Saturday, June 26, 2010

More World Cup Ramblings

Last week an opportunity arose for us to all to go to PE for a couple of days. Oh happy day. The long school holiday had arrived, and just about everyone had left town. Some went off to Mozambique - I believe a fair number of South Africans have formed a laager there...
Others just went off on holiday, like people do.

We, had no holiday plans, extra work awaited us - websights and incomplete novels - none of which we mind, really. But its not like having a HOLIDAY, is it?
And then, three days in PE. Whoopee!

Snow in the Langkloof
As we drove out along that winding valley road the mountains were covered in snow all around us. I had threatened L that if he said he was cold one more time I was going to...
The Langkloof is cold. Not Cape Town cold, not Grahamstown, Karoo or Joburg cold. It is #$@!

Ja well, no fine, I thought, PE is never really cold, casting my mind back to a childhood of winters spent in lightweight jumpers and takkies, maybe. Well, the worlds climate is doing that warmer, colder, nothing is as it used to be, thing.
It was like being in England, only with no central heating. Still, that together with the World Cup Fevah (hurrah) happening around us - at last! - made me think back to my years in Newcastle - Upon - Tyne.
Newcastle is definitely a football mad city. In my years there I has to shape up to football, or ship out. There, everyone always and only ever wears the black and white football strip. Even in the middle of winter, with no jacket. During my work in schools it was hard to get the children to draw anything or be creative in any way that did not include black and white stripes. The Toon Army was alive and well and marching around us. We lived so close to the stadium that when they scored a goal we were swamped in a huge wave of a roar. Thank God they had no vuvuzelas!

Being back in PE also set me to thinking of my days in Arcadia when I had my own football team - unfortunately at the same time as Winnie Mandela had hers. The only Stompies we knew though were all those thrown from my Mazda 323, whilst driving down the highway loaded with at least 10 large football 'ouens'.

I wander where they all are now. They chose the Brazil strip as their own, and I spent many a Sunday morning watching them play Industrial League on that pitch at the Airport, now so bedecked with flags and a silver half skeleton of a football that lights up at night!
Ja, those were the days, inbetween riots, when I rode into Arcadia early on a Sunday to haul the boys out of bed, red eyed and 'getrek' or 'gerook' to come play football. I myself was pretty hung over some mornings, being single then, and out late myself on a Saturday night.

We watched quite a few games during our three days, enjoyed the Portuguese fans and the odd assortment of those supporting Ivory Coast, who, down at the beachfront were a motley crew of students, in various orange apparel. Fun, fun, fun - oh to be young!

We were happy to see the sun come out before we left, walking at Pipe, where the sea still belongs to only 10 surfers, and the water in winter is warmer than Kommetjie on a hot day! Memories, memories, for L and me, and as we wound through those lush hills around PE, where the horsey set live I felt at home. I remembered long outrides on horseback, down, through the bush to the beach, to gallop along the waters edge, white spray flying.

We spent hours exploring rock pools at Seaview, encountering Germans in yellow 'men at work' helmets, picking up shells. All gave a cheery wave.
We did not want to leave, the sun, the sea - and the good World Cup Vibe! Ho hum.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

World Cup Blues

We limped into the end of term like wounded soldiers, the survivors of a long hard battle. Our children were battle scarred too, after having written the first proper exams of their lives. We awaited their results with some trepidation, and the reports were a true reflection of their efforts. Where they had studied they did exceedingly well, where they had not the results were mediocre.

They have always been home schooled, and we never did exams, we hardly did tests. I don't personally think exams are a true test of knowledge, but there they are, in this reality. Sooner or later they confront us, to get that end of school certificate, to get that degree, to drive that car...

Our children opted out now and then over the three week exam period, seeming to want to ignore the whole thing, lazing on their beds reading Tintin, the afternoon before Biology, or playing touch rugby (Georgia) the afternoon before Social Science!

L and I freaked out - well, me mostly - the thought of failure appalls me, even making a phone call to the ex, to put extra pressure on. I wonder now what all the fuss was about - putting it all down to Joubertina cabin fever. My word, this town makes me lose perspective!

So, yes, off and out we went again, as soon as we could. Another day trip to PE. How I love taking that long road, between the two ranges of mountains. The children came with us this time, a little under duress, but I insisted that they needed to leave town. Signs of Langkloof Rust were beginning to show.

We found PE all abuzz with World Cup Fevah! Oh what joy. I perked up immediately, embarrassing my family by insisting on buying a South African Flag, to set it fluttering gaily from our car window.
In the Langkloof one has to search very hard for the faintest sign of anything to do with the World Cup. Some folk are downright anti the whole thing, refusing to show the slightest interest. Others seem to be of the opinion that football is only for one particular race group - of which they are not part! And then there are those who adore only rugby, and its as if by showing any enthusiasm for football they are being traitors - or worse.

Ho hum. It saddens my heart. We were so excited in PE that day, glimpsing something of the excitement still to come. We hung out at the beachfront, like we always do, eating those burgers from our childhood, and of cause, those choc dip ice creams that bring back so many memories.
We returned to Joubertina with a heavy heart, like a bunch of folk who knew that there was going to be a helluva party and they hadn't been invited.

The morning of the 11th dawned, to find me very glum. L had done his very best to get us hooked up to SABC 1 just for the games - with no success. I hung up my washing that morning with a heavy heart. Dumping the laundry basket and lamenting loudly that it seems to be my destiny to miss all the SA biggies. Overseas and just having given birth on the date of the first democratic elections. We travelled to Glasgow (it was my ex's first time to vote - ever!). It was cold, bleak and the polling station was empty. How we longed to travel to London - but it was too far, with a week old baby and a Cesarean scar. And then there was that great rugby world cup and we were still overseas - and now this!
Joubertina is worse - I wailed - worse that being in Great Britain.

But along came the Dominee - to the rescue - as he so often has done, during our life here. He was throwing a World Cup party at his house - hurrah!
Granted I probably knew the most about Footie than anyone there. But all were enthusiastic, engrossed , and yes, we even got to blow our vuvuzela and wave our flag! I felt tipsy on a couple of shandys, crisps and chicken pie, but we stayed late and went home happy, walking alone through the silent misty streets of Joubertina.

Over the next few days a few more flags came out, one or two vuvuzelas sounded in the distance. A platteland dorp might be the place to be for a couple of occasions, but a Football World Cup is not one of them.