Water- Cee’s Fun Photo Challenge

I am totally stuck in a writers block of epic proportions.  But this is a good challenge!

My Photo will not win any photographic prizes. It just shows some family fun on water, back in 2008…

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But maybe those are the best times in my life, when I just enjoy the moment, without worrying about taking a perfect photo. And just enjoying my children.

To Finally Ride again…

After more than a month without riding, I really got a wonderful chance to Ride again today.  With a lot of my favorite people.

One of the Bible Society’s guys have been transferred down to the Durban branch. So a lot of us Word Riders gathered at Beestekraal Station. It is about 185 km from my home, (would that be about 120 miles?) The Word Riders are some guys who were on the yearly Bible Society Word Rider tours. We came from all over the north and east and west of South Africa to the small railway station. Just to have a nice breakfast with friends…

And here are some of the pics of today- so nice to be having fresh new photos…

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Observe the beautiful Mandarin Yellow BMW R 1150 GS in the front!

The station in the middle of nowhere, has been converted into a restaurant/ coffee shop/ bar…

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And here, from Pietersburg (Polokwane) to Nelspruit (Mbombela) to Klerksdorp, including Pretoria and Kempton Park, we gathered…

 

Some of my favorite people in life, even the guys on Triumph Tigers… (does the rest of the world also have the rivalry between BMW and Triumph owners?)

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This place has “Station Coffee”- a very good filter coffee with a little condensed milk in it- really good!

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My breakfast was a venison pie and chips (fries for the American friends).

One of the traditions here is that you may write your name on the wall.

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And somewhere on the wall, my name is also engraved for the future generations, or till the next layer of paint, whichever comes first….

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It was so good, doing nearly 400 km on my bike today. With awesome friends. What a Ride!

 

It went Swimmingly, thanks…

The Weesgerus (Be Relaxed in Afrikaans) Resort is just outside our town on the way to Vaalwater.

It is still winter here for another month. But I really, really needed some exercise after nearly 3 weeks of resting following my operation. Following 8 months of inactivity following the first gall stone attack…

I also have heard that swimming will improve the stomach muscles a lot after the gallbladder removal and the break around my belly button.

So- as I still can’t drive, and not wanting to walk the 4 km uphill to the resort, my wife took me over there. In my Camino days in 2011, it was such a breeze hiking up the hill, buying a bottled water at the shop, and returning downhill to my home.  Today, I bought my monthly ticket for the sum of ZAR 100 (abour US$ 9, I think…)

And then it was me and the swimming pool. The last time I really swam for a sport was at high school over 3 decades ago. I could then do a mean breast stroke…

But today, 30 years later? I usually just swim to get away from the Great White Sharks around our coast line. And maybe when a bottle of beer drifts away when I try my hand at fishing…

Fortunately, being winter, the swimming pools were nearly empty. No beautiful girls in bikini’s to ogle me.  There is a heated swimming pool on the left, and a cold one on the right. Being winter, I opted for the heated pool. I am just no Ice Bear…

I felt like a hippo leaving the dressing room. But I don’t do Speedo- they should be banned from the face of the earth. No, baggy surfing shorts is still my style, being a Natal boytjie when I grew up.  The home of the Sharks rugby team in Super 15, dear Aussies and Kiwis…

But now, in the heart of Blue Bull Country, I, with my blue baggy shorts, entered the water. Not as slick as our hero Chad le Clos, (our other national Olympic sports hero and gold medal winner,  who does not shoot girls in the bathroom…) No, it looked more like that unfortunate day underneath the Enola Gay, with first a boom and then a mushroom cloud spreading around the earth…  The people in town thought it was another earthquake- we had a huge one last week just 5 km from my mother in law’s house in Orkney, btw…) But it was just me, trying to get back to my old former self- that would be the one 30 years ago…

I popped up from underneath the water like a cork from a champagne bottle. And then- far, far away, over on the other side, I saw the opposite wall. A whole 25 meters away. Do you know how far 25 meters can be? Really, really, really far away! It takes much less than that to drown in. But I started bravely to paddle my arms, and weakly kick my feet. Some form of propulsion did finally kick in, because I moved slowly, oh so slowly forward.

