We like it when the little guy comes out on top, don’t we? The underdog. Winning against all the odds. Like when my Jack Russell chased that Great Dane the length of Camps Bay beach. Actually, bad example. Because The Scrapster sees herself as very much The Overdog.
OK. Like when Samson pinged Goliath. That’s better. Or when Wimbledon beat Liverpool in the 1989 FA Cup final. What am I talking about? I’m a Liverpool supporter. Or sufferer. So forget that.
Got it. Like this…
How was that?! Yowzers! You’re a penguin. You’re being chased around by about four ravenous killer whales keen to have you for a starter before the main course. You’re getting a little fatigued and your frantic little flippers are slowing down a tad. You spot a boat with a bunch of boring Norwegians on it…
You’re going to take your chances, aren’t you? You’re jumping straight on that boat and hope like hell that those fjordspeople aren’t going to bore you witless with their talk about, well, fjords, fjords and more fjords. Beats being scrunched up in a whale’s digestive system, doesn’t it? OK. Only just.
Still, a victory for the little guy there. Reminds me of the time old Nel, one of diminutive twins, got called out at big break by Buster Chadwick, the school’s 1st XV lock, and felled him with one almighty blow to the side of the head. It probably helped that his twin brother jumped on Chadwick’s back at just the right time and stuck his fingers in his eyes.
That little penguin didn’t have any twin brother doing him any favours out there in the big, bad ocean, did he? So, a very happy result. Glad you enjoyed that, Hatpeople. Always support the underdog is the moral of the story, isn’t it?
* And you can do that right now by clicking on that big banner thing up there on the top right of this page and nominating me in the South African Blog Awards. “Best New Blog” category, if you please. Only two days left before nominations close. Remember to enter your e-mail address, wait for the e-mail asking you to confirm your nomination for Fred “Little Guy” Hatman (http://www.fredhatman.co.za) and then sit back and sigh to yourself “job well done”. Because it will be. You might just have helped me get one over all those big, blubbery killer bloggers chasing me around the murky waters of the blogosphere and trying to gobble me up. Go on. Save a little penguin blogger today!
Everybody knows that I love dogs. What’s not to love? They never dig holes. They don’t even think about burying bones. They never bark at shadows. And they’re not at all obsessed about balls being thrown for them. Especially not my two Jack Russells, the Scrapster and Dodney Doodlebug. Very low maintenance.
Unlike cats. Don’t trust them. Sneaky sorts. Kill birds. And like to stick their derrieres in your face to prove some stupid point about them once being idolised by the ancient Egyptians. Those Egyptians may have been quite handy at building pointy-topped buildings but they have a lot to answer for. No, cats are for lonely spinsters of a certain age and certainly not for me.
OK. So that was a preamble. Or, in the case of cats, a premince. What I am trying to get around to showing you is this…
Everybody say "Aaaaah"... and I'll say that dogs are in a different class. Sorry.
How’s that little Rottie on the far side? How cute is that, hey? He’ll have a sore neck after that “Don’t Dig” class is done. I know. Because I was always told to sit in the front row of desks at school where the teacher could keep an eye on me. Actually, I had my own spot directly under the blackboard. It was called “being put in isolation”. My neck’s never been the same since. Thanks a lot, Miss van Rooyen. Silly old bint. Wow. I do feel a lot better after getting that out.
Anyway, you don’t have to fear that this blog might turn into one of those sites that only post naff pics of animals doing cutesy-wutesy stuff. They may get an insanely massive amount of hits but I won’t resort to that to raise my views. No, I won’t. Definitely not. Unless you want me to, of course. Because as you well know, my dear Hatpeople, I’ll do anything for you. Just like my dogs do for me.
And, if I find a pic of a whole bunch of cats paying rapt attention in a “Don’t Kill Birds” class, I’ll definitely post that here for your delectation. Bird murderers! All of them. Off with their heads, I say!
If I loved Stanford before this weekend, I don’t have the words to describe how I feel about it now.
