I had a boonie backwater sort of day. When I compare it to my quite sedentary urban life before I mean. I think this is largely because our internet here is… well its rubbish, which means a lot of my procrastination staples are off the table.
Its dawned on me that that my kids have never known anything slower than 20mb/s. Which makes me pause, when the two year old launches herself into a foamy apoplexy because Shaun the Sheep has started buffering mid episode, its quite a difficult thing to explain that the magic that made all their parent-sanity-saving-devices work in our old house… work less well here.
When we were self isolating with COVID we lasted about two days. With both of us sick and the kids shaking it off almost immediately we did something we never thoughts we’d do again. We got a satellite dish! Of course the tantrums simply morphed, driven by the inability to understand why there care commercials in between shows… or why the shows change… and why they can’t watch three or four episodes of the same show in a row.
I have never been quite so tempted to launch into ‘well when I was your age soliloquy’. (If they sound quite spoiled its because they are… something we need to remedy)
Anyways, I am once again over TV. The re-immersion was a short lived novelty. Its all ridiculously overweight people who hoard stuff, bid on storage lockers and a hunt for Nazi gold.
I spent most of the morning mucking about in the garden…
For some reason I thought a Fynbos* garden would be easy. 95% of it is just leave it alone and see what happens, with a bit of grass at the back. Albeit the hardest, toughest most wretched grass in the world. (softer grass has been added to the to-do list)
I took two truck loads of dry undergrowth and dead branches to the Oorlaai Stasie. I’m not even sure how to translate that into English. Transfer Station… maybe. In any event, they have a monstrous industrial shredder that turns everything into mulch… which is quite handy. There is still loads to-do… in fact I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed by it all.
*Fynbos is notoriously fickle. Proteas will grow like weeds… but try plant anything else and it will probably die on you. I had a long conversation with one of the locals about heirloom tomatoes and baboons and black eagles taking his Orloffs and how shade from the mountain will impact ripening. And how the Franklins and Guinea Fowl will annihilate my seedlings. He didn’t feel particularly confident about my ability to succeed in this endeavor. I did plant some strawberries and some spinach in plastic troughs… off the ground to try and keep it safe from the tortoises.
After that I swapped out the gas bottles. Gas is life here.
Had this little girl crawl out from behind the three-way valve while I was mucking about. Popped her on the laundry countertop and used my Emerson for scale.
That’s a pretty big Black Widow I thought. Threatened to pop it in my wives slipper if she didn’t behave herself. Which I did while she was on her teams meeting… just so all her co-workers know who the ‘real’ boss is this household. Of course then I had to hold the jar up to the camera so everyone could get a good look.
In any event. This made me go get gloves.
I don’t kill spiders so she was returned to her home behind the gas bottles when I was done parading her around the house. (in case you’re wondering)
Then I tackled the septic tank. Something I have zero experience with. When you let the bathwater out in the main bathroom the toilet bubbled in the kids bathroom. Plumbing… is black magic to me. Anyways, we thought the tank might be full… so off into the undergrowth to find the hatch… which, typically was covered in twelve years of detritus and a Protea bush… something that makes you re-consider sticking your paws into… spent a solid five minutes poking around with a crowbar to annoy any puffadders that might have been lurking in there…
Turns out the septic tank wasn’t the issue and there was a blockage quite close to the inlet pipe on this end that we just blasted with a high pressure hose and that sorted everything out. I’m actually quite in awe of septic tanks now… ha ha… something I never thought I’d hear myself say. I imagined it would be quite gross and that I’d be gagging… but its quite a clever system.
Yesterday we took the girls for a walk along the cliff on the other side of town. (apparently its REALLY far according to the whingers in the back seat… clocking in at a solid 15 minutes drive to get there)
This little cove looks like it would be an awesome place for a picnic. Although the weather, despite being mostly sunny, is still a little on the cool side. Probably about 17C (+/-60F) which is far too cold (imo) to be out and about doing summery type stuff. I have yet to swim in the sea. In my defense I have been sick… and COVID has really messed up my ears… its the last niggling aftereffect I have. Blocked ears. (both me and my wife are still struggling with this) It comes and goes during the course of the day… but its really annoying.
This is Walker Bay. Its where the whales comes every year to give birth and what the area is most famous for (from a tourism perspective I guess). On the other side of this spit of land are the villages of De Kelders (which translates from the Dutch as The Cellars… because they have all these caves underneath the town) and Gansbaai (or Goose Bay) which is where all the Great white tours leave from. Dyer island… or Shark Alley… is nearby, just around the promontory of Danger Point, which where the HMS Birkenhead sank in 1845.
I remained on the wreck until she went down; the suction took me down some way, and a man got hold of my leg, but I managed to kick him off and came up and struck out for some pieces of wood that were on the water and started for land, about two miles off. I was in the water about five hours, as the shore was so rocky and the surf ran so high that a great many were lost trying to land. Nearly all those that took to the water without their clothes on were taken by sharks; hundreds of them were all round us, and I saw men taken by them close to me, but as I was dressed (having on a flannel shirt and trousers) they preferred the others. I was not in the least hurt, and am happy to say, kept my head clear; most of the officers lost their lives from losing their presence of mind and trying to take money with them, and from not throwing off their coats.
– Letter from Lieutenant J.F. Girardot, 43rd Light Infantry to his father, 1 March 1852.
Only 193 of the estimated 643 people on board survived, and the soldiers’ chivalry gave rise to the unofficial ‘Women and children first’ protocol when abandoning ship, while the “Birkenhead drill” of Rudyard Kiplings poem came to describe courage in face of hopeless circumstances.
Finally a now ubiquitous shot of the German on the beach… doing… German Shepherdy type stuff.