The No name Blog

One of the best Comeback lines ever. For those that don't know him, Major General Peter Cosgrove is an Australian.

General Cosgrove was interviewed on the radio recently.
Read his reply to the lady who interviewed him concerning guns and children.Regardless of how you feel about gun laws you have to love this! This is one of the best comeback lines of all time. In a portion of an ABC radio interview between a female broadcaster and General Cosgrove who was about to sponsor a Boy Scout Troop visiting his military Headquarters.

FEMALE INTERVIEWER: So, General Cosgrove, what things are you going to teach these young boys when they visit your base?
GENERAL COSGROVE: We're going to teach them climbing, canoeing, archery and shooting.
FEMALE INTERVIEWER: Shooting! That's a bit irresponsible, isn't it?
GENERAL COSGROVE:I don't see why, they'll be properly supervised on the rifle range.
FEMALE INTERVIEWER: Don't you admit that this is a terribly dangerous activity to be teaching children?
GENERAL COSGROVE: Idon't see how. We will be teaching them proper rifle discipline before they even touch a firearm.
FEMALE INTERVIEWER: But you're equipping them to become violent killers.
GENERAL COSGROVE: Well, Ma'am, you're equipped to be a prostitute, but you're not one, are you?
The radio cast went silent for 46 seconds and when it returned, this interview was over

Hey we may not like playing sport against them but you got to hand it to the Aussies they call a spade a shovel. Here that they have a new aftershave in the outback that has become an instant hit with all the farmers its called “Mint Sauce”

Gabby found me a great book at her school library on the early days of Port Elizabeth it’s really interesting and is from before the 1820 settlers came to 1947, loads of old and interesting photos as well.

Have had the opportunity to explore some of the older areas of PE and its so sad to see so many old houses falling to rack and ruin, there are areas that houses are being renovated and some small coffee shops are springing up , but in general the areas have become victim to urban blights and will take many a year to get back to there former glory if at all. These are definite areas to watch however for investment opportunities.

Had a couple of calls and e-mails from Clarenites seeing how we are doing and asking if we are missing the village, answer to that has to be “yes and no” its just been over a month since I left and its about two months for Gabby and Tania. Got to say I like it here, met a few people, become involved with things that I like, apart from not working at the moment, I am actually very content and feel made a good decision to come to PE……”the wind however does suck” especially when the trees are doing yoga. So yes I do miss the village and many people in it but I don’t miss it as bad as I thought I would. I think I probably miss a number of individuals more than the village itself, I miss my local “Friends” terribly and have not as yet found a local pub here I can call my own. I also have a yen for Chicken strips, but have to content myself on thinking about the ones at Friends.

I see that there is a whole association that you can become a member of in PE if you have fallen out of the sky. You can become a Meat Bomb Member. or “M.B.A” for short. Talking about Meat Bomb, he has the best job in the world………. He is now employed by Natalie and Stefan from Clarens Brewery, so he gets to work with awesome people, has to be able to tell customers what the beer tastes like, so I am sure he does much tasting, also gets to watch sport when at work and he gets company transport…….i hope they are not also paying him, because that would be just to much for me to bear!!!!!!!!!!

Watched Ben Hur this week and the chariot race reminded me of present day Formula 1 with Charlton Heston being a Jewish Michael Schumacher. Chariot racing was without doubt the first organised motor sport in the world and if you get a chance watch the movie and you will see what I mean. There are crashes (some on purpose) “shades of Renault, injuries with the crowds going ape, that’s what many of us watch for as well, even if you wont admit it.

Seems that the “Island” is becoming increasingly under threat from the “Kaboom” brigade and recently the Pommie government raised the security alert to that of the United States…………………………………… “We is expecting a huge Bang”: alert

The English are feeling the pinch in relation to recent terrorist threatsand have raised their security level from "Miffed" to "Peeved." Soon,though, security levels may be raised yet again to "Irritated" or even "ABit Cross." The English have not been "A Bit Cross" since the blitz in 1940
when tea supplies all but ran out. Terrorists have been re-categorized from "Tiresome" to a "Bloody Nuisance." The last time the British issued a "Bloody Nuisance" warning level was in 1588 when threatened by the Spanish Armada..

The Scots raised their threat level from "Pissed Off" to "Let's get theBastards" They don't have any other levels. This is the reason they havebeen used on the front line of the British army for the last 300 years.

The French government announced yesterday that it has raised its terror alert level from "Run" to "Hide". The only two higher levels in France are "Collaborate" and "Surrender." The rise was precipitated by a recent firethat destroyed France 's white flag factory, effectively paralyzing thecountry's military capability. It's not only the French who are on a heightened level of alert. Italy has increased the alert level from "Shoutloudly and excitedly" to "Elaborate Military Posturing." Two more levelsremain: "Ineffective Combat Operations" and "Change Sides."

The Germans also increased their alert state from "Disdainful Arrogance" to
"Dress in Uniform and Sing Marching Songs." They also have two higher levels:
"Invade a Neighbour" and "Lose".

Belgians, on the other hand, are all on holiday as usual, and the onlythreat they are worried about is NATO pulling out of Brussels.

The Spanish are all excited to see their new submarines ready to deploy. These beautifully designed subs have glass bottoms so the new Spanish
navy can get a really good look at the old Spanish navy. Americans meanwhile and as usual are carrying out pre-emptive strikes, on all of their allies, just in case.

And in the southern hemisphere... New Zealand has also raised its security levels - from "baaa" to "BAAAA!".Due to continuing defense cutbacks (the airforce being a squadron of spotty
teenagers flying paper aeroplanes and the navy some toy boats in the Prime
Minister's bath), New Zealand only has one more level of escalation, which
is "I hope Australia will come and rescue us".

Australia , meanwhile, has raised its security level from "No worries" to"She'll be right, mate". Three more escalation levels remain: "Crikey!', "Ithink we'll need to cancel the barbie this weekend" and "The barbie is cancelled". So far no situation has ever warranted use of the final escalation level.

Got an e-mail last week to say that Muslims are peace loving and not at all aggressive, well Camel Jockey Fan have a look at the photos and answer these 3 questions for me

1) Who are these people?
2) Was it not Hitler that said he wanted Peace? “What he forgot to say he wants a peace of France a peace of England” etc etc
3) Do they not teach them to spell at Suicide bombers school?

“Just leave them alone……………Your so cruel and hate Muslims, “no I don’t hate Muslims I just hate the ones that hate me” which if I think of it may be nearly all of them. Oh sh-t I think I hear “Imeflyin dem microlite” buzzing the house.

I see that Rueben Kruger died this week after losing a battle with Brain Cancer, Rueben was very instrumental in helping the BOKS win the 1995 world cup and was named player of the year in 1995. Ruebens scored the try that wasn’t in the Final against the All Blacks. Rest in Peace Reubens.

This story was related to me on Thursday by a member of the PAG in the NCO’s Mess and had me doubled over with laughter. “This is the original Rebel without a clue”. A friend sometime in the 70’s decided to buy a motorbike and travelled to Johannesburg and purchased a 1000 cc BMW, he did not want to ride it all the way from there to PE so he had it railed to Bloemfontein and it was here he collected it and was going to ride it home. The gent had watched the movies and realised that apart from his helmet he also needed gloves and a leather jacket “as that’s what bikers wore”. He set out for PE and by the time he got to Colesburg he was pretty stiff “Free State winters tend to do that to you on a bike” he pulled into a Golden Egg restaurant (if you remember them, then you are getting old, just like me) and it apparently had large windows with a number of people sitting and looking out of them. Must have been a dearth of entertainment in that part of the world because the gent seemed to be the main attraction. While the gent had learnt how to get onto his new bike this was the first time he would be getting off, after a number of attempts he eventually located the side stand and rested the bike on it, by this time the clients in the Golden egg must have wondered what this leather clad biker was up to.

Due to him being cold and stiff he apparently could not get his right leg over the saddle to dismount so he decided to slide across the saddle of the back of the bike, burning his legs on the exhaust as he did so, he then attempted to remove his helmet with his gloves on but could not operate the release buckle, so he took the gloves off and lay then on the tank “as he had seen in the movies”. One of the gloves fell off the tank and he bent down to pick it up but hit the tank with his head “lucky you had the helmet on there sir”! the bike almost fell over , but he managed to grab it before it did…by this time I am sure the clients in the Golden Egg must have thought they where on Candid Camera……….they where not and more was to come. Eventually getting his helmet off he grabbed it and thrust the helmet under his right arm “as he had seen done in the movies” only to have it pop out like a bar of soap from your hands in the bath and roll down the parking lot. Many of the diners by this time where in fits of laughter (can you blame them?). the gent stayed in the restaurant for a while and had about 15 cups of coffee waiting for the clients to leave. From what I can gather he managed to get back on the bike and get it to PE without to many mishaps, but promptly sold it.