I had never been down the river. I’ve sat and stared at the reflections in it. I’ve swam in it. I’ve thrown the ball into it for the Scrapster and Doodlebug, my two delinquent Jack Russells. I’ve even created a rather amateurish artwork next to it. But I’d never taken a boat ride down the Klein Rivier.
Until Saturday. I hadn’t yet stumbled out of the Stanford Arms on Friday night (or was it Saturday morning?) when the SMS came though: “Weather permitting, see you on the river bank at bottom of King St at 10.30am. Cheers, Tim.”
Tim Hague. Photographer. Boat-builder. Chairman of Rotary Stanford. Top-notch bloke. And builder of a very nifty motorboat called “Three Summers” (it took him three summers in London to build it).
So we go for a ride on the river. And this how it looked…
We're off... and I've got no problem with the way things are going...
... and the view up front didn't look too untidy either...
Swing your gaze to the right, Hatpeople, and you'll see those holes in the rocks? Natural beehives. Serious. And people come to collect honey from them. How cool is that, hey?
I must interrupt this hi-tech slideshow to ask how we are all getting on here? Enjoying the ride? I thought so. What, you’re thirsty? Hang on, I’ll get the beers out of the cooler box. Whoop, don’t touch this! Just kidding. Here you go. Hold on, we’re about to hit the blue lagoon. If you’re lucky, you might spot Brooke Shields pretending to build a grass hut on the beach while not pretending to be buck-naked. OK. Whooosh!
Ah, that'll be the two original Marlboro men straining their eyes for a glimpse of Broo... I mean the lagoon...
And there she is! Brooke building her holiday home without municipal approval on the beach near Hermanus. What?! What do you mean you dropped your binocs in the river? All pix: Hatman
Fine. I think that all went rather well. I’m glad you enjoyed the ride as much as I did. The countryside, people. Not much wrong with it. You’ll be back behind your desks in the big, bad city this morning. It doesn’t have to be like that, you know. Make the change. And when you do, let me know and I’ll see if I can arrange a cosy little cabin on the lagoon for you.
* A wobbly-legged doff of the old hat to Tim Hague for making this all possible. Nice one, skipper!
I don’t know about you but I’ve been flattened since our glorious World Cup came to an earth-shakingly climactic end on Sunday night. Pap. It feels like somebody I really loved has died. No exaggeration. I haven’t blogged in two days. I don’t know what to say. I don’t know what to write.
I’m messed up. I’m in mooch mode. I’ve thought about picking up on “Isidingo”. Picking up Leeanda Reddy. Melancholic. I catch myself staring into the fire and seeing Asamoah Gyan hitting the bar with that penalty miss against Uruguay. I’m off my food. My hair needs washing. No shampoo. No sham, it’s just poo. It’s like Gen Morton called and said she doesn’t want to see me again. Again.
I don’t really know what to do. Macrame? The washing-up? Steal some kid’s Panini World Cup sticker book and try to finish it? And then give it back to him? Or sell it to buy new clothes so that I don’t have to do last week’s laundry? I do know that I need to let go of World Cup 2010. I do. You too? Perhaps this will help…
Did you pick up all the little gems in that? The beautiful words and unmistakeable voice of The Arch effusing in his inimitable way at the opening ceremony? “This is like a dream… I must be dreaming!” Yes, Arch, it was like a dream… a dream come true. And we don’t want to wake up!
And there were a lot of vuvuzelas in tthat vid, right? Vuvuzelas, kuduzelas, favelazelas, madikazelas, madethismyselfazelas. The horniest World Cup of all time, Hatpeople. A month of sex in B-flat. No wonder we’re pap. You might even have seen yourself in there. Did you catch the beautifully loony London Mayor Boris Johnson putting out his best parp at around 4:15″? Best you have another look and listen, hey?
I have nothing else to say except to thank Peter Greenwall for creating this authentic slice of his World Cup experience and sending it my way. So I didn’t have to think of anything to write. Cheers, mate. OK, I’m off to make a fire. The Scrapster and Dodney Doodlebug are shivering on the mat. And I’m shaking. Cold turkey.
