Friday, November 14, 2008

Life in the undergrowth - Africa

For this Blog I just have to borrow David Attenborough's documentary title...

The municipality rated ***** for African excellence and efficiency in mucking up is situated in my folk’s town in the Eastern Cape Province.

I’m glad to say it is far from here, because this municipaility managed to make history in the town called Burgersdorp. Should I rather say, managed to leave the town high and dry. Strictly speaking, WITHOUT WATER... As far back as I can remember Burgersdorp’s dam has never ever been empty. I wonder what happened to the aquatic life. This municipality must have a misconception about the saying "Water is Life" or else like so many other municipalities they can't be too sure about what is going on around them. To let things go as far as this and allowing a town with living beings who need to survive on a mere 3 hours of water supply in a ...WEEK!!!

My parents have a wind pump on their townhouse plot, which is very lucky and Mom now heats water for baths, and Dad’s job (as ever) is to carry on buckets of water for the more mundane activities that happens in bathrooms or other small rooms where one can usually sit reading in relative peace...

Apparently the municipality resorted this week to drilling for water... Could we be reverting back to the olden days?

Cats & Dogs: Lizzie is a wee Jack Russell who was nearly killed early in her life at close inspection of the front wheel of a big lorry. A little bit brain damaged which caused her to limp for a while and only slightly these days. She knows however how to stand her ground amongst a pack of energetic, playing and munching bone-hoof-stealing-bigger dogs. She is our neighbors little mongrel.

On our side of the fence lives Harry. He is a cat who will not win any contest for his unusual looks but definitely on the forefront of personality. Said so by vet-friend Angela. If any presidents could think like our Harry, they would be the world’s biggest opportunists! He is a pale yellow color with a thick-unusual type of skin cat with a different twist. Affectionate too and don’t ever forget – with plenty of mischief up his sleeve.

Unfortunately for both these physically challenged pets, Lizzie got lost in our yard yesterday and thus forgot her place too. She decided to pounce on the unexpected Harry. Our kitten got away virtually unscathed apart from a limp and extreme bruising to one back-leg and injured pride. He is not used to being the victim of such brutality as the game usually belongs to him when he bobbled-bob across the lawn terrorizing our other cats. His other trademark is prowling comfortably amongst our two dogs as if he is a dog, tail erect and bossy and his slightly de-formed paws that can’t carry him fast enough when one whistle for his attention. My concern is that Harry-Barry may now be scarred for life with regards to his smashed cat-acting-as-dog pride.

Chicken-pen-mince: Dad stood amongst his hens in the chicken-run giving them some greens from his vegetable patch. For the honour of receiving such organic goodies for free, I would seriously consider becoming a feathered-species too. The next instant he saw something extraordinary: a veldt mouse jumped out from beneath a contraption and the next thing all the chickens were chasing after it. Forget the greens, let's become carnivoric! They started stamping and kicking it (what a terrible death) and the cockerel (typical male to think of his stomach first) squeezed it between his yellow beak and swallowed the whole dead mouse.

And there is the poor Pigeon tale: We have been feeding some pigeons in our garden. We used to have 5 useless cats when it comes to hunting. None of them have ever managed or had much inclination to catch mice or birds. Well, this week someone did. Not the dark mysterious quick-silvered Skye, neither red-haired mustached comedian Lewis, arthritic old Sox or needy Lolita whose moods are affected by the moon. It was Harry who managed to commit murder, leaving feathers strewn over the lawn. He did not eat again for two days and seemed more than contend with life in general, uncomfortable round belly and all.

I wonder if pigeons carry karmic-pigeon-pie wrath to the after life? Too late, I know, but I did manage to make a contraption for feeding the birds which now hangs from a tree-branch.

And this reminds me of being stalked by small creatures. Something one must expect when living in a country-setting full of strange things such as peacocks, a bird sanctuary, horses and the smell of horse "fertalizer", the world’s smallest producing vineyard, a plot with a bull grazing the golf-lawn, Australian ostriches, moles, squirrels, frogs and a river not so far... a mouse in the house a few weeks ago.

Half narcotic from sleep I opened the kitchen curtain one morning and heard myself scream out of the comatose state when a black stripe shot close to my hands to the left. My first thought was snake!!! It turned out that apart from five cats, two dogs and human beings we also had a mouse that lived in the cottage. It stayed for a while as the cats were not even aware of it, but lately I haven’t seen any “evidence” around of little Mr. or Mrs. Mouse.

Apart from the biggest low pressure in 30 years, we survive just about the weather that has been wreaking havoc lately. Big parts of the country are affected, with sheep and lambs washed out of river-mouths that has never been seen before. I think we all need a little bit sunshine and summer, don’t you think?

I just found this:
Distance from Burgersdorp to ...

Distance from
060km.Aliwal North
900km. Cape Town
300km.East London
090km.Gariep dam
450km.Port Elizabeth

1 comment:

Brother Tobias said...

Droughts AND floods? You have been going through it! (I hope the municpality drilling for water doesn't lower the water table and make your own wnd-pump useless).