#ItsTime

I posted this on Facebook on April 22, 2017:

South Africa is praying for change today. People are flocking together in Bloemfontein. Change is needed, but we need change from within ourselves, first. We cannot expect others to change unless we are willing to change ourselves. Today’s mass prayer could be placing the cart before the horse.

How do we drive?
We take someone’s written quote to lower the prices of others – that is corruption
Skip stop signs, traffic lights
We jaywalk
We cycle selfishly, arrogantly
We do as we please – each his own little god
One racist accusing the other of racism
It is always someone else, never me
That is what has to change
I
Pray that I will change
Then I can change
South Africa

1st Class “Trans-Karoo” Culture Lives on!

The neatly dressed gentleman greeted us friendly as we entered the foyer of the PremierClasse Lounge around 7am on a Tuesday morning. he soon relieved us of our luggage, which he tagged to our compartment and handed us our welcoming letter and boarding passes.

Guests’ Luggage Checked In

Some impressive “baggage” went into the Car Carrier as well. The cars in the background, plus a number of Mercedes-Benz’s travelled in the back.

Another “passenger” boarding!

PREMIER CLASSE LOUNGE

Soon, we were installed in the lounge area where we were served with tea or coffee, with muffins, scones and other niceties. In no time, we were chatting away with Frasier and Christine from the United Kingdom, who would be joining us for a memorable rail journey towards Johannesburg, South Africa. It was interesting to listen to Frasier’s account of a pleasant trip on the Algoa line of the ShosholozaMeyl, the tourist class sibling of the PremierClasse.

Scones, Tea & Coffee In the Premier Lounge

Among the guests congregated in the PremierClasse Lounge, were a number of people with restricted mobility. It is always good to see that people with special needs are being taken care of. I soon learned that meals and drinks could be served in their compartments, should these guests have preferred it that way. However, I did notice that some opted for joining us in the Dining Saloon for meals.

Special Needs Guests Accommodated

The almost legendary Food and Beverage Manager Millie addressed the guests, welcoming all to PremierClasse and gave a brief summary of house rules on the train. We soon left the lounge and strolled leisurely towards the light blue train waiting on Platform 24. (Frasier and I, however, had a brief meeting with a very Red Devil as well, but that is a story for another day.)

BOARDING THE PREMIER CLASSE

As my wife and I boarded the train, we soon found our compartment with our names on a neat card on the door. There were two bottles of distilled water, pillows and our luggage neatly installed by the efficient porters.

Our very comfortable, luxurious compartment.

We wasted no time to make our way to the Dining Saloon, where we were served with bubbly and snacks. Millie welcomed us on board and informed us of the credit card payment system after he had introduced us to the Dining Saloon Manager Faith. A similar party was underway on the other side of the kitchen car, as we had a full train and Train Manager Mr Groenewald was welcoming guests in the Lounge Car, I presume.

Millie welcoming his guests

After the initial complementary drinks, the cash bar was open – and we noticed that a huge rock was shifting past us. It was in the shape of Table Mountain. So imperceptible was the smooth departure by expert driver Okkie Pretorius that a few exclaimed their astonishment – guests did not immediately realise that our luxurious train was in motion.

This was when some noticed that the train was in motion, departure was very smooth and discreet!

Our train snaked its way along the Monte Vista line, then through Bellville, Brackenfell, Kraaifontein, then onto the Paarl and Wellington. We soon saw wild game on a ranch near Klapmuts, still on our way to Paarl. The lions disappointed by hiding in their den.

As we left Wellington, we saw the first of seven Anglo Boer War blockhouses on this route, used by the 450,000 British soldiers to defend the Cape Colony against some 16,000 Boers, between 1899-1902.

British blockhouse dating back to Anglo Boer War 1899 -1902

Will Britain partner in restoring and preserving these? They are going to waste.

These “monuments” did spark some interest and some guests were able to take nice photographs. Slipping ever so discreetly past the wheat fields of the Swartland, then snaking through Nieuwekloof Pass, PremierClasse made its graceful debut to the Witzenberg region of Tulbach. From there, leaving the Little Berg River behind, we crossed the Breede River and saluted another two blockhouses, while sipping at our drinks. Flanked on either side by the beautiful Boland mountains, we passed through the last bit of grapes harvesting from vineyards that would soon be changing into its autumn attire. The smell of fermentation hung in the air as we passed the various wine cellars. Waboomsrivier, Botha’s Halt, Sedgwick’s Distillery.

Slanghoek Mountains and vineyards near Worcester

LUNCH

Lunch was served as we approached our first stop at Worcester, a town rich in history. Its railway station has featured in many films and commercial advertisements – we soon departed and passed the KWV House of Brandy which houses the world’s largest pot still brandy distillery, which was soon followed by award-winning olive farms.

Smoked Salmon
Roast Chicken
Cheesecake with Grenadilla

Passing through Hex River Kloof, we were enthralled by the rock formations of the mountains and some lovely farm scenes. It was time to enter the Hex River Valley, home of some of the world’s finest table grape farming. The spectacular valley was still dressed in green vineyards, a month from now it will be a colourful display of patchwork with warm autumn colours.

As we enjoyed our cheesecake dessert, we passed through the four Hexton tunnels of 0.5km, 1.1km, 1.2km and 13.65km respectively.

One of the four Hexton tunnels in the Hex River Rail Pass

PremierClasse shone in the bright sunlight as it appeared on the other side at Kleinstraat, where a solar power plant welcomed us, its myriad of panels bowing ever so courteously. This is where we had seen sable antelope before, but luck wasn’t on our side. Slipping through Touws River, past Matjiesfontein through Laingsburg, we soon saw the fifth blockhouse at Dwyka. By now, we were invited to afternoon tea, celebrated with a choice of carrot- or chocolate cake served with either tea or coffee. While at it, the two blockhouses either side of the train at Leeu-Gamka stood to our attention, somewhat worn yet as alert as ever.

Guests were socializing in either of the two Lounge Cars (one is a club car for smokers, both with fully provisioned cash bars with credit card facilities) or just enjoying the comfort of their comfortable compartments. An array of night-, reading- or main lights complemented the lockable stowage space, amenities such as shower gels and shampoos, take-home slippers and leave-behind towels and gowns. Did I mention that the train was air conditioned right through? Luckily, windows can still be opened, as some of us still prefer that.

Lounge Car – The Club Car for Smokers Is Similar

Beaufort West! As in Worcester, it was time for staff to replenish Diesel fuel and water. The former is used to power the facilities on the PremierClasse, from air-conditioning to lighting. Only the engines in front use the overhead power lines but, talking of which, our two trusty SAR 6E1 units were replaced by one with a higher voltage rating.

DINNER

Dining on the #GoodFoodTrain is a lovely affair. As in the days of old in the “Trans Trains” such as Trans-Karoo or Trans-Oranje, we have repeatedly found that cuisine is well-prepared and expertly served. Their way of dishing up, for instance, is their legendary party trick, perhaps a signature. On a moving train, the waitron will hold the serving dish in one hand and then use the other to dish up, using two spoons held between the fingers, or a spoon and fork. I have tried it at home and found it to be fairly challenging, say no more! Service is swift, food is really tasty and of good quality. Anyone complaining about food on this train is either very spoilt, or perhaps not used to anything this good.

As I am not paid to write this, I can speak my mind: so many people have doubts about our main line passenger services and some do live in the past. I can assure you that it only improved upon an established tradition. South African railways are known for its excellent catering on trains and PremierClasse is no exception.

Cream of Sweetcorn Soup
Delicious Fried Hake
Braised Beef Sirloin
Malva Pudding
Cheese n Biscuits – a long-standing tradition!

Darkness fell and we departed on our way to Kimberley via Three Sisters, Biesiespoort, Merriman, Hutchinson, De Aar. That is where we could smell the fresh Karoo air. Then, Poupan, Kraankuil, Hopetown, Belmont…..until we reached Ronald’s Vlei where we once again received electric locomotives with a different voltage rating.

Then it was Kimberley itself where we had another logistics stop, from where we departed towards Warrentown. Fog was fairly thick, even past Fourteen Streams up to Bloemhof, where it lifted to reveal African savannah mixed with typical Highveld grass. And a fair herd of red hartebeest, oryx, eland, kudu and giraffe while we were enjoying a scrumptious breakfast. We were glad that our foreign guests could also get so see these beautiful animals in their natural habitat.

Soon, breakfast was over and so was our trip, as the first mine shafts and -dumps appeared near Orkney.

Complementary Fruit
Fresh Juice
Muesli with Yoghurt – There is a choice of cereals
A delicious English Breakfast. The eggs in the picture were the best I ever had, anywhere, on the morning of April 12, 2017. I did inform the chef.

As we slipped past Lava, my wife and I readied ourselves to disembark when we arrived at Klerksdorp, a gold mining city, while other guests would continue to Johannesburg. At Klerksdorp, Frasier stepped off the train and first took photo’s of the ancient plinthed SAR Class 7 locomotive. We said farewell to Frasier and also to Mr Groenewald, our friendly and very helpful Train Manager. Of course, we took a few photos of the lovely sandstone station building.

Train Manager Mr Groenewald at Premier Classe, Klerksdorp

12 April 2017

Premier Classe saluting the SAR Class 7 plinthed at Klerksdorp
Lovely sandstone station building at Klerksdorp

Thus ended a memorable trip on a lovely PremierClasse train, one that even had a bit of a “wild side” to it! As an afterthought: so many folks ask if South African long distance trans are clean, safe or as good as they were three decades ago? YES! YES! YES!

Footnote

PremierClasse has a ConferenceCar with a full bar and this can also be converted to a venue to celebrate events. Furthermore, an intercom system is being installed into the new train set, that would allow guests to order food and drinks from Room Service. USB charging points, wireless internet and an electronic map are all being planned and should be installed soon.

We also thank Quinten Pendle and PerronFM for having us and for broadcasting our four radio talks on air.

Cheez ‘n Bizkitz

It is called the #GoodFoodTrain. It is the luxurious PremierClasse of South Africa.  Of course, a train known for its lovely accommodation, pleasant lounge cars and excellent service, also won’t lack in the meals that are served to its guests.

BREAKFAST

Of course, breakfast is scrumptious and starting the day in this great way already is a sign of things to come. Fresh fruit juice, cereals with milk or yogurt, then a platter of eggs to order, a lavish portion of bacon with sausage and salad. Toast with butter and jam. Tea, coffee.

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This should suffice as a breakfast? There is more….

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Those eggs were done to purrfection!

 

LUNCH

A three-course feast that will satisfy the hungry soul.

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Smoked Salmon

 

 

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Roast Chicken

 

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Cheesecake

 

AFTERNOON TEA

A choice of delectable chocolate cake or carrot cake with a hint of spiciness.

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DINNER

A five-course offering taking the palate on a pleasant culinary journey.  These dinners build upon a tradition dating back perhaps six or seven decades.

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Cream of Sweetcorn

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Fried Hake

 

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Braised Beef Sirloin

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Malva Pudding

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Cheese & Biscuits

Ending the day’s food celebration with the signature cheese & biscuits is a long standing tradition.  Almost forty years ago, we anticipated dinner eagerly on the predecessors of the Premier Classe.  Dining on South Africa’s long distance trains accumulated a cult following over the decades.  Nothing has changed, it is the same time-proven superlative service.  Or, maybe it has even improved.

Bon appetit!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Blue Train – Great Value

So many times, people will advise me that it is too expensive to travel on The Blue Train. It is expensive, of course, as that supreme level of luxury and comfort decidedly cannot come at giveaway prices. One has to be fair in making direct comparisons.

As a retired financial consultant, I decided, to do just that and had a quick look at comparable prices:

  • 1 night for two persons sharing in a comparable five star hotel would cost upward of R14,000
  • Business Class airline tickets (no comparable domestic first class flights) R7,000
  • Gautrain R350
  • Meals, snacks, drinks R9,000 at the very least

I have arrived at R30,350 without including all possible drinks, snacks, room service, etc. Already, this is just short of our own De Luxe ticket of March 2017, which had amounted to R31,000. Of course, on The Blue Train, all meals, drinks, snacks, high teas are included in the price!

Thinking back to our most enjoyable trip, I do not think that most equivalent hotels would have afforded us the same levels of comfort, superlative levels of service and memorable meals while offering us an ever-changing landscape, a pleasant interlude at Matjiesfontein or even delivered us in premium class style to Pretoria, from Cape Town, at the same price.

As there are no premium or even first class flights on domestic flights, The Blue Train does afford the most luxurious travel between the two capitals of South Africa possible, except for much more expensive charter flights using private jets. For the levels of sophistication we had experienced on The Blue Train, we still rate it as the very best hotel we had ever stayed over at.

Value for money it certainly is – I have made basic cost estimates and I am of the opinion that their tariffs are at least thirty percent lower than expected. Given the top service from each and every staff member, from making our reservations right to the end of our journey, we decided that we had the very best deal available in South Africa.

Reclining at the rear of the Observation Car really is a window into the soul of Africa!

Elke Hond Kry Sy Dag

Dit het toe mos by Russell begin, hy wat nie ons meisiekind kon uitlos nie. Vlekkie, so ‘n klein Foksie. Toe sit hy op haar vas en daar kom toe groot drama.

Ses welpies is gebore, maar twee is honnehemel toe nog voordat hulle die Riemland kon aanskou.

Begrafnis, met groot somberheid. Die buurt se kinders is daar, rent-a-crowd onder dwang. Tania is in standerd vyf en vat nie nee vir ‘n antwoord nie.  Nie van kleiner kindertjies nie.

Monique, Sandra, Elodi en haar sussie Leanae, die twee telge naasaan. Hennie, Tania se kleinsus Marchelle en Jeanine. Ook Die Fillistyn, tweejarige woelwater. Hy is Russell’ se baas, as ‘n Jack Russell ooit een sou kon hê.

En Boorgat. Van bloudraad gemaak, of dalk doringdraad. By die bek langs moet dit lemmetjiesdraad kon wees, daardie kant was skerp. Boorgat is uit wel, ‘n boorgat, gered toe hy ‘n welpie was. Herman was dalk sy kleinbasie. Maar onder in die singel was Boorgat eintlik die baas. Skerpkant straatkant.

Daar is gelees uit ‘n onderstebo CAR-tydskrif en gebid. En as een nie hard genoeg wou huil nie, was die amper uitgegroeide Tania daar met ‘n wildepruimloot. Tania vat nie nee vir ‘n antwoord nie.

Daar is gesing ook, so tussen die goed geïnduseerde trane deur.  Jan Pierewiet.

Twee basterfoksterriers met volle eerbewys ter aarde bestel.

Elke hond kry sy dag.

(Ware gebeurtenis in my agterplaas.)

Harbourview – Kitchen Magic

A cheerful family visit. Lots of fun, laughter, joy and bliss. As in the good old days, on the wide, open veranda and a lazy ocean shimmering below. Food and drink in abundance, people smiling, chatting, enjoying the feast on the tables.

March is such a wonderful time in the Cape, when winds die down a bit and the sultry, balmy days arrive before the lovely winter come to passionately take us into spring. We love every day, regardless of weather, as we have learned to dress in the right attitude. And, if you don’t like the weather, just a minute…. see, it has changed already!

So, there we were on a Saturday, late March 2017. We were seated at our favourite spot, overlooking the yacht basin below and the naval harbour beyond.

We sat watching the guests arrive, some in larger groups, others just intimate families. The decibels increased a little as food and drink went past us, to waiting tables. Tall, golden beers with frothy beards to softly kill the thirst of the weary traveler. All served with that array of natural smiles that seem to be the corporate trademark of the Harbourview Restaurant in Simon’s Town. As that is the lovely, close family we were visiting.

Some restaurants have a quicker staff turnover than they can flip over an omelet. Not at the Harbourview, oh no, here they stay! It seems that especially one lady called Noleen comes in when off duty. It is always a good sign to see people who are internally motivated, inspired and happy.

Owner Linda Wiltshire is a most agreeable lady. Linda is a really inspiring person who adores her crew so much. I love seeing a business owner involved, passionate and informed.

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Invited to a frothy cappuccino, made of great gourmet coffee, we extended our conversation until time came to snap some shots of sundry items of interior decoration.

