergic to stings or not.  But if he was, I had a car in good condition and also knew where the hospital was, so I could take him there. Well, ten minutes later all the above came together.

This could be regarded as irresponsible on my part, but here’s the outcome: We now knew of his allergy and could have the rogue bee-hive – which had taken up residence in a birdhouse in one of the trees – removed.   Also, we could put Jacobus on a desensitization program. This was done successfully, with the additional benefit that he has not gone near a bee since.

Other than the insurance company who classified the first event as an accident, most people – including the objectors – would recognize it as a crime. One could therefore question the relevance of the two incidents to each other. However, if you stand back somewhat, you will notice that both happened to people that are dear to me.

Hence, what I am advocating is that supervised risk management generally has a far better outcome than random events which you cannot predict or control. Put differently, allow the head bumps – prevent the skull cracking.

Perhaps, if one could therefore gain a holistic perspective and see the bigger picture, it may be possible to live (and let live) a little (more).

Thank you, I feel much better now.


Kla jy of spog jy?

Sunday, 29 August, 2010

Deur Johnie Jonker 

Solank niks skeefloop nie, word koshuis-ontgroening deesdae nie-amptelik met die spreekwoordelike “hout-oog” beskou.  Die moeilikheid kom as die proses te ver gevoer word en iemand beseerd – of erger, gekrenk – daarvan afkom. Die nadraai hiervan is nie goed vir enige universiteit se beeld nie, vandaar die amptelike ontkenning dat daar enige ontgroening plaasvind op HIERDIE kampus. Slegs verwelkoming en oriëntering.

Dis moeilik om te sê wanneer hierdie aktiwiteit amptelik by universiteits-koshuise weggeval het, maar itv die 1976 Helshoogte eerstejaars was dit defnitief nog nie die geval nie.

Behalwe die algehele gebrek aan slaap, was die mees helder onthoubare geleentheid een aand 11-uur in ‘n “squad”, afmarsjerende na Coetzenburg se swembad. Die eerstejaars gaan nou swem – maar meneer, ek het nie ‘n baaibroek nie!

Aangesien die ligte om die swembad af was en niemand anders daar was nie – dit was in die week voordat die ander studente na die kampus teruggekeer het, en dalk was daar boonop nog nie ligte daardie tyd nie – was ‘n baaibroek toe nie ‘n nodige voorwaarde om te kon swem nie.

Ons trek ons klere uit en spring in – groot pret – totdat daar aangekondig word dat kampusbeheer op pad is. Nie dat enigeen daar toe al geweet het wie/wat kampusbeheer was nie, alhoewel ek glo iedereen wel oor die volgende paar jaar per geleentheid sou uitvind. Maar die aankondiging het ‘n dringendheid daaromtrent gehad wat jou laat dink het dat dit iets moes wees soos Antjie Somers, wat ek uit ‘n betroubare bron verneem het, toonnaels op haar toebroodjies eet.

Dus spartel almal kant toe, net om agter te kom dat die klere wat ons so neffens hier op die graswal neergesit het, nie meer daar is nie. Amper asof dit weggeraap is. Net ons skoene dui nog die plek aan.

Nou val ons in die pad – hierdie keer egter nie in ‘n ordelike peloton nie – met hoë entropie en spoed. Twee beproefde militêre tegnieke word hoofsaaklik toegepas: Rig-op-die-bondel, wat ‘n mate van afskerming bied solank jy in die middel bly, en heg-en-steg vir die meer onafhanklike lede wat die kortste pad met die meeste dekking terug koshuis toe gesoek het.

Ek het darem nie net my skoene aangehad nie – my horlosie het my een pols bedek. Nie dat dit tot enige voordeel was nie, want toe ons tussen Erika en Serruria deur hardloop, het almal in elk geval uitgevind PRESIES hoe laat dit was, toe daar vanuit die niet ‘n paar 2e-jaars karre verskyn met ligte op helder wat ons al toetende van agter af inspireer.

