Facebook post by Veteran Ben Opperman 1.7.2023
Daar’s hy manne en maninne!.....Perth’s two-comma-fô for the month that will be July for the next 30 days or so, done and dusted. It was still dark as everyone arrived one after the other, all dressed up against the cold. There were two very brave veterans with shorts who would not put long trousers on even if threatened. Despite the cold air a good turnout of 23 veterans and friends was had.
It was a chilly affair with the cold concentrated around the ponds. It got a bit warmer going up Riaan-se-koppie to Tim’s Tower but cold again coming down. Speaking for myself it felt like I was back at School of Armour in Bloemfontein. First your hands are all pain until you can’t feel them any longer and they pain again as life returns. Others said Oudtshoorn, Grahamstown, Ladysmith, Middelburg and not forgetting Potch, were also cold places in the winter and not pleasant at all. Talk around the bbq’s centred arround politics and dubious politicians and controversial land reform legislation……. Jaaa boet….the pile of sh*t coming from the hill only gets higher and higher……
So, up the hill we went and back to a scrumptious self-prepared brekky spiced with army-talk and laughter. The kookaburras and magpies were out in full force and one had to eat with one eye on your food and the other on the birds. Veteran Vic van Loggerenberg nearly lost his sandwich with the magpie taking only a piece of the meaty stuff inside the sandwich and flying off, one very deft and brazen move by the magpie. Vic hardly felt anything and the rest of us hardly saw anything. Cheeky little buggers!
Why do this at all one might ask? Well, one will never know the true value of this once-a-month-activity but what is set in concrete is that veterans need to take time off to reacquaint with one another and thereby cement existing friendships and forge new friendships. We are in a foreign country that we now call home where things can get a bit rough at times but we share the same story from way back – we were soldiers once - we were and still are brothers in arms. We share the hope and despair of all the veterans back in South-Africa, their families, our families, friends…..the list is long.
The group photo standing from left to right….. Garth Pienaar, Brian Halstead, good friend Joe Bryant, Braam Coetzee, Dalene Coetzee, Selwyn Dolgoy, Gavin Holz, Peter Celliers, Andries Pretorius, Jess van der Nest, Ian Higley, Dean van Vuuren, Charl Crous, Don Pengelly, Johan Burr-Dixon, Andre Pretorius, Craig Howard, Vic van Loggerenberg and Ben Opperman. Kneeling are Marlize Pretorius, Marion Hercock, Philip Niman and Slade Healy.