The Idler: The battle of Durban


nm Dixmude 2437.JPG

INLSA

LHD Diximude, a French Navy vessel that visited Cape Town, leaves the harbour this week. The 199m ship has a landing dock for six helicopters. Picture: BRENTON GEACH

Without getting into the wider issues of the taxi unrest, on one point the drivers are quite right. They are entitled to have their tickets made out to them in Zulu. In fact this coincides with a campaign I am launching to have traffic tickets – in fact any sort of correspondence between myself and council – made out in my own language.

This is of course, English, or Anglo-Saxon. But I insist on not this modern nonsense but the Anglo-Saxon of the 10th century. Consider these opening lines from the epic poem The Battle of Maldon.

… broken wurde

Het tha hyssa hwaene hors forlaten,

Feor afysan and forth gangan,

Hicgan to handum and to hige godum.

Yes, it looks a bit unfamiliar at first but soon enough you catch on – the fellows being told to let their horses go and so on. Anyway, that’s the tenor of my present discussion with the council over my rates valuation. The Battle of Maldon has nothing on this.

Let us insist on our language rights, our heritage. Hicgan to handum!

Point Yacht Club

A HUNDRED and twenty years ago last week, a group of men met on board the harbour tug Richard King to form the Point Yacht Club. It was announced in The Mercury of May 14, 1892.

This Friday there’s a big get-together of PYC folk at a dinner to celebrate the 120th anniversary.

The original PYC was in Hospital Road, in the Point area, and it moved to a spot on the Esplanade then to its present premises right on the water, initially built on pilings.

Initially the club was not allowed to have a bar, being on railway ground, but that anomaly has long since disappeared.

Members will gather in Charlie’s Bar before making their way to dinner at 7pm. Bookings: 031 301 4787.

Splice the mainbrace!

Rugby day

IT SEEMS last Saturday’s University of KwaZulu-Natal rugby day in Maritzburg in support of the Jes Foord Foundation (against rape) was a huge success.

Mark Schulze, one of the organisers, tells me the Varsity third team took the field to play Cedara only hours after having played a tough league match.

The UKZN Howard College team forfeited their usual colours to play in the lime green of the Jes Foord Foundation. Jes herself was touched.

Then came an astonishing gesture from the UKZN under 20 team. A former Varsity and Natal player was so impressed by their high spirits after the game, as they sang and were levied fines by an impromptu kangaroo court, that he made them a generous donation for beer money.

The team promptly donated the money to the Jes Foord Foundation.

The cash was handed over by the under 20 skipper, a man nicknamed “Chief”, who is from a disadvantaged background.

“This is a shining example to school, academy and university players in this country, who are sometimes so preoccupied with achievements, exposure and contracts, that they are losing the ethos of enjoyment, loyalty, team spirit and honour – the very qualities which underlie the point of sport,” says Mark.

He doesn’t tell us about the Cedara women’s side – the Boskatte – how they behaved. I think we should be told.

Tutti-frutti

A FRUIT hybrid so new it has yet to be named will be on sale in Britain from next week. Known for now as a “papple”, it looks and tastes like an apple but has the skin and texture of a pear.

Other fruit hybrids: Tangelo – a citrus hybrid of a tangerine and a grapefruit; Grapple – an apple specially treated to taste like grapes; Aprium – the complex crossing of a plum and an apricot; Orangelo – a cross between a grapefruit and an orange; Plumcot – another plum/apricot hybrid; Pineberry – a white-looking strawberry with flesh tasting of pineapple.

That’s nothing. Down at the Street Shelter for the Over-40s we’ve got the Pawpolive.

That’s a pawpaw that goes in the giant martini, in which they specialise.

Tailpiece

TARQUIN the twit meets a beautiful girl in the forest.

“Are you game?” he asks.

“Yes,” she says.

So he shoots her.

Last word

If we have learned one thing from the history of invention and discovery, it is that, in the long run – and often in the short one – the most daring prophecies seem laughably conservative. – Arthur C Clarke


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