What an interesting cul de sac is Elston Place. Sure there are five boring houses with abelungu in them, and one high-wall complex called Maroela or Marula something with faceless people living in it who don’t know that if you live in a ten-gate dead end you GREET everyone who lives there . . or who drives past.
BUT: We also have four council houses with hordes of kids. THAT’s what makes our road interesting.
Those that visited when we first arrived ranged from three to thirteen, Fezile, Asanda, Katelo, Khanyiso, Michael, boys. Andile, Azokuhle & Minenhle girls. Who exactly they belong to I never fully worked out. But the kids (mine) knew, and shook their head when I asked – yet again. The older ones have moved up and on. They’re now thirteen years older, and too cool for our pool; or our trampoline and jungle gym – both of which are now gone. Three of those now have bambinos already. Kids with kids. I fright for that.
The new generation now is all girls: Lwandle, Amahle, Lisa and Cutie. They worship our Jessie:
One house is childless. Occupied by Bill G, ex-Durban Corpse employee who knows everything, especially about how grass and verges should be cut – and specialising in kids’ education: “You must study hard, y’hear? My daughter didn’t play in the street and look today there she is, a doctor.” We’ve never seen his kids, he’s right about that much.
One is Thandi, who works at Woolies and goes to Virgin Active Gym every day, walking her ample bum 3km’s there and 3km’s back (even tho there’s a gym in our nearby centre that she works in – I guess Woolies has her on Discovery Health, and therefore Vitality, and therefore Virgin Gym).
One has a green car and drives her kids to school at Westville Jr Primary every morning. Her kids don’t visit or play in the road.
Lawrence and his young wife and little daughter Cutie. He worked at Nourish Cafe nearby, but they closed, so now he walks to a far-away newly-opened PicknPay near Thandi’s gym.
And we have N and S from Pakistan with dogs that bark incessantly right in my ear when I’m in my bedroom and vehicles that arrive and leave at all times of the day & night. That’s the only real bummer of the neighbourhood. Sometimes I get up and bellow and throw stones until they finally shut the dogs up. They might think I’m bonkers. I KNOW they are. They built a double story on top of their garage then complained they could see into my yard! They finally sold and left after nineteen years in the cul de sac. I actually got on well with them. They just didn’t know how to treat or train dogs. They shouldn’t have had any.
Deo was our Metro cop. It was good to have a Metro cop vehicle in our road with his smiling face in it. But he’s late. Car accident. I thought he’d been hit in the blue & white Metro car by a truck, but his widow Nkosazana came round yesterday dressed all in black top-to-toe including scarf and hat, and filled me in on the details: He was driving his private Nissan X-Trail and hit (or was hit by) a Toyota Hilux bakkie. Neither he nor his mistress were badly hurt, but he “wasn’t right” and was sent back to Westville hospital after a while, then on to Entabeni as his condition worsened. There he died and his wife (who he’d ‘kicked out’ in October) was only then able to get there and try and sort things out. Mistress in the meantime had the house keys and took documents, cellphones, watches and stuff. His Metro cop colleagues believed the wife and took her around to the mistress’ place and got some of the stuff back. Nkosazana needed me to update her CV so she can look for another job as she was recently retrenched from the security company where she was a CCTV operator. Bliksem. Three kids. Around 19, 16 and 13.
Elston Place also borders the 100 acre wood. Actually better, the 100 hectare Palmiet Nature Reserve, and the day before yesterday I saw a new bird at my bird bath: A Yellow-bellied Greenbul.
abelungu – pale, formal people
cul-de-sac – (from French for ‘bottom of bag’), no through road or no exit road, is a street with only one inlet or outlet – a ‘dead end.’ Not that we’re calling our street a dead end!
It’s a real challenge. This having to navigate the world surrounded by dof friends.
I wrote to my ‘friends’ – it might have been early one morning; they might not have been fully awake: -original message- Subject: Where’s that? From: Pete <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: 06/06/2011
I was embarrassed that I had never heard of Sanya, a city that looked bigger than Durban, with huge bridges, high buildings, man-made islands and world-class resorts. It’s China’s southern-most city. Well, today I tested Midi Yan’s eyes and he and his brother had never heard of Sanya either! OK, they are from Tianjin in the North, which is thousands of km’s away, but it made me feel a little better that they also hadn’t heard of this city in their own country.
