African Greybeard

I’m coming down to Durban to buy a parrot. Where’s Overport? asks the ole man.

Ole lady phones, all worried as ever. Can you tell us how to get to West Road in Overport, Koosie? I say I’ll try, phone you back. I need to hatch a plot. I phone back and say Come to my place for lunch, I’ll leave work early and I’ll take you, it’s not easy to find. She sounds dubious but she’ll try that.

Ole lady phones back, amazed. He saw sense. We’re coming for lunch, she says, relieved. She can’t see, he can’t hear, so she was dreading looking for a small parrot in a strange haystack.

When I get home they’re on my stoep and Jess has given them tea and Tommy is busy cooking pasta carbonara for lunch for all. My children! Bless them! I had told them I’d love it if you’d give them a polite hello, but you needn’t stay, just make your excuses and go. They decided to completely exceed all expectations and charm the old bullets. Proud of ’em!

Off we go to meet Sumie who has three baby African Grey parrots in a box. His grandfather breeds them in Utrecht. Dad had said he wanted to choose his own. We check them out on the tailgate of my bakkie in West Road Overport. Dad picks one and now I think, Here comes the bargaining. R2500 says Sumie. No way says the ole man and shuffles off to the front seat of my bakkie. He comes back with the bird magazine and shows Sumie his own ad: R2300, moaning how he has wasted his time coming all the way from Pietermaritzburg. Fine, R2300 says Sumie.

And the food, says the ole man. That cost me R100, Uncle Pieter, I’ve just fed them, so give me R80, says Sumie. It’s my birthday on Friday (true), counters the ole man, you should give it to me as a gift. How old you’ll be? asks Sumie. Ninety Five says the ole man (true) so they settle on R50.

Now they debate who’s box is better. Sumie has a shoebox – it’s wider – and ole man has a box some electronics came in – it’s deeper. Ole man realises if he takes Sumie’s he gets both, so he settles on Sumie’s shoebox.

We go back home for our delicious pasta lunch, followed by ice cream and coffee, and off they go back to PMB. The ole man changes into second too soon up the steep hill. He would have hated it that I heard that.

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And I didn’t take a single photo! Damn! Well, here they are with great-grandkids:

Gogo Mary & Great_Grandkids (2)

Sakkie Sakkie Music Heard in Westville

I can’t believe it! What’s that noise? In My Own House!

On the sea cruise we took to Mocambique a song was played over and over ad infinitum. It got people crowding the dance floor and forming swaying lines of bodies on the boat and on the beach. It was Hamba Nawe and Jess loved it.

Later she found an Afrikaans version, so now my house started sounding like a Steve Hofmeyr shrine. I was aghast. I thought “This Cannot Be!” BUT: I remembered what dear old Mom had done and said when I played Led Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love full tilt in her house in the Free State back in the seventies: Nothing.

So I was a diplomat. A long-suffering diplomat. I mean, if my Mom could listen to a shrill I’m Gonna Give You Every Inch Of My Love, I could chill, surely?

Anyway, Jess’s tune was catchy and often she’d play it in isiZulu too, like they did on the ship.

 

This week I heard some music again and thought Omigawd Ou Steve is back. And Jess said “Dad. Look Here” and wanted to show me the video.

No thanks Jess I can hear, I really don’t need to see, I said.

“No, look man!” she said:

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Teenagers!

Pleez pleez Dad! I haven’t seen her for AGES! (yeah, like one week). OK, I’ll fetch her Friday on the way home from work. I enjoy that back route anyway. Instead of taking the N2 national highway then onto the N3 national highway at Spaghetti Junction and home, this route takes me through Yellowwood Park with its dark avenues of huge old yellowwood trees planted around 1885 by Dering Stainbank the sugar baron (don’t take my history at face value, but it’s something like that).

On past the Stainbank nature reserve, over the one-way bridge across the Umhlatuzana River, through the narrow tunnel under the railway line, through the cement factory that Mike Doyle used to run. Up into Bellair past the driveway lined by an avenue of huge palm trees that dwarf the house, past the impressive Albert Luthuli hospital, across the Mkombaan River and into Chesterville at the big shisanyama and beer hall. Andile is waiting outside her home, she hops in and we drive past the Pavilion shopping centre and into Westville and home.

The two girls whoop and give each other a big hello and a hug. Then Andile promptly disappears into the bedroom and Jess into the lounge and they don’t see or speak to each other till suppertime! Of course they may have been busily engaged with each other and a dozen friends on their social media, for all I know. Wifi, after all.

Teenagers!

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An earlier pic of them one Easter.

Off the Grid – A Confession

Going off the (electricity and water) grid is too much of  mission and the costs don’t justify it.

And I hate it that I just said that, so I’m committing to re-looking at it.

Last time I looked at solar water heating (meant to be the no-brainer) the cost was so much higher than Eskom that I hesitated. Then they told me the system would likely only last for 5 or 6 years and so I did what I do well: procrastinated.

It also turned out to be more technical and complicated than I thought. People who have done it always say “Ag it was nuthing! I just did this and that”. Not true! Here’s a pic that demonstrates this – Proud Brian Brooks of Tokai with his system (admittedly a borehole, not just roofwater):

Own Borehole

Holy guacamole, this is NOT for me! I will start off with catching rainwater off my roof. Then I’ll tiptoe on to investigating solar water heating. After that we’ll see. And I’ll report in unvarnished fashion with no hidden costs.

Watch this space! (But don’t hold your breath).

Procrastinator

Another Year Moertoe

or put more politely: ‘Bites The Dust’.

Woke up to breakfast in bed. The bacon was crispy:

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The card was mushy:

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Thank you Jessie love!!

Tom was first to wish me. That’s because he got home in the wee hours and woke me to open up for him, giving me a big “April Fool!” as I welcomed him home.


April Fool’s Day started before me! PROOF:

On this day in 1582, the Council of Trent called for France to switch from the Julian calendar. People who were slow to get the news or failed to recognise that the start of the new year had moved to January 1 became the butt of jokes and hoaxes.

These included having paper fish placed on their backs and being referred to as “poisson d’avril” (April fish), said to symbolize a young, easily caught fish and a gullible person.

Historians have also linked April Fools’ Day to ancient festivals such as Hilaria, which was celebrated in Rome at the end of March and involved people dressing up in disguises. There’s also speculation that April Fools’ Day was tied to the vernal equinox, or first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, when Mother Nature fooled people with changing, unpredictable weather.

England had a similar tradition and by the 18th century, April Fools’ Day had spread throughout Britain. In Scotland, the tradition became a two-day event.