With my long-time Kiwi mate, Kevin O’Connell, inbound from Down Under to Cape Town, about five hundred km away from my home in Haarlem, the family decided to make an expedition of the trip. On Friday 13 August 2010 we loaded our kit and then, lastly, Neil’s bike on the rack behind the Venture’s rear door. Sheila, her brother, Neil, and I set off early to cut across country via Carlitzdorp on the R62. On to Ladismith and Worcester to the N1, the main artery from the north. We arrived at nephew Andy Maling’s place in Durbanville before dark. It was a very pleasant family get-together braai.
Saturday dawned, mild to warm. Andy and Neil kept me company to fetch Kevin from the Cape Town International airport. He was looking very slim after his foot operation and needed a stick as he also had his knee replaced. I was surprised the airline allowed such a dangerous weapon on the flight. Back to Andy’s place to a great breakfast before going on to Tommy Maling, Sheila and Neil’s elder brother, in the village of Fish Hoek. We all went across the peninsula to Hout Bay to Fisherman’s Wharf for – you guessed – fish & chips. Back at Tommy’s, we beered late into the night.
Neil had one of his cycle trips in mind, so, leaving Sheila with Tom and his wife Shirley, Kevin, Neil and I headed east again on the Monday up Sir Laurie’s Pass to drop Neil off with a friend of his who lived near Hermanus where he would cycle from for the following week. Kevin and I returned home to Haarlem to show him around and for me to check on my building projects. In the next two days we sank a coupla slabs o’ piss, as they used to say Down Under. Probably still do, unless they have been drowned in Political Correctitude.
Wonderful thing, these forever friendships. I have been seriously blessed with quite a few.
We reminisced about our previous get-togethers: My visit to NZ – Godzone – and Kevin to Botswana and Warmbaths, as well as our mad times in London in 1969.
On the Wednesday 18 August in colder weather, Kevin and I set off back up the R62 to the old town of Montagu where we had an enjoyable evening and night in the Mystic Tin Backpackers.
On Thursday, sunny and mild, we headed to the beautiful orchard valleys and mountains of Ceres and then took backroads – mostly metalled – through the craggy Cedarberg mountains area to Clanwilliam where we were given a nice double room by Eric and Joan Lever, my old Botswana friends, who had a guest house there. Great to see them again and Kevin liked them, too.
The next day, we headed from Clanwilliam to Lamberts Bay, then Elands Bay, where we had some golden refreshment, to Picketburg and on down the M7 to Malmesbury where I took the R302 to Durbanville to once again stay with Andy & Colleen. Next day, after a wonderful breakfast with all the trimmings, I took Kevin to the airport and had a couple of parting beers before his flight was called. On to Fish Hoek where Sheila had been having a good time at sales and music/record shops. After overnighting there, with an early start we got to Neil’s friend in time for breakfast. We loaded Neil and his bike and set off home, arriving just after dark, all of us pleased to be back with our animals again.
Shortly after that, I was surfing the Net for family tree stuff, and came across an amazing coincidence – a relative of a relative of mine had a duel with an ancestor of Kevin O’Connell’s, more than a century ago!!