A marine setting it is, with all sorts of military paraphernalia coming together rather nicely. Of course, Harbourview being in Simon’s Town, the legendary Just Nuisance also stands guard at a door. Etched into the glass, that is.

We ordered Dry Lemon and my “darlingmost wificle” selected a roast chicken salad. I settled for a smoked salmon one. As this was for starters, we were slightly taken aback by the sizable portions that arrived, rich in colours, textures and tastes. I have to deviate a little.

At some posh restaurants, supposed “chefs” show off their skills in commercial art by drawing food on one’s plate. People who come laden with money order it, stare at it, sip at drinks, swipe a platinum card and leave the sometimes untouched little Picasso job to the cleaners to dispose of. Haute cuisine is bad language in my home. We are Saffers, we eat for a living. Don’t mess with our food!

Back the salads. Never show fear in the face of adversity, so we assaulted our incredibly picturesque salmon or chicken. Freshest ingredients, all oh so perfect! As in the past, Harbourview’s chef’s team produced something almost magic from the kitchen. In fact, I did hint at Tanaka that his black magic was quite obvious. The large dollop of Danish feta found a welcoming party in me and the first battle was over. The memory will be lasting, as even food we ate upon previous occasions still remain fresh in memory, if not the palate.

Guests at a neighbouring table ordered prawns and I could not resist the temptation to ask if I could photograph it. I introduced myself as a travel blogger and aspiring food reviewer. “Oh so,” the one lady said and introduced herself as a renowned French food photographer and critic! Oh my, I walked into the dragons’ lair in my absolute ignorance. Sensing my apprehension, she soon gave me a few quick hints on how to photograph food. Her husband and other friend were very hospitable and accommodating as well. What a pleasant experience in the end! This was so kind of them and the expert never let me feel uncomfortable. The prawns, as you can see, are top class but I must say that my own photo taken with the flash looked better, so here it is!

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Then our main dishes arrived. My better half had ordered a wild game curry served cutely in a three-legged pot. She later described it as “the best curry I had ever eaten in a restaurant.” Of course, I had to taste a sample (or six) and found it quite to my taste as well.

My own was a 300g beef fillet served with fries and a fresh salad. It also came with a most delectable cheese sauce, which I treated as a side dish so as not to infringe upon the superior tastiness of the fillet. Soft and tender, grilled to perfection, sending my taste buds fighting for position. As I have said, I think there is magic practiced in Tanaka’s kitchen.

All good things come to and end and so did our main course. We greeted our empty plates with a sense of loss but were soon consoled by the ever attentive Noleen who brought my wife a slice of that legendary Malva pudding. Now I need to say here that we as Afrikaners will fight to our very last drop of blood for a spoonful. Any adversary is best advised to not come in between us and our Malva pudding.

I am a brave man and offered my wife half my cheesecake with the unspoken expectation to get a mere morsel of her Malva pudding. It paid off and I had a few crumbs to taste – but the cheesecake, in turn, is the best I had ever eaten. It really was tasty, the texture perfect, the balance between sweet and sour just about divine. (I never order cheesecake but wanted to review theirs. After all, there IS Malva pudding in the house…..) Having straddled six decades, there did come a day when I could say that a cheesecake was more than “nice.” Oh, I can become poetic about this one, wax so lyrical that you may think I get paid to write this. But I honestly do not charge for these reviews, so I was not bribed or influenced. Coming from me, the accolades bestowed upon the cheesecake are “awethentiq.”

Culinary Seductress Noleen appeared like a genie from a bottle and tried to entice us into more indulgence, to which I said that I would order anything with “bed” written all over it. To awaken us from an impending post-dinner sleep, we were soon served with cappuccino to end the day where it started.

We came full circle. Harbourview’s lovely silly kitchen banter, jovial mood and leisurely ambiance will keep the wheel turning, as full circle isn’t full stop.

But why take my word for it, go experience it for yourself!

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A Little Something To Take Home

 

Cape Town Under US3!

Table Mountain comes for free if you are prepared to hike up one of various trails. Strangely, a few million locals never have been up the Mountain despite the fact that every South African citizen gets a free ride once a year, upon presentation of a valid ID document, on his or her birthday. In the same vein, we live in one of the loveliest cities in the world, featuring the most scenic train ride globally (to the best of my knowledge) yet so many locals never venture out.

Our Metrorail Journey From Cape Town To Simon’s Town

At just R35 (thirty-five Rand) or roughly three United States Dollars, one can board at Cape Town and enjoy a day’s scenic rail travel, hop on,hop off and return via Metrorail.

Typical 1 Day Tourist Passes
 This is a steal, as it is about six times less than the fuel an average car would use on this return trip. Few cars can legally transport six people and the driver usually has to watch our for traffic and sees little of the scenic beauty.

Also, no parking problems, one can stretch your legs even on the train but we usually hop off at Muizenberg, where the world renowned surfer’s corner is.

The train stops right at the beach!

From Muizenberg, we take the lovely walkway towards St James where we board again for Simon’s Town. Alternatively, we have walked a short bit further to Kalk Bay, really an easy walk.
Bridge Crossing At Kalk Bay Harbour

The salty sea provides the signature fresh ocean fragrance, locally referred to as “champagne air.”

Sniffing “Champagne Air”

The tidal pool is great for safe bathing and this is a favourite with families as well, as children can play and swim safely. The colourful beach day cottages are a world renowned landmark.

Whale Rocks

From nearby rocks, the whale season usually provides the sighting of many Southern Right whales.

These rocks are situated directly opposite the St James Metrorail station. Whale season is defined by the whales themselves but usually runs from April to November.

Our train terminated, unusually, at Fish Hoek. This is because wind had blown hundreds of tons of sea sand onto the tracks and earth-moving equipment is being employed to clear the tracks. Also, other railroad maintenance is being carried out as passenger safety does not get compromised.

Sand Invasion

We were taken to Simon’s Town by a luxurious Mercedes-Benz coach, air conditioned and with comfortable seating.

This at no extra cost, of course! The elevated seating position afforded us better views of the railway line that hugs the coast.

 

Our Luxury Coach At Fish Hoek Metrorail

Simon’s Town Metrorail station, is where the Historical Mile begins.

A leisurely stroll took us into the village, past the Admiral’s Residence, Simon’s Town Museum and beyond. This time around, we visited the expertly maintained SA Navy Museum, well worth a visit.

From there, we visited our friends at Harbourview Restaurant, which is situated right above the jetty and overlooking the yacht basis and naval harbour. We were informed that they are expanding their footprint by adding to the extensive veranda as they are loved by large tour groups arriving in their droves. Harbourview is otherwise quiet, intimate, romantic. For many years now, we had accompanied visiting friends there and never had any disappointment. Not very cheap, yet their service is excellent, food memorable and views to die for.

Just below is the smaller Salty Sea Dog, housed in the historical fish market. They offer great fried fish and chips, our favourite upon every visit. Like Harbourview, there is a full bar. Views are restricted unless you are seated at the large windows and it is more suited to small groups. We have fond memories of Salty Sea Dog, which is where you can also pick up a nice T-shirt. It also sits adjacent to the yacht basin and almost directly on the jetty, you will just love the setting.

Moving on, we came across the purveyors of hand crafts which included traditional hand-made toys like so many of us grew up with on South African farms. Then, something caught my eye – a Golden Retriever at leisure in the shallows of the yacht basin, just below the statue of Just Nuisance.

Venturing on across Jubilee Square, we visited the Tourism Info which is very close to the Toy Museum. We will try to visit the Toy Museum next time, as our time had run out. One can buy a Two Day Tourist Pass at R60, which may be a great idea, as there really is way too much to see and do in just one day.

Kalk Bay and Muizenberg need to be revisited as there is so much to see and do, either could easily keep you pleasurably occupied for a day or more. From Muizenberg to Simon’s Town, one is enveloped in between the mountains and the ocean. The natural beauty is augmented by historical architecture, also designs by the late Sir Herbert Baker. There is a myriad of little stores where you can eat, drink or indulge in buying vinyl records, arts and crafts, hand made clothing, artisanal bread -too much to mention.

Muizenberg Station

You will most likely agree that our visit is incomplete. Remember to buy your 1 Day Tourist Pass – which also is a return ticket – at Cape Town Station and then use it to hop on, hop off.

Also, if you are on a budget, you are welcome to pack a picnic and enjoy your meals at any of various scenic spots, not needing to pay for entrance to most public beaches and leisure spots.

 * exchange rate as at march 23, 2017

Anthony’s Golden Cup

Anthony’s Golden Cup is an established purveyor of the finest coffee beans, freshly ground or that refreshing cup of coffee that had made him owner Anthony Swartz world-renowned.

Cape Town never afford the resident or visitor a dull moment. There always is a new discovery to be made or, sometimes, a hidden gem to be found. Such a gem is my dear old friend since eleven years ago, Mr Anthony Swartz.

Having grown up at #Kylemore near #Stellenbosch, Anthony has since settled in the greater #CapeTown and he has been in #coffee since 1963.

At age 79, Anthony is most likely the oldest serving #barista in Cape Town. He declines calling himself by that title yet he is an expert in knowledge about coffee – and also tea! He only sells the choicest #Arabica coffee beans, or ground to order and no Robusta is allowed in his little store at 59 on Loop Street, Cape Town.

Anthony’s Golden Cup has been the stage of various film shoots. Also, he has an established clientele internationally and we often see old friends arriving, GPS in hand. Having placed Anthony’s Golden Cup on Google Maps does help customers find him, as many forget where they last saw him. Do not underestimate the value of GoogleMaps.

As far as we could establish, Anthony was the first non-white commercial coffee roaster in Cape Town. His coffees are authentic and he does support the African farmers from many countries. Therefore, if it is the BEST coffee you need, Anthony’s has been rated as the best in Africa several times, also by in flight-magazines of international airlines, etc. But is that important? My nose regularly guides me to his front door and yet another special coffee or cappuccino finds its way down.

Do yourself an immense favour and go visit Anthony at https://goo.gl/maps/4JWyq68DLYU2 and be sure to send him my regards. Click on the link for lovely photographs as well!

To whet your appetite, here are a few.

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Loss of Memory

We finally had an oppurtunity to travel on one of the most luxurious trains in the world. It had taken me 43 years to be doing this.

I went armed with a Canon EOS 700D DSLR camera to which a fairly new Strontium Class 10 microSD card was fitted. After we had been traveling for some two hours, during which time I must have taken well over a hundred photographs, the above mentioned memory card simply failed.

My Linux operating system would not mount the device and neither could GParted recover any data. The Financial Manager on the train tried same on his Windows-based Thinkpad laptop, to no avail.

Eventually, the device had to be formatted, ensuring loss of precious photographs. I don’t know if I ever will be fortunate enough to travel on that opulent train again, meaning that the loss of so many photographs is severe.

Needless to say how peeved I am.

If one has a camera with wireless networking capability, it may be better to uppload media in real time to a wireless pocket storage device. Be sure to back up that portable device to a laptop or other mobile device regularly, just to be on the safe side.

I had eight Sandisk memory devices fail on me in one year. It is only Transcend USB flashdrives that seem to last. Perhaps the actual memory chips come from either Toshiba, Samsung or LG, yet the control firmware or even physical construction may turn apples into pears.

My next camera equipment will need to be utterly robust and reliable. It also need to offer wireless networking (WiFi being a specific, branded protocol.) This is not negotiable.

A photo opportunity only ever happens once.

Capture it.

Then be sure to keep it.

Cape Town on a Shoestring

Not all locals or visitors are affluent enough to afford luxury tours, yet you can see the very best even on a  shoestring budget. My wife and I usually do this every three months or so, here is my latest review.

Please do visit but also share, as so many miss out on this when they visit South Africa.

My blog review of the #Southernline

 

 

FemalePower! 

It is busy at the day hospital. A hundred and sixty of us are waiting in a stuffy room, waiting for our names to be called. If they call you, it is into a little room where they first ascertain that life is still found in you. Machinery is plumbed into you by abrupt F-types, almost like automotive technicians doing diagnostics tests on the supposed black boxes of modern cars. Some are blunt, but a sheep dip isn’t an overtly emotional heaven.

She caught my eye, a little girl. Maybe eleven or twelve years of age. Wearing a Burkah. I don’t see her mom. Did she find a new way to bunk from school, then waste her day of liberty in an unpleasant environment where she knows nobody will even come looking for her?

I notice many old ladies smelling of saffron and cumin or other kitchen spices. Or of incontinence.

The dreary day draws on indefinitely. My name is called and I enter the consulting room. I am invited to sit. Then the little girl across the desk takes out her stethoscope from its hiding place under her Burkah. She is my doctor. A sweet little kid who says that “uncle” may drink coffee again. I contemplate putting her in my shirt pocket. So that she can be on call to defend my constitutional right to coffee, should another fully grown doctor decide otherwise. I almost said “thank you, my child.”

Another of her kind saved my son’s life one night. A few months later, she treats my chronic condition and I get the opportunity to thank her for extending my son’s life. In jeans, a T-shirt and sneakers, she appeared to be about thirteen, or fourteen at most. She could have been an identical twin to my daughter, when the latter was fourteen.

Looks can be deceiving.

Her room is lined with pictures of racing cars, rally cars, pipe cars and a go-kart. She has the best seat at the race track – behind the steering wheel. A plethora of silver cups and colourful medal ribbons testify of her acumen to hold it right. She is a menace, beating the boys at their own game. And reminds me of the quality female soldiers I had served with in the military. Most of the guys were of a still evolving species, homo erectus.

She sits across me, a very neatly packaged specimen and manicured, pedicured or just cured to perfection. A young professional lady that packs a bouquet of talents in a deceptively cute appearance. Here eyes tell me there is much more than meets the, er, eye. The mouth soon confirms this suspicion when she speaks her mind. The eyes are sweet, green I think, but it is the eye of the soul I sit staring at. So young, yet a little nuclear energy plant powering her strong inner drive, a creative visionary aided by a superior intellect. A young executive going places. An uncommon collection of gifts and talents combined with outward beauty. Yet this boardoom diplomat straps wings to herself and run off mountain cliffs. Icarus and Daedalus failed where she is triumphant. And she is only content with being at the top of the world. Which is where she climbs to, literally. Her spiritual wings are set for high altitudes.

Forty years ago, any or all of these would have been constrained to skirts and pianos. It is great to see that we have learned not to inhibit female power. My own wife has an unquenchable thirst for adventure, she is a pioneer in body and spirit. An overcomer and survivor, a true entrepreneur. An unstoppable business success only restrained by an acute lack of start-up capital. Yet she has succeeded greatly in the face of adversity.

My darlingmost wificle has opened my eyes to the tremendous inner power of Homo Sapiens (F). She gave birth to my two children, endured pain that would kill the toughest man in nine seconds flat.

And I love her, and only her, to bits.

The Day I Couldn’t Write My Name

Over a period of we week, I became more and more sensitive to things around me. There was much excitement but also terrible disappointment.  There was stress about possible eviction. And excitement about a possibility to join a church’s missions division. Then the procrastination by the pastor; even this morning he yet again failed to show up for a meeting he had set yesterday.

Ups.

Downs.

More and more straw on the camel’s back.

Then came a few nights where I just could not sleep, there were sudden headaches and I arrived at the doctor’s yesterday, having skipped yet another night’s sleep, with sudden, sharp headaches. I was given a form to fill in. Oh, that’s easy!  I have been filling in tax returns, insurance forms of various sorts, other financial forms, death- and birth registrations, the list is endless.  So I look at this form and I think it was printed on Jupiter. I cannot speak and, finally I manage to say a few words. On this form….a drawing of a pine tree or a camel?  I see lines, many lines. What on earth do I have this paper for?  Paper. Papers.

There is a long wait. I remember I have a wife; where is she?  I call her on the phone, she said I kept saying “Papers. Papers. I don’t understand the papers. I don’t understand.”  I recall none of this, but I do remember crying and feeling ashamed as there were people all around me who saw. They checked my vital signs; somehow I remember that to some extent and that my blood pressure was high but reasonable. 161/83. Blood glucose was 9.4; not good but also not as bad as 18. They did find a pulse, somewhere. I peed on my hand when offering a sacrifice in a plastic jar. Yuck. I frightened me that i could not aim. There was a day when I won medals for target shooting over a thousand yards. No I wet my hand because I don’t know where the jar is that it is supposedly holding.

