Month: May 2014

Look up, it’s a classic

This fine morning, while waffling away, I heard a sound that triggered my memory. The sound of prop driven engines, not quite at Dakota level, but different enough to make me grab my camera and run outside. I do this on a regular basis, and some of my other pics are to be found at a blog post I made last year. In fact, looking at the date of that blog post (18 May 2013), this happened just over a year later. 
 
There she was, a 4 engine relic from the past, and from what I could see she was sporting SAA colours too. 

The aircraft is a DC4 Skymaster, ZS-AUB “Outeniqua”, and she is one of the few airworthy Skymasters in the world. It is amazing to see and hear oldies like this, they are becoming increasingly more rare as time passes, and this beaut graced my camera by making two circuits around the West Rand. She was delivered to SAA on 10 May 1946.

I don’t know if this is a regular occurrence, but for me it is definitely a rare bird. The last time I saw a Skymaster in flight was in 1981 while I was in the border.

  And then she was gone, an aircraft from the days when airlines still cared for their passengers.

Wow! what a score, so very different from the Boeing 777 and Airbus A380 I will fly on when I leave South Africa on Thursday.

DRW © 2014-2019. Images recreated 17/04/2016


14 Months ago

It is 14 months since I last stepped on South African concrete/grass/tar/dogpooh, and as I write this I have been back here for 2 days. The flights were long; 15 hours in the air and a 4 hour layover at Dubai. I don’t have jetlag, but am just a bit tired.

My flights were not too strenuous, and I managed to catch up on a number of movies that I had missed. The weather was great although it was clouding when I left Salisbury, and once we were over the clouds the sky was clearer 🙂

I have to admit landing at OR Tambo was a strange feeling because it has been so long. Kudos to the airport staff for being as friendly as ever, and very quick formalities. By 12H00 I was on my way to where I was staying for these few days.

I have a number of reasons why I am here, I do want to settle some of my affairs, and dispose of some of my stuff, as well as visiting family and friends. My mother, who is 84, is still doing well, but I do fear that her neighbours drive her somewhat batty. Oddly enough I still know how to drive, even though I had last done so 14 months ago. But the extremely controversial tolling of our ring road is driving many people deeper into poverty, heavy vehicles onto suburban roads, bird flipping at toll gantries and a lot of ill feeling with the residents and motorists. Johannesburg has always had very bad traffic, and it is still bloody awful, but then I have seen bad driving in the UK too, although they do tend to stick to speed limits and obey traffic signs, something that they do not do in South Africa. 
 
This morning I went to visit my mother and we went to a local eatery (no names, no packdrill). R133 for 2 breakfasts, a cup of tea and a milkshake. I was shocked. I was equally shocked when I went to the local purveyor of food and other overpriced goodies to buy some underwear and socks and saw the prices. For that I could have bought 2 breakfasts, a cup of tea and a milkshake, and still had change! I may have to rethink my plans about getting some new clothing.
 
I also visited Westpark Cemetery in Johannesburg to photograph some graves of SANDF members who died/were killed in action, and was saddened to see that the grave I was after had a headstone that no long had any identification to it. However, I was glad that I found this grave and we can now add it to our database at the South African War Graves Project. Depending on time I may do some more gravehunting, but that is not set in stone.
 
What still has to be done? I am disposing of a lot of my furniture and books, as well as my car, which is becoming a burden as I have to pay storage and insurance on a vehicle that I no longer can use. There are also a few bugbears I need to settle, and at the end of the 1st week of June I will be returning to my home in Salisbury. That in itself is a strange feeling as I no longer consider South Africa as my home. 
 
I hope to add more to this post as I go along, at this time though I will leave you with a photograph of Kloofendal Nature Reserve. I used to live on the edge of this reserve, and it was a very pretty place, but the Highveld Autumn is now beginning to bite, and there is always a risk of fires and the vegetation is very dry. 
 
Watch this space!
 
© DRW 2014-2018. Images recreated 17/04/2016

Heading south

At this moment in time (07.20 on the 19th of May), I am about ready to start packing for my journey to South Africa. I have a number of things to settle there, and this trip is about that. Unfortunately my house move did eat into my available funds which meant I had to book an indirect flight as opposed to a through flight.
london 056
  
The difference here is that usually the departure point would have been South Africa, now it is the UK, which does tend to hammer in the reality that I no longer live in SA. The place where I will arrive at the end of the trip will be Salisbury and not Johannesburg.
 
I will probably take pics, although realistically I have more than enough pics of Johannesburg, and naturally I will be going grave hunting while I am there. I will also be seeing what is left of my family (which is really quite small), and I am hoping to bring my customised Twinn doll back with me. But, these things can change at any moment.  It is also the first time I will be flying from Gatwick, and the arrangements to get there are quite formidable on their own.
 
South Africa is heading into Winter now, just as we are in Spring in the UK, and hopefully I won’t need my “bear jacket”. So, silence on my part means that “I’m not dead, I feel fine, getting better. Think I’ll go for a walk.”

Or in this case, I think I will climb on a plane….. (or 3)

© DRW 2014-2018. Images recreated 17/04/2016