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a South African writers blog

Jan 07, '08

This date has always held significant to me for various reasons my wife’s grand mother was born on this date in 1911

24 years ago my grand mother died on this date
My grand mother was a saint I was fortunate to have one of the most loving caring and intelligent people who ever lived as my grand mother. She was responsible in a large part for making me the man I am today for she taught me moral values installing in me a love for classical music as well as more modern music

Today a man who has been the Bain in my flesh for all of my married life passed away this person who lived next door has made my life an unbearable one in many instances has in his last years caused me no end of problems but I still feel that one should not rejoice in another persons sufferings for no matter what reason we are all equal before our creator.

In other news I have been very busy chasing the dollar for school fees and the things that mankind needs most to cover there bodies and souls.

Finally the old inn at the sea will be closing down to make way for an apartment complex and thus I will need to find alternative employment in due season

Nov 11, '07

Those words are most probably some of the most well known words in the history of mankind.

I have a dream that I will win the lottery
I have a dream that one day I will find a wife
I have a dream that I will own my own house
These words are used many times in peoples life when they are expressing a desire that they wish for the fulfillment of there hopes.

I have a dream to live a peaceful life full of rewarding creativity do I find peace.

Night all

Tags: creative

Nov 09, '07

There arises in the course of human history certain hero’s of humanity who by there very existences change for the better the course of human history. We have a number of examples of these men and woman.

This is not only a phenomena of the twentieth century but rather men and woman like these have been born thru, out the course of history

In the early 19th century Napoleon who in his ways had some very bad flaws was also a forward thinking in many ways one example of this was the fact that in every domain that he conquered the first thing he would do was grant to all citizens the right to worship which ever deity they preferred.

In its time no other man had allowed this every ruler before Napoleon would allow certain rights to religious minorities, these privileges would be tempered with restrictions.

On the continent of Africa we have for a shining light Nelson Mandela “Madiba” to us South Africans he in many respects embodies the spirit of Gandhi for the constitution of South Africa which was put together with much thought and work was done under his direction. Although there are certain things in this most advanced constitution there are a number of things in it with which I am not completely wonderful this is but human.

I have always believed that it is the writers of this world are the people who make the history and shape the minds of the population in three thousand years who will remember who was the president of a republic in the 21st century? Only serious students of history might but the general population will have no clue.

However the writers of the age will be remembered for they would have shaped the course of history for in writing the word lives and becomes alive to the reader when mankind stops reading the end of history cannot be far behind.

When I started writing this entry I had no idea of what I would write on but it seems that the ideas enclosed in this entry have found there own place in history and in the spirit of Gandhi.

Until tomorrow
Night all

Tags: writing

Nov 09, '07

I have always wondered at some peoples capacity to work at the mundane thing that puts the bread on the table essentially I am lazy and will only do 110% yet others go at 250% this I cannot do it has only been a few days since I have gone to dayshift and I am already missing my favorite pastime of writing my stories.

So what am I left with I spend the whole day working on a pc typing endless bookings and e mails to clients of the boss, while my creative spirit sufferers I am to tired at night do any real creative writing.

While the money might be good it is hell on the family life a 14 hour day norm is not good for the family. Any way this puts me in mind of how many long hours I have worked threw the years at fruitless tasks wasted hours that could be spent doing meaningless hours for a boss. There was a time when I worked for myself when I worked 18 hours a day and the money was good but the hours kept me away from my family one of these fine days I am going to win the lottery or get a book published and make a bundle but that is the dream

In the real life I have had a very long day and now finally I have had my head shaved clean once again

Tags: news

Nov 07, '07

For the next two months I will be working dayshift South African time. As much as it is nice to spend some time with the family. I regret that I will have little if any time to devote to my beloved writing. I will try to remedy this on Saturdays and Sundays when I might find an hour or two to devote to my favorite pastime of story telling.

For many years I listened as my late father told wonderful stories of the old Kowie stories of the sea and of fishermen who risk there lives to bring home a small pittance to feed there hungry families I remember the first time I arrived at the Kowie the smell of African meallies and beans cooking in a boney meat soup the staple diet of millions of poor South Africans.

The smell of freshly baked bread and ginger beer home made by old woman along the river bank lazy afternoons fishing with my beloved brothers. Which reminds me of one afternoon when m brother Graham and I had been fishing for most of the day on the river bank having consumed a large volume of what killed aunty we fell into slumber a fish of rather large proportions chanced to find my brothers bait the sound of the fishing reel screaming woke us, Graham been startled into wakefulness began to reel the fish in the language which proceeded from his mouth was something to hear for it was proceeded by a great number of curses..