While the country up north is flooded and crops and property are being lost to the heavy rains being experienced. Here in PE its no rain as usual in fact starting to become like one of those Karoo kids who can get to 5 years of age and nevr have seen rain. A lady who used to work with me lived in Katima Mulilo for a number of years and moved to Vrede in the Free State, she said she was at school one day with her sister and it hailed, obviously the noise on the tin roof was loud, causing her and the sister to dive under the desk, the reason was a) they had never seen hail before b) they had come from an area frequently attacked by Swapo terrorists and thought they were being attacked. I was wondering why when it does rain further North it never seems to rain in the mythical “Catchment areas” which begs the question where the people that planned the dams and were to put them really Dof or just a little retarded? When it does rain in this part of the world you bare hoping it will be in the catchment area, but its like going on a first date “your hopeful” but…………….”Sorry not a chance”

For those that have been following my Blog I just want to report that I have at long last managed to get the last of the prickly pear thorns out of my cheek.

Quote for the week comes from an unknown military pilot: “When one engine fails on a twin-engine airplane, you always have enough power left to get you to the scene of the crash."

Well hope you have a good week, keep fingers crossed that I will find a job sometime soon
Oh just in, check this out, as it has The village idiot taking on Kentucky in PE, was sent in by Doug (my brother in law from the Island) "Yes I know perhaps I should just say he is in jail and a Stormers supporter "

The “Ex” Village idiot

Prince Alfred's Guard

When I first arrived in Port Elizabeth I paid a visit to the Prince Alfred’s Guard Drill Hall and had the opportunity to go to the Prince Alfred Guards mess and met a number of interesting people (still do) and through this as well as reading up on the subject have been able to learn more about the history of this regiment that is based in a Victorian drill hall built in 1880/completed 1882. There is also very interesting militaria and memorabilia in the building so as you can imagine I am in my element. Dries Jansen former RSM as well as John Scott present RSM as well as a number of old members has taken me under his wing and I hope to get involved with assisting setting up a reference library as well as helping display the units militaria that is still stored away. Here is what I have learnt so far.

One of the complaints that resulted in the Great Trek was that the government of the day was unable to protect the frontiers as well as those living in them would have liked, this in a small way saw the formation of the P.A.G. The Trek was to lure many able bodied men away from the Eastern Cape that would previously have been called up for Commando duty to assist regular army units in the event of a crisis or native uprising such as the 6 frontier wars between 1779 and 1835. The Frontier was again to be faced with war in 1846-47 as well as 1850-53.

It was after the war of 1850-53 that the then governor of the Cape, Sir George Grey and advisors came up with the proposal of a new volunteer force that would assist in securing the colonies borders in the event of another war. The first to be established was that of Cape Royal Rifles in November 1855 followed almost a year later September 19 by the Port Elizabeth Rifle Corps with their uniform being modelled on the Lincoln green uniform of the Rifle Brigade. The initial meeting however had been on the evening of 22 August 1856 when a number of men met in a dimly lit room of the Commercial hall (that also doubled up as a town hall) and discussed the possibility of forming a Volunteer Corps for the defence of the town as was being done in other centres of the colony. At a subsequent meeting officers were appointed and they found themselves in charge of 50 men.

In 1860 Prince Alfred then only 16 years old landed in Port Elizabeth, the PE Rifle Corps provided a royal guard for his stay in the “city”, it was from this association that the unit changed its name to the “unofficial” Prince Alfred Volunteer Guard but with the then governor suggesting to and the Prince accepting the unit changed its name officially to The Prince Alfred Guard. On 6 May 1876 the PAG where presented with their colours (Queens and Regimental) at the Port Elizabeth cricket ground (now St Georges).

Not many people are aware that in the mid 1870’s due to dwindling numbers as well as a rift between members of the Regiment the unit under recommendation from its commanding officer Colonel Wylde the unit was disbanded and government notice –no 737,1876 was published in the Government Gazette. In late November 1876 a meeting of members of the late PAG was held in PE and it was at this meeting that it was decided how best to go about forming another volunteer corps and on 18 December of that same year permission was given to form the PAG again. The first public parade after disbandenment was held on 24 February 1877.

The long peace following the 8th frontier war of 1850-53 was to catch the Eastern Cape off guard when in 1877 chief Kreli of the Gealekas took to the field, hostilities had once again broken out. A group from the regiment were to see action for the first time when on December 2 1877 at Umzintzani (valley of the burning coral bush ??????) just east of present day Butterworth approximately half of the 145 officers and men facing 2000 well armed and mounted Gealekas were from Prince Alfred’s Guard.

The battle started at 6.30pm and was fought over a number of hours with the PAG losing private Barron (KIA) and another 5 wounded, this was the action that saw the unit win its first for 16 battle honours. In 1880 the PAG was to see action in Basutoland (now Lesotho) it was during this campaign that the PAG was to make history by becoming the first volunteer colonial battalion to make a bayonet charge in which 2 members of the PAG were killed and another 7 wounded. The Basutoland war became known as the Basuto “Gun War” due to it starting over the Basuto’s refusal to hand over their arms to the British.

In 1897 the regiment was again called up supply men to contain disturbances on the border of Bechuanaland (Botswana) and again a bayonet charge against an almost impregnable position saw it being captured, this action was to become known as the last of Victoria’s “little colonial wars”. The next time the PAG would be called up for active duty would be for the Anglo-Boer war of 1899-1902

Initially the unit was used primarily for guard or garrison duty on strategic railway links between De Aar and Stormberg, but were to be used later as a light cavalry unit. When un-mounted the PAG continued to protect the railways, but when mounted they acted as scouts, during the period between January 1900 and May 31 1902 detachments of the regiment had seen service from the Northern Cape to the Transvaal and were often mentioned in dispatches.

With the outbreak of World War One the regiment was called up and sent to Cape Town for garrison duties, two maxim machine gun sections were detached to assist with the stopping of any insurrections that may occur due to those men not wanting SA to get involved with Britain in that war, the one section ended up in Berlin and Stutterheim with the other after training at Roberts Heights (now Waterkloof) being sent to Upington to stop Maritz from causing trouble. This in fact was the only detachment to see any action the whole of the war. The rest of the men on guard duty in the Cape became impatient and wanted to get to the front to see action. A misunderstanding occurred over this period that saw the regiment being demobilised, playing no further part in the war although individual members did serve with other units, many sacrificing their lives for the Empire.

The regiment was again to face disappointment when it acted as a feeder regiment and again performed guard duties while other regiments went north to fight in East Africa, Abyssinia and the desert. This was to change in early 1943 when it was announced that Prince Alfred’s Guard was to become a tank regiment in the 11 Brigade of sixth SA Armoured Division. Members of the regiment sailed for Egypt in April of that year for training. The sixth SA Armoured Division was to become a well oiled machine and a formidable fighting force. The training in Egypt however had not prepared the men of the three tank regiments for what awaited them in Italy, but the PAG men with their infantry background seemed to adapt to the conditions better than most.

The PAG were tasked to form a Reconnaissance section under the command of a Captain C.M MacKay and formed part of HQ Squadron. They had eleven turretless Honey tanks (also known as Stuart tanks) that were armed with two Browning machine guns what they lacked in firepower they made with I speed, from all accounts members of the PAG that formed part of this group did sterling work and a number where to lose their lives. From its first contact at Paliano to their final battle in the Po Valley the P.A.G lost 30 officers and men killed in action or dying of wounds and 104 wounded in action. Their battle honours included Cellino, The Greve, Florence, Gothic line and Po Valley, making to that date a number of 11 battle honours dating from 1877.

The P.A.G also took part in the many skirmishes that made up the Border war. They where based in Ovamboland and while never crossing the border played a huge role in the defence of South West Africa (now Namibia) using Eland 90mm and 60 mm’s (commonly known as Noddy cars). One member Rfn Michael Saunders won the Honoris Crux during Operation Savannah for bravery and was the first member of the P.A..G to win a medal or decoration since the Second World War.
Today the Prince Alfred’s Guard is an Infantry regiment of the SANDF and as a reserve unit it has a status roughly equivalent to that of a British Territorial Army or in the USA an Army National Guard unit. The Regiment is located in the city of Port Elizabeth in a Victorian drill hall built in 1880. Today the regiment has 250 members and is an Mobile/Air Assault unit

I finish the story with part of a message from the then officer commanding of the Prince Alfred’s Guard GJ Lombard, Lt Col, MMM, JCD (2006)

“From horses to helicopters, from flesh to steel, the men of Prince Alfred’s Guard have gone into battle over the past 150 years using the vehicle of the times. This also reflects the many different roles the Regiment has played and the numerous transformations it has undergone. From the rocket brigade (a ship personnel rescue function), fire services, mounted infantry, armour to the present airborne capability, the unit has been more than equal to any challenge and changing roll bestowed upon it.”

