Lucille and I headed out of Stanford towards Montagu. I had heard that Montagu was “the best-preserved Victorian village in the Western Cape”, my home village of Stanford listed a mere third.
I had to see this for myself. Cue a “Hatman and Lucille Roadtrip”. But we never got there. Actually, we did. Eventually. For a whole, wholly unpleasant 90 minutes. I really tried. I tried to find accommodation. But there was something that just didn’t work for me. What really didn’t work was when I was subjected to a tannie (elderly Afrikaans woman) behind reception at one of the joints slagging off the “country house” next-door and saying it was awful and that I should book into her place.
No. This wouldn’t do. I had just spent two days in the zow-wow zen gardens of a tranquil retreat in McGregor and this vrou was dissing her neighbours and harshing my Temenos mellow. I gave Mrs Reception a smile radiating with the karma of forgiveness, with only one corner of my mouth slightly curled in utter contempt, and gunned old Lucille back to McGregor.
2. Uncle Sepp needs to lighten up a bit. Yoga, meditation or a sound smack around the ear might help. I don’t recall people being arrested for wearing the wrong colour clothing under South Africa’s apartheid regime.
Look. I can’t confirm that these honeys in the pic below are actually the ones who were busted but it is safe to assume that they are a reasonable facsimile thereof (apologies for poor quality but this was clearly snapped on a cellphone)…
If these ne'er-do-wells represent the most terrifying threat to our World Cup, then I'm volunteering to deal with it.
OK. While I try to pin down Mr Blatter’s phone number to warmly congratulate him on keeping us all safe from The Orange Threat, why don’t you get all the facts of the story right here at Goal.com?
The Afrikaner Weerstands Beweging’s Andre Visagie sits down in an etv studio last night to “discuss” the urgent issue of farm murders in South Africa and, when pressed by another guest, not presenter Chris Maroleng, falls back to type and does this…. (please pause the video and let it buffer so as to ensure uninterrupted – and possibly hilarious – viewing)…
Sheez. I don’t know what to say. Because, I don’t know about you, but I’m falling around laughing. Well, I would be if it were not so… so… well, sad. The issue of farm murders in South Africa is an extremely serious one but I’m getting the feeling that Meneer Visagie (and perhaps anybody from the AWB?) are not really suited to debating it.
OK. I must say that Lebohang Pheko, the political analyst who seriously pressed Visagie’s buttons, was, er. pressing his buttons but, man, did he lose it or what? Visagie hasn’t exactly discovered Buddhism, has he? I think a spot of meditation might be in order. Or at least anger management.
Never mind. I’m sure a Klippies-en-Coke or three eventually chilled him out.
It’s just a shame that this video clippy has every chance of going viral on YouTube and giving all World Cup fans a heads-up of what to expect when they pop over to watch the soccer in a few weeks time.
Because we’re all just like Mr Visagie, aren’t we?
* An unVisagie-like doff of the old red hat goes to Mandy de Waal for steering this little gem over my way.
NEWS (well, more like NUTTINESS) FLASH: And then, this morning, on South Africa’s increasingly boorish political field, this little piece of action popped up on the extreme left wing…
Nice. With just 63 days left to The Peoples’ World Cup, these nutters are doing their best to stuff it all up. You can read all about Malema’s outburst over at The Daily Maverick.
I’m going for a nice walk down by the river. I have nothing more to say. It’s a beautiful day. In a beautiful country. And these extremists must not be allowed to cock it up for the rest of us. That is all.
I’m a great fan of architecture and Buddhism so it’s a rare and total coolness when these two passions are unified as one.
I love the diversity of the many unique figures of Buddha. And, apart from the sumptuous Chrysler building in New York, I’m mostly underwhelmed by skyscraper structures.
So it was with much fervour that I fell upon a website featuring the tallest Buddhas on our planet. This is overwhelmedness on a stratospheric scale.
Cast your gaze on the Spring Temple Buddha in Henan, China – at 428 feet (128m) the tallest Buddha built anywhere in the world…
Mmmmmmmmm. So this is the biggest Buddha but it's not my fave. I think that the Chinese, if they were going to that much trouble and expense, could have got a tad more creative with this baby...
