Cathy James: Growing up in Port Elizabeth

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Personally I do not know Cathy at all apart from her regular posting to the Facebook page Ex PE 60’s 70’s & 80’s. Even though we are of a similar age, our lives stories differ markedly. But that is life.

This is a pictorial story of a Cathy as a youth in Port Elizabeth during the 1960s & 1970s. I am not biased but it was probably the halcyon days of Port Elizabeth.

Main picture: Cathy on the Humewood Beach

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Reminiscences of the Kruger Park of Yore

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To celebrate the 90th birthday of the Kruger National Park (KNP) on May 31, management encouraged guests and staff to share memories on various social-media platforms. Visitors and Kruger lovers eagerly responded to this call and shared various memories. Some have been visiting the Kruger since the ‘60s.

Main picture: With a paucity of bridges, pontoons were the only way to cross the many rivers
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Royal Divorce down the Ages

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At the dawn of humanity, marriage was deemed to be sacrosanct. Divorce in most societies – especially at the instigation of a female – was not permitted. Royalty – men only – were usually entitled to have a lover as their wife was usually married for political and not affection reasons. In these circumstances, divorce was never considered as the wife was the baby production machine whereas romantic love was reserved for their mistress. What happened when the wife could not deliver a male heir or, like in more modern times, when mistresses were no longer tolerated, how did the king or the royalty get their divorce? 

This blog dissects four vastly different royal divorces each of which exposes much about the milieu in which each occurred. Included in this blog will be the vignette on how [Bessiewallis] Wallis Simpson obtained her divorce from her second husband in order to marry King Edward VIII.

Main picture: Anne Boleyn in the Tower awaiting execution by Edouard Cibot (1799–1877)

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Marriage: Will the future be a buffet instead of a set menu

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The recently announced split of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt after two years of marriage raises, yet again, the question of what a couple signs up for when they tie the knot. The form & content of marriage – and relationships in general – have been in a state of flux since the 1960s. Presciently Richard Harris would sing MacArthur Park in 1968 about melting of the icing of the cake because 

 “Someone left the cake out in the rain….

And I’ll never have that recipe again”

(The meaning of these surreal lyrics by Jimmy Webb is available at the end of the blog)

 Custom, duty or need to procreate would no longer produce the ideal ingredients for marriage ever again. However, would the idealised sugary sweet ingredient “happy-ever-after” be an adequate substitute?

 If not, what would?

Main picture: Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt

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Brilliant but Low Tech Ideas

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Whenever one hears of innovations, computers, cellphones, GPS and other high tech gadgets come to the fore. Whilst these inventions undoubtedly have made life convenient and more pleasurable, one must not only be captivated by technology. 

These photographs illustrate an array of low tech solutions to everyday problems that would also enhance our lives.

 Main picture: This holder for McDonald’s fries will resolve my problem when eating and driving. Naturally not eating while driving would be another solution but who wants to eat while parked at a McDonald’s

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Routine and Normal has all but disappeared

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South Africa is being rent asunder. The sound of previous certainties & the ANC’s moral high ground being ground underfoot, permeates discourse. Stories of malfeasance abound, with the drip becoming a torrent. Abuse by the ANC is no longer vented against the “racist unrepentant whites” & the “white opposition” but reserved for their former comrades in arms & ANC Cadres. 

As a bystander in this open warfare, it would be a gripping yarn if one were lazing at the spring poolside cogitating the meaning of life, but this is our life, South Africa’s future that is being trashed. 

Will this morph into the “new normal” with a dysfunctional state with all the pigs snouting at the trough? 

Main picture: All of these photos illustrate irony at its best

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Why Donald Trump is so wrong

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Egotistical, bullying and bombastic behaviour are three traits that do not endear me to a person. In an instant, my hackles rise and I am repulsed; such is my disgust. Even a profound message is muted by my intense annoyance. Nobody wants to be assailed by the arrogant, haughty & vainglorious attitude of somebody who disregards one’s opinions and is dismissive of one’s viewpoint as if they are the font of all wisdom.

Besides this, Trump lacks a basic understanding on most issues. At best, his knowledge can be categorised as superficial. One may be critical of his opponent, Hillary Clinton, but the one aspect that one cannot criticise her for, is a lack of a comprehensive understanding of the issues at hand.

Yet, this is the man who could soon be the leader of the free world, with his finger on the nuclear trigger.

Main picture: Donald Trump at his ascerbic best

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After the War was over

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Victory in Europe Day, generally known as VE Day, was the public holiday celebrated on 8 May 1945 to mark the formal acceptance by the Allies of World War II of Nazi Germany’s unconditional surrender of its armed forces.

The war might have been over, the rebuilding of shattered lives, buildings and infrastructure could only now commence. Finally, it was a time of retribution for the vile deeds of the Axis countries both in Europe and in the East.

This blog is a pictorial representation of the issues that had to be addressed in this brave new world.

Main picture: A Japanese man amid the scorched wreckage and rubble that was once his home in Yokohama, Japan

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Even the Nazis could not prevent a Rugby “International” from being Played

Stalag IV-B Springbok Team

White South Africans are addicted to rugby. Whether it is as a player or a spectator, through trying experiences I have learnt that this relationship may not be tampered with, as these rugby addicts cannot resist the lure of the game. Soccer might be endowed with the sobriquet “The Beautiful Game” but rugby is definitely the macho man’s game. This fact is attested to when the South African POWs during WW2 arranged an “International” Rugby game in a German POW Camp. It is a matter of record that in spite of most of the items required to hold an authentic rugby match were not readily available, ingenuity and improvisation were the mothers of invention. 

As if to confound their critics, this game was held in Stalag IV-B conforming to the dress code and rules of the games. It was that spirit that embodies the game.

Main picture: Springbok Rugby Team at Stalag IV-B in 1944. Back row, left to right: Oehley, Van Huyssteen, Kaplan, Timm, Coetzee, N. Hinds, Boet Wessels, Heydenrych, Youngleson, Foster, Chapman, Rahl. Middle row: Fabricius, Moore, Ackermann, Major Ochse (medical officer), Fiks van der Merwe (captain), Katzeff, Van der Westhuizen, Ritchie, Hultzer, Zietsman. Front row: Marais, R. Hinds, Sephton.

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