Oh, and one more thing… do that 67-minute thing for Madiba and your phenomenal country on Sunday, OK? I’m going to help some guys get a vegetable garden going on a vacant plot in the middle of Stanford so that the poorer souls can be fed some nutritious food. Go on, do your bit. Get yourself tested “SA-positive”!
Here in Umdloti we are very accustomed to dealing with cheeky monkeys.
There’s Julius Malema, the loudmouthed oke from the ANC Youth League who uses any media forum available to tell all South Africans what to do and not to do, there’s the Manchester United chop at the Bush Tavern who never fails to get on my case when Liverpool FC lose (currently every time they play) and then there’s the local troop of vervet monkeys (see one of them below) which use Hatman Mansions as their local supermarket (well, they would if The Scrapster and Doodlebug, my Jack Russells, weren’t constantly barking up their blue arses).
Yes, the southern African vervet monkey (male gender) have bright blue arses and, wait for it, crimson-red penises. They are colourful characters and I apprehended three in my bedroom the other day just as one was about to chomp into the Hatman Mansions copy of Kama Sutra 365 (Dorling Kindersley, R106).
This is what Juli, I mean the southern African vervet monkey looks like (when it’s not making inroads into my bedtime reading)…
A vervet monkey, not in a book-eating frame of mind
Apologies for not showing you the blue derriere and red “tummy banana” but this is a family blog, OK?
OK. So then there’s something else completely. A monkey that takes taking things to a new level altogether. Allow me to introduce you to, at first glance, a rather charming little monkeyette (a Tamarind I believe, and not indigenous to South Africa) which I stumbled upon on Umdloti beach while cowrie-collecting with The Darj. It managed to nick her ear-ring and, as swift as a Julius Malema insult, deposited it in her pram from whence it never returned.
That’s right. I said “pram”. Patience, please. Watch this most heinous of South African crime stories unfold before your astonished eyes…
Tammy, dressed for the beach in her best pink frock, sucks up to me (and my leg) in order to strike up an instant camaraderie. Please note the ring on her finger... this will become important as we go on...
Tammy, by frolicking in a most appealing manner on the arm of The Darj, shrewdly engages with her sweet nature and lulls her into a sense of false security...
All the fun under the sun turns into felony as, suddenly, snatch-bang-wallop, The Darj's right earring disappears into Tam's little pink frock...
Quick as a thief, Tam's back in her pram, the earring is secreted away deep in her stash and she's already scanning the beach for her next victim...
No pork. This is actually what happened. What do you think of that? I’ll tell you what I think of it. The couple who were sitting next to the pram and to whom Tam intermittently jumped to and fro from her pram, probably receiving logistical instructions, remained silent and stared out to sea while all this was going on. When The Darj exclaimed “Hey, it’s taken my earring” – to which I responded with a loud “What? The monkey STOLE your earring?!” – the couple turned and looked northwards down the beach with deadpan faces.
When I moved in front of them and said, far too politely, “Excuse me, your monkey appears to…” the guy looked at me, smiled and shrugged his shoulders. At the sight of me starting to suck in my stomach so as to increase the size of my chest, The Darj said “Hey, Hatman, they’re cheap earrings, just forget about it.” I stared at the guy and he gave me the laziest of eyes, as if he were from Kakkiesfontein and didn’t understand English.
We continued our search for the ever-elusive cowrie shells while I toyed with various guesstimates of how much jewelry was hidden under “baby” Tam’s pillow in that ridiculous pram.
Yowzerness. Given the tough economic climate and all that, I reckon that couple are on to something there. Catching a tan on the sun-drenched sands while putting your pet Tamarind monkey to work on innocent beachgoers is taking “Living The Holiday” to another stratosphere, isn’t it?
I learned how to rort (fight) at two months old, beat up my younger sister just eight months later (after intensive training), flattened a string of boys in the school quad, saw things in the South African army that would make Chuck Norris’s knees like granny’s Sunday jelly, have been a battle-hardened journo since time began and have stared death in the face a number of times (2. Well, it is a number, isn’t it?).
