Narrative by Pamela Syndercombe, sent to me as email, abridged by me. It’s winter in South Africa.
“I set off in my bakkie (small pickup) to watch the progress up the Rooi Hooghter Pass, which one climbs to enter Villiersdorp. The vintage tractors trundled slowly along to gather just outside the village to escort Alwyn Vintcent (AV). They appeared out of the cold early morning mist like pictures from the past.
By 9 o’clock the sun was starting to burn through but it was still cold. Then the ALE truck with the pole for height measuring came past. Police sirens screamed and blue lights flashed before the procession appeared around the first bend. The more intrepid of the vintage cars were there too…shining and more highly polished than the day they came out of the box! The sun shone as it only can on a winter’s day in the Cape amongst the mountains. AV soon appeared, one truck in front and one pushing from behind…and of course braking on the down hills. The tug looked simply enormous at this point. She passed me at the really quite sharp corner where the view was splendid across the deep donga (cutaway caused by erosion). I wiped my eyes blew my nose and joined the queue of vehicles back on the road to Villiersdorp.
All along the road there were little groups of farm workers, their wives and children waving and cheering. Pruning work on the orchards and vineyards came to a stop. The big Dutch Reform Church was ringing its bells and my tears came again. Andy (Andy Selfe, who wrote the narrative in the link that follows.) balanced precariously on a water tower outside the village gave me a wave and later confessed that he had been crying so hard he could hardly see to use his camera. Slowly slowly though the village, the main road lined with watchers….smiles from ear to ear everywhere. Even those who came to grumble still came to watch. All the tractors and vintage cars were leading the old lady. Then home for me to blow my nose again and reflect on the persistence of a few men….which gave me more understanding of and admiration for the character of the farmers in this area.”
Here are fotos and Andy’s account, with great details like abnormal load exits, hugging speed cops, campfire under the tug at night, getting barked at by baboons, and self-described “bunch of crazy farmers” … with references to laager (circle-the-wagons camp), lay-by (rest area) , and hooters (horns). . . . Here’s a glossary. Click here for the AV main site with lots of links and video.