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Stapletons Tyres

stapletons tyres

  • A tire (in American English) or tyre (in British English) is a ring-shaped covering that fits around a wheel rim to protect it and enable better vehicle performance by providing a flexible cushion that absorbs shock while keeping the wheel in close contact with the ground.

  • A rubber covering, typically inflated or surrounding an inflated inner tube, placed around a wheel to form a flexible contact with the road

  • A strengthening band of metal fitted around the rim of a wheel

  • (tyre) tire: hoop that covers a wheel; "automobile tires are usually made of rubber and filled with compressed air"

  • (tyre) Sur: a port in southern Lebanon on the Mediterranean Sea; formerly a major Phoenician seaport famous for silks

0068 Monseratt Cabale

0068 Monseratt Cabale

Spanish soprano Monserrat Caballe – astonishing, magnificent

In 1982, when the opera company of the Performing Arts Council of the Transvaal (PACT) produced Norma, everyone was buzzing with excitement at the fact that the internationally famed, Spanish soprano, Monserrat Caballe, was being brought out to sing the main role.

The entire Opera hierarchy - and of course practically Johannesburg’s entire media corps - descended upon the airport to welcome her. As she stepped off the ‘plane she was swamped by the press and masses of flashing cameras and herded along, with the whole entourage, to the VIP lounge for interviews.

Within moments I could see that, although somewhat fatigued by the long flight from Barcelona, she smiled bravely for everyone and answered the many questions in her infectious Spanish accent. I was however above all the noise and hype, able to introduce myself as her (PACT’S) photographer for her run and since she was now ‘one of us’ I felt bound to act protectively towards her. When the photographers continued to shoot far more photographs than they really needed, she immediately looked up imploringly at both me and conductor Robin Stapleton, “Why so much pictures?” she asked.

“Come on guys,” I said, “That’s enough, Miss Caballe is quite tired after her long flight and we need to get her to her hotel.” She seemed relieved by this and eventually we were able to collect her five pieces of baggage, and escape the crush.

I like to think that as a result of my display of protectiveness at the airport, a brief but understanding friendship ensued between us, especially at my official photo-calls during both the preliminary and final dress-rehearsals of the production.

The production itself was directed by the eminent Greek director DinoYannopoulis and stunningly designed by the Greek National Theatre’s John Stefanellis (with whom I also became good friends.

Astonishingly magnificent are the best words I can find to describe her performance. Her ‘Casta Diva’ in particular, was her obvious ‘party-piece’ and audiences gave her many, many standing ovations.

Due to a combination of the altitude of Pretoria (and her size) however, poor Monserrat was constantly helping herself to generous gulps of oxygen, from canisters conveniently placed for her in the wings. Despite the bravura performances, I think the altitude really did get to her and her stock (joking) remark to me, in her quaint Spanish/English, while we chatted on occasion in her dressing room, was, “I theenk I wheel go back to Barthalona!” She obviously longed to finish the job and go home.

Due to the beautiful but incredibly low lighting of the opera by Nick Michelides, and with not only the background being black but also her costume, I battled to get good pictures during the run but at least I was able to get some decent pictures, including this shot, during her famous ‘Casta Diva’. She liked my picture and inscribed it accordingly.
Quite a number of years later, when she sang so magnificently at the opening ceremony of the Barcelona Olympics with Freddy Mercury, it brought back memories of my brief encounter with her. This amazing performance held a great deal of significance for me and when I watched the opening of the Barcelona Olympic Games, it brought me to tears.

A Working Dog - Sort of

A Working Dog - Sort of

I took Pete and Mac to the ball park this morning. I call it the "ball park" instead of the dog park for the obvious reason, but I'll tell you anyway. It's because I throw the ball for Pete.

I have a chuck it thrower, of course, so I can loft it high and far. But he is already out there, as if he is making an outrun to herd back some sheep. But he crouches and waits for me to fling, and sometimes he even catches it in his mouth. Going on an excursion like that is about the only thing that will tear him away from beating me at chess.

Of course, Mac likes it, too. Mac is the one on the right. He is not into the ball catching thing, but he likes to go and pretend like he is the park greeter when new dogs arrive. He is usually very busy doing that, but this morning, it was just under 30 degrees, and the park wasn't very active. It's probably also because it's Monday morning. That was good because when Pete is working like that, he is not very friendly to any dog who wants to play. Here is he on the left, keeping a good eye on the ball so that it doesn't get away.

It's a good sized ball park, plenty of room for a dog to really stretch out and get up some speed. All in all, I would say a good time was had. Unfortunately, he is never too tired for chess.

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