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Aug '09

Day 18: Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Posted by steve@buddyandme.co.za

Categories: Buddy and Me

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So I suppose you have all been wondering what has happened to ‘Buddy and Me’. It’s obvious from all the e-mails I have been receiving from all around the country, that my blog/daily diary is now officially the countries new ‘Soapie’, because due to “work pressure” I was unable to send my daily e-mail/diary/blog through to Gail for posting onto the blog last night and this morning on checking my e-mail discovered that I had received a whole herd of e-mails asking why my blog had not been posted. One e-mail even said “I headed home after a hard days work and was looking forward to the latest episode of ‘Buddy and Me’ and after staying up, waiting in anticipation, nothing happened”. So I apologise for having delayed the sending but it was for a good reason which I will explain in a few minutes.

Monday night I attended the Empangeni Round Table meeting. Quite a ‘formal’ affair but it was conducted in a humorous manner, exactly as I have come to know this crazy bunch. I was presented with an Empangeni Round Table ‘Pin’ (lapel badge) and then came the big ceremony, ‘my induction as an official member of the Buffalo Club’. After being pinned with another ‘pin’ (lapel badge which is a small buffalo, I was read the rules:

  1. You may only drink with your left hand
  2. You may be Buffalo’d without a badge, but you must be wearing a badge to buffalo someone else.
  3. You may not deliberately Buffalo yourself
  4. Your membership is for life
  5. Use the Buffalo Greeting when greeting fellow Buffaloes (see picture)
  6. The wording after being Buffaloéd is; “That was most reasonable, thank you”
  7. The seventh rule is the ‘unwritten rule and that is; The person buffaloing you, which results in you having to down the drink in your hand, must buy you another drink; hence rule number 3.


Empangeni Round Table group

Empangeni Round Table group

Round Table 'secret greeting'

Round Table

So to start with, yesterday I left Richards Bay on a bright sunny morning and headed for Dundee to attend the Beares Senior Executive Management and Regional Managers conference. It sounds like a bunch of larnies and yes, it was. Soon after setting off the wind started howling and while driving through the absolutely beautiful and hilly area to Melmoth, Buddy was almost blown right off the road and over the edge, with a very steep drop-off on my left side. I must admit I got a bit of a skrik! But after four hours and having taken the Vryheid road as opposed to the Babanango road (the name was enough to scare me) I arrived in Dundee four and a half hours later with 294 kilometres under Buddy’s belt. Buddy is not exactly the Ferrari of Beach Buggies.

The conference took quite a bit longer than the Beares people anticipated, hell these guys really work on their conferences, not like a few I have witnessed, and so I only got to speak my piece at around 6:30. When I walked across the floor to start my talk, I felt all these eyes on me and thought, “Now Steve don’t do your usual stunt and talk until breakfast, these guys and ladies have really been drilled today and can’t wait to get some supper in their stomachs and a couple of ales to wash it down”, and so I did what I thought was enough, most people would say I still spoke the hind leg off the donkey, but Beares Marketing Executive, Andrea Bell stood up and said “Come on Steve don’t let them off so easily, usually you never stop talking”, and so ‘dragged more info out of me. I must admit I was pretty astounded at how attentive all these people were; even after having spent the entire day being grilled about, “ Bottoms lines, merchandising, GP’s” and God knows what other business and financial strategies they discussed.

Then came the reason for my not having e-mailed my blog for posting onto the blog, ‘The socialising’, and this proved to be very interesting. I got to talk about my fight child rape crusade ten times more than I had in my talk in the conference and then the interesting part happened. I was sharing a room with the regional manager from Botswana named Yame, and because he had had a particularly tiring day having flown from Gaborone to Johannesburg that morning and then driven to Dundee, and had a gruelling day in the conference, he was particularly tired, and of course a couple of whiskeys helped him along to retiring earlier than everyone else. Unfortunately when he entered the room and fell into a dead sleep he forgot to remove the key from the key hole. This of course resulted in a major problem for me when I retired from the ‘socialising’ to the room and tried to get my key in the key hole. To cut a long story short, after almost everyone had tried to wake Yame by banging on the windows and glass door to no avail, we eventually discussed the problem with the Lodges staff and a unanimous decision was made. Because the lodge was fully booked – no other rooms available – one of the staff was appointed to smash the small window of the door. This action subsequently woke Yame and he was at the door in a flash. He then spent the next 15 minutes apologising for having made a booboo, and the apologies continued this morning from the time he opened his eyes.

