2015 Started with two BANGS…

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here this morning to tell tales of great sorrow…

This year did not start good…

On the 3rd of January my eldest son decided to do some agricultural work with my beloved Roadster.

And then, three days later, on the way back from the farm where he is working, the Beetle died. Yes, that Beetle that we spent so much time on restoring last year.

Such a small thing can have such huge consequences…

The tappet covers are kept tight by a cork gasket on each side. And one of the cork gaskets just collapsed due to old age. All the oil blew out there, and then some bearings in the engine started breaking. The engine has this huge knocking noise.

After all the things we have done to restore the Beetle, this was just one step too far… Now you can imagine Adele singing the theme song of Skyfall… “This is the end…”

I posted all my misery on facebook, and a friend in a neighbouring town made me an offer I can’t refuse…

So- the Beetle is being sold, as is…

In the next day or two it will be collected, and so a memory will be gone… I have known this car all my life, and owned it since I was 18. It is now 47 years old. But the new owner does have the skill to restore it properly, and bring it back to life. I don’t.

So- yes- two dreams have died this year- the one of me going on tour with my son on the bikes before he goes to the USA to work there for a year. And the dream of the Beetle doing a road trip into the sunset.

But there are some nice bike trips for me and my wife in planning at the moment- so keep on watching this space. BAd times usually don’t last forever…

But this is the end…

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Thanks to all my friends for 1014!

In a little over 2 hours time it is South Africa’s time, together with Jerusalem and Moscow, to go into the new year. Yes, I know, it is a man made time line, and it is just another rotation of the earth around it’s axle, and another rotation of the pale blue dot finished on it’s journey around Helios…

BUT… like the service intervals on a car, some measurement of the passage of time is still needed sometimes. We need to close one chapter of our lives, and move forward to a new chapter. I need new beginnings, new challenges, new opportunities… and maybe so do you…

In 45 minutes I have to go to our church to prepare the music and the lighting and sound for our midnight sermon. We start at 23:15 and end at 00h00. I am finishing a sermon series based on Psalm 23, which started the first weekend of December. Tonight I talk about the last verse- “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me…”

So, my dear friends- Christians or Muslims, atheists or Spaghetti Monster worshipers- thank you all for being a part of my journey in 2014! Thanks for all your visits, your comments and the good wishes and prayers when 2014 was sometimes a dark year…

So when the sun turns around it’s axle, and a new piece of time is delivered to live fully, my prayer for every one of you is that you may be blessed, be happy, and have peace, wherever you are! And whatever that may mean to you…

May the best times yet be in our future!



Still Kicking…

I am still alive, dear friends…

First of all- so sad to hear about the untimely death of Phil Hughes, Aussie cricketer… As our favorite cricket enemies, we love to hate the Aussies. But we don’t really hate them- they provide for good sport- they are a great nation… So my real heartfelt condolences and prayers to his family, friends and fans.

Secondly: today my eldest son is finishing his 12 year sentence of hard labor at the school benches. It seems like just the other day that we went to enroll him in the primary school. And now… just one last examn paper to write, and it is all over…

Thirdly- My daughter is also on final approach for her degree in Graphic Design. They are working under immense pressure to finish their last assignments. Yesterday she was the passenger in a huge accident, involving two trucks on the highway. She is ok, but badly shaken. And she says this is the second accident in 5 days that she has been through… it really gets to a dad’s heart- so glad she is alive, but worried about all this life threatening experiences- could she not rather go bungy jumping or parachuting?

Fourthly- it is very busy times around here- in two hours time I have to conduct yet another funeral. We deal with such extreme variety in life experiences. Like yesterday afternoon I married a beautiful young couple beneath a huge Marula tree in the bush. From weddings to funerals in 16 hours’ time…

And lastly, in no particular order- I am having serious connectivity issues on the Net. Uncapped but shaped internet does have it’s drawbacks, the ISP says our family has used 100 Gig of data in November, and now we are being choked during office hours- I can walk faster and deliver an old time letter, than sending an email during office hours… That really is ruining my blogging as well. Together with the stressed out to the max times in our family with all the life changes.