It took place in this swimming pool. But at the moment, the beautiful grass banks is covered with guano. That is penguin doodoo… it stinks. When the first rains of summer comes, this will be a delight to see. But every breath tasted like sh… some kind of stinky stink thing…

After I saw my whole life since birth flash before my eyes, I finally reached the other side. And then I did an Olympic style turn, and went back. No not really… I first hanged onto the wall of the pool for a few minutes, while my lungs found their way back inside my chest, burning like a streak of napalm. When finally the darkness and the red stars subsided in front of my eyes, I tried returning to where I started.

I did 10 laps of this pool- 250 meters in total. One small step for man… one giant leap for me…

It does not sound like much. But I really, really tried hard to start my comeback in the fitness department. I really have this dream to be fit again, and to ride next year’s Argus Cycle race in Cape Town under 4 hours. That will really take a lot of training for me!

I will try and do this till spring is well underway, and then also start cycling again. That I may only start doing 6 weeks post operation.

I am really thankful that our part of the world has such short winters, the leaves of the mulberry trees in my back yard are already starting to bloom again. And our days are getting longer- more time for training, and living each day to the max…

I now have a new found respect for people who can swim a mile!

 

Tribute to a Fallen Biker…

Yesterday was one of the saddest days in my life.  I love motorbikes with a passion. I really love the freedom of the open road. I love the brotherhood of bikers.

BUT: there is also the sad side of motorbikes. For the freedom, there is a price.  Motorbikes can be dangerous. And motorists even more dangerous.

In our town there was this young man, Koos van der Walt, that I have known since he was 10 years old.  I really got to know him well when he was 17, and in my confirmation class in our church.  A young man, full of life, and laughter, and joy.

For some of the conservative people in our town he might have been out of their box. He had tattoos and piercings, and he mixed with “funny people”. That is one of the sins of the traditional church- we like our Christians to be fitting nicely into our preconceived ideas of what a good person looks like. That cookie cutter mold of sweet, never naughty, never drinking a beer or gasp: a Tequila, never having his skin blemished by a tattoo kind of mold.

Koos was definitely out of that box. But: he really was such an example of LOVE. He loved life, he loved his family and friends. He loved people, and always made people feel better about themselves.

Last Saturday there was a bike rally at our town. He and some friends rode through our main street. He was in front. And as I think now, I should have been there too, but I can’t ride for another week, healing after an operation.  In front of the hardware store a guy in a pickup truck tried to enter their parking space quickly across the nearing traffic. After missing a BMW car barely, he managed to collide, and ride over Koos and his bike.  Koos died very shortly afterwards on the scene.

This is shocking news to us! How does one die in the main street of a town on a motorbike? It seems impossible, and yet…

This is Koos’ friends tribute to him on facebook…

Yesterday we held his remembrance service at our church.

This guy really touched a lot of people’s lives! Our church can accommodate nearly 800 people, and nearly all seats were taken. A lot of bikers from a lot of different clubs (at least 4 clubs) were present.

 

 

I am not yet able to stand and deliver a sermon, so my biker colleague did an excellent job of that, with the amazing promises in Romans 8: 37-39.  I did the farewell ceremony at the hearse, before his body was taken away for cremation.

What really moved me to tears was when I exited the church with Koos’ family, just behind his coffin on the way to the hearse. All the bikers stood a guard of honor, and did a helmet salute, and it was a goosebumps moment- there is such a brotherhood among our South African bikers. Yes, the clubs may have their differences, and sometimes there are a lot of inside politics in a club. But when one of us hits the tar, they stand together.