There are so many people; one is busy having a serious stroke.  The day goes by in hour-long seconds; too many of them.

Over time, I get better. I still cannot type on my tablet but I manage to read Joel’s response and an email from a fellow blogger who also had a sudden ER trip.  Yes, now I will remember to read it to my darlingmost wificle.

The doctor sees me. A very decent, soft-spoken Muslim girl. She is so small that I thought she could be in primary school still. She explains to me, as politely as she can, that I am already taking meds for stroke, if it was an ischemic stroke (TIA) but it could have been a neuropathic event caused by diabetes.

That I have my faculties back, seemingly without noticeable damage, is more than just a stroke

of luck

I called it Grace.

I originally posted this on July 8, 2016 and had another mini-stroke in October of that year. Speech impaired, was taken to hospital by ambulance, walked out there a few hours later, having checked myself out and I have recovered fully by His grace since. 

Steenbokkie is a lovely game reserve

Steenbokkie is a private nature reserve on the outskirts of Beaufort West in the Central Karroo region of South Africa. The reserve covers in excess of eight thousand hectares or roughly twenty thousand acres.

Steenbokkie offers holiday and overnight accommodation in a variety of rooms and chalets, as well as a fourteen site camping terrain on lush lawns, shaded by huge trees.  We are also popular with corporate guests, church- and school groups. 

 

Steenbokkie is more than overnight accommodation. It is a haven for injured or orphaned wild animals.  It is no theme park and the farm itself is the entertainment we offer. Expose your children to nature, wild and domesticated creatures, in topography ranging from lush greenery to arid, rocky landscapes. At Steenbokkie, one can really go back to your roots and get in touch with nature. Night skies are ideal for star gazing and clearly marked hiking trails will take you into the austere beauty, the magic of Karroo landscapes. 


It is so easy to find us, just look at these maps:

www.steenbokkie.co.za

Telephone +27 83 540 4573 & +2 782 202 2529  Email steenbokkie@beaufortwest.net 

#Ubuntu An Analogy that fits.

This is not a lecture in IT but rather a message regarding your own personal life; the IT here is just to serve as an analogy with some click bait for geeks.  You will not need to click on any links to get the message, but rather read on.

This word is pronounced ooh-booon-too and it comes from the Nguni languages of Southern Africa.  It can be interpreted as “together we are one” or maybe “humanity in unity” or even “we are community” and it toes in with our philosophy of “it takes a community to raise a child.”  Yet the best way to translate “ubuntu” is to say “I am, because we are.”

It also is the brand name of a certain free and open-source computer operating system that has always been FREE and always will be.  I myself am using a refined version thereof, called Linux Mint Cinnamon. It comes standard with a whole lot of FREE software ranging from the MS Office compatible Libre Office as well as Mozilla Firefox browser, Mozilla Thunderbird email client as well as host of other applications such as graphic imaging, PDF document readers, among others, as well as access to a repository of about half a million free programmes from games to engineering to financial management to almost anything you can think of.  They have you covered!

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Ubuntu was created by Mark Shuttleworth who also was the first African in space but is better known for his pioneer work in Internet Security and the Thawte corporation.  Mark brought us Ubuntu after he came back from space.

While it is free and, at user level, the most stable, secure operating system with everything you will ever need. It has the very best protection against malware, of all operating systems, although nothing ever is 100% secure.

Linux is not more safe than Mac or Windows because it has a (perceived) smaller global footprint, but because of how it works.  The Cloud runs mostly on Linux, it is used to crunch the blockbuster movies you are watching and it powers more than 98% of the world’s supercomputers including the top one, Sunway TaiHu Light.

Many other things run on Linux.  A short list, by far not complete:

  • Home appliances such as VCR/PVR/TV/DVD devices, fridges, washing machines, microwave ovens, etc.
  • Automobile engine management systems or the “black boxes.”
  • Traffic control systems
  • Flight entertainment
  • Android!!
  • WiFi routers, networking equipment
  • Wearable devices
  • Medical equipment
  • Hadron Collider
  • Nuclear submarines, military equipment, etc.

Linux affects every aspect of your life even when you are not aware of it.  Why so few people are still using it, is illogical as it is free and very easy to use. It is compatible with almost all peripherals such as modem dongles, printers, scanners, etc., 95% of the time not even requiring drivers installation or configuring.  For instance, things that simply won’t work on Mac will work immediately when you plug it into Linux, such as various HSDPA modem dongles that I own.Installation and even learning to use it is wayyy easier than jumping to Windows 10 from older Windows even!

Jesus Christ came from space, born through a woman and brought us salvation for free. His Spirit is there for every application we may need in life and He affects our lives in so many ways we often are not even aware of. He is the driving force behind the largest religion in the world with about 2.4 billion followers.

Linux Mint, based upon Ubuntu, is the world’s third largest operating system after Windows and Mac OS X. Even so, most still choose not to use what is virtually all they will ever need, but choose to be in the bondage of closed proprietary systems.  Unlike the secret digital source code of Mac or Windows, the source code of Linux is readable in plain text. Just like the operating system for humans, the Word, the Scriptures, the text.  It is not in the secret occult (obscured, hidden).

There are some 300+ versions of Linux, called distro’s, short for ‘distributions’ just as there are maybe 38,000 church denominations, yet all proclaim Jesus.

People choose the hard way. Just like Mark Shuttleworth brought us Ubuntu, Jesus brought us Salvation.  If people do not load the Ubuntu software, it is not because Mark do not care for them.  It is their free choice, despite the many millions he had paid from his own pocket to even send CD’s for free, delivery charges included, as even I received a number from him, through his organisation Canonical.  Jesus brought is the canon, the Scripture, as He is the Living Word.  All we need to to is to choose Him, choose eternal life. We need to have our minds renewed by uploading a new operating system, simply by reading the source code, the Bible, in plain text, line for line, just like one could read Linux (if you wanted to.)

Just as we have HELP files in operating systems, in Linux many times called “manpages”, we have such MAN-pages for humans, that covers every aspect of life and that has an answer for every situation.  Got stuck with a problem?  Open your MAN-pages and read!

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If you decide to do it the costly and difficult way, it is not because Jesus did not love you as He already bought you back from death, but it is you needing to accept Him.  If you reject Him, it is your choice to be condemned to a very real Hell eternally.  He sends nobody there but they choose to go!  Which, unlike computer code, would be very illogical.

Not choosing eternal life would be illogical.  Jesus sends nobody to hell yet they choose to go!  Why??
 

 

 

 

Practical Travel Tips – ShosholozaMeyl

Here are a few really practical tips for travel on South Africa’s tourist class Shosholoza Meyl trains. We are seasoned travelers and share our experiences with you.
Prasa operates two long distance trains:

  • Premier Classe, a luxurious travel experience
  • ShosholozaMeyl, a tourist class train

These travel on rails owned by another company, power comes from yet another. Sometimes, there are delays caused by power failures or speed restrictions. Also, freight services are given preference and this is not the fault of Prasa who operate passenger trains only.  It is no different from aircraft delayed for hours because of operational variables. Please be considerate, take this into account.  Also see the media statement from the Minister of Transport.

An Italian friend, Giulia Raciti, is a seasoned traveler and tour guide who hasn’t seen home for seven years. She has experienced public transport – buses, aeroplanes, ships and trains – in numerous countries. She views a train delay of three hours as international average. 

Go with the flow. Don’t pack the go. Sit back, relax, you will get there. 

Read more here

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ShosholozaMeyl

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ShosholozaMeyl in Nieuwekloof Pass

Water Wars

He built the Fernkloof Dam at Hermanus. And a much bigger one in the Free State. Numerous very round ones all over the Overberg, on wheat farms. Several canals, pipelines, water works. And he shaved the tops of hills, cut canals and even a railroad through the forbidding rock of the Hex River Mountains. His last dam, he never saw. He did the initial surveying, drew up plans, wrote a proposal to Eben Dönges, MP. On his death bed in 1968, he was informed that “his dam” would be built. Within a week, Piet Marais was no more, a forgotten man, yet one whose visionary foresight affords the Western Cape life-giving water in 2017 and beyond.

Theewaterskloof. Oupa Piet’s final dam.

With water being scarce as it is, we South Africans are just very crazy. Precious, expensively treated drinking water turns our yards into lush gardens. Taking water for granted, we indulge,wasting copious amounts of water on non-essentials. In a country rated by some scientists as Africa’s second most water-stressed. An indulgence that is not sustainable.

We need to adapt. Oupa Piet taught us not to waste water, as he knew where it came from. He carried a lot of it. Trekking with ox-wagons, he traversed large parts of South Africa and formed a lasting legacy, sculpting rock faces with basic hand tools. The hot Karoo sun at Kleinstraat does not mix well with hammer and chisel. The cold can be arresting.

My other grandpa, Thys, also built a concrete dam in the Nieuwekloof between Tulbach and Gouda. Both were sub-contracted to canal building between the Little Berg River and Vogelvlei Dam. Oupa Thys also worked on expanding the same dam.

While two of my uncles worked on these projects, with hand tools, my father also worked at installing a pipeline from Stettynskloof Dam to Worcester and another from Fairie Glen. The latter is in the Brandwacht Mountains.

One of my uncles held a degree in theology but there was no work, so he laboured with pick and shovel in laying a pipeline to the industrial area of Worcester, where a textile factory was being erected.

This is typical of the spoils of white privilege in South Africa. Only some became financially independent, most still live in heavily mortgaged homes and drive encumbered cars. It is easy to appear wealthy,but hard work and unquestionable work ethics is our mainstay. Strikes and riots are alien to our culture, we are defined by sacrifice and perseverance.

Modern city dwellers usually do not realise that the catchment areas of our dams are on the semi-desert side of the mountain ranges skirting the Cape Peninsula. Rain in Cape Town simply does nit replenish our dams, with the exception of tiny ones behind Table Mountain or above Simon’s Town.

Recently, a chorus of idiotic voices went up, announcing that “the drought has been broken” after just a token rainfall occurred. It just shows how little understanding people have of water.

A mechanical engineer, a civil one and a dentist had to be educated that paying the fines imposed for water abuse still did not fill our dams, also it had to be explained to them that one cannot drink a garden or a clean car when dams run dry.

Civil rights organisation Afriforum charted freight trains to take water to the 150,000 or more residents of Kroonstad, when their water ran out in late 2016. It would be impossible to procure water and distribute it to the four million people of Greater Cape Town, though.

Grey water only saves water when replacing the use of fresh water for secondary use. Real water savings happen when we keep taps closed, it is that simple.

We need to learn to live like so many just outside of Cape Town do. Wash with minuscule quantities of water, using a jug and a bowl. I use much less than half a litre per day to wash my body with. And I do not smell.

Gardens in so many arid areas consist of barren land. That’s it. If you go on holiday to some destinations on the Cape West Coast, you take your own water supply. They have none to share.

In these regions, cars are seldom washed, if ever. A feather duster does the job.

Piping water from the Gariep is a ridiculous idea, as not much will be left for downstream human settlements and agriculture. We cannot take their precious water because we do not respect our own. The infrastructure will be costly and take many years to complete. To the very clever, ill-informed, there cannot be any foreseeable problem, of course. In the same way, water cannot be channeled from areas experiencing flash floods. The floods occur randomly in different places, impossible to predict. Laying costly pipelines that may only be used once in a decade, if at all, would be sheer stupidity. Too many people have opinions but don’t understand what they are talking about. No real understanding of the distances involved and unpredictability of such floods. They seem to want to play Russian roulette with pipelines or canals.

Dams can only be built in certain places. Soil types and topography dictate that. Already, some dams lose much water to seepage. We already have utilised almost all places where dams can be built.

Dredging sand from the now empty dams is another hotly debated topic. Firstly, that “dry” sand is an aquifer preventing too fast evaporation. Removing it will expose even more water to the sun and, worse still, to the wind. Secondly, due to the sheer magnitude as well as the wet nature thereof, even starting out is almost impossible. Earthmoving equipment will most likely get stuck, filling the dams with machinery by the time the rains come. Also, it may take a few years to move all that sand and silt, yet the dams will most likely fill up well before that can happen.

As for grey water – the municipality treats all sewage water, recycle it and uses it on the city’s gardens, golf courses, etc. It isn’t wasted BUT real water savings start by closing taps.

Given the witch hunt comments on social media, it becomes evident why it is predicted that WWIII will be fought over water.

Too many have opinions, too many are vindictive, too few know even the basics of hydrology or water supply.

Finally, it uses lots of water to generate electricity. Reducing the use of energy will save water. Switch off appliances when not in use. This also applies to unoccupied rooms. I grew up in a home where we never left a light burning when we left a room. And we had electricity for free when we did that.

Become water wise. Close taps. It never fails.

Mall Shooting

I am a very dangerous gent. I did learn to shoot with an air rifle but became bored soon. I wanted real action.

A BSA .22 rifle with a Martini Henry-type action was only a consolation, used somewhat expertly to kill off paper circles at twenty five yards. It does require a fair level of skill to hit a tiny bull’s eye time after time. Rapid fire was my coup de grace.

Of course, some guns are designed for people who cannot aim and shoot properly. It has a “to whom it may concern” kind of payload that doesn’t discriminate. I went shooting with these on a farm a few times, but saw no challenge to it. So I filed it in a safe.

From marriages to shooting, I avoid shotgun affairs.

My favourite was my old British Lee Enfield Mark IV .303″ which a gunsmith at Youngsfield military base converted for me into a heavy 29″ barrel of 7,62mm calibre. Its accuracy was via a precise Parker Hale peep sight. This rifle stood me well. I killed off herds of paper bulls with remarkable accuracy. It was a firearm, precision made, for precision shooting. It won me medals over anything between three hundred to a thousand yards. Every wood-and-paper target branded me as a serial killer.

So, when I entered our shopping precinct the other day, I scared the wits out of a female security guard. Despite her fairly dark complexion, I thought she looked a tad pale when she confronted me. One doesn’t argue, after all, with someone holding a dog on a leash, or something that can shoot.

Shooting is what people do at this place. Twenty four million people come to do it here, annually. Even the KKK arrive in droves, wearing their shades, shooting on sight. Point. Aim. Shoot.

My weapon, this time, was a beastly 77mm calibre with a barrel that extends from seventy to three hundred millimetres. Such a thing could scare a lady, I must admit. And it apparently did. I was told not to expose or use it in public. A primeval hunter cut to size.

A Canon with a long barrel is a scary thing. Google it, it is called an EOS 700D. Or T5i if you call some metal “aloominnum.”

The KKK may shoot. The Klik-Klik-Klan arriving in Hilton Ross buses, or other big adventurer coaches aptly named MarcoPolo.

One can have a field day with the equivalent of a handgun, maybe a Nokia with some fifty megapixels. Or a Sony Experia ZA with twenty four. My freshman tool sports only eighteen but is considered lethal.

Twenty four million shoot. They shoot landscapes and they shoot portraits. They shoot at themselves while pouting daftly. The Selfie Pout was the face of 2016 and no selfie sticks could prevent that stupid look.

Shoot at our mall if you wish, but don’t extend protrusions in public. It does cause offense.

Visit www.waterfront.co.za to view a gallery of successful kills. I presume these were drawn with crayons.

Don’t shoot. It’s only me!

Unhappy Valentine

I sit at a table outside the Food Court, taking shots of seagulls frolicking at the water feature, trying to catch one in flight with the Canon.

The table can seat at least eight folks, on benches either side. I am the only person there. Then a soft, cuddly being flops down next to me. About twenty years my junior. If she reincarnates as a dog, she’d be a fluffy golden retriever. Snuggling up to me, she asks if it is okay if she sits with me. Her accent could be German, even Austrian. Really an attractive, agreeable being, about six foot tall, with a large bone structure, copper blonde hair at shoulder length. Wavy, curly, well looked after. And an agreeably upholstered physique.

I answer her, pointing towards the opposite side of the table, that she is welcome to sit there, as she is presently occupying the seat reserved for my wife.

A coil spring stiffens next to me, it jumps up and disappears as if into thin air. I turn around yet she has vanished.

Sorry, dear, if I spoiled your Valentine’s Day 2017. I can truly love many women, but romance I reserve for the queen who had graced me with a YES on the rear steps of a little English church in a town called Darling, some three decades ago.

