REPORT BACK ON THE MAGOEBASKLOOF WEEK-END : from 1 to 4 MAY 2003
Calling all hedgehogs and partners ! This is what you got up to over the above weekend. And believe us, you have been judged and been found wanting! Retribution will be served in the form of the compulsory attendance at the next Porsche weekend for the Porsche Club of South Africa -Northern Region.
The Magoebaskloof weekend tour, or rather, the 'Let's Go' tour, as it was aptly renamed after it was soon discovered that when Brian Viljoen said, "Let's go," he really went on time. It was decidedly impressive, and appreciated - not to mention lots of fun – to find members downing drinks and hot-footing it out to the car park or hovering around (some actually in!) their cars at the allotted departure time.
The Porsche group drove in convoy to meet at the Exel garage in Zambezi Drive, once it was eventually decided whether the posse were to meet on the northern or the southern side of the north or south garage. We were received by an amiable and organised Mr Thami Ngwena EXEL PETROLEUM SALES, who dished out all the necessary and sent us on our way, once the Dittburner crew ( having then managed to calculate their norths and souths) eventually joined us.
The journey down, (or up?) to the mountains was plagued by the traffic officialdom at its supremely irritating best, invested as it is with a renewed vigour in its dedicated pursuit of the newly invented South African passbook, the much-acclaimed Driver's Licence Card. So engrossed were they in their investigative zeal that, on the whole, they forgot to whine about the missing front number plates and all the other unroadworthy things on a Porsche at speed.
The Porsche car, however, still presents an array of challenges. For example, Russel Lambert was pulled over in his LEFT HAND DRIVE 911 and he as driver was ignored, while Linda, on his right in the passenger seat, was harangued for her drivers licence. When she explained that she wasn't driving, Russell and Linda were told that he could continue! Not so easy for Rolf, who received a speeding ticket threat and was thoroughly scolded by a local 'tannie' for all the other Porsches which had 'cut her off', while peacefully travelling in the righthand lane of an double carriageway, with a long row of Porsche Cars behind her not quite travelling at a country pace.
Not so easy for Christo Vlok either. Kindly paternal as always, Christo was bringing up the rear of the Porsche convoy, and the traffic officers, probably realising that their run of official opportunity had come to an end, subjected the red 924 to a full medical checkup.
Then…with the end of the incredible journey in sight…we have the truly unthinkable. Incredibly, Jacques Hurter, yes, Jacques Hurter, undeniably … and with witnesses, locked himself, and Velia, out of their yellow car with the keys still in the ignition. This is fact. This same man fermently was protecting both his side windows with his life from Dave Parratt and Gavin Mills who were about to smash open his window just before a team of local locksmiths from Pietersburg provided deliverance from his dilemma. The contemplated 'smash and cry' was also communicated to witnesses, none other than the experienced emotional counsellors, Margie Robertson, and Gill Parratt who elected to remain behind with the distressed couple in supportive glee.
Nevertheless, and with particular gratitude to Ria's stalwart care, distribution and constant urging to 'use' the two-way radios, the valiant contestants completed the trip, indeed, still on the same day and were treated to a spectacular impromptu strip by Dave Parratt for their efforts. This burst of benevolence on Dave's part was extended to not only the Porsche Club members, but to a fair gathering of the other hotel occupants seated around the pool and on the patio partaking in, what up to this point, was to be described as a quiet lunch.
Dave's antics set the tone for the Ebenezer sunset cruise. The conviviality on the ferry was interrupted only for a head count of those above deck (which Brian adeptly managed to keep at a constant six, even though the numbers below strangely did not quite tally!) and for rebalancing when overcrowding at the back gave rise to the flooding of outboard engines and the very harrowing slope which had to be compensated by others leaning over the bar in the front. The sun must have set, because at some point it became dark, and members faced the fearful prospect of being assisted off the ferry and on to a raft which they had to negotiate before they could put foot on dry land. The prospect was made more fearful only by the looming presence of self-appointed assistant, Anton Cronje, the raftolier, who quavered frightingly in tune to the modulations of his narrow bobbing vessel.
Bacchus himself must have blessed these proceedings for all members made a dry landing and the festivities on the ferry were transferred to the Pot and Plough, where while waiting for a mean sheep on the spit prepared for us, members paid full homage to the aforementioned Deity of the grape. As the evening progressed, the pot and plough became a fascinating variety of Spot and Spit, Spoeg and Ploeg, and Spit and Spew. For those who were confused as to their whereabouts, just needed to check with Russel Lambert, who at all times knew exactly where he was! Now it needs to be known that the Pot and Plough lay a tempting ¼ miler from the Magoebasklof Hotel, and as such provided an attractive sprint that needed to be timed frequently. Gary, the owner, bearing a wonderfully cheerful countenance, became increasingly less convivial as the weekend wore on. Although, at times, he must seriously have come to regret the "party till late" credo emblazoned on his notice board, he and his wife showed us the stuff pioneers are made of, taking all in their stride. A huge salute to them for anchoring so much of the entertainment for the weekend, and for being so accommodating even when Dave Parratt (ever willing to spread goodwill) assumed a proprietary role, one of astonishing largeness, and was accompanied, in a supporting role, by the very able Margie, who manned the serving of wonderfully home-made baked dessert in the kitchen, the wine stock and the headache pills. A very late night was had by all and traces of it could be seen at breakfast the next morning.