Beares Senior Management Conference.  Yame (front, second from right)

Beares Senior Management Conference. Yame (front, second from right)

So this morning, immediately after breakfast, I bid my farewells to the great Beares people and headed out on the road towards Vryheid and on to Ulundi to visit the Beares store there. I had been forced to miss the Ulundi and Eshowe stores when Buddy had developed his electrical ‘alternator’ problem in Stanger last week and I was determined that I would not miss any store, no matter what the consequence. When I drove out of the Battlefields Country Lodge in Dundee it was freezing. There was a howling wind blowing which made matters even worse and by the time I arrived in Vryheid I was good and solidly frozen; even Buddy refused to warm up and it took about 15 minutes of driving very slowly to warm him up.

I had a relatively quiet day at Ulundi and I was quite happy with this because it gave me an opportunity to chat to the staff about the campaign and explain what is expected of them with respect to passing on the ‘word’ about my web-site and to get all their clients, family and friends to log onto the site; hopefully we will get a response from Oprah or Charlize Theron soon – my two favourite ladies since Princess Diana died – and they will hopefully donate one US Dollar for every time my book is downloaded with all the income being donated to the Teddy Bear Clinic, Bobbi Bear Foundation/Clinic and TygerBear Clinic. (If anyone has an e-mail contact address for these two ladies please forward it to me).

Staff - Ulundi

Staff - Ulundi

Then I headed for Eshowe. This drive was a particularly gruelling one. The wind was howling, it was freezing and the clouds were closing in, indicating an imminent storm. At Eshowe, the store manager Lindani did something that absolutely floored me. He had had only a few minutes prior notice of my intended visit to the store and he still pulled out all the stops and arranged for a mass of people to be at the store within minutes of my arrival. These included people from the police, a local radio station who did a recorded interview with me and the local press, as well as a few other ladies from various institutions. I was in my element talking to all these people, including all the staff who were seated around me listening to my talk. And I received some good feed-back on the situation in the Eshowe area, particularly from the police and from a couple of ladies who arrived late, but that’s for later. A really great ending to what had been a tiring day.

Eshowe staff and guests

Eshowe staff and guests

So having arrived back home (home is where I sleep for the night and in this particular instance is the home of Richard and Nicola Stone, Chairman of Round Table Empangeni and his wife) I indulged in a relaxing shower and settled down to answer a ton of e-mails, most of which are from people I have never met or heard of, which is fantastic, had a lovely supper prepared by Nicola and am now trying diligently to up date my blog.

There is one thing I must do, and that is provide the details of the Empangeni Round Tables stage show to be held soon. People, these amazing folk of Empangeni Round Table have been planning and practicing for this show for the past 6 months.

So this is the Empangeni Round Table annual stage show which is a spoof play entitled ‘CSI-Neverland’ and is a mix between the CSI – TV show and Peter Pan.
The venue is the Empangeni Civic Centre
The date is the 9th September to the 12th September 2009
The cost of the tickets: R950-00 per table of 10 or R110-00 per person
The cast and production staff all consists of Empangeni Round Tablers and their wives, and boy can they entertain!
For booking or enquiries please contact Richard on 082 804 6502 or richardstone@mweb.co.za

So having spent enough time catching up on my last two days activities, I’m sure you are tired of reading and so will continue with the child rape stats and details tomorrow.

So until tomorrow, keep your feet on the ground and reach for the skies.
Caring regards
Buddy and Me

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