Weekend in Dullstroom

Posted: December 2, 2018 in Family, golf, holiday, Whisky

Many friends and family head to Dullstroom in Mpumalanga Highlands, mostly for trout fishing and whisky tasting. So when Nicole mentioned her and good friends of ours were arranging a getaway there I was in two minds.. One, I’m not a fisherman so what the hell am I going to do all weekend, and two.. Hmmm, Whisky tasting..?!

Fortunately, I found a championship golf course in the area, Highland Gate rated number 15 in the Golf Digest Top 100 Golf Courses in SA.

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Each hole representing different trout fishing flies

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Beautiful 340m par 4 hole, teeing off down a 50 m drop, which I smashed a drive onto the green..

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Designed by the golfing legend Ernie Els, this was certainly a challenging round, filled with brilliant shots and disastrous ones alike.. and the odd curse or two and of course a few balls lost (and found).

We stayed in a quaint wooden cabin at elandskloof trout farm with friends and their daughter. A friendship which has strengthened with “R” becoming a Brother.

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A relaxing weekend away, braaing under the African sky, free from artificial lights, bright stars and milky way providing a beautiful canopy above our heads.

Of course, a trip to Dullstroom wouldn’t be complete without Whisky and Gin (for the ladies) tasting.

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…An incredible array of fine whisky’s from a menu to choose from…

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…in the “porn” section, as our connoisseur host described the top collectables… 

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I went for the Glenmorangie tasting, sampling 6 of their best single malts

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… umm….yea, I always knew gin was dodgy…

In the end, a great weekend away

and lets not forget the willy warmers

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A week in review

Posted: November 4, 2018 in Erin, Family, tattoo

Most weeks are hectic for me nowadays. My new responsibilities at work, combined with the old, keep me incredibly busy.. and out of mischief I suppose…In addition to the corporate world, our senior management team are always available to respond to emergency cases. This week was no exception, though, it certainly was a difficult one.

A 6 year old drowning, where we successfully obtained spontaneous breathing and pulse, sadly passed away a few days later. A massive accident in the North West Province, called for the need for both our emergency helicopters to be activated. Collected at our head office, I flew out to the scene.  A case which both made me proud and sad at the same time.. Proud.. because, having both our machines on scene certainly makes a stand.. one, no other company can compete with

…sad… because we flew a 2 month old who was sitting on her sister’s lap when their car smashed into a truck.

BMW spoiling us with their new offroad BMW experience in the heart of Midrand.

Followed by yet another tragic accident…

Which brings us to the end of the week.. today.. of which the highlight was another tattoo. Well, sort of, as this tattoo changing an original tattoo.

The original

...check that concentration out..

…work in progress..

… and the final product..

Perfect way to end the week..now the question we ask ourselves.. what’s in store for us next?

Yesterday was the annual AGM for the District of SA North under the banner of the Grand Lodge of England. A prestigious day in our district, where Masons are appointed and promoted in both active and past rank. I have been an active District Officer  for 3 years https://carlsstuff.wordpress.com/2016/10/02/my-journey-continues/ and this year’s appointment took me in a different direction.

This year I was honoured by being appointed as the District Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies for the Royal Arch.

        

 

To explain a bit more, as this is entering a new avenue of Masonry I haven’t discussed before.

Pure Ancient Freemasonry consists of three degrees, Entered Apprentice (1st Degree) Fellowcraft (2nd Degree)  and Master Mason (3rd Degree).A Mason must have obtained his 3rd Degree to be eligible for the Royal Arch.

The Supreme Degree of the Holy Royal Arch of Jerusalem completes the learning as a Master Mason.Historically, it is the complete story of Jewish History during some of its darkest hours, when Jerusalem and the Holy Temple is destroyed and the people of Israel are being held captive as slaves in Babylon. Symbolically, the Royal Arch leads us from a practical to spiritual journey of self development and knowledge.

Just as the Square and Compass is the symbol of Craft Freemasonry, the Triple Tau is that of Royal Arch Masonry.

