There is a poem written by one of SA’s best poets, journalists, doctors and gourmands: C. Louis Leipoldt (1880 – 1947)
BOGGOM & VOERTSEK
(4 February 2017)
Leipoldt was known as an interesting and charming man. He had a fascination with nature (both animal and plant) and liked to challenge people’s life views via his writings.
It is known that his poems don't easily translate into English for their beauty, but we gave this poem our best shot.
It is the month of February and if ever you are lucky enough to be invited to Charley Cooper’s rally, do your best to attend.
This year’s rally was called the ‘Moerse Snaakse Koekiejannie* Rally’
*This is OBVIOUSLY not the word that Charley used
It was held down in Eastern Cape in the small town of Nieu Bethesda. We left at 4am to beat the traffic and get out of Sodom before the caging devils awoke.
It’s cold at 5am in the morning, but I caught the sun…
We hitched a lift with a trucker through the tollgate – TX bra!
We were lonely riders of the N1 with nothing but the morning rays keeping us company.
There was a quick stop for a veld tinkle, and NO… they do not have bog rolls in these longdrops next to the highway.
We met up with some rally tjommas on their way down. Icecreamman (Olivier Goor) was the first to pull over and share a quick warm-up Jack for the long road still ahead.
After Bloemfontein we decided to take the roads less travelled and GPSed a few agter paaie. But the GPS decided not to indicate the killer T-junction looming in the long grass, and by the time I realized the tar ended abruptly a few meters later (considering we were taking a leisurely 120km/h drive) I knew my brakes would never kick in in-time… I just had to see if I could turn this horse 90 degrees mid gallop.
Chikita had a 2 second delay as she was following me and all I heard behind me was anchors, screeching and maybe the faint whimper of a, ‘Oh vok’…
We missed the oncoming bakkies with a few meters but Chikita dropped down hard. I ran back to help her but she was up and pulling the bike out of the road before I could say, BLOOD…y…hell!
When she pulled her jeans up there was a rabbit hole down her knee. I promise you – I SAW CHINA!!! We both skrikked ourselfs boeglam.
We made it to the nearest hospital and reported to the trauma unit. They made her wait in the waiting room for an hour, by when I got fed-up and suggested one of two resolutions.
1. Either, you start screaming as-if your life depends on it.
2. Or, you take off your jean pants so they can see how bad your injury is.
Chikita decided to rather pull up the one leg, when the hole started up like an active volcano, oozing blood all over the furniture.
I casually glanced over to the receptionist and asked her if they maybe had a towel, as she was ruining their nice white reception area (NOTE: no matter how much sarcasm you use reading this – I USED MORE). Within 5 minutes there were at least 6 nurses and a doc and we finally got her ‘wrapped’ up.
You would think she would turn back home… You would think…
The mountains called, cowgirls don’t cry!
All through this ordeal I kept asking her if anything else hurts; if I could go buy her new jeans; if I could lend her some of MY jeans. But she kept saying she was fine… I was trying to assess if the cheek hanging out of the ripped jeans was another injury without raising alarm.
I eventually risked my life and told her that her bum was hanging out. The old couple with us in the waiting room just giggled… Luckily there were no extra roasties, but the redness around my neck should subside in a day or two.
Having lost a few hours to our day, we had to cut the rest of our trip short and decided on a short cut through some farms.
“Die kronkelpad van Kanniedood loop deur die biesiesvlei,
oor die bult waar, bont gekleur, die SEEROOGBLOMME bloei;”
Yes, yet another Leipoldt poem describing the colourful flowers of the Seeroogblom (Boophone disticha). The bulb’s poison can kill an ox, but the leaves are a good antiseptic. I tried to wrap some around Chikita’s knee, but the cow wouldn’t stand still…
The GPS said it was there…
…but it was the second time on this trip the GPS disappointed us.
At Smithfield we received a stern warning and decided to not tempt fate. We shared a packet of chips…
Our fuel lights came on and there was still about 30kilos left before we would find another petrol station. We slowed down, but a whip cracked us on to get out of the rain.
We got fuel and some spare sunlight for the last stretch to Nieu Bethesda.
Some of the other rallyists (Don’t know if that is a word? Spellcheck keeps suggesting ‘realist’ – BWHAHAHA!) caught up to us.
The last 20kays was dirt. It was like a sticky toffee pudding after a long day of riding and adventure. YUM!
The next morning started with a nice pot of tea, some scrambled eggs, and two codeines. Ready… set… GO!
The turn-off to Wapadsberg was a small dirt track that is not often used. We didn’t see a Soul or a Kia on this road.
It was a tit ride!!!
We found an old abandoned homestead…
Let’s rephrase ‘abandoned’…
From the sheep house to the Owl House.
