Out Of Touch

One of the besetting problems of getting older is that much of what passes for the modern-day zeitgeist  simply passes one by, either unnoticed or else rejected without even attempting to follow.

I must have been getting old when I was still young, because:

  • I have never watched a single minute of Dr. Who
  • …or the Kardashian women’s show
  • …or any of the “competition” shows like Dancing With The Stars
  • I never watched any of the Rocky shows after Rocky II
  • I’ve only ever watched the first three Star Wars movies, and even The Return Of The Jedi  sucked
  • I pretty much stopped listening to “new” popular music when grunge appeared (at age 40-ish)
  • I have never played an online computer game, of any description
  • and so on.

At some point, therefore, I must have started looking at new trends, and decided, “Best not” (in the words of Lord Salisbury, circa  1894).

Don’t even ask me about politics, cars or clothing.  (Longtime Readers will know all about my antipathy towards those modernistic monstrosities anyway.)

I know that everyone gets this way in their later years, but it seems mine started long before I actually reached my seniority, way sooner than when this happened to my friends of like age.

If I’d owned a house at that time, I’d probably have been yelling at the kids to get off my lawn when I was in my late twenties.

None of this means that I reject all things new, of course, just that I am extraordinarily picky about adopting any of them.  This is being typed on a laptop that is hundreds or times more powerful than the corporate IBM 360/40 I worked on as an operator in the mid-1970s, and I love the cord-free existence of Bluetooth and wi-fi.  But if I had to, I could easily revert to an earlier generation of comm technology.

I’m even getting bored of writing about this topic right now, so I think I’ll quit.  There are a couple of books that need reading — paper books, not that Kindle nonsense.

Oh Yeah, I Almost Forgot

There’s a new Kim du Toit book on sale.

 

Just be warned:  it’s nothing like my usual fare.

The idea came to me shortly after Connie died, and I wrote most of it while staying at Free Market Towers.

I’m still working on Skeleton Coast;  while it is completed (finally!), I have to reformat it the whole thing to make it work in both print and Kindle, which requires almost a line-by-line edit.  It should all be done by the end of next week.

Seeking Better Times

I blame my parents.  Had it not been for them, my life story would have been quite different (never mind non-existent).

Neither parent came from aristocratic nor even middle-class stock, in fact quite the reverse:  my father was a farm boy, later a welder and boilermaker, still later a civil engineer;  my mother was a miner’s daughter, secretary and later, a housewife.  Not the most promising ground for a young boy to grow into something much.

Yet they both had one burning desire:  to make their children more educated, and in those days in once-colonial South Africa, this meant sending both me and my sister to expensive private schools — state-run schools then, now and forever, no place to become educated.   The other course they decided on was that we children were to be raised as English-speakers primarily, and bilingual Afrikaans a distant second.  For my father, an Afrikaner who could trace his roots all the way back to pre-colonial South Africa and who spoke only Afrikaans until he met my English-speaking mother, this was no small thing;  but as a student engineer, he’d struggled mightily because back then, there were no Afrikaans textbooks for engineering so he’d had to learn to understand English at the same time that he was grappling to learn engineering.  Even so, he’d never read Shakespeare or any of the vast treasures of English literature, and never would.  As a result, he vowed that his children would not be brought up with that linguistic handicap:  so off we went, to St, John’s College and St. Andrew’s School for Girls respectively.

The “colonial” part of the above cannot be overstated.  South Africa had been a British colony for a long, long time:  the Cape Province and Natal since 1806, and the rest of the country since the conclusion of the Boer War in 1902.  While the Dutch (later Afrikaans) influence was significant, the overwhelming influence of the culture was English, and by “English” I mean pertaining to England and not to Great Britain.

Hence, St. John’s College was a brother school to England’s Eton College and not Scotland’s Gordonstoun, for instance.  In some areas of South Africa, a large proportion of its White inhabitants spoke no Afrikaans at all, and even in cosmopolitan Johannesburg, speaking Afrikaans was often seen as “low class” among the upper-upper crust, and Afrikaans words were Anglicized.

The “class” ethos was completely embraced by the English-speakers, even though actual titled families and the scions thereof were practically non-existent.  Most recent British immigrants were of middle-class or (some) working-class stock, and they embraced the English class structure with vigor.  In Pietermaritzburg in Natal Province, for example, the highlight of the social calendar was the annual Royal Agricultural Show, which resembled nothing as much as an English institution like the Chelsea Garden Show, and was run for many years by Mark Shute, a Brit by birth and an Old Boy from Marlborough School in Wiltshire.