As beautiful as they are, they also make the greatest of friends, but King Solomon found that, confusing issues, can divide a nation. I don’t need seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines. Getting to know just one takes a lifetime.

We have a happy Valentine’s every day as we are never sure of the actual date.

Steenbokkie is net ‘n Shosholoza Meyl ver

Treinry was nog altyd vir my baie lekker en ons ry gereeld. Metrorail na Simonstad met ‘n 1-Day Tourist Pass. Wanneer ons bederf wil word, die luukse Premier Classe. Ons hou egter ook van die Shosholoza Meyl, ‘n nuwer inkarnasie van die ou Trans-Karroo.

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Min het verander op die trein. Lekker ruim kompartemente, elke wa het twee toilette en ook ‘n aparte stort. Daar is ‘n eetwa waar jy heerlike etes kan bestel en ons verkies die baie gesonde Sirloin wat goeie waarde bied teen slegs R95.

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Sirloin

 

Ons is op ‘n Woensdag weg uit Kaapstad, nadat die wêreld se mees luukse trein, die befaamde Bloutrein, hoflik genoeg was om plek te maak vir ons ou staatmaker.

 

 

Kort nadat dit vertrek het, het Shosholoza Meyl langs Perron 24 kom stilhou sodat bagasie ingelaai kon word en passasiers kon inklim. Dit was bewolk en dynserig toe ons vetrek het en die rit het ons geneem al langs die N1-hoofweg op, waar dit net anderkant Monte Vistastasie weggedraai het na Bellville, die eerste groot stop. Daar het verskeie passasiers opgeklim en ons is gou weer voort na Hugenoot-stasie by die Paarl, toe Dal Josafat en Wellington. Buite Wellingston het ons die eerste van ‘n reeks Britse forte gesien, wat dateer uit die Anglo-Boereoorlog van 1899-1902.
Pragtige groen wingerde, goue koringlande en blou berge versluierd in gryse mistigheid het kunstig ‘n landskap geverf. Gouda se woud van windlaaiers het beïndruk maar dit het begein reën en fotografie was nogal ‘n uitdaging omdat ek nie graag die Canon wou laat nat word nie. Boesmansrots, dan Nieuwekloofpas (ek sien padkentekens spel dit verkeerd) waarna ons die Wamakersvallei betree het by Tulbachweg. Al klikkende en klakkende het die trein sagweg gewieg en gou het ons verby Wolseley gesnel, waar daar nog ‘n fort te sien was. Ons was nou in die Breëreviervallei en oppad na Worcester, waar my Pa en broer my op die stasie kom groet het. Oppad soontoe, by Sedgwick’s Distillery & Vintners verby daar by Goudini; dit is waar die Old Brown Sherry en verskeie brandewyne vandaan kom, onder andere Oloff Bergh.

Met ons vertrek uit Worcester is ons gou verby die wêreld se grootse brandewyndistilleerdery onder een dak, reg langs die treinspoor. Dan die wêreldbekroonde olyfplaas, wat weer plek gemaak het vir die De Wet-vallei waar ons die eerste prieële met tafeldruiwe gesien het. Deur die kloof na Sandhills en toe is ons in die Hexvallei. Dit is hier waar ek meer as dertig jaar gelede die liefde van my lewe kom haal het as bruid op die plaas Mon Desir (wat ‘n gepaste naam!) by Hexrivierstasie. Sy neem toe die ou groot plaashuis af en ook die Shosholoza Meyl wat vanaf Johannesburg na Kaapstad onderweg was. Twee susterstrein glip by mekaar verby en ons kronkel kort daarna regs, om die eerste van ‘n reeks tonnels in te gaan. Die Hexrivierpas bied verskeie tonnels waarvan die langste ongeveer 14 km is.

Ons trein verskyn uit die tonnel soos ‘n slang uit ‘n gat en begroet die Karoo. Daar boer die mense met son en die sonpanele staan aangetree soos soldate. Of is dit ‘n energieboord? Kort daarna trek ons statig in Touwsrivier in, om hulde te betoon aan die historiese stasiegebou wat deur ‘n brand verwoes is.

Daar heers ‘n opgewekte atmosfeer op die trein, mense gesels, leer mekaar ken. Daarna volg Matjiesfontein en die historiese dorpie lyk pragtig in die laatmiddagson. Ek is te ver agter in die trein om foto’s te neem en die trein staan net twee minute. Volgende keer, dalk.

Oppad na Laingsburg verwonder ons onsself aan die mees ongelooflike rotsformasies en wens so daar was ‘n geoloog aan boord om meer te vertel van die eienaardige, pragtige landskappe wat die oog begroet. Na Laingsburg, Prins Albertweg, Leeu-Gamka, is daar nog drie forte maar ek kan nie foto’s neem nie omdat die kamera se battery pap is. Met die terugkeer Maandag, dalk. Ons gaan verby plase onder besproeïng, diep waterkuile met spaansriet, olyfboorde, landerye maar ook dorre streke in die Moordenaarskaroo.

Die son van die Kamdeboo sak weg agter die berge in die verte en kort daarna kom Shosholoza Meyl tot stilstand in Beaufort-Wes. Ons treinreis is vir eers voltrek en ons gaan deur die stasiegebou waar ons kaartjies ondersoek word. Dan ontmoet ons vir Dries van Steenbokkie Privaat Natuurreservaat. Hy gesels gemoedelik namate ons deur die dorop ry, verby ‘n imposante historiese kerk. Iewers sal ek ‘n foto moet kom oes.

Die Ford Ranger 2.2 se hoofligte boor deur die nagdonker en ons draai regs, by die netjiese ingang na Steenbokkie. Dries verduidelik dat dit eers ‘n jagplaas was, maar nou bedryf word as ‘n natuurreservaat. Meer as agtduisend hektaar, met verskeie soorte groot- en kleinwild. Elande, takbokke, drie soorte springbokkies, duikertjies, steenbokkies, wildebesste, kameelperd….die lys is eindeloos. Dit is nie ‘n spa of ‘n oord nie maar ‘n werkende plaas met diere op die werf.

Ons hou stil op die plaaswerf en Dries neem ons na ons baie netjiese, ruim akkommodasie. Dit is skoon en baie goed toegerus. Satelliettelevisie, Dstv maar ons is nie TV-kykers nie. Dit is egter noodsaaklik vir so baie gaste wat Sewende Laan graag saamneem plaas toe. Lugversorging, muskietmatjies in elke kamer, alle geriewe soos ‘n yskas, elktriese stoof, mikrogolfoond, ketel, broodrooster. Daar is moerkoffie en filterkoffie, jy verstaan?

Die woonstel waarin ons die volgende drie nagte gaan slaap, is ‘n tweeslaapkamer met ‘n lekker groot stort en alles wat nodig is. Ons hoor plaasdiere, soos skape, poue, ganse, eende en kan nie wag dat Donderdag aanbreek nie. Ons nagrus is sag en diep en nie eens die geroep van ‘n pou af en toe maak ‘n mens wakker nie.

Donderdagoggend is ons veld toe nadat ons die pragtige plaaswerf en opstal verken het. Daar is ‘n aantal gastekamers, vir elke behoefte en gesinsgrootte. Elkeen is uiters smaakvol ingerig en lugversorging is standaard. Dan gaan ons veld toe, waar ons troppe takbokke en springbokke teëkom. Op die platorand vind ons ‘n houtkruis, net soos by die kantoordeur. Om in die Karooveld te stap, stilte te ervaar, troppe wil van ver af te aanskou, dit is iets buitengewoon. Geen mens sal die gevoel verstaan alvorens jy dit nooit self gedoen het nie. In my kinderjare reeds het ek soveel aangename ervaringe gehad in die veld weerskante van Beaufort-Wes, en dit is juis hoekom ek hierdie reis saam met my vrou onderneem het. Ons wou kom kyk hoe Steenbokkie lyk, hoe dit is vir die stedeling om per trein hierheen te reis maar ook wat hierdie lieflike natuurreservaat bied aan die motoris.

Ek sal mettertyd meer byvoeg in volgende aflewerings, maar ek laat die leser met die gedagte om nie Steenbokkie oor te slaan wanneer jy weer Kaap of binneland toe reis nie. Kom staan ‘n paar dae hier oor, rus goed uit in goed ingerigte gastekamers en kothuise. Reisigers wat wil kampeer, gaan aangenaam verras wees deur die lowergroen grasperke, skaduryke bome en baie netjiese ablusiegeriewe. Ek vertel u later meer.

Shosholoza!

#GoodFoodTrain 4 #RailLove

As requested in the Facebook Trans-Karoo Group, here is a list of some of my first wobbly steps in rail travel blogging. During 2017, this will be revisited and improved and I will also take better pictures next time.

This friendly couple consented to having their picture taken

Hors D’oeuvre on Premier Classe

Nieuwekloof Pass between Gouda and Tulbach, Western Cape, South Africa

The famous Three Sisters just north of Beaufort West

For more, please link to these pages:

Excellent service from Prasa

ShosholozaMeyl

A Premier Classe Journey

Premier Classe Makes Business Sense


Romance on Rails

German Invasion of Simon’s Town! (via Metrorail)

Rail Travel South Africa Photo Albums

Karoo Backpakers

Reviewing backpackers can provide for interesting reading material. A few around Cape Town surely are of an alternative kind, offering all sorts of extras guests never thought were part of the bargain. I have seen a few things elsewhere as well, as far afield as an island in the Pacific. Backpackers always impressed for every wrong reason imaginable.  I mentioned this to many people and, in so doing, was challenged to review Karoo Backpackers in Beaufort West.

Reluctantly, I accepted and left my lovely stay at Steenbokkie Private Game Reserve which is situated about 8km (five miles) outside of Beaufort West. Steenbokkie made such an impression on me that I am starting a blog for them, as a few blog posts simply would not suffice in conveying what we have found there. I am also going to return to Steenbokkie to refine my impressions, get a second opinion from myself for the reader.

But we are at Karoo Backpackers now, which is where we arrived on Saturday afternoon, November 26, 2016. We were greeted by the youthful, ever-smiling Siyabonga, a most helpful young gentleman whose mother tongue is isiXhosa.

A pleasant surprise awaited us at Karoo Backapckers

Karoo Backpackers, Clyde House, 25 Donkin Street, Beaufort West Tel +27 23 415 3226

Siyabonga welcomed us and assisted us with our luggage after showing us around and letting us complete the guest register.  He then showed us our room, gave a short introduction to basic house rules and then showed us the lounge area, kitchen and leisure area in the back yard, with built-in braai facilities.

Siyabonga agreed to pose for a photo
Oregon Pine floors & doors, imbuia furniture and a couch for lazier souls.

There also is a shelf with books to read, a dining table and

satellite television

Fully equipped kitchen with honesty bar and even ice cream on sale
Braai area in backyard

We spent our first night in a dorm room, which we as fifty-plussers found quite pleasant as we were soon joined by two travellers, a young gentleman called Ricky and his cousin Francis.  Almost immediately, we struck up conversation and was relieved that the young folks weren’t offended by having Jurassic reviewers in their midst. Soon, we had something to eat on the balcony from where there are great views of Donkin Street.

Lovely views from balcony

Victorian wrought-iron added to the rustic ambiance

Crispy white linen on sturdy dorm bunk beds. Each bed is well equipped with

bedside table and power outlets for laptops, smartphones, camera’s and tablets.

Smoking is not allowed inside the building.

Ricky & Francis ready to depart, with Siyabonga looking on

We were invited to make coffee which was enjoyed from huge mugs, which promptly were called Pin Cushion Mugs by a very anonymous coffeeholic.

At around 11pm, we all retired to individual beds and slept well, despite countless trucks using their Jacobs Engine Brake systems down the slight decline. None of us could recall being woken by traffic on the busy Donkin Street.

Resting in a super clean room, with no sign of dust anywhere, using pure white linen, afforded us a good night’s rest.  All bathrooms are as clean and well maintained, over and above being really spacious.

Sunday dawned upon us and, a bit too soon, the two pleasant youngsters took to the road, as they had another five hours’ driving ahead of them. We are smarter as we travel via ShosholozaMeyl long distance express train, saving money, relaxing as we go and arriving fresh at our destination.

My wife and I were then relocated to a double room downstairs, with its own private entrance from a side street but also direct access from the backpacker side.

First impressions last and also this room appeared clean and tastefully decorated. It also is well equipped and the electric fan has a convenient remote control. It has its own satellite decoder and television set as well as comfortable writing desk cum dining table for two, a bar fridge and tea-coffee making facilities. As in the main kitchen, bottled water is used for human consumption as the spring water in this region tend to be brackish.

Karoo Backpackers has so far been a most pleasant surprise. The cleanliness, efficiency and friendliness of staff, the ambiance and Victorian setting did impress, as did its affordability.  I would give it the thumbs-up as an overnight stay, even a few more nights to discover the beautiful town of Beaufort West will still be an enjoyable stay.

Yet another room that I came across has a spacious en-suite bathroom and four dorm bunks, used especially by families with small children.

Verdict: a safe, clean and affordable option for the weary traveller. Cheap is not nasty at all and other backpackers could live up to the standard set by Karoo Backpackers, our new benchmark in this category.

Beaufort West Tourism is also housed in the same premises and this is convenient as guests can get excellent travel advice from accredited tour guides. An extensive library of travel information is freely available to all.

We were pleasantly surprised by the Karoo Backpackers in Beaufort West.

Do you know Joe from Africa?

So we meet online, you ask me where I am from. I say that I am from Africa, then you ask if it is one of those countries in Darfur. I say now, I am from Cape Town, so you ask me if it is in one of those countries in South Africa.

(eyes roll)

Do you know Joe?

Where does he live?

In Ghana, that is close to you, eh? You must know him?

There is an online tool to check how far Accra, Ghana is from Cape Town, South Africa. Check it out.Bear in mind that Accra is just about halfway across Africa from Cape Town.

Chances are that I might not have met Joe, after all.

Africa is a rather large continent with more than fifty countries in it, just like North America has the USA, Canada, Mexico and other countries in it.

South Africa is a country. It has more than fifty million citizens who don’t BBQ. We braai.

Something to consider.

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Independent Countries in Africa

 

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The Size of Africa

Mary Had A Little Lamb(s)

Some say that Dorper sheep are not exactly intelligent. Let us investigate a little by observing Mary and her two BBq-ready lambs at www.steenbokkie.co.za

Mary came at night and opened our secured kitchen door. We are not sure whether she wanted to assist with the next morning’s Merino salad or perhaps she needed a place to sleep. A rough doss apparently is below her level of sophistication, or is it? We shall see……

Here she is with her lambs on the lush greenery of the campsite at Steenbokkie.

Forsaking creature comforts, this is where they decided to rest instead of lying down on green pastures. Maybe they did not want to sleep on their food? Want to risk a wild guess here?

Notice the lovely lawns and shady trees in an otherwise almost barren desert.

Mary and her two lambs were just very polite and hospitable. As farm staff, they are not supposed to camp out where visitors do, so they politely stepped aside to make room for a school group that showed up later. Or let us believe this instead of suspecting them for being a bit dim-witted in not seeing a great opportunity?

Whatever the case may be, let me suggest that you come on over and bring your tent or camper along. Or, if you are like Mary, why not settle into one of the comfy chalets that we found on this working farm? A most enjoyable stay in nature, where nothing works with batteries and your young ones can learn to be unplugged humans for a while. There are many more animals, some very clever.

A farm stay in Africa with no malaria mosquito’s and no big cats that will hunt you down. Even Mary and her lambs are at peace here.

(Don’t mention that BBQ or braai as we locals call it.)

Steenbokkie – A Karoo Oasis

Meet Steenbokkie, a little oasis in the Karoo. A most lovable stay on a working game farm.

Steenbokkie

 

Over the years, we as a family have camped at so many different places and some of us have slept in caves and even in a tree or two. Some of our worst travel experiences were at little Karoo dorpies where the only camping available was on barren soil, infested with mosquito’s and with the awful noise of big trucks accelerating or using those noisy Jacobs engine brakes.

Sometimes, when making a reservation, one does so with hesitation. Apprehension, even. When booking our stay at Steenbokkie just outside Beaufort West in November 2016, we did not know what to expect.

We arrived at night and were received in a most welcoming way by owner Dries Potgieter. We found our 2-bedroom chalet to be fully equipped and even air-conditioned, with mosquito repellent mats and burners ready. Our accommodation was generous and especially neat and tidy. As Steenbokkie is a working farm, after all, we did not expect this guest house standard of presentation.

Soon, we learned that Steenbokkie is some kind of safe house to a zebra, a limping Thomson’s gazelle, a zebra and a blind fallow deer. All be cared for in a most loving way. In the same vein, their are horses and donkeys that were saved from becoming pet food.

Early the next morning, we put on our hiking boots, grabbed our camera and set off to take a few pictures while exploring the farmstead and surrounding area. We were almost overwhelmed to find an extensive farmstead with some four or five more overnight rooms, plus two more chalets. Dries and his wife Rene can accommodate a small army and various church-, social- and school groups visited during our four day stay. The big attraction is the campsite with some fourteen stands, with electricity, neat, adequate ablutions facilities and, wait for it, lush green lawns under shady trees!  Farm animals and a zebra roamed the extensive garden and Zebbie can even be petted!  There are many farm animals but we found no bad odour, despite a few porkers in neat camps. Our luck was in and I managed to shoot three gnu and stalk twelve fallow deer within a few yards of the farm gate.   There are hiking trails which leave the oasis-like farmyard behind in exchange for a real desert-like experience. Hiking across that arid land is an experience of a lifetime as we saw a few herds of three different kinds of Thomson’s Gazelle (springbok), more fallow deer, the few wildebeest as well as rock hyrax otherwise known as dassies.

Steenbokkie stole our hearts and it is just 8km north of Beaufort West, just before you get to the little airport when heading north.

Expired Goods

They moved to Australia, from South Africa, to live near their internationally (in)famous church.

I live two doors away from their mother, here in the retirement resort. Christmas saw no guests arrive at the mother’s, neither over New Year’s.

The mother is in bad health and underwent surgery. One child lives an hour away but did not visit during weeks of recovery. The other went to church with Waltzing Mathilda. Oh, there is a third child, also taken up in the independent church movement.

Spiritual warfare, designer worship, new teachings. So politically correct. New clichés, nuances, mannerisms, jargon.

We meet more and more estranged elderly. Children so easily forget what their parents had done for them, but the bad is easy to remember and not forgive.

Renewal does not reach far, or deep. Its arms are short.

Dogma fills the head, but love in the heart had expired. Hearts turned to icy cold, mouths proclaiming Jesus so bold.

What is the purpose of their cutting edge religion, then?

Potjie

An old English proverb rings true: “A boiled stew is a soiled stew”

In the 1980’s, a wave of retro cooking hit South Africa. In the mind of the average South African, this is going back to our pioneer day roots. In reality, it is an entirely new culture altogether.

Today, curries, seafood and all sorts of stews are prepared, typically in 3-legged cast iron pots over open fires. There are recipe books and many competitions are held. Of course, there is nothing wrong with that.

The historical potjie was also known as togkos or transport food, made by togryers or transporters using ox wagons. Grandpa on my mother’s side was a ‘civil engineer’ who built many dams across the country and this also necessitated transporting logistical needs and construction equipment.

A horse rider or two would travel in advance of the slow convoy and pick a campsite for the night. A pot of food would be prepared in a way more or less as described below. Note there never is a recipe for traditional potjiekos or pot food. Instead, the method defines the dinner!

A pot would be heated on a thick layer of glowing embers. Hot coals, with little or no flames, is a signature of a traditional potjie. Meat would be braised, even roasted, in the heated pot.

The fat flowing from the meat itself would serve as lubrication as, usually, no oil or fat was used. The meat, once browned thoroughly, would be removed and placed on the upturned lid alongside the pot. Usually, lamb was used, sometimes beef or wild game, but pork was uncommon.

The hardest veggies would then go in first, resting at the bottom. Green beans usually formed the basis of such a pot, also waterblommetjies in season. Layer upon layer of available vegetables, if available, were added. Salt or basic seasoning, added to taste. Seasoning traditionally was limited to basel, nutmeg, rosemary, if any. Food prepared this way does not really need added taste.

The braised meat would go on top, sometimes on a thin layer of cabbage leaves. The lid would be replaced and the food baked from the top by placing a few hot coals, from a separate wood fire, on top. Three to five large ones would suffice, as too many may scorch the meat. At the bottom, two smaller hot embers may suffice in spreading heat evenly.

While pitching the night camp, collecting wood, fetching water or perhaps some hunting, the advance team would slowly bake the caserole without adding water and, most importantly, no stirring in the pot.

As you can imagine, unlike the modern potjie, this method easily requires five to nine hours to produce a succulent, tasty meal. As the food is cooked very slowly, there occurs a great fusion of flavours.

Veggies was in short supply and dried fruit was used instead – peaches, apricots, prunes, raisins, pears were the norm.

Small quantities of wine were used sometimes, but not generally.

The meat at the top would allow some of its juices to flow down through the food below.

Remember, it is about traditional method, not about a recipe. You add what you have, yet preparing it slowly is the secret here. You can always make a nice stew much faster, add soup powders, Aromat or other artificial flavours but will that be true to the Awethentiq® togkos potjie?

Geloof – Blydskap – Liefde

Sondagoggend preek die dominee oor die radio, uit Wierdapark-Suid. Die boodskap handel oor my pet subject naamlik die sogenaamde “kerk van Handelinge.” As jy nie weet waaroor dit gaan nie, lees in jou Bybel of aanlyn hoofstukke 2 & 4 van die boek Handelinge, wat eintlik maar net deel is van die Lukasevangelie.

Lees bietjie hoe die mense een was in gees, hoe hulle alles gedeel en mekaar versorg het. Dit volg op wat Jesus aan die yuppie gesê het.

‘n Week vantevore was ek op ‘n Karoodorp waar daar tans ‘n droogte heers. In die verlede het verbygaande vakansiegangers reeds bottels water soontoe moes aanry, sodat mense kon voortbestaan. In hierdie droogte kry ek toe mos fonteine wat oral uitborrel.

Eers was dit Driesfontein wat ‘n Steenbokkie aanhou so sewe kilometer buitekant die dorp. Driesfontein is ‘n afgetrede skoolhoof wat oorloop van die Lewende Water. Ek sien die Kerk van Handelinge reg voor my staan toe ons koffiewater opsit. Hy vertel my verhale van stukkende mense en diere wat weer heelword. Op ‘n jagplaas wat tot natuurreservaat bekeer is. Dan vind ek uit sy vrou, René, is ‘n under cover sendeling in die gedaante van ‘n NG dominee in ‘n gemeente wat sewentig persent Khoisan en Xhosa is. Haar bediening is bedrywig en ons het hierdie vriendelike vrou net skrams raakgeloop, sal graag om ‘n vuur wil sit. Die Lewende Water borrel uit asof daar veertig standhoudende boorgate is. Mens en dier kom drink, word gelawe en vertroos. Die plaaswerf is een oomblik kinderpartytjiewerf, dan weer een of ander kerkgroep, maar daar is altyd beweging. Al is dit net ‘n zebra, perd of donkie wat gered is van ‘n doodskoot iewers. Daar was sendelinge en ‘n appy predikant wat daar gewoon het.

In ‘n effe nekkie op ‘n heuwel, by ‘n platorand, tref ons die eerste houtkruis aan. ‘n Sendeling het dit daar geplant. Oor die volgende paar dae word dit oor en oor bevestig – hierdie mese se harte klop reg; hule is fonteine van Lewende Water.

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Die tweede houtkruis ontdek ek later by hulle voordeur, waar ek nie onnodig wou gaan pla nie. Ek staan verstar toe ek dit sien.

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Die vorige Maandagoggend, lank voor vyfuur, ontmoet ons Ricardofontein, wat net so borrel en bruis. Lewende Water stroom uit en, net soos Driesfontein, vertel die rivier se loop hoe die Skepper hierdie mense se harte en voetstappe gerig het. Ricardo bedryf die skoonste, netjiesste en mees ordelike backpackers wat ek in vyftien jaar teëgekom het, sedert ek die eerste keer by so ‘n plek aangedoen het anderkant die aarde op ‘n Suidsee-eilandjie.

Ons trein is laat; die sinjaalstelsels in Johannesburg het vertragings veroorsaak. Ons was vyfuur op die stasie; die trein kom agtuur eers daar aan. Nie een wat mor nie. Geen gekla nie. Niemand redeneer met die dame agter die glasvenster nie. Hulle gesels met mekaar, dit klink soos Spies & Plessie. Die mense het iets moois in hulle; daar is vrede met die lewe self. Bietjie wag vir ‘n trein wat laat is, gaan hulle nie onderkry nie. Later sal ons saam met hulle op dieselfde trein reis Kaapstad toe en almal sal dit ewe veel geniet.

Ricardo bring vyf liter fonteinwater, afkomstig uit die Tsitsikamma. Ons sal nie dors kry langs pad nie. Ons het baie lewende water gekry op Beaufort-Wes in net vyf dae se tyd, soveel so dat ons ook oorloop daarvan. Die oorblywende bottelwater gaan saam met mederesigers Khayelistha toe, waar daar min water is.

Ja, daar is plekke waar Lewende Water ontbreek. Ons sal dit moet aandra soontoe.

Beaufort-Wes loop oor daarvan.

Holiday On Track

Freshly out of high school, now entering the adult world, I stood on the platform of the neat railway station in my home town. The Brandwacht mountains, Audensberg blue in the distance, the evening heat thick in the air.  By my side is a bed roll and my luggage.

Padkos.  South Africans don’t travel without padkos. Travel food, that is.

The train arrives from Cape Town. Trans-Karoo. Anticipation grows as she comes to a halt. A few hugs and kisses to the loved ones staying behind.

I board and find my seat in a compartment where two others show me where I can choose my sleeping bunk and store my luggage. I travel the cheaper second class.  The benches are clad in blue leather, walls neatly paneled and the wash basin is of durable stainless steel.

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A hint of a slight jerk, hardly noticeable and we are on our way. The two electric units at the front raising their voices as they urge their burden along. My first “real” train journey has begun!  A few years before, we went to Cape Town where we took the suburban train to Simon’s Town on a day’s adventurous outing. Once, I traveled to Goodwood to visit a cousin. But, this time, I will sleep on a journey taking two days almost, to faraway Pretoria!

Surprises await me.  The conductor comes to check if I am settled in.  He realises I am a first time traveler and looks at my ticket. He advises me to opt for the third sitting in the dining car.

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Dining car?  But I do have padkos, I tell him. “It is included in the price”, he advises me, discreetly enjoying my astonishment. I would later dine with fine porcelain and silver, enjoying freshly prepared cuisine fit for a Sunday lunch. Few five star hotels have served me better food, ever since that day, 37 years ago.

Back in the compartment, satisfied after a scrumptious meal, at least four courses at that, another surprise awaits me. Our beds are made!  Someone brought fresh linen and blankets, prepared our room-on-rails for the night. My bunk is at the window.

Many hours later, I woke to new sounds. The train is stationary.  The powerful puffing of steam engines can be heard. Hissing, blowing, they approach and connects with our now engine-less train. We are at Beaufort-West ad I wonder if my uncle will be our driver.  The Class 25 NC connects with our train so softly that water won’t ripple in my glass. Amazing how these guys marry hundreds of tonnes without us feeling it.

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The locomotives speak out in their thunderous voices, commanding the follower to obey. We move out in the darkness of night en route to De Aar and Kimberley. I lie awake, enthralled by the sounds and smells coming from the shiny black steam engines up front. I am deeply in love with fire and water, with Natal nuggets and steam.  A fine mist of ash softly sifts down onto the train’s roof. I fall asleep, bewitched by the black monsters dragging us so effortlessly across the arid plains of the Karoo.  Every now and then, blowing its whistles to warn traffic at level crossings, to give us a wide berth.

I wake up in Kimberly. Dang! The steam engines slowly crawl past us while we are being connected ever so gently to two electric engines. Consolation is that I will experience this in less than three weeks again upon my return and again two weeks after that, when reporting for my two year compulsory national service in the army. This trip is the first of many to come.

We are served a scrumptious breakfast, once again the waiters are dressed smartly, wearing bow ties. The food is excellent and the scenery a new experience.  I have traveled by road before, many times, but this is different. The thorn trees, animals on farms and game ranches, little villages, eventually mine dumps increase in numbers and we finally arrive at Johannesburg Park Station, or maybe Germiston, where the train is split., I think. Some people travel to Durban while we go to Pretoria.

All too soon, we arrive at the beautiful old Pretoria station building where an uncle and a cousin come to collect me. There is much padkos left and my bed roll is still fresh.

The first of many pleasurable train travels had culminated where others were already waiting for their next adventure to begin.

It is your turn to venture out – here are a few suggestions.  Rail travel is fashionable again. It is comfortable, there are no overturned trucks or potholes to deal with at night. Just a relaxed environment and time to take in the scenery as South Africa slowly rolls by.

Waar Die Treinspoor Ophou

As die treinspore in die sand verdwyn, weet jy dat jy aangekom het op Simonstad!

Soveel maal in die verlede, oor die afgelope 42 jaar, het ons as gesin hierdie lekker treinrit onderneem. Dis toe ek nog aan huis van my ouers was. Daarna, sowat dertig jaar gelede, het ek en my vroutjie vriende oortuig om dit saam met ons te doen. Vele treinritte na Simonstad sou volg. Elke rit bly vars in my geheue. Daarom dat ek dink dat geen mensdie moet misloop nie.

Binnelanders kan gerus die tipe ding aandurf wat ons weer op Sondag, 16 Oktober 2016 gedoen het. Sommer vroeg die oggend was ons op die stasie en het ons die Day Pass gaan optel. Dagpas? Ons dra pas want ons reis eersteklas! Met dié slim kaartjie ry jy heeldag lank, soveel jy wil, waar jy wil, wanneer jy wil op die Simonstadlyn. En die lae prys van R36 (Oktober 2016) bly immergroen. Jy betaal geen bloue duit meer nie.

So klim ons toe mos af by Muizenberg. Of Amuzingberg soos ek my geliefde

ou kusdorpie graag noem. Daar is te veel dinge om te doen, ons gaan weer

hieroor gesels. Ek sal weer ‘n draai gaan maak en die drade daar optel.

My jy kan gaan leer branderski, of vis eet, stap op die myle lange

strande af, daar is die Zandvlei waar jy kan gaan braai vir die

dag….te veel om te noem.

Maak soos ons en raak voetvaardig met die netjies gepleisterde

betonpaadjie na St James. Dis so ‘n outydse myl oftwel 1,6 km ver en

selfs geskik vir ouer mense en ander, soos ek, met beperkte mobiliteit.

As dit nader is, of verder, gaan dit jou nie pla nie.

By St James kan jyvir jou ‘n kleurvolle kleedkamertjie huur en gaan baai in die lekkergroot getypoel. Wanneer die Noorkaper-walvisse aandoen, is dit maklik om hulle vanaf die rotse waar te neem, veral regoor die stasie. Hierdie

kolosse is baie nuuskierig en hou graag dop wat op land aangaan. Die

rotse aan die Kalkbaai-kant van St James is redelik regaf en die see

diep, derhalwe swem die walvisse na aan die kus. Noorkapers kry hulle

naam van die Noorse Kaap en is nie “noordkappers” soos wat mense op RSG

hulle noem nie. Dag ek seg maar net.

Vanaf St James het ons die trein geneem tot op Simonstad, maar langs pad

baie foto’s geneem want jy sien soms net die see as jy afkyk. Min plekke

op aarde bied jou ‘n treinrit wat soms soos ‘n bootvaart voel. By

Simonstad raak die spore weg in die sand en jy gaan later weer

daarvandaan terug Kaapstad toe, maar verder is jy aangewese op ‘n lekker

stap. Neem gerus die motor wat HGTS Tours so gerieflik op die stasie

aanbied. John het ons geneem na die Quayside Sentrum, waar ons middagete

by Harbourview Restaurant genuttig het.

Toe eet hierdie Bolander mos iets anders as waterblommetjiebredie! Eers

het ons ‘n Griekse slaai gedeel met olywe wat so lekker was dat my vrou

glad daarvan geëet het! En Deense Fetakaas daarby, lekker sag en

romerig. Toe kom die regte kos!