Fort Frederick and Captain Francis Evatt

With the powers at be in the Cape deciding that British interests needed to be protected in Algoa bay it was decided that a more permanent fort on a better site, other than the block house that had been erected at the ford at Baakens river was in order. So in 1799 under the watchful eye of trained engineer officers, artisans started the work of building the fort whose primary function would be to prevent enemy ships entering the Bay as England with her ally Holland were at war with France.

This new fort called Fort Frederick in honour of H R H, the Duke of York commanded the landing place at the foot of the Baakens river valley. The fort is a stone redoubt 80 foot square with an average height of 9 feet for the walls. On the inside a raised platform to allow sentries to patrol was built as well as a strong powder magazine and a blockhouse, the blockhouse once had a wooden tower with a walkabout. Heavy armament was in the form of eight, twelve pounder cannon that were situated in strategic positions both on the walls and within the fort itself. The guns at Fort Frederick are today ships cannons, the original field cannons having been returned to England was taken out of use in 1863 The garrison numbered 300 men and soon barracks were built for them as well as other military buildings needed, such as military stores, bake house, hospital, blacksmith and carpenters. The forts as well as these buildings are considered by many to be the modest beginnings of Port Elizabeth that was only to be named some twenty years later.

In 1801 the Cape Colony was ceded back to Holland and the fort was taken over by 150 men of the Waldeck Regiment under the command of Major von Gilten, this was reduced to 80 men a few months later with command being handed to a Captain Lodewyk or Captain Louis Alberti. In 1806 the Napoleonic wars resumed and England once again took over the running of the Cape Colony, the fort was put under the command of a Captain Cuyler, this was the same year that a Captain Francis Evatt was to arrive in the Cape with the 21st Light Dragoons……….”but more of him later”

Captain Cuyler was appointed Landrost at Uitenhage and it was Captain Evatt who took over command in 1817. The foundations of Port Elizabeth had been laid, but it was not until 1820 with the landing of the 1820 Settlers that history was changed. In 1819 apart from the military buildings, many in a state of decay there were only a few other abodes mainly around what is now Baakens or Main Street, the population other than the military consisted of 34 whites and 1 Malay

An interesting fact about the fort is that it never once fired its cannon in anger against foreign invaders. Even when the French warship Preneuse flying Danish colours entered the bay in 1799 and after raising the French Flag fired upon two British transporters at anchor, the Camel and Rattlesnake. The fort is also reputed to be the eastern Capes oldest stone structure.

Captain Francis Evatt was born in Ireland in 1770; his father who had been a Captain in the Monaghan militia was killed at the Battle of Ballinahinch in County Antrim, Ireland, during the rebellion of 1798. Francis as mentioned earlier arrived in the Cape Colony in 1806 with the 21st Dragoon Guards and served together with his brother for a number of years on the frontier. In 1817 he was appointed as Commandant of Fort Frederick at a salary of 90 pounds a year a post he occupied until his death.

What is probably best remembered about Captain Evatt is the assistance and concern he showed towards the 4000 British settlers that arrived in 1820 some 24 years later at a public dinner to commemorate the landing of the settlers, one of the first settlers to arrive a Mr. John Centlivres Chase paid a moving tribute to his kindness. By 1825 Port Elizabeth was fast becoming an area of increasing importance and the Governor decided that a higher official power to be resident was necessary. Captain Evatt was appointed “Government Resident” whose function was to preside over court proceedings.

Captain Evatt was proud of the growing town and guarded its best interests as best he could and was very prominent in its development. In the census of 1823 records show that Port Elizabeth had a population of 73 men, 30 women, 44 boys, 33 girls, 75 employed Hottentots, 64 slaves owned and 9 Prize Negroes in service under Captain Evatt. The Captain was also instrumental in ensuring a place of worship was built in the town and he headed a list of subscribers with a donation of 100 Rix dollars (in those days equal to his monthly salary). It was Capt Evatt that laid the foundation stone of St Mary’s Church on behalf of Governor Lord Charles Somerset in 1825. In 1926 he was protesting against revenues collected in Port Elizabeth being used in Uitenhage for the benefit of those residents, rather than for the development of the port.

Captain Evatt for many years lived in a house near to the army commissary post and was only to marry late in life, to a widow, Anne de la Harpe from Uitenhage, the wedding took place on December 2 1831, while I was unable to find where they had been married I would hazard a guess at St Mary’s church. Captain Evatt died on the 21 march 1850 after a brief illness and was given a military funeral that was conducted by the Rev A Robson in the Congregational Cemetery in Russell Road.

His tombstone now in the porch of St Mary’s Church bears the following epitaph

Sacred to the Memory
Captain Francis Evatt
Late 21st Light Dragoons

34 years Commandant at Fort Frederick, Algoa Bay. He died on the 21st march 1850 aged 80 years, having served his country upwards of half a century, 38 years of which he was resident in this town. The British settlers were landed under his superintendence and treated by him with every kindness and hospitality, he found this port a military outpost and lived to see it become the second commercial town of the Cape of Good Hope
This tomb was erected by his friends

Francis left behind a wife, two children, son and daughter, named Henry and Margaret, of his son there are no records but Margaret died in England a mere two years after her father. Mrs Evatt died aged 87 in Graaff - Reniet

Capt Evatt is considered by many to be a founding father of Port Elizabeth; “If not the founder of the town at least present at its origin”, In 1956 his remains were moved to a grave just outside the Fort, a Street in Richmond Hill was also named after him.

The Drill hall

While the Prince Alfred Guard was established in 1856 they did not have a permanent home until the drill hall had been built in 1882, some 26 years later, the reason for this being that as a volunteer regiment it was difficult to get a permanent home of its own and would have to prove itself as part of the community, which it did in 1877 wining its first of numerous battle honours at Umzintzani.

The grant for the land at the top of Castle Hill was granted by Sir Phillip Wodehouse in 1864, the grant came about due to captain Wylde and other officers in 1863 deciding to petition the Governor for some land for a drill hall and unit headquarters. On 27 October 1864 a piece of land was granted to the Port Elizabeth Volunteer rifle corps on the hill as a site “for a drill house and gymnasium for the use of the aforementioned volunteers and for no other purpose or use whatsoever”. The land was also to be held in trust for the Port Elizabeth town council. The petition by Captain Wylde and other officers had provided a site that was to remain the home of Prince Alfred’s Guard for well over a hundred years. An interesting fact that I came across while reading “Port Elizabeth in Bygone Days” was that this site was one a few that had been suggested between 1855–57 for the building of Port Elizabeth’s first hospital.

Money had to be raised to erect a building and it was only 15 September 1880 that the foundations of the drill hall and gymnasium were dug. What arose on what at that stage would have been a windswept hillside in 1882 was the building that you see today. The cost of construction was 8 086 pounds this included a roof from England, a stage, billiard room and reading room. The entrance was built to enable 4 men marching abreast to enter an interesting point is that over the main gate is a shield surmounted by a knights helm, on the shield are two fleurs de lys above a Maltese cross. None of these devices are however connected to the regiment. The first company to drill in the new hall was no 4 company.

A further improvement in 1893 was the addition of a first floor and in addition to the Officers quarters, Orderly room, Non Coms mess room and Quarter masters store the hall now contains a Billiard room, Recreation room and Gymnasium.

Today the hall is still the headquarters of the PAG and houses the regimental museum as well as other interesting military exhibits. As you pass the Drill hall there is a sign giving the following information to passers by or those who may be walking the Donkin heritage trail……. “ This is the headquarters of Prince Alfred Guard, Port Elizabeths Volunteer Regiment founded in 1856. The drill hall was opened in 1882 and the first floor added in 1893, the adjoining land was once a parade ground. In addition to its military function the hall has been the scene of balls, theatrical productions and also been used as a roller skating rink and hospital”.

The Prince Alfred Guard Chantry

Yep, I know just what you are thinking, because it’s exactly what I thought when I saw the word myself………… “What the @&%* is a Chantry”? Well let me inform you - "my Philistine friends".

Chantry chapels have their origin probably as far back as the middle ages when people with money gifted the church monies to construct and maintain a chapel within the greater edifices of the church itself specifically for the saying of mass for the welfare of their souls after death, sometimes the endowment included the employment of a full time chantry priest to say requiem masses.

By the 15th century Chantry chapels had proliferated, not least because of the fear of death and punishment after death that characterised the church during the middle ages and from where it accumulated much of its wealth. With the reformation close to two thousand chantries were concealed and the priests dismissed with a pension. Very few chantries where established during the reformation, however the chapel in St Mary’s Port Elizabeth is one of those.

The chantry in St Mary’s is described as a “military chantry” and is probably unique in Southern Africa. It dates back to 1927 and is part of a long association between Port Elizabeth’s militia and the church of St Mary. Patriotism was high in South Africa during and after both the Anglo-Boer war as well as the First World War and with a number of the Prince Alfred’s Guard having died in both conflicts it was decided that with monies available a permanent memorial for those men as well as those who had made the supreme sacrifice in former conflicts was fitting.

