Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy Birthday

I've had a happy birthday today. It started off with conducting a Memorial Service in the morning - where I chatted to friends I did not know would be there. This was followed by lunch with a friend, Gwen. We chatted so long that the waiter had to come and tell us that the restaurant was wanting to close - that was a first for me!! Then we had tea together as a family, and there was much removing of sellotape and paper from various parcels - I have been very spoilt. Lots of phone calls and sms's. Tonight we are joining friends for a bring-and-braai end of year celebration. It's great having a birthday on the last day of the year - there is always a party somewhere to join and celebrate the year that is past and the year that is to come.

Blessings and Shalom to all who visit this blog!

Sunday, December 30, 2007


Technology generally, as I understand it, is meant to save time and increase efficiency. But it can also do the opposite - often and repeatedly - as our experience with homeDSL proves. We had this ADSL installed so that internet could be available more readily to our student sons (and the rest of us!) who need to download lectures, materials, etc etc. And it all works fine until the line doesn't work. For the past month the DSL light has been flashing (perhaps I should more politely say winking), which means that the internet is interrupted or not available when most needed. Phone calls to Telkom made no difference - until today a technician pitched up, fiddled on the line, and then said it was the surge protector that gives problems. So the line is connected directly to the modem and no longer through the surge protector. But has this helped? Not really! The line is still being interrupted, and the light blinks at me, and the internet goes off - and then it comes on again but too late to remain on the same page/ link and one has to do manipulations to continue what one was busy with. It's not just the internet that gets interrupted - when busy with a phone call that too gets cut/ interrupted and one has to dial again. This really irritates me - but I must say that I will continue to persevere. I hate writing and even this time-waster way of doing things is better than putting pen/ pencil to paper and sending things snail-mail. I guess I am just another sucker for punishment!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Family 2007

It is not often that we are all together, so when we are, someone (in this case Adri - Allan's girlfriend) is pressed into taking a photo of us! So here we are, left to right: Paul (2nd year Medicine at Tukkies), Beryl (carrying on regardless and trying to lose weight!), Ned (also carrying on regardless, and not as grey as Beryl!), Richard (4th year Electronic Engineering at Tukkies), Ian (Senior Medical Officer at Rob Ferreira Hospital in Nelspruit and newly engaged to Julz - previous blog), Allan (2nd year Internship at Helderberg Hospital in Somerset West). This is the first year that we were not all together for Christmas. Allan and Adri spent a week with us from 10th to 17th December; Ian will be with us for a few days from 28th Dec. It seems strange to have only half the off-spring around on Christmas Day - but I guess we will have to get used to diminishing numbers as they go forward in their own lives. Look forward to further multiplication in the future - there's the hope!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas - where has it gone?

Check out this link

Looking Back

We drove up (and down!) the Sani Pass while on holiday in the Drakensberg on Monday 3rd Dec. One can only drive it in a 4x4 vehicle - which we did in the Hundai Tucson that Ned bought just before we went to Mocambique on outreach in June/July this year. This picture is a view up the pass, between the South African and Lesotho border posts. If you judge the road to be what it looks like in the foreground, you'll be in for a surprise. As you look at the winding road up ahead, you can see that it will be a bit of a challenge, but you don't really know what you are up against until you actually drive it and experience it. This is pretty much how I have experienced life - knowing the direction in which I am travelling but not really knowing what I will encounter on the way.

