Here’s Wineou and wife in April 1970 at the Alphen Hotel, Constantia near Cape TownIMG_0002

and at the Breede River Mouth near Cape Town in September 1970 in a pic taken by Dave Woods.


(I didn’t need the gaff to land those little fish, but Dave thought it would add to the picture.)

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


Part of a September 1965 Playboy interview with Peter O’Toole goes like this:
Playboy: After The Bible you made a comedy called What’s New Pussycat? with Peter Sellers. Everybody agrees that it’s fairly far out. Are they correct?
O’Toole: It depends what you mean by far out. Everyday life is far out. I first realized that many years ago, when I turned on the radio and someone was asking a man to describe his most embarrassing experience. I’ve never forgotten what he said, “I was sitting at home one night, washing my trombone, when I looked through the window, and there in the moonlight on the crazy paving I saw a hedgehog. Thinking it might be thirsty, I took it out a saucer of gin. The following morning I observed that the gin was untouched. Imagine my embarrassment when I found that it wasn’t a hedgehog at all; it was a lavatory brush”. I’m sorry, but if that isn’t far out I don’t know what is. What was he doing washing a trombone?

After that, anything I might say about my own embarrassing moment is bound to be an anticlimax. But the moment above was private and mine was not.

In 1976 I was transferred from The Argus Company to Allied Publishing and made the manager of “Claremont Complex” which looked after the distribution, sales and home deliveries of The Argus and Cape Times in Claremont and surrounding areas.

One day our publisher, a fairly new employee called Theo, disappeared. Then we got reports that he had been collecting money from café owners and not handing it in to us. Charges were laid, he was arrested and the prosecutor told me that the case against Theo was watertight, with a Portuguese café owner and his wife prepared to testify. I had to give evidence and was reprimanded for nodding my head instead of clearly saying yes or no. When my turn was over I had to leave the court while others gave evidence, but was allowed to return when it was Theo’s turn in the dock. The prosecutor grilled him but he stuck to his story that he was on leave and had not collected any money. The magistrate chimed in with, “How do you explain that Mr Rodriguez was able to pick you out as the one responsible from all the people sitting in the courtroom?” He replied, “Mr M pointed me out before proceedings began.” “Oh really?” said the magistrate sarcastically. I can see Mr M sitting over there and I can call him back to the witness stand.”

“Fine,” said Theo.

So I was called back and sworn in. in a confident voice the magistrate asked me if I had pointed out Theo to Mr Rodriguez. I had to admit that when I arrived that morning I was standing at the back of the full courtroom looking for a place to sit when I bumped into Mr and Mrs Rodriguez and got chatting to them. While chatting I spotted Theo sitting amongst all the other people and said, “Oh, there’s Theo over there.” Just then Theo turned round and spotted me pointing.

As I said this the prosecutor looked at me in a shocked way and mouthed the word, “Why?” while giving a hopeless pleading gesture.

With my tail between my legs I stood down while the magistrate addressed the court, saying, “I cannot convict a man on the evidence submitted.” He added something about green eyes and blue eyes. (Theo had distinctive green eyes and I presume the witness had called them blue while I was out of the room.)

Theo walked free mainly because of me, and went on to become a successful used car salesman.

I don't think this is the sort of car that Theo ended up selling

I don’t think this is the sort of car that Theo ended up selling

7 pages of Sept 1965 Peter O’Toole interview found here http://hame.ca/otoole/biopage.html
Once you have opened the above site scroll down until you get to The 1965 Playboy Interview and click on each page in succession.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment


Whilst going for a walk the other day I noticed that some people are particularly diligent about saving electricity. Even respectable Rondebosch matrons are refraining from using their indicators. This caused a little puzzlement and hesitation to oncoming traffic when one of the matrons was turning right. But she patiently waited till others made their move before she made hers. Sometimes one has to cause a little inconvenience in order to do the right thing. Perhaps the amount of electricity she saved was exceedingly small. But every little bit helps. Others are saving electricity by not using their headlights before dawn on a drizzly morn. Some are making a partial gesture by using only one headlight. Once again this might seem an exceedingly small – and even dangerous – contribution to the nation’s electricity crisis. But at least these people are doing something. Pedestrians are also doing their bit. They are refraining from pressing pedestrian buttons and thereby bringing traffic travelling in both directions to a halt. They are selflessly putting their lives at risk by watching the traffic and dashing across the road without needlessly causing red lights and little green men to be activated. Irate motorists need to acknowledge that pedestrian bravery and the occasional sacrifice of a life is for the greater good of all. They could also view the mowing down of a reckless pedestrian as a way of helping to reduce over-population, and the improvement of the gene pool at the same time.