I forgot- the youngest is finishing Primary School tomorrow, it is also a huge milestone in his life. So three of my four children are finishing their current life phases… and I am getting old…
Or not- just have to find more time and money for petrol for my motorbike, then I will be Born to be Wild…

(where did all the data go? My third child showed me how to get old movies on the internet. And now I am enjoying Easy Rider, and Mad Max, and Cannonball Run again… It is never too late to have a happy childhood…

The times, they are…

Warning: Don’t read- a lot of negative drivel…  Just move on to something nice… 

This is really a silly season in our part of South Africa. It is November, and still it has not rained. It is extremely hot, and extremely dry… every now and then we hear some thunder at night. But that,  like our dearly beloved president of South Africa,  is just a lot of noise with no performance…

At the moment it is quite hectic times. Especially with my kids. The academic year in our country is rapidly coming to an end.

My daughter is finishing her three year degree as a Graphic Designer this month. Now it is just the final projects that has to be finished, and it is a heap of work to end with. Then- the study loan is laying in wait like a cheetah stalking an impala. She needs to get employment, and there are no firm offers yet. Ideas range from doing a TEFL course and go teach English as a Foreign Language in somewhere like South Korea. Or doing some art and hold an art exhibition.

My eldest son is finishing his school days in matric. He is between the two dreaded final maths exams, one paper yesterday, and the other on Monday. I still wake up sweating in the middle of the night after having nightmares about writing my matric year end papers in maths…  My son is writing the examns, then going on a short vacation with friends, and then he is starting at a farm as a laborer, to get ready to possibly go and work on a year contract in the USA… my own dream is to visit the USA on a motorbike, and now it seems as if my son will beat me to going there…

We are having difficult times in South Africa. I had to bury another murder victim on Wednesday. This man in our church was sick at home, when he was overpowered by three thugs. They first tried to strangle him, and then put a plastic bag over his head, tying it off with duct tape. They got away with his purse and his dilapidated old pick up truck. The criminal element in our country is way out of hand, and it starts at the very top…  Our President is holding secret talks with Putin to buy 8 atomic power plants from Russkom, the people who built Chernobyl… It will ruin our country’s economy, but the wise man is chasing his dream… It also came to light that we have our very own spy satellite, also built by the Russians…   Why on earth do we need that? Our new economy minister meanwhile says the state’s coffers are empty, he will have to tax us more… meanwhile the ruling party parties on…  The poor gets poorer, and more and more violent crime is rising.

It is scenes like this in our country that really breaks my heart at the moment. A lady gets hijacked inside a security complex, and they not only have to take her car by gunpoint, they first have to beat her senseless…

Our national captain of our Soccer (Football) team was also murdered in this week…  No one is safe anymore…

With all these news you will understand that I don’t blog a lot at the moment. I don’t like to sound negative, it is really my dream to be positive, and make a difference, even here in South Africa. But I lost my way a bit, and am struggling to find some sense at the moment.  This too shall pass…  I hope…

Taking a Time Out


I am thoroughly, to the depths of my soul- tired. So I am taking a few days leave from work, up till Sunday.

But it is also a good leave- Mrs Rider and me are flying tomorrow… a friend has a very special day on Friday, and we are not going to miss that one!

So you will probably not see me around here until next week… Enjoy your weekend…

As you can see, I started my leave with a barbeque in the Weber, some beef shortribs and a small piece of C Grade fillet steak… With a bottle of Robertson Chapel Red wine…


Today- 20 Years Ago

Spoiler alert: CHURCH story- move along to another blog if you do not like church stories… 

Today 20 years ago was a very historic day in South Africa. Nelson Mandela was inaugurated on this day as the president of the new South Africa.

That would be what everybody was thinking about, reading the heading.

But: on the same day me, my wife and a 10 month old baby daughter moved to a town we had to locate on a map, to begin our fulltime ministry in the church.

This is the church that called me to their ministry:

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My photo of the Dutch Reformed Church of Waterberg in Nylstroom.