Oftentimes I have wondered what the purpose of the journey is, and whether I have perhaps chosen a way that I should not be on - maybe because the going has been rough and the lessons learned difficult, or the degree of perseverance required a bit too overwhelming to reflect on. But then I look back, and, as with this picture taken a few hundred metres from the Lesotho border post, I see where I have come from - the terrain that I have mastered - as seen by the rocks and boulders that constitute the road in the foreground. I see more of the beauty that I missed on the upward journey, and the river snaking below the winding road - and I realize that constant refreshment has been at hand all the time - that I have been accompanied and shadowed by the Living God symbolized by the abundant, flowing waters of the river. And I see the steady rise in altitude that I have made - drawing ever closer to God through my journey.
At the top of the Pass, on the South African side of the border fence seen on the right, were two Lesotho gentleman preparing to journey down the Pass with their cargo of sheep. We were intrigued by how they were secured with a rope net. I suppose had they not been secured that way the temptation for the them to jump out and escape would have been too great as the bakkie slowly bounced over the rocky places down the pass road. I too have often wanted to bail out during seemingly treacherous times or times when I have been in the dark and wondered what on earth I was doing and where I was going. But there has always been something that restrained me, something that said 'hang in there/ keep going' - something like this protective net securing the sheep.
Driving into Lesotho for about 12Km, it was remarkable how cold it was - in the middle of summer in the middle of the day the temperature outside was 12C. No wonder the locals walk around with blankets wrapped around them! The vegetation was scrubby - like the karoo - with not much grass. Dry. So it must be in the rain-shadow as where we had come from was wet and green. Its surprising how one encounters areas of aridity and drought in the midst of lush, green regions. We were left wondering how the people make a living as there hardly seemed enough vegetation for the sheep and goats to graze and browse on. A reminder to me of how God sustains me during times of paucity and famine.
Looking back along the road we had driven into Lesotho - back towards the Border Post - the road was not as dramatically steep or rocky - more of a gentle rise through the plains at the top of the berg.
During the past while I have been wrestling with the Lord about future direction, having got to a place and achieved a goal that He set before me. I suppose that I have felt a bit like Elijah after his triumph over the prophets of Baal at Mt Carmel - in need of rest and a fresh vision for ministry. God's words to Elijah - 'go back the way you came' - now make sense to me. As I look back over the Sani Pass from where we traveled and l see where we came from; and as we traveled the downward route to the bottom of the Pass again, revisiting what we had already passed through and over but with a different perspective and new appreciation of the journey and all that it had entailed, I now have a fresh perspective and elements to reflect on in my own journey in life, which I expect to contribute to a fresh vision and direction.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Speaking Out

Mugabe's supporters are claiming that his visit to Lisbon this past weekend was a triumph!

Note what the Archbishop of York says

Comment from The Daily Telegraph (UK), 11 December

John Sentamu once again made us sit up

By Liz Hunt

John Sentamu is a world-class showman who is divinely inspired. To mark his enthronement at York Minster two years ago, he updated the feeding of the 5,000 by holding a picnic for 3,000, courtesy of M&S. Eight months later, he shaved his head, pitched a tent inside the minster and spent seven high-profile days fasting and praying. Not quite 40 days and nights wandering in a desert, I grant you, but it was the best a busy 21st-century archbishop could do to protest at the West's refusal to intervene in the bombing of Lebanon. This weekend, Dr Sentamu had his "money-changers in the temple" moment when a guest on BBC1's Andrew Marr Show. The Archbishop of York is a long-standing critic of Robert Mugabe, whom he describes as the "worst kind of racist dictator". His angry frustration with other African leaders who persist in supporting the Zimbabwean president emerged during a discussion about the EU-Africa Summit in Lisbon and Mugabe's controversial presence at it.

Suddenly, Sentamu whipped off his clerical collar. "As an Anglican, this is what I wear to identify myself, that I am a clergyman," he announced. With a dramatic flourish, he started to cut the collar into pieces with a pair of scissors that just happened to be handy. "Do you know what Mugabe has done?" he continued. "He has taken people's identity and literally, if you don't mind, cut it to pieces. So, as far as I am concerned, from now on I am not going to wear a dog-collar until Mugabe has gone." Some have dismissed it as an organised stunt (although Marr certainly looked startled); others say it was typical of the flamboyant former Ugandan high court judge who now holds the second highest office in the Church of England. It matters not to Sentamu what others think. He got the headlines he wanted: he always does. Attention was once again focused on the horrors endured by his fellow Africans whose homeland has been turned, in his words, "from a bread basket to a basket case", and whose lives and livelihoods have been destroyed by a shameless despot.

