Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Middleburg to Aliwal North,
As I was coming into Middleburg a red 4x4 pulled up ahead of me a very presentable Italian looking fellow got out and came walking over to me and asked what I was up to .
I explained what I was busy with and he then told me that he was scouting some of the small towns in the karoo looking to buy a house to be converted into a women’s shelter for abuse women.
After chatting for a while he whipped some money out his wallet and suggested I have a good meal and with that he was gone.
Big thanks to my mystery Italian Giovanni Camaleri.
I headed into town and met with the local newspaper lady who is 82 years old, she made some tea and we had a good chat about nothing in particular, I suspect t that she is a lot sharper than people think. After that I headed down to the town hall to see the local art exhibition which proved to be quite interesting. Lynden Lund had some great paintings and Rob Southey had some spectacular photo scenes from the Karoo around middle berg .
There an artist who did some stunning Pewter work as I well.
I then went to the home of Kappie and Belinda Greef where i woul due staying that night . Belinda made a superb meal for both lunch and supper and I was thrilled to be there guest . Just before sunset I went on a tour of the town with Kappie . We visited the Grootfontien Agriculture College which was a British garrison during the Boer war . Judging by the grave stones you had more chance of surviving if you were off fighting some where rather than standing guard because the number of graves for guy’s killer don guard duty by lighting strikes is quite high .
I left early the next morning and headed for the place called Schoombie , , well actually my destination was just after Schoombie at a place called Teebus on the farm of Jannie and Alet Zwiegers . I was told there would be no signal on the road except at the tennis club in Schoombie . The run was pretty good and the 50km to Schoombie went very well and I arrive there at about 12pm . The plan was to call Jannie and he would come and get me but I decided that it would be better to push on the road by his farm and made an arrangement to meet them there at 1:30 pm . The 7 kms went quite well and it started raining as I got to the lucerendale road .
I was sitting in a rusty iron box waiting for Jannie when a Bakkie pulled up with two beer drinking smoke blowing characters . One lent out the window and asked " Are you the f..ing nut who's on his way to Kili ." and then he packed up laughing . They got out and introduced themselves , Andre and Van Eck . Van eck was Jannie's brother and Andre was his friend .
We headed back to the farm and on arrival had a black label .
Al little later Jannie arrived I could see he was not too thrilled with his brothers antics but let it go . We enjoyed a great lunch .
later I met Alet , Jannie's wife and I helped her and Jannie bottle feed the lambs .
We braai'd and Jannie’s father Morris , told some good stories about stock theft and banditry in the Karoo.
I left the next morning and enjoy a cool overcast run into Steynsberg and enjoyed the short day of 35 km .
I was met in Steynsberg by Rob Van kerkhof , his wife Sally and Mike Wink . Mike gave me a superb boerewors roll and a Rob sorted out a lovely cold coke from the local shop keeper .
I went with rob and Sally to their house . You have never seen a neater house in your life and Robs Pc's was super duper and lightning fast . my Garmin was full so I was able to download the Tcx files off my watch and save them on a flash drive .
Sally made enough food to feed and army of runners and I t was a welcome meal . The spare bearings for my pram had arrived but the old ones are still holding out so I just packed them as spares for the future .
Sally and Rob packed me a meal for the road that was fit for a king . .
I left before 5 am the following morning as I had 70 km to cover to Burgersdorp but I had seen a short cut that would hopefully take 10 or more km's off me route .
Well it turned out hat the route was shorter but it took 11hours to cover the 65 km for the day . some due to loose sand on the road but a lot due to me just be slow and lazy .
Just before I hit the short cut an emerald Uno pulled up and a gentle man introduced himself as Willie Coetsee and his wife gave me an enegrade . they were the parents of the people I would see in Aliwal north in a couple of days . I recalled seeing the Uno twice before , Once near Middle berg and once in steyns berg . They confirmed this as they had waved at me at the time .
After the short cut , I had about 20 km left to go and a white car stopped and asked how I was doing as Rob in Steynberg had told them to look out for me ,
I headed on and with about 12 km to go I was really tired and just wanted the day to end . the same white car showed up again and the lady , Joey , ask if I would mind writing for notes to each of Sally's grandchildren in New Zealand . I obliged although I think my note were rather short and my writing was more horrific than normal . Joey then said she was going to go back to Burgersdorp and fetch me a coke . I half heartedly argued about this but was really grateful when she sped off towards Burgersdorp.
Joey returned when I had 8 km to go and she had brought company . her Daughter Antoinette and her friend Adele , jumped out the car and announced that they would accompany for the last bit into town . My mood lifted instantly . here I was strolling along in the middle of nowhere with two beautiful young ladies as my companions . The y told me everything and anything that there was to know about Burgersdorp and mad e the last 8 km so entertaining that before I knew it we were in town .
they took me right up to the door of the people where I was staying and that ended my 11 hour 65 km day . Thanks Joey , Thanks Antoinette and Adele.
Christine and Nico we great hosts they had been expecting me a lot earlier and had already finished having a bray when I arrived . NIco is an n ex Para bat and enjoys all things that involve physical effort . I was exhausted so did not chat long and headed for and early night . I left the next morning at 5 am with 56km to get to Aliwal North . After about 10km ,nico came whizzing past me on his racing bike as he is training for a cycle event . Flip sake he can go fast . I had left my jacket at his house and he called Christine and she brought it too me .
I arrive in Aliwal at just after 12 midday .