Our calling to this church was at a desperate time in our lives.  In our church, we have to do 6 years of university training, including ancient Hebrew and Greek. Six years at university is a long, long, long time… and very expensive. After I finished university, being a pale male, I had to do compulsory military service, in the second last group of men that had no choice (except 4 years jail and a criminal record). I was a chaplain in the South African Army, Engineering Corps. After I have finished the army, I was unemployed. It was bad. Nobody wanted to give me a job, because I am “overqualified…”

Our church had 200 too many pastors, ministry posts was very scarce. I had a part time pastors post with a very small salary after 3 months, a very temporary arrangement until I got a “Calling” to a church as full time pastor. In these times in 1993 the political situation in South Africa was really bad. The interest rates were sky high, and I had a huge student loan. The bank was really breathing down my neck, and I was sinking to nearly the point of no return debtwise…

During 1993 and 1994 I applied for 67 available posts in the church nationwide. I went to 7 interviews, on one occasion on the other side of the country, and that time they did not even give me a cent for travelling costs. We also had our first child in these desperate times. It was really, really bad. After 6 years at university I was only trained for 1 “company”.

Then, shortly after the first democratic elections on 27 April 1994, I sat on my bed one evening. My wife and I hit rock bottom. We were losing the temporary post at the church we were at. We had to move out of our dilapidated railway house we were staying in. We had a child to raise, a lot of debt, and it felt as if the church did not care…

That Sunday evening my phone rang, and the good people of Nylstroom were on the line. The voice on the other side asked if I knew who was talking, and I said I did not. He said he is my fellow- pastor (medeleraar in Afrikaans). I replied I do not have one. He then said that they had a meeting earlier that evening, and I came up as the next pastor in their church. I had to look Nylstroom up on a map, I did not even know where it was.

It was so good to become a full time pastor at last. I was 27 years old when I earned my first full salary check!

The sad was: I was only in this church for 11 months. In that year the good bigger church of the region decided that this congregation was too big, and the neighbouring congregation was too small. So, with a lot of church politics involved,  I with 1/3rd of the church was passed over to the neighbouring church in the same town.


And here I still am, 20 years later in the same town.

We came to town with the Beetle, some borrowed furniture, a very young pastor and his lovely wife and fiery redhead baby daughter.

20 Years later- in this 2o years we got 3 sons added to our family, and a lot of jokes of not knowing where babies come from. We had some extremely sad times, sometimes I even felt suicidal… But we also had amazing times, with great joy, great friendships. great experiences.

I have about 18 years left before I have to retire at age 65 from full time ministry. Looking back, I am really thankful. But I also would really want to know what difference, if any, I made in peoples lives in the past 20 years. I know I have helped many people over the years. But I also know I have not been able to help everybody. Like everybody else I have also made enemies along the way. There are people who will sing that song “What a friend we have in Jesus!” when I one day get called to another town.

Meanwhile- I am here to stay. I have nowhere else to go. I am happy most days (not every day…)  I really love this church, this town, this region of our country.  I am willing to go another 18 if that is the script for my life. But some evenings I lay awake and worry about the lots and lots of empty pews on a Sunday morning…

Today is a rather huge mile post in my journey of life. Thanks if you have longsufferingly read up till here… 🙂



Cee’s Share Your World– 2014 Week 18

Cee’s Challenge this week: http://ceenphotography.com/2014/05/05/share-your-world-2014-week-18/

What object do you always have with you when traveling and why?

What subject would you like to study in depth, if given the time to do so?

Which would you prefer:  a wild, turbulent life filled with joy, sorrow, passion, and adventure–intoxicating successes and stunning setbacks; or a contented bordering on happy, secure, predictable life surrounded by friends and family without such wide swings of fortune and mood?

What are your favorite spices?

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

1. These days, when I travel, I like to have an electronic reader with me- my trusty Kobo. Before these times you would always find me with a soft cover book. Always.