As I watched Sentamu, I wondered if Gordon Brown was watching, too, and what he might be thinking. His decision to boycott the EU meeting because Mugabe - despite a Europe-wide travel ban against him - would be there had, to some, seemed admirable. But German Chancellor Angela Merkel's spirited attack on Mugabe's human rights record had left the absent PM looking a bit of a wimp. Now, here was further humiliation, albeit unintentional, at the hands of a clergyman who preferred to speak out against Mugabe rather than register a silent protest. Dr Sentamu certainly knows a tyrant when he sees one. He survived savage beatings under Idi Amin in the 1970s after defying him on several occasions, once jailing 10 suspects whom he knew to be innocent to save them from being murdered by the president's thugs. He quit Uganda in 1974 after gaining a place at Cambridge to read theology, and since his ordination in 1979 has risen through the church hierarchy, his ebullience, humour and tendency to speak his mind undiminished by the gravitas attached to his position. Sentamu is now an accomplished media performer who never wastes a sound-bite or photo-opportunity. It would be wrong to say that he acts or speaks first and thinks later - he is too clever for that. But he is a man of instinct. Those instincts are rooted in principle and when he speaks it is with the absolute moral authority of a leader. Many are wary of him - his charisma does not sit easily with the Church's preference for monochrome clergy - but in truth there could be no better ambassador.

Monday, December 10, 2007


It's official - they are engaged! Ian and Julz (Juliette) - I&J. And now I am a mother-in-law-to-be! No longer do I have to refer to Julz as my 'girl-friend-in-law' - she is now my son's fiance. We are thrilled! It doesn't seem so long ago that I and my sister & sisters-in-law were passing around the baby clothes between us - and now there seems to be a flood of engagements and weddings occurring. How did they manage to grow up so fast? Perhaps we shouldn't have fed them so much.

It's a double celebration, as Ian celebrates his 27th birthday today. Thank you for being a wonderful son, a tremendous brother, and a great guy to have around. We love you, appreciate you, and always enjoy your particular brand of humour. Be always blessed!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Scary Stuff!

  • having a caesar under general anaesthetic, then waiting in a semi-comatose state to hear if the baby was born alive
  • driving through the Transkei in the evening, returning from a shopping trip to a town 11/2 hours away, and having your toddlers jump up and down on the back seat singing 'bumpy road, bumpy road, bumpy road' – before there were such things as safety belts for kids
  • watching your 6 year old, who has been petrified of heights since birth, doing gymnastic manoeuvers on the high bar during a competition
  • watching blood pour from wounds under the chin and over the eye-brow of your young children after various playground accidents
  • having someone else's parents bring your child home early from a hockey match because he has fallen on his shoulder and snapped his collar-bone – this before cell-phones were the norm
  • seeing a tackle from the wrong side end up with a hockey stick in your son's face, blood pouring all over the field, and the first-aider on duty yelling at you not to touch the injury because of the possibility of HIV, and you're not wearing rubber gloves
  • letting your teenager take the car out on his own immediately after passing his driver's license
  • having a blow out in the rear left tyre on the freeway when your 20year old is driving the 'combi' with seven people on board - and the car didn't roll but was brought to a smooth halt!
  • hearing that your Intern son has had a needle-stick while sewing up an HIV patient
  • saying 'bye' to your son who is driving down to the Eastern Cape on his own in a car stuffed full of his life's possessions
  • driving over Van Reenen's pass in torrential rain, at night, with lots of trucks on the road – less scary if you yourself are driving and not someone else
  • having your son drive in parking-lot type traffic with others taking chances in changing lanes – and have his father make comments, suggestions and warnings from the back seat, increasing the levels of irritation
  • driving down the very steep, rocky road, hairpin bends at the top of the Sani Pass, and not be very au fait with how to co-operate with the ABS, TCS etc systems of your 4x4 vehicle when you get into a slide

There are many more of these, but the bottom line is that the level of scariness is directly proportional to one's ability to be in control of all factors. I guess that makes me a control freak?

Friday, November 23, 2007

Signs of the Times

Recently our lectionary reading was from Luke 21 concerning signs at the end of the age. There are parallels in Matthew and Mark as well, all encouraging vigilance and discernment. Well, what applied then applies now. Al Gore has a passion for investigating and giving out information on the reality of the effects of global warming, and future consequences. Here are some images for you to reflect on - seriously - and then be vigilant. What will you do if you see them?? Please let me know - your ideas might be helpful to others as well.

Perhaps we can get together for a feast?!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Simple Solutions

I read quite a while ago an account of how the Americans had spent a lot of time, effort and money on researching the manufacture of a pen that could be used up in space - and then discovered that the Russians used pencils!

