Day 5 – 10th April 2016

Ladybrand to Wepener

The only blight on a stunning morning out of Ficksburg to the traditional stop at the Constantia Cherry Farmstall was the grisly murder of  a kitten by our Chief of Support. After a thorough and intense investigation  and an emotional plea bargain attended by the most senior legal minds available it was decided to reduce the charge to one of kitten slaughter. Issues of premeditation and intent were moved aside and it was agreed that this was clearly case of sheer negligence. Part of the challenge faced by the Jurists present was the constantly changing and embellishing of stories by the witnesses. The fact remains that a Selbornian kitten died.

There is still some doubt as to who was responsible for the family of meerkats a little further along the road. Could it be the work of the same murderous roadster?

Now Setu’s story is something completely different!  The evening started quietly enough, even benignly, but it was noticed that Setu became somewhat quieter and even taciturn after the expected victory of the Lions over the KZN Gilly-minkies. Then it was dinner time. Very quickly after dinner Setu and Des left and were last seen in the bar with some shady Italian characters. What happened thereafter is shrouded in mystery and intrigue although it seems that most of the mist seems to have been bottle induced. Setu arrived back from his Italian adventure just as the sun was rising and there are various unconfirmed reports of Desmond’s movements but as they are unconfirmed we cannot confirm them. What is certain is that he never slept in his bed, his wallet was rescued at some stage by Setu and his mobile eventually arrived back with it owner.

Naturally all these activities have been the subject of intense scrutiny throughout the day but we are happy to report notwithstanding a very shaky start (in more ways than one) all the characters named above finished the day considerably stronger than they started it! One piece of evidence to support this part of our story is that Des stopped peddling. We assume to dismount or for some other really good reason that his as yet not 100% fully functional brain had failed to connect all of his pieces so that they could interpret instructions properly.  But he stopped and forgot that forward motion is required to keep you upright on a bicycle and so he collapsed in an undignified pile of body parts and cycle spares!

One of the intense discussion points was the real meaning of the word ‘bende’ – For some it is the Afrikaans word for gang; for others it is buried in  the depths of a bottle of some  considerable strength so much so that one ends up being bent by the content of the bottle. Who knows…….?

And then there is the new hit song sung to the tune of “Danny Boy” called Setu’s song:

“Oh Drinking glass

The throats, the throats are swallowing

From early eve until the morning sun

And now the sun has risen

And time has come for our mourning song

Oh Drinking glass……”

Deep in the dead of night before the return of the long night revellers there came a person with shady intentions with designs on robbing Ian and Des. Legend does not relate whether this was real or whether it was a product of dreamland or the above mentioned bottles/s! Whatever the case Ian claims to have beaten him off single-handedly!

We were almost at Hobhouse. Waiting on the side of the road for our tea and coffee stop were John and Jen Ralph. Both are veterans of the 1965Ride and it was great to have their company for the rest of the day and with us for the evening at Lord Fraser, Wepener.

Leon Annandale does not have it in his DNA to finish second so we challenged him to give us a 5 kilometres head start over the last 23 kilometres into Wepener. He leapt at the challenge. It is rumoured though that he paid off Desmond to effect a blow-out just 10 kilometres from the end so that he could win. This is another one of those unconfirmed stories.

He won.

Desmond had the blow out.

The reason for the blowout was the very well-worn tyres. He was down to the canvas on his back tyre. The blow-out was spectacular to observe and to listen to. He taught me a few new words and I thought I had heard them all!

For the first time in 3 years our trusty Magic Mike was not behind us. In fact he was lost. So lost that he didn’t actually know he was lost until Desmond called him for help and then had to tell him he was lost. He eventually found himself but by this time Leon had ridden down to Ian procured a new tyre and ridden back to us. Rodger had also had time to come and try to see what had held us up. Eventually Mike managed to find himself and the family was reunited and Des was back on the road.

Ian is beginning to learn that what goes around comes around and he will find that after you have bumped your head on the sharp corner of the trailer lid 27 times there is clearly something wrong with the picture. Therefore we have requested warning lights to be installed on the sharp corner and for a suitable ladder to be supplied so that these are fully visible for him.

On the riding of side of  things we had an awesome ride, beautiful weather, spectacular scenery. There was some disagreement on stop distances and points but our Chief of Suppport handled this with his usual consummate diplomacy.

Onwards tomorrow – 70 kilometres to Mountain View Chalets in Zastron.

Mike and Tony

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