Bruce – after reading with one eye? – wrote: Pete I`ve been there with you IN A BOAT – Legend of the Sea = tHERE AFTER THE BOAT DOCKED IN VIETNAM AT HA LONG BAY WHERE WE WENT ASHORE AND DRANK BEER
Janet wrote: So, Pete, it’s just the memory that’s going…
Rita wrote: That too!
I tried to straighten them up: Don’t be dof, people, I was embarrassed THEN that I had never heard of it. When the “Chinas” came to visit me last week I told them I’d been there and THEY had never heard of it. THEY said ‘Where’s That?’ So I didn’t feel so bad about not having heard about Sanya BEFORE I went there. Get wif ve program.
Rita persisted: Well clearly, you were not clear.
Steve backed her: ‘Fraid thats the way I saw it too. Sharpen up Koos.
Janet made things worse: Hair today gone tomorrow????
**** SIGH ****
confession: I may have tidied the language of my posts ever so slightly to make my point clearer here . . . in order to emphasise their dofness, see . .
This is American football. At Super Bowl time. And Keith Knight of The K Chronicles gets it. It could just as well be soccer, rugby, olympics or any of the scams that ‘professional sport’ is these days . . and has been for a long time.
My additional South African punchline would be “The fact that these sports get funding from our Lotto as “charities”: PRICELESS!!
Steve Reed wrote drily: Now hang on Koos. (Sure its a $10 000 ticket, but) I heard today that under your seat you will find a goodie bag. This contains earmuffs, hand warmer, a radio, Chapstick, mittens, tissues and a bandana! Definitely worth it.
Our friend Louis used to say ‘Dis My Gat Se Deksel’ which means ‘This Is My Arsehole’s Lid’ meaning ‘This Takes the Cake’ or – ‘This Beats Me’ or – ‘How the Hell Do You Explain That?’ or – ‘What a Scam!’
Or biblically, gold, frankincense and myrrh. Gold is valuable, frankincense and myrrh not so much. but BULLSHIT! Now, bullshit: Bullshit has made billions. Take how you were bullshitted and went Oooh! and Aaah! when you were told gold, frankincense and myrrh, even when you didn’t know what the hell they were talking about, and when you SHOULD have been asking WTF is that!? George Davie? Emma Morton? Anybody? What’s frankincense? would have caused an awkward silence, followed by whispers of ‘trouble-maker.’ Good children would go Oooh! and Aaah! and move on . .
So WTF IS‘frankincense and myrrh?’
Smellies. Derived from tree sap, or gum resin, both frankincense and myrrh are prized for their alluring fragrance. Frankincense is a milky white resin extracted from Boswellia sacra, a small tree that grows in Somalia, Oman and Yemen. These grow to a height of five meters, have papery bark, sparse bunches of paired leaves, and flowers with white petals and a yellow or red center.
Myrrh is a reddish resin that comes from Commiphora myrrha, a tree commonly used in the production of myrrh. It can be found in the shallow, rocky soils of Ethiopia, Kenya, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Somalia. It boasts spiny branches with sparse leaves that grow in groups of three, and can reach a height of three meters.
The processes for extracting the sap of Boswellia for frankincense, and Commiphora for myrrh, are essentially identical: Harvesters make a longitudinal cut in the tree’s trunk, which pierces gum resin reservoirs located within the bark. The sap slowly oozes from the cut and drips down the tree, forming tear-shaped droplets that are left to harden on the side of the tree. These beads are collected after two weeks.
It is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-pest and can be used for oral uses. It has been used as an astringent, antiseptic, anti-parasitic, anti-tissive, emmenagogue (huh?), and antispasmodic agent. It was commonly included in mixtures used to treat worms, wounds, and sepsis. And very helpful in fumigation. Hey! When your only tool is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail, right? Our parents had castor oil and guess what? They used it for a lot of the above.
The lesson? Don’t ever say Oooh!and Aaah! Say WTF is THAT!?? And when precocious kids ask it like that, take them seriously and answer – or say I Don’t Know.