Eugene (the missionary we support in Mocambique) was telling us how well the Ndau version of the Jesus Film was being received and understood in the region in which he ministers (compared to the Shona version - Shona being a related language). After a showing of the film and time of ministry with the leaders in the area, one man expressed his desire to give his life to the Lord but said that he was in the process of taking a third wife, and wanted to know how this would affect his decision. Eugene asked why he was acquiring another wife, to which he replied that his first wife was getting old, his second wife had children, and so he needed another wife to work in the fields. Eugene then asked why he didn't just hire a worker - to which there was a stunned silence. And then the elders started laughing - and then Eugene said he 'clicked', and expressed what was not being said by the others: it wasn't about having someone to work in the fields - it was about having sex. Typical fallen humanity - trying to cover up the real issue at hand with something that seems more acceptable or reasonable.

I learned the other day that donkeys are very territorial and will defend their territory and all that is connected to it 'viciously'. Thus, one of the cheapest and most effective ways of defending one's sheep from predators like caracal or jackal is to have a donkey with the flock. Some farmers put out dogfood pellets for the jackal - which helps of course to prevent them from tring to feed off the flock. And this is better than shooting them out - which in turn would cause an increase in caracal attacks, because the caracal prey on the jackal. A seemingly simple way of keeping the balance and succeeding in a farming venture.

Another agricultural 'trick' - this time with a pest like the stalk-borer that is the bane of any mealie farmer's life - is to use a sort of 'push-pull' system, in which a plant which repels stalk-borer is planted between the rows of mealies, and a plant that would attract stalk-borer is planted on the perimeter. The mealies are happy, the stalk-borers are happy, and of course the farmer is happy - and the consumers would also be happy to not pay for imported maize.

Have we become so technically minded that we are no longer able to think of simple solutions?
Do we, perhaps, imagine that the simple solutions are not good enough - much like the lady who asked if she wanted a local anaesthetic before having her tooth filled said indignantly that she would prefer the international kind!? Do we think that we have to go to great expense in our endeavours to overcome difficulties in life? With all the visual media and aids to understanding that are available to us - are we perhaps forgetting how to really think? I wonder!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Footloose and Fancyfree

I'm getting itchy feet. It's not a new condition but has reappeared due to the various travels of my youngest son, Paul. Having promoted all his subjects as first year medical student at Tukkies, he has no exams to write and had a stretch of 3 months to 'chill' from mid-October. One week playing computer games etc, followed by one week visiting brother Ian in Nelspruit.
This picture was taken when he visited Ian towards the end of Ian's Internship year (2005)

Then another week visiting brother Allan in Somerset West. Allan and Paul seen here together on Christmas Day 2006, just before Allan left to commence his Internship in Uitenhage - from whence he has transferred to Somerset West.
And now, after a week of planning and booking, off to visit cousin Nicky in Edinburgh along with her two children, Matthew and Lucia - pictured here with Paul. He'll be there for 3+ weeks - visiting other friends and family as well, and fitting in a Haggis Tour of Scotland too. What has actually caused of the recurrence of my itchy feet is that I have been doing some of the bookings - and I am not travelling anywhere - and my system feels that that is a great injustice! Since I last went overseas with Paul on a soccer tour to England at the end of his Gr.7 year, travel seems to have become even easier. Booking and making payments of International and local flights and tours via the Internet from the convenience of the computer corner at home - and printing the various tickets straight away; no more booking of and waiting for traveler's cheques - just get an International Travel Card for a mere cost of R50, load it up with foreign currency from your account and off you go - a great saving in bank costs; even London transport options can be explored and maps printed out in advance - so he already is at ease concerning how to get from Heathrow to Gatwick.
I'm going to have to do some serious thinking about travel plans for myself. I did go to Mozambique with the Outreach Team for two weeks in July, and I spent a week with a very close friend in Barberton. But does that count as travel? - no, not really - hmmmm!!

A Different Kind of Moses?

If Moses had demanded cash, perhaps the journey through the wilderness would have been differently recorded?

