Friends and Family


Well the week started off with a bang as the Street Cafe had their “final countdown party”. Mac and Allan are moving on to greener pastures and I have to say I do not think the Street Café will be the same again for a long long time. As per the norm Tania, Gabby and I met Mark, Kathleen, Liza, Mitchell, AKA…… “cabbage patch kid” and Ryan AKA… “Red headed stepchild” for drinks and a bite to eat, many of the local supported this last night and with the live music a good time was had by all as you can see by the photos.

A couple of days later I received an e-mail from Kathleen saying the following “ Thanks for all the pics ………. Sign of brilliant times had with amazing friends, we are very thankful for.”

This got me to thinking …….”And that can be dangerous” that if you have good friends or family you can consider yourself lucky, “well the Dunkley’s are a very lucky as we have great friends and even better family. “There is a saying “You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family” and while this may be true for some people, I can honestly say that if I had to choose my family then the one I have now is the one I would have chosen..

Many people do not have as close a relationship with their families as we do; they do not speak to each other or have unnecessary fights that strain their relationships. The sign of a family being able to get on with each other is that they can disagree or fight but when the crunch comes that stand together, they encourage and support one another during hard times, comfort one another during sad times and congratulate each other during successful times.

Believe it or not, my relationship with my in-laws was not always Sunshine and Roses in fact I would probably have to describe it as Thunder and Khaki Bos. But I will have to ask you to close your eyes and imagine for yourself the following.

I met Tania in 1981, it was a Sunday night and I had walked own from the squash courts to St Edmunds church were my mother and father had choir practice, that’s when I first saw Tania an while it may sound corny or cliche I said to myself “that’s the girl I am going to marry some day”……. and this from a person who had vowed he would never get married until he was 40 and who’s longest relationship had been two weeks to win a bet. “Yeah I know, I am a real romantic”

To be honest I am not sure what Keith and Lois initially thought of me but I can imagine it was not great, here was this older boy riding a clapped out SS Honda 50, who had long hair and shock of shocks listened to heavy metal music, making the moves on their nearly 16 year old daughter. Looking back at old pictures I can see why they were not the happiest of campers. “I have already bought a shotgun for when my daughters suitors come a calling”. After a number of years of seeing each other Tania and I had decided that we wanted to get engaged and married and had already chosen a ring, I was working at Kyalami Ranch hotel as a trainee and had upgraded the 50cc to a Honda 500cc and Tania was about to start working for Eskom, so we had our futures planned, now it was time to tell Tania’s folks.

I will always remember that evening, Keith and Lois had also decided to speak to us, however the conversation was along the lines “We feel that Tania and yourself are seeing to much of each other…………….” And if memory serves me correct I said “before you say anything else, let me tell you something” and I proceeded to tell them that Tania and I loved each other and wanted to get engaged and that we had already bought the ring, “you could have heard a pin drop” however to Keith and Lois credit “and I don’t think I have been to much of a disappointment to them” they accepted this information and from that day on I was part of their family, “for which I will be forever grateful”. My folks are just the best but have gone through tough times, my mom Marion drank way to much and was an alcoholic, but she chose her family over alcohol and for that she will always be my hero, ‘Thanks mom for being strong enough to do that, we love you”. Peter is my dad, not many people know, but he is not my paternal father, my paternal father left and my mom and Peter got married, he is the reason that we are in South Africa and the reason that I am what I am today, he is a hard worker and always put his family first, when we came to South Africa, he worked for ISCOR and he worked all the hours that god sent so that he could make a better life for us, “Dad you’re my role model, and I will forever be grateful to you that you agreed for me to become your son and I am proud to have your name”

So as you can see I am very lucky that I have two sets of parents and family, my sister is Karen and Tania’s brother is Ryan and sister is Nicole, they in turn got married and have children so now we have Christine “a fine young lady” who is Karen’s daughter and then there is Rebecca, Michaela and the latest addition Daniel with Nicole pregnant in the land of the rising damp (England) there will be another addition before the year is out.

My dad always told me you can have many acquaintances but your real friends you will probably only be able to count on your one hand, I am lucky then as I have a few more than that “What is a friend” you may ask, well there is no definition in the dictionary but I believe a friend to be the following and you may agree or disagree.

a) Someone who you can relate to or has same values as you do
b) Someone you can trust
c) Someone who you do not have to see every day but when you do see them can pick up a conversation as if it was yesterday
d) Someone who without question will come to your assistance at the drop of a hat
e) Someone that you feel comfortable with, that you can share fears and dreams with
f) Someone that is not scared to tell you the truth
g) Someone who loves you or accepts you as you are “warts and all”

This is the list of the people that I consider friends and fit the above criteria, “they are in no particular order”

Marco - worked with him in 1981 and even though he moved to the island (England) many years ago I still consider him a mate.

Thys – Met him in 1999 when Tania and I took over Kiara lodge next to the Golden Gate – he lived, still does in fact” next door and he is a good friend.

Dave – Dave and Barbara own Clarens Properties and while they have both been very good to us, I consider Dave a good friend and someone who fits all the above criteria

Mark and Kathleen – while fairly new to the village they have become really good friends and both Tania and I enjoy their company. I do believe that Kathleen’s brother and his Wife Liza, “who have just moved to Clarens” will also become good friends.

Jaapie - He is the local attorney and what a great guy, a person who will go out of his way to help you and I am lucky to have him as a friend.

Tino – Met Tino in 1995 in the States and took a trip to Sturgis with his wife Lana and Tino, they came out to SA a few years later, also people that we consider more family than friends

Ryan – now I am not sure if he should be here, as he is my brother in law, but he is also my friend and a good one and while I do not see him that often, when I do I really enjoy spending time with him.

Tania Anne Dunkley – for those clever ones reading this, “yes she is my wife” but more than that she is my friend and probably over the years I have not been the best of husbands, putting work and other things before the family, but Tania has stuck with me and I have become a MUCH better person for marrying her and for knowing her and I hope that we can spend another 50 years together, she is my rock and inspiration and the reason that I am what I am today…… “I love you sooooooooooooo much”

This weekend was quiet, but did watch the “Long way round”, this is about the twenty thousand mile round the world motorbike journey that Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman undertook in 2004. Wow it was great, watched all 10 episodes in one go. Now that is something I would like to do, “who knows, maybe one day”. If you get an opportunity to watch it, then do as its very interesting and inspirational and truly the adventure of a lifetime, well that’s it for this week and as Ewan would say “May the force be with you”

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