Lucille and I headed out of Stanford towards Montagu. I had heard that Montagu was “the best-preserved Victorian village in the Western Cape”, my home village of Stanford listed a mere third.
I had to see this for myself. Cue a “Hatman and Lucille Roadtrip”. But we never got there. Actually, we did. Eventually. For a whole, wholly unpleasant 90 minutes. I really tried. I tried to find accommodation. But there was something that just didn’t work for me. What really didn’t work was when I was subjected to a tannie (elderly Afrikaans woman) behind reception at one of the joints slagging off the “country house” next-door and saying it was awful and that I should book into her place.
No. This wouldn’t do. I had just spent two days in the zow-wow zen gardens of a tranquil retreat in McGregor and this vrou was dissing her neighbours and harshing my Temenos mellow. I gave Mrs Reception a smile radiating with the karma of forgiveness, with only one corner of my mouth slightly curled in utter contempt, and gunned old Lucille back to McGregor.
Eureka! That’s a nice name for a girl, isn’t it? And a natural progression, methinks, on all these Storms and Summers gaily trotting around clutching Daddy’s cycle-gloved hand in breakfast places on a Sunday morning. If you have been hanging out under Julius Malema’s bar of soap and not paying the slightest bit of attention, I am dead keen to become a father. And should the old chromos produces a girl child, I shall call her Eureka.
Not because I don’t like the name Jane. Or because I absolutely dig the way “Eureka Hatman” scans… but because, should Eureka get lost while my gaze is disturbingly locked on making sure my bike doesn’t get nicked while having a Full House at some trendy breakfast place on a Sunday morning, and I go into an entertaining panic and shout out her name, all of the other breakfasting cyclist daddies might come running over to see what it is I’ve discovered. I always wanted to be an inventor.
Size does matter. But don’t ask a mosquito or a Jack Russell, ask a sardine.
I don’t think their lifestyle is anything near ideal. But I suppose some life-forms, such as worms, prawns and Paris Hilton, are just feeble fodder for something far larger and hungrier.
So you’re a sardine. There you are, hanging with lots of friends and making your way timidly up the east coast of South Africa, checking out the pretty coral reefs and the colourful undersides of surfboards when… wham, your best mate disappears into a gannet.
Damn. But you put it down to bad luck and swim a little faster. Kapow! Your twin sister gets taken by a tuna. Next thing, there’s a sound not dissimilar to a giant Deluxe Supa-Strength Hoover sucking in bathwater and you look around and find your entire family, including a distant cousin and a few hangers-on, have been baitballed up into a nice, juicy orb and swallowed, along with the tuna still digesting your twin sister, by a chuffing Great White.
Where’s the fun in this, you ask yourself, and hook up with a new shoal who look like they know what they’re doing and head with them for shallower waters. No sooner are you there and some big chick in a sari and smelling faintly of curry powder and assorted exotic spices is scooping you into a bucket. A cheap one from Checkers, nogal.
Not nice. If you drew one of life’s short straws and you’re not much bigger and a lot hungrier, like a Great White or even a Great Big Black… like Julius Malema. He’s always on the right side of a feeding frenzy, isn’t he?
But before I am tempted to digress any further, please pull up the closest deckchair, apply some Factor 30 and enjoy The Greatest Shoal On Earth (as provided each and every July by South Africa’s eastern seaboard)…
How cool was that? I think that even a sardine, if it would just choose to step back for a few minutes and try to be dispassionate about everything, would see the coolness in that spectacular vid. Especially as I threw the inimitable voice of David Attenborough into the mix as well. What a legend.