Downtime in the Karoo

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farm cricket
An old Wanderers stalwart becomes an avid fan of farm cricket.
The few Jo’burg friends I have left in this life often wander what the hell it is I do for fun down here in the Karoo. So here – especially for them – is my Downtime Activity Report from the last few years. Of late, I have:

  1. Photographed tigers. Too marvellous. Scored a special photo shoot at John Varty’s Tiger Canyons outside Philippolis and enjoyed every hairy little second of the experience;
  2. Photographed snow. For three concurrent seasons, Ryno Ferreira from up the road has picked me and my cameras up in his Land Rover Defender and crunched up mountain passes so I can capture the white stuff in full glorious bloom;
    tigers 1
    Tiger close-up photography really focuses the mind.
  3. Become a Big-Time Festino. We’ve been to them all a number of times: The Grahamstown Arts Festival, the Williston Winter Festival, The Hansa Fish River Canoe Marathon, anything ever staged by the people of Nieu-Bethesda – the list continues over the horizon;
  4. Watched farm cricket. Much more fun than The Wanderers. Cricket on Prior Grange Farm near Springfontein is the best way to spend a Saturday;
  5. Walked German Shepherds. That’s right. Our dog TwoPack and his parents Shadow and Roxy and his friend Nuka, we take them to the Cradock golf course every morning;
    dogs 1
    Every morning’s delight – Jules and the Shepherds on the golf course.
  6. Played lounge guitar with Rod Dry from the Silver Creek Mountain Band. He lives in Bathurst these days, but we spirit him up whenever we can and the home-gig is on;
  7. Watched an awful lot of Channel One – the Fireplace Channel. In deep winter, glass of red wine, supper on the go and fire crackling in the hearth;
  8. Rail Surfed @ Putsonderwater Station. We never pass on an opportunity to visit this legendary ghost station and surf on the long-dead rails. Somehow, it has become a very important thing to do;
  9. Attended a Bull Auction in the mountains. Our neighbour Wally Schulze is a Cradock lawyer and a Tarkastad farmer at the same time. He took me to an auction near Lady Grey where they lunch on steaks as big as TV trays;
    railsurf 2
    Forget the bright lights of London or New York City – give me the rusty rails of Putsonderwater instead…
  10. Become a 2nd hand book-shopper. Jules and I know every little bookshop from Cradock to Calvinia and beyond. And we know the movements of every Lawrence Green book, especially the one entitled Karoo.

I haven’t been near a boardroom or a bank manager in a very long time. And most things I do here, I do with Julienne, my best friend and wife.

I’m really not sure any of the above Bucket List ‘ticks’ will make me any richer, healthier or more successful in anyone else’s eyes. But ‘The Happy’? This, here in the Karoo, is where ‘The Happy’ lives…

This guy at AfrikaBurn is Karoo Downtime personified.

One thought on “Downtime in the Karoo

  1. John Walton says:

    Hi there. I used to go to the Karoo when I was a kid. An uncle had a farm near Hanover Road, Sterk Fontein, an aunt ran the weather station at VanVyks Vlei. Loved it. Used to truck that route Dbn to CT- great memories. What caught my eye was that you played with Rod Dry. would love to get in touch with him. Tell him Tex from Durbs says Hi. Cheers

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