PRETBEDERWERS OF SEDEBEWAKERS?

KOM ONS STOF HIERDIE OU ENETJIE AF…

BILTONG & POT- ROAST

halloween

Nou met halloween (ja, ek weet daar is ‘n erkende Afrikaanse woord) in die lug, hol my gedagtes terug na doerie jare toe ek nog op hoërskool was. ‘n Jongman het ons eendag in die skoolsaal kom toespreek. Hy het oor klomp goed gepraat en ons gewaarsku teen allerhande gevare en verskuilde boodskappe in popmusiek en demoniese boodskappe wanneer jy musiek op jou platespeler in trurat gooi. Natuurlik ook die gewraakte vredesteken wat almal op hulle tasse geteken het (it was the groovy thing to do!).

Wat niemand van ons egter geweet het nie, is hoe goddeloos dit vir ‘n meisie is om enige iets met ‘n skoenlapper op te dra. ‘n Rok met skoenlappermotiewe op, of skoenlapperoorbelletjies, of  ‘n hangertjie – enige iets met ‘n skoenlapper op – verkondig die boodskap van vrye liefde. Dat jy ‘n los meisie is wat soos ‘n skoenlapper van blom na blom vlieg…

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DIE DUIWEL SE KOETSIER

DIE DUIWEL SE KOETSIER

devil

Die naam alleen is genoeg om jou in jou spore te laat vassteek…

Hy het baie name: The Devil’s Coachman, The Devil’s Horseman, The Devil’s  Steed. Sedert die Middeleeue word hy met die duiwel geassosieer. Wat is hierdie monster?

Ten spyte daarvan dat bronne vertel hoe algemeen hierdie gedierte in Europa en Brittanje voorkom, het niemand met wie ek in ons omgewing gepraat het, al een gesien nie. Ek is dus gelukkig, want ek het al twee keer hierdie duiwel gesien. So op my wandelings deur die voëlpark naby ons.

devils-coachman-2

Sy dofswart kleur het dadelik my aandag getrek. Hy is maar so drie sentimeter lank en lyk soos die insektewêreld  se weergawe van ‘n platipus – iets tussen ‘n pikswart mier en perdeby en, met sy gekrulde stert wanneer hy kwaad is, soos skerpioen. Ook soos ‘n oorkruiper op steroïede wanneer hy nie ‘n dreigende houding inneem nie.

‘n Aggressiewe klein gediertetjie wat seer kan byt met daardie sterk kake van hom. Nog ‘n wapen in sy arsenaal is ‘n stink vloeistof wat hy by daardie opgekrulde stert van hom uitspuit.

devils-coachman-1

Bedags, wanneer hy onder klippe en blare skuil, word hy selde gesien. Snags, wanneer hy op jag is, is hy op sy aktiefste en dit is dalk juis as gevolg hiervan dat daar sedert die  Middeleeue so baie bygelowe oor hom is. Hy het blykbaar, so is daar geglo, selfs destyds die stronk van Eva se appel geëet. Wanneer mense saans om die vuur sit, word hy deur die lig gelok en met sy dofswart kleur en bisarre, dreigende voorkoms het hy baie mense op hol gehad. Daar is ook geglo dat sewe van jou sondes vergewe word wanneer jy een van hierdie goggas vermorsel. Dit is ook die vorm wat die duiwel aanneem wanneer hy sondaars kom vang en opvreet.

Devil's Coach-horse Beetle (Staphylinus olens) in defensive posture

DEVIL’S COACH HORSE

Vir my is dit egter ‘n fassinerende skepsel. So jammer hulle is so skaars.

‘N NUWE KAR!

‘N NUWE KAR!

Vauxhall Cresta PB

Vandag, presies 52 jaar gelede, het my pa met ‘n splinternuwe kar in ons oprit gestop – 26 Oktober 1964.

Ek was so teleurgesteld. My klein seuntjiegemoed was so half in twee geskeur.

Die dag toe ons almal saam was om die kar te gaan uitsoek, was daar twee keuses op die vloer. So ‘n mooi rooi Vauxhall Velox met ‘n wit dak en die duurder, luukser Vauxhall Cresta – so ‘n bruinerige een met ‘n roomkleur dak (baie soos die een in die foto). Alhoewel die Cresta so ‘n paar ekstra blink strepe, “whitewall tyres” en bowenal ‘n verwarmer by die prys ingesluit gehad het, het ek meer van die rooie gehou. Rooi soos ‘n Ferrari! Tog so jammer dat hy nie darem net ‘n verwarmer ook gehad het nie – en daai “whitewalls!”

Pa het vir die verkoopsman gesê hy kan nie besluit watter een om te neem nie, want die Cresta was so effens bokant sy begroting. Hy sal die volgende oggend sy besluit deurbel.

Die hele dag het ek in spanning gewag – met watter een gaan Pa by die huis aankom?

Dit was laatmiddag, na werk toe Pa om die draai gekom het met die bruin Cresta – OB 651. Die kar waarmee ek grootgeword het. Ou staatmaker wat ons landswyd op onvergeetlike vakansies geneem het. Die kar waarmee ons inryteater toe gegaan het. Die kar waarmee ek my eerste meisie gaan oplaai het.

Pa het die Cresta 14 jaar lank gery. Ek was saam met hom hartseer toe hy verkoop is.

ELVES AND DIESEL ENGINES

ELVES AND DIESEL ENGINES

Have you ever stood on a platform at the station while a diesel locomotive effortlessly glides past you? The smooth reassuring rumbling of that immensely powerful machine demands admiration while the trembles of the platform find their way up your legs. You just know that a mighty powerful force is at work here.

