You probably don’t need to know this but my best ideas bubble up while I’m on the bog. Bog, not blog. Just yesterday, after completing the Cape Times’ Wordgame, I thought of a saying that I believes holds very true.
“A good picture is worth a thousand words.” I was quite pleased with that. I then dreamt up “Every Picture Tells a Story” which is not quite as profound. It’ll probably be stolen by an ageing Scottish rock star, who also once stole my mop to wear as a wig, and worked into a title of an album. Plagiarism. Sis.
So, I had no sooner thought of these sayings when a photograph came my way which, I believe, is worth no fewer than a million words. It is so utterly and outrageously beautiful that I really don’t mind adapting my saying.
Please try to relax and brace yourself for the beauty of it all…
No caption required. Pic: Allen Walker
So the whole idea is that I don’t now give you a million words, right? OK.
Now I’ll leave that insanely sumptuous image to waft among the currents of your conscious. But I would be appalled if the words “freedom”, “without”, “fear” and “beauty” don’t come to mind. Well, did they?
Look. I’ve been a journalist long enough to know how to expertly “fudge” an issue. But if this blog is to be an accurate portrayal of the peaks and troughs, nay hills and valleys, of The Heart & Sole Tour, then no way… I’m not making a silk purse of a sow’s ear.
This day has been both beautiful and disastrous. Beautiful in that The Heartman, aided by favourable conditions, chowed up no less than 40.2km. A gentle tailwind and cool, overcast conditions propelled him, despite painful knees, from Scottburgh to Hibberdene in no little style. The hills were tough but, with his stamina and strength on the rise, old Heartie wasn’t to be beaten. In unicycling terms, the best day so far.
Then dee-rama struck on a grand scale. Or not so grand. I’m not going into detail – there’s a Heart & Sole Tour objective to be accomplished – but suffice to say that it has been forcefully driven home to me that perhaps the greatest challenge faced on a marathon adventure such as this lies in the psychological and emotional dimensions. Especially with two such strong personalities at the centre of it all.
OK. Tomorrow is another day. Now, if this infernally weak internet connection allows me, I would like to treat you to a video that has just reached us of Geoff “Heartman” Brink showing off his considerable unicycling skills and talking eloquently about what it is that drives us to overcome all adversity to complete the 1,700km – wait, 1,600km! – which lies before us.
I’ve just been brought a cold “Pussy natural energy drink” to help me recover from this day. And find enough patience with this woeful internet signal to attempt to load up the vid. I suggest you pour yourselves a stiff one while I try…
There. I think it’s on. If you do actually get to see the above video, it was filmed and edited by bright Umdloti thing Jimmy Reynolds using footage shot in Mozambique by Brenda Spaan for The Sole of Africa. The gravely disfigured face in that footage belongs to Ignacio who stepped on a landmine when he was just nine years old. But not just any landmine. This particularly cruel piece of military ordnance was designed, when detonated, to leap roughly five feet nine inches into the air and explode into people’s faces.
This is what happened to Ignacio, a beautiful and innocent boy at the time. And this is precisely the reason why we need to put personal – and ultimately petty – differences aside and finish this Heart and Sole Tour. My connection has gone again. And so have I. Good night.
What a day! Excitement overload. It kicked off at Wilson’s Wharf this morning with quite a crowd very keen to send The Heartman and I off into the unknown. With friends like these…
With friends like these, I think we’re going to miss them. Right now we’re on too much of an adrenaline high to know whether we’re coming or going. But we went. We went from Durban to Amanzimtoti. And it was good. Nutty unicyclist The Heartman has been whingeing a tad about sore knees since his antics around a 10km mountainbiking trail. They held up. And he cruised. Impressiveness. We’re stoked.
So let’s run our eyes over a few images of the first day of our 1,700km one-wheeled madness to Cape Town, shall we?
Nice. The Heartman gets all the glory and is interviewed by a French television channel at Wilson's Wharf while the world's photographers encircle him (out of picture)...
Well. You know. OK. Next one…
And we're off! Should we stick on the Port Shepstone road headed for Cape Town or be diverted to the airport and a week in The Maldives?
We go to the airport, of course. For a lekker fry-up and bottomless coffee. No airline flies direct to The Maldives from Durbs!
But not before old Heartie has given a, er, crash course in unicycling to a very jovial car Park attendant at Durban airport
What's this? Living the holiday? After three hours of unicycling on the Southern Freeway, we reach Toti... and after a further two hours of unicycling aimlessly around Toti just for the hell of it, we find ourselves in first-night Nirvana!
Rotary International are generously helping us out and Chris and Jane Skinner of the Toti branch kindly offer us a bed for the night. Only it comes with a unsurpassed seaview, a right kiff swimming pool, a fish and chips supper, a couple of beers and a good few laughs before bedtime.
Here. Help yourselves to a good chortle…
The notorious Heartman Cabaret enters swimming pool right with a, er... um... what would YOU call this? All pix: Hatman
Nice. All in all a very good first day. Even if the lack of a hard shoulder on the freeway exiting Durbs and loads of traffic gave us a good few hairy moments. And the long hill after the airport approaching Amanzimtoti tested The Heartman big-time. But he styled it. Like he’s styling it with some serious snoring next door. So, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll leave you and go to get some shut-eye myself.
We want to get to Scottburgh tomorrow so we’re getting up at four to get an early start before the heat kicks in. Toodlepip!
Many Hatpeople will have been horrified by the reports of the terrible accident in which local surfing legend Heather “Fergie” Clark was seriously injured after a car driven by an allegedly drunk 20-year-old man collided with her vehicle.
The young man then apparently tried to get away from the scene of the accident before he was apprehended and arrested on suspicion of drunk driving before appearing in court and being released on bail pending an investigation. Disgusting.
The good news is that Heather is making encouraging progress at the Hibiscus Private Hospital in Port Shepstone on KwaZulu-Natal’s South Coast after being treated for her injuries.
But our seriously popular surfer found the strength to be propped up in bed and thank her family, friends and supporters for the help she has received over the past few harrowing days. A grateful tip of the old red hat to surfing publicist Olivia “OJ” Symcox for sending fredhatman.co.za this wonderfully reassuring pic…
Heather relays a thank-you message from her hospital bed to all of the people, both friends and strangers, who have rallied to help her
Doesn’t Fergie look amazingly well for somebody who has been through a dreadful accident such as the one she fortunately survived? Yes, she does. And what a lovely thank-you from our girl in this pic! I’m sure I speak on behalf of everybody who has admired Fergie’s accomplishments on the surfing circuit over the years when I thank her for giving South Africans, and especially us living here on the edge of the Indian Ocean, so much of pride. Thank you, Fergie!
OK. Cool. Now we need to look at the practicalities of the situation. This is what Heather’s sister Brenda Human has said: “Heather is still in a lot of pain but is doing OK and is hoping to be home soon. She won’t be allowed to surf until January next year and has to have four to six weeks complete bed rest.”