Wading our way through forms 4 and 5 at Wellington’s illustrious Wellington College, way back in the Sixties, our history teacher had the most boring manner of imparting his historical knowledge to we shell Bs! Whether it was his habit of writing the day’s lesson on the blackboard, which we then had to copy verbatim into our exercise books, or his inability to get us excited about long passed Kings and Queens of ol’ Blighty, the battles, beheadings or busy gallows, only the spirits that haunt the corridors of that hub of learning will know! Runnymede was just another place, Waterloo a battle only to remember at exam time, and Mary Queen of Scots a would be Queen of England whose very existence threatened to create a right royal scandal!
1 Jack Black, pretend teacher that he was in School of Rock, had a subject that got the kids rocking!
One piece of history that did manage to stick was that once the Romans had tired of being so far from Mama, had disappeared back to the Tiber and the Stilletto, and before all the pomp and ceremony of Royalty in post Dark Ages England, there were bands of migrants who sailed over from Northern Europe, in the late 4th Century AD, and not bothering with any immigration formalities simply raided and took over southern Britain! Amongst these mostly Jutes, (or Goth), warriors, were a whole bunch of weird names such as Saxons, Frisians and Angles to name a few. They set up camp having dispatched of any yokels that might have objected to their presence, with the Angles and Saxons eventually out breeding the rest! A century or so later the Franks joined in the fun in Sunny England, but eventually realized the grass wasn’t really any greener there, so they rather hung out in France! Taking a look at Calais today, one wonders just how green England’s grass is perceived to be!
2 Beachy Head must have been an obstacle for the Jutes and Goths, but at least the grass was green at the top of the sheer, chalk cliffs!
So if you ever wondered where the name Anglo-Saxon originated, you now have an overview, and of course the name England and the French version, Angleterre! Being proud of your English heritage, you may be surprised to know that your ancestors were a bunch of Jerries and Vikings! The name is derived from the district of Angeln on Germany’s Baltic shores, and has nothing to do with the sort of angles us engineers and motorbike riders are into! OK, we are also into curves too, but those we follow elsewhere!
3 Even way back then, they were clamouring to get into Britain!
If I might throw in a snippet that was thrown at me recently: During the Middle Ages the french speaking Normans, took the Calais-Dover ferry over the English Channel, kicked the Vikings out thinking that Ol’ Blighty might be a cool spot to hang out, but much like the Romans, after 90 odd years and the local yokels tiring of the Norman Aristocracy, they moved back home to tend the vineyards and plan a Revolution! Left over from their tenure was a legacy of fancy pants names such as cul de sac, a la carte and porte couchere, but the favourite has to be with the skiers, après ski!
4 William The Conqueror ring a bell with anyone? England became a cul de sac for the Normans!
If anyone amongst you doesn’t follow Moto GP or any form of motorcycle racing then you are missing out on one of the most spectacular sports ever! As we all know a spinning wheel has a gyroscopic force that resists change of direction, and the job of the engineer and the motorcycle racer is to defy this gyroscopic force and get that motor cycle cranked over at what seem to be impossible angles, and as fast as possible through the curves, defying the laws of gravity and friction in the process!
5 Noriyuki Haga who conquered many hearts in Britain, eventually becoming an honourary Anglo-Saxon, is seen here at Imola at an extreme angle! Note the knee pad!
Have you ever wondered how those high construction cranes on their spindly looking centre towers manage to remain upright? If you have a close look you’ll see the whole assembly is made up of angle iron sub- assemblies, all bolted together in triangulated sections that lend a massive strength to the structure! On top of all that the fearless crane operator, who must wear the feather in her / his cap at a jaunty angle, must ensure that the weight his tri-angulated behemoth carries does not exceed the counter balancing weights as too much and too far could result in a catastrophic collapse! Then when the wind comes up, and the tower crane starts swaying at crazy angles, time out has to be called until Mother Nature also takes a break!
6 A tower crane illustration! Note the triangles and the death defying position of the operator’s booth!
Until a recent vote in the South African parliament, there had developed a whole new angle of viewing the South African political scene! People had become upbeat and felt that the gangster style leadership would soon fall and allow exciting new leaders to take the people into a new era! Helas, the Association of Notorious Cadres showed their true colours and voted to keep their chief gangster at the helm, ensuring that their own baadjies vir boetjies deals were not jeopardised, allowing the Rand to take another knock and what might have been a cute angle became very obtuse! Then the Nation became vibrant again on August 3rd2016 as the Democratic Alliance gave the ANC a lekker skrik and some major municipalities voted the DA in! A whole new political angle has developed, especially now that the cadres are busy fearing lost billions of graft money, as begrudgingly elected Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, is not playing to the ANC’s whistle!
7 The headline under South African Finance Minister’s Pravin Gorhan’s image reads: The Rand would bomb if Gordhan goes! (News 24) Be Afraid!
My last angle has a narcoleptic slant to it! With today’s motor cars having every mod con to keep the driver at ease and virtually drive the motor car for you, the angle at which you attack your steering wheel is a vital one, well in my own case a life and death angle! With the driver’s seat back set at nine degrees from vertical, that’s 9˚ for you engineers out there, the six hour journey to my beloved sand and sea is a breeze, with only the odd scratching of my head at the four hour mark! Now, set that seat back at an angle of ten degrees and somehow the difference of that one degree produces narcoleptic moments in me that gets my passengers hauling out the padkos to feed me awake!
8 Rusks, biltong and koeksusters. My passengers keep me well fed!
The age of chivalry is seemingly lost to those of centuries of Britain growing up! In today’s emancipated, motorised world one doesn’t often see a man opening the car door for his wife, but when he does it is; A: when he gets a new car and B: when he gets a new wife!
I wish you all angles that attract and attractive angles, degrees of happiness that far exceed any negative slants that might invade your space, a path that deviates but for your enjoyment and inclines that you simply take in your stride!
Music from the Middle Ages reflects on an Age of aristocracy and a missing deep bass sound!
St Vincent School For The Deaf helping the hard of hearing to listen:
Down Durban way The Fulton School for The Deaf:
Abraham Kriel Childcare group, caring while we work:
The Avril Elizabeth Home for the Mentally Handicapped was opened in 1970, and for the amazing work they do for the less fortunate they deserve great accolades: