Posts filed under ‘van pletzen’

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how my blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

About 3 million people visit the Taj Mahal every year. This blog was viewed about 29,000 times in 2010. If it were the Taj Mahal, it would take about 4 days for that many people to see it.


In 2010, there were 9 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 104 posts. There were 23 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 4mb. That’s about 2 pictures per month.

The busiest day of the year was March 28th with 192 views. The most popular post that day was Nigel High School Reunions.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for alice in wonderland, mount athos, braaivleis, margot käßmann, and sadf.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


Nigel High School Reunions February 2007


Parable of the Good Samaritan – an exegesis November 2007


Saint George’s Home for Boys 1915 – 1991 January 2007


Alice-aus-dem-Wunderland May 2009
1 comment


Pilgrimage to Mount Athos July 2010


January 3, 2011 at 7:52 am Leave a comment

A Christmas Crèche

By Roon Lewald

And she brought forth her first-born son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger: for there was no room for them in the inn.

And she brought forth her first-born son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger: for there was no room for them in the inn.

Advent is here again, and the unusually persistent snow we’ve been having here in Bonn in the climatically moderate Rhineland has added a festive white touch to the view from my living room window. I have therefore set aside my work as a freelance translator for a while to indulge my creative hobbies. The first thing I did was to design my own Christmas cards, thinking that something has to be done about the commercial degradation of what has been the greatest festival of the Christian calendar for over 2,000 years. Because if I see one more card or window display wishing me a happy “Xmas”, I shall track down those responsible and give them an earful. Who is or was this faceless “X”? How did he, she or it usurp the originator Christ from the name of the feast day that once celebrated the birth of the Son of Man, and now marks only the biggest consumer spending spree of the year?   (more…)

December 8, 2010 at 7:53 am Leave a comment

Dina Ann’s Tales from Twente

Hitting the ground running

After several years in Holland, you wouldn’t think Dina (below)  was raised in South Africa if you saw her and husband Johan Boessenkool (further down) pedalling away beside the grachten of Almelo on their “rijwielen” (bikes)

Back in  her Dutch stamping grounds after attending the 90th birthday festivities for her mother in South Africa, René Vincent (née Van Pletsen), Dina Ann Boessenkool has delighted friends and relatives by resuming the entertaining round-robin letters that earned her an introduction on this blog last year as “Another Van Pletsen Story-teller”. This time, she wryly comments the frustrations of modern air travel, the virtues of cell-phones, the mingled blessings of the infotech age in Dutch vocational language teaching and the recently enforced Africanisation of familiar English street names in her native Durban. (more…)

November 25, 2010 at 1:28 am 2 comments

Aging Gracefully: My last surviving Van Pletzen Aunt turns 90

By Roon Lewald

René Vincent (born Van Pletsen), last surviving sibling of “Van Pletsen Saga” author Helen Lewald, sips champagne at her 90th birthday party.

René Vincent (born Van Pletsen), last surviving sibling of “Van Pletsen Saga” author Lewald, sips champagne at her 90th birthday party.

Readers of earlier postings by and about my mother – Helen Lewald, author of “Die Van Pletsen Saga” – may remember that she started life as the oldest of the five children of Francois (Frans) and Dina Johanna van Pletsen on a farm in the remote Eastern Cape region of Barkly East.

Reinet Senechal Vincent (née Van Pletsen), who recently celebrated her 90th birthday, is the youngest and only surviving child of my Oupa Frans and Ouma Dina.  At elder sister Helen’s suggestion, her baptismal first name was derived from Graaff Reinet, the town where she was born in hospital in 1920, but she has always used  the simplified spelling “René”. (more…)

November 17, 2010 at 8:38 am 1 comment

Coming Strongly

By Roon Lewald

“Frauen kommen langsam – aber gewaltig!” (women come slowly – but mighty strongly.) When this double-entendre refrain propelled feisty singer Ina Deter’s song about “strong women” to the top of the German charts in 1986, it documented the gradually accelerating, finally irresistible onslaught of women against the lofty bastions of male privilege. Just two decades years later, Chancellor Angela Merkel is firmly entrenched as the only female leader of a major western country and scores of other women have captured important seats of power and influence in many areas of German politics, business and society. (more…)

October 19, 2010 at 6:49 am 2 comments

Pilgrimage to Mount Athos

By Dennis Benton

I’ve been to some rum places – Highgate for a start. But Mount Athos is in a different league. I’d heard of it of course: the self-governing monastic state where women are not allowed. But I’d never thought of going there until fellow parishioner Anthony Davis suggested it. (more…)

July 21, 2010 at 4:19 am 6 comments

What’s in a Song?

By Roon Lewald

Mimi CoertzeWhat’s in a song?  Oh, many things, many many memories, as I discovered when I surfed the Worldwide Web on a sudden sentimental impulse, looking for the half-forgotten words of the poem for which composer S. le Roux Marais wrote the music of probably the most beautiful Afrikaans art song I know.  I searchtagged “My hart verlang na die stilte” and immediately found the text of S.L.R. Bruggen’s poem “Heimwee” (Longing, or Homesickness). Not only that, but a link on the same page took me straight to South African singer Mimi Coertse’s homepage

I clicked “Heimwee” and found myself listening for the first time in 50 years to the recording of the song she made in 1956.  That was the year when Mimi, fresh from triumphs “overseas” (magical word to post-colonial South Africans in those days!), toured South Africa to wow her countryfolk as South Africa’s first internationally acclaimed classical singer. (more…)

May 22, 2010 at 2:27 am 10 comments

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