The tau is the nineteenth letter in the Greek Alphabet. The triple tau of Royal Arch Masonry consists of 3 T’s linked in the centre joined at their base.The name Hiram Abiff appear in the Phoenican language with the same letters “H” and “T” as they do in English. As such, the Triple Tau takes on the interpretation of the initial letters in Hiram Abiff’s name. (A very significant individual our learnings)

A triangle is a simple shape in geometry that has taken on great spiritual significance and symbolism. The triangle was revered by ancient nations as containing the greatest mysteries, and as a symbol of God, denoting a triad of intelligence or a triad of deity.  The triangle is also a symbol of divine union, representing the attributes of deity : omnipotence (all powerful), omnipresence (eternal) and omniscience (all knowing).

To explain more will ruin the experience of any potential RA candidates reading my blog. Suffice it to say, having journeyed through the Royal Arch, from candidate to the Principal Officer positions over the past 10 years has been an enlightening experience, and being appointed as an Active District Officer is an honour, and one I look forward to over the next year.

I can’t believe I haven’t written in my blog for such a long time.. so much has happened in my life, but I just haven’t got to it.. pitiful excuse!! LOL.. but anyway.

As all my closest friends know, I’m colour blind, specifically red/green. To explain,people with deuteranomaly and protanomaly are collectively known as red-green colour blind and we generally have difficulty distinguishing between reds, greens, browns and oranges. We also commonly confuse different types of blue and purple hues.

As a child i used to hide it from everyone, believing there was something wrong with me, and didn’t want to be either teased, bully or look like a freak. I couldn’t read anything of colour on a blackboard with the exception of white and yellow. So it took serious effort to understand what was on the board often just pretending I could read and just guess!! At my age now, I just couldn’t care what people think anymore

As an adult, PowerPoint presentations pose a problem, as many utilise red/green or variances of them on blue/purple backgrounds, which makes the writing invisible to me.

To explain in simple terms, red and variance of red is just a dark colour to me blue and purple are identical, and industry wise, I can’t see the difference between red lights (EMS) and yellow lights (towing services)

To see what we see, check out http://www.colourblindawareness.org/colour-blindness/colour-blindness-experience-it/

Why am I bringing this up, well, there are glasses that allow us to see colour, which I’ve been looking at for some time. https://enchroma.com/ Looking at the reactions of some of the Videos I’ve seen, makes me want to get them, at the same time, petrifies me.

So I took the test to see if the glasses will work.. the result?

Based on your test result, people with moderate protanomaly usually respond very positively to EnChroma glasses — 75% of people with test results like yours experienced improved color vision.

I’ve lived my whole life like this, maybe it’ll be too overwhelming to deal with. Emotions? Scared…curious…possible excitement…nervous.. all at the same time.

Question..should I get them or not?

Our annual October vacation this year needed to be postponed due to various reasons, and we decided that the first week of the December holidays would be ideal. We arranged to stay at Nicole’s family’s home on Thesen Island, situated on the Lagoon in-between the Knysna Heads.

Yesterday we took a meandering drive through the beautiful old town, and found the Masonic Temple.

Directly across the road, we found 2 churches, and while walking past one made of slate, admiring the workmanship, we came across an ancient graveyard…

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Most of the head stones dated back to the mid 1800’s. One in particular we found fascinating, was the local doctor’s, who’s headstone made of sandstone was laid and inscribed by the locals, which clearly indicated their trust and love they felt for their doctor, who dies at a young age of 58 in 1874.

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“this stone is erected by friends and patients in affectionate remembrance of eternal kindness and professional skill”

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...coins laid on top of the headstone, honouring him..

In the grounds, just beyond the few gravestones, stands the oldest church in Knysna, St Georges Church, the foundation stone being laid in April 1849.

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My Masonic journey has been one of self fulfilment, complete with reflection of my spiritual, moral and social virtues, and, whilst I’m not a perfect man, I strive to be a better one. I look back at who I was before I took my first step into the Craft, and can honestly say, I would not be the man I am today without my Brethren who have guided me, taught me and mentored me these past 12 years.

The Craft is my second family, and through each Degree and step I’ve taken, I’ve delved into it with gusto and absorbed the information and teachings like a sponge in the sea of knowledge. As explained when I obtained the 18th Degree , the ceremony being one of beauty and thought-provoking warmth, much cannot be revealed.

