The inmates in Azania – I mean Azalea Gardens – look forward now to new arrival Mary Methodist’s preprandial concerts. While we were chatting the guy next door stuck his head in and asked anxiously from his wheelchair, “When are you coming?” so we all hastened over to the lounge / dining room so Mom could do her thing.
In the background the ole man is paging through some old Farmers Weeklys. The piano music plays havoc with his hearing aids, so he has switched them off.
Ooh, says Mom, I’m not at my best today! True, says I, You were better when you were eighty. She hosed herself at that. She also played Angeline and Chatanooga Choo Choo and two others I forget the names. A round of applause from the tables announced OK, enough now, the grub has arrived. Mary immediately got up and joined them for roast chicken, roast spuds and creamed spinach; then pud.
edit: The old codger in the wheelchair was one of her biggest fans. We heard a couple of weeks after this day that he’d shuffled off, moved on; Natural causes after a good innings, nothing to do with Mom’s playing.
Crispin Hemson was concerned. The locquat wasn’t getting any action. It happened since the streetlights murdered the hawk moths. He himself is a man of action, so he sprung into same.
Every fetish has its paraphenalia. This case it was stepladders and camel hair brushes. Handlangers were rustled up and we went a-fertilising. I was a keen volunteer as I hadn’t had much to do with sexual parts and sperm and ova myself for some time; and even if this was actually pollen and stamens, hey, you take what you can get.
Crispin knew where our targets lived. We crept up to and up them, tickled their upright stigma and style delicately with the soft camel hair brush and bang! pregnant! one shot! The candle flower, Oxyanthus pyriformis, natal locquat didn’t know what hit it. For all it knew it may even have been a hawk moth fondling it with its moustache.
When we bought a house, but were still living in our flat in Durban, Dave and Goldie Hill presented us with a magic little feisty puppy, half Staffie half Jack Russell, delivered in a shoebox. We called her TC.
She was joined soon after we moved in to our home in Westville by my big rival for Aitch’s affections: Matt the man, named Matt cos he certainly wasn’t glossy.
Matt died on the M13 on the hunt for an intriguing smell which he knew was important and exciting, he just didn’t know why! He was only two-plus years old, so I’d guess he probably died a virgin. Our property was fenced but obviously not escape-proof.
After much mourning and a burial in the garden, Matt’s replacement was chosen, also in a backyard, also of interesting parentage. Trish Humphrey always thought she’d call a dog “Bogart” one day, and so Bogart got his name. To TC’s disgust a second small male dog was introduced and – again – he soon outgrew her. She always remained boss-dog though!
About two years later Bogart also went missing. I searched again and found him on a highway. This time the N3. Another burial in the garden followed.
Poor TC now had another black dog join her, a third!! Also small, also soon to grow big. This time a lady, Bella, who was destined to become a huge part of our, and especially Trish’s life for the next seventeen years. She, too, was of interesting parentage.
TC ran out of steam after thirteen years and is the third and last of our dogs we buried at 7 River Drive Westville, near the banks of the Mkombaan under a paper-bark commiphora tree. Bella was then joined by Honey, ‘rescued from euthenasia’ at the vet. He’d apparently been sentenced to death for excessive wandering! Aitch said ‘can’t be!’ and took him home. Well, little did she know just how determined a wanderer was old Honey. Jess christened him Honey, and he was mostly called that, but once his habits became evident I called him Houdini.
Houdini disappeared, maybe ‘rescued’ again by someone who finally managed to coop him up permanently? I hope not. I hope he wanders still. Now Bella was alone and Aitch decided she was lonely. No, no, I said, she’s enjoying the peace and quiet! So I put my foot down and issued a decree as titular Man of the House: We Cannot Get Another Puppy.
So Aitch got two: Shadow and Sambucca.
Shadow was a lovely dog but became our first dog to be euthanased. She bit a neighbour kid and then did it again. Sam is still around, twelve-plus years old and when cleaning out the garage recently I found a very novel item: A pedigree certificate! Aitch had hidden from me that Sam was our first dog without character and lacking in hybrid vigour! (Read about Sambucca’s parents here).