It was the age of memorials and people contributed generously to see a permanent structure to honour the men of the Prince Alfred Guard. When Major Bromilow – Downing approached rector Canon Mayo of St Mary’s in 1926 with the proposal of building a military chantry within the walls of St Mary’s it was met with enthusiasm. Trustees where appointed, with 820 pounds being available, plans where drawn and building commenced. On 27 November 1927 the Rt Reverend Francis Phelps, Bishop of Grahamstown dedicated the Prince Alfred’s Guard chantry in the presence of a large congregation.

Plaques as well as other memorials were collected within what became known as “the tram car in St Mary’s. With South Africa becoming a republic in the 1960’s any badges or insignia incorporating either the crown or other royal devices had to be changed. The Colours of Prince Alfred Guard with its royal emblems were handed ceremonially to St Mary’s for safekeeping and today hang in the chantry. The Umzintzani shield badge features prominently in the chantry’s furnishings and on the walls are inscribed the names of those men of the Regiment who lost their lives in the Boer war and the Second World War. The names of those men killed in the First World War have been omitted due to the fact that no South African regiment took part in that war under its own name.

The Chantry is today a reminder to those who serve in the Prince Alfred’s Guard that the Regiment has a long and proud history and still is closely associated with the people of the City as well as South Africa.

"Best days of my life"?

Ever said to your kid/s wish I was back at High school, best days of my life, all you had to do was collect pocket money from your parents and make sure you passed your exams, not exactly rocket science. Seeing Gabby go to High School this past 10 days has me thinking, thank goodness I don’t have to go through that Zoo again, first of all I don’t think I could carry the bag around the whole day, Gabby’s backpack feels like it should be used for Recce selection course its so heavy and there are the different groupings, the hoodies, the hips hops, the jocks the nerds etc etc, “was it like that when we where at school? ……must have been”. Must say though attended a parents evening on Tuesday and the headmaster is my type of guy “NO not I that sense” he is an old fashioned take no prisoners headmaster and the team around him are committed to the kids, feel Gabby very lucky to have been accepted, he was saying they had 800 applications for grade 8 (std 6) and only 208 where accepted, the size of the classes are around 26 pupils and for a government school they have an academic, sporting and cultural record of note. Gabby seems to have fitted in a lot better this week, making more friends and generally settling in, so that is good, Gabby also looking forward to the Valentines day dance and she also goes on a 2 day camp beginning of February.

Talking about high school, those who attend are mostly teenagers and as those of us that have a teenager know they can at the best of times be difficult and most days you are 2 inches away from becoming a murderer, my sister Karen has been through it, got the T shirt, DVD and has a Thesis on the subject of raising a daughter through teenage years, so I bow to her superior knowledge on the subject. I would like to share with you an e-mail she sent me after I had sent her photos of Gabby in her new school uniform and told her how Gabby’s first couple of days had been at school.

he he he – next week or so…sorry for you… next few years or so. Welcome to “teenage world”, that’s right where everyday is a surprise. Daily rides on the emotional / hormonal rollercoaster, where every parent is an idiot and does not know what they are talking about. Play the I hate school / love school game and try count the changes. Daily games of “what mood are we in today” and advance level, lets guess what mood you in today. Once you have progressed though level 1 – you get additional obstacles like boys, dress sense or lack there of, curfew time setting and the most popular “but my other friends can / are allowed”. Level 2 and 3 are varied but guarantee surprise curveballs around every corner.

Fear not – at the end of teenage world – you get to sit back and enjoy your prize – you’re back to normal, human behaving child whom you love and cherish. You also have time to go to the hairdresser and have those grey hairs dyed, try and recover from you increased alcohol level intake, or repair the holes in the doors and walls that you kicked in through sheer frustration… heheheheh” Welcome friend, Welcome.
(Thanks Sis Love you lots “I think”J

One of my favourite songs at the moment is Nicklebacks “If today was your last day” it’s a awesome song and I really like the words, so if you haven’t herd it try and do so, its up there with Creeds “With arms wide open” It also happens to be Victoria Parks school song for the year and if you listen to the words you will see why.

On to completely something different, used to be you could turn up at the airport 20 minutes before takeoff and rush through the boarding procedures to get on the plane just as it was bout to taxi out of the boarding area with the rest of the passengers applauding that you had actually made it, those days are long gone, thanks to the “Kaboom” boys who have decided that using planes is a good way to get rid of tall buildings or military installations, now thanks to them you have to be at the airport 5 hours prior to the actual flight, now if you take into account that you have to pack the car, negotiate traffic get into the airport itself and locate the check in counter its possible that this procedure will take almost as long as the actual flight. Now they even have X ray machines that can see the passenger Naked, now this could either be a good or a bad job, it just all depends on who or what is going through the scanner. I mean I would want to be on duty that the Miss World Pageant contestants, the Victoria secrets models or the last 10 years Playboy centrefolds came through but would not be happy if it was a Weight watchers convention or candidates for the latest “Biggest loser” TV show. How does it work? does it go down to the skeleton, does it just go down to the underwear (now that could also be interesting) or does it just pick up dangerous items suck as nail clippers, knitting needles, spear guns, thermo nuclear devices or parker pens? that have been secreted in cracks and crevices around ones personage…. “Sorry sir is that a Sam seven missile in your pants or are you just happy to see me”? I got a feeling that if one of the black post boxes go through this new machine they will see the sexiest Victoria secrets or La Perle underwear………….well what else they got to spend there money on? They certainly don’t bedazzle or accessorise the outside of their boiler suits, so it stands to reason they wear sexy underwear……. I can see the shop slogan now “Look like a sex bomb on the inside and a hydrogen bomb on the outside”.

Ryan said I should be careful as I might be seen as anti – Muslim with all my negative press about them and he has a point. I live in a double story building its white and we have an airport near us ………ring any bells? I now have set up an early warning system and the guy in the microlite that I peppered with paint balls last Sunday will not be back in a hurry……..that I can tell you.

Then you have to ask the question how do they scan or screen those ladies who look like a black post box, I mean if you hold up their passports how can you be sure a) it’s a lady b) that it’s the same lady in the photo. I mean how does a customs official ascertain that the eyes looking bout of the slit in front of him is the same in the passport? This brings me to a question that I have not quite had the nerve to ask a Muslim who does wear the black letter box outfit “how do you deliver babies”? Women can’t be doctors so it has to be a guy………”So he cannot look at her face but can catch an eyeful of down south”? or does he deliver the baby blindfolded and use Braai tongs to secrete it from its cave “hey its Bin laden”, then if it’s a girl how do you show the relatives…………..”Oh she is so beautiful and she has got all of our eyes”. Ok enough of that, I think I can hear a microlite buzzing the house.

Traffic in PE “SUCKS” big time the record last week was a 40 minute round trip to get Gabby to school and get back home. well on Monday smashed that record as it took me nearly 1 hour to do 8kms just to get Gabby to school, 4th day in std six and she was late, took 20 minutes to do 1.2 kms. The record as to the quickest time it has taken there and back is 25 minutes, learnt the earlier you leave the faster you get there and 5 minutes does make a world of difference. For those wanting to visit PE all you need to remember, especially if you come from a small town, dorp or village is that to drive in PE you just need to keep foot on accelerator and hope that the other person has theirs on the brake, because people just drive, forget about letting people in it just does not happen. Also this side of the Fish River the navigator and money collector of the taxi spends his time hanging out the passenger seat window shouting a passers by looking for fares while the driver honks the horn incessantly ………not normal, think it’s the wind actually, just knocks the “Tor” right off its access.

For those who know Tania you will know that she can drink tea, in fact Tania has gone from Currie cup level to full blown International status, we bought a new mug for her T the other day and I was making Tania a cup, boiled water in the kettle , threw a T bag in the cup and started to fill the cup up, when the mug was about quarter full I had to re-fill the kettle………I think I am just going to adapt the kettle so that we can boil water and make T at the same time, it has got a handle and I just need to adapt the lid so that it can go on and off. If there is ever a world championship tea drinking Olympics Tania will be South Africa’s Gold medal winner. We received an e-mail from 5 roses the other day thanking Tania for her continued support and that they had named a new T plantation in Ceylon after her.

I see Pele has said that Nelson Mandela can help with security issues surrounding the World Cup in June , but he is afraid that something may happen to him because of his age (91) while I do not think Madiba himself could do anything about the security situation, “I mean is Pele suggesting that we put him in a security uniform and send him to a border post” I do believe that if he were to die over the World Cup this would be the worst case scenario for FIFA, Tania and I were talking about this very subject last week and wondered what would happen. They could not stop the tournament “or would they”?

I was reminded by another reader of the Blog that the pole dancer should actually have read “Pole Polisher”, my apologies to all dancers out there for sullying your profession by suggesting little man could in fact dance………now that’s a woman/man that should be wearing a Burka…………”Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuugly”

Came across this sign in PE…………………….. “I was confused……..what about you”

This also came across my desk from a mate, I JUST HAD TO INCLUDE I AS ITS SO FUNNY. You have just got to love Africa

Made a D.I.Y (destroy it yourself) bird feeder last week, actually came out Ok and has not fallen apart of been condemned by the Pigeon building inspectors. “Well not yet anyway”

Did you hear the story of the 5 year old that took the wrong bus on the first day of school and disappeared for 6 days until some dude who found him took him to the cops. Now the best thing is, is that his Grandma did not report him missing for 2 days. I have a couple of questions

1) How can you let a five year old go to and come back from school on a bus by itself, especially its first day of school?
2) Why did the teachers not question the parents as to why he was not at school second and third days?
3) How can you not realise that he is missing or if you do have nothing to say about it for 2 days
4) He apparently does not speak English or Afrikaans, so how the hell is he supposed to tell people other than those who speak his language that he is lost

The best part is his name is Knowledge Shabalala………….”Go figure”

Signed the giant Bafana Bafana shirt, that is touring the country “well the material they will be using to make the shirt”, its going to be able to fit a few people I know as its going to be 64 x 36 meters in size. I wrote “One team one country, good luck from the Dunkley family” talking about the World Cup do you know what the mascot for 2010 is called and if so what it stands for? Well let me educate you, his/her name is Zakumi with the ZA for South Africa and Kumi meaning 10 in Swahili.

Talking about the World Cup, Maradonna landed in Gauteng this week and the report on TV said he was the person who revolutionised the game of football……… by getting God to come and play with him after all was it not the very same man that used illegal tactics to score against England in the 1986 World Cup and then when asked about it said that “It was the hand of God” …..have to admit though his second goal was just sublime, but I would not say he revolutionised the game.

I also see the Poms are at it again, Slating South Africa, some company in the UK is offering stab proof vests to soccer fans who are coming to the world cup, did we not just have 20 000 cricket fans here that had the time of their life “and we managed to beat them in the last test, just 2 wickets and we could have had the series 3-, but lets not harp on about that”………I have joined a local cricket club and want to play for the under 86 F team…… hopefully going to be playing in the social league and looking forward to it. Practise was hectic as they had me running around that field and catching balls that had been launched so high that they had ice on them when they came down. They asked me if I wanted to bat but the one dude was bowling faster than Slinger Malinga, so I respectfully declined. Turns out I had been practising with the Super league team. I heard one guy say “this is so hard when I was 17 it was ok but now I am 34 its getting harder” I think he is the oldest on the team so I am only 13 years older than he is. I was so tired when I got home I fell on the bed and woke up the next morning.

Carrying on with those stab proof vests, perhaps they should hand them out to fans who’s teams are playing against England as the Pommie yobo’s are notorious for causing KAK when they go to another country. Started to wonder what a stab proof vest is in Afrikaans and came up with either “Steek bestaande vrokkie” or “Steek vry trui”

Job Hunting this week as been so so, my mate Meatbomb has just landed himself the best job in Clarens, managing and running Clarens brewery, not only is it the best micro brewery in South Africa he will be getting free beer………..lucky swine. I sent my details to a company looking for extras for a tourism video they are doing for the Bay, so hopefully I can make some R out of that, reminded me of the Pasta advert that a number of Clarenites got involved in last year, was great fun.

Was sitting and looking at a Mc Donalds FIFA world cup countdown this week and this particular one was 142 days 15 hours, 23 minutes and 07 seconds I then had this real deep thought “should I have the normal Big mac or Supersize it”? ……….nah just kidding I thought what if each of us had a clock like that with what is left of our lives on it how would we live our lives then……would we be more conservative of live life to its fullest…………….”Would you like to know if today was your last day”?

I see that Idiot Julius Malema has been at it again, this time (and I don’t know the full story) it would seem he was caught hiring a yacht for R5 000 an hour not to long ago and his excuse of this excess was that he has an obligation to show the poor masses in SA that if you work hard (get lucky and know the right people is what he should have said) then you to can afford such luxuries and get the taxpayer to foot the bill……”what a saint you are Julius, thank you for the sacrifices you are making on behalf of the poor, perhaps you could go and give lessons to mother Theresa, as I am sure she has been doing it the wrong way round for so many years…………”what a Pratt”

Went to watch The Free State Rugby team play an EP invitational team at the new soccer stadium on Saturday with Ryan, good to see my team in PE. What was supposed to be a “training session” for the Cheetahs turned out to be a very close game with the Cheetahs only sneaking in 13 to 9 winners, they did not impress me and hopefully they will improve for the Super 14, otherwise they could be propping up the log. I will be doing my Health and Safety course practical on Tuesday, think I will do ok, Ryan ha really helped me with this. He is a trainer and consultant with NOSA, I know this will probably give him a big head but that dude knows his stuff when it comes to health and safety and I predict that he will go very far with NOSA unless I can of course persuade him to set up a business together when I have got enough experience.

One of the reasons we came to PE was for Tania to spend quality time with her parents and her mom in particular, yeah I know what your thinking as the husband your supposed to live as far away as possible for the mother in law, but as many of you will know I get on really well with my parents in law and I am proud to call them mom and dad. I think that moving here is paying off as Lois has been doing mosaic with Tania at the house and its nice to see them together I know that Tania enjoys it and I am sure that the strong bond that they already enjoy will only get stronger with the special one on one time that they spend together as mother and daughter, because no matter what anyone says it does not matter how old your mom gets you will always be their boy or girl.

Can you imagine receiving a letter from your family in the UK on the 21st of January and in it tells you how the weather has been and then “oh by the way your mom died on the 2nd of January” cant happen I hear you say…….wrong because it happened to my dad, His mom dies on the 2nd and his sister did not pick up the phone on the day it happened or before to say his mom was sick, no this shining example of humanity and supposedly family decided to sit down make a cup of tea and write a letter. Now don’t get me wrong I did not like Mrs Dunkley at all and did not even consider her as a grandma she did not like us for reasons that this Blog will not go into, but surely my dads father or his sister could have called him to say hey your moms sick or on the day she died phoned to say she had passed away. I hope that one day you get to read this and feel ashamed of yourself Pam………..what a cow you are and typical behaviour from your side of the family.

I got an e-mail last week saying “leave the Poms alone …….or words to that effect…….well guess what, not “gonna happen”. I see that the British Government is issuing Visas to South Africans to study in the UK, even if they have failed matric, I think that just proves my theory that the Island is a wasteland of useless people streaming in from all parts of the world wanting to earn pounds and get that passport that will give them the riches or free healthcare, the dole, free housing and free money, forgot to tell you that if you have a baby in the UK you get 250 pounds from the government to put in a savings account so when it reaches 18 the massive 0.0000000000000000000000000001 percent interest rate has made it a whopping 250 pounds and 37 pence. If that news becomes general knowledge in Africa it will empty in a month and the island will disappear under the frigid Atlantic ………. As old Frankie would say……………………………………….. “Start spreading the news”

On Sunday was invited by the MOTHS to a service at the old Russell Road cemetery to commemorate the life and death of James Langley Dalton (acting assistant commissary) at Rorkes drift and one of the 11 VC winners of that epic defence (22 and 23 January 1879).

Quote for the week is from General Mac Arthur: “Whoever said that the pen is mightier than the sword has never encountered machine guns”

Well got to go and remember there are only 137 days left before the start of the World Cup.


The “Ex” village idiot

A link between Clarens and Port Elizabeth

Over the last couple of Christmases that we visited PE I noticed a monument on the beachfront but either never had the time or the inclination to stop and see what it represented. I was under the impression it was a Cenotaph to PE citizens who had died in the First or second World Wars……….as usual I was wrong.

I stopped there a few days ago only to find out that it was not a monument to Port Elizabeth’s war dead but that the monument had been erected 16 December 1939 to celebrate the Battle of Blood/Ncome River some 101 years before. It became apparent that it had been moved from its original site to Summerstrand in 1975 so I decided to look into this and see if I could find any more information; this is what I managed to find.

The four-metre high sandstone monument is actually dedicated to Piet Retief and was designed by Gerard Moerdyk and this is where the link comes in as the pastorie in Clarens was designed by Gerhard Moerdyk in the 1920’s.........but I digress. Moerdyk was the eldest of nine children and born in Nylstroom, his dad was a teacher and had come to South Africa from Holland in response to a plea from Paul Kruger who realised that his new Republic needed teachers.

