Monday, December 27, 2010

'Jack and the Beanstalk' by Roald Dahl.

This poem is Roald Dahl’s version of ‘Jack and the Beanstalk.’

Jack’s mother said, “We’re stony broke!
Go out and find some wealthy bloke
Who’ll buy our cow, just say she’s sound
And worth at least a hundred pound.
But don’t you dare to let him know
That she’s as old as billy-o.”
Jack led the old brown cow away,
And came back later in the day,
And said, “Oh mumsie dear, guess what
Your clever little boy has got.
I got, I really don’t know how,
A super trade-in for our cow.”
The mother said, “You little creep,
I’ll bet you sold her much too cheap.”
When Jack produced one lousy beam,
His started mother, turning green,
Leaped up high in the air and cried,
“I’m absolutely stupefied!
You crazy boy! D’you really mean
You sold our daisy for a bean?”
She snatched the bean. She yelled, “You chump!”
And flung it on the rubbish dump.
Then summoning up all her power,
She beat the boy for half an hour,
Using (and nothing could be meaner)
The handle of a vacuum cleaner.
At ten p.m. or thereabout,
The little bean began to sprout.
By morning it had grown so tall
You couldn’t see the top at all.
Young Jack cried, “Mum, admit it now!
It’s better than a rotten cow!”
The mother said, “You lunatic!
Where are the beans I can pick?
There’s not one bean! It’s bare as bare!”
“No no!” cried jack. “You look up there!
Look very high and you’ll behold
Each single leaf is solid gold!”
By gollikins, the boy was right!
Now glistening in the morning light,
The mother actually perceives
A mass of lovely golden leaves!
She yells out loud, “My sainted souls!
I’ll sell the Mini, buy a Rolls!
Don’t stand and gape, you little clot!
Get up there quick and grab the lot!”
Jack was nimble, Jack was keen.
He scrambled up the mighty bean.
Up up he went without a stop,
But just as he was near the top,
A ghastly frightening thing occurred-
Not far above his head he heard
A big deep voice, a rumbling thing
That made the very heavens ring.
It shouted loud, “FE FI FO FUM
Jack was frightened, Jack was quick,
And down he climbed in half a tick.
“Oh Mum!” he gasped. “Believe you me
There’s something nasty up our tree!
I saw him, Mum! My gizzard froze!
A Giant with a clever nose!”
“A clever nose!” his mother hissed.
“You must be going round the twist!”
“He smelled me out, I swear it, Mum!
He said he smelled an Englishman!”
The mother said, “And well he might
I’ve told you every single night
To take a bath because you smell,
But would you do it! Would you hell!
You even make your mother shrink
Because of your unholy stink!”
Jack answered, “Well, if you’re so clean
Why don’t you climb the crazy bean.”
The mother cried, “By Jove, I will!
There’s life within the old dog still!”
She hitched her skirts above the knee
And disappeared right up the tree.
Now would the Giant smell his mum?
Jack listened for the fee-fo-fum.
He gazed aloft. He wondered when
The dreaded words would come… And then…
From somewhere high above the ground
There came a frightful crunching sound.
Jack heard the Giant mutter twice,
“By gosh, that tasted very nice.
Although” (and this in grumpy tones)
“I wish there weren’t so many bones.”
“By Christopher!” Jack cried. “By gum!
The Giant’s eaten up my mum!
He smelled her out! She’s in his belly!
I had a hunch that she was smelly.”
Jack stood there gazing longingly
Upon the huge and golden tree.
He murmured softly, “Golly-gosh,
I guess I’ll have to take a wash
If I am going to climb this tree,
Without the Giant smelling me.
In fact, a bath’s my only hope…”
He rushed indoors and grabbed the soap
He scrubbed his body everywhere.
He even washed and rinsed his hair.
He did his teeth, he blew his nose
And went out smelling like a rose.
Once more he climbed the mighty bean.
The Giant sat there, gross, obscene,
Muttering through his vicious teeth
(While Jack sat tensely just beneath)
Muttering loud, “FEE FI FO FUM,
Jack waited till the Giant slept,
Then out along the boughs he crept
And gathered so much gold, I swear
He was an instant millionaire.
“A bath,” he said, “does seem to pay.
I’m going to have one every day.”