I am sorry to say that I have sometimes experienced more love and acceptance in the brotherhood of bikers, than in the church. I would love to think I am trying my best to lead our church to be such a place of love, and acceptance, a place where you may be yourself out of the box of peoples opinions. But yesterday- that biker tribute to a fallen brother has really touched my heart deep!

I am so glad I have known Koos, I am so glad he was out of the traditional mold of what our people are supposed to be. I have learned a lot from him, and respected the man he was.

So long, Brother, may the road ahead be a good one, full of good twisties, and empty of cars and pickups…

No internet= no blogging

There is one really bad drawback living in rural Africa.  When something breaks, it stays broken
…  My internet connection, running on our country’s national telephone company’s ADSL network, is so slow that it takes 20 minutes just for my blog to open. Posting and reading other blogs are impossible.

I have useless uncapped Internet since Tuesday. Now I am using the data on my mobile phone, that is of the most expensive in the world!

So I am off the air till some government official gets of his lazy KFC inflated huge backside and fix the line…

May the fleas of a thousand pox ridden camels be upon them…

ANGRY Rider

Grace calls for Gratitude…

A Tweet becomes a blog post, usually it is the other way around with me.

But I am thinking again tonight. Maybe my little prayer/ wisdom candle is burning too low at the moment.

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There are so much pain in this world, and so much brokenness all around. I have just returned from visiting the parents of a young man who died on his motorbike in our town’s main street on Saturday morning.  A young man who I knew for many years, and whom I really liked a lot. A fellow biker, an artist, a free spirit.  I do not understand life and death, especially the pain and suffering part of it. Yes, I know, I am only halfway through my sick leave and should not go out yet- but I could not just stay at home with some good people really suffering a huge loss…  There is so much pain and suffering all around. Maybe I should used “are” here, I am never sure, English is such a difficult second language….

But… there are still so much grace and beauty in this world…

I am still not able to drive a car  or ride my bike. But usually I am, without any thoughts of pain and suffering. I enjoy being a petrolhead and a Biker. I love the freedom of the open road, with the wind in my face.  And for a few weeks I am not able to do that.

I love having good conversations with friends, sometimes around a bottle of good Cape Province (South Africa!) red wine, Merlot, CAbernet Sauvignon, Pinotage. And for a few weeks I was not able to have merry times with friends. But there will be good times ahead, as I know some of my friends…

But in the absence of my vehicles, and my friends, I had to rely much more on the love and care of my wife. And what a privilege it is to be married to someone who I truly love, with my whole heart…  And with God’s grace we will celebrate our silver anniversary next year!

I had all my kids at home over the weekend. Sunday lunch with them all around my table is such a huge, huge part of grace. Thinking of Saturday’s accident- we just never know for how long we are together as a family on this planet.

Even with the health issues. I am not able to drive yet, but  I do not experience any real pain at the moment. Even the operation to remove the faultygallbladder was much, much less painful than the lightest of the 8 gallgrit attacks. I am suffering a very small setback in my health, while I know people in my church having life threatening diseases and conditions, like cancer, and heart problems. And I have learned so much from them about courage in adversity, and the true love of life, and the fighting spirit with which some people just keeps on breathing, despite the odds…

 

Sometimes we really need to come to a complete stop in our journey of life. Sometimes you have  to pull over, switch off, and take in the stillness, and the peace, and the beauty around you.

Sometimes you just have to get a new candle…

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Ok, the photos are just from my broken Samsung Galaxy S3 at my desk at the moment. And the prose will not win any primary school literary prizes. But my point: We have one life, we have so many blessings.   I don’t intend to waste any time or blessings any more, life is just too short not to live it to the fullest possible extent!

PS- I pray for peace in Jerusalem- for ALL it’s people! Psalm 122: 6

 

 

If I could fly…

The word’s of Frank Duval’s song is keeping on repeating in my mind at the moment.

