David Bristow to speak at U3A

David Bristow.

The final general meeting of the Helderberg U3A for 2018 will take place on Tuesday November 6, at the Strand Town Hall.

It will begin at 10am with a short AGM (15 to 20 minutes) after which the guest speaker will be David Bristow.

His presentation will be titled “Writing is Easy – how I became and learned to love my chair”. “Writing” he says, “is a strict taskmaster who demands a strict regimen of work and endless hours in the hard chair. In my case one book a year – research, write, rewrite, rewrite ” David adds that his first paperback took a year to find a publisher. During his presentation he will introduce his Stories from the Veld from two of his books – Running Wild and The Game Ranger. According to David he did not so much fall as stumble into the life of a writer. “It was,” he says, “very much like John Lennon put it: Life happens when you are making other plans.”

There was no job description for “writer”, or any training. After several false starts he studied journalism at Rhodes University and started his real working life as a news journalist in Johannesburg, working hard during the week in order to climb harder in the hills on the weekends. A rock-climbing buddy offered him a deal he could not refuse: to stand in for him on a climbing expedition to the Himalayas, on the condition that he would provide the words for a book his buddy had in mind, about mountains.

Talk about win-win and serendipity, he says. The book was a huge commercial success and it led him to Cape Town where he read for a Master’s Degree in Environmental Sciences. More books followed, as well as a stint as travel magazine Getaway editor.

But even after his more than 20 books he says he still did not feel like he was a real writer. He had to wait 34 years for that to pass with the publishing of his first (and now second) paperback.

As well as being South Africa’s most experienced travel writer, David Bristow, also known as The Eardstapper, is the author of books on South Africa and Africa beyond.

Colleagues at a travel magazine, where he was editor for 14 years, dubbed him the walking enviro-pedia. “It’s unlikely there is anyone better travelled than him and his knowledge of The Cape and indeed all of South Africa is encyclopedic,” says Don Pinnock who succeeded him as editor.

The doors will open at 9.30am when tea and coffee will be available. Booking is not necessary. Contact Brodwyn on 083 6040 784 for details.