Plastic bottle tops teach tiny tots

Runners compete in the Cape Town Marathon. Photo: File

Since the closure last year of Bergvliet High School’s recycling project, I’ve not known what to do with all the colourful tops of milk and sauce bottles that land up in my recycling box. Now I do.

I heard last week from Jenny Elder that bottle tops are being used as a fun learning tool in the five pre-school classes run on Goedgedacht Farm in Riebeeksrivier, about 17km beyond Malmesbury.

The bottle tops are ideal for teaching tiny tots how to count, sort colours, do simple addition and subtraction, increase vocabulary and use a second language. Many of the 138 pre-school children, who are collected from about 30 surrounding farms in two 60-seater buses, come from Afrikaans-speaking homes.

“Our aim is to give each child a 2-litre ice cream box full of assorted bottle tops,” said Jenny who is a qualified primary school and remedial teacher. “On Tuesday October 10, when the farm holds its annual spring visit, I’ll be handing over sacks of bottle tops that people in the Constantia valley have collected on my behalf.”

Goedgedacht Farm, which is run by a trust, was bought in 1992 with the goal to uplift pre-school rural children by providing them with education on which to build a solid foundation for their whole life.

The Irish government donated money for one pre-school classroom to be built on the farm and now they have five. The trust has eight rural centres and currently bottle tops are being collected for a new pre-school being built in Porterville
If you have any ice-cream boxes and bottle tops, you can drop them off at the security gate of Alphenvale, 14 Parish Road, Constantia, labelled for “Jenny Number 48.”

Anyone interested in visiting the farm on October 10 – when you will be assured of a warm welcome and can see the children learning with their colourful tops – the cost for the outing, including lunch, is R145. Contact Jenny after September 29 at

After teas and scones, the chief fund-raiser, Janet Perrot, will conduct visitors to other places of interest including the Peace Olive Grove.

Support along the way

One of the best stories to come my way about the Cape Town Marathon was that of a runner who, after completing the 10km race, changed into jeans and headed for the finish line of the marathon to watch her nephew cross the line. She’d heard that he had phoned his wife at the half-way mark to say he was really battling in the heat and did not think he could make it to the end.

Realising that waiting for him to finish was not going to be of much help to him, she decided to run from the finish line towards him to give him active encouragement and support.

Running 3km in that heat in her jeans nearly killed her, she said, but she was rewarded when she met up with her exhausted nephew and was able to run step for step alongside him all the way to the finish where they were greeted with rousing cheers from the spectators.

Although they missed the official cut-off time by three minutes, the race was marginally longer this year so not only did he receive a the precious finisher’s medal but so did his joyously weeping aunt.

She said it was the best race she had ever run and the best medal.

News from a friend

I have not seen Brian Gripper for several years so was delighted when he popped round with a letter to pay tribute to the hard-working members of “The Oog Project Committee”, which he founded in 1989 to begin the rebuilding of the dam site.
“In 2003 I was contacted by Professor Dennis Davey who offered to join the team,” he wrote.

“He was welcomed and on November 3, 2003 I was happy that my 14 years was at last bearing fruit and a new team could bring renewed life into Die Oog. I stood down and we changed the name to Friends of Die Oog.”

The committee con-
sisted of Dennis Davey as chairman with Brian Gripper, Alwyn Lubbe and Clive van Ryneveld as vice chairmen.

Brian’s final comment was: “I always like to ensure that we do not neglect the members who worked hard for 14 years prior to the ‘name change’”.

Tennis talk

As a tennis fan it irks me that I never saw the fiery American John McEnroe and the ice-cool Swede Björn Borg in action on a TV screen. I had to make do with listening on the radio to the commentary of their dramatic clash in the 1980 Wimbledon men’s final. So I’m really keen to see the movie “Borg vs McEnroe” whenever it eventually is screened in Cape Town.

The likeness of the two actors, Shia LaBeouf as the loud-mouthed McEnroe, (who spawned the famous phrase “You cannot be serious!”
(hurled at the umpire over a questionable decision) and Sverrir Gudnason as the hirsute Borg, is uncanny.
Audiences will also see Borg’s own son, Leo, playing his teenage father at a time when he had serious anger issues, which he eventually learnt to control as did the now cool, calm and collected Roger Federer in his early career.

A reviewer described the tone of the movie as “desperately serious” but said it was worthwhile for the nail-biting final match at Wimbledon.

The sky is the limit

If at first you don’t succeed, best not to try skydiving.