From The Financial Gazette, 8 November

Governor: Why we believed n'anga

Clemence Manyukwe, Staff Reporter

A senior government official has revealed why government officials ignored advice that a rock could not produce refined diesel. A strong belief in spirit mediums convinced top officials, including members of the Presidium to authorise expenditure of $5 billion in taxpayers' money on a woman who claimed to have powers to cause diesel to flow from a rock. The advice was given by a number of people, including Cabinet ministers, who had expressed scepticism over Nomatter Tagarira's claims, that she could induce diesel from a rock at Muningwa hills in Chinhoyi by pointing her "sacred stick" at it. The Financial Gazette established this week that police have recovered $3 billion of the $5 billion that government paid to Tagarira alias Mavhunga alias Sekuru Dombo. In an interview yesterday, Mashonaland West governor Nelson Samkange, who is believed to have been one of a group of senior officials involved in selling the diesel story to President Robert Mugabe, confirmed that advice for the government to proceed with caution were ignored. "There are reasons (why the advice was ignored). The government and the President believe in African culture, we believe in spirit mediums. She said the diesel was coming from our ancestors, so we had to pursue it," said Samkange. "The second reason is the current fuel problems. If we had not pursued it, she was going to blame the government."

The other reason was that in the initial stages, those who were sent to collect samples from Tagarira came back with "pure diesel", but it later turned out that the fuel was not coming from the rock. Instead, it emerged that diesel bought from truck drivers was poured into a tank rigged with pipes, from which Tagarira drew the fuel, thus duping government officials into believing that it flowed from a sacred rock. Samkange said if prosecutors asked him to be a state witness in Tagarira's trial, he would be keen to testify against her as she had taken the government for a ride. In addition to the $5 billion the government also gave Tagarira a farm, a farmhouse and food among other rewards. Court documents seen by The Financial Gazette this week show that police had recovered $3 billion of the amount showered on the n'anga. On Tuesday, Tagarira appeared at Chinhoyi magistrates court and was remanded in custody. Resplendent in new prison garb – distinguishing her from other detainees – she seemed crippled with fear as she walked into court. She faces charges under the Criminal Law (Codification Reform) Act for fraud or alternatively, for being a "criminal nuisance." The state says in court papers that as a result of the misrepresentation by the accused, national interests were compromised, resulting in human and material resources being wasted.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Brain Works

Inspired by Wessel's pictures of the brain (see Wessel on my links), I thought someone (you?) might like to investigate the working of his/her (your) brain. Check out this link to Brain Works, download the Brain Works quiz, and be intrigued!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


This was forwarded to me by a friend in the UK. Check out this film clip - aired on Al Jereeza television. The lady is Wafa Sultan, an Arab-American psychologist from Los Angeles. I hope the link is still active!!


There are only 10 types of people in the world.
Those who know binary and those who don't.

With love and appreciation to all my computer boff relatives and friends!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

We Won?

THE WORLD CUP - A game of rugby, won on penalties. Five for us, and two against us. Won by exacting restitution from the opposing team (in this case the Brits) because of their fouls against us. Their fouls against us were more than our fouls against them. And so we came out on top. Is this not symbolic of our nation as a whole? - demanding restitution for evils committed in the past? It is not only evident in our politics but also in our failing health system (glaringly in the Eastern Cape), in our policing and justice system, where the criminals seem to be encouraged rather than brought to book. I have heard it said that crime is a good thing - because it creates employment opportunities in the policing sector! The blame game is paramount. There are always extenuating circumstances??? - particularly if you hold a position in parliament or other significant leadership.

When will our nation, and the various sectors of our nation, begin to take responsibility, stop blaming or forcing fouls, grab the ball (as it were) instead of booting it around without making a difference, pass to team mates (those on the same responsible side), break through the opposition, and run full tilt into the future that is there for us to embrace?

We won.
Or did we lose, really?
God help us - you're the only one who can.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

One Nation, One Team, One Dream

One nation, one team, one dream.

What has happened to the one hope to which all have been called - one Lord, one faith, one baptism - one God and Father of all (Ephesians 4:4-6)?

or perhaps I shouldn't ask?

So Sorry!