Since that momentous occasion, I have grown into more auspicious positions, having been the Master of my Craft Lodge, Principle Officer in the Royal Arch and Most Wise Sovereign of my Rose Croix Chapter. The latter being the prerequisite for my future promotion.

These achievements, promotions in the District, from Steward to District Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies, and all the Masonic knowledge and rich history learnt could not have prepared me for what I experienced yesterday.

The ceremony being conferred to the 30th Degree was indescribable. As I tried to explain to my fellow Illustrious Brethren during the Festive Board, it was nowhere near what I expected, it was thought provoking, mind blowing and jaw dropping. . and…WOW!!

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The collarette and beautiful hand crafted sash worn in the 30th Degree

True to my Masonic obligation, the experience itself will not be revealed, except to say I am truly honoured by this conferment, and, most especially now, intensely  proud to be a Freemason.

Over the past year, I’ve developed a taste for whisky. For many years my thought of whisky was one of diesel fuel, however, this changed a year ago after a friend won a quality single malt in a raffle at an open evening we held at my Masonic Lodge.

A deep breathe and preparing to expel the vile liquid, I took a sip of a 5-year old Glenmorangie Nectar D’Or, and immediately felt this delicious, warm honeycomb gold fluid flowing down my throat.

Having dispelled my youthful drinking sprees many years ago, I’m not one to drink  at home or in a social environment. One glass of red wine would suit my evening.At times, even a glass of wine tends to be too much.

I finally found the perfect sundowner, which minimal quantity provided relaxation and stress relieving downtime. I have tried different versions of whiskies, from single malts to various blends and distilleries. From cheap to expensive, I’ve found my favourites and those that could pass off as Jet Fuel.

When Hillbrow Lodge hosted a Whisky tasting evening, I jumped at the opportunity to attend. An incredible evening, complete with a 3 course meal, had us pairing 3 Single Malts with various types of chocolates, under the guidance of our District’s resident whisky connoisseur, Simon Knutton.

IMG_4132 Expert knowledge and experience had our small group of Masons, wives and guests enthralled with the history of whisky, the methods of distilling and tasting Simon’s choice of “The good, the bad and ugly”

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My favourite of the three, was the Glenkinchie.  Matched perfectly with white chocolate, adding a creamy sweetness to the fresh fruity and oak palate.

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In 1837, the Glenkinchie distillery was founded in the  south of Pencaitland, drawing its waters from the Lammermuir Hills in East Lothian. Marketed as ‘The Edinburgh Malt’, the Glenkinchie distillery is just fifteen miles away from the city.

After the main course, we were treated to the Ardbeg. From where we were seated, as the glasses were filled on the presentation table, we could smell the strong aroma of fruity peat with a hint of vanilla.

IMG_4129Paired with dark Orange chocolate, my mouth was overwhelmed with sweet vanilla and lemon and lime, with a smokey caramel after-taste.

Dessert served, with the ambiance in the room bubbling with newly formed  whisky enthusiasts, the 3rd whisky was presented.

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Aberlour’s long-running A’Bunadh range, matured exclusively in Spanish Oloroso Sherry casks and bottled at cask strength.

Simon explained that Aberlour sits at the base of the rugged mountain range, Ben Rinnes. Nestled in the village of the same name, the distillery was founded by Peter Weir and James Gordon in 1826, though Peter was to pull out a year later. The village lies on the Lour Burn, which converges with the River Spey just 270 metres from the distillery. The 6th century Celtic saint St Drostan, baptised local chiefs in the distillery’s water source.

Whisky experts describe the nose as Jamaican Ginger cake, chocolate buttons, a kick of black pepper and sugary coffee.

Me?… well, It reminded me of Christmas Cake!

Now this whisky is aptly referred to “the ugly” by Simon. No, not the taste, as it had a delicious sweet palate with flavours of chocolate and rum soaked rum. Its the staggering 60% alcohol/volume content that makes this a very slow sipping sundowner.

A big thanks to our host, the Worshipful Master of Hillbrow Lodge, and the insightful talk and presentation by Simon Knutton.