The Old Man and the School Mistress

Firstly, I am an independent writer with a keen interest in travel; I do write about travel but my opinions are most definitely my own, I don’t get paid and neither am I employed by anyone.

There once was an elderly gent who had to take the kids to school on his donkey cart every day. He served his community as best as he could and, so many times, the farmers in that area refused him a better wagon or faster horses so that he could transport their children and their farm workers’ children more efficiently. They just ignored his pleas and just added children from more farms and villages to be transported.

The wagon he had was really getting old, the donkeys too. Then, one night, someone stole one of his twelve donkeys. Soon after, the wheels were stolen from the wagon and he had to find another. They sawed chucks out of the seats or just stole them, took the wheel nuts, even an axle once. Every time, the old man had to find a spare part or two, even when he had very little money, yet he believed to take the kids to school. As, who else would have?

One morning, he saw that even the workers’ kids had killed and eaten his best donkey. His bridles and reins were cut to pieces by vagabonds. Nobody wanted to help him and few even paid him.

One day, the school mistress became angry because the kids were always late. She went to the judge and asked that he gets fined for not doing his duty, despite much of his work having been a free service. Of the twenty kids that went on each trip, only four really paid the fee, the others just stormed his wagon and jumped on board. The kind old man never could chase them off as he was a good man not given to violence.

Eventually, the school mistress stood ready to whip the old man. She never educated the kids, never taught them manners, same as the parents.

One night, the old man passed away in his sleep and his donkeys only knew his voice, refused to pull the wagon.

So, everybody had to walk.

Premier Helen Zille wants to hold Prasa accountable for lack of service delivery without understanding the problem, just as she had shown before. But then, she made a comment that perhaps fits, at another time she acted inappropriately. Yes, cane people into submission, whip them when they can’t drive a car with a stolen engine. I wonder why it had taken her so long to wake up to the problem and why she did not intervene to help save the old man and his wagon instead of taking him to the judge.

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The Train Always Wins

There are upward of 7,500 level crossings in South Africa. No country has the money to replace all of these with road bridges.

We grew up with level crossings and respected them with an acute reverence. That was fifty, sixty years ago.

The level crossings are still there, of necessity. To many, this is their only access route between home and the big world out there, even if your world doesn’t go beyond Rondomverskrik or Regtigverdwaal.

Relatives of my late grandmother’s were always very careful. In darkness, worsened by a thick fog, once looked left, then right, left again and slowly drove forward, straight into a stationary train! It remained a family joke, to repeat their conversation every time we encountered a railway crossing.

People are less careful nowadays. If one visits any of these level crossings, it is almost scary to see that most vehicles don’t even reduce speed, let alone STOP when the sign indicates so. Rules are there to protect and mischief leads to disaster.

The day before the accident, shown in the picture, had happened, a car hit an oncoming train at a level crossing in Cape Town. A week prior to the one depicted here, the very same train driver was part of a team raising awareness for road & rail safety at this very same level crossing. A month prior, I was a passenger on this very same train and saw, at this level crossing 1,100km away from home, how a father with his young children on board, sped towards the crossing to try and beat the train to it. Sheer arrogance, recklessness, to place one’s loved ones at such an unnecessary risk. The train is roughly five hundred metres long and moves at around 60km/h, so anyone needs only to wait a few seconds for it to pass. Why risk lives by trying to cross the railway line before the train does?

At the time of this accident, I was a passenger on another train and saw where a train had hit a stray pedestrian. The train did not swerve, as trains can’t – they are directed by the railway lines. As these rail tracks are meant for trains, best advice is to give them a wide berth. Two serious accidents in one day, caused by people disrespecting the rules of society. There is an adage that “rules are there to be broken” but this is false dogma and it can be fatal. As the stray pedestrian discovered much to his own destruction. As his body lay between the railway tracks, I could not but help to wonder how their loved ones would react to the sad news.

I told a friend about my experience earlier this morning and he then told me that his sister had died this way.

Lots is being said on social media about the Police needing to be more strict – why do we adults need cops to turn us into good citizens? If only we lived according to the official rules of society, this world would have been a better place. Why is it always someone else’s fault, never just our own?

Dice with death and your gamble may fail. I hope that your Last Will & Testament is in place and that your passwords are where your next-of-kin can find it.

Look for trains! Trains always win!

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

 

 

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!

Mafutha on Metrorail

Mafutha’s parents were then married for fifty years, while Mafutha and his darlingmost wificle twenty years.

America gained Independence on July 4th.

Mafutha lost his on the 5th.

His parents on the 6th.

Seventy years together, in total, discounting mighty America. It had to be celebrated. Parents came, we collected the kids and Mafutha’s brother. It was a tribal meeting of adventurous magnitude.

read on…..

50+20 Years of Wedded Bliss