Out of The Hat column, Stanford River Talk, May 2013.
I can see it now.
Queen Victoria Street, Saturday morning… people milling about at the morning market, Brydon’s lemon tart in one hand, Elsa’s mozzarella in the other, and complaining in a genteel and socially decorous manner about what happened to Tracy’s trees and the fact that the Municipality sat fatly by and did diddly-very-squat about it.
Then a hush falls over the small gathering. A lemon tart makes a ka-plop as it falls, lemony side-down of course, on cold, hard concrete. A Yorkshire Terrier squeaks as the weight of a Stanford Info leaflet drifts gently past its ear.
Many faces all turn sharply in one direction and reflect absolute horror. Well, OK, not horror… more a face-mash of wonder and consternation, lightly garnished with escalating anxiety.
Stanford’s children, practically all of them and from every corner of the village, are coming down Queen Victoria Street. And not just strolling, as they usually do in that somewhat directionless we’re-not-quite-sure-where-we’re-going-but-we-are sure-we’re going-to-have-fun way that Stanford’s children appear to have perfected. No. Not at all. Not today.
My “Out of The Hat” column, first published in Stanford River Talk, the quite extraordinary little local newspaper that serves (and I mean serves) my village – April, 2013.
I STEP out of the shower I share with large frogs, even bigger spiders, any size and number of exquisitely hand-painted moths and and am immediately enveloped by the heat once more.
Sipping the dark, bitter remnants of last night’s sweet, black tea, I feel the mountain-dew breeze diffusing through the fly-defying mesh of the screen door and on to my chest, prickling my still-damp skin with it’s early autumn cool-creep.
The vista from my front door is the same, as always. In that is is constantly changing. The aimlessly scudding clouds, the groping, gripping mist and the love of the light all conspire to create new mountain edges, resketching a familiar landscape in my mind. Doves clatter inconsiderately through the leaves into the tree, just outside my wonky gate, where they have chicks to feed.
I was enjoying a pint of Pride at the Birkenhead Brewery just outside Stanford, gazing at Leighan Pepler’s horses nosing about in the fields over in the valley towards the Klein Rivier mountains when Guinness-black clouds were whipped up on my left… oh, how I miss a good pint of Dublin-brewed Guinness.
Black clouds to the left of me...
... my beautiful mountains to the front. Pics: Hatman Photography
Unlike most men I’m not into cars. I mean, I get into them – but only in order to arrive somewhere, not to get off over getting my hands greasy while fiddling with all that paraphernalia I only discover under the bonnet when Sipho at the garage fills up the water.
Look, I’ll admit to getting aroused at the sight of certain vehicles, most particularly when a highly customised Landy bounces past on a dirt road but, on the whole, the guy who wrote Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance would classify me as a “romanticist” more impressed by the aesthetics of motorised transport than the “classicist” who spends every waking hour obsessing over what actually makes them work.
My car-romanticism nearly blew a gasket when this absolute stunner turned up in the main road of Stanford this week…
The thing of beauty known as an Oldsmobile. Yes, I know. Please remain calm. I have more…
I said, remain calm! Accelerating smoothly on…
So I had a creative moment and thought I’d show you Terry Haw’s house and a bit of Stanford’s main road as well. Shall we drive on?
Pics: Hatman Photography
Hope you enjoyed the ride. I did. But I don’t have R120,000 to drive this honey away. If you have, pop in to see Erwin at the New Junk Shop in Queen Victoria Street and he’ll tell you, with his inimitable charm and charisma, who to give your dosh to. Just don’t tell him I sent you. Toot!
I don’t think I’ll introduce an “Amphibians” section to this blog but I can’t resist sharing this little charmer which popped up in my bedroom at Hatman Mansions yesterday… anybody have an idea what species he belongs to?
Sorry mate, I've got the pool covered.
Suzy the cat had her eye on him too Pics: Hatman Photography