Vir mevroutjie was daar net mooi presies die heel beste stukkie stokvis

met calamari. Nou kyk, daardie stokvissie is agterna oor en oor

getakseer en so het hy moes kompeteer met Salty Sea Dog naasaan se

uitstekende stokvis, of met Lusitiania in Waterkantstraat (Kaapstad se

middestad), of met die uithaler-stokvis van Manny De Gouveia se Da Gama

Fisheries in Van Rieebeckstraat, Kuilsrivier en selfs met die befaamde

twee viswinkels op Worcester, wat landwyd bekends is: Heuwel Vissery en

Lamouette. Na meer as ‘n uur het ons besluit dat Harbourview tog die

wenner is; die vis is net meer perfek as die ander se perfek. Ag nee,

man, nou sit ek in Seepunt en skryf en Simonstad is aan die ander kant

van ons geankerde eiland!

Bolander soos ek, Blootvoet daarby, ken toe mos nie vir bok se kind nie.

Van sien, ja, ook van sien hoe die geelkatte van die wildtuin hulle

plattrek. Maar toe is dit my beurt. Nee, daar was nie leeus nie, maar

genoeg vleis om ‘n trop gelukkig te hou. My baard is af maar ek speel

toe maar maanhaar en eet al te lekker aan die wonderlikste stukkie

rooibok daar. En toe wei ‘n koedoe homself onder my mes in. Vlakvark het

kom kyk en ook nie oorleef nie. Hulle is binnetoe. En baie lekker

daarby, veral die rooibokkie. Murgsag, man, maar ek beveel die hele

drie aan – Three Game Medallion. Amper by Kaappunt, kan jy dit glo?!

Vir die effense Ingilse kultuurtjie durf my vrouwtjie toe die Apple

Crumble aan en dit was heerlik. Maar tradisievaste Afrikanergelowiges

hou mos by die bekende; ons eer nie vreemde afgode nie en dus het ek

oordadiglik eer betoon aan ‘n lekker skep Malvapoeding. Net soos Ma se

poering het dit gekom met twee bolle roomys daarby. Maar, Boera, was dit

nou vir jou agter die oor!

Geurige koffie, lekker milde Arabica smaak dit my, het die dag se

eetverrigtinge formeel afgesluit.

En dis hoe ons Wêreldvoedseldag op Simonstad gaan vier het. Hoe ry doe

trein, hoe ry die trein, Simonstad se trein! (Askies, Kimberly.)

Toe nou, moenie in Kaapstad kom rondflenter oor Desember en my verkla

oor julle nie weet hoe om die dag om te kry nie. As ek nou nog so ‘n

draai of twee gaan ry het, sal ek beter idees gee van alles tussenin

Muizenberg en Vishoek. Daar is nog ‘n wêreld om te gaan ontdek!

Metrorail maak dit maklik!

World Food Day At Simon’s Town

Thirty thousand words in my vocabulary, 25,000 from English plus another five thousand in Afrikaans. Yet I am at a loss for words here. I have eaten at five star hotels in Cape Town, but also in exotic places such as the Pacific, for instance. Tonight, I am trying to recall a meal that was better presented, or that had tasted better, in a better setting than today’s lunch at Harbourview Restaurant.

With a lovely view over the Simon’s Town Naval Base and its fleet of sleek corvettes and other men-of-war, as well as various civilian yachts, dinghies and speed boats, the laid-back setting adds to a homely atmosphere. Having brought various friends, including several visitors from Deutschland here in the past, Harbourview Restaurant already established itself as a safe, reliable venue. In the past, my wife and I mostly drank soft drinks, or the gourmet coffee from Peacocks, together with delectable cake from an appetising display. Before, we also had fish & chips there, which was great at the time.

Guests can be seated inside our out on the lovely veranda.

 

Overlooking the Marina

Today, we were met with a cheerful vibe among staff and a festive hum from many guests enjoying a scrumptious Sunday lunch. At some point, there even was singing coming from a table some distance away from us. Two tour coaches arrived and staff were quite busy for a while, yet managed to attend to other guests in a most friendly manner.

We also took a peek at what others had ordered and I think that more than one visit would be justified. My wife never eats olives but she stole three of mine from the lovely, fresh Greek salad. I can just mention that this salad has the integrity to stand on its own legs, not really needing the olive oil or balsamic vinegar treatment. It was made up of a cheerful selection of vegetables and herbs, as well as the Calamata olives and Danish feta. For once, I nit-picked in a restaurant, but only to sample each ingredient on its own. The freshness is almost unbelievable and I was tempted to search for a veggie garden outside, but only found ample parking on the harbour side.

Greek Salad with Calamata Olives & Danish Feta

The main course consisted of a seafood order for my wife while I went hunting in Africa. The Missus had a Fried Hake & Calamari with Chips. French fries. It comes garnished with a fresh tossed salad although it is a good portion of delectable freshness, not just garnishing. Somebody back in the kitchen must have been performing some magic rituals on the fish, as I have never tasted hake that fresh, or tender, or succulent, or flaky. I think it is safe to say that I have been caught red-handed, fishing in my darlingmost wificle’s food plate. I am not exaggerating; we as a couple have done our bit of fisheries-crawling and not even the freshly speared parrot fish from the tropical reefs can better this hake. If you want your taste buds to be overwhelmed, this is it. The generous portions of fried potato chips and tartar sauce were appreciated but deemed as an option to resist. The fries, golden brown and at that ideal spot between golden brown and ultimately crispy, were really nice but would have infringed upon real estate required for the dessert to follow.

Hake with Calamari

As I am a supporter of anything Banting-ish, or in the direction of #LCHF as described by Toortsie in her Banting books, the choice of a Three Game Medallion as suggested by Noelene proved to be just perfect. Once again, garnishing was in the form of a sizable tossed salad and the lavish portion of said golden brown fries. I am not supposed to touch it but half of it got the better half of me. Now to the meatier issues. Impala, kudu and warthog accepted the invitation and joined me for lunch. Impala can be tough, sometimes, but not at this address. It was tender beyond belief and, like the kudu and warthog, very succulent and tasty. The chef was smart enough to properly cook the wild game, leaving me at no risk of taking in boarders. I have noted this with appreciation as too many chefs simply want to be fashionable instead of considering the future bodily welfare of guests. I think that cooking it to a proper well done is just a sign of good training and of understanding the nature of wild game. Tasty it was, as mentioned before, yet this deserves a second mention. This is what a true South African family restaurant serves: properly cooked meat with a slight basting that doesn’t kill off the taste. A more or less perfect balance.

There are Banting options on the menu, though. I chose to transgress, digress and took my egress from living overtly healthy.

Three Medallion Wild Game – Impala, Kudu & Warthog

Dessert. Apple Crumble with Ice Cream for the Lady and yours truly ordered a traditional Afrikaner Malva Pudding. This is a dessert of Cape Dutch ancestry and as South African as Braavleis, Boerewors or Biltong. Not to leave Boerbeskuit out of this sophistication. This is now where prejudice and bias may be playing a role but the rather lovely apple crumble just disappeared in the fog of time. Good as it was, with more apple than crumble, sticky inside and crumbly where needed, it simply is overshadowed by the vastly superior Malva Pudding. It came served with a much welcomed toffee syrup, not required yet just adding a touch of different taste. This elevated the already mouth-watering Malva Pudding into a league of its own.

image7

Malva Pudding

As mentioned, the well-known Peacock’s Gourmet Coffee is served, in my book the second best coffee money can buy in South Africa. (The best is made by a personal friend who was trained by the old Mr Peacock!) Peacock’s is a coffee (and tea) brand that is as safe as houses. When you dine out and see the Peacock’s logo, rest assured: good coffee is on its way, from the bean to the cup.

As teetotalers, we did not make use of the excellent bar facility but I did notice that good beers, a selection of really good local wines as well as various cocktails are served.

There also is a take-away counter. This is for those who want to take their food to the beaches nearby, or at elsewhere.

Thank you so much for a most memorable feast at Harbourview Restaurant!

When Church Isn’t Church

“This church isn’t loving enough!” – http://wp.me/p1V2TT-2Ae

Now, let us see how loving Jesus was towards the “church types” of His day:  He did not WANT to forgive or save them. He said it Himself!

I grew up with a fierce passion for what I thought was His house. Boy, was I mistaken! Quite soon, I was asked to denounce my faith in Jesus Christ.

Same fate happened to Brother Andrew aka God’s Smuggler.My youngest brother who is slightly awetistiq did his B. Theo Summa Cum Laude. 89,4% average. He was not allowed to bury my mother from her church!  A few years ago, he was banned from church because he was baptised following him accepting Jesus.

“We believe in one holy, universal Christian church” is their weekly chant, yet apparently Terms & Conditions apply. 38,000+ denominations cannot have one right and the others wrong.  All are just wrong.

What I have seen over a period spanning five decades, very much by pastors going from house to house, gossiping, sowing division, with elders and church members following suit. In over forty churches and innumerable missionary organisations. Also in social media.

  • Several families driven apart
  •  Children estranged from parents
  • Careers, businesses ruined
  • Families becoming homeless
  • Freemasonry with all it brings
  • Satanism
  • Witchcraft
  • Love for the unreached yet no love or compassion for own members
  • Dining with pastors, rejecting the poor within the church
  • Pedophiles abound in Protestant churches yet we tell jokes about Catholics. Hypocrisy!
  • Wealthy members getting all the love
  • Suicide among rejected, shunned fellow believers. It will be Christmas soon, the risk increases.
  • Partisans
  • Unbelievable promiscuity, swingers’ clubs but only gays get bashed.
  • Fraud
  • Extortion
  • Blackmail
  • Theft
  • The list is endless

Already judging someone who is hurting, shows there is no love, that we are shooting the wounded. Remember the song by Chuck Girard? DON’T SHOOT THE WOUNDED

Reminder: In His very own words, Jesus said He did not want to forgive the hard-of-heart temple (church today) people. He said they were not His people, either. John 4, Revelation 18:4, Ezekiel 9 from verse four. 

“Church needs true repentant revival, not these ecstatic soul dimension impersonations.”

Finally, read in Acts chapters 2 & 4, Exodus 35 about unity in His Spirit. Yes, even in Exodus!

Location! Location! Location!

The mantra of real estate agents has a familiar ring to it. We have all heard it before. Yet, the world we live in is dynamic and change is guaranteed.

We moved into a new suburb in March 2016 after we had lived for two years in an apartment owned by the same landlord from whom we had rented the five years prior to that as well. At our initial address, mobile broadband signal was quite good, measured in South African standards as my HSDPA dongle averaged around 7.5mbps while peaking at around 21mbps. Then he sold the property and allocated a different unit to us, just 300 metres down the same street and our signal was gone! We had to change to a new service provider at much increased cost.

After we had moved to our current address, we suddenly had terrible connectivity issues and we once again had to change our service providers. Even so, where we live, even the best service providers are not on par. There simply are not enough mobile antennae in the area and the existing ones are antiquated Sony Ericsson pr Nokia towers, while the more modern Huawei ones are not yet deployed to my neck of the woods.

Current speeds are sometimes measured in mere bits per second! Not even kilobits, let alone gigabYtes! I can only blog via off-line email and not even using a browser as it just times out.

It is safe to say that one should first investigate a new neighbourhood if you want to relocate. If you are like me and absolutely need mobile broadband for basic survival, then please ensure beforehand that there is good coverage, if no ADSL or Fibre Optic infrastructure around. Satellite around here is prohibitively expense as if regular data does not already cost four to five times that of other countries.

Did I hear someone say: “Location!! Location!! Location!!” ??

Helping Brethren In Need – Jesus Taught This

We have a free will, we have the right to choose. God did not decide all of our steps at the beginning but handed us the yoke, which is why Adam & Eve could and did choose wrongly. Eventually, a few thousand years later, God regretted that He had made mankind and wanted to obliterate them all. It was Moses who stood in the gap, pleading. Man had a tendency to choose badly then just as he chooses badly now. Just yesterday, the majority of my predominantly Christian nation voted for a pro-communist, pro-Marxist government as corrupt as hell with a president that makes Hilary, Obama and Trump look like saints. Research #Nkandla and #ZumaMustFall. Even so, the minority knew to choose a better option than the proven corruption and international disgrace. They had a free choice, it was not predestined. And do not draw the Paul card to tell me that “all government is elected by God” as that is his opinion. God, speaking through Hosea, said the opposite: “Hosea 8:4 They have set up kings, but not by me. They have made princes, and I didn’t approve.

There is much dogma about God having predestined our every thought and action. If that was true, it means we had a sinful, utterly unreliable God! One who would willingly do wrong and who then could be blamed for all our faults. It would be easy then to pardon ourselves, as we would have played no port in our iniquities. Just one area where Jesus, our Everlasting Father (Isaiah 9:6) commanded us to look after our impoverished brethren, is a point of discussion here, as most neglect this yet take gifts to strangers. (In Isaiah 30, God is quite outspoken about this.)

Already Jesus said that those not in obedience will not enter heaven and He is echoed in 1 John where John wrote that those not obedient to God are not His children. Only those guided by His Spirit are the sons of God. It really is rather obvious that believing is insufficient and that we must obey His will, as if we do not, He would reject us as we then are not His children. I know most people believe differently because they believe dogma instead of His Word.

(I will not follow human dogma and doctrine in conflict with Scripture. The Pauline quasi-Christian will necessarily have to disagree as it does not follow the parallel gospel that replaces the teaching of Jesus, who is God in human format.)

Let us look at what the apostle John had written here: 1 John 3:15 Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life remaining in him.
16 By this we know love, because he laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.
17 But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and closes his heart of compassion against him, how does the love of God remain in him?
18 My little children, let’s not love in word only, neither with the tongue only, but in deed and truth.

Matthew 25:34 Then will the King say to those on his right, Come, you who have the blessing of my Father, into the kingdom made ready for you before the world was:
35 For I was in need of food, and you gave it to me: I was in need of drink, and you gave it to me: I was wandering, and you took me in;
36 I had no clothing, and you gave it to me: when I was ill, or in prison, you came to me.
37 Then will the upright make answer to him, saying, Lord, when did we see you in need of food, and give it to you? or in need of drink, and give it to you?
38 And when did we see you wandering, and take you in? or without clothing, and give it to you?
39 And when did we see you ill, or in prison, and come to you?
40 And the King will make answer and say to them, Truly I say to you, Because you did it to the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.
41 Then will he say to those on the left, Go from me, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire which is ready for the Evil One and his angels:
42 For I was in need of food, and you gave it not to me; I was in need of drink, and you gave it not to me:
43 I was wandering, and you took me not in; without clothing, and you gave me no clothing; ill, and in prison, and you came not to me.

Jesus provides, not through descending with a bucket filled with gold, but by placing a dollar in someone else’s bank account, to see if that person is going to love the needy one enough to help. (Jeremiah 6:27-29, but read the foregoing pericope for context.) Now, as He had already provided, and if we obey His commands by NOT saving up in worldly banks but invest in His Kingdom instead, there would be no lack. Jesus did teach the rich man to let go of his wealth, did He not? So, why do you cling to yours? Oh, so you live in faith but need a AAA+ financial instrument to back your belief?

If we choose not to help, we choose not to obey. We already contravene the Laws of Moses which said that it is a sin to allow your brother to become poor by you. It also contravenes the commands of Jesus as well as display no love or grace as we see clearly described from the New Testament. So, from a position of law it is sin and from a position of grace it is sin.

Now I am asking: is God the reason why you had chosen not to help people in need? Is it predestination that is at work here, so that you can sin freely and just let it run up Jesus’ account. After all, he paid the price so we can do as we please, it is after all His will that we sin, as He predestined it so that He could suffer terribly? Only a deluded person can belief in such ludicrous dogma. It borders upon being blasphemous and it takes away the responsibility to be accountable for our own thoughts & deeds. “Why did you lust after Jessica?” …… “Oh, God predestined it!”

Predestination, my ass! Choose right, choose to obey, choose to repent and return, choose to do His will. As predestination goes as far as allowing us the sovereign right of free choice.

