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Wednesday, 9 May 2012


It has been quite chilly of late, especially early in the morning, which is to be expected in May in South Africa, since the Sun is already 6 weeks into the Northern hemisphere. Today is quite unusual - 87°F (that's 30°C) here in Martindale. The farm is looking good after the 2 inches of rain we had during a thunderstorm about a week ago. The lawn is green but has just about gotten into its winter hibernation program. This is the time of year when molehills start appearing, but so far there are just scattered examples - warnings of things to come. 

The farm is still for sale (and will remain so until sold). One prospect who looked over the place 3 weeks ago took 2 weeks to let me know it was too far from Grahamstown and lacking in security. How little they know, this must be one of the most secure farms in the area - not one incursion in the six years we've been here, other than the locals collecting firewood, which I have no objection to. I have enough wood here to build a couple of houses and to keep the stove hot for several years. A German couple turned up with Philip, an old friend, on Saturday to look over the place. They are interested but have to sell their property in Deutschland. They did enjoy the Guavas though, and carried of a few handfuls. I'm glad someone likes them - I personally cant stand them, and I have 14 guava trees (4 pink and 10 white) on the property, as well as nartjes. A local farmer phoned a few minutes ago and has taken the details of the farm. He seems fairly interested so will join the list of hopefuls.

 Headman, who is the local preacher and "odd job man" had his last remaining teeth removed yesterday - presumably at the government hospital in Grahamstown. He was told, and I find this odd, to expect his false teeth to be ready for a fitting in December - 7 months? I guess that's yet another sign of the way things are going in this country. I think everyone (except for HRH Robert Mugabe) knows how Zimbabwe became a god forsaken country. It seems as if South Africa is going the same way - a little more slowly perhaps, but the signs are all there. Even today there was an extensive item on CNN investigating the gradual failure of democracy in the country.

 Liz  has now been back in the US of A for 2 weeks - how time flies, and yet the days are very long when she's not here. We chat either on the phone (MagicJack) or Skype every afternoon or evening for a good 30 minutes or so. She looks very happy, and clearly enjoys being with Dena and the kids. Come on someone - buy this little corner of Paradise so that I can fly myself and Katie across the Pond to be with her. What I need is some keen philanthropist who wants to set up a small home industry school, or some other project, for the local Martindale community. At present they just exist, and there will be few opportunities for the 14 kids who attend the farm school in the future, unless someone steps in. This place would make an ideal base for such a project. Indeed, one of my prospective purchasers (who was turned down by the banks) had such a project in mind, had the sale gone through.

Late Posting

For some obscure reason this post was never published, so here it is a little late!

Faster than the blink of an eye, 2011 has come and gone – well, almost. In a little over 12 hours (at the time of writing) we will be in a whole new year. It is unfortunate that Time has the habit of running out on us – sometimes quicker than we would like it to. Indeed, always quicker than we would like it to. Time is something that each of us is given at birth. It is a commodity that, if wisely used can appear to stretch out. Time appears to pass more slowly the younger we are. When we are in the autumn of our years it passes all too quickly. I recall reading somewhere, sometime, that some part of the brain compares the passage of Time with the total length of Time we have experienced since birth. I guess that makes sense. I am now at the age where I have stopped counting my birthdays – I merely try to guess how many I have remaining. I recall that in my youth I often wondered whether I would be alive to experience life in the 21st century – well, I have now lived through eleven years of it.

2011 has seen time run out for a number of individuals whom I personally considered evil – Osama bin Laden, Gaddafi, Kim Jong-Il are the three that come to mind. There are plenty more evil leaders still hanging on to Time – Mugabe immediately comes to mind - he can’t have much Time remaining in his coffers. And there’s that chap in Syria, what’s his name? It would be nice to be a god and to be able to pick out Earth’s most evil characters and just snuff out their candle. It doesn’t work that way though, does it?

What about the celebrities who passed to the other side during the passage of 2011? There were actresses Elizabeth Taylor, Dana Wynter and Jane Russell, Apple founder Steve Jobs, actors Peter Falk and Pete Postlethwaite, boxer Joe Frazier, IndyCar driver Dan Wheldon and Betty Ford, widow of former president Gerald Ford. The list goes on of course, and I have named only a fraction of many celebrities who are no longer with us.

The year has not passed without its disappointments of course, the greatest of them being that of failing to find a new owner for the farm. We thought we’d sold it just a few weeks ago (see “Sold the farm – whoopeeeee!” blog) and at a good price – even shook hands, but then their bank refused or at any rate failed to come up with the money. We had hoped to have been celebrating tomorrow in North Carolina but – well, it just wasn’t our Time. So what now? First and foremost I want to get Liz to Louisiana to her daughter’s. I may have to beg, borrow or steal the money for her ticket (any takers?). She actually has a job offer in NC right now, but will have to turn it down. Meanwhile I am building up a valuable potential client base on the East Coast. Liz will be able to spend the time, until my eventual arrival, changing her name and applying for a spousal visa for myself. And me? Well I’ll let you know tomorrow – if I have the Time.