I’ve often linked the well-known saying: “When the going gets tough, the tough get going” with this diesel-power and found some inspiration in it. I made myself believe that humanity consists of two main groups: Ordinary Elves (OE’s) and the Tough Diesel Engines (TDE’s). The Ordinary Elves represent the majority of people who are responsible for the normal day to day running of life as we know it. They get ready for work, go to work, do their work, go home, watch TV and go to bed. They are very important because they do just about everything from cleaning our streets, working in the offices, building our cars and houses, to making our clothes, nursing us, teaching us, defending and protecting us. Everything… up to a certain point. The OE’s only work until things start to heat up, when the challenges get more demanding and stress levels start rising.elves

That’s the signal for The Tough Diesel Engines to start up. When the OE’s can’t go any further, the TDE’s take over. You hear that mighty rumble and stand in awe. The TDE’s work, even when others sleep; they seem to get a sadistic pleasure out of problem-crunching. They never ask for pity but, hey, neither will they give a problem any. They don’t know the meaning of surrender; they persevere in the midst of adversities, battle their way onwards, forwards, always forwards.diesel

Are you a TDE or an OE?

One of the South African Defence Force’s elite units has a back-breakingly harsh selection and training program. Many try, but only a few make it to the end. The last phase of the program demands a survival route where the soldiers have to find their way in the most inhospitable environment and under the most unforgiving conditions imaginable. As the days drag by, the group of hopefuls dwindles because at the temporally bases transport is ready for those who wish. It’s your choice: allow the whole exercise to get the better of you and make use of the transport (and get disqualified in the process) or force yourself onward vigorously with the utmost exertion. special-forces-training

One pitch dark night an unfortunate soldier walked straight into a dry twig from a low-hanging tree branch. The twig impaled him in the eye, just missing his eyeball and blood was pouring from his wound. That same night another guy broke his ankle. These two decided not to go for treatment that would have put them at risk of disqualification and, after applying a bit of very basic medical treatment themselves, they pushed on.

As the days progress, you start to lose all sense of time and the only drive, ultimately, is to reach the prearranged rendezvous in time.

Unbeknown to the soldiers, the end of the course was in sight and, after a day with barely enough water supplies, the men reached the rendezvous, semi-conscious, anguished, hungry and dehydrated. The commander came up to them where they were huddled in a cloud of dust, flies and the sweaty smell of protracted scorching days in the bush on them. He addressed them – gesturing while clutching an icy cold beer. Pausing for a moment, he took a long sip, looked at the bottle and then emptied the content onto the absorbing sand, within sniffing distance of the shattered men. The beer was not cold enough.

“Guys,” he said, “I’m going to enjoy a colder one in the base after taking a long hot shower. Anyone care to join me? Transport is ready – anyone?”

Two men cracked then and there and stumbled to the waiting Land Rover. While two others tried to suck the wasted beer from the sand, the commander informed the remaining men that the next day would be the final day of this grueling encounter and that they could expect a barbeque and cold beer at the rendezvous.

With renewed effort and all the strength they could muster, they tackled the final stage.

The next evening, on approaching the rendezvous, the depleted group of men, drained to the bone, noticed a solitary Land Rover, nothing else. The closer they got, the clearer it became: no barbeque-fire, no beer, nothing to eat. Some of them flopped down onto their knees in a cloud of dust and started weeping. During the day they had consumed all their water and rations – no need to save it because, so they had been told the previous night, tonight the end of this phase would be celebrated with plenty to eat and drink. Of the initial squad, only nine had survived. The commander then stepped out of the Land Rover and walked towards the wretched group of men.

“Listen guys, there’s been a misunderstanding and I admit that I’m the one to blame. I got the dates mixed up, and I’m truly, truly sorry. Tomorrow, not today, will be the end of this phase. As a token of my remorse, I’ve brought you a little something to eat. It’s on the Land Rover. I will completely understand if some of you want to go back with me, there’s plenty of space on the Land Rover. The rest of you, get your instructions for tomorrow and something to eat.”

Two men summarily got onto the Land Rover, Their grazed, grey faces, empty eyes sunken into the sockets, told the whole story of disappointment and disillusionment. The remaining seven opened the stainless steel food container – raw cabbage drenched in diesel. No water either, only their instructions. Was it a sadistic smile on the commander’s face as he started the engine? Another guy got onto the vehicle. The remaining six contemplated the long, dry stretch ahead of them, and then started walking.

About two kilometers further, as they came round a hill, they could at first smell it and then they saw it: a campsite with flames from barbeque-fires and cold beers to welcome them. The end of their ordeal!braai

What went through the minds of those guys on the Land Rover? If only they’d held on for two more kilometres – two kilometres stood between them and a victory!tired-soldier

All so often we throw in the towel without really knowing how close we are to success. Isn’t it worthwhile, after all the pain and suffering, to give it one more push? Are we not just two kilometres away from victory?

My mother engraved a saying in my memory and even when the diesel engine wearies, her catchphrase echoes:

NEVER SAY DIE, GET UP AND TRY!

never-say-die

May you experience God’s loving care in the same abundance I have.

God bless.

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Book Cover2

MY OCTOPUS

BILTONG & POT- ROAST

MY OCTOPUS

manifestation-miracle

Many years ago the most astounding thing happened to me, a miracle. It was so extra-ordinary that, for many years, I struggled with the question: Why did it happen to me?

I was a young man living inSouth Africa, unmarried and my income was nothing to be envious of. Like any young man, I dreamt of my own house and so I bought a piece of land, a beautiful plot on which I had to pay monthly instalments. Every month the levies and taxes had to be paid as well. Shortly after that I got married and moved into a rented flat with my new bride. Then my pocket truly started to feel the strain: Flat rental, instalments on my loan for the plot, levies and taxes and all the usual added expenses that come with a wedding (furniture, honeymoon, ring, etcetera, etcetera…).

We have all, at one…

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