Fidler in the Hood: Ramsgate Book and Art Festival was well worth a visit

US Consul-General Sherry Z Sykes (second from left) formally opened this year's Ramsgate Book and Art Festival. Sherry was accompanied by her husband Michael Jordan (left), family friend Brenda Banks, and Rudell Beice, her father, from Chicago, Illinois.

If anyone says ‘There’s not much going on around here’, I would respond with ‘Are you kidding? The CO and I seem to have full diaries, socially – plus other things ‘to do’.

I suppose attending funerals, visits to the doctor, meeting up with people does make for a busy life, but really, we seem to be on the go, running around.

ALSO READ : Fidler in the Hood: We’ll stroll the lane together

Add to that, we love our home here in Uvongo, so life is beautiful.

Poets corner

The ‘big splash’ last week was undoubtedly the annual Ramsgate Book and Art Festival 2018, which has grown … and this year it was bigger and better. An impressive array of talented speakers, writers, authors, artists, exhibitions, poetry readings and bookshops made for a wonderful festival.

The organisers enthusiastically went to town, with a rainbow-coloured ceiling in the main venue, book, food and arts and crafts stalls – a great environment.

Intrepid adventurer

It was an honour to have US Consul-General Sherry Sykes, who travelled from Durban with family and friends, formally open the festival.

It would be unfair to single out the many presenters, however, mention must be made of best-selling author and raconteur Riaan Manser, referred to as an ‘explorer’ by one travel magazine. What an amazing person.

He was awarded the title ‘Adventurer of the Year’ in 2006 by a leading travel magazine. He was the first person to circumnavigate the whole coastline of the African continent – on bicycle.

In 2011, he circumnavigated Iceland in a two-man kayak, followed by a 5 000km kayak trip around Madagascar.

That was the easy bit! Together with long-time girlfriend Vasti Geldenhuys, Riaan ROWED from Morocco, North Africa, to New York City, in an ocean-rowing boat, alone and unaided. Fortunately US Customs and Immigration officers in NYC allowed the couple entry into the USA.

Perfect honeymoon

After a quite lengthy courtship, the couple decided to get married. ‘Romantic’ Riaan decided that the perfect honeymoon would be to row from California, USA, across the Pacific Ocean to Hawaii.

They renamed their rowing boat ‘Honeymoon’ and made the epic journey in 39 days, breaking three trail-blazing, mid-Pacific Ocean-crossing world records rowing from California’s Monterey Bay to Honolulu, Hawaii.

The voyage was not without incident: their aptly-named boat was capsized by a gigantic wave, subsequently injuring Riaan’s head. As Riaan said to his new bride: ‘This ain’t no honeymoon, honey!’ To add insult to injury, it was Riaan and Vasti’s second night on ‘Honeymoon’! Well, it was for better, for worse, I suppose.

Burlesque show

Chefs-on-Marine hosted the ‘Black Orchid Burlesque Show featuring the ‘very ooh, la la’ dancing girls, resplendent in ‘Gay Paree’ dresses, feathery boas and come-hither dance routines last Saturday night. A full house, good company all round, safe to say a good time was had by one and all.

Story of my life

All this literature reading and writing got me thinking. The CO has been encouraging me to write my own biography, to be published after her death.

Now is the time to do it – got the title already. As a follow-up to ‘Seven Years in Tibet’ (1952), the story of Heinrich Harrer, the German mountaineer, who spent the war years in Lhasa, Tibet, befriending the Dalai Lama, I shall entitle my book: ‘Three-and-a-Half Years in Uvongo: the Man and His Music’. (With apologies to Frank Sinatra).

ALSO READ : Fidler in the Hood: When pipe dreams come true

Copies may be purchased at next year’s book festival.

Meet Tanya

‘The Gardener’, Tanya Visser will be at Builders Express, Southcoast Mall, on Saturday, September 1, from 10am. This gardening guru, television personality and magazine editor will share her green wisdom and everyone is invited.

The wait is over

The agony of waiting is over. After a lull of three whole weeks away from watching footie on the telly, English Premier League football season is up and running. The CO is overjoyed, I’m overjoyed. I’m a simple man, not wanting much in life: just to see my beloved Manchester City win every game, every match, week in, week out, that’s enough for me! Who could ask for anything more?

See you, Rob.

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  AUTHOR
ROB FIDLER

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