Monday, November 26, 2012

THE PRINCESS AND THE PEACOCK



Peacock. After much discussion on my camping trip with Tarty, it was decided that it was definitely a better name than 'pooh-arse'.
So this is the part where I fill you in (never quite took off as a pick up line in a bar for me...) about what's been happening in the last week and a half, and explain my mysterious, but enjoyable, absence.
I went camping. Not the kind of camp you'd normally associate with long hair and looking gooood in toight trousers, but the real camping. The rough rugged life of a wild man. In the wild. The real wild. Well, farms at any rate.
It's a tale of Bilharzia, a tale of Bears, and a tale of Broken Blow Up Mattresses.
Let's start at the start. Tarty was late and we only got there once Weekend Wizzard had pretty much finished the potjie. (We really did rough it...) After a couple of cold beers and a refresher course in how to erect a small tent, it was time to settle into the evening around the camp fire armed with a bottle of sherry. A lot later, much to the vocal despair of our camping mates and our neighbours, Weekend Wizzard and I were happily sitting around the campfire (still) and solving the world's problems.
The next day was greeted with the bleary eye of the still-half-sauced, and the hellish chorus of an invading squadron of demon ducks. Due to the brand new inflatable mattress deflating over night, I was unable to attend the goat and lamb feeding. Spent the rest of the day feeling sorry for myself around a dam. Tarty thought it was hysterical to play "rock the boat" which delighted her no end as I tactfully pointed out my desire to stay dry.
Cue packing up campsite, stuffing all our belongings into Cherry Bomb and barrelling off to the town. I was all excited to show Tarty the Belmont Hotel, a place that holds significant and special memories for me as part of my childhood holiday experiences in Ceres. We got there. It wasn't there anymore. What was left was a depressing stretch of barren, broken land. Fuck progress.
So off to the next farm and another adventure. Having set up camp once again, we took a stroll up a nearby hill to see if we could find reception for our cell phones. (Roughing it, I tell you!) Then onto a wonderful meal sharing Tarty's steak (mine hadn't travelled well in the cooler box) and contemplating the possibility of getting mauled to death by bears. I concluded that this was a favourable death to the slow painful way you go when infected by Bilharzia, which was the other farm's speciality plague.
The next day being Monday Bloody Monday - as recounted in the now famous Ceres Fruit Pickers Uprising Of 2012, we decided on an alternative route into town, which took us along a very picturesque dirt road where we found an old abandoned farmstead. It had rusted agricultural equipment and broken down buildings - even a bell tower - which made for even more interesting pictures for our ongoing rural adventure.
Driving into town with due vigilance, we stopped at the Pick n Pay for supplies. And by supplies I mean booze, as we'd almost run right out. Imagine the travesty. I almost bought shoes. Then, the highlight (or one of the highlights) of the trip was when we took a stroll down memory lane and through a camping resort known as The Pine Forest. I'd spent most of my childhood going there on family holidays and had heard awful things about it being run down. Not so. To my ever growing vocal delight I took Tarty on an ice-cream wielding tour of the entire facility, pointing out places and remembered events like a seasoned guide.
A brief stop off at the local second hand store saw me leaving with an armful of old records and an ashtray, before we took on the drive out to the next farm near Tulbagh. This one had a splash pool, This one had spectacular views of the Witzenberg Mountains. It had a dam replete with rowing boat. It had the best ablution facilities (Roughing it!) and it had the best dog, Basil the elderly and attentive Boerbul/Lab cross. It also had a peacock. That hellish demon spawn with beady satanic eyes and the shriek of the undead. I almost put Tarty's head through the windscreen and refused to get out of the car. It's always so reassuring when your friends nearly pee themselves laughing at your debilitating phobia. Then we bravely set up camp right under its roost.
More of the usual drinking and braaing, followed by our final breakfast cooked on the coals and it was almost time to head back to real life. But not before buying wine, olive oil and olives from the friendly farmers and making a stop at Tulbagh to check out the charming Church Street with its National Monuments and heritage sites. Lastly we stopped at Die Tolhuis for a late lunch and almost had to stay and wash dishes as we scraped together our last cents before finally dumping out weary bodies in the car and going home. It's amazing how tiring relaxing can be...

Upon getting home and just wanting to flop down on my bed, I discovered the council had turned my water off. Not "my water broke", that means something completely different. So another day off to go and sort that out - luckily (and mercifully) that was quickly and relatively painlessly reconnected. I swore a lot regardless.

Then the working week kind of engulfed me and I neglected you, my faithful and obviously immensely erudite readership. Apologies.

The week ended by me winding myself AND getting rugby tackled in my weekly game of football, resulting in a rib injury that has had me grumpy since. It's fine as long as I don't laugh, or sneeze, or cough, or sniff, or move, or breathe...

Oh I almost forgot to mention playing a gig last Friday. The physical trials and tribulation of camping and sleeping on the ground were exacerbated by a chronic headbanging torso-n-neck injury. Blind spots were particularly challenging.

Oh, and I managed to submit my tax return after having left most of the relevant documents at home last week. Let's hope they pay me. Otherwise no Christmas presents...

Anyway, I hope this has served to bring you up to speed. It's been a gas.

NGDG: Sandton City is full of the most godawful shit. I have a gift voucher burning a hole in my pocket and I'm about to buy a monkey-shaped candle or a bandana just to be done with it.

Spread The Love. Don't Make Me Laugh.


ps: Funny moment of the week: Tarty Farty Tequila Party locked herself out of her house because she left the house keys on the car keys when she sent the car in for repairs after our adventure...

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