So I don’t do nice, OK? Nice is a cup of tea and I only drink tequila. Nice is the scent of granny’s perfume when she hugs you as a kid and my granny was too terrified to come near me. Have I made myself clear? What? Speak up. That’s better. Now sit down and shut the chuff up. I have a video to show you.
OK. So don’t get me wrong but I have a thing about Jack Russells. I have two. That doesn’t make me nice, all right? Anybody who owns a Jack Russell knows what I’m saying here. They’re not nice. Well not after they’ve stopped being puppies, that is. They turn into stark raving loony monster dogs. Mine are so bad, I’ve had to stop taking them to Umdloti beach because the locals have ordered a hit on them.
This morning, The Scrapster got hold of one of the troop of vervet monkeys which charge each morning through Hatman Mansions to devastating effect and we nearly had an international incident on our hands. I threatened to take her and her mate Doodlebug into the local petshop and swap them for a pair of hamsters or goldfish but that would be just too nice.
So when I came across this sickeningly nice video of South African songstress Verity teaching some kid to sing and “reach her dream” of becoming a pop singer, I was about to run for the sickbucket. But then I noticed that little Lize’s song “Song for July” was a tribute to her life with a Jack Russell and I instantly felt her pain.
I began to feel some sympathy creep in… and, well, here’s the video…
OK. So I admit that I was moved by this. Not by Verity’s humility and kindness in helping this kid, who is indeed a cutie, but by “July”, her Jack. Schweetness! Beautifulness. I hope you enjoyed this divine little piece of inspirationalness. I did.
So much so, I feel inspired to share a pic of my Scrapster and Doodlebug enjoying a jolly jape on Umdloti south beach at the weekend…
That's Doodlebug trying to rip the ball out of my hand after just having had a piece of his left ear removed by The Scrapster (left), still frothing at the mouth
“They came, they saw, they conquered” is a saying I dreamt up a few years ago while doing the morning crossword on the bog at Hatman Mansions. Yowzerness, you might exclaim in surprise. You didn’t know I do the crossword. Well, what can I say… I’m a man of letters. And you didn’t know that the origins of that popular phrase lay in the head of Fred, did you? There you go. It’s just the way I roll.
So I don’t have to apologise to anyone for corrupting my saying to “They came, they schmoozed, they, like, TOTALLY ROCKED the Smother City!”
Which pretty much nails the vibe that Heart & Sole unicyclist Geoff “Heartman” Brink and moi created in Cape Town as we swept all before us and “AmaOneTyre” (the unicycle)… at the SiliconCape launch (where Helen Zille and I fell in love, serenaded by the delectable Lucy Kenny and aided and abetted by head honchos Vinny Lingham and Justin Stanford) to morning coffee with Seth (yes, Rotherham) at Camps Bay Vida to arvie beers with internet marketing supremo Fred Roed of worldwidecreative.co.za and ideate.co.za fame to dinner with Gen and Lyndall (yes, Morton and Jarvis) at Caprice to a public appearance at Caveau to… hang on, this is turning into a very long sentence… so time for a pic (waffle to be contd.)
Seth (the "sex symbolic blogger" of 2oceansvibe fame) and I strengthen the ties between Camps Bay and Umdloti at the SiliconCape launch. Lest you be confuzzed, SA's sex symbol blogger is the one on the right. Just so you know
OK. Where was I? Oh, yes. (continuing)… to an autograph signing session at the Sky Bar at the Cape Royale (big doff of red hat to Goldfish for providing the tunes) to breakfast at La Bruixa where we shared Barca scrambled eggs with social media oligarch Dave Duarte to a pizza and glass of wine with Channel24 editor Jean Barker to a highly convivial and fruitful meeting with Argus editor-in-chief (and obsessive mountain biker) Chris Whitfield to double espressos and almond croissants with Springbok rugby legend turned commentator and philanthropist Bob Skinstad to.. oh, chuff it, that’s enough name-dropping for now.