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Escort

She joined our family in February 1986: Ian was 5, Allan was 3, Richard was 4months, and Paul was not yet a twinkle in our eyes. She replaced Ned's pension from Ncora, Transkei. She was nifty, economical until she started ageing (aren't we all!), and faithful. She had her fair share of bumps and attempts at being robbed, but recovered and carried on regardless. For a time she was immobile until the necessary replacements could be afforded and fitted - and then she became Ian's constant companion from the time that he received his driver's license and escorted him throughout his 6 student years - and I know that a strong bond developed between the two of them. She never complained about the very late nights/ early mornings that she was expected to keep - or about waiting around when Ian was doing night shift at the blood lab or hospital as a student intern. And then she became Allan's constant companion when he lost his 'wheels' to robbery, and safely escorted him to wherever he had to go. Throughout the years she was faithful, uncomplaining, and long-suffering through accompanying toddlers, pre-schoolers, primary schoolers, high schoolers then students. She didn't complain when she was 'demoted' from escorting Ned to work to being the run-around scivvy for the rest of the family. I think she was relieved when, during Ian's later student years, I decreed that she was no longer fit to travel beyond the borders of Pretoria - not even to Jo'burg. For the past few months she has been pretty much retired - although she still looks smart and has new shoes. Another person is interested in her services now - and we are negotiating the transfer from our service to his. Some of us will be sad to see her leave - and others of us will be happy to have the space she occupies available for other usage. Strange that, through the 22 years that she has been an integral part of our family, we have never given her a proper name - always just called her 'The Escort'.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Writer's Cramp

It's something we would have laughed about before we knew what it was about. It's called Focal Dystonia, stems from the basal ganglia in the brain, and affects the muscles of the hand and forearm - causing spasms during writing. Automatic fine motor skills, that we take for granted, are no longer possible without supreme effort. The easiest is to learn to write with the other hand - which is not easy at all.

It's a bummer if you are a 22year old 3rd year going into 4th year electronic engineering student, who needs to write or use a computer keyboard a lot, and who needs to put together circuits and things that require accurate, fine motor skills.

Medication is not helpful. Botox injections may help. Occupational therapy could help develop the other hand and arm. Any advantages? - depends on your mindset:
- develop the other side of your brain
- develop patience and forbearance
- develop creative ways of dealing with frustration
- investigate the best buys in small keyboards that will fit the span of the other hand - to prevent shoulder and arm stress in that other arm
- invent cunning devices that will help make life easier for other sufferers
- gives intercessors something specific to pray for/ about
- gives non-sufferers the opportunity to say "There but for the grace of God go I"

Its a bummer if said electronic engineering student is your 3rd son and you can't do a damn thing to help or take it away.

Some things our children have to negotiate through themselves in life.
We can stand by and encourage and pray.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Pool Cleaners

I was getting frustrated with our pool cleaner (Kreepy Krawly) this morning, in the rain. There was a lot of sand and leaves and stuff from our neighbour's cypress and pine trees, that overhang the wall between us, on the bottom of the pool - all a result of the wonderful rain that we have been having the last few days. The Kreepy insisted on getting stuck in a coil and staying in the same position - threatening to suck the paint off that corner of the pool. In spite of my efforts to get it to move in a different direction, it came back to that same stuck position. Eventually it seemed to get the message and careered off to the other end of the pool at the end of its pipe. And then I got to thinking about the Aquanaut that we had as a first pool cleaner 20 years ago. This little device was the best cleaner - it worked on a random figure of eight and wasn't restricted in its movement by the connecting pipe. It cleaned the pool effectively and fast - within a matter of 20 minutes or so. The trouble with the aquanaut was that the company went bankrupt. Although the design was excellent there were too many moving parts - and the contract was that the worn out parts would be replaced free of charge - and because there were many moving parts they wore out fast. That was a great pity. The Kreepy on the other hand, does not have the same sort of moving parts and is very restricted in its motion by the pipe. It is true to say that the cleaners do do what they are made to do - which is to help one clean the pool - though not perfectly. And then I got to thinking about those of us who are of the household of God. Some of us are restricted in what we are called to do by whatever it is that we remain attached to. Others of us are a bit less restricted and go about our work with carefree abandon - but our many working parts get worked out and begin to fail us. Pool cleaners are there to help clean pools. God's people are there to help clean up the world. But all of us, whether mechanical or human, are restricted by our manufacturer's specifications. A sobering thought!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