I am sick and tired of people finding excuses not to helping fellow believers yet are critical of those who encourage people to do their Biblical duty. Once you lose your job, become needy yourself, you will soon feel how hard it is to not be loved enough by others, as they then won’t be caring for your needs. People only understand when walking in the boots of others. As such, I am asking God to place every critic in a position where he or she would feel the need and then understand what others are going through. I am just as sick and tired of so-called Christians who are so polite yet so unloving, so critical yet passive and not even willing to help another. May our Lord place such in a position of true understanding, as their is no willingness to even listen. Such is the lovelessness and the coldness of heart among so-called Christians! No wonder Jesus will reject the majority and say he never knew them!

I am not even going to debate this. Been there, done that. I am not interested in arguing theology here, all I say is just obey Jesus and His word.

Period.

to heal a nation

a rainbow nation, or so they say
a rainbow nation, such colourful clay
white and yellow
black and brown
the best in any town

black migrants moving south
wiping out the little brown ones as they go
across the ocean they come – the white ones
on ships painfully slow

where rivers converge, there is a maelstrom
turmoil where the oceans meet
blood in the river
cries on the street

settlers black and white
settlers come with all their might
settlers argue who is wrong, who is right
the bigger picture obscured in battle’s dust
a nation forged, a nation thrust

if only they denounced the fear
or buried the spear
went on their knees and prayed
instead thousands got slayed
rivers of blood into oblivion
carnage became our tradition
destiny thwarted by greed
jealousy the devil’s seed
violence became our creed
bloodshed indeed
blood in the street

many whites, at least among we afrikaners (or boere with a capital b) did not support apartheid on a racial basis but did so because we believed in liberty, freedom and equality. ever since karl marx, the atheist communist used the very last settlers in cape town, around 1853, to cause anarchy, riot violently and damage property, the whites – outnumbered 20:1 – saw they needed to protect minorities, including the indigenous brown people as well as the malay and asians, the semites and europeans. blacks are not indigenous to south africa, same as whites, as both came from the north. some came by sea, others came by land, but the indigenous khoisan found themselves outnumbered.

“Apartheid, at least in part, was the response of a tiny white minority to black racism”

te wealthy english were the first to introduce apartheid (segregation) when the first communists formed several societies that excluded all but white english-speaking people. the communist party was the very first to include racial segregation in a constitution. atheist communist karl marx lived in cape town in the mid 1800’s and his sister was married to jan juta, a lawyer and publisher. she was friends with olive schreiner, with whom she shared a lover called ellis, whose body was “like jesus” to them.

with keen foresight, proven correct some 160 years later by the unruling party, the minority of whites realized that minorities would be oppressed and that anarchists could come into power. in fact, the ruling anc, being communist in nature, had been teaching its followers to strike violently, to destroy and loot, to commit arson and be militant. the ruse has always been some sort of injustice, invented at times, but truth is that a reason would always be found to destabilise a country socially, economically and politically. the worker has always been used as an unpaid soldier, through the communist trade unions, without the worker realising, of course. the average worker believed the union to be his saviour while it was abusing him for ulterior ends.

when black communists were enticed into violent riots and strikes in 1853, it caused a most severe rift between black and white. the black workers who did this, cannot be blamed as, at the time, they were mostly illiterate and could not possibly understand. the blame must go towards karl marx and his wealthy cohorts who spread the bad gospel of atheist communism while being extremely wealthy capitalists themselves.

south africa was not a merely black <vs> white racial issue; it has been a fight between christ and satan all along and most of (we) afrikaners did not hate blacks, we did not want to fight them but we had to defend civilisation against the anarchy caused by the communist instigators and eventual dictatorship, as we see in the untouchable jacob zuma, state president and embarrassment to this nation. with forty percent of parliament being communist, and with a country failing fast, we can safely assume that the white elders were not too wrong in their expectation of majority rule under communist auspices.

then the british administered a brutal and severe genocide upon the white afrikaners but also wiped out thousands of blacks during the anglo-boer war, also known as the south african war, between 1899-1902. their concentration camps provided the model for hitler’s infamous auschwitz-type camps in which so many jews and others were tortured and killed, also the concentration camps used in the soviet gulag, the chinese torture camps, cuba and also here in africa, where nelson mandela’s anc had such camps across africa. yes, it started by the british and went all the way to nelson mandela and chris hani, the latter nicknamed “little mao” after the brutal chinese dictator mao se dung.

blacks and afrikaners responded to british oppression by forming nationalist movements. both claimed to be very christian but neither really displayed such qualities. if only they worked together in prayer……….where would south africa have been by now?

on december 16, 1838, a group of 470 afrikaner trekboere – includinf women and childrn –  (hence the nickname “boere” for afrikaners) and 128 others were attacked by some 20,000 zulu impi’s (soldiers.) the afrikaners prayed to god to save them and made a covenant with him that, should he deliver them, that day would be celebrated as a sabbath unto the end of days, to honour him. this was an important event, as only three afrikaners were injured and none killed while some 3,000 zulu’s died in the fierce battle. the importance is twofold: firstly, the zulu’s saw the power of god and, today, there are more reborn christians among zulu’s than there are whites in south africa! secondly, god demonstrated that he saved when approached in an hour of need.

south africa is in its hour of need. this country is on fire. schools, trains, farms, businesses, infrastructure, universities, art collections of great value, all these get destroyed because people have been trained to be destructive for 160 years now. this is especially so in black culture, because of communist influence, through instigators. left on their own, most blacks are just lovable, kind-hearted and friendly people. most of my friends are black for that reason. once again, communism raises its ugly head. read more about this destructive culture here and also here. read how nelson mandela’s violence gave rise to an estimated twenty thousand deaths – he was no mlk, not by a country mile.

the pro-nazi afrikaner, about half the afrikaner nation, added insult to injury, aided by some white english, when the 1960 referendum led to the apartheid state. apartheid means to be separate. verwoerd like hitler and mandela like stalin. both have their followers despite what the had done to humankind.

today, we have a nation of broken, hurting people, more racism than during apartheid, a failing state and an economy on a downward slide. a nation in turmoil, one in crisis, needing healing.

as for bad government, be it apartheid or the current reverse apartheid, one worse than the other, god laments that we appoint kings and princes he did not approve of, as we see in hosea 8:4

it is time to unite in prayer
it is time to humble ourselves in the presence of the creator jesus christ
it is time to repent from our past and our present sins
it is time to open up to true repentant revival, not charismatic fanfare
it is time to cry for help
it is time for a new covenant
it is time to become one in christ jesus
no religion, just jesus

this message needs to get out there
please support my ministry so that i can travel and call people up to prayer
to plead for unity in christ jesus
so that we can
heal this nation

in the power of jesus christ

To The Brother (Sister) In Need

  • send me your prayer request, see button above, it is confidential, or fill out the form below. only i get to see it, no risk of exposing to others
  • ask Jesus to put His song into your heart
  • do not worry, fret or panic
  • keep the faith
  • learn to trust
  • remain hopeful
  • do not sulk
  • do not moan
  • instead, praise His name, regardless
  • if you praise Him, he will make way
  • ask Him what you need to learn from this
  • also ask Him what He wants from the situation

let your suffering not be a wasted effort, use the pain as fertiliser to grow from here

 

 

Dogma Deceives – Judging Others

Do not judge me, do not judge others.

This refrain usually comes from someone who had just judged you very unfairly. Almost without fail, that is.

From the Books of Moses right through the New Testament, there is a very clear message about judging and I am not even going to quote the verses as any Christian should know this by now, if older than 12.

  • Judge all fellow believers righteously, regardless of status or creed
  • Confront the offending brother and, if he doesn’t heed, treat him like an unbeliever
  • Do not judge non-believers, for example Muslims, Hindus or Jews as you will be judged accordingly
  • Judge errant brothers who are greedy, gluttons, promiscuous, gossipers, etc. Do not eat with such and evict them.

Christians generally do the exact opposite, then say Do not judge me, do not judge others.

People grab a verse and make a religion out of it, which is pure heresy. Now before someone say I am aggressive, let me remind the reader that people only take offense of the Truth if they are guilty and if their pride gut pricked. I really am not here for an audience or to cuddle people into heaven but to pluck them from a polite, politically correct highway to hell. My position here is not to socialise (although that is always nice) but I am here on the very clear instruction and guidance of Jesus Christ. You are my only church and this is my ministry; my calling is both prophetic and teaching. No, i am NOT a prophet but just a plain bloke uttering a Jeremiah call into the desert, for His people to repent and return to the old, proven ways.

Of course, the modern “Sanhedrin types” will most definitely take offense (if you are offended, you have just exposed yourself) because someone is forthright and a seeker of righteousness. After all, love is righteousness and righteousness requires justice which is love. As love will prick your heart to save you from eternal condemnation. (It is in the Bible!)

Jesus was never the polite, politically correct and amiable fellow people make Him to be. Instead, He used crude language, was blunt to the point of offense and invoked the ire of many, yet he was also utterly dependable and reliable. People do not know Jesus because they mainly read Paul. But Paul was a man of rude speech, who cursed and condemned and used rather bad language. Somehow, Christians manage to overlook that when reading. Peter…….let’s not even go there.

If I am too “aggressive” for some, please consider Jesus, Matthew 23:
A curse is on you, scribes and Pharisees, false ones! for you make men give a tenth of all sorts of sweet-smelling plants, but you give no thought to the more important things of the law, righteousness, and mercy, and faith; but it is right for you to do these, and not to let the others be undone.
24 You blind guides, who take out a fly from your drink, but make no trouble over a camel.
25 A curse is on you, scribes and Pharisees, false ones! for you make clean the outside of the cup and of the plate, but inside they are full of violent behaviour and uncontrolled desire.
26 You blind Pharisee, first make clean the inside of the cup and of the plate, so that the outside may become equally clean.
27 A curse is on you, scribes and Pharisees, false ones! for you are like the resting-places of the dead, which are made white, and seem beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and of all unclean things.
28 Even so you seem to men to be full of righteousness, but inside you are all false and full of wrongdoing.
29 A curse is on you, scribes and Pharisees, false ones! =-O because you put up buildings for housing the dead bodies of the prophets, and make fair the last resting-places of good men, and say,
30 If we had been living in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in the blood of the prophets.
31 So that you are witnesses against yourselves that you are the sons of those who put the prophets to death. =-O
32 Make full, then, the measure of your fathers.
33 You snakes, offspring of snakes, how will you be kept from the punishment of hell? =-O
34 For this reason, I send you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: some of them you will put to death and put on the cross, and to some of them you will give blows in your Synagogues, driving them from town to town;
35 So that on you may come all the blood of the upright on the earth, from the blood of upright Abel to the blood of Zachariah, son of Barachiah, whom you put to death between the Temple and the altar.”

Perhaps some of you want to go in search for a softer, cuddlier God now? As the rosy halo of the candy bar Jesus just came off? Please, I am here, sent with a winnowing fork to separate chaff from the gemstones. The Lord showed me long ago that the clergy will regard me as the Satan, as their ego and pride will take a serious knock when confronted with Truth. Anything goes, just don;t offend, go with the flow and down the falls into the depths. I am the kind who will fall into the ocean and be found, sitting under a tree to rest, above that waterfall. Upstream, as only live fish do, not floating downstream with the dead ones.

I never intentionally offend and I also am not aggressive, as that is a perception of some, yet it is far from the truth. Even God can become very aggressive, but always with good reason. Do not waste or even deny justified holy indignation. I am not a man with a short fuse just for the sake of being arrogant and confrontational. No, i am a very compliant and amiable character, just very battle weary and not here to French-kiss anyone into heaven. I am nobody’s cuddly toy.

There is a spirit of religion, the Babylon vibe, that runs thick through corporate Christianity from Rome through Constantinople right down to the ends of the earth. People speak funny when they pray, animated, as if acting on a stage. Which many are doing. Everybody seems to have a title from apostle to prophet, all of which is illegal as Jesus specifically forbade this. Yes, we can be called as apostles, teachers, healers, prophets but those are mere job descriptions commensurate with gifts of His Spirit. These never are titles, as the ones wallowing in acute pride want to be called Prophet Jim or Apostle Don or Evangelist Kate or Pastor Fred. Or Father Mike. Only Jesus is our Everlasting Father (Isaiah 9:6) and nobody else deserves that title. Now I am confusing you and slaughtering yet another holy cow.

I am sitting here with a song in my heart and a smile on my face, wondering how many will think i was raging mad when writing this. As they are too proud, also very judgmental, they will want to nail me to the nearest tree. They will be angry not because I was wrong but because Truth hurt them.

Period.

IMG-20160529-WA0003

Jesus! Meet Jesus!

“Paul said……..”

This is how the average Christian starts a sentence. Much of modern Christianity has Paul, a mere human, as the pivotal figure. I am no critic of Paul, to the contrary, yet what people make of him is perhaps not what Jesus intended.

Recently, I came across various evangelists and even missionaries who had very limited or even no knowledge of how Jesus conducted Himself, or what His words were while upon this earth in human form.  It seemed odd, in a peculiar way, that one would leave home shores, set sail and go on a two year cruise around the globe to proclaim someone you know nothing of.  Someone who you only know of by virtue of one person, basically, that person being Paul, of course.  It reminds me of church people who ask about me, solicit opinions of so many who had never set foot in my home, yet advise others on the unsuitability of yours truly for “temple service.”

Hearsay being reliable evidence, admissible in Christian Court.

I have ventured out some time ago and started entering every word Jesus ever said, as far as we know, into a parallel journal spanning four columns, one for each Gospel, plus a fifth for perspective or context.  The Jesus that I had rediscovered, proved to be vastly different from the one so loved and proclaimed by regular Christianity.  His conduct seemed remote from the perceptions people have, which should not be surprising, yet this had taken me off-guard completely.

My proposal is that every truth-seeking believer start out doing as I had done; I am yet again going to do this, to record His words in an entirely new journal, for renewed perspective.

It is Jesus, not Paul, who I proclaim as Paul, respected gentleman as he proved to have been, failed in a few things. He was not described in Isaiah 53, nor does Isaiah 9:6 refer to Paul as my Father.  It was not Paul who died for me on the cross and, last time I checked, he also did not rise to bring me eternal life. It was not Paul who transcended into heaven and returned in Spirit.  Paul did not forgive my sins, either.

The honours go to Jesus alone.

Jesus, being the Everlasting Father, the Mighty God, the Creator, is at least one step above Paul. It would have been nice if sentences started with “Jesus said…..”

 

 

Procrastination Killed The Cat

A true story:

God told a missionary to wait at the quayside for the ship to depart; He would send someone with the travel fare. The missionary obeyed, the ship could not wait longer and departed. It was the missionary’s absolute last chance to go to that remote island nation.  The next day, the wealthy procrastinating friend showed up, apologized for procrastinating and gave the missionary the exact amount in cash – but a day late.

It was too late, his mission was ruined and thousands of people God wanted to reach, were now without a messenger with the Good News.  We see this sad situation from Genesis to Revelation, all the many failures by man.  No, it does not work together for the good as that verse only means that things work right for those who obey His Spirit.

Question:  when I step outside of God’s will, how much damage do I do to others? How much do I sabotage God’s kingdom?  Read Genesis – Revelation for many case studies.)

They say that all works well in the end – not it does not.  It only works well when you are serving His will. That is why Jesus said what He did, brought a different gospel in Matthew 7:21-23.  “God is in control,” we say, yet we forget that He manages by proxy, having appointed us as His agents.   In that sense, it is very much up to us to see that His will gets done.

God=Community

We all know about Pentecost and how the Spirit of God fell upon people and they started speaking in other languages.  We have all read 1 Corinthians 12 and 1 Corinthians 14 (sadly missing the sweet filling in between.)

When we look at these gifts, they are all designed to bring people closer.  Closer to God, closer to another. They are purposed for teaching, pastoring, healing, prophecy, evangelism, etc.

These are never given as titles (as some assume them to be) even though it somehow is quite fashionable in some cultures to raise this as a status symbol. I am not sure that is how God intended it.

However, we see in Exodus 35 how the Holy Spirit came into people and endowed them, empowered them for duty in His Tabernacle.  The Tabernacle, in turn, was not just a place of worship but also a venue that drew Israel together.   read this amazing testimony: and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills— 32 to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, 33 to cut and set stones, to work in wood and to engage in all kinds of artistic crafts. 34 And he has given both him and Oholiab son of Ahisamak, of the tribe of Dan, the ability to teach others.