And the appellation “Royal” could be found all over the place, in its original meaning of “As appointed by His/Her Majesty”, as could institutions named “King’s” or “Queen’s” (e.g. King Edwards School and Queen’s College).

As a result, we kids raised in this atmosphere were steeped in English culture — until 1961, we sang “God Save The Queen” at the end of a movie, and as late as the 1970s, people would clap when members of the Royal Family appeared on movie screens (well, half the people anyway:  the Afrikaners would stand stonily silent).

And this English culture was firmly rooted in the past:  Victorian, Edwardian and that of the 1910-1960 era.  The morals, virtues and values were all English circa  1820-1960:  fair play, cricket, infra dig., formal teatime at 4pm, “that’s just not done, old man” and even noblesse oblige  (sans any noblesse ) and all that.

As one of the people raised in this tradition, therefore, it should come as no surprise at all that I espoused, and still espouse that tradition.  My schooling and cultural upbringing were always steeped in reverence for tradition, said tradition pretty much ending just before the Swinging Sixties [spit], and even though I as a callow youth embraced the latter with a vengeance, I would drop it like a hot rock whenever it came time for the Old Boys’ Banquet at the Rand Club or College Gaudy Day (in American parlance, homecoming), and don the formal attire required for said occasions.

So therefore it should also come as no surprise at all that I revere occasions such as Test cricket at Lord’s, the Badminton Horse Trials and, of course, the Goodwood Revival (any of which, I should state, I would rather attend than the British F1 Grand Prix — and you all know how much I love Formula 1).

Even being called a “colonial type” (a slight insult in the U.K.) brings not anger or resentment but a warm feeling in me.  I may not have been born in the right time or place, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love it.

Thus, I am enormously attracted to the prospect of a return visit to Lord’s, High Tea at Fortnum’s, donning the Harris Tweed to go birdshooting with Mr. FM at Lord Someone’s estate, and attending the Goodwood Revival dressed in period clothing (which hasn’t changed much — duh! — from the aforementioned attire for shooting).  And those are just some of the activities which jump to mind.

It all hearkens back to my upbringing and brings with it a longing for a gentler, more gracious era, and my being an entrenched conservative, this too should be unsurprising to anyone who knows me.

And it’s all thanks to my parents.

Here are a few of the aforementioned occasions and artifacts:

I have to stop now, or we’ll be here all day.

Augean Stables

Posting may be a little light today, as New Wife returns home first thing tomorrow morning, and I have a little errrrr cleaning up to do chez  Du Toit before that happens:

…if you know what I mean.

Hey, at least there aren’t any dead hippies, unlike last time.

Dying Here

Day 12 since New Wife went back to Seffrica to spoil New Granddaughter:

…which is all very well;  I, on the other hand, feel like this:

I really don’t do well by myself.

Also, I’ve had to deal with some (not serious) medical issues requiring a couple trips to the doc, and some minor repair work to the Tiguan, which means I’ve been driving Sputum for the past while.

 

Strangely enough, getting out of the above isn’t too bad;  getting in, however, requires a gallon of grease and at least two crowbars to wrangle my fat ass into place.

Misplaced Concern

From Longtime Reader MurphyAZ:

“I have this uneasy feeling that you might be sliding into a fire (flood?) sale. I hope that is not the case, and that all is well in Kim’s Land.”

Bless you, old son, for your concern;  but let me assure you that this is absolutely not the case.

The plain fact of the matter is that as with many Olde Pharttes, I am getting tid of stuff that I don’t, can’t or don’t want to use anymore:  the bass guitar gear was a “can’t”, the 16ga shotgun was a “don’t” — or, given that I plan on getting a 20ga to start doing sporting clays soon, “won’t want to use anymore” — and if the sale of said items can get me a “free” CZ G2 Bobtail:

…then so much the better.

Just to hammer the point home:  we have emerged from the past four months of flood disaster and theft of two guns with our finances more or less intact, thanks in no small part to the unbelievable generosity of my Loyal Readers, blessings be upon you all.

I even managed to acquire a replacement S&W Model 65 along the way.  (Range report to follow shortly.)

So once again, thank you (and anyone else who may have felt the same way) for your concern, but I’m fine.