We were happily sitting on a septic tank in River Drive when progress came rudely knocking. The municipality was putting in water-borne sewerage and the pipe was going to go through our garden and across the Mkombaan River at the bottom of it.
There would be some dynamite blasting. Deep blasting where they were going right under the river bed.
Bliksem. I was not happy. Our little wilderness was about to be badly shaken up.
Aitch arranged to meet with the high-ups and extracted some undertakings from them – We hereby undertake to minimise damage; to let you know the exact path so you can move your precious plants; to give you ample warning so you can move your dogs in time – we were still blissfully child-free – etc. they intoned solemnly. And she kept them to their word!
I asked the guys onsite to please not kill any creatures and to bring me anything they found so I could move it away safely. I would reward them. That’s how I came to receive this in a big bucket:
What a beauty! A solid-looking snake about 80cm long. Fascinating. I read up on them: They’re back-fanged, mildly venomous, not life-threatening; very reluctant to bite; slow-moving, placid; Look at the beautiful coloration and scales.
Relatively rare, they spend most of their life underground – note the small eyes. Found under rotting logs or when doing excavations. Move about slowly on warm, overcast days; good swimmers. Natal Black Snakes feed on frogs, lizards, legless lizards and small rodents; are known to take carrion.
As I promised them, I moved it to a safe place that same evening: the other end of our garden.
Already Tom’s memories are mainly The Legend of Mom, more than real memories. Jess remembers far more. So Tom had lots to say today about Mom. Jess was mainly quiet. As most years, Dizzi and Jon came round to clink a glass in your memory. Jess set a lovely formal table with flowers from the garden – and even a table cloth! I only remembered to take a pic after it was all over.
We had a medicinal G&T as we had all just been to sort-of malaria areas – me n Jess to Hluhluwe, Dizzi n Jon to St Lucia.
What do you do? I ask the old soldier sitting in my chair. I’m a musician in the army band he says. Aha! Cool! What do you play? asks I.
The Saxophone, he says. The best of all the instruments! I flatter. How long have you been a soldier? Not long, he says, I joined a couple years ago and I’m just about to retire on a small army pension. What did you do before?
I was saxophonist in big bands. I toured the world. Mario Montereggi’s Big Band? I ask. Yes, indeed, I played with Mario.
And then he drops the big one:
I was with the African Jazz Pioneers for years. Wow! African Jazz Royalty in my chair!!
He might even have played with Mario at my fiftieth, where Aitch surprised me by getting Mario’s small ensemble to blow me away:
Stefanus wrote about a new thing. I paraphrased his rant:
What a bloody stupid idea. The ‘Key Fob’ or ‘Keyless Start’ or ‘Keyless Go’ or ‘Proximity Key’. I have always thought it was a stupid idea but I wasn’t sure why. Tonight I found out why.
Our friend John gets home with his wife after several stops, including our place for a while. Cannot find his ‘fob’; realises the car might have started because his wife had the other fob in her handbag. Panics.
After much driving around and searching in various places, including our place, it ‘turns up’ under his drivers seat where he insists he had searched several times. But ‘it had gone into a crevice.’
Steve expostulates: It’s a lousy idea! You could leave your key fob behind and drive 300 km without knowing you don’t have it, because the car opens and starts with the proximity of the duplicate ‘fob’ in your wife’s handbag. Frikkin stupid, really. Although in hindsight he could have narrowed the search by checking to see if the car would start without his wife’s keys being nearby . . .
going to ask them to implant mine in a crevice so I can never lose
I won’t let them fob me off.
– yes. Ask my older brother.
Ja, but how will you avoid forgetting the rest of your keys – the ones that are attached to the – er – transponder? Having your own practice I am pretty sure you have a bunch of keys like a prison guard anyway.
am lucky enough to have an “Open Sesame” lifestyle. The practice
is always open when I get there at a leisurely hour, and my home is
always open. Overrun with bloody kids who all know the 1299# that
opens the gate from outside. Me and security are strangers.
goodness for Raksha and the keys at work and Cecelia and the no keys
Sadly, I do have to carry the one single key for the 2007 Ford 4X2 3litre diesel double cab bakkie. White. I lost the canopy key so now it doesn’t lock. Help yourself to my toolbox back there. At times I do spend some time looking for the damn thing on the odd occasions when I put it in a clever place instead of the usual on the kitchen counter. For some reason my Ford key says ‘Mazda.’
I should have realised I was speaking to the wrong person. We tend to lock stuff by and large. Someone came and had an overnight scratch around Wendy’s unlocked car a while ago. Front door gets locked at night or if we are not around. We regularly get wide-eyed warnings from the neighbours about dodgy people seen snooping around the street.
Office keys: I am the first to arrive by a half an hour (OCD) so key needed.
am weird that way. Partly slackness, partly – slackness. Been very
lucky and fully aware that could change.
1984 – Marriott road flat – nothing. No incidents.
1989 – 7 River Drive Westville – pre-kids. Zanele said she saw an umfaan in our room and she said ‘Hey! Wenzani?’ and he scuttled off through the burglar bars, which were big enough for him to get through.
Years later Aitch found her Zeiss binocs were missing. ‘Stolen!’ she announced. I thought no, ‘Misplaced.’ She thought ‘Poephol, stolen!’ Two years later we found them in the socks drawer.
post-kids I got hijacked and taken off in a friend’s car. That wasn’t
2003 – 10 Windsor Avenue Westville – Break and enter while we were out and Aitch’s binocs WERE taken. Also her wedding ring. She replaced only the binocs with a shiny newer model – insurance. I still have the new ones.
2005 – 10 Elston Place Westville – nothing.
The reason I have a keypad at the gate where friends just enter the last four digits of their cell number and Open Sesame is I hate closed gates. I once – ca1982 – waited on the pavement in Argyle road outside the palatial home of one of Barks’ friends, ringing the doorbell in vain. Party inside, so they couldn’t hear. Pre-cellphone days. Eventually went home and resolved never to live in a fuckin prison. Still don’t.
Confession: I do insist the kids practice common sense security and keep doors locked if they’re alone at home and when they leave the home unattended!