And so, after all that, the Show and Shine did take place the following morning, and yes, cars were cleaned. Quite early, enjoying crisp mountain condensation, one actually could find quite a few gorillas in the mist, making deft swabs at what they hoped were their own vehicles and then did so again, and again and again as the dew did its thing. Rolf, in fine Swiss style, managed to engineer, not only prime position in regard to the water access point, but with Loli, together with three local kloof gorillas, to attend, with very scrupulous management detail to the preparation of the blue Porsche Carrera 4S into winning form.
The judging took place at the Excell garage in Tzaneen under the watchful eye of Sharon De Reuck – EXEL TZANEEN, who sponsored the event and arranging of the assistant judges. Loli was the run-away winner with the blue beauty basking in the limelight. The local Tzaneen Record newspaper was out and all! Peter Nash was thrilled with his third prize, which in the end even included hotel accommodation. Given this, it says much for Kevin Greig, who wasn't even vaguely piqued with his second prize petrol voucher, but stood proud in his purple plakkies for the photograph.
The Show and Shine served as well-planned preparation for a sparkling procession to the Pekoe Tea Estate, where after a well- informed, interesting and patient guide through the tea processing factory, a gloriously gluttonous spread of super-rich cakes was laid out on tables overlooking a splendiferous valley. Although we wrestled with the delightful potential of the scenario of Dave Parratt parked under a tree with a sign right next to it which read "Beware of falling avocados", and due to the size of the green avocados in the tree above, our moral conscience gained the upper hand and Parratt was informed of the possible consequences. From the tea estate Brian roared off with 18 Porsches in hot pursuit only to realise that they were participating in another unscheduled ¼ miler, which came to a sudden end at The Wheelbarrow roadstall around the corner. From a walk through the beautiful, secluded garden areas (even a 'skinner hoekie') with abundant and unusual bird life, the party moved on to Tembi Gardens. Meanwhile Gavin Mills and Dave Parratt in their Porsche 944 Turbos decided that they had enjoyed the day's outing so much that they needed to repeat the route all over again. This these adrenaline junkies promptly proceeded to do during the time it took other, more earthbound members to enjoy a (emphasis on singular) round of drinks.
That evening, as stipulated at exactly 18h00 and no minutes, Brian led the convoy to The Barnyard, where upon arrival members received, according to our very own nutritionist, Leslie Schie, an attractive and extremely balanced meal. In the show, Simply Irresistible, Juanita Kruger impressed with her versatile voice, and the ladies and Jacques Hurter found a new heart throb in her co-star, Joseph Clark. The two stars proved to be so popular that a follow up event to see Joseph's Queen show "don't stop me now" at Edelweiss Theatre was organised the following Friday evening. This Friday night Joseph was to look in vain for Jacques though the crowd for another personal performance. Perhaps Jacques was at home nursing over-exerted muscles in his clawed middle finger.
Saturday morning started with a visit to the Agatha crocodile farm, where, due to overcast weather, we viewed the most apathetic imaginable crocs, catching the odd chicken carcass if they felt so inclined, and then with the barest of movement at that. We were able to view them from up close though, and an assistant demonstrated entertaining 'fishing' and croc catching tricks for us. There were no takers for this job from all the Porsche Club Members.
Once we were able to lure Lynne Greig away from the 'cute' pickled croc embryos in a shop displaying ingenious novelties using every conceivable part of the crocodile, we were put thro some dirt roads and then treated to luncheon in the exquisite surroundings of King's Walden. Here we languished until Brian's 'Let's go' call for the Boabab echoed across the Wolkberge. The Porsches, even though now airbrushed in layers of dust, still made a spectacular display under the boughs of the 6000-year-old Boabab. Members supped around a log fire and quaffed the unbelievably inexpensive sap offered by the Boabab Bush Pub. But cognisance had to be taken of the sand road and speed bumps to link-up with the tar road.
On the last morning a few die-hards visited a steep inclined waterfall and then the remains of the long Tom that is laid to rest in Haenertsburg, close to the burial spot which looks up at the Iron crown and down over George's Valley and bought fresh, fresh trout all in five minutes before heading home.
And then the mountains sighed and the roads either curled up snugly or stretched out lazily as tranquillity descended over Magoebaskloof once more.