Andy Warhol

It was Andy Warhol if my memory serves that said we will all have 15 minutes of fame in our lives, well after our trip to Clarens I think the weirdo may just have been right. But as Julie Andrews would say “let’s start at the very beginning”

After counting down the sleeps and having to present an industrial theatre to a couple of hundred Transnet employees in Uitenhage with Ryan, we picked up Gabby from School and headed uphill through the Frontier country towards the tourism Mecca of Aliwal North, arriving early evening perhaps the most interesting part of the town (apart from leaving) was finding the chalet that we had booked at the Aliwal North Spa, that took nearly as long as the 5 hour drive, what must have been a awesome stop over in the days gone bye is now just a former shadow of itself which is sad as it could be a money spinner for the local municipality if it just got of its ass and put some money into its upgrade. Needless to say we left as early as we could to take on the daunting 165 kms of what is probably the worst stretch of road in Southern Africa. I’m talking about the road between Rouxville (maar sy vrou will nie) and the turn off to Ladybrand, who by the way have an awesome new sign at the entrance to the dorp, that puts the one in Clarens to shame, and we where voted Free State village of the year ??. Perhaps the unofficial mayor can put some of his (or other peoples money) in a kitty to erect a new wall at the entrance to Clarens that will do the village justice (just a thought?)

The route from Aliwal to ladybrand and beyond is the Maloti route I think it should be called the Maloti “Pothole” Route. After a quick stop at Wepener for petrol and toilet break that had me take this photo of a dorp’s version of Mc Donalds had us in Clarens by 10.30am and first stop was at the Brewery where Meatbomb works and I had an appointment with a Blonde. Yes I know 10.30 is early but you have not lived if you have not had a Blonde that early in the morning.

The weekend after that was a whirlwind of activity, as Gabby got out of the car she just bomb shelled to find mates and as I have said it was a hectic weekend that if I had to give you a minute for minute account this could well be the longest Blog in history, so what I will do is give you what I believe where the highlights. First I have to say it was very humbling (ok I am also bragging a little, ok a lot) as to how many people wanted to see us and see how we had been doing and while we managed to see a number of friends and residents there are some that we did not get to see……”Sorry about that” While many people where happy to see us there was a cantankerous someone who was apparently not pleased that the Dunkley clan where in town…..tough shit.

So the book launch on the Saturday went rather well selling a number of books not as many as Dan Brown or Wilbur Smith but I was happy. Then it was a few drinks at Clarens Brewery with Dave and Barbara, Vee and her family, Cilla and Werner and Mark and and and that we followed up with Rugby at Friends that was just Awesome. You may all know that I consider Friends restaurant to be the beat Sports pub in the Southern Hemisphere and the Chicken strips that Kelvin serves you will find no finer in Africa. Hell I think you would be hard pressed to find chicken strips better anywhere in the world. I have been craving chicken strips since the 24h December 2009 (I left on the 23 December 2009) having tried a basket at the local watering hole in PE (The Golden Duck) that looked as if they had been fist dipped in the Gulf of Mexico and then fried in lukewarm 6 month old oil).

With an ice cold Millers in the one hand the old Clarens supporters club together for this important match all that was missing was the chicken strips, I was not to wait long, Kelvin had ensured that his kitchen staff where available and a plate of hot strips and chips was presented to me, I was in a quandary because as much as I wanted to eat the strips I was also aware that perhaps I had put the strips on a pedestal and that they would in fact not be as good as I had remembered, well let me tell you all here and now , not only where they what I remembered I believe they where better…………that first bite was like your first kiss. I had two plates. (and now its official 6 games in the Tri nations with only 1 win and that was when the V.I was at Friends with the Clarens supporters club….makes you think doesn’t it)

After Friends it was down to Rock Bottom (Steve and Franks place) used to be the Bay Horse Saloon, before that mama Thembas, Bon Souvenier, Laundry, Witblits, fruit and veg shop, mechanics etc etc , this property is quite possibly one that has had the most businesses in it over the last few years, place is looking good it was pumping with locals drinking and partying (surprise surprise)there was a band playing, pretty festive, but we must be getting ld because I have got past the stage of having to use a loudhailer to order a drink or have a conversation with the person sitting right next to you and not being able to breath due to the smoke haze that would put the industrial area of Bejing to shame. Do the smoking laws not apply in the Eastern Free State one has to wonder?? We got home deep sixed the clothes into a hazardous waste bag had a shower so that we did not smell like 4 ashtrays or an aborigine’s armpit. All in all a pretty great day.