I also found that Coert Steynberg the artist who created many of the Voortrekker Monument sculptures was also responsible for two panels on this monument. For those who are also not aware the Voortrekker monument is also a Moerdyk design. Other works that Coerts panels have been associated with are

1) Andries – Pretorius monument in Graaf Reniet
2) Karel Landman monument near Alexandria
3) Peace of Vereeniging monument in Vereeneging

The Piet Retief monument was initially erected in Coega Saturday 16 December 1939 with close to 5000 people, mainly Afrikaans speaking in attendance. Te monument was erected at the side of the R335 as this was believed to be the route used by the Voortrekkers during their trek North. Its said that the crowd that day was the largest in the country and the proceedings were broadcast on radio. The veld around the monument was transformed into a tent town with hundreds of tents and an ox wagon or two setting up camp. Many people dressed in traditional Voortrekker clothing. Dr D F Malan the then leader of the National Party gave an hour long speech on the importance of unity amongst the Afrikaaner.

In 1950 there were concerns that the monument was getting damaged and could be vandalised and it should be moved to Summerstrand another of the reasons was that Port Elizabeth was expanding but not towards Coega. The reason Summerstrand was chosen for the monument to be moved to was that Piet Retief himself had been one of the original tenants of a farm called Strandfontein, the land which Summerstand now stands. While the decision was made to move the monument in 1950 it was only 25 years later in 1975 that the dream became a reality. The monument was re dedicated on December the 16th by Mr. W A van der Merwe and Professor Marius Swart gave the festival address were he pointed out the similarities of the monument to the Voortrekker monument in Pretoria, those being the chiselled shapes on the corners as well as the placing of the foundation stone.

As mentioned one of the reasons for moving the monument was a fear of it being vandalised and in 1991 four copper and bronze plaques were stolen (probably sold to an unscrupulous scrap metal dealer and melted down). One of the plaques was a Coert Steynburg scene of Voortrekker ox-wagons on the move. These have now been replaced with an etched and polished granite panel; the bas-relief of Piet Retief by Steynburg was not stolen and still looks down on the odd tourist or history researcher.

St Georges Park

Having watched a couple of games recently at this venue, I decided to look up its history of not only the cricket ground itself but also the park that is adjacent to the stadium itself. Here is what I came up with thanks mostly to the cricket clubs own website as well as Wikipedia.

St Georges Park is the second oldest cricket club in South Africa, was the venue for the first Test, the first women's international Test, the last Test before South Africa's expulsion from world cricket, the first ever Test series win against Australia, the first Rebel Test, the first Test with the resumption of 'normal' cricket. . . and the sixth oldest cricket ground in the world - that's just a bit about St George's Park. Add to it South Africa's first rugby test and the numerous other events that have been staged at this historic venue.

St George's Park is also home to the Port Elizabeth Bowls Club, founded on August 14, 1882, and known as "The Mother Club of Bowls in South Africa" as it was the first bowling club in the country. In another first for St George's Park and Port Elizabeth, the first South African inter-club bowling tournament, the South African Inter-Colonial Contest was contested from April 11 till April 18, 1894 between the Port Elizabeth and Kimberley clubs. Not bad for a stadium that started out in 1859 on an open tract of veld alongside a cemetery (that is still there) on a hill outside the harbour town of Port Elizabeth.

Today, of course, the world-class 18 500-seater stadium, set within the grounds of the beautiful St George's Park, is slap, bang in the middle of the city whose love of the game began with the arrival of the British settlers.

Legends still do the rounds even today about one of the Settlers wading through the surf of Algoa Bay to the shores of his new homeland, cricket bat held aloft to ensure that it would not get wet. A few months after the Port Elizabeth Cricket Club was established in 1859, the Port Elizabeth town council agreed to lease two acres of land to the club. The barren piece of veld was cleared by the members who also paid for the ground's upkeep.

Thus the Port Elizabeth Cricket Club was founded, becoming the oldest cricket club in the country still playing from the same venue today. Shortly after the cricket ground was laid out, the Town Council decided to establish St George's Park, enclosing a huge tract of land with sufficient space for various other pastimes, the Knickerbockers (later the Union Cricket Club) leased some adjacent land, along with several other sports, such as tennis (1878), athletics (1881), lawn bowls (1882) and rugby (1887).

All found a home at St George's Park with Crusaders Rugby Club and PECC sharing their turf during winter and summer respectively. In fact, 2003 was only the second season in more than a century that both sporting disciplines were not played on the same ground in the same year. The Eastern Province Cricket Board couldn't afford to have the field badly churned up by rugby boots just before the 2003 Cricket World Cup.

In the past, St George's Park has played host to it all. It's even laid out the red carpet to royalty. A young Queen Elizabeth was among them in 1947. Only once fencing had been introduced around the field in 1864, did the town council give PECC permission to charge an admission fee. And even then, it was just sixpence "and not more than once a fortnight".It was all part of the Port Elizabeth town council's aim to promote the game. They even donated The Champion Bat in 1876, the forerunner to today's Currie Cup competition.

The famous bat, which was competed for by "the cricketers of the Cape Colony" - Cape Town, Grahamstown, King Williams Town and Port Elizabeth - can still be viewed at the PECC. The first international rugby match followed on July 30, 1891, at the same ground between the same nations, South Africa and England. (The women played their first test in 1960.) Even as far back as 1867, a band performed to further entertain the crowds. In those days it was a military band. Today there is an up-beat brass band of young performers, who typify the rich "rainbow" cricket traditions of the Eastern Cape.

While the Settlers were establishing grounds at Salem; Sidbury, Port Alfred and the like, English missionaries were padding up (and preaching) elsewhere in far-flung towns like Alice; where a new ground was recently established in anticipation of the world cricket showcase. St George's has also been home to some world-class cricketers (and rugby players) including the Pollock brothers, Peter and Graeme. Graeme, 58, was recently voted cricketer of the century. Former South African cricket captains Peter van der Merwe and Kepler Wessels also have strong ties to St George's Park.

Of course we are proud of our history and of the treatment we have dished out to visiting teams. This is what Eric Litchfield said about Port Elizabeth hospitality in his book
The Springbok Story - from the inside. (Citadel Press, 1960, pg 33.)
"One can be grateful that the writing and ethical standards of South African sports writing remain on a high plain. But if some professional relationships between the writers and the officials are not always cordial, tribute must be paid to the majority of the same officials for the lavish hospitality that is thrust upon the Press in most centres.

"British sportswriters do not enjoy anything like the same hospitality. "No personal reflection is intended upon any other sports ground or group of sports officials when I single out the cricket officials of Port Elizabeth for honorable mention.

St Georges Park is not just the cricket ground, the park itself is the oldest in Port Elizabeth and in it there are many places of interest as there are in the immediate surrounds are a number of other places of interest these being.

1) Prince Alfred's Guard Memorial is a provincial heritage site in St George's Park in Port Elizabeth in South Africa's Eastern Cape province. In 1983 it was described in the Government Gazette as

The Prince Alfred's Guard Memorial is one of the largest and heaviest architectural products in the Victorian idiom manufactured by the Saracen foundry of Walter MacFarlane of Glasgow in Scotland. The structure is a fitting tribute to the memory of the officers and men who made the supreme sacrifice in the Transkei War (1877), Basuto War (1880-1881), Bechuana War (1897) and the Anglo Boer War (1899-1902) as a matter of interest the Prince Alfred's Guard Museum in Port Elizabeth houses military exhibits in the Regiment's Victorian Drill Hall (built in 1880). It is a national monument and one of the finest surviving examples of its type in the country today.

2) Pearson Conservatory: This fine example of a Victorian Conservatory was opened on September 12, 1882 by the Honourable John X Merriman, the then Commissioner of Works for the Cape Colony at a cost of £3,800. It is named after Mr HW Pearson, the Mayor of Port Elizabeth at that time. The structure consists of a centre building and two wings. The central building measures 25 feet by 50 feet by 29 feet high to the centre of the skylight. The roof is supported on eight lofty columns with marble shafts and ornamental heads picked out in gold and dark green. The wing buildings each measure 21 by 44 feet by 17 feet high to the centre of skylights. The roofs of these buildings are also supported on ornamental columns, and over theses as also the centre building the iron ribs of the roof are strengthened by means of ornamental wrought iron scroll work.

3) The Horse Memorial: While not in the park itself, it’s a short walk down Rink Street to what was at one stage the only memorial in the world erected to honour horses. The unveiling of the monument commemorating the services of the horses which perished during the Anglo Boer War, 1899-1902, took place on Saturday afternoon, February 11, 1905, with His Worship the Mayor, Mr A Fettes, performing the ceremony. The statue used to occupy a very suitable position, close to the junction of Park Drive and Rink Street, next to St George’s Park, but was moved to its present position in Cape Road in the 1950s. One of the principal reasons for Port Elizabeth taking such an interest in the movement, which started in 1901, was the fact that most of the horses brought to this country were landed here. A ladies committee was formed with Mr’s Harriet Meyer as president and £800 was collected for Messrs Whitehead and Sons, of Kennington and Westminster, to erect the statue. The
horse stands 16 hands 2 inches and the figure of the soldier is life size. The inscription on the base reads:
“The greatness of a nation depends not so much upon the number of its people or its territory,as in the extent and justice of its compassion.”

