OK. So as I write this, I’m sitting in the back-up truck, rain drizzling through the lichen-coated trees which line the dirt track stretching before us.
Us? Yes. The Heartman is dozing among the tyre tubes, Glaceau Vitaminwater bottles and bags of Gower Power nutritional supplements piled high in the back of our vehicle. He’s recovering from slipping and sliding around on the steep hills which now take us inland from the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast inland towards Kokstad in the foothills of the might Drakensberg mountains.
But more of this later. First, dear Heartpeople, allow me to bring you up to speed with the goings-on of the last couple of days. Yesterday (New Year’s Day) was a rest day and we were lucky enough to spend it with family and friends of The Heartman in two beautiful seaside cottages just north of Port Shepstone. When I say seaside, these holiday cottages are literally on the beach and the first day of 2010 was spent eating, drinking and swimming in the tidal pool directly in front of the Melville cottage.
It was hot and muggy and it was blissful. And old Heartie and I had immense fun with the children…
Dad Eric supports young Luke on AmaOneTyre with help from The Heartman...
... while Gemma, little sweetheartness, is pretty pleased with the Heart & Sole sticker we gave her!
Too much of loveliness, hey? But, after the New Year festiveness, we needed to move on to Port Shepstone to overnight there before our trek inland towards the mountains. After tweeting and facebooking on the verandah at Stephan’s B&B, I returned to the room to prepare for bed when I found this little scenario…
I had wondered why The Heartman, already tucked up in his bed, was making Marlon Brando-like noises from under the duvet and croaking out lines from The Godfather
So I did what any sane but lonely man on a long roadtrip would do and slipped in behind my Rhinogirl. She might have been a tad wooden in bed but I'm not to be drawn into any corny "horny" lines, OK?
Oh, you must be wondering whether there’s any unicycling going on. Oh, yeah. A whole lot of it. And it’s all being done on hills, in mist and in a steady drizzle. But Heartman has been determinedly making progress towards Paddock where we believe there’s a sugarcane farmer who might be able to give us beds and a hot shower tonight.
This picture sums up what Day Six is looking like…
Not ideal. But our comical unicyclist is at least lifiting the spirits of the locals who, after staring in bemusement at a man riding a bicycle missing a wheel, have been cheering and whistling and falling about laughing. Nice! All pix: Hatman
Right. If old Heartie wakes up anytime soon, I might have something on which to report later. As in what I’ll find on my pillow when I go to bed tonight.
Amanzimtoti to Scottburgh was tough. For Geoff “Heartman” Brink, our intrepid unicyclist, it was 34km of long hills and strong headwinds.
But our boy done well. There were regular stops and we even had the small 24-inch wheeler out for a bit. After having seen him for some weeks astride the mighty 36-incher, which lifts him to a vantage point above the roofs of the biggest cars, this made for a comical sight – like watching Dad sneak a ride on little Tyrone’s tricycle.
As always we had a blast. Bantering with garage attendants, playing football with a boy on the side of the road and old Heartie literally charmed a shirt off the staff at Steers Diner at the Ultra City near Umkomaas. And two surprise visits from old friends who dropped into offer support: Mike Perk and Olivia “OJ” Symcox.
OK. So this is how it unfolded…
The Total petrol pump guys were gobsmacked by the unicycle and one even offered to fill 'er up...
Heartman's old Cape Town work colleague Mike Perk seemed a bit shorter than usual... but, hey, travelling at 12km on the hard shoulder of a highway for hours on end can have hallucinatory side-effects!
Our boy was angling for a free burger and bottomless coffee at Steers branches all the way to Cape Town but was seen off with a kitchen staff T-shirt complete with "sizzling flame" sleeves!
Even if they were seen hotfooting it away from Ultra City, these cows are not, repeat NOT, the source of meat for Steers burgers. But they did have the effect of putting old Heartie off his stride!
And then… big surpriseness! Olivia “OJ” Symcox, a good mate, had just been heard interviewing Heartie’s bride-to-be on Lotus FM when she drew up behind us, bellowing a supportive chant at the unicyclist and flashing all manner of red lights and blaring sirens. Quite an entrance… but our OJ rolls like that!
Hello. A very understated OJ slips in quietly to whisper a few words of quiet encouragement to our brave Heartman. All pix: Hatman
OJ has given the Heart & Sole Tour some serious support over the past few weeks and we love her for this. In fact, Heartie and I have been knocked over by the interest in our unicycle adventure on behalf of landmine victims. People are good. People really do care. And we can’t thank them enough. Beautifulnesses all round us.
So after a day of being buffeted from the side by a plain nasty south-wester, The Heartman is hoping that a gentle north-easter will nudge him in the general direction of Port Shepstone tomorrow (Wednesday). We’re not sure how far we will go tomorrow but we’d love to make Sheppies by Thursday to share a New Year’s drink with some dear friends. Go, Heartie, go!
* Catch our Heartman being interviewed live on SAfm radio at 3pm on Thursday.
* We are aware that some very kind people wish to make donations towards our Heart & Sole “Fuel, Food and Airtime Fund”. I hope to put the account details on this blog tomorrow evening. We have limited dosh for this trip so every little bit helps to take us closer to Cape Town and “Mission Accomplished”. Ngiyabonga, good mense!
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.”