Wonderbaarlik, terug by die koshuis, het al ons klere in ‘n hoop voor die hyser gelê en almal was verlig en eintlik erg tevrede met hulleself dat hulle as groep die eskapade kon meemaak.

Daar was wel iemand wat redes aangevoer het hoekom hy darem ten minste met sy onderbroek aan wou terug hardloop. Dis nou nie dat hy sy beswaar aan die groot klok wou hang nie. Dit was eerder ‘n geval van die ongemaklikheid van die hang van die groot klok self.

Die meeste van ons het stilweg by ons selwers gewonder: “Kla jy, of spog jy, my ou”?


Hoe bedoel oom Koos dan nou?

Saturday, 21 August, 2010

Deur Johnie Jonker

Oom Koos Spamer op St. Helenabaai was baie goed ingerig om sy voertuie self te versien. As jy reguit by sy garage uitgery het, was jy bo-oor ‘n diensput en kon jy lekker regop als bykom wat nodig was vir enige versiening.

Van ons kon onthou het hy ‘n grys/blou Opel Rekord Mark 2 Car-a-Van gehad. Soos die een regs, onder, maar die stasiewa.

Alhoewel die motor lank (vir altyd?) in sy besit was, het dit nie eintlik ver gery nie, en was hoofsaaklik dorp toe (Vredenburg) en terug.  Na die waarborg verval het, het hy aanvanklik seker self die instandhouding gedoen, maar teen die tyd dat ons begin belangstel het in hierdie tipe aktiwiteit, was dit sy seuns Willie en Kobie se werk om van tyd tot tyd op ‘n Saterdag versiening te doen onder die wakende ogie van oom Koos.

Net langs die diensput was daar ‘n werksbank onder ‘n gerieflike Port Jackson koelteboom. My broer Gideon en ek was dikwels Saterdae soontoe, en “help” maar hier en daar – dis mos darem altyd lekkerder om by iemand anders te werk as jou eie huis. Op so ‘n Saterdag is dit toe juis weer tyd vir motor versiening.

Oom Koos sit daar op sy kampstoel en gesels met ons en beduie wat gedoen moet word. Willie het ‘n onderdeel uit die kar en op die werksbank, besig om dit uitmekaar te maak. Maar duidelik was die onderdeel lanklaas in komponent formaat – dalk destyds voor montering in Port Elizabeth – en daar’s ‘n bout wat nie wil los kom nie. Hierdie is immers die Weskus, en goed roes nou maar.

Ongeag die delikaatheid daarvan, is elke stuk gereedskap ten minste een keer in sy leeftyd ‘n hamer. Dit het natuurlik die nadeel dat as jou gereedskap altyd ‘n “hamer” is, jou probleme later almal na spykers begin lyk. Maar ek dwaal af.

Oom Koos raak nou ongemaklik oor, eerstens die misbruik van sy gereedskap, maar ook oor die lewensverwagting van die onderdeel wat nou al so ‘n paar stewige houe weg het in ‘n poging om die bout los te kry. Die doel is wel om die item in stukke te kry, maar dis nie heeltemal dieselfde as stukkend nie.

Nou wil hy sy “tegnikus” vermaan om darem meer omsigtig te werk te gaan. Maar behalwe dat hy nie iemand was wat lelik praat nie, het hy boonop nou ook gaste – my broer en ek – en alhoewel hy sekerlik ‘n baie wye woordeskat gehad het, dink hy dit toe goed om sy vermaning so te rig: ”Met GEWELD, kan jy ….umm, … ’n viool teen ‘n BOOM stukkend slaan”.


Let op jou K’s en L’s

Monday, 19 July, 2010

(soos in:  “Mind your P’s and Q’s”)

[Deur Johnie Jonker]

Ek was op skool al baie geinteresseerd  in elektronika en het allerhande stroombaantjies  gebou.  By geleentheid het ek tant Johanna Spamer se stoof ook reggemaak.  Ek dink dit is met dié dat oom Koos Spamer my toe genoeg vertrou om my te vra om die ligte skakelaars in sy vleiswerk kamer te herbedraad. Daar was net een skakelaar wat 4 plekke se ligte tegelykertyd aanskakel, en dis mos nou darem ‘n vermorsing as jy net wil sien wat in die garage aangaan en die hoeder- en varkhokke se ligte kom ook aan.

