Go to bed early and be up early guys! That’s Tom, Ryan and Ziggy. They want to go fishing in Kelso on the rocks in front of Tom’s happy childhood haunt Happy Wanderers.
So they get to bed at 2am and I have to roust them at 5:45am. C’mon, move! We drive off at 6:20am and get there in an hour. They go fishin’ and I go for a peaceful breakfast in Scottburgh, then birding and butterflying. No pictures, though, nothing would sit still. Luckily Ziggy took pickishas of them . .
They even catch. Shad and an eel. The eel gets released, but two shad are brought home against my wishes. Too late, by the time they get back to me they’re dead. But Dad, they’re legal and we want to have them for lunch!
I take them a mid-morning snack which is accepted with huge cries of welcome and relief like they were dying of thirst and starving. I have to interrupt Tom and tell him to write a book about the tough time he had in The Struggle!
More surprises: At the end they go for a swim in the waves and even Tom goes in! Amazing. Tom got wet in the sea! – and he wore shorts! ex Africa semper aliquid novi ! On the way home they’re bubbling over with excitement and chuffedness and tall tales and heroics and what-they-would-have-done stories.
We’re talking so crazily and over each other and laughing and shouting that I don’t see the cop till he jumps right in front of me and flags me down! Yes, YOU, he indicates. It didn’t feel like I was going fast, but I spose it never does.
I pull over in front of a big truck they have also flagged down and haul out my licence and wait. They’re all over the truck, write him a ticket and walk back to their camera. The truck pulls out past us and the passenger shouts to us in isiZulu: ‘They pulled you over for nothing! Go!’
So we go.
As I write there’s a happy fish braai happening outside my office window. Watch the chefs perform for the camera!
Later: The fresh shad was succulent and delicious! Ziggy is a qualified chef and she seasoned it to perfection! I told the fellas to take notes . .
Back at Kelso, while waiting for the fisherfolk, I lurked in the coastal bush shade.
A few days before, Ryan’s Dad Andy had taken them to Durban harbour, where they caught a tiny little smelt:
On the banks of the beautiful Umkomaas river at what the Porters used to call ‘The A-frame’ campsite. The A-frame washed away in the 1987 floods, heading downstream and maybe out the mouth, into the Indian Ocean and off to Australia.
Leopard and otter footprints; A tiny little dead shrew – what kind? dwarf?;
A magic lunch on the rocks next to a pool in the river below a little rapid.