Owen Hemingway – 4ft Drops

Blazing hot on the riverbank. John and Margie Oliver are sitting under meagre shade at the timekeepers table, surrounded by umfaans creeping closer to get some shade. One gazes up at John’s flowing beard and whispers “Jesus”; Another says “I am scared, very scared”.

John gazes down sternly and nods at him, “A healthy attitude to have, my boy”.


Martin Lowenstein and Derek Howe hit the pub hard and got to bed late. The next day on the river Derek hurled onto his spraydeck, gazed intently at it and said “Boerewors! It was the boerewors, Mart. It must have been the boerewors that made me ill”.


Paddlers stranded at Riverside. Pete the Pom asks Owen to use his 4X4 to ‘Mount’ a rescue.

On the way down they spy two paddlers trudging along disgruntledly, paddles in hand. Its Paul Chalupsky and Eric Clarke. They offer the pair a lift. “No sanks” says Paul determinedly. “Ve Break, Ve Valk”.

They load up a bunch of about 18 merry paddlers who have been sampling the Riverside store’s wares (the store is heavily branded Carling Black Label) onto the Toyota Stout-type 4X4 and drove out slowly about an hour later.

They got behind a bus, the bus stopped and who should dismount but Paul and Eric! “Now we know why they always say no-one wants to sit in the back of these buses!” they grunted, all shook up.



Owen watched a guy fix his boat wearing rubber gloves. When he was finished he pulled them off, leaving them inside out, the inside obviously filled with resin. Someone asked to use his gloves and he said sure. He and Owen then watched the poor sucker put his hands into the gloves and immediately regret it!


Brian Day and Ronnie Maurer paddle past Owen swimming. Loud gloating and braying.

They then wrap against a big rock, tilted upstream, trapped in their cockpits leaning on their paddles, looking idiotic – and helpless.

Owen drags his boat out, runs upstream, jumps in and heaves them off the rock, righting them and off they go afloat and heading downstream, gloating and braying again, instantly forgetting they’d have been stuffed if it hadn’t been for Owen rescuing them!


The 4ft Drop Bad Penny

Over the years Owen and his partners kept bumping into fellow paddlers at 4ft Drop. Especially Charles Hughes, Bunny Delport, Julian Beresford and Pete Adie.

“Not You Again!?” “Not Here Again!?”


Author: bewilderbeast

It's about life, marriage, raising kids, paddling rivers, travel in Africa . . . re-posting thoughts written over decades - at random, I'm afraid.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s