Mfolosi Martial Arts

Three days in Mflosi’s Mpila camp with two demure young ladies.

We saw a few confrontations: Two male impala, two male lions, four rhino, with one male threatening the others. Nothing much came of these feints and threats, despite the loud shouts which came from the back seat, where the two demure young ladies were seated: FIGHT! Fuck him up!

Shocked, I was.

Bang! Another Hole In The Head!

Straight into the same trap – from being dozy!

‘Dad, I need an eyebrow piercing.’ Sure Jess, get it one day when you have the money and you’re living on your own, love.

Strategically she drops the subject till the old man has forgotten all about it. So ten minutes later she comes from a different angle: ‘Dad, remember when you sold my scooter? You said I could have that money.‘ Sure Jess, what’s left of it after you pay your debts. ‘OK,’ she works out I owe her R330. Sucker pays.

** pring ** ‘Please can you fetch me n Sindi from Pav, Dad?’ Sure thing love. On the way home from work I pick them up at the shopping centre – this is the same Sindi who was Jessie’s accomplice in the tattoo surprise. I immediately spot the bauble on her eyebrow. What the heck is that silver fly on your eyebrow, Jess?

They both break out in peals of laughter. Once again she’s seeking forgiveness, knowing seeking permission would have been futile.

– aaargh! my sweetheart! –

Well I hope that hurt Jess. You needed that like (another) hole in the head (and you now have eleven of them). Seven holes you were born with: Two earholes, two eyesockets, two nostrils and one mouth which gives your Dad lip. The 8th and 9th were done in cahoots with your Mom: earlobes. The nose and eyebrow were sprung on your poor unsuspecting Dad!

In her defence, she has been meticulous about keeping them clean and sterilised. Still, aaaargh!!

~~~oo0oo~~~

Secrets of the Cavern

Off to the ‘Berg with the kids. To a hotel! A real hotel! The Cavern in the foothills of the Drakensberg. At last their Dad listened and took them somewhere they didn’t have to cook and clean! (This was back in 2012).

They loved it. Especially once they worked out one of the secrets of the place: If you gave any hotel employee your room number, he or she would give you anything you wanted under the sun. They had discovered the key to endless riches. They loved it. They no longer needed me. All they needed was to quickly invent their first signatures. When I said I was going off on a hike, did anyone want to come along? No! Go! Enjoy yourself Dad, BYE! They watched impatiently as I packed my rucksack with lunch and binocs and books. Go, Dad!

Movies, the pool table, tennis, drinks at the pool – all ‘free’!

With them happy in civilisation it was up to me to enjoy the hills and valleys, wildlife and – especially – birdlife.

This long-tailed grass lizard looks like a snake as he whips through the grass after grasshoppers. But look closely at his body:

– his tiny legs can be seen in the red boxes –

The next day I encouraged a bit more action. With some trepidation these townies went horse-riding.

– and loved it –
– Tom tried fishing –

The other secret was mine: a secret rendezvous with a buxom lady I had met many years before.

~~oo0oo~~

Sindi’s Twenty!

Jess joined her great friend Sindi Angelos last night to celebrate Sindi’s birthday.

Here’s Sindi in yellow, Jess in pink with Tom down at Gayle’s Hibberdene beach cottage in the olden days:

The jol was just up our road at Jalapeno’s, popular after-work dop joint. Jess walked home after a few hours. When she next heard from Sindirella a few days later it was like ‘Jess! We got so drunk! I’m never drinking again!’

Forbidden Ink

Dad I want to get a tattoo.

Aaaargh! I shrieked in my head but “O-ka-ay” I said out loud, all calm-like, “Have you thought about it?”

Oh yes, lots.

“OK. What’s a tattoo? Is it safe? How much does it cost? Does it hurt? Who would do it? Have you got enough money? etc”

Oh, she hadn’t thought of any of that.

“OK. Do your homework and get back to me with the answers please.”

She did. Now that she knows more, she’s more nervous. But still determined. After all, Sindi has a lovely outline of Africa tattoo’d above her ankle.

The very next day she arranges a visit to the tattoo parlour with Sindi, where they are going to find out more and then come back for a final decision. They take themselves there by taxify.

The main thing I’m interested in is: Who’s the artist? Is he/she good? Does he/she do a skilful, safe job? Ask to see their work. Show me their work. This is for evah, don’t skimp.

So I’m furiously kicking for touch and I think I’m delaying things nicely. I went through enough trauma with the piercings, I hope to dodge this mutilation. I feel like I’m ‘handling things well’ as The Dad. I’m ‘in charge.’

So I get a message: Hey Dad please can I have mom’s birth date and her death date.

The message is sent from here:

Jess_tattoo[1]

** sigh **

20181107_2106551.jpg

 ~~~oo0oo~~~

Fuckit the Fig Fell!