Sadly, I could't get any of the illustrations from the Internet. I hope you had a good laugh.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Roald Dahl, A writer of childrens books.

 Roald Dahl was born in 1916 in Llandaff, South Wales. His parents were Norwegian, but lived in Britain. His parents were Harold and Sofie Dahl. His father died shortly after his one sister, Astri, when Roald was only three. He went to school at Llandaff Cathedral School for two years only, and then his mother sent him to St. Peters School.

  It was during this time that Roald had the car accident. After his first year at St. Peters School, during the December holidays, his family bought a motor-car (as it was referred to then) which his ancient half-sister would drive. During the drive, they had an accident, and Roald’s nose was cut almost right off his face. The doctor sewed it on again, though.
  Roald Dahl went to high school at Repton High School. Here he was good at games and he took up photography. After school he went on an exploring trip to Newfoundland. After this, he got a job in the Shell Oil Company which sent him to Africa. During this adventure, in 1939, World War II broke out, and Roald went to Nairobi to join the RAF. While in the Air Force, he got shot down and was rescued by six soldiers.
  Later in his life, Roald began his career writing for adults, but then became interested in writing children’s books by making up bedtimes stories for his daughters. His first children’s novel was James and the Giant peach, published in 1961.His other books include: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, Matilda, The Twits, The Enormous Crocodile, Danny the Champion of the World, The Witches, George’s Marvelous Medicine, The Magic Finger, The BFG, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Esio Trot, The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me, The Wonderful story of Henry Sugar, Revolting Rhymes, Dirty Beasts, The Minpins, Rhyme Stew, and the three books about his life, Boy, Going Solo and My Year. The books Dirty Beasts and Revolting Rhymes are made up of rhymes. He took a lot of stories and rewrote them in a humorous way, but he also changes the story a bit.
  We like his books, and have read most of them. I will post one of his poems soon.
  Here is a photo of him.

Monday, October 25, 2010

A snatch of my day.

• Lately I have been working and studying for exams.
• I am looking forward to going to stay with some friends after my exams are finished.
• I want to get back into archery practice, as there is the year-end competition in a couple of weeks.
• I am practicing for a trumpet exam in two weeks.
• I have to clean my hamster’s cage sometime.
• I am thankful to God for all He has done for me.
• I am remembering the play we did by William Shakespeare: The Merchant of Venice, which we will be doing again sometime soon.
• I am wishing I was at the Drakensburg Mountains….. They are so beautiful, and the weather there is very nice.
 The following photos are of the Drakensburg Mountains, a stream there with mist over it, and Me and my sister washing dishes there at the camping resort.

Friday, July 9, 2010

For several years, the whole of South Africa has been looking forward to the Soccer World Cup, which is being hosted by us. Since the beginning of this year, the country has been in a state of excitement, with everyone waiting for the games to start. In 2004, South Africa won the bid to host the Fifa World Cup. Since then, many people have been waiting for this year.
MTN, (a cell phone company,) Fifa’s main sponsor, has been advertising a lot about the World Cup, and using their favorite motto, ‘Ayoba!’ Also, the Cup has created a bigger income for flag sellers, who sell 2010 flags, vuvuzelas and t-shirts at street corners. The flags come in different sizes, ranging from small ones, about the size of an A6 sheet of paper, to larger ones about one metre in length, and also wing mirror socks that are made to look like flags. Fifa t-shirts are usually yellow, MTN’s colour.
I am sorry that the picture is blurred, but it is the only one I could get.And there are flags everywhere! In the shops, on cars, on buses and taxis, even on shirts. And the vuvuzelas are the worst!! They have a horrible noise, and are blown the WHOLE way through the soccer match. The other day I went past a restaurant where a soccer match was being shown live on TV, and there were speakers outside, and with average 10 000 vuvuzelas being blown, it sounded like a swarm of bees!
This is a vuvuzela, for those who don,t know what they are. As we don’t watch soccer, we aren’t interested in the Cup. Some of our friends are, though. Last week, on either one of the first matches, or one of the warm-ups days, Nigeria scored a goal, and suddenly very large crowds pushed open the gates and stampeded into the stadium. 15 people were injured, but I don’t think anyone was killed.
Sometime last year or the year before, construction was started a new train system called the Gautrain, named after the province of Gauteng. It is meant to take passengers from the airport to Pretoria, going through Sandton and Midrand (several cities in our country, for those who don’t know what I am talking about). One or two sections have been finished, and are even running, but not all of it.
The games are finishing on Sunday. It seems like just yesterday the games started. The final game is between Holland and Spain. I think Spain will win, but I am not sure.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Gold Reef City

On Monday we went to Gold Reef City in Johannesburg, and we enjoyed it very much.