Still, it’s fairly large, isn’t it? It’s only 104 feet taller than New York’s iconic Statue of Liberty. Breathe deeply and drink that in. And a whopping 290 feet taller than Rio’s Christo Redentor statue. To put this into context for my Pretoria viewers, the Spring Temple Buddha is 413 feet and three inches taller than Bulls and Springbok lock Bakkies Botha. Bliksemness, it would be pretty handy to have in a lineout, wouldn’t it? Ja, it would. But I don’t scheme the Chinese would accept a transfer offer, hey.
Just when you thought this story couldn’t get any taller, it does. Work is under way to erect a Buddha that, and best you adopt the lotus position, close your eyes and clear your mind for this one, will be 500 feet (152m) tall. Yowzerness, i hear you say? Well you might. India is plotting this one, to be named Maitreya Buddha and constructed at Uttar Pradesh.
And, yes, dear Hatpeople, I have procured for you the artists impression of what this will look like. Meditate on this…
The biggest it will be but, and I don't mean to be less than magnanimous here, it's a right shocker, isn't it? Not the best...
No, it isn’t. Biggest always isn’t best. Bit too much Bollywood bling going on for me. OK. Before I ruin any good karma, let’s move swiftly on to my favourite of the tallest Buddhas of the world. At a mere 233 feet, the Leshan Giant Buddha in China doesn’t quite stand up to its billing and only weighs in at No 11 among the biggest of the world’s Buddhas. No worries, mate. I love it. Living in bliss as I do in the dense coastal bush of Umdloti, South Africa, I have developed quite a rustic vibe, a bit agricultural even. So this baby is right up my ravine. And he is. Right up a ravine. Check him out…
See what I mean? Right up a ravine. And rustic. And rough-hewn. Just how I like my Buddhas to be. High, handsome and, well, a figure one can look up to. With me?
Of course you are. I’m calling him Rocky. A rocky Buddha gathers much moss. I dig that. Do you? And I love his rustic energy. I want to go to visit Rocky and sit before him and just meditate for ever. And then come home to Umdloti, campaign to become mayor and decree that a Buddha just like Rocky and at least equally as big be carved into the hill overlooking our spirited, if not all that spiritual, little idyll on the Indian Ocean. This would put ‘Hloti well on the map. And give us an icon far more iconic than that flat-topped hill over which my beloved Capetonian brothers and sisters get so spiritual. Not that I’m into oneupmanship. That wouldn’t be at all Buddhist, would it?
In the third of my interviews (published here every weekend) with interesting people who live in my hometown of Umdloti, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, I asked the Big Five questions of Vera Hindmarch, a clairvoyant and the source of great spiritual inspiration to many…
FH:At what age did you realise that you had the ability to connect with the spirit world? And how did this come about?
VH: Although I never understood it at the time, my gift of clairvoyance and heightened awareness was strong as a child. Many experiences drove my parents up the wall. “No Dad, take the other road. Something is wrong with this one,” I would say. Of course he would not take heed and we would end up on a long detour or come across an accident. My late grandfather used to visit me and I would tell them that Grandpa said this or that. Right! I think they used to consider putting me in a straitjacket – spiritual awareness was not as known or understood as it is today. My young adult years was when my drama took place. We all go through our life’s lessons. When I came out of the drama period in my early 30s my clairvoyance returned with a greater strength and clarity. Only then did I understand the child in me.
FH:Once you had recognised and accepted that you had this power, how did you go about refining and attuning it so as to start giving people psychic readings?
VH: Meditation is the key to connect to your own soul and the spiritual world/universe. You benefit with an incredible sense of inner peace. Your guides send souls to connect to you and a dear old spiritual man in England (we lived there for a few years) took me under his wing and guided me through the doubtful times. He taught me to believe in my gift. My readings began slowly, with me simply getting messages out of the blue that helped many whose path crossed mine.
FH:I imagine it is sometimes an onerous responsibility to be the channel through which visitors make connections with loved ones who are in spirit. And I suppose that you are sometimes made aware of the prospect of bad news which may befall a visitor. How do you deal with that?
VH: God is loving and kind. Very seldom do I receive extreme negative messages – rather warnings so that a negative experience may be avoided. Although I do somethimes get bad “feelings”, I use my discretion and gently pass the message along. Why would God tell you that you are going to have an accident or worse? How would your life proceed after that other than in great fear. If a clairvoyant works in God’s light the guidance messages will be healing and helpful rather than negative.