Amper iets soos die prentjie hier onder.

Ek is natuurlik heel geneë om die takie aan te pak, siende dat my sakgeld ook sodoende aangevul kon word.  Met behulp van my pa kry ons een van  die ou tipe gietyster stroombreker kaste met die porseleinsekerings in die hande, en oom Koos koop die 4 skakelaars wat benodig word. Die ligskakelaars is van die swart ronde bakeliet tipe wat jy op die oppervlak  vasskroef.  Die stroombreker  is egter nogal iets spesiaal.  Deesdae sien jy dit net in museums of in toekoms-flieks wat in verlate kragstasies geskiet word en waar die held dan die krag aanskakel met so ‘n oordrewe KLANGGG! eggo as hy die hefboom opdruk;  ‘n aksie  wat dan sommer ook die kas sluit. Nifty ontwerp vir daardie tyd.

Elke middag na skool is ek daar.  Ek  boor gate en skroef goed vas en bedraad na hartelus.  Ná so twee weke is die projek voltooi, maar natuurlik is die werk nooit klaar voordat die papierwerk nie voltooi is nie.  Vir die wat nie weet nie, of al vergeet het,  voor jy Brother etiket-drukkers gekry, het  jy mos die  DYMO gekry wat fisies die letters van agter af deur ‘n dikkerige plastiekfilm met ‘n gom onderkant gedruk het.  Sodoende “rek” die materiaal dan, wat die plastiek wit verkleur. Dus kon jy enige kleur agtergrond kry, maar die letters was altyd wit.  Dan plak jy nou jou etiket vas waar jy hom wil hê.  Die toestel het soos ‘n Scalectrix handgreep gelyk, met ‘n skyf wat jy roteer tot die regte letter in ‘n venstertjie verskyn.  Dan druk jy die sneller, en daar sit die letter in die plastiek gevorm.

Ek was nogal trots op my bedrewenheid en spoed met die DYMO.  So maak ek die etikette om elke lig se funksie aan te dui.  Soos in:   “Agterplaas”, “Garage”, “Rookkamer” en “Hoenderhok”.

Nadat my pa, wat ‘n elektriese ingenieur is, die installasie kom inspekteer en veilig verklaar het,  roep ek vir oom Koos om te kom kyk hoe als werk.  

Oom Koos doen nou eers navraag oor die koste.    Nou ja, ek sukkel vandag nog steeds om ‘n prys te maak vir mense wat ek ken, maar ek maak my prys op R2.  Dit het eintlik heel skaflik vergelyk met my 50c/per maand sakgeld van destyds – onthou nou, hierdie was laaaank terug gewees.   Nee, reken oom Koos,  dis darem te min, en gee my R5.  Ek voel natuurlik so in my skik soos een wat die boerpot gewen het.

Nou inspekteer en toets oom Koos die installasie.  Hy stuur sy seuns Kobie en Willie uit om te rapporteer of die regte skakelaar wel die regte lig aanskakel.  Alles werk 100%.  Die hoenderhok se skakelaar is laaste aan die beurt.  Hier aarsel oom Koos.  Hy druk met sy vinger op die etiket.  Nee, hier is nie so ‘n plek op sy werf nie, reken hy met ‘n ondeunde glimlag.

“Hoe bedoel oom dan nou?”  Ek is vinnig daar om te sien wat die fout is.  Ek sien wat die fout is.  Dis nogals bietjie van ‘n verleentheid – veral in die lig gesien van die feit dat my pa se bynaam boonop “Priester” was.  Ek bied aan om gou die foutjie reg te maak, maar Oom Koos reken hy hou …