When the great fish finally lay upon the bank finally I asked him why did you curses so much while the fish was been caught

His reply I should have expected for he is the grand son of the man who told his brother not to throw a banana peel into the river lest the boats slip on it, but I digress for his answer was I needed my beauty sleep the fish disturbed it. I replied I quiet understand for I perceive that you do indeed need that sleep which restores your beauty. While my brother Peter loves fishing and wanted the chance to go deep sea fishing at night having traveled from the Transvaal province in the interior of the country we sat for many hours catching sharks and other rubbish drinking beer until eventually I chanced to hook a great ray it felt like I was pulling the plug of the ocean from the depths of the waters it was close to midnight when I eventually had the ray on the surface of the ocean next to the boat well what did he do my beloved brother he hooks with a gaff the dangerous creature into the boat I and the old man who was the skipper preferred then the cold ocean waters on a winter midnight then to share our boat with this creature which makes a most uncomfortable bedfellow a round of screams alerted the beloved brother who then calmly while we tread water in the deep dark ocean sawed off the valuable wings of the ray and threw it back into the ocean to sink to the bottom food for the sharks. It then occurred to the two of use in the water that it was not exactly the safest place to be as sharks of great size patrol these waters in search of a morsel with which to fill there great bellies it was not long before we found ourselves once more aboard the boat dripping but safe to spend the rest of the night shivering unable to sleep trying to keep warm on the cold ocean sea.

The Kowie to us is the river of our origin for it is along the banks of this river that my family for many generations lived and earned there bread and caught there fish the Kowie to us is in a way our life source for in times of trouble members of our family would return to earn a living from the river and the sea into which the river emptied.

The Kowie river which begins its main source at the horseshoe bend near the village of Bathurst, also has a tributary in Grahamstown in the Kowie ditch it was here that Colonel John Graham lead the small force of regular troops of the 95th rifles against tens of thousands of the wild savages who wanted to destroy the small colony which had been started with God’s grace the good colonel overcame the forces of darkness and established the town which is named after him.

The district between Grahamstown stretching down to Port Alfred the town on the banks of the Kowie river is known typically in the Afrikaans language as “Boet n Swaar country” translation Brother and brother in law country for the people of the region are from large families and are usually very closely related to each other so much so that one might find oneself married to a cousin several times removed or in the case of my fathers family brothers and step brothers who also happen to be cousins.

Well that is a littler bit of history about the sea coastal villages and towns of the Eastern Cape of South Africa I will endeavor to update as I am possible I am sure my friend from Canada will find this amusing and it was written in the hope of making him smile and to the rest of my readers I would like to take the time to wish you a happy Dewalli.

Tags: news, life

Nov 05, '07

To regular readers I am taking the day off to recover from a rather bad week I will be back with in the next 24 hours to update in the mean time please read the previous 2 entries which you might find interesting

Tags: update

Nov 05, '07

For Edward James on leave from his ship the county was a place of great interest for in the morning having risen he would breakfast with his brother and sister in law before setting out to call upon old acquaintances.

It had been a number of years since the officer returned years full of naval action in effect every person whom he met had a great deal to ask of the service that the sea officer served. On several occasions he was called upon to relate stories of his party in the battle of the Nile. Of Lord Nelson he had great admiration this admiration showed itself in his every expression upon the subject of this great sea hero. For at this time many in England had already heard a great deal of the sea Lord, however they would listen lost in the detail of the young mans story for Nelson was England and England Nelson.

Of actions and of the French coming out there was talk but the good naval officer was glad to inform the ladies and gentleman in who’s company he found himself that the channel fleet kept old Bony locked up safe in the ports cities of France.

Thus his listeners grew to appreciate the great work that the navy service performed for indeed they knew that The marquis of Wellington was busy in Portugal and France beating back the forces of old Bony.

Tea he would take in the home of an old friend now retired due to ill health from the service and on half pay William Smithers a navy officer of some standing now spent his days in quite reflection, dreaming of the great battles in which he had served the crown well for he had but one leg having given the leg in the service of his country.

Indeed had it not been for men of this cloth England might have a long time passed fallen into the hands of the Corsican villain and his revolutionary cohorts.

Then would England have no king and every man addressed by the title of citizen the parliament suspended the heads of the aristocracy in the dust. Had not those who followed Nelson and Wellington not lead there men by example, in the heat of battle England now stood alone against the rest of Europe against the tyrant and England would have no tyrant for they had more then a century and a half earlier had a dalliance with the idea of commonwealth and they liked it not thus they had returned to monarchy and all that went with it.

In the afternoon the young officer could be found in an ale house enjoying a pint of what killed aunty good hearty English ale the nectar of the gods for like all sea officers he had a certain fondness for the beverage which warmed the heart and gave courage to the heart...

Returning in the evening the young officer would spend time with his brother the reverend gentleman talking of what had occurred in the day and later reading from one of the many volumes which the rectory seemed to be full of for when the reverend gentleman had taken up office the former parson having died had left to the man who replaced him a collection of books which had been put together with a great deal of care and over a life time of labor. The young sea officer found great comfort in taking up a volume upon the subjects which had been popular in the latter half of the last century.

It was not that Edward James was knowledgeable on the subject matter of the previous age of elegance it was just that he had come upon the books while in search of some thing to do with his time the books provided a welcome change to his daily routine.

He had found among the volumes a most interesting book upon the histories of the East India party it seemed to him to be a diary of an officer who had for many years served in the greater interior of India. To the young sea officer the words which flowed from the page filled him with images of days long past of adventure and of daily life on the great sub continent it was indeed an education. In the back of the volume he found penne din faded ink an inscription that provided the information that the volume had indeed belonged to a brother of the former parson who had returned after many years of service to old England to write his memorial in the hope of one day having it published but this was not to be the final entry in the book was in a different hand stating that Arthur Benson officer in the English East India company had succumbed to a reoccurring illness believed to be typhoid fever. In the year of our lord 1763

To the young sea officer it seemed that the untimely passing of the officer of the company had robbed the world of a most interesting volume of work on the life of India thereafter he determined that he would if at all possible get the volume to Paternoster row in London in the expectation of finding a printer who would be willing to publish the volume in the interests of persons going out to India

Thus on the first Monday of the month he set out in his best coat upon the London coach wishing his brother and Sister in law a good bye and telling them that he would be away for a few days in London for he had a matter of navy business to attend to before he could return to enjoy the rest of his holiday.

The reverend gentleman was left wondering what had caused the hasty departure of his favorite brother, for when Mrs. James had expressed the hope that he would take a basket of food for the road Edward had begged her not to for he was in great hast and would find little time to partake in the sweetmeats which she wished to prepare for him.

Nov 05, '07

Mr Nee-Hii Long is the product of a most unusual union for he is the son of A Chinese father and a Japanese Lady of noble birth. He is to put it shortly the son of the lands of two suns.
Nee-Hii first came to my attention when my good friend Lord H.F D chanced to fall foul of that institution which sends a quiver of fear threw every mans heart the “Tax office” for Lord H F D had been caught with his proverbial hand in the cookie jar and was in need of the services of a number of friends who had connections in the office. Knowing the director of the Tax office on a personal level I arranged a meeting between Lord H F D and the director of the Tax office. The meeting was beneficial to both parties involved the short end of the story is that Lord H F D was so impressed with my abilities to solve for him this problem that he presented me with one of his most prized possessions to wit Nee-Hii his man servant Lord H F D having a sudden urge to travel abroad entrusted to my care the best of creatures his man servant of some years standing Nee-Hii.

It has been some year since Lord H F D departed these shores and I have occasional letters from him for places like Timbuktu or Abitibi, these letters have become rare over the last few years and as a result Nee-Hii and I have fallen into a most casual relationship for he is now for all intents and purposes my man servant it is to him who I turn when in need of advice. He is the most efficient gentlemen’s gentleman for he invariably knows when I am down and need a lift at or when my natural exuberance gets the better of me he will caution me, indeed he has got me out of a number of tight fits. Like the time I made the mistake of accidentally proposing marriage to Lady Flowerden he had exactly the right remedy for breaking of the engagement so that neither the noble lady or I came away to badly although it did cost me upward of a thousand pounds to keep the matter out of the courts.

What is a many to do one has to keep ones reputation above a certain level of respectability or one will never be able to face society. Nee-Hii is a great historian having studied English history in great detail he can on occasion be of service for having met a new acquaintance he can at a moments notice recall from memory the linage of any person of statue and is full of interesting anecdotes

Indeed just last week while at the races at Ascot I chanced to fall into a conversation with a lady and gentleman of noble birth who’s name I shall refrain from mentioning to avoid embarrassment. The tales told by this amiable couple proved to be of such a fanciful nature that Upon our second meeting I had already been advised by Nee-Hii that there view of there illustrious ancestors and titles were of such a low degree that they did not warrant mentioning, however notable the current holder of the title.

I have digressed I return now to the matter of my man Nee-Hii he is as I said early of duel nationality been both Chinese and Japanese at the same time. It is to his credit that when in the company of one or the other of persons of these two nations of the rising and the setting sun he acts with the greatest decorum servility and is seldom embarrassed by his unusual position in life.