FH: Please, Verna, if you will, share with us the most profound experience that you have had as a psychic or spiritualist, either personal or on behalf of somebody else…
VH: Here I could write a book! Let me tell you a personal story (although there are some really funny ones). While living in England, my Dad was in South Africa and was ill with cancer. It was suggested I fly home. I sent him a telegram reading “hang in there Dad, I am on my way!” (yes, there were such things as telegrams in those days!) and a red rose. The morning before my flight I awoke at 5am with my dad standing next to my bed holding in his hand a red rose. I knew he was now in spirit. My stepmother phoned. Dad had passed away just before 5am. He did receive my telegram but not the red rose. His soul knew I had sent the rose – it was in the universe! He explained that my mother, who had died many years ago, had come to his bedside and asked him go with her. He said it was the most amazing feeling as he walked away with her to spirit. He came to say his goodbyes. My mother was standing next to him.
FH:You too are blessed to live in our wonderful seaside village of Umdloti, on KwaZulu-Natal’s north coast. What does Umdloti mean to you, what do you most love about living here… and does it hold a special spiritual energy for you?
VH: From my balcony I have the most incredible view of the ocean. I am so grateful for this! Yes, Umdloti has spiritual and creative energies, but most places have if communities make it so. Most of all I love the mixture of people who live here. Small places teach you to accept people for who and what they are and remove any judgment you may have of them. The beauty of Umdloti as one walks along the beach is heavenly. The energy filled with peace and the likelihood of always bumping into someone you know and receiving that warm smile greeting. It is also that touch of mischief!
* To make an appointment for a reading, phone Verna on 084-556 2887. Verna’s book about spiritual awareness and understanding at a higher level, “Harmony”, can be bought at R130 incl postage by e-mailing her at email@example.com
We at Hatman Mansions are huge fans of extreme sports. Especially extreme cooking. Why, you should see the stuff that gets served up in the banquet hall of an evening. But I’m not here this evening to make you sick to the stomach. I’m here to make you forget that you have a stomach.
Which is what will happen when you see what Dean Potter does. Dean does freebasing, something that the Hatman Mansions people, as liberal as we are, usually draw the line at.
But this is different. Dean, bored with just climbing up some of the highest mountains in the world, and then base-jumping off them, free-soloing, highlining, baselining and just about anything else utterly nutty that one can do up at a height we normally only frequent in an aeroplane, has found a new rush.
Dean Potter drops in on some startled deer who were pretty much just minding their own business
Freebase climbing. What’s that? Well, I have a video full of gobsmackingness to show you just now… but it’s climbing up the most difficult side of the Eiger with only his fingers, toes and a 6lb parachute. And then falling/jumping off. Awesomeness overload. In fact, it’s even more than that. It’s spiritual. Please notice how Dean stops to meditate before falling 9,000 feet in about three minutes.
Listen to what he says between sublime acts of derring-do. He talks of how he used to associate falling with death but now it’s not about dying but flying. You sense his kinship with the cliffs, the rock-faces, that he drags himself up with just his fingers and toes. And then the adrenaline which does indeed freeline throughout his body while falling and flying thousands of feet through thin blue air. This is a seriously spiritual vibe Dean’s got going here, bru.
Come, let’s plug into that vibe…
Total radicalness or what? I’m not sure he would have the guts to conquer one of our Hatman Mansions dinners but, still, I’m quite impressed. I had such an attack of vertigo while watching Dean chuck himself off the Eiger that I had to sit on the floor for a while. But, all in all, that was nice work up there, Dean (read more about the great man here). Cool bits of soundtrack too.
So, tomorrow I’m tagging along for the last-ever construction tour of Durban’s new World Cup 2010 stadium. I’m hoping to get on that funicular which rolls up one side of the magnificent arch and leaves you standing 106 metres above the freshly-laid pitch. I’ll think of Dean Potter while I’m up there. So if you see a body freebaselining or whatever it is off the arch, you must know that Dean inspired me to get over my fear of heights. I just hope somebody will have a video camera to record it all. And that I remember how to open my ‘chute.