I don’ believe it! In a high-wind storm the beautiful big old fig tree which made the corner – it was THE feature of that whole block! – at the top of our road fell down!

Fig Fallen (2)

I stopped to look, and Jess and Sindi spotted each other. Sindi came running across from Juke’s Pizza where she was working. Typical high-energy Sindi, a run, a hug, much to tell:

Fig tree fallen Sindi running
Fig Fallen (1)
Fig Fallen (3)
Fig Fallen (4)

Here’s the worst part: Seems we don’t have any pics of the old tree standing! We’d taken it for granted and now it’s gone! Petrea, whose optometry practice looks right out on the fig had pics after it had started falling but none of the fig as it always was.

Fig Falls in Salisbury

I searched my albums and found ONE pic of it standing earlier this year – but barely visible in the dead of night! You can catch its outline way in the background between Lungelo and Tom’s heads:

mom-bday-lupa-Tom Lungelo_lightened up

It’s a big loss to the wildlife community. They need all the stopovers, shelters, roosts and feeding stations they can find. And now one is gone.

~~~oo0oo~~~

Cape Vidal Camping

So I took these –

Cape Vidal Apr17 (50)

. . to here –

and when they saw these harmless creatures –

they squealed and ran out of the campsite shouting “Dad! I’m taking an uber home!” and “Pete! I’m taking an uber home!” Pests.

Cape Vidal Apr17 (71)

We saw kudu, nyala, hippo, buffalo, giraffe, mongoose, zebra, warthog and hyena. Sindi pipes up on a drive: “There are no animals here!” She meant we hadn’t seen an elephant or a lion.

’twas like casting pearls before swine . . . .

iSimangaliso Sindi Apr17.jpg

They had a ball.

~~~~oo0oo~~~~

Talent

You can’t understand teenagers. Whenever I offer to sing to Jess and her friends to save her the cost of tickets to Justin Bieber she says “OmiGawd, Dad, NO!”
When they’re in the car and I offer to sing instead of listening to their CD’s, iPods, Blackberrys or whatever, I get a loud chorus of “No Thanks Pete!” and whispered giggles to Jess about her weird Dad. And some “OMG”‘s.

But she has a soft heart*. Yesterday she came to me and said, “Dad maybe old people would want to listen to you”.

~~oo0oo~~

* also, I'm the main source of funding

Mutiny on the Bakkie

Mutiny on the way to Lilani Spa. It’s cold and drizzling, so the back seat of the bakkie thinks cycling has become a seriously kak idea and they’re making it known:
I’m NOT riding!
We’re NOT going!
You can’t force us!
It’s too wet!
It’s too cold!

‘Snot optional,’ I intone each time. ‘Snot optional’.

This got them giggling and making up their own snot sayings:
She SNOT riding.
He SNOT riding.
We SNOT riding!
SNOT funny, Dad! SNOT funny, Pete!

So off they went pedaling in the drizzle, shivering and shouting and giggling. I drove ahead to get out of earshot of the whining. Looking back, here come the four of them . . .

Image

The road to Lilani is 17km of downhill. All long gentle downhill. It’s Lazy Man’s Biking Paradise. From Ahrens to Lilani you don’t have to pedal. You simply place your bum in the saddle and gravity does what it did to Newton’s apple. What’s not to like?

And when you get to the bottom, what do you have to do? Jump into the hot springs mineral waters and soak. If you’re 9 to 15 yrs old of course you’ll take great delight in saying repeatedly, ‘Dad it smells like a fart,’ cos it’s sulphur springs, and it does, but its great.

Downhill biking, warm water, cold beer, and – almost always – solitude. Heaven. If you haven’t been to Lilani Spa, get your ass over there. You can drive right in if you like, and you can stay overnight too.

Here are The Four Mutineers again:

~~~oo0oo~~~