4) The old graveyard: Situated next to the cricket ground hast gravestones date back as far as the mid 1800’s

Isnt Bigamy and Polygamy the same?

This was sent to me by my sister and is pretty funny, David Bullard being one of my favourite writers.

David Bullard considers taking more wives

JOHANNESBURG - I'm thinking of taking a couple of extra wives this year. I got the idea from the president himself and I think it's brilliant. It's a bit like having different cars. For example, I've got a double cab bakkie to take garden stuff down to the dump and to go on fishing trips. I've got my gay boy Mazda MX5 which is great for zipping around town and going off to choose curtain fabric and I've got a much more sensible MPV with five comfortable seats and a large loading bay. That's perfect for going on holiday packed with stuff and meeting people at the airport. Currently my first wife drives that as her everyday vehicle but she may have to drive the bakkie if subsequent wives want to drive the MPV. Of course, this doesn't include the procession of test cars delivered to the old homestead, ostensibly to be driven and evaluated. This week it's an Audi Q7 and unless I misheard the phone message there should be a Ferrari on the way.

I have always been under the impression that polygamy is illegal in this country but maybe I was confusing it with bigamy. Obviously it can't be illegal because the president has just got married again and, as we know, nobody is above the law in this country. There will be those who will try to argue that it's a Zulu cultural thing but that doesn't really convince me. For example, it's a cultural thing for my lot to ride around on horses hunting foxes but that's not even allowed in England. And it's a proud South African tradition to drive drunk but surely that doesn't qualify as a cultural right?

What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander and if President Zuma can have multiple wives then so should the rest of us be allowed to should we so choose. The fact that the SA taxpayer may not be meeting the bills for our second, third and fourth wives may influence many people's decision to lead a life of polygamy but what the heck. The great political pundit and restaurant reviewer Justice Malala often writes about his "lovely wife" when he attempts to describe to us what he has been blowing his Financial Mail expense account on. I hadn't thought much about this until this weekend but maybe Justice is also a polygamist and mentions his "lovely wife" every week to differentiate her from his other, less lovely, wives. Although I imagine wives number 2/3/4 would probably get a little miffed at wife number 1 being referred to as "lovely" while they never warrant a mention.

This then is the essential difference between multiple cars and multiple wives. Cars don't get jealous but wives do and it is a demonstration of his diplomatic mastery that Jacob Zuma has been through this before and will almost certainly get married a few more times. Maybe he does it for the wedding presents.

The obvious problem with polygamy (a bit like cars actually) is you're bound to have a favourite wife. One you want to drag to the marital bed for some energetic rumpy pumpy on a regular basis. So what do you do with the others as they sulk in the sewing room, mending the holes in your leopard skin underpants? Do you promise them the same treatment at some vague distant date in the future or do you fob them off with a promise that they will attend the next opening of parliament? Tiger Woods would probably have a solution for this but he has more experience at playing 18 holes then the rest of us. For the average male polygamist it's a problem.

Then imagine what it must be like driving from KZN to Pretoria with three map reading wives in the car. As all men know, one map reading wife is bad enough. They have to hold the map upside down because that's the direction the car is travelling. Which means that they can't read the street names and that eventually ends in disaster and lots of yelling. The sat-nav has saved many a marriage, even if it is a woman's voice telling you where to go. I have programmed mine to speak in Italian because being told that you're off route and need to do a U-turn sounds much more erotic in Italian.

Then there's the problem of meals. Which wife cooks the food? Obviously the hot wife is excused culinary duties because she needs to preserve her energy for the bedroom but do the three other wives all prepare a separate dinner and then get upset when you choose one over the other? Or do they all resign themselves to the fact that "hottie" is tonight's choice yet again and just get on with preparing the food. Which means you also need to employ a food taster because with one happy and three unhappy wives it's only a matter of time before one of them accidentally adds hemlock to the recipe.

No, I think that after much consideration maybe I won't proceed with the polygamy plans after all. Forgetting one wedding anniversary is difficult enough. Can you imagine what it must be like forgetting five?

“Well at least this weeks Blog starts off with a classy writer”.

So I see that there was a coup attempt in the UK seems that two ministers of the Labour government decided that they have had enough of Brown and staged a “coup”, I was thinking to myself what did they do? Take over the coffee machine and hold the biscuit lady hostage until he decides on whether or not he will step down, “got to love those Poms”.

So I have decided that I am going to wear a Bafana shirt every Friday from now on (its Football Froday) to show my support (Ryan is doing the same) and I urge you all to support what will surely be an event to be proud of. I still have a shirt from 96 when the team was winning, so hopefully this will rub off on the current team. “Feel it in the Air” There is only ??? days left before the start of the World Cup.

Can’t get used to it getting dark so late at 7.30 pm its still pretty light, makes you feel that its earlier than it actually is, in fact got me into trouble this week as I was invited to the Prince Alfreds Guard NCO’s mess for a drink and to meet a number of members. This I did and got a tour of the 1880 built Drill hall that the unit is housed in and got a tour of its memorabilia, we then retired to the pub to have a drink or two, I bought a round for a few people in the pub and the bill came to …………wait for it R41 00 ….yes I know its awesome, brandy is R3 per tot, rum R5.00 and an Ice cold Millers a wallet busting R6……….I like it there. Hopefully I am going to get involved with the ex RSM “not in the biblical sense” to set up a reference library and possibly assist in displaying militaria that they have by the box full. They gave me a number of books and leaflets on the unit’s history, so I will definitely be putting that on the Blog, what I can tell you is the unit is the 3rd oldest in the country and the only one that uses a battle honour on its cap badge. Real great people and I think I am going to enjoy joining them for a drink or two on a Thursday night. “Oh yeah reason I got into trouble was that I lost track of time and thought it was earlier than it was due to it still being light outside”.

Gabby started High school this week, on Tuesday she had 3 hours of orientation at the school, think it was a little difficult for her as there were 200 new kids for grade 8 and most know each other from different schools etc, I think Gabby was a bit put out that when she tried to say hi to a couple of the girls they ignored her. Its going to be a big adjustment for her as her last school only had 110 kids in total and being in standard five she was the big girl in the school. It’s always hard the first few days of anything, so hopefully by this time next week she will be settled. I find it hard that I cannot take her place and save her the anxiety or the frustrations of those first days, but I suppose that is what growing up is all about. Must say she looked great in her uniform and I was a very proud dad seeing her walk into the school. Gabby also found a place to go riding this week, may have to sell a kidney to let her do it, but just to see the joy in her face is worth the sacrifices one has to make as a parent.

Job Hunting better this week, saw a personnel agent this week and seems confident that she can find the Village Idiot a job, so here is hoping. Have sent out a number of mails and only 2 agencies have bothered to reply, I have to be honest I find that absolutely disgusting that agencies who are supposed to look for jobs for clients do not have the courtesy to contact you back, obviously service is not a word in their business ethos.

An accident at a nearby intersection on Monday night had the emergency services there within 5 minutes, think it would take longer than that for the “Oke” at the Clarens Police station to answer the phone and try and get one of the local cops out of the pub or shebeen may also take a while longer. So I am well impressed with the reaction time of the emergency services in P E.
PE drivers are however crap with a capital C (so not surprised there was an accident) they make Martie “Schumacher” Du Plessis look like the dude who drove Miss Daisy. a trip to the harbour, a mere 9kms away had me grabbing the brakes on more than one occasion, cars just pull into traffic from side streets, pull over without looking and all seem to have the new indicating system. “Its state of the art, you think about turning and the indicators show what you want to do, “problem is the Frikken system does not work”! At traffic circles (and PE has PLENTY) the cars just carry on behind one another and you have to wait, if there is 200 cars they all have the right of way “perhaps they did not have that particular chapter in the K53 booklet in the Eastern Cape”?

I have to get used to driving in this traffic as some times I am still in Clarens mode and as I am driving up to a robot I am thinking to myself “ooh doesn’t that look pretty……..schreeeeeeech as I realize its red, apply brakes and then scrape my nose off the windscreen. It is probably the drive to take Gabby to school that now has me realizing that I live in a larger metropolis than the jewel of the Free State. The 13km round trip takes 40 minutes to complete.

Some really nice old buildings In PE from Victorian days and earlier so have been out and about taking some photos, also saw a small cruise ship enter the harbour this week, from what I can gather there will be a number docked over the World Cup, seems the local “Prossies” are taking swimming lessons, so they can swim out to the ships before they dock and that way get to the big spenders first.

Went to the Nelson Mandela Bay Football stadium on Thursday to watch a game between South Korea and bay United (it’s a local PE based lower division club), South Korea play the opening game against Greece here on te 12th of June so they were having a Recce and decided to play a game. Game started at 11am and despite the time there must have been 10 000 people there, lots of school kids. Stadium is nice but not as nice as I thought it would be, also the surrounding areas need to be upgraded, so maybe that has something to do with my first impression. The area the stadium is situated was probably once a nice middle class suburb, but over the years the residents have changed and along with that the way the buildings have been looked after. South Korea won 3-1 but the Bay scored first so that was good and don’t think they were outplayed to be honest.

