Africa, Birds & Birding, Family & Kids, Food, Home, Life

Good Fencing with Good Neighbours

Its the Westville fair and the Chinese crafts are on full display.
Tom has wheedled some extra pocket money and has made a fine investment: A BB Gun. Plastic pellets.
But a much better one than the last one Dad, this one’s metal. (The plastic gun lasted one day).

Right TomTom, you know that a gun is ONLY for shooting at a target, right?
Yes, Dad.
You set up a target, put your eye protection goggles on and make sure no-one’s in harms way, right?
Yes, Dad.

Pring pring.
This is your neighbour the lawyer speaking. Do you know YOUR SON is shooting at MY DOGS? Well no, actually, I didn’t know that. I’ll be right over.
The boys are nowhere in sight so I call them out and present them to the neighbours: the lawyer, the wife and the adult son, get a confession and an apology and dismiss them.

Is that the end of it? No. Bitch Kvetch, Blah Blah
Well, I say with a smile, boys will be boys.
Well, I never did anything like that, he says.
Well, I certainly did, I say, and with all due respect your dogs DO bark incessantly and are extremely annoying. Never mind the fact that there are a few too many of them. Still smiling.

Well, says the vrou: THESE KIDS play outside the gates and the blacks walk past and make the dogs bark.


Firstly, I say with a much broader smile creasing my dial, chest out and going red in the face, these aren’t “the blacks”. They’re OUR NEIGHBOURS, and they’re walking HOME;
Secondly, these kids have every right to play in the street and on the pavements. I’m grinning, I’m teasing them.

Ooh he says, we’re not racist, when I go to the townships the dogs there bark at me cos I’m white.
Kak cover-up, but nice to see you batting for the old bat. She herself makes no attempt to explain her “the blacks”.

I repeat, Let’s just understand very clearly that these kids have every right to play RIGHT in front of your gates. Up to one millimetre from your gate. And YOUR responsibility is to keep your dogs in your yard and not let them run out and menace the kids. One of the girls is absolutely terrified of them. And her Dad happens to be a Metro cop and I will join forces with him in seeing to it that you are held responsible if your dogs do ANYTHING to my kids or the neighbourhood kids when out of your yard!

Bloody hell!
Well, according to the law I have the right . . .
I am not a lawyer but I’ll tell you right now your dogs should not be out of your yard. Period. I get the kids off the streets as often as I can, they play at our place most days, so let’s just work together, okay?
And anyway, nice weather if it doesn’t rain, and thanks very much for calling me and I apologise again for the plastic pinging of your puppies and let’s be adult about all this as we’re stuck with each other as neighbours. Kay?

Big smile hopefully covers up my eff you thoughts and we withdraw.

We still wave at each other.


Later: I was telling friend Stephen in Aussie about the seven barking dogs on my one side and the two barking dogs on my other side.

He said:

As you probably know, one thing about not living in SA is that mysteriously the dogs do not bark. Except our neighbour’s when there are workmen [tradies] around. But he can only keep it up for about one and a half minutes. A very old labrador. Our other neighbour gets irritated on the rare occasion that the dog barks. So he sits out on the deck and shouts “shuddup”.  Then the dog barks more.

She thinks it’s me shouting. And when I try to have a chat to her about this, she disappears. I will have to collar her sometime. Or as they say here, “bail her up”

This evening I had curry and an ice cold beer on my new stoep with my children checking out the birds; especially the black flycatchers with their two fledglings; them all black, the babies black with lotsa russet scallops and streaks – and their gapes still yellowish.
A kingfisher with a cricket in his beak, then a big praying mantis.
Complete peaceful silence. Not a sound. No shouting, no barking. Hey! No barking! The dogs are actually quiet for a change.
Hopefully they all fuckin died.