He has in his ancestry a number of Emperors of Japan and is rumored to be a distant descendent of the grand and wise Chinese emperor Wu of blessed memory. Thus I should find it not a large leap of faith to say that Nee-Hii is most probably one of the wisest and most diligent men I know or have ever had the pleasure of meeting.

I hope shortly to write more about my good man Nee-Hii as he is a most entertaining fellow

Nov 04, '07

Consider the reverend gentleman’s lady she is the image of propriety of sober respectability her good manners some thing of which the reverend gentleman is most proud. Her modesty some thing of which other ladies in society should do well to copy. For Elizabeth James all these qualities are part of her most agreeable nature. For she is at home in the company of that class of society which is called country gentility. Even more at home as she goes about her daily life some times paying calls on her neighbors of the class into which her poor neighbor Betsy Goodbody happened to fall.

As Mrs. James attends to those tasks which make up her day she is ever mindful that upon her rests the responsibility of been a good wife to the clergyman added to this is the responsibility of bringing up there children in a manner which is most fitting for the children of a clergyman to behave. For it is true that all clergyman are judged in part by the manners and behavior of there offspring. There politeness and good breeding or lack thereof can often make or quite destroy the reputation of the hardworking clergyman. For a clergyman is largely responsible for there presentation in society. However the major part of the work falls to the ministration of the clergyman’s wife who as a rule rose at five o’clock in the morning to begin her day by saying a short prayer to the deity before beginning to labor at making breakfast for her husband and tending to the wants of there first child George who at the tender age of two years was already showing signs of been a little unruly.
Added to her current burden was seeing to the comforts of her brother in law the navy officer Edward James who although been a most agreeable visitor had that unfortunate habit of enjoying a pipe. The reverend James did not smoke for he considered the habit of smoking go be bad for ones constitution, further more he was sure that men and woman who smoked were responsible for the present condition of England’s poor health for some of these people would come in winter and often in summer coughing and spluttering to his door seeking some sort of relief for the cough.

It was a brave man or woman who did this for even as Mrs. James’s renown for her cooking had grown so had her reputation for finding cures for coughs and colds which affected the parish in winter. The bravery of the poor person applying for some thing to sooth the burning in the throat was tempered by the thought that the good woman might take it into her head and it had happened on numerous occasions before to invite the poor person to partake of what ever dish she was preparing for the reverend gentleman.

It fell to this woman of virtue to see to the particular needs of all the woman in the parish for she was often called upon to be present at times when her services as the clergyman’s wife were of particular use. Indeed she besides her one flaw was of great benefit to the parish; it was she whom the reverend James turned to when he found himself beset with finding an answer to particular difficult situations which needed the discretion of a woman to resolve. For it had been she who had hit upon the solution of taking into service in a number of the homes of the daughters of one of the many large families of the poor who had a great number of daughter who although industrious in there own home were a serious burden to poor farmer Jacob. Who having married early had fathered eleven daughters. As the seasons progressed the poor man had been driven to distraction by his household of hens for it is one thing to have one wife but to have twelve is quite another thing. Thus Elizabeth James had insisted that her husband go directly to all the homes of quality in the surrounds of Notheringay and find positions for these industrious daughters of farmer Jacob.

The clergyman had setout upon this great task with many hesitancies but the reverend gentleman’s lady would not rest until all eleven daughter of the farmer had been placed thus in the space of a fortnight the reverend gentleman had visited seven great homes and succeeded in his task, much to the satisfaction of his lady.

It was with a measure of satisfaction that the happy couple on an evening at the end of this fortnight sat down to a dinner of congealed trotters freshly baked bread and port and reminisced upon the completion of the task. “My dear Tom I am happy that you managed to find positions for the girls indeed I should imagine that Jacob will soon be at the door with a parcel of produce to show his gratitude” said Mrs. James “Indeed it was thanks in no small part to you my dear that the girls were placed so much to there advantage” remarked Mr James. “I was significantly impressed with your efforts in placing Ruth for she is of an exceptionally plain disposition, indeed I am surprised that Lady Ann even considered the girl” said Mrs. James. “My dear wife always to your benefit kind for had I thought Ruth plain I would be complementing her for her disposition is some what beneath plain her large nose does not do her any favors,” said Mr James. “Lay Ann I have always considered to be of a kind nature not given to judgment of any poor creature upon there disposition for it is not poor Ruth’s fault that she has an ugly face,” said the reverend.