2. History or Geography.

3. Wild and Turbulent! Please! Not boring.

4. Vanilla, and a good Indian Curry…

5. I bought my dream bike last Friday. As it is 14 years old, it is a bumpy ride to get it as I like it, and it is still a small challenge to get it through the Road Worthy Certificate (MOT for British readers…)

I now own 2 BMW motorbikes, and it makes me HAPPY!

The good, sad news is that the Aprilia Pegaso, (black one at the back), my faithful friend for 9 years, is sold and being collected tomorrow… May the new owner also have such safe and good memories as I had. I think it is still in amazing condition, with only 40 000 km on the clock after 14 years of age… it went through the Roadworthy Test with flying colors.

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Why does bad news sell so good?

My eye just caught my stats graph, before it finally disappears from view. My blog usually attracts about 150 views per day.

But when the floods hit our region and I blogged about it, my stats also flooded through the roof!

Before the flood my best day ever was 386 hits in a day. Then it soared to:

Blog highligt

15797 views in one day!

But now I am back to 77 views for a Saturday…  Quite sad actually… but I guess a lot more normal.

I do not blog for stats, I blog just because I enjoy it. But I also thought: there are some regular readers coming here, and to you all I would just like to say THANK YOU!

For all you regulars: Here is a mobile photo from my trip to Cape Town: a part of the V & A Waterfront…



Good news don’t sell newspapers, bad news do…

In South Africa, we are suddenly in the world media’s attention focus with the Oscar Pistorius Murder Trail.  All over the world people follow the court battle on CNN, Sky News, BBC, Al Jazeera… etc. More coverage even than our successful presentation of the Soccer (Football) World Cup in 2010.  Much more cover than the birth of any baby in our country… maybe not as much as the birth of Prince George in England…

Bad news sells.

Now- my blog is just the views of a small rural town pastor in South Africa. I like to blog about beauty, and inspiring things. Things like motorbikes, and photography. Like adventure and great food. Normally my blog draws the daily attention of about 100 people worldwide.  And I am so grateful about that, those regular readers and their comments are a real blessing in my life! My best day ever on views was 386 views in a day once, when I said something about a controversial thing in our church, and a group of people got real angry at me.

But now a natural disaster happened 20 km from my house. My favorite holiday resort got flooded when a dam upstream burst after heavy rain the past week. I share the news of my world with my regular readers.  But suddenly, my views exploded! In the past HOUR I had 496 views, more than any previous day before yesterday.

This is what is happening on my blog at the moment:


From a best of 396 to yesterday’s 998 best ever, to today’s views… I am amazed! I wish  I could rather have such viewer stats for good news!

Thanks for all the people visiting to find out about the bad news of the flooding of Klein Kariba.



The news is still not good. The elderly couple that was missing: They were swimming in the indoor heated swimming pool, when the surge of water hit them. The water dragged them through the windows. The body of the husband was found yesterday, I did not hear if the wife’s body was found yet. And this is really scaring, if I just think how many times me and my family swam there. The last thing ever imaginable would be a surge of water dragging you out of there, drowning you and taking your body downstream…  The couple was day visitors, they resided in Bela Bela just 9 km away. 

So thanks everybody for visiting my blog. Please come again, I would much rather share good news with you. Like the beauty of our region, the wildlife, cycling, motorbike routes and great places to visit in our beautiful province and country.

My heart really goes out to the family of the deceased, and all the guests of Klein Kariba who went through this trauma. My heart also goes out to the personnel of ATKV resort of Klein Kariba. I see on their website they said they will be closed for just 2 weeks. A miracle must happen to get the resort up and running in just 2 weeks, after such major damage. But I really hope you get it done, because I really love your resort a lot, and wish you well!

Thanks for 1 year of support!

Happy Anniversary!

You registered on WordPress.com 1 year ago!

Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging!

Dear friends, in 1 year  44083 visited, and 1439 chose to follow The Rider. I have been busy as well, with 530 posts… 

I thank you for visiting, following, commenting, and in lots of ways encouraging me in my personal life. You have been a huge blessing in my life this past year! Thank you so much!  This is how I feel!