They have red rings around their eyes, are almost irridescent green depending on how the sun shines on them - otherwise grey/ black, and fat - probably from eating the dog's food nextdoor. They lived in our roof for a long time. I kind of liked having them there - until their chicks learning to fly would deposit large calling cards on the washing that hung on the line near their entrance and exit places. Ned has been fixing up the guttering on that side of the house, and making it impossible for them to come in so they have found somewhere else to live (the neighbours roof!). When they left, the rats arrived and made loud stomping noises on the ceiling - but they too have been banished by the roof/ gutter maintenance. However, the pigeons are still around and there were calling cards on the washing again on Monday. And that makes me mad, because it is impossible to get the stain out. I know I have to be rational in my thinking, and admit that they are just living their lives the way they know how and not leaving calling cards on purpose to ruin my washing and make me mad - at least I hope they are not. Just like people - they carry on in their own sweet way and what they do/ say or how they live often may affect one adversely - but they too are just living life from their own perspectives and out of their own needs - and not really thinking about their effect of others - and not trying on purpose to mess up your life. At least I hope so. And of course this applies to me just as much as to everyone else. I wonder how many people think about me they way I think about the woodpigeons?! That's the thought that I will ponder for today!!

Monday, September 24, 2007

One Night With The King

My friend Les Morgan (from Barberton) and I went to see the movie 'One Night with the King' today. There have been mixed reviews about the movie. I wouldn't put it on the top of my list as being a particularly accurate account of the story of Esther in scripture. However the very broad outline of the story was there. I appreciated the costumes and sets. Why is it that movie makers find it necessary to make, to my mind, unnecessary changes and produce something that is less than authentic? Is it because they think they will make more money by appealing to what is reputed to be asked for by audiences? I wonder.

Saturday, September 22, 2007


Last night Ned, Richard and I went to the University of Pretoria Symphony Orchestra performance at the Musaion. We haven't attended musical events for years - a great loss. The programme was very good. At the beginning the conductor started them off with "LET'S HAVE FUN" - I liked that - and it was! The second piece was a piano concerto by Saint Saens (we didn't have a programme so I can't tell you its exact name!), and the pianist "a very talented pianist - Gareth Ross". I thought to myself - of course he's talented - he wouldn't be here and playing if he wasn't! . The final piece was the 1812 Overture - one of my favourites. I enjoyed the evening.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Aunty Cheeks Funeral

Aunty Cheeks (Sue Reeves-Moore) died peacefully in her sleep, in Frail-Care (Serene Park Retirement Centre, Garsfontein, Pretoria) at 03h00 on Wednesday 29 August 2007, aged 95 - 10 days before her 96th birthday. She had had pneumonia and was in hospital from 12 - 20 Aug. Although she improved a bit, she didn't really recover. The following is the eulogy, written by Runa, and read at the funeral service.
Tribute to our Aunt Sue Reeves-Moore
(Memorial Service held on 6 September 2007)

Sue Reeves-Moore married my mother's brother Lt. Col. Robert Reeves-Moore in ~1948., thus entering a family of nieces and nephews, which grew in numbers over the years, now to 3rd and 4th generations!! She was very friendly with my mother Elaine Arkell, and Meg Spiers, sisters of Uncle Robert. On our side of the family she became known by the fun nickname of “Aunty Cheeks'.

Cheeks was a most gracious, loving and caring lady, greatly loved by all of us. She loved to have the little children with her while the parents were occupied elsewhere. She entertained them without spoiling them, and so very often took them to the Zoo in Johannesburg, near her home. She would talk to them about the animals and birds, as well as stories of the trees and flowers, not to forget the butterflies, bees and little insects, and the colour-changing chameleons. It was always her plea when parents came to fetch them “You will bring them again, will you not?” As the children grew older many of them spent holidays with her and Uncle Robbie. Such holidays remembered with great joy and sparkling eyes to this day. Times spent on the miniature farm in Sandown where chincillas were bred and fancy, exotic pigeons never to be forgotten.

“Cheeks” was a great lover of nature. The trees, flowers, beautiful birds – no; all birds even the humble sparrows – and the way they made their nests, fed their young amazed her. All insects intrigued her. One day she picked up a wee insect the size of a pinhead, and exclaimed “Runa just look at this creature. It has lungs,heart, digestive and reproductive system. It has eyes, ears and wings. What a very wonderful creative God we have, who loves and cares for all His creatures. The glorious ecosystem where everything in creating depends on another for survival”. She found all this quite awesome, and loved to pour through all my books on creation, nature and evolution when she spent weeks or weekends with me. Seasons that come and go in rhythm, nature awakening in their correct sequence always made her exclaim or call out in wonderment.