Sunday we woke up and had a humongous leisurely breakfast with Player 24 his wife Marcel and son Nathan and then it was on to doing the rounds , saying hi and getting ready for the next book signing, we had been invited to Rob Koch’s housewarming/Valeries Birthday party that was to start at 10 am to whenever AND WITH ALL GOOD INTENTIONS wanted to get to Rob early but after seeing people and doing another book signing (listen to me I sound like Ernest Hemingway) at this one was invited locals and got to see me other good mate Jeanelle and her new love David Hubner (who is a great guy Jeanelle) we only got to Robs place after 6pm, by then the party had been in full swing for a number of hours , but was great to see another bunch of locals that had not seen as yet the music was great, there was a pig on the spit and we ate it like where extras from the movie lord of the flies or rings ..whichever one. I ate pork for every Muslim in Palestine, was good to chat and have a beer or 2 or 3 and just chill….weather was awesome the weekend as we had thought we would freeze.

Arrangements where made to meet for Breakfast at the Willows lifestyle centre for Breakfast on Monday morning and an appointment with the “Horton” Zip line that Meatbomb and I would do together only this time I would go first, so after a Lekker Breakfast of bacon, eggs, tomato and toast as well as some of the finest coffee this side of the Lesotho Highlands water scheme. Gabby also decided that she wanted to do the line so thanks to Ollie he said do it just do it for free (thanks Ollie) we got our sexy harness attached and climbed the stairs, must say felt like a condemned man going to the gallows and was more than a little nervous when I was hooked up and going over the edge (the pucker factor was definitely going off the chart) halfway across I closed my eyes and prayed that I would not do a Horton and hit the ground at mach 4 , all was well and Both Gabby and Mark and I had a lekker Zip line experience.

Gabby then went to say Hi to friends at her old school and brag a little as well, I did not realise how grown up Gabby has become since we left the village and seems we left a caterpillar behind and took the flutterby to Port Elizabeth, we also popped into Schaaplaats to see Christine, Gabby’s old riding teacher who told gabby to take Viceroy for a ride and with no second invitation needed gabby was soon saddled up and riding her favourite horse and doing what she does best (and I think born to do) we then had to rush back to the Willows Lifestyle centre for drinks with Jeanelle, David, Kathleen, Daniel, Chris, Werner and Rob (sorry we was late Jeanelle) and then onto Dinner at Street CafĂ© (some people bailed but names wont be mentioned). Tuesday morning we had a cup of coffee at Willows with a few friends and headed home back to Port Elizabeth (9 and half hour journey) that was in great weather. My only regret for the weekend was that we did not have the time to pop into the Tourism village of “Ma kwaad”, but that excitement will have to wait for next visit. We have many Spank you very much’s to say so without further ado and in no order of Preference (except the first name of course) Mark ‘Meatbomb” Horton, Natalie and Stefan (Clarens Brewery), Gordon and Marcel (Engel and Voelkers) Kelvin (Friends) , Deborah (Bibliophile), Rob and Valerie, Jeanelle and David, Werner(Arte Funto and willows Lifestyle centre), Sherri and Lawrence (Old Stone Bottle store) Chris and Segal(Millery bakery etc etc), vee, Dave and Barbara (Clarens Properties), Ollie (Xtreme adventures) Di and Paul (Clarens Magazine) Astle, Celia, Pat and Ralph, Willis, James, Mitch, Liza, Kathleen, Daniel, Stephen, Frank, Rolf , Lolly Mia, Beau, Chippy, Jaapie, Isabel, Carlo, Donve (Mountain post) etc etc etc . I got to bring 24 blondes home with me that will be keeping me company for a while so watch out for photos of where or what my Blondes and I get up to.

