I’m watering my front garden during our rationing stage, which makes wetting things a lot more thrilling. The mayor of our one hundred or so very odd permanents walks past and just grimaces, as he knows that I’ve got tinnitus and can’t hear him complaining.
Many of the locals think that I have a lot more than buzzing in the ears, more like a kind of ringing in the head. Often they stop me in the street and tell me that they’ve read one of my COUNTRY LIFE articles at the doctor’s surgery, which after a few years makes me conclude that only sick people read my stuff. Look, that’s appreciated, but when they start talking about their illnesses, I say that I am searching for my boomerang that didn’t come back, and leave.
So just the other day, I am once again in the garden, buzzing away, when this front-end loader arrives with two huge boulders. I mean, Samson and Hercules size. Being old and forgetful, it suddenly rings in my head that I have often, albeit jokingly, asked workers to haul these massive boulders my way. I can’t remember if these were municipal, Telkom or Eskom employees?
Anyway, they’re a jolly bunch of fellows, South Africa’s workforce personified. We laugh at the time they saw me dragging the tall aloe (far right of the picture) with my bakkie from where it had fallen over a few kilometres from here. That was some four years ago, I guess. All 87 garden specialists in the village whole-agedly agreed that it would never grow. It did. My after-laughter still rings in my head.
After the boulders have been positioned, I avoid being spotted buzzing around in my front garden. That’s tough for a gardener who loves wetting things illegally. You see, the komkykers (oglers) driving down my street often stop and ask me where I got the massive boulders. Then I cup my ear and make them get out of the car and walk up to the fence. Then I whisper, moving my cupped hand from ear to mouth, “ Australia.” Or sometimes I whisper, “Boulder City, Colorado.” Once I said that my son was a giant, a circus freak who practised throwing these at clowns in his act.
Then the mayor cycles past again, just grimacing.
The best is when a dude from Parow stops and asks, “Jirre Boet, ek sê. Where did you find these moerse rocks?” I answer, “They’re actually just painted Styrofoam moulds from a film set.” He walks over and kicks one full-on with his fishy-design plastic plakkies. His painful screams still echo around the village.