+27 (0)82 4000 470 rob@robcaskie.com

May 4 in 2019 found me in Matatiele, after a magnificent 5-day motorbike ride through the high passes and beautiful country of the Eastern Cape, with 9 friends. Most of the group departed for home the previous evening – their bikes on trailers. The R56 from Matatiele to Kokstad was extremely misty, and littered with dreadful potholes. Some 8km before Kokstad, whilst wiping the water off my visor, I hit a huge pothole which destroyed the front tyre on my bike. With long grass looming, on a sharp left-hand bend in the road, I decided to put the bike down – the front end almost uncontrollable. In those fateful seconds, I panicked and put out my left knee which took the full weight of the loaded bike and myself into the tarmac. The impact destroyed my left knee, banged my head, broke 4 ribs and badly punctured my lungs. My dear brother-in-law, Jeff Speed, came to fetch the buckled bike and I, but the doctor in Kokstad refused, insisting I travel by ambulance.

Dr James McAllister worked his magic on my knee, fitting two huge plates and 13 pins/screws to secure the Tibial Plateau. Five days in ICU, then 11 days in a general ward in Hilton Life, before I was discharged to face what lay ahead. Therein lies a story. Firstly, the gratitude at being alive, no amputated leg, hopefully no nerve damage and more importantly no brain damage. Hope is a vastly underrated human emotion. Three months with absolutely no weight allowed on my left leg. Ever tried getting onto and off the loo with only one leg? Karen cared for me as nobody else could; my life comprised time between bed and a Lazyboy chair! Eleven weeks after the accident and surgery, we flew to Vancouver to work on a cruise ship off the west coast of Canada and Alaska. Initially, I spoke from a wheelchair, then a Zimmer frame and eventually holding onto a piano or lectern. We even went to the Arctic, with me on crutches. It was a full 7 months before I could walk without a stick.
Movement being such an integral part of my storytelling style, the adjustment to almost no movement like Morgan Freeman in The Shawshank Redemption was never comfortable.

Ten months after my accident national Lockdown began, as a result of Covid. After the rigours of 2019, our much-anticipated 20Plenty year instantly became 20Zero. A flagstone in the Lawson’s garden holds the words “Don’t complain about the darkness if you haven’t lit a candle”. Our candle saw us sharing stories on Patreon, in fact 100 stories shared in 2 years which proved to be a life-saver financially. Necessity being the mother of invention-we hosted catered battlefield tours, told stories for gatherings online, and sold what we considered superfluous to requirements.

Last week I drove across our land, visiting the accident scene and reflecting on just what might have been, had my soul swim through Baviaanskloof and Swartberg Pass, giving thanks for the rich blessings bestowed upon me/us.
Today, the fourth anniversary of my Life-changing accident is a time of deep reflection, determined not to live Life like a candle in the wind, but rather to tread boldly. Life is beautiful..

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