My new itinerary to the end of the South African leg…. Namibian and Botswana legs to follow shortly.
To watch Buddy and Me in real time click here, select South Africa under “Global Fleet Logins:” in the left hand panel, enter cellphone number 0822549129 and password Buddy.
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This morning I was up, showered, packed and finished breakfast and was on the road to Hartswater by 7:30am. One look at the thermometer told me I was in for a real scorcher of a day; the temperature at that stage was already 24.3 degrees and climbing. My route to Hartswater took me north to Warrenton where I branched off to the left and continued through Jan Kempdorp and into Hartswater where I arrived in a sweltering heat of 32 degrees at 10 minutes to 10 in the morning.
My first stop, naturally, was the Beares store where even inside the store it was stinking hot. The store manager, Antonio Labate, was out at the time on business and so after greeting all the staff I made a visit to the local police station to see if I could learn anything about the child rape situation in the small town of Hartswater. This proved to be a bit of a waste of time, as I presumed it would be, because on asking the cop on duty if there was anybody specialising in the investigation of child rape, and from the look on his face I realised that he had no idea what I was talking about and went on to explain, drawing mental pictures for him, to which he responded, “no we don’t have such things happening in this town”. I then asked what must have been a stupid question, “Do you have any NGO’s or organisations like welfare that provided support for child rape victims in Hartswater? To which he responded with a look that told me he was really irritated by this dumb question after having told me that they do not experience such things as child rape in this town, and said “No”. Wow after all my travelling I have eventually found Utopia! No child rape to be found in this town! But I took this comment with a touch of salt and decided that there would be nothing gained by continuing the conversation and left.
On arriving back at the Beares store, I contacted the local Round Table and Michael Donaldson told me that he would meet me at the Beares store and that I could follow him to where we would be meeting other Tablers for lunch. While waiting for Michael to arrive, Antonio arrived and we reminisced about our last meeting almost four years ago when he was employed at the Beares store in Schweizer Reneke and was standing in for the manager Abraham who was on leave at the time. Antonio and his wife Leande had kindly invited me to spend the evening with them and so this time insisted that I do the same again.
The lunch “chat” with the Round Tablers proved to be the usual Round Table “chat” which went on from 11:30 till 5pm. I enjoyed a great steak and naturally many frosties were consumed.
Fixed to the wall in the restaurant is a sign which I found very amusing – the manager of the place could not understand why I was amused by it – read it and see if you can understand my amusement.
At 5 o’clock I returned to the Beares store to say goodbye to the really great friendly staff and to meet up with Antonio and Leande so that they could show me the way to their house where I was going to spend the evening.
The trip out to where Antonio and Leande stay on a farm, which is situated about ten kilometres out of town in a really quiet and peaceful environment, involved a gravel road which caused Buddy to moan and groan incessantly but was through some lush green Lucerne fields and in-spite of the rattling and squeaking being made by Buddy, we both thoroughly enjoyed the drive. The evening was spent sitting outside in the cool night air braaing and enjoying more than a few cold Millers. Fortunately the heat of the day which at one stage had reached a sweltering 40 degrees, dissipated and the evening turned out to be really enjoyable. Antonio and Leande acquired two Jack Russell puppies a few weeks ago, named Boesman and Zack and these two little puppies absolutely stole my heart, you have to admit they are really cute.
When the Round Tablers heard that Hartswater is my last town, Beares store and Round Table on this leg of the project and the fact that I intended stopping off probably at Bloemhof where I intend camping, fishing and resting up for a few days before heading back to the madhouse of Jo’burg, they contacted a guy by the name of Edward Londt who owns ‘Die Oord” resort which is situated a kilometre or so down stream from the Bloemhof Dam wall and arranged for three nights camping for me.
So on Saturday morning, without any further ado ‘Buddy and Me’ took to the road again and headed for Bloemhof. I was told that major road works are currently being undertaken on the Jan Kempdorp – Christiana – Bloemhof road and taking this route could take me half the day to reach Bloemhof and so I took the recommended route via Taung – Manthestad – Tweelingstad – Avondster – Schweizer Reneke – Koosfontein and finally Bloemhof. The trip covered a distance of 162 kilometres and took ‘Buddy and Me’ three and a quarter hours to complete, but I must admit we stopped a couple of times to cool off with some cold orange juice and had a really leisurely trip.
So now we are settled in our camp, I’m enjoying a cold beer, and Buddy is just resting up, watching and enjoying the tranquillity of the Vaal River water and waiting anxiously for me to catch that ‘big one’I have been telling him about so often during our many lonely hours on the road, but which I have not yet caught.
And so that brings an end to the first leg of this project. Beares stores are really busy during the festive season and so a decision was made to shelve the project until the 4th January 2010 when ‘Buddy and Me’ will be returning to the Mpumalanga region where we were forced, due to Buddy’s serious illness during the last week of September, to postpone our visits to the Klipfontein, Witbank, Middleburg, Belfast, Kriel, Bethal and Secunda stores. So on the 4th of January we will start the next leg by visiting those stores and then continue with the Bloemfontein store. Check out our adjusted itinerary which is available on the website to see when we will be in your area and hope you can pop in and say hello to us at the Beares or Lubners store near you.
So from ‘Buddy and Me’ we would like to wish everyone a merry, blessed and safe Christmas and a very prosperous New Year for 2010. So keep well, keep safe and above all keep all children safe, especially over the festive period.
Special wishes for the festive period go to all the friendly management, staff and their families of Beares and Lubners as well as all the Round Tablers in South Africa. ‘Buddy and Me’ look forward to seeing you all in the new year.
Caring regards from
Buddy and Me (Steve Heath)
To assist with Buddy’s medical aid (recouping the R9 960.00 spent on repairs to engine and installation of new gearbox, starter motor and front suspension), please make a deposit into the following account:
|Acc name:||Buddy and Me|
|Acc number:||622 327 236 78|
|Ref:||Buddy’s medical aid|
All assistance, no matter how small, is greatly appreciated. Any excess collected above the necessary amount, will be donated to the three organisations involved in the project, namely The Teddy Bear Clinic, Bobbi Bear Foundation and The TygerBear Clinic.
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