Jessie named the black lab ‘Sweetie’ – horrors! So we scrambled to find a better name: Terry Brauer suggested Black Sambucca and that stuck, thank goodness. She and Bella became good friends – Aitch was right again! Bella finally breathed her last in Aitch’s arms at seventeen – she had been a champ!
Poor ole Sambucca is ageing rapidly now. Eighty five in human years, she has a tumour growing apace on the side of her face. So far she’s still comfortable, eating – though losing weight – and tail-waggingly keen for a tummy rub. Her vet says keep her comfy and keep watch, but an op would likely be too drastic and risky for her.
Dad, says seven-yr-old Tom, I’m tired of the 5km and 10km races with Mom. I wanna go on a longer race with you, please.
So we enter the 18km race starting at the Eston country club and meandering thru Tala game reserve. Days before, it starts raining; and it rains; and there’s mud – A LOT of mud. I pushed, I shoved, I carried, I dragged. I went ahead, dropped my bike, went back and pushed their bikes;
We watched people bail left and right. Tractors and trailers were available en-route to offer rescue, and the trailers got piled high with bikes abandoning the slog. But we pushed on, stopping every few metres to scrape sticky mud out of the brake calipers.
And they made it! Not many did. On the way home they recuperated:
Not one pic of the mudslog! Aitch had the camera; Anyway, my hands would have been way too muddy!
Mfolosi again. Just one night with three twenty year old lasses, Jess, Tarryn & Jordie.
On the way one of my pet theories got a bit of backing evidence! When birding by car, I say, ‘Stop anywhere: There will almost always be some birds around’. Busting for a leak I stopped under a bridge on the N2 North. While sighing with relief, I spotted what looked like a black plastic bag flapping in the breeze in a small tree about 30m back; but my binocs revealed it to be a long-crested eagle staring intently at the ground a mere metre below it; then it pounced and fossicked around in the grass; when it flew up it had a plump grey rat with a shortish tail in its beak – a vlei rat, I’d guess. What a lovely sighting at a chance stop.
In the reserve Jess took the wheel awhile; she hadn’t driven for years, so I was pleased when she asked to; she did real well until – Murphy’s Law! – an open-top Land Cruiser came around the corner right in front of her, full of tourists and a handsome tour guide driving; Distracted, and having to suddenly remember clutch in, steer left and gently brake was a bit too much so she just drove into a little thorn tree, slammed on brakes and stalled. I pretended to be peering into the thorns, some of which were in my open window, through my binocs! Here you can spot her little skid marks:
You would be SO jealous if you were watching down from your cloud right now. The kids are in SUCH a good space. They’re a pleasure to be with. Sure, they give me a bloody hard time often and sure, they manipulate the hell out of me but they love their Dad!
May this last a few more years and then may they depart and start sending money home. Hey, we gotta aim high.
We miss you and talk about you lots still.
Oh, and Sambucca has gone grizzly about the gills and eye sockets. Past grey, her muzzle is now white. Also her eyesight ain’t what it used to be and she’s deaf. Otherwise she’s fine. Still manages to fool one of us into feeding her twice by promising earnestly that she hasn’t eaten for DAYS, when someone else just fed her. She has recently discovered her bark (I think that’s about all she can hear now) so she has gone from a silent snoozer to an enthusiastic barker who can only be shut up by tapping her on the shoulder and signalling SHURRUP! That causes her to bounce around with glee saying “I KNEW there was someone here! So it’s you!”
Also, we found this in the garage this week: Sambucca’s pedigree! You hid it! So this is why she cost us R2000 when all our previous dogs had come free or with a R20 note tied on their collar!?
So now we know Sambucca was born 23 August 2006. Twelfth birthday coming up, greybeard!
“If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” is an old philosophical thought experiment that raises questions regarding observation and perception.
Me I think it does and forests don’t need humans to hear their sounds; the animals will hear the crashing and the thud, and the falling still lets light in which gives other plants a chance to reach for growth. ‘K?
A more important question is, “If a millennial is at an event with all her friends and thousands of fellow screaming fans and she doesn’t take a selfie, was she actually there?”