This is a memorial site dedicated to Helen Martins (1897 – 1976), a recluse artist that had a fascination with colour, light, owls & camels.
She covered the inside walls of her house with ground glass and filled the outside yard with ‘biblical’ statues mostly facing east. They are actually facing south and when she realized this, she erected a sign on the southern fence:
We all create our own reality!
On the ceiling of her kitchen she painted a sun by using different coloured ground glass.
Best viewed from the floor…
There were a few tourists that turned and left as they entered the room. This is a strange and eerie place. Finding two women lying on the floor was maybe a bit much for them.
The Honeymoon room in her house has two single beds divided by a ginormous wardrobe, because Miss Helen believed, “…love is always kept apart.”
We had a quick catch-up beer with some of the boys. I really only get to see these guys once every few years. I love them much!
We left them discussing plumbing and other pipely activities.
We had a set to catch – a sunset!
On the outskirts of Graaff-Reinet is the Valley Of Desolation.
Sheer cliffs and precariously balanced columns of Dolerite rise 120 metres from the valley floor, against the timeless backdrop of the vast plains of the Camdeboo. This is the product of volcanic activity and erosive forces over 100 million years.
We were joined by a TV crew that brought their own rainbow, though I think they stole the pot…
Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.
Queen Day dropped a blank canvas and pinned it with a star. We sat there dreaming of her next appearance and what adventures she held.
By the time we left, the gate was locked and the guards left their post. But these chickens get out of most situations unscathed (I used the word ‘most’). There was a pedestrian gate around the corner that wasn’t locked. Just big enough to squeeze our pegs through.
The moon escourted us home. Hoping that time would slow down; we stopped in the middle of the road and lay between our bikes staring up at the moonshadow.
We left the next morning on a route the locals tried to discourage us from taking. The road is too rocky… The road is washed away… Too many gates… I’m so glad we never listen.
We found Artax and he was ALIVE!!! Never give up – EVER!
The Camdeboo came to life as Queen Sun crept up from under her blanket. We were ushered by cows, white poeffie clouds of sheep, a very demurred secretary bird, mischievous yellow mongooses, three nervous silver back jackal, a stately kudu herd, holderstebolder meerkats and giant sized partridges… oh wait… those were ostriches!
Double double toil and trouble
The cauldron of clouds were on the bubble
We found Ararat!!! It’s just north of the Gariep dam.
We were hoping for a quick dop at the Royal Hotel in Bethulie, but sadly the hotel was closed. We got some sneak kiekies through a back window of the dining area. The owner, Anthony Hocking, ‘painted’ the walls with book shelves containing over 30 000 books and 80 000 vinyls.
The crowd at the back were very friendly and inviting.
Re tlo ‘BANANA’ gape, PrettyBoy!
We took a drag race over the SECOND longest bridge in South Africa just outside of Bethulie: the Hennie Steyn Bridge. It is 1.152 kilometres long and Chikita beat me by a short neck.
A rearing horse is a happy horse!
On each quest we ride closer to our own mortality, maybe in pursuit of an answer to the meaning of it all. But as we discover our own senseless lives, we know that what really counts is the friendship we have and the moments we share. It means nothing to else, but to us it is life.
BOGGOM & VOERTSEK
NEW VERSE 1
Boggom and Voertsek lived to ride hills
Paused solely for Jack and some hot chocolate thrills
One emergency-braked, the other one bled
’No Guts No Glory’ the medics declared
NEW VERSE 2
Boggom and Voertsek drifted vast wilderness
‘longside mozzies and cats and funny D!cksheads
Found magic in small towns where kindness exists
Sunsets and laughter – their best favourite meds
NEW VERSE 3
Boggom and Voertsek told the moon dirty jokes
With blinding-flash selfies, eternal friendship pacts
Branded outrageous and silly lost folks
They vanished again via mud-misty tracks
NEW VERSE 4
Boggom and Voertsek died ever-unyielding
And the poor world limps frantically on
Their wild moments, then, meant everything
And now they matter but none
Thanks to Jolandi Mentz for the Leipoldt translation & for the photos!
CHIKITA PRODUCTIONS PRESENT:
Boggom and Voertsek rides and rides and rides! The sun rises… the sun sets… and they keep riding. They bleed… it storms… and they keep riding. They wheelie… they visit sheep… and they keep riding. Ride with us!
Your ‘honesty’ will help secure a new foot peg and bandages for one cripple chicken. You don’t want her to limp forever, do ya?!?
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The original poem can be found here: http://maroelamedia.co.za/afrikaans/gedigte/gedig-boggom-en-voertsek/
For the English version, read this newsletter again!