It is called Gold Reef City because the fun park has been built on the site of a gold mine that was used in the 1900’s but the mines are not in use now. All sorts of activities have been built there to entertain people including rollercoaster rides, shops, a 4D theatre, restaurants, etc. and there are several old houses from the old times with old household equipment in them.

When we arrived, the Soweto youth league was playing music just inside the gates, but I will come back to this later. After we went in, we walked around a bit, went into a shop that sold stones and had a scratch patch, saw some luminous rocks, and went out. Next we looked at the old houses, and it is extremely interesting to see small items, furniture, and other household objects such as kitchen tables and clothes. The weird thing is that everything is so small, and it makes you wonder if the people were smaller in those days. Outside there was an outhouse in which there were a bath, a washstand, a cabinet and a tin bucket, and next to this in a separate room (both rooms were joined by a wall) was a toilet, also called a long drop.
After going to buy some chips to eat, we went to the Big Wheel, from which at the top you can see a lot of Johannesburg. It is probably about 100 metres high or more at the top. It is quite exciting to be that high, but when you look down, you get a funny feeling in your stomach, so it is a better idea not to. The tops of the gondolas are made to look like soccer balls, and this gives it a funny appearance. Some distance away from this there was a large tower ride called the Tower of Terror, but it was closed so we didn’t see how it worked. After this we walked around and took Keren on some kids’ rides that were very fun for her, and she went on a kid’s roller coaster called the Shonggololo and Mom and Ben went with her on this. At the highest point it was only about 3 metres high, so it wasn’t too dangerous. Keren also went on a bumping car ride and a carousel.
When she was finished we went to the train station, but it was full, so we had to walk. We went through what was called the Town, and it was made to look like an old town, but I don’t know if it was really a town in the 1900’s.
After going further along the road, we went on the Golden loop, which is a roller coaster that starts in a station, and suddenly starts after a siren has announced that you will soon be speeding. Dad and Ben sat right at the front, Eden and I sat in the middle, and Daniel sat in front of us. Mom stayed with Keren and Jordan by a snack bar at the foot of the ramp to the station. The start is very sudden, with an acceleration speed of 0 to 80 km/h in 3 seconds, so it surprises you even if you are expecting it. It shoots forward along a track of up to 200 metres which it covers in about 6 seconds, and during that time you go through a metal shed with a hole in it for the track to go through, but at that speed it feels as if you are going to crash through the walls. After going through the shed the track has a loop in it that goes in the same direction as it did before, and then promptly climbs to a point, and then it falls back down, goes around the loop again, and then flies back through the shed and station, and then climbs to another point, and then stops at the station again. While I was going up the loop, the G-force threw my head forward to my legs, so I didn’t see much then. Unfortunately we didn't get any photos of it.

After that we headed for the Anaconda, which was further up the road. This is a roller coaster that takes you around in chairs suspended from the tracks. It starts by pulling you up to a high point, where it drops very sharply, and all the people start screaming. It falls very fast and it made me feel a bit sick. It takes you through a tunnel before spinning you on a loop, after which you go on a single corkscrew turn. You then fly around a rock formation twice, and then there is another loop and several turns, before it comes to stop in the station again. Afterwards you feel dizzy and slightly sick, but it is an unforgettable experience, but I didn’t go again, although Dad and Eden did. In the following photo, you can see the Golden Loop in the background, and in the sixth seat from the front you can see my father.
After this Mom, Eden, Daniel, Ben and I went on a short rafting trip in some rapids in which we got very wet, and when we came home the seat of my pants were still wet, which wasn’t very comfortable.

