Friday, November 19, 2010
Ermelo to Lydenberg
Oh yes. My big surprise in Ermelo. Well if you been on face book you know already but this is what happened.
I was lying on my bed having a rest when there was a knock at my door and Lin , the owner of the owner of the guest house where I was staying said I should open . A bit annoyed by her insistent tone I went to the door and pulled it open. Well I would never have thought but standing there was... my Mom and her good friend Margaret Swift. It was a great surprise and made my day. We had a great lunch at the Dro’s (mine was on the house, thanks to Gerrie the manager). Then a couple beers and we ended up for a hunger busta burger at the spur for dinner.
The next morning I was off to and early start and on my way to Chrissiesmeer. As I came over the one hill I heard dogs barking and looked ahead of me and saw a terrifying site. Nine stray looking dogs, the same type the locals use for hunting were charging down the hill at full speed towards me. I grabbed my stick and clutched my trusty pepper spray and readied my self of the imminent attack. When they were about 100 m from me 4 of the dogs diverted off the road and into the field and the other 5 just kept coming.
Ready …steady ( phew , at least I had the Rabies injection ) and then they upon me but they did not even slow down and just kept going straight past me and up the hill behind me . What and absolute relief that was.
I arrived in Chrissiesmeer and it was raining. I stopped at the first coffee shop that I got to which also happened to be the tourist information centre and was treated to an interest and embellished history lecture of Chrissiesmeer while I enjoyed my coffee. Father Christmas, the history lecturer, was very entertaining and my stop was well worth the time I spent their. I later found out that farther Xmas real name s actually Ben. He told of mysterious moving rocks, frogs, flowers and indigenous Bushmen. The history of the giants (yes Giants, he has a picture of a skeleton of one and the rock art from forgot times gone by.
I headed out of town and thanks to a local fellow Koos, was able to get a lift to the guest house I was staying at, Florence Guest farm, as it was in the opposite direction to where I was going. There I met Ane’ and Nico. The name Ane’ sounded familiar but I did not think trice about it until Nico mentioned a guy who was going to Jerusalem a stopped by a couple of years ago. I then new exactly who they were. There was a French couple who walked to Jerusalem too, Alec and Sonja. They had also stayed at Nico and Ane’, in there book they referred to a guy who was ahead of them, and now I know his name, Stephen.
They were great hosts and the house they live in is stunning. I loved it.
I learned a tragic but beautiful story about Chrissiesmeer while I was there.
During the Boer war a British soldier was killed and buried in the local Cemetery. His name was Lt Andrew Swanson , The year after he died in October a small box arrived at the Chrissiesmeer post office with a short note saying that the sprig of heather in the box was please to be placed on his grave and it had been sent by the Fiancé’ that he had left behind in Scotland . This continued to arrive every year until 1950 when the box arrived in October as usual but the note said that because she was now 80 years old they were moving here to an old age home so this would be last sprig of heather that she would be sending.
After 1950 the children from the primary school would go to the grave every October and sing “My bonnie lies over the ocean “.
Chrissiesmeer to Carolina
I left Chrissiesmeer at about 6 am and started out for Carolina, within the first km I caught up with 4 young black guys walking in the same direction as me. I greeted as I went past and the one guy, Aaron, picked up his pace and walked with me. He told me all about his family, his 1 year old baby, his father who works on a local farm etc.
I asked where he was walking too and he told me that he is on his way to work at the charcoal manufacturing farm. He explained that some days they get a lift if they lucky but most days they walk.
So it turns out the its 9 km there and 9 km back every day 5 days a week to earn R50.00 per day unless it rains then there is no work .
We parted ways and I kept on my way to Carolina. Carolina came and went with out much ado. I stayed at the Fairview guest farm where Christine that kitchen lady took great care of me. There was a power outage at about 6 pm, so it was an early night and the rain poured all night
Carolina to Belfast.
The run to Belfast form Carolina started out well and then just deteriorated in to a slog that I wanted to get over and done with because my left foot was very sore. I got and sms from a friend for work, Shireen, saying she hoped I was having a good day. This brought a smile to my face and cheered me up because I was probably having one of my worst days, but then as it may be a sign was sent to me, almost like a gift and as I looked up a beacon of hope brought a smile to my lips and all my negativity from the bad day was gone.
At first I was not sure, a mirage perhaps but no, I was correct, it was a sign of hope and it said “Engen one stop, Wimpy “.
While I was there I met Gert Jordan, who is involved with the n4 toll road and we started chatting. He told me how he believed that I only could have got this far safely because God had been watching over me and he believed that I will remain safe as this is what God wanted. We chatted for a while and just before I was leaving he gave me a couple of rands for me to get a burger or something for myself.
I entered Belfast and found the Owl and Trout guest house where Janet and Julian Hendrikz had offered me accommodation for the night; this was thanks to Sylvia the local lady in the Belfast tourism office who had kindly assisted to find me places in Belfast and Dullstroom.
I heard that in Belfast there had been 3 Boer concentration camps and according to the map the one, Camp 3, was fairly close to where I was staying so I headed out to find the original site of this camp. It proved to be a bi harder than I thought as no one really new what I was talking about but after listening to Janet’s instructions and asking a lot of question I eventually found it, Strangely (I use the word strangely because I don’t really know the proper use of the word ironically .. hehe) to the plot where it is houses the local Belfast orphanage and the staff working there did not seem to know that the grounds had once been a concentration camp.
Belfast to Dullstroom
After the really bad day yesterday to was a dream day. It was going to be a short day only 33km but I took the road to Spionkop instead of Dullstroom and had to back track and in doing so added about 6km to my day but it still went really well. It rained the whole way but the new pram cover that my mom had given me kept everything dry and I put my rain coat on before I left.
I cruised into Dullstroom well before lunch and headed for Peebles guest lodge, which Sylvia had arranged for me. Mike, the owner met me and was a great host, his place has 5 stars so I was in an environment where I had not been before and it was very fancy and enjoyable. Although the rooms, grounds, builds etc were all stunning the thing that struck me the most was that fact that the rose that was left on the bed for new guest had the most amazing scent.
4 of the managers from CEB showed in Dullstroom to have lunch with me.
Schalk, Tanya, Pierre and “Thomas” (well Thomas is not really his name but I thought would protect this identity).
We had a great lunch and enjoy a couple of beers and then Thomas did a handing over ceremony of the chocolates they had bought for me. One at a time with a hand shakes after each one. There were about 15 so it did take a while.
Later I went back to Peebles and enjoy the use of the Spa which really made me feel pretty good.
Dullstroom to Lydenberg
I setoff in the rain at about 5:30 am and did the first 27 km in about 3:30 at which point I got to the farm of Frans and Lorna where I was going to stay . I went in introduced my self to Frans and had a sandwich and some water. I then for only the second time in 48 days abandoned my pram and headed out with my day pack to complete the last 27 km to Lydenberg. Running with out the pram was really quite strange. I enjoyed the run tremendously. When I got to Lydenberg I went to the Vroutjies coffee shop and had a Muffin and coffee while waiting for Frans to collect me to take me back to his farm. The owner very kindly ended up donating the coffee and muffin.
I went back to Frans and met the family, Lorna his wife, Franco and Lorrian there children and Charlotte a blind lady they care for.
My rest day is here so I will fill in more details when I write again.