Luftwaffe over Durban
A CERTAIN rhythm seems to be establishing itself in this part of the newspaper. If people aren't falling out of aircraft, crashing aircraft and baling out of aircraft, they're performing superhuman feats of heroism on the rugby field.
Here's the latest instalment in aviation drama. Patrick Coyne brings us the account of Mavis Goyns who, as an evacuee schoolgirl at Gordon Road Girls' School, Durban, during World War II, suddenly heard the throb of a German bomber overhead.
She writes: "I automatically dived under my desk and shut my eyes, waiting for the bombs to drop. I was suddenly aware that all the class were looking at me, and Miss Murchie leaned forward and asked what I was doing under the desk. I pointed upwards and said: 'It's a German bomber.'
"'But how can you tell if it's a German bomber? We get many aeroplanes flying over Durban,' said the teacher.
"'Oh, you can tell,' I replied and scrambled back to my seat, feeling foolish."
Later that week they read in the newspapers that a German bomber had been captured at Tobruk and brought down to Durban to be inspected. During a test flight it had actually flown over Durban.
The account is one of many Patrick has received from former pupils of Gordon Road, which celebrates its centenary next year. Other former pupils with memories of their Gordon Road schooldays are asked to phone 082 4846900 or 031 3032628 to contribute to a history that is being compiled.
Hops and barley
AND NOW THE latest instalment in rugby heroism. So far we've had a fellow who completed a Currie Cup match with a broken arm and another who completed a club match with a broken back, both staying on the field because in those days substitutes were not allowed, not even for injury.
It turns out I have been rubbing shoulders for years with a rugby hero who completed a game with a broken leg also because of that no substitutes rule.
Tony Ford and I belong to the same hops and barley sampling and appreciation society. The above-mentioned accounts prompt him to tell of the time he was playing in a school match for St Henry's against DHS.
He was playing prop forward. In a melee, somebody crashed into his leg. There was a loud "crack!" and he had agonising pain. But he carried on until the final whistle. You don't give up against DHS.
It got even more painful once he'd showered and cooled down. Then he went for an X-ray and it turned out he had a fractured tibula (or is it fibula?).
"But how could you run?" I asked incredulous.
"I told you, I was playing prop forward. In those days props didn't run. We walked from the line-out to the scrum, to the next scrum, to the next lineout. It was okay."
The mind, senor, she boggles!
No gnus is good gnus
ANOTHER tabloid newspaper is due to hit the streets in London. I'm indebted for this information to Rupert Wait, who says it will be called The Gnus of the World and material for publication will be provided by wildebeest hacking their way about the veld.
Nothing surprises me these days.
Microchips take over
PEOPLE say the age of the microchip has dulled our human intelligence. Nobody does mental arithmetic any more because of the pocket calculator. Spellcheck has eliminated the need to know how to spell.
Is this true? Consider these lines of verse:
Eye have a spelling chequer,
It came with my Pea Sea.
It plane lee marks four my revue
Miss Steaks I can knot sea.
Eye strike the quays and type a whirred
And weight four it two say
Weather eye am write oar wrong
It tells me straight a weigh.
Eye ran this poem threw it,
Your shore real glad two no.
Its vary polished in its weigh.
My chequer tolled me sew.
Nope, nothing wrong there.
Gym enthusiast: "I want to impress that beautiful girl over there. What machine should I use?"
Gym trainer: "The ATM outside."
To be stupid, selfish, and have good health are three requirements for happiness, though if stupidity is lacking, all is lost.