Ballet and Operas we attended always delighted her, and admired the artist's performance, showing her appreciation, and never critical.

Cheeks was very family conscious, visited her brothers and sisters regularly and enjoyed family gatherings, When they were ill cared for them and gave freely of herself in whichever way was needed, in a humble loving way until they died. In the same way cared for and nursed Uncle Robbie, who became extremely ill until he died, having to be hospitalized for a short period of time where she stayed with him. She and Uncle Robbie were a very devoted and loving couple, who loved and praised God regularly for their life, and for His mercy and care, especially thanking Him for their place of worship “St. Martins in the Veld” in Rosebank; for all the clergy and caregivers who attended them during Uncle Robbie's invalid days. She was always grateful for the care and concern afforded her by the Rev John Main during her first year of widowhood.

Eventually time arrived when she no longer could remain in her lovely Killarney flat. Her brother had become frail and was in a care centre in a Retirement Village, having lived in the same block of flats for many years as she and uncle Robbie.

By wonderful insight and inspiration led by the Holy Spirit, Ned, my son-in-law, found a cottage which was newly vacated in Serene Park Garsfontein where his mother resided. He fetched Cheeks to view it. As you may imagine she was thrilled and gladly accepted. This being the beginning of her new life in an area of care and protection. My friend Fancis and I managed to drive over regularly on a Sunday to visit and take her to a restaurant nearby, which she enjoyed going to. Of all the wonderful desserts to choose from it was always Ice Cream and Chocolate Sauce!! This continued until she became frail and no longer – only a few months ago – to taken to this special place she loved. Instead Beryl took her home where she could rest, and yet be with the family and enjoy their news of their activities.

I am more than grateful that Andrew, my grand-son, and I went to visit her in the frailcare the Sunday before she died. She was so pleased to see us, although very weak wanted to know about the family.

Sue Reeves-Moore - “Cheeks” was a real lady, very precious, always well groomed. She was gracious, humble and loving. A wonderful example to all of us. May we follow in her footsteps.

Having now joined her much loved “Bunny” as she called Uncle Robbie, may she rest in peace and Light Perpetual shine upon her.

Runa Hendrikz

Selected photos of those who were present. Friends from Serene Park and Ned's side of the family were also present, but I have loaded only those related to Aunty Cheeks and Uncle Robbie.
Members from the Light Horse Regiment from L to R: Capt. Janzen, Acting Commander of the Regiment); Mr. Girling, Chairman of the LHR Association; Sergeant-Major Gardener. Richard Donkin is in the background carrying a cup of tea! Capt Janzen and S-M Gardener were both pall-bearers along with Ned Donkin, Ian Donkin, Nigel Hendrikz, and Gary Evangelides (Brenda's husband). SM Gardener was one of the pall-bearers at Uncle Robbie's funeral in 1979. The family was really touched that they were present to represent the Regiment, and that they remembered Aunty Cheeks.
Catherine (Beryl's friend), Nigel Hendrikz, Beryl Donkin

Carmen Hendrikz, Keith Arkell, Ian Donkin standing, Rosemary Arkell.

L to R: Nigel, 'Honey' (Runa), Carmen.

Nieces from Aunty Cheeks/ Sue's own side: L to R: Debbie, Brenda Evangelides, Alison, Candice Evangelides, & Gary (Brenda's husband)
The Funeral Service was held on Thursday 6 September 2007 at the Wesleyan Church, attached to Serene Park Retirement Centre, at 11h00. Rev. Stanley presided.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Family Photo 2006

May 2006

From left to right:
Allan, Paul, Richard, Beryl, Ian, Ned.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Friday 14 September 2007

It's not often that we as a family are all together. But this weekend is an exception. Allan, plus girlfriend Adri, arrived this evening for the weekend. Ian drove through from Nelspruit to be here as well. So tonight we are 6 + 1! Ned leaves at 05h00 tomorrow for Pietermarizburg, where Ma's Boys (the 'barbershop' singing group that he belongs to) is taking part in the Hilton festival. Pity this event clashed with Allan's weekend visit - but that's the price one pays for business and involvement in activities that fulfill.