Great day for the Irish
Wit a shillelagh at me arm and a twinkle in me oi … What a day
for Ireland at Lansdowne Road. They've run out of Guinness in
Dublin. What testimony to grit and determination, 15 men
playing the 80 minutes. England were never in the game.
And what a let-down for England. They'd already won the Six
Nations and the Calcutta Cup (England and Scotland). At stake
on Saturday were the Grand Slam (five out of five in the Six
Nations), the Triple Crown (beating the other three home
unions) and setting a new world record for consecutive Test
'Twas not to be. The Irish were simply determined, the way
they were to stop the All Blacks in their roll of 18 consecutive
It illustrates yet again how the fortunes of rugby can ebb and
flow. Also how the weight of success and expectations can
become an albatross.
The Sharks? We so nearly followed England. Okay, we had
virtually a new team on the field, for various reasons, but what
haphazard play. How the fortunes of rugby can ebb and flow.
TODAY we shift the focus to Zululand. In recent weeks readers
have been sharing various bizarre experiences on the Wild
Coast – a leg of mutton dropped from an aeroplane, bonfire
acrobatics on the beaches – but today we take a look at Lake
Bhangazi, at Cape Vidal.
Lake Bhangazi lies behind the dunes, an idyllic spot. My old
mate Monty English and some other fellows had a rustic
cottage on the shores of the lake, which they used as a base for
skiboat fishing in the sea.
It was the marlin season. They were there to catch some
monsters. They arrived in the evening and opened up the
cottage. They lit the gas deepfreeze to hold the couta they
were going to catch next day while they hunted marlin. They lit
the gas fridge to keep the beer cold.
Then they partied the way you do on a fishing expedition.
Everyone had a big roll of cash with him because the marlin
season meant using a lot of petrol on the skiboats. The only
place to fetch it from was St Lucia, and these were the days
before petrol cards and credit cards and cash machines.
Then they went to bed, each fellow draping his trousers – with
roll of cash – at the end of his bed.
At first light next day they were on the beach, launching then
heading for the horizon. They were after the marlin.
Then, later in the day, they noticed something strange – a pillar
of smoke on the landward horizon. What could this be?
Somebody was burning something. But so what? They
addressed themselves to catching a marlin.
But when they landed that evening they discovered what had
caused the mysterious smoke. The flame powering the deep
freeze had blown out. But the gas supply kept coming. Being
slightly heavier than air, it covered the floor of the cottage,
then started to increase in depth.
Then it reached the level of the flame still burning in the fridge
and – BOOM! – the entire place blew up, including the rolls of
cash at the end of each bedstead.
It was the shortest marlin fishing season in history. Luckily, in
those days you still left your car keys in the ignition.
BACK to the Wild Coast. It was evening and a fishing party were
relaxing with cold beers on some high ground near the Leper
A small coaster was passing northward, very close in, catching
the counter-current. Her navigation lights shone bright in the
fading twilight. It was an enchanting scene.
One of the party had been in the merchant navy. He knew
Speak them," one of the party said.
At which this fellow picked up a fishing torch and began
flashing a message.
At which every light on the ship went out, she turned hard to
starboard and headed for the horizon, full steam ahead.
"What did you say?"
"Heave to or we open fire!"
Yes, the rhythmic beauty of our coastline belies its constant
tensions and dramas.
THIS cowboy dude rode into town dressed in brown
paper. The sheriff arrested him for rustling.
When they discover the centre of the universe, a lot
of people will be disappointed to discover they are