Now I leave it to you to read more about it from Exodus 35, posted here for your convenience.  See how the community worked together, how they all contributed, all had a common goal – building the tabernacle.

In today’s world, we are all temple builders and we all (should) contribute towards one common goal, which is building the New Temple, the eternal one, already in the hearts of men, women and children.

Materials for the Tabernacle

Moses said to the whole Israelite community, “This is what the Lord has commanded: From what you have, take an offering for the Lord. Everyone who is willing is to bring to the Lord an offering of gold, silver and bronze; blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen; goat hair; ram skins dyed red and another type of durable leather[a]; acacia wood; olive oil for the light; spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense; and onyx stones and other gems to be mounted on the ephod and breastpiece.

10 “All who are skilled among you are to come and make everything the Lord has commanded: 11 the tabernacle with its tent and its covering, clasps, frames, crossbars, posts and bases; 12 the ark with its poles and the atonement cover and the curtain that shields it; 13 the table with its poles and all its articles and the bread of the Presence; 14 the lampstand that is for light with its accessories, lamps and oil for the light; 15 the altar of incense with its poles, the anointing oil and the fragrant incense; the curtain for the doorway at the entrance to the tabernacle; 16 the altar of burnt offering with its bronze grating, its poles and all its utensils; the bronze basin with its stand; 17 the curtains of the courtyard with its posts and bases, and the curtain for the entrance to the courtyard; 18 the tent pegs for the tabernacle and for the courtyard, and their ropes; 19 the woven garments worn for ministering in the sanctuary—both the sacred garments for Aaron the priest and the garments for his sons when they serve as priests.”

20 Then the whole Israelite community withdrew from Moses’ presence, 21 and everyone who was willing and whose heart moved them came and brought an offering to the Lord for the work on the tent of meeting, for all its service, and for the sacred garments. 22 All who were willing, men and women alike, came and brought gold jewelry of all kinds: brooches, earrings, rings and ornaments. They all presented their gold as a wave offering to the Lord. 23 Everyone who had blue, purple or scarlet yarn or fine linen, or goat hair, ram skins dyed red or the other durable leather brought them. 24 Those presenting an offering of silver or bronze brought it as an offering to the Lord, and everyone who had acacia wood for any part of the work brought it. 25 Every skilled woman spun with her hands and brought what she had spun—blue, purple or scarlet yarn or fine linen. 26 And all the women who were willing and had the skill spun the goat hair. 27 The leaders brought onyx stones and other gems to be mounted on the ephod and breastpiece. 28 They also brought spices and olive oil for the light and for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense. 29 All the Israelite men and women who were willing brought to the Lord freewill offerings for all the work the Lord through Moses had commanded them to do.

Bezalel and Oholiab

30 Then Moses said to the Israelites, “See, the Lord has chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, 31 and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills— 32 to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, 33 to cut and set stones, to work in wood and to engage in all kinds of artistic crafts. 34 And he has given both him and Oholiab son of Ahisamak, of the tribe of Dan, the ability to teach others. 35 He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as engravers, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen, and weavers—all of them skilled workers and designers.

The Prodigal Dollar

God uses people. God did provide. But that little rascal dollar went walkabout. He went to the diner and bought that one burger too many.  And it shows now. Not to mention the shake.

That little prodigal dollar flew ate 30,000′ and went to Las Vegas. There is went to serve Mammon, Ceres and Bacchus.

The prodigal dollar went camping, it went shopping and it basted yet another turkey. Is it not time for that little dollar to repent and return, to take up duty in the Father’s kingdom?

Can you imagine how glad we missionaries will be to see that dollar come home?

Paul wrote ahead of his visits, I understand as much as two years in advance, to allow churches to collect funds so that ministry could be paid for and poorer fellow Christians in other countries could be provided for.  I am going to list a few references here; there are many Scripture references that one could study but these are just a cursory glance.

Collection for the oppressed in Jerusalem

More on the Jerusalem Collection – Guidelines

Macedonian Generosity Despite Poverty

Generosity as Love – 1 John 3:17 & more

From Exodus already we see that generosity is almost a prerequisite and that faith without works is just dead. We also see that much is done to look after the needs of fellow Christian believers first, before looking after non-believers.  This principle runs through the entire Bible but many do not understand it.

Even so, Paul also warned against a certain group of leather tanners who wanted salaries but were too lazy to work. Laziness should not be supported.

Levites did not own land and, after age fifty, had to do only temple service. They were not even allowed to earn an income.  Today, such “Levites” are those in God’s service, the people building or maintaining the Temple which, in today’s terms, refer to fellow believers.

Missionaries, such on the Logos Hope ship, have to ask for donations from friends, family and fellow believers, just like Paul wrote letters to ask for donations. We all try to pay our way but some cannot, due to various circumstances ranging from practical considerations to disability.

I thought it was cruel when our adopted missionary had her allowance cut by a donor, as he thought that her cheap, basic lip ice was a cosmetic luxury. She was deployed in a very arid desert region, with a full-scale military offense in progress all around her. Yet the one donor or sponsor insisted that she send receipts for all her expenses, including her monthly girlie bathroom provisions. Back then, especially in our culture, nobody would mention the “phases of the moon” and the items to manage that natural cycle in public. It was private and hugely embarrassing yet the poor girl had to report on every little detail. We also sponsored here and never request an report back; it was given as a gift and what she did with it, was none of my business.  When I lost my job to the onset of my own disability, my biggest loss was the joy of giving.

There came a day when the lightning hit the telephone line connected to her laptop and fried her PCMCIA modem as well as its port. With some of my very last money that I had left, I bought her an external modem which was fast, back in the day, at 56kbps (the geeks will laugh now!) and I cannot recall whether it was a later serial connection or still a parallel port adapter. USB was really not mainstream and laptops would go through another generation before they shipped with that.  Also, I drove a few hundred kilometers to get to where she was then.

I was really shocked to see her, as she was just skin & bones after a few very hard years in conditions that any military’s special forces such as pathfinders would find seriously challenging.  Where she was operational to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ, was where the British SAS and US Pathfinders were deployed ahead of US Marines.

A skinny young girl, all alone, in an environment where a lady could be killed for walking on a street!

Little did I foresee that I would also become a shunned, rejected, ousted and, at some point, a persecuted missionary myself. Persecuted not by the Gestapo or KGB, but in a similar way, even by the churches we attended.  Burn These Bridges

A few weeks ago, a pastor promised us a substantial sponsorship from a business deal and told us it was safe to plan around it. When the day came, June 24, 2016, he called to say he had walked away from it all and gave no reasons.  We were devastated as political unrest, rioting, arson and damage to our only transportation, an already unreliable train service, had done much to break our backs financially.  His failure to perform was the very last straw.

Over the past week, a pastor friend wanted to meet up with me , as he suggested that I should co-pastor his church, travel abroad with him and also get involved in his church’s missions division. Training missionaries, providing logistical support and using my excellent, proven organizational skills would have been an asset. He postponed at around 11pm at night and totally ignored our 9am breakfast meeting of today.

This inconsistency and unreliability of church leaders really is something needing to be addressed. We as freelance missionaries get derailed and sabotaged, as we are utterly dependent upon the grace of others.

A true story:  God told a missionary to wait at the quayside for the ship to depart; He would send someone with the travel fare. The missionary obeyed, the ship could not wait longer and departed. It was the missionary’s absolute last chance to go to that remote island nation.  The next day, the wealthy procrastinating friend showed up, apologized for procrastinating and gave the missionary the exact amount in cash – but a day late.

It was too late, his mission was ruined and thousands of people God wanted to reach, were now without a messenger with the Good News.  We see this sad situation from Genesis to Revelation, all the many failures by man.  No, it does not work together for the good as that verse only means that things work right for those who obey His Spirit.

We are still devastated and our landlady called from Australia today, as we are some US$950short in rent, causing her, a widow endless trouble. We are embarrassed, we take the blame, yet our failure lies in the unreliability of two pastors who did not even have the decency to call and explain.

Don Francisco – Steeple Song

Now please read Luke 10 and 1 John 3:17-18

Church of Acts

In the middle of nowhere. Surrounded by ocean as far as the eye can see. Twenty miles of coastline dotted with palm trees, magnolia, papaya, mango, banana, hibiscus, bougainvillea, cup-of-gold. All indigenous.

It is Sunday morning and they arrive at the little church building. “Kia Orana” is how they greet. “May you live on.”

In the church, in front of the pulpit, is a platform laden with produce. Watermelon, papaya, bananas, an assortment of garden veggies, fresh eggs, smoked parrot fish, too many things to list here. Most came in baskets woven from the leaves of an island plant; I saw women doing this on Saturday. A quick inventory leads to some mental arithmetic, arriving at a fairly reasonable estimate of two metric tons of food.

After church, everybody go to the pastor’s home next door to the church building. To my surprise, tables laden with food – fish, pork from the umu, an assortments of cold salads, fresh fruit, long tables constructed from planks resting on trestles. Too much for all of us, even though there are quite a few holidaymakers that were woken at various resorts, where they were invited to attend this love gathering at one of many local churches.

Lunch is over. Much of the food that still sit on the tables, get packed in for the hospital on the hill. Then every tourist is given a plate to take home but all object, having eaten perhaps a bit more than really needed. it is a feast, after all. Then they are told to take these plates of food, go find someone who does not have enough, donate it. It means to reach out to strangers wile on holiday; that surely wasn’t in the travel brochure!

I grew up in a similar tradition, halfway around the globe, where we cares and shared. Even as kid, we saw this so often. Our church denomination built schools and hostels for people with physical and mental disabilities, or old age homes. I presently rent an apartment in such a center. If the tithes were not given, this place would not have been built.

A few decades ago, we met every Tuesday evening at my home, every Thursday at another and shared from His Word, prayed for each other, there was unity, oneness of mind. We shared food, took care of the needs of each other. Political change drove us apart and those who could afford to, even emigrated. My family got relocated a thousand miles away but we returned in 2004, after an exile of a decade. Sadly, we have never seen this kind of fellowship again. Yet someone invited me to become involved in a church he is pastor, details need to be sorted out, but it is far from where we live and we have no car, no income, can’t even pay our rent right now. His own church is brand new, lots of building going on, but they have a mission inclination that I was called to help expand, build and teach. Of course, this is what I am called for so this is at the top of my list.

A real challenge, to do practically as we did do as a family – the challenge is in Acts 2 and Acts 4. See if you have the integrity for that! See if you have the heart, faith, guts and tenacity to be the true church. 😉

Be blessed

Awethentiq® Pete

The Unknown God

The Latin term for it is ad nauseum. Ceaselessly, these memes float by in a neverending stream. I am not even sure kids should be seeing it, as it is a rather graphic display of violence. Gross.

Jesus died for me“. Apparently, as far as Christianity goes, that is where it ends. I hear them proclaim a very dead Jesus and then their powerless faith prove them right.

I came visiting Christianity and looked at your objects. Your memes. I can see that you are very religious people but that you have many statues, memes for the Deceased God. You invite others to agree, then to type “amen” and share. You want others to see that your God is dead now.

I see this everywhere, all day long, so I decided to introduce you to the Living God, who apparently still is the Unknown God.

The Living, Risen, Resurrected Jesus

After much consideration, deep contemplating, I came to the conclusion that a dead Jesus would be of little value to me. My apartment is small. Keeping an embalmed body at room temperature will be tricky for space alone, but I also live in a country with the most sunlight per day. I do not have air-conditioning, either.  I woulf have to let go. Find closure.

That would mean The End. 

My daughter used to accompany me to meetings. Afterwards, she would describe what each attendee had worn, even what pen, smartphone or laptop each was using. She also could report on the discussion, who said what, giving her impression of attitudes displayed. Oh, the shoes. She did not miss any detail there, either.

Women are observant. Their sensory perception is well developed. The maternal instinct is programmed to assess the environment. My wife immediately sense when I am feeling a bit off-ish. Women do not miss detail.

Now I ask you this. The Jesus that people print on memes, looks a bit better than the real one. An athletic build, handsome face, which already contradicts the Bible. Much blood, yet little is done to show that He was unrecognizable, flesh torn from Him. Brutalized unrecognizable.

I cannot even imagine how disgusting it must have been to the onlookers.  After three days in the tomb, He should have been looking much worse. His closest friend does not recognise Him, thinks He must be the gardener. She knew Jesus, she knew every facial feature, also how disfigured He was when she put Him away.

He stands in the garden. Not a scrape, no wound, no blemish. Not even a zit. A face has never seen before. He must be the gardener. Yeah, right.

Others also did not recognize Him. Why did nobody recognise Jesus?

The Bible says He appeared in a different form. It furthermore refers to His glorified body. Altered. Changed. Unrecognizable.

Blessed Beyond Recognition.

Bridges You Should Burn

Sometimes,  we arrive at places in our lives that are bad for us.  We may go through a winter season that is best left in the past once that bridge is crossed.  So many times,  people ask us to re-laid it by re-telling it.

Life is almost guaranteed to be challenging; we sometimes have dreamy eyes and wishful ambitions, but reality take a steeper path.

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Getting PTSD was not an easy matter altogether and we paid dearly for it.  Lost all we ever owned,  got spat out by church after they broke us,  like they did with others.  Became homeless,  lost our car,  our furniture,  arrived here with a few bags.

Emotional scars caused by hardship led our two estranged children to opt for living worldly.  The cost of eventually getting the qualification is extreme as it also took twenty years.  We are resilient and learned slowly,  but finally made it.

People want us to cross that bridge time and again by telling them how it happened.  They want us to live through it over and over.  As if once wasn’t enough. Do not go there,  I will not entertain the last for sensation at my own cost. .

You can have your own PTSD.  Corporate church ⛪ is the dealership and you are welcome to collect your own,  authentic version without burdening me with a bridge too far.

We meet with fellow believers on a daily basis instead.

Beautybeyondbones posted this on surviving Anorexia and then moving on “I Am Not Invincible”- http://wp.me/p5Mhr6-2MA

Onrus

Dis gewoon profesie wat in vervulling gaan, net soos wat Sondag se samehorigheid die voorteken daarvan was. Moenie te ontsteld raak nie, maar reik uit na die mense. Ek en my gesin is twee dekades gelede hierdeur en weet watter hel dit is, niemand het ons kom help nie maar eerder ons verdruk en verstoot. Twee in my gesin het hulle geloof verloor, die ergste is dat dit kerke is wat ons besoek het wat net mooi dieselfde aan ons gedoen het. Maak nie saak wie die kwaaddoener is nie, die pyn is dieselfde. Die wanhoop is dieselfde. Die opstaan uit die as met letterlik niks neem meer as ‘n dekade, bloot omdat niemand hand bysit nie. Leer hieruit, mense moenie hulle harte en beursies toesluit vir hulle wat deur ander se toedoen alles verloor het nie. Hoe jammer kry jy hulle? R50 jammer? R100 jammer? R1000 jammer? Is daar ‘n our rekenaar wat stof vergaar, ‘n tweede of derde motor wat jy kan afstaan, dalk ‘n tafeltjie wat jy kan opoffer? Gordyne, ‘n emmer en besem? Raak betrokke by die nood van ander.

Dis moeilik genoeg as jy alles verloor deur ander, dis nog moeiliker as die gemeenskap dan onbetrokke is.

Wees die eerste eeuse gemeente.

Toortsie, Kameel en Bokbaaivygie se blog

Saterdag het baie mense van ons land deelgeneem aan ‘n biddag vir ons land. Groot getalle mense het opgedaag by Bloemfontein, waar Angus Buchan die verrigtinge gelei het. Dit was egter nie al nie, orals in die land was daar gebedsbyeenkomste gehou, ook hier in die suide waar ek woon.

Die tema by ons gebedsgeleentheid was: ‘I’m no longer a slave of fear, I am a child of God.’ Ons sing uit ons hart uit, ons voel versterk. God is in beheer. Ek hoef nie bang te wees nie.

Gisteroggend kom die dringende versoek: Bid vir Lichtenburg. Gistermiddag laat, daar’s chaos in Coligni.

Ek besef skielik dat ek nog nie stiltetyd gehou het nie, my dag het anders verloop. In my bidboek bely ek dat dit so maklik is om saam te sing dat ek nie langer ‘n slaaf van vrees hoef te wees nie omdat ek Sy kind…

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