I went by bike and must have picked the windiest day that PE has experienced in years, the trip there was not to bad but during the game the wind had picked up and the ride back was interesting to say the least. I mean have you ever seen traffic lights move ……sorry let me re-phrase that “sway” to and fro like a jibber jabber. The lamp poles must be made of rubber as they bend in the wind I saw pigeons nailing their feet to telephone poles and tying themselves and their friends to tree branches so they would not blown onto the next continent.. I am sure the locals with small dogs strap diver’s weights to their pets otherwise they would end up on the other side of the city….. “look dear is that a seagull?, no don’t think so , looks like a Chihuahua to me” You have heard the expression when pigs fly, well its not used here because its actually possible in PE . Women who wear dresses spend there time trying to keep there modesty in tact otherwise it would be like “open pole” night at Teazers….. all you would see is ass. I also saw a lady in a motorized wheelchair (its got 4 wheels and a basket on the front) heading into the wind, it looked like she was a test pilot in a F1 wind tunnel, I think the battery probably went flat before she got home.

As some of you are aware I am busy with a health and safety course and Ryan is helping a lot, especially with risk assessments, so hopefully when I do my practical and final exam the “Ex Village Idiot” will not embarrass himself to much. Thinking about it this is definitely the line that I would like to get into, may take a while, but hopefully it will happen.

So 2010 I have a quandary I love Schumacher but don’t like Mercedes, so do I support the man or the car. I suppose it will have to be the man as I have supported Schumie from Benetton days. I can’t wait to se him drive again and hope that he gives those who think they are champions a good run for their money.

Here is a little piece of advice when picking wild prickly pears……….”USE GLOVES”. Near Gabby’s new horse riding school is a wild prickly pear tree so yours truly decides he wants to pick some……….good idea “not” First tip is wear gloves, I know I should know that but I was not thinking……..first of all those minute hair like thorns get stuck in your fingers, so to get rid of them I decided to use my teeth…….bad idea as now not only did I have thorns in my fingers now I had on my tongue as well, which then managed to transfer themselves onto my cheek and palate, in fact as I am typing this I can still feel little thorns in my mouth that I have been unable to extract with either my fingers or tweezers. I am hoping they don’t go septic.

Last Blog I wrote a little about the schools, I see that this week that there is again problems with the start of school term those being

1) Books for learners have not arrived
2) Parents have not bothered to register students so they swamp the schools the day before or for a week after the school has opened
3) The schools have not had damage from last year fixed
4) Schools over the festive season get vandalized and damaged.
5) The school feeding scheme is not working properly so learners cannot concentrate as they are hungry

The above happens every year like clockwork, the same problems, surely by now the powers at be would have sorted out these “teething” problems and stop blaming the previous regime or apartheid? I have a couple of questions so if anyone from the education department actually read this BLOG then perhaps you can e-mail me at and answer the following

1) Why do schools not have books for learners at the beginning of school terms, surely a system should be in place that you have some sort of an idea as to what school will need what supplies, also when I was at school , I had to hand back text books so what happens to the text books from last year ??

2) Surely schools have a system in place that children have to be registered the year before school starts, perhaps educating inconsiderate parents as to the harm and disruption it causes all learners when parents try to register their children on the opening of school (I just think its laziness and don’t give a shit attitude)
3)How can principals, teachers ad parents allow schools to be trashed , windows broken etc, again it’s a I don’t give a shit attitude and the government will sort out, but they never do, how can a classroom that looks like its been used by a suicide bombers class be conducive to children learning. I just find it unbelievable that after 17 years of democracy we still have schools that are falling to pieces and children that roam the streets and don’t go to school. What do the Education ministers and MEC’s do to earn their monies and fancy cars, obviously nothing and it’s a disgrace.

4)Do schools not get security over holiday periods? how is it possible that schools get trashed all the time, I just find it amazing that this happens all the time.

5)Instead of spending R on weapons of war and fancy cars perhaps the government should use that money to upgrade schools, train teachers and have feeding schemes for those children less fortunate. And before you go oh but we never had feeding schemes when we where at school, if you go back min history you will find that in the 30’s and 40’s many white children where fed at school.

Perhaps the question I want to ask is this, why is it that all these problems occur at black run schools and schools administered by whites do not have these problems, is it because they had better education, are more conscientious, care about the kids don’t spend the year chasing the girls round the tables? I mean gabby goes to a semi government school that has as many black and coloured kids as white kids, the school looks great, the kids are all in uniform, the books are all there and the years lessons are planned and the teachers are ready to go, why? Well that because during December they worked o ensuring that these things happened and did not come to work in the first month planning the lessons, ordering books etc etc while the kids do whatever they please. Its called Discipline and if the teachers don’t have it then how the hell an you expect to instill that in children.

Now I don’t know about you, but I think that the kids in schools are our future and should be given every opportunity to excel at school. There are always the “dof” and unruly kids, but many kids are not getting a fair chance to learn, who’s fault is this ?, its easy to blame the government, but I feel the problem also lies in the past with previous governments who wanted to keep the black population under so their education was not the best that it could be, these are now the people that we are expecting to teach the nations children and future teachers as well as make decisions that will affect their futures, most themselves are unable to read or write properly, so how can we expect them to run the school systems.

Then you have principals of schools that have a crappy pass rate of 1-25” trying to justify on TV why they are not to blame and what they are going to do this year to improve the situation, on guy has been principle for 11 years and last year had 11% pass rate for matrics (perhaps this year will be 12%) and he blames everyone but himself. Why now has he decided to come up with new ideas to get the pass rate up surely if the school has a bad pass rate the principal must be brought to task and if he does not improve the situation ASAP he /she get replaced. Come on guys wake up this is our future your talking about we cannot grow a country with a nation of idiots and morons, for a country to grow we need educated masses that can contribute to the economy and not be a drain on it.

Got this from a reader “yes I actually do have people that go out of their way to read the drivel that I spout week in and week out”

“Suppose this is a surprise to you! Well I just couldn’t help writing after I have read your blog. I am referring to your “wondering what happened to the Pole dancer” part. To kill your curiosity or that of the cat. If this is who I think it is, she moved to Johannesburg, doing what I don’t know. Apparently she got engaged last Saturday with a guy from Cape Town and will be moving to Franschoek in March. (“Dear reader more surprised that someone actually reads the Blog and enjoys it than I am the Pole Dance has latched on to someone of the opposite sex, “although for a while there was rumour that it had a penis, but I would have to bow to the superior knowledge of those that had been ensnared by the black widow” . the gent must either be really old who it thinks has money or very young with money, either way feel sorry for the poor sole, going to get eaten alive)

Reading the local paper also came across the story that some Irish “Slapper” who was in some crappy TV show called Ballykissangel was shot at while in Cape Town and that when she asked the police why they said to her and I quote “ Her experience was part of Kill a Tourist day” Now don’t get me wrong I would also not like to be driving around minding my own business when a bullet hits the vehicle I am travelling in, but to make up a story that its because local Cape gangs have decided that every Wednesday is “Kill a tourist day “ is ludicrous. How the bullet hit the vehicle the local police are investigating it could have been gang related or just some guy in ABSA bank trying to attract the attention of the teller. So Victoria Smurfit thanks for nothing, go back to Ireland and eat potatoes. SAD news just in however is that they found Spongebob Square Pants dead in an alley in Hillbrow, police say while they don’t know what happened they do have detectives on the scene trying to soak up as much information as possible.

I also see the overseas press are making a meal of the attack in Cabinda, Angola on the soccer team and how SA is now unsafe to run the World Cup, did these journalists do Geography at school or have access to Google Earth? Cabinda is as far away from Cape Town as London is from Moscow, so now if there is an attack in Russia between now and 2012 we need to raise the question can England safely host the 2012 Olympics? Get over it Europe Africa is hosting the World Cup and its going to “Rock” because South Africans want it to happen. Talking about Africa Zimbabwe are now exporting walkmans to other African countries and Hear Speak and See no Evil have taken up residency There as well.

The earthquake in Haiti has claimed many lives and its good to see the world respond to this disaster, over 100 000 people dead and the death toll will still rise with disease etc over the coming weeks. One good thing to come from it however is that ex president Baptiste who is in exile in South Africa “proudly sponsored by you me and a few other selected taxpayers” wants to go back home to help re-build the county…… “Have a safe flight”

Well think I have bored you enough this week, so its time to go, Tania saw this written on the back of a really dusty car: “I wish my wife was this dirty”

Quote or saying for the week: “I used to have a handle on life, but it broke”

Have a great week and look out for Blog on PE history in the near future as well as one on the Prince Alfred Guard

The “Ex” Village idiot.
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