Here is an interesting piece of info that I received from Mr. Rolf Schlub
In the 16th and 17th centuries, everything had to be transported by ship and it was also before the invention of commercial fertilizers, so large shipments of manure were quite common.

It was shipped dry, because in dry form it weighed a lot less than when wet, but once water (at sea) hit it, not only did it become heavier, but the process of fermentation began again, of which a by product is methane gas of course. As the stuff was stored below decks in bundles you can see what could (and did) happen. Methane began to build up below decks and the first time someone came below at night with a lantern, BOOOOM!

Several ships were destroyed in this manner before it was determined just what was happening. After that, the bundles of manure were always stamped with the instruction’ Stow high in transit ' on them, which meant for the sailors to stow it high enough off the lower decks so that any water that came into the hold would not touch this volatile cargo and start the production of methane. Thus evolved the term ' S.H.I.T ', (Stow High In Transit) which has come down through the centuries and is in use to this very day. You probably did not know the true history of this word. Neither did I. I had always thought it was a golf term.

I see that there are a number of South Africans including call me Arch Tutu going overseas on 24th September (Heritage day) to have a mass Braai with all the “We really do love South Africa, but wish it was run by whites and in fact we like earning pounds and not seeing our families” brigade. Well I say have your braai because we can Braai as often as we want and don’t need to pretend we love the country once a year on heritage day. The new “when we’s” (old ones where the ex Rhodesians) will probably be braaing in crappy weather anyway (well I hope it is, yeah I know not very nice but do I give a shit …..NO) Pommie heritage is eating at Indian take away’s going to watch the Saturday soccer match and trying to keep dry.

Talking about another bunch of island dwellers a 7.1 earthquake hit New Zealand yesterday this begs the question will they be able to host a safe rugby World cup, have any of their stadiums been structurally damaged that in turn cold cause a collapse and injures supporters and players alike?? Lets face it they have such puny stadiums as it is. Maybe the Big man was just looking to get rid of the islands because he is also a Bok supporter. Talking about Rugby a Great effort by the Boks against Australia yesterday in Bloem, 31-6 down after 25 minutes and to be pipped at the post 41 to 39 after playing 16 men again was really gutsy stuff, but I fear the writing is on the wall for a coach that has not take the team forward and some of the older players who are playing on reputation alone. Defence used to be our biggest asset, now an under 15 B team from the blind school could find gaps in the Boks defence defence, Habana is never on the wing anymore and should be replaced by Aplon or number of other wings in the country that would run rings around him. Steyn also did nothing begging the question why did we play him. We need finesse in the back line not bulldozers who only seem to want to smash into as many opposition players as possible and then score. There are also a couple of players that need to be taught how to pass a ball to a team mate who has a better chance of scoring than they do (Schalk and Spies spring to mind)

Another person who will be guaranteed more than 15 minutes of fame is Bees Roux who if you have not heard killed a metro traffic cop last week outside a Strip joint in Pretoria, is it me or are the Blue Bulls players not listening properly, First Bakkies was asked to use his head on the field and proceeded to head but some lucky New Zealander at the start of the Tri Nations and now Bees who was either told Go find us a new hooker or to make the first team Bees you need to ensure that we go out and beat Police this weekend ?? Seriously he is in a load of Kak even though it looks like he was not entirely in the wrong (apart from beating someone to death that is). Seems that even mediocre rugby players get payed well as Bees is on R850 000 a year contract and to be honest I had not even heard of him until he hit the news. Its no wonder he can get pissed and stick R20 notes in lap dancers G strings when he should have been home getting some shut eye so he could attend church the next morning……..ah perhaps that’s why he was on Church street…kill two birds with one stone (pardon the pun)

Well that’s about it for this week except to leave you with this sage advice I saw on an old farts t shirt the other day “I would rather be a smart ass than a dumb shit”

Oh saw this number plate on Friday. Unfortunately could not wait to see if the driver was or not

The ex village Idiot

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