Go Darke

Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it


Spring. And its malcontents.

I do miss something about the pandemic. A statement that needs to be followed up quite quickly for fear of being pilloried. I miss not being sick. Except for the actual Covid part of the pandemic I mean. Other than that I didn’t get the flu or have a cold in two years. That part of it was quite nice.

NOW of course I’m making up for it, the out-break monkeys swap fecal matter and bits of snot in the sandpit and my three year old cheerfully brings home a new strain of virulent pestilence every two weeks. The progeny dutifully shake it off it in a couple of days but at least one of them makes sure to cough directly into my eye-ball before then.

Pretty sure pre-forty I wasn’t this immune-compromised dumpster fire of a human being?

A bouquet I picked yesterday with the aforementioned patient zero for one of her teachers (whose husband went towards the light on the weekend)

Its also spring. Which means its pollen-warfare out there. So its entirely possible that I’m being double-whammy’d by colds AND allergies. (although identifying as an Alpha male means I don’t believe hay-fever and allergies are a real thing, so maybe I just need to toughen up)

My gardens got some pretty groovy stuff growing in it (at the moment). There is an inherent fickleness in the Fynbos (the local biome) in so far as it does what it wants to do when it wants to do it. (well, at least according to me). We don’t really have a winter… not at least in the sense where there is this mass dearth of flowering things. But at the moment at least things seem to be more… eh… efflorescent and cheerful (lets go with that).

All manner of flora I have no idea the identity of.

This will be my second Spring down here at the bottom end of Africa. Last year this time I dutifully tried to get my vegetable-garden going. But really, the only thing I had any real success with was peas, strawberries and my unkillable mint. (All grown in off ground plastic troughs) Everything else got annihilated by the Guinea Fowl, Franklin’s and tortoises. And what wasn’t eaten got stripped down to the stalk by the wind.

That and the soil type here, for anything that isn’t endemic, is more-or-less lunar regolith with a side of sandstone, basically anti-life for everything except fynbos. So I’m probably going to have to pivot into something completely container based.

Baby tortoise from earlier when I was mucking about with my seedlings (they are everywhere at the moment)

I have just stubbornly seeded two trays with all manner of capsicums and peppers. I think the sum total last year for about 20 to 30 plants was a single chili and one miserable looking green pepper. A truly sad haul. This year, I’ve found them a reasonably sheltered dip in the garden which should offer them slightly more protection from the howling Cape Doctor1, that occasionally comes barrelling up from the South east.

[1] “The Cape Doctor” is the local name for the strong, often persistent and dry south-easterly wind that blows on the South African coast from spring to late summer (September to March in the southern hemisphere). It is known as the Cape Doctor because of a local belief that it clears the cape of ‘pestilence’.

And now you know.

Maybe I’m like this Dung Beetle. The Syphisus of the arthropods, doomed to roll my poop uphill with this particular endeavor (but not really ever getting anywhere). Only one other person in my neighborhood has a vegetable garden, which is walled off and topped with electric fencing to keep the baboons out.

Speaking of which, we had our first baboon in the house last week. A lone male (likely kicked out of the troop I’ve been hearing up on the mountain behind my house at 3am). Me, wandering through from the lounge (playstation controller in hand) wondering what the cat knocked over, only come face to face with the a fore mentioned simian sitting on our coffee table. In typical South African fashion and unable to think of anything more appropriate I went with a very colloquial and heavily accented ‘HEY!’ Which is more or less when my vigilant and canny hounds noticed the interloper and everyone was suddenly making moves (at pace) to one of the exits.

He wasn’t the biggest baboon I’ve come face to face with, but big enough to make your butthole pucker. Well, my butthole at least, maybe I shouldn’t generalize. (I only identify as an Alpha-male, in real life, less so)

I’m a guard dog. GRRRR. For realz.

In any event, I’m going to try an make the best of the new season. Despite my resignation to go all in on plastic containers and store bought potting soil. Things that were, up until quite recently, anathema to me. It is what it is though. Time to let go of my puritan ideals.

Good luck to me




  1. tara caribou


    The pink flower is very pretty, the turtle… tortoise?? is super cute and Bassett’s ear dragging on the ground is adorable… yeahhhh I won’t question your alpha-maleness At All. 😉😁

    But seriously, I would not be able to handle a baboon in the house. Nope. Nope. No. NO. En.Oh. I’ll stick with bears around the property, thank you very much.

    1. Jo


      My alpha-ness is beyond reproach. I have a little certificate that says so.

      … although maybe the certificate should be larger. Now that I think about it.

  2. Professor Taboo


    What incredibly vivid images Jo! My GOODNESS such beauty! 😮

    And the Dung Beetle’s melodrama? BWAAAAAA!!! 🤣 I too did a blog-post on them here in central Texas, similar to your hilarious story. I called it “ Fecal Pushers.” My opening sentences:

    After many years of practice, there are certain types who have mastered the art of shit-pushing and some who have not. A quick menagerie of the art…

    Then I listed these “shit-pushing artists ” 😉

    • Ray Barone – of the TV sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond.
    • Jeremy Grey (Vince Vaughn) – 2005 film Wedding Crashers.
    • Bill Clinton – former U.S. President.

    And one of my all-time favorite lines…

    One of my favorite caught-in-the-act corrections: “I wasn’t kissing your wife Sir. I was whispering in her mouth!”

    Anyway, great post Jo! Love it! ❣️

    1. Jo


      Thank you. Ha ha. Fecal pushers are everywhere it seems.

      1. Professor Taboo


        Next to snake-oil salesmen, huh? 😜

      2. Jo


        I at least I can appreciate the motivations of snake oil salesman. They usually want to make money… the other type I have no idea.

  3. westcoastwoman


    Loved this! Dung beetle, tortoise, amazing flowers and vegetation,,,,,but the baboon on the coffee table! Laughed a couple of times picturing that one complete with Canine reaction.

    1. Jo


      Oh good. I’m glad. How you doing up there at the top the planet? How is your side of the hemisphere?

  4. westcoastwoman


    Sitting here thinking on that question, looking out at pink blue mountains ,ocean calm, before light of day breaks.
    Everything appears to be proceeding as it should but there is an underlying feeling that it is all ‘off ‘ in some way that can’t quite be described. A microcosm perhaps of what is happening on the planet.
    Only twenty percent of the Eagles in our province successfully had young this year. Bird flu ? Lack of fish? Canary in the coal mine? Baboons on the coffee table?:)

    Have again rented the loft that is on the third island, and ferry from the mainland to contemplate this, Far from the fecal pushers who seem to be part of our inability to see that
    “The map is not the territory……”

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