Wednesday, 4 January 2012

A busy couple of months

A car for one day

My son finally got his driver’s licence in September, so the next step was securing him a car. We found a lovely little CitiGolf, which languished in the driveway until all the paperwork and other admin was sorted out: licensing, insurance, fitting a gear lock, that sort of thing. Finally, he was fully legal and able to take his car out on the road, and off he went to buy mosaics for a course he was taking with mosaic artist extraordinaire Jill Gordon-Turner. Alas, a particularly badly signposted and busy intersection in Bellville, combined with his lack of experience in heavy traffic, resulted in a collision that instantly wrote off his little car. (The Land Rover he hit had a couple of scratches on it.)

On the plus side: Nobody was hurt.

On the minus side: My insurance covered only balance of third party, so the loss of the CitiGolf was a sizeable financial blow.

A lunch a month later

Bestselling author, lover of tacky ’70s music and all-round good guy Tony Park and his wife, the irrepressible Mrs Blog, put me on their yearly western Cape visit list, so I was thrilled to get an email early in November that read ‘see you on the 20th’. I gathered a posse of party people for a lunch on the verandah, but by the time 3 o’clock came round, the Parks hadn’t arrived and I was beginning to worry that they had missed their plane or otherwise come unstuck. I phoned Tony, who was still in the Kruger Park. ‘I meant the 20th of December,’ he explained.

On the plus side: We had another lunch on the verandah on the 20th of December.

In the pic: Chef BelAir and Tony Park hang out on the verandah on the morning of the 21st of December (the lunch, as usual when the Parks visit, went on into the next day).

Thieves in the night #1

Early in December, my daughter extended my hospitality to a stray who washed up at the pub she worked at, waking me at midnight to ask if he could stay over in our house as he’d missed his lift home. Although I generally operate an ‘open door’ policy in my home, I wasn’t thrilled about this as I prefer to actually meet the people who end up in my house overnight, and my misgivings were well placed: the man left at some stage during the small hours (after, bizarrely, having a shower), and so did R400 out of my bag and my beloved little Olympus digital camera.

On the plus side: My daughter learnt a valuable lesson about how crap some human beings can be.

On the minus side: I had to chalk up yet another financial loss.

Thieves in the night #2

My friend, photographer Tracey Derrick, spent New Year’s Eve with us. She lives on a fairly remote farm on the other side of the mountain, so she slept over. When she got back to her house at lunchtime on the 1st of January, it was to discover that some bastards had broken in and stolen her brand-new digital camera (a gift, as it happens, from a group of us for her 50th birthday) and various other things.

On the plus side: That old South African adage, ‘it could have been worse’ – she and her children weren’t in the house when the thieves broke in, and they didn’t actually clean her out.

On the minus side: Financial loss, that awful feeling of having been invaded, the wake-up call that even out here in the country, life is changing for the worse.

A surprise flower

I’ve had this golden arum plant for about 10 years and it’s never flowered – I didn’t even realise that it could flower. Then, amazingly, the day after Christmas, it produced this astonishing bloom.

A Christmas present for Goldie

Goldie the mad hen hatched out two more little chicks the day before Christmas – Dot (the yellow one) and Dash (the black-and-white one). Goldie is a remarkable hen – she’s a consistently excellent layer and a marvellous mom to her chicks. She’s at least five years old – the lifespan of a domestic hen is around seven years, although some chickens have been known to live a lot longer than that, and I’m hoping Goldie will be one of them.

Say hello to Dweezil

Our friend Ruan was sitting next to the pool on New Year’s Eve when this berserk little bird flew into the garden and landed at his feet. Ruan tried to return it to a nearby tree, but it was having none of it: it had, apparently, chosen Ruan as its foster parent. We named it Dweezil (after Frank Zappa’s son). It is a charming but very noisy and demanding little bird, and Ruan very quickly tired of his parenting duties. Dweezil, a young pied starling, is now resident on the barrel in the back garden, where he gets a meal of dogfood and bananas every morning. He loves it when anyone comes outside, and immediately flies onto their head and shouts loudly.

On the plus side: It’s fun having a tame wild bird around the place.

On the minus side: He craps everywhere.

Seeing in the New Year with a totally needless bang

Change is inevitable, and our little village has been experiencing it over the past few years – some good, some bad. A very unfortunate development is that locals and visitors are now setting off fireworks on New Year’s Eve. Many animals are made crazy with fear by the noise, and try to escape it by running away, and end up being run over or lost. I’m not a fan of legislation, but I would love to see fireworks banned in all built-up areas where there are pets that might be affected by the noise.

On the minus side: People who mindlessly terrify animals for the sake of a few minutes of visual spectacle.

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1 comment:

Varykino Mudgee said...

nice pic of Tony. g & k