This was around 1:00, and we went to have some lunch at a Wimpy there. After lunch we went to a 4D theatre where we watched a Kids movie called Robots of Mars. The first time all of us went except Dad, Keren and Jordan, and the second time Mom watched Jordan while we went in with Dad. The movie was a childish movie, but the way the glasses change everything to look like it is actually coming out at you,
with moving chairs and air and water spray blowing at you, it was very interesting.

On our way back to the entrance, we got caught in a downpour, and we had to stand in a doorway for about 40 minutes until it stopped and we could make our way out. We were feeling cold so we went back to Wimpy to have some coffee, and when we got there, in a sheltered spot the Soweto Youth League was playing music, but the instruments they had were six different xylophones, a drum kit, two Zulu drums, and some weird metal instruments that looked like the bottom of a metal drum had been cut off and then dented in, and by hitting on different places, different sounds were produced. There were about fifteen of these, and altogether it made a very African, but nice-sounding, music. We watched them for around half an hour, and then we left.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Trumpet lessons

For quite some time I have been wanting to play an orchestral instrument. I play the piano, and I am at Grade 4 level. At first I thought about the oboe, but then as I prefer brass instruments, I decided I wanted to play the trumpet.

I decided this about a year ago, and I have been waiting since then to start. I wanted to start last year during the fourth term, but my mother said that it was better if I started in the New Year. We knew of two people who taught trumpet, but we chose the one because he lives closer.
We decided that it would be better if we hired a trumpet at first instead of buying one, in case I didn’t enjoy playing it, because then we would have had a new trumpet that we aren’t using. We phoned Lovemore Music Centre to see if they hired out instruments, and they said that they didn’t, but knew a man that did. So my mother called him, and he said he had a trumpet we could use, and we arranged to pick it up at the music shop.

The next week I started lessons with Herrie Venter (Pronounced Harry). I have been taking lessons for six weeks now, and I am enjoying it thoroughly. Because I have been playing piano for about six years, and know a lot about music, I progressed very quickly, and I had done a years’ work in two or three weeks, and I am already playing Grade 4 pieces now, although I struggle with some of the high notes.

Our family is very musical. Both my grandmothers play piano, and one of my grandfathers. My one aunt played trombone when she was young, and my uncle played tuba in the school band. My other aunt plays piano, and used to play flute and clarinet. My mother played piano when she was young, and after she was married, she started viola. My father played cornet (which is very similar to trumpet) when he was in school in the band. My elder sister plays cello, my one brother plays the French horn, and my other brother plays violin and the recorder, which me and my sister both played when we were young (the recorder, not the violin or both).
I am enjoying the trumpet very much, and I am thinking of joining an orchestra when I am good enough. My sister plays in two, the Pretoria Youth Philharmonic Orchestra (PYPO for short), and Simphonia Juventi.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Friendly Frogs and Wierd Worms

On the 5th of February we went to a party at some friends of ours, and while we were there I found a bull frog.
I put it in a butter tub with some sand and water and decided to take it home.
When we got home I put it in a new tub that was bigger than the first one. We tried to get it an aquarium but we could not find one of suitable size. I looked around for something to put it in and found nothing but an unused cat litter tray. It was still new and my mom was a bit unsure but after a while she decided to let me use it .
I have had my Frog for ten days now feeding him on earthworms and dead flies that I kill with our electric fly swatter. I either hold them in my fingers or with a tweezers. He first takes some time to aim and then he lunges at it, grabs it in his mouth and swallows it whole.He is about as big as the tip of my thumb but he will grow bigger than two man’s hands together. Click here to see some pictures of adult bullfrogs.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Saturday's Archery Competition