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Today I have been back at home for a week since the operation. I have left the house only once- to go to my doctor to get the dressings changed.

And I am slowly going out of my mind. I love to be outdoors. I love to be on a Bike. Or to go to a coffee shop with friends.

Is is normal to feel depressed and trapped a week after an operation? Or is it just my personality shining through?

Anyway, I dont want to sound like my friend Ben from Bitter Blog

I am spending the quiet time reflecting, evaluating, planning…

I have read some amazing books. Somehow I really liked Isabel Allende’s Daughter of Fortune.  I am also into my 3rd Odd Thomas book, by Dean Koonttz, although it is a genre I don’t normally read.

I listen to Bob Dylan on my hifi, and a lot of my other, what my kids would call Old Music, I must confess, sweet gospel music doesn’t do it for me at the moment, some good Classic Rock really helps a lot. All the music we were warned against as teenagers in the 80’s…

I have seen some good movies- like the new 300, and Transcendence,  and the worst one ever- Hercules Reborn…

And now I still have to get all my financial things in order for the yearly tax return, looking forward to that like a colonoscopy….

So, while feeling trapped, today I wish I could just hop on an airplane and fly away…

I hope your day is much better. Biker friends, go for a Ride, life is just too short not to…

 

What is going on with the world while I’m gone?

I am looking at the BBC’s web page this morning. I am taking a few weeks sick leave and what happens?

  •  Russia goes ahead and break a nuclear treaty, testing a nuclear missile! Cold War II on the horizon…
  •  Bear Grylls survives in the evening in motels… I am shocked!
  • Isaac And Ishmael are still at it… 4000 years later! That is now quite enough boys…  For brothers you sure hate each other way too much!
  •  A vet gets struck off the role for molesting his patients sexually- a VET!!! Bad news for the Horse & Hound Magazine’s front page…
  •  Airplanes gets shot down and missing all over the place… what happened to flying is safer than driving?

Now look here, people of planet Earth, I will be back in action in two 1/2 weeks, and then we will sort it all out. So please behave… Isaac and Ishmael, share the room and put away your toys. Vladimir, stop it immediately! And book a room for the Vet with a wide awake African Lioness…  Bear, Bear, Bear… I really thought SAS men were tougher than that….

Now all of you get in your lanes, and behave! I’ll be back…

Sela!

Rider…

 

Separated for Holy Service…

I posted my Afrikaans blog entry on this one by accident this morning. And the translate function usually does not convey the true meaning of words. So let me share my heart this morning in English too…

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It is Monday Morning. Half past nine. I am supposed to be out there, visiting all the sick people in our church. Afterwards I have to work hard, on the presentation of tomorrow morning’s Bible Study. I have to try and explain Romans 9- why God loved Jacob, and hated Esau. My mobile phone is supposed to be switched on, I have to answer all the complaints about yesterday’s sermon, why the music was too hard or too soft, too fast or too slow… Somewhere in the fields there are still some cattle that must be attending our church fete in September, somebody still has to ask the farmers for some more contributions to the meat section…  Steaks for Jesus!  There are still a thousand people waiting for their yearly House Visitation. A Pastor must visit them at home, so that they can know and serve the Lord, with that choice piece of baking they prepared and serve on a Royal Doulton cake plate, with their grandmother’s little golden cake fork.

It is Monday Morning  twenty five to ten. I am the sick one. My wife has confiscated my mobile phone. The doctor has booked me off for three weeks. I may not even drive my car. I am just sitting here. Three weeks is a long, long time! I miss my mobile phone…

It is Monday Morning twenty to ten. The phone does not ring. Beethoven’s Piano Concerto #1 in C Major, Opus 15, Largo is playing loudly on my hifi in my Study.  Behind the clear notes of the piano there sounds the most beautiful notes of violin and clarinet in the background.

A Silent Presence has come with me into my study. Peace. Rest…

I don’t have to do anything. I may just… BE…

And that is good enough…