“What say you brother how would you describe the girl who was here earlier to speak to Tom,” asked Elizabeth James. “Gad Lizzy she was a fearsome creature to behold I am surprised that they do not scare the children with her at bed time” said the sea officer as he tried to swallow a mouthful of the delight Mrs. James had so painstakingly prepared “Indeed I have seen smarter bousuns mates then that poor creature,” the sea officer continued. “Now Edward it is not necessary to be so unkind to one of God’s unfortunate creatures replied the reverend gentleman.

Nov 03, '07

The duties of the clergyman of Notheringay on occasion were not always of a pleasant nature. For Notheringay lying some distance from the sea had to its advantage some of the best country in the south east of England. In the early years of the 19th century shortly after the reverend James and his wife had come to Notheringay. The reverend had been called upon to render the service for victims of a strange malady which affected upward of 300 people after a fair at the rectory in the parish. Of the number who had been affected four or five had been so seriously affected as to cause great concern in the clergyman’s mind as to there surviving. This assumption was in due course proved correct for in a short while they departed this life for there eternal rest.

For the malady began on the evening after All Hallows eve when the first reports began to reach the rectory of the unfortunate victims of the parish having displayed signs of great physical discomfort the early symptoms of the malady seemed to appear as if the unfortunate victims had overindulged in the feast which had been prepared that very morning by his faithful and diligent wife Elizabeth. The second stage of the malady was more serious for the poor people had taken to there beds with great moaning’s and utterances of great pains in the gut. All the usual remedies been tried to elevate the sufferings of the unfortunate victims.

The reverend hurried from home to home in the hope of bringing some comfort to the persons in distress sitting by there bedsides he would wipe the brow and puff up the pillows saying a few words of comfort or uttering a prayer that the malady would pass. For it was evident to the good and faithful servant of the church that the poor creatures suffered greatly, his dearest wish been that he could in some measure be of some use to the victims and there families.

Among those affected was Lady Ann Sterley who been heavy with child had taken to her bed early, Lady Ann usually the most agreeable person in the parish was at the time that the malady affected her not the most agreeable for she stormed at the household servants and crossly called for her husband Sir Thomas who happened to be away at sea at the time.

On the second day of the strange season the reverend gentleman had found occasion to address the All mighty upon the subject of the indisposition of the poor victims. It concerned the young clergyman greatly who in more usual times sort and quickly gained from the All mighty an indication upon the matter and was able to proceed accordingly however the All mighty it seemed at the time was otherwise disposed for the reverend gentleman prayed a great deal for the deities assistance however there was no indication from the deity that he was in any way disposed to help on this occasion. Try as he might Mr James was unable to fathom what the cause of the malady it he knew could not be the pasties or any other thing that his wife had made for the people at the fair for had he not himself partaken of these delightful entities and suffered no harm? He asked himself indeed no it could not be that. For he knew that Elizabeth would never intentionally do harm to any of God’s creatures.

However it was still a mystery which concerned him the third stage of the malady was worse then all that had passed before for the patient would become lethargic and resigned to departing this life all remedies having failed.

It was a despite time for the cleric and his parish for all now live din fear that they might be next to fall victim to the great mysterious illness. The first victims had nothing gin common for it affected men woman and child alike of all ages in some households no one was affected and others the whole house while those who lived closest to the victims seemed to suffer no ill effect it affected both the rich and poor.

Those noble families who had a victim among there number sent to London for the best doctors in the hope that in the physic of the town doctors a remedy might be found but all to no avail.

A great scurry of coaches and horsemen was to be seen as the doctors came and went from the great houses those in the houses who were of the lower ranks of society listened at the door and the sick room as the patients were bleed and cold presses applied for any clue with which they could enlighten there fellow villages as to the cure. Still no cure appeared to work it was by pure genius and the most fortunate set of circumstances that a certain maid who worked in the house at Oakland Park offered on the sixth day of Lady Ann’s illness a glass of spirits of salt which aftereffect was an imitate improvement for upon completion of the glass of physic Lady Ann momentarily sat silent before breaking a number of great winds from her extremities. Then declaring that she was much improved and desired that the servant bring her dressing gown directly for she had a desire to see the garden. Thereafter lady Ann rose from her sick bed much improved and went about her daily activates soon there after she was delivered of a grand boy child who showed no signs of any indisposition suffered by Lady Ann’s late illness.

The news flew about the parish word of mouth been outpaced by the eager news bearers to be the first to carry the news to each new location in the hope of relieving the suffering of there poor unfortunate friends and relatives.

It suffices to say that the cause of the strange malady of 1801 which affected upward of three hundred people remains a mystery and for many years thereafter when All Hallows fair came round the people would tread more carefully caution been the watch word.

Of the five persons who died there graves for many years were viewed with great circumspection the saying going about from that time that if one was to eat All Hallows pie then one was liable to pass from this life.