On Saturday we went to an archery competition held by the South African Bow hunters Association (SABA) at Magnum Archery in Donkerhoek. This shoot is a sort of practice for bowhunters as it closely resembles hunting in South Africa. On the course there are 30 3D rubber targets (there used to be only 20 but the number was increased to accommodate the large numbers of people that attend) of animals, but only 20 are shot at. There is a range of animals that are made for shooting at with broadheads for hunting practice, e.g. wildebeest, gemsbok, springbok, impala, baboons, crocodiles, lions, lionesses, warthogs, bush pigs, hyenas, leopards, seals occasionally, and one can also buy rabbits and ducks. The people are divided into groups, and each group starts at a different target and moves onwards. There are two lines drawn on the animal in a not-so-circular shape around where the lungs and heart are if viewed from the side. In the middle and smaller circle is the heart shot, and if the arrow hits here, you score ten points, but if the arrow hits in the other and larger circle, five points are scored, as this a lung shot. If the animal is hit outside the two circles, then one point is taken off your score. If the arrow misses the animal completely, then no points are scored. There are between 30 and 100 metres between the rubber targets, and put together, this makes a long course to walk. During the winter the weather isn’t too bad, but in the summer it gets hot, and I mean really hot, especially in the sun. There are refreshment vehicles where you can buy drinks and sometimes snacks, and it is always a pleasure to see these on the course. Sometimes one person’s arrow hits the back of another arrow, and this is called a Robin Hood, as this legendary character splits other arrows, and I did one of these on the course by splitting one of my father’s arrows. On the course, arrows are lost, and sometimes not found. My brother Daniel shot an arrow past a target into a river, and had to wade in to get it. If the arrows hit a rock or stone, this can damage the arrow or head.
After the course has been finished, which takes three to five hours, everyone goes back to the reception area for a late lunch and cool drinks, and while this is happening the committee works out the scorecards for everyone, and then prizes are given, and then there is a lucky draw for all the people who shot over 70 %, in which prizes such as knives, lanterns, money and other equipment are given. I came third in my category which is Junior Male Broadhead, but nobody else in my family placed in the top three. At the previous shoot last year, all of us placed. At this shoot, two of our friends came with, an eight year old boy (James) and his father (Uncle Eddie). In the lucky draw I won a backpack and a lantern. I don’t know why my name was in twice, but I was lucky.
All in all, it was a good day.
(P.S. I also received free sunburn on my neck!)

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Fun on the farm.

Yesterday we went to visit some friends on their farm in Benoni. We originally were just going for tea, but ended up having supper there. While we were there,we had a mud fight, packing mud into balls and throwing it at the enemies' team, but unfortunately we didn't get any photos of it. They have a dam on their farm,but the recent rain made it flood, washing away a boat of theirs, the paddles for the boat and a small bridge. Due to this, we couldn't go on the dam, but we had other fun, such as playing 'Stuck in the mud'. During the afternoon, we saw an owl in a tree and identified it as a Barn Owl. Soon after flying to the tree, it looked like it fell asleep. It wasn't very big, but very cute with cream coloured feathers. After dusk we tried to catch bats with a net, but we couldn't.

Here is a photo of the owl:

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Introducing the Family

For the benefit of those who don’t know us, it may be a good idea to introduce the family:
Eden is the eldest. Long ago she was an only child. That was about 15 years ago, and it only lasted for 15 months! Eden will turn 16 this year, and is largely the leader among the kids in this family. She plays the cello very well, and enjoys her X-board, photography, listening to music and reading, as well as spending time with friends.
Nathan is the eldest son, and is 14. A quiet, gentle soul, he plays piano and trumpet. He is an excellent archer and competes regularly. He also enjoys reading, shooting with his air rifle, X-boarding, swimming and being with his friends.
Daniel is our family’s comedian! He will soon be 12, and he plays the French Horn. He also enjoys archery and collects knives. He loves animals, especially the Big 5. When he’s in the right mood, he can keep the family in stitches with his excellent humour.
Ben-Jonathan is 8 ½. He plays recorder and violin, and takes part in archery too. He spends most of his time living on another planet, and will probably be something like an inventor one day! (He’s VERY creative!) He’s also the family noise-maker – asking him to be quiet is like asking the sun not to shine.
Keren is 3 ½ and has more energy than the whole family put together! She NEVER keeps still! She has the most amazing imagination, and just loves being read to. (That’s probably the only time she’s vaguely still and quiet).
Jordan will be 1 in February. He’s getting cuter by the day, and should be walking soon. He tends to cry quite a lot, but should be outgrowing that soon (hopefully…)
Mom and Dad are not as interesting as the kids… Suffice it to say that we’re happily married and love our children to bits!
Add to these two dogs, three cats, a hamster, two rabbits and an unknown number of tropical fish, and you have our complete family.

At the back: Nathan holding Jordan, Eden and Daniel. In front: Keren and Ben.