If your long lie-in on Sunday morning was rudely disturbed by a bell of a noise from the City Hall and beyond, I can explain.
It was the talented Alexios Vicatos performing Matthias Vanden Gheyn’s prelude to about 25 guests to show us how he played the carillon.
Thumping his clenched fists on wooden stick-like keys and keeping his feet pumping pedals looked hard work to me. And boy was it noisy!
A carillon, typically housed in the bell tower of a church or municipal building, consists of at least 23 cast bronze, cup-shaped bells which are played serially to produce a melody, or sounded together to play a chord.
Alexios sat at an organ-like console with its keyboard connected by strong wires to the bells in the tower which are reached by four increasingly narrow staircases that I was too scared to climb.
The city’s carillon has 39 bells, many of them named to commemorate municipal workers killed during World War I.
Silent for 17 years, it could not have had a better day to be heard again.
While the City fathers and mothers elsewhere were marking the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, when the guns on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, fell silent, we were listening to the carillon, which was the world’s first to be conceived as a World War I memorial.
This was due to the initiative of he then mayoress, Anna Thorne, who five days after the 1918 ceasefire, wrote to the Cape Argus and Cape Times suggesting a carillon be built to commemorate the Great War.
She established a fund-raising committee of 40 women, an initiative which became known as the Women’s War Memorial. By 1922, they had enough money to get quotes and bravely ordered and paid for three sets of bells over three years.
The total cost of the installation was 3 500 pounds.
All the allied countries involved in World War I enthusiastically took up our mayoress’s idea but the UK beat South Africa in the race to be the first to get their carillon inaugurated.
On April 30 1925, the Prince of Wales, Edward VIII, did the honours which began with the hymn, Oh God Our Help in Ages Past, played by the city’s first carillonneur, Anton Brees, from Belgium. He taught our first local carillonneur, the late Jan Luyt, who regularly gave concerts.
Alexios Vicatosis hopes his concert will also help “to revive the long forgotten traditions of playing this magnificent war-memorial carillon”.
Beware of credit card scams
The experience of my friend who ordered a “free sample” of a pick-me-up only to find that R3 000 had been deducted from her bank account for two unasked-for products, appears to be a new scam.
Linette Hugo had a similar experience from another company when she ordered free tubs of face cream.
She was asked to pay the postage with her credit card and the tubs would be delivered by courier within a week. This duly happened.
“A few weeks later, to my surprise, almost R3 000 was taken from my credit card. So I cancelled my card and informed the bank.
“Apparently, I did not see the small print saying that if I did not return the ‘samples’ I would be charged. Never would I have paid that amount for small tubs of mediocre face creams.”
My unlucky day
I thought it was my lucky day on Halloween when I received an email from the TNCW with a photo of a single black car key found on October 31 at the corner of Lismore and Dalmore roads.
It looked so like the Honda car key which I dropped – probably as far back as April – in deep sand next to the orange gravel path between pony club and the Maryland Road entrance to the pine plantation.
Sadly it was not my missing key. But I have heard that some months ago a photo of a car key found in the forest had been circulated on social media but alas my informant had dumped that image.
If by any chance someone still has that photo on their phone, or, better still, that single key, would they please email me? I’ll happily reward their favourite charity if, by any chance, it is my missing key. I’ve spent hours looking for it, and a new one costs a fortune.
Skinny dipper shock
I ran into my first skinny dipper of the summer season the other day in, of all places, the Tokai Plantation. We had almost ended our walk through the fynbos admiring the fading, but still beautiful purple pelargoniums, and had noticed with appreciation that someone had fixed that skew bridge, which dipped so much that walkers had to go carefully to avoid an unexpected dip in the water below. That is, when there is water, as that stream dries up in the summer.
We had just reached the wooden look-out structure near the pool where dogs love to cool off, when I noticed a gorgeous blond without a stick of clothing splashing around in the water. Fortunately he had his back to us.
Near him was another blond fully dressed male who, I guessed from size and build, must be his twin.
A woman was watching the boys with interest and care. I called out “How old are they?”
“They will be two years old on Friday!”
Happy birthday boys. Seeing you both so beautiful and carefree made my day.
Bed of remembrance
My bed is a magical place where I suddenly recall all the things I was supposed to do yesterday.