Jack Russells. Amazingness. I’ve always thought them super-intelligent. The sharpest tools in the entire dogbox.
Now I must revise my assessment. They’re actually far cleverer than that. If there’s a pattern developing on this crazy unicycling adventure, other than the obvious one of The Heartman furiously pedalling his AmaOneTyre in front of the back-up vehicle I am driving at 12kph, it’s that there is a Jack Russell at every abode that we overnight at.
So they are also popular. This is in itself intriguing as the little rogues are highly-strung, humungously hyperactive, manipulative and do very convincing imitations of being highly vicious boerboels. I know. I have two. Or, rather, had two until I left on this seven-week Heart & Sole Tour. I miss them. A lot.
Anyway, The Scrapster and Doodlebug, my JRs, must have put word out on the South African Jack Russell Network that Heartie and I need help because everybody, every B&B owner and kind soul who has offered us free accommodation has a Jack Russell winking at us when we drive in.
I’ve just turned to see the what the latest member of the JR fraternity to enter my life is doing and, after growling lustily at the lightning here in Harding, it’s now lying on Heartman’s bed, staring intently at me and wagging its tail. I’d photograph it for you but I’d have to use flash and I don’t dare wake up The Exhausted Unicyclist. He’d have every right to be grumpy.
Day Seven has been the toughest day yet of this Durban to Cape Town one-wheeled odyssey. Heat and hills. Hills and heat. It was very, very tough. I feel knackered and I was only sitting in the truck, listening to top-notch tunes (see today’s playlist at end) and fretting about dodgy truck-drivers, so I feel for Heartie who was sizzling the tarmac with his dripping sweat as he toiled up steep hill after steep hill. Paddock to Harding (well, 20km out of Harding) will be remembered as a right little sod of a section of our tour.
But, yes, we had fun. First, a very grateful doff of my red hat goes to Dean, Stef and Marlon of The Gorgez View Restaurant, Bar and B&B near Paddock for magnificent hospitality extended at no cost at all. It was their contribution towards making our objective of raising awareness of the scourge of landmines that much more obtainable. Nice. Let’s have a look at them, shall we?
The Heartman was so overcome by the level of hospitality that he treated us to one of his farm animal cabaret acts…
Then it really was down (or up?) to work, inching up the steep hills drawing us into the foothills of the Drakensberg in the direction of Kokstad. Scorching heat. Hot tar. Mad dogs and Englishmen stuff.And a local guy who fancied himself as a paparazzi!
Nice. But the heat took its toll. And finding shade every half-hour or so was the order of the day…
He wasn’t the only one seeking refuge from the African midsummer sun. And this young woman found a somewhat more elegant way to acquire shade near the tiny hamlet of Izingolweni…
Cool. So is today (Monday). We’ve woken up to overcast conditions and ideal riding weather, if a tad windy. Only The Heartman is somewhat knackered after yesterday’s very exacting mountain climb. So we’ve decided to make a late start. Please join us later for an update and show old Heartie your support.
In fact, the best way anybody could support him right now would be to donate an iPod to our unicycling cavalier. I’ve been blasting tunes out of the back-up truck to help him up the hills but being plugged into his own music up front would give him the stimulus to find extra pedal power! If you have one spare, please mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can make an arrangement. Thanks!
* Day Seven Playlist: These are the tunes which gave The Heart & Sole Tour its “go forward” yesterday – Hercules and Love Affair, Joe Cocker, Jack Penate, Terry Callier, Human League, Mayer Hawthorne, Grace Jones, Tom Waits, Eli “Paperboy” Reed, Esther Philips, Steely Dan and Jill Scott (with thanks to top mate, Darren “The Tunemeister” Todd).