The sort of car that Rondebosch matrons like to drive

The sort of car that Rondebosch matrons like to drive

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment


I like taking tourists to the Cape Point Ostrich Farm. Ernst the owner is a retired orthopaedic surgeon who takes quite an interest in the anatomy and lifestyle of ostriches. He keeps his in paddocks with a breeding pair in each, and he says that ostriches and humans have a lot in common.

Like us, they run around on two legs – but a lot faster than we do. They live for 70 to 80 years. They mate for life; but just like human beings, if they can get a bit on the side they will. The males are always in the mood for love, and the girls are not – they sometimes have a headache. To give the girls a rest from being chased around the paddocks by the randy boys he separates the sexes for a couple of months in the winter.

Then, on the first day of spring he puts them together again. It seems that, even with ostriches, absence makes the heart grow fonder. So, on that day they are all in the mood. “It’s like a whorehouse here” says Ernst.

Dad and kids at Cape of Good Hope

Dad and kids at Cape of Good Hope

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment


When I cycled from Cape Town to Durban in May 1982 I carried a tent, sleeping bag, cooking utensils and a few changes of clothing that I would need for a holiday in Natal and Sun City with the sexy girlfriend who was flying to meet me at the end  of the bicycle leg.

The camping gear came in handy at the caravan parks where I spent my nights in South Africa. But when I got to the independent state of Transkei there were no caravan parks. At my first hotel stop, in the one-horse town of Butterworth, I learnt that I had left a vital item behind. “We require gentlemen to wear jackets and ties for dinner,” I was informed by the severe-looking elderly female receptionist. My plea that I wasn’t really a gentleman was not accepted. She said that she could lend me a tie, but that I would have to find my own jacket.

Later that evening, as I tucked into the substantial hotel dinner, I looked around me to see if anyone was staring at me, because I was quite sure that I was the only person in the whole world wearing a tie and pyjama jacket. Fortunately the diners at such an upmarket venue were too polite to stare. Instead I stared at them; and reflected that, after dinner I would have a slight advantage over them: I merely had to change my trousers, but not my top when I got into bed.

My next stop, at the Holiday Inn in Umtata was unremarkable. But the clientele at this one was far more mixed than at any hotel in South Africa.

My final Transkei stop was at the New Carlton Hotel in Mount Frere.  A glance through the register revealed that I was the only paleface to have stayed there in yonks.  Nevertheless my bike and I were made very welcome by the locals.  Almost too welcome.  One fellow was most insistent about buying my bike for R100 and putting me on the bus to Durban: “Come, let us go to the bar and discuss this deal.”  Fortunately these negotiations were cut short when the pretty receptionist announced that my room was ready.

At dinner that evening nobody wore a tie. I watched the next table with interest as a hip fellow with a fuzzy-wuzzy hairdo sat down next to a large great-coated baldy from the Transkei.  After a while their talk drifted into silence, and the fuzzy-wuzzy announced loudly, “You know, I seem to be the only one making conversation around heah.”  Baldy muttered, “You people from Joburg make us nervous.”

After dinner I decided to absorb some more local colour in the TV lounge where I was joined by Baldy and Fuzzy.  Baldy thought we should go to the bar to get drinks, but Fuzzy (who turned out to be a lawyer from Soweto assisting in a local case) cut him short: “No – one of these boys will bring us a drink”

He dashed out into the passage and came back with the 70-year-old waiter who had earlier brought me afternoon tea in my room, and who had told me that he had worked at the Arthur’s Seat Hotel in Sea Point.  He courteously took our orders of a Carling for Baldy, a Castle for me, and a gin and tonic for Fuzzy.

The total bill for the drinks came to about R3 (things were a lot cheaper in 1982).  Fuzzy handed the waiter a R10 note and said grandly, “Keep the change.”  Need I add that the service remained top class after that?

There were a few subsequent shortcomings such as three power failures, a cessation of the water supply after my morning bath, and a few weevils in the breakfast Weet-Bix. But I wouldn’t have missed my stay there for anything. Incidentally, the lack of cold tap water when I needed to fill my three water bottles for the next leg of the journey caused some concern. But the clever 70-year-old solved the problem by getting water from the hot tap and mixing it with ice from the kitchen fridge.

When I hauled out a credit card to pay the bill (I think it came to R15) there was some consternation. Eventually a dust-covered credit-card machine was found, and a long-handled feather duster was used to clean it. The machine went flick flack and I was sent on my way with beaming smiles and enthusiastic waves.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | 1 Comment


I don’t know why on earth I thought I would enjoy playing golf. Maybe it was because I’d seen somebody hitting a golf ball on the back field of our school, and it seemed to go incredibly far before dropping to earth.

