15 December 2008

Our Scottish Connections - Bill and Rob - 24 October 2008

These two walked all over Dundee, and made more friends in the few days they were here than ayone else. Bill Stirling - Postie to his friends- from the Scottish town of Forfar - presented me with a collection of pipe music not heard at History's Walk since the times of Simon Strachan and his swirling pipes woke us up in the mornings.

(on the right you can see the twa gents, Bill on the left, and Rob on the right, doing the Windhoek lager thing at the local shellhole of the Moths in Dundee)

Bill presented a Forfar calendar and newspaper to the Wades of Forfar farm , which was named after Bill's town. The two guys made a lot of friends in Dundee, and presented the local Moths with a photograph and inscription of the WW2 memorial and a poem written by a 14 year-old school girl.

(Bill and the youngest generation of Wades on Forfar Farm)

11 December 2008

The life and times of Phil Gibson

I recently discovered the very nice comment Phil had left on the Rooms for Africa website about History's Walk and out battlefield tours. He had been back for a second week-long battlefield tour in November, sporting a brand new Sony camera this time. We wanted to go up Hlobane mountain, but the weather gods turned fickle, and I could not even see the top of Hlobane from the gate below. Buller's route was covered in mist, and I had no intention of riding off that devil mountain, so we paid homage to the ghosts of the Border Horse on Ityentika Nek, where these men had met their fate on March 28, 1879.
(Phil doing his thing with the new Sony at the old Manchester fort at Caesar's Camp, outside Ladysmith)

We paid a visit to Ntombe Drift, where the luckless Captain Moriarty met his death in his pyjamas during the massacre at Meyer's Drift. The site was in an awful state, with all the fencing gone, and the memorials and gravestones weatherbeaten and in a state of ill-repair. Spioenkop and Mount Alice was next on the list. we took pictures mainly, as Phil and I did the tour the previous year, when we also walked the Fugitive's Trail from Isandlwana, an exercise which put him in hospital.

(Phil in the Lukas Meyer house in the town of Vryheid, with a Zulu stabbing spear in his hand.)
Phil Gibson left for the second time in the first week of November, leaving behind gifts of books and research material - again - this time including the excellent book of Byron Farwell on the Boer War
Thanks, mate, you're a real gent, and always welcome back.

3 November 2008

The Swiss Group and my first German tour of the year - 4 October 2008

A right bunch they were, these Swiss. Rodney phoned me from Port Elizabeth to ask me if I could do a tour with his friends, all Swiss visitors. Most of them could speak English, especially Erich, but he asked me to do the tour in German, as they would be more comfortable with it. It soon, however, became evident that the German I could speak, and the German they could understand, was not really the same thing, so we did it in German and English.

We had lunch at Rorke's Drift, in style nogal, with red wine and the whole bang tootie. At the end of my talk they did the uSuthu!! thing with some gusto, as the picture indicates!