I quite liked seeing how far I could shoot an arrow from the bow I had made, or a stone from my catapult; or how hard I could make a hockey ball crash into the back of the net, while avoiding the clutches of the goalie. Whatever the reason, when Angus who had been the goalie on our hockey team, mentioned that he had taken up golf, I asked him if he could get me into the Kimberley Golf Club.

He said he would get his father, a respected dentist in the town (who had subjected me to many hours of torture with his exceedingly slow tooth-drilling machine) to propose me as a member. I felt it was the least he could do. Within a month my membership had been approved. Angus and I then went to the club to pay my annual subscription and buy a set of second-hand clubs and a bag of second-hand balls from the golf professional.

The two hockey players then marched onto the practice tee, selected woods from our bags and started banging away.

I found out years later that it was much more usual to borrow or hire clubs, have lessons from a professional, and then play a few rounds as a guest of the club before actually joining the club. And it was also more usual to start hitting balls with irons before venturing onto drivers, which were much more difficult to manage.

At any rate Angus was already a member and had played a few games. So I imitated the way he held his club; I put a ball on a tee, and smacked it almost out of sight. This wasn’t as difficult as everybody seemed to think it was!

Mind you, not every ball we hit went exactly where we intended it to go. The very testy GM of De Beers who was at the practice tee near ours actually made some pithy comments about us. I thought of giving him a load of cheek; but seeing that I was one of his employees, decided this might not be in the best interests of my future career or golf club membership. So I satisfied myself with merely giving him a filthy look.

Enough of our balls went more or less where we’d hoped they’d go for us to decide to have a proper game that Saturday afternoon.

At 1 pm on Saturday when it was our turn to drive off from the first tee there were quite a lot of people behind us. I think this might have made Angus a little nervous: when he hit the ball it shot off at right angles into the bushes to the left of us. When I hit the ball I managed to slice it at such an angle that it went into the bunker of the 10th hole.

“What do I do now?” said I to Angus. He replied, “Don’t worry, your caddy will show you what to do.”

So Angus and I, with our caddies, set off in opposite directions. When my caddy and I got to the bunker we marched straight in. As the caddy dropped my golf bag into the white sand I said, “What do I do now?”

“Dunno Boss; first time I’m a caddy.”

“Give me that iron that looks like a scoop.”

He handed me a sand wedge, and I waggled it back and forth to make a little indentation in the sand that lifted the ball slightly and made it easier to hit. Then I swung! The ball went straight up in the air and came back down again.

While this was going on the four city dignitaries who were putting on the adjacent 10th green stopped what they were doing. I could see a doctor and a pharmacist who both went to our church and knew our family well. They looked bemused at the farce playing itself out in the bunker below them.

Eventually I managed to scoop the ball out of the bunker onto the fairway. The caddy and I scuttled away.

Mr Harrison the pharmacist called me back. “Wineou, you do not address a ball in a bunker; you do not take your caddy and bag into the bunker, and you rake over your tracks when you’re finished.”

I blushed and got busy with the rake.

I never fully recovered from that incident. But I did recover somewhat. I managed to beat Angus by a couple of strokes. I think he got 164 and I got 162.

If I ever do try to take up the game again one thing is for sure: I will not suffer from over confidence, and I won’t be asking a hockey player for any assistance.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 2 Comments


I don’t often use a lift (or elevator if you are American and prefer long words to short ones).

But, after some heavy grocery shopping today, I decided to use one to get the bags down to my car without straining my back too much. I then realised that not everyone is aware of the correct Cape Town technique for using a lift. Here are the rules:

  • If somebody is standing at the lift and has pushed the down button, shove him aside and push the UP and DOWN buttons. Several times. That way the lift will know that somebody important is waiting and will pull its finger out to get there quickly. It will know that you actually want to go down, and will ignore any other buttons that have been pushed by lesser mortals.
  • GET INTO THE LIFT AS SOON AS IT STOPS. Do not wait for others to get out first. This works best if you are fat and are moving bulky items into the lift. A skilled practitioner of the art can block the entrance for many seconds and may even trap people inside who couldn’t get past you in time.
  • Once inside, push past people hovering around the buttons and select the floor you want to go to, EVEN IF THAT BUTTON HAS ALREADY BEEN PUSHED AND A RED LIGHT IS GLOWING TO INDICATE THIS. Let’s face it, a lift doesn’t have much intelligence and might forgotten where it was going. Also, if that button gets forcefully shoved by YOU, the lift will realise that it must go straight there and ignore the idiots who only pushed their button once.


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment