I’ve been thinking about developing a personality. No, not mine. I gave up on that some time ago. Earthworms have got the jump on me. Not my fault I like to wear an anorak, write down the engine numbers of passing trains, have a massive collection of pet rocks and have taped every episode of Noot vir Noot on VHS.
No, I’ve been thinking of developing a character, like sex symbol blogger Seth Rotherham has done so cleverly with TBG (Tall Blonde Guy) over at 2oceansvibe.com. And very charmingly too, if I may say so.
I did have one. A character. A strange, eccentric, reclusive one called The Bushguy. But then I left Umdloti to go on a unicycle marathon, found Stanford and lost him. Not difficult. Last I heard, Bushguy was still living in the thick coastal bush above Umdloti Beach with his dogs and existing on mushrooms.
So what to do. Where to find A Character? As always, one doesn’t have to go far. He’s been on my doorstep. No, not at Hatman Mansions. But on the doorstep of my conscious. And characters don’t come any bigger, colourful, tougher, crazier, more beautiful than “The G-man”.
Are you feeling strong today? Are you up for this? Sure? OK. Let’s take a look at him…
No sooner had he been introduced to Miss South Africa and The G-man takes a call from a fan
OK. Now I can’t speak for you but if I had just been introduced to Miss South Africa Nicole Flint, I wouldn’t take a call from anybody, not Nelson Mandela or even my close friend Gen Morton. Even if I had just bought one of those phenomenal new iPhones that look like a crayfish.
But this is how he rolls, The G-man. The man for every situation. So cool you need to wield an icepick to get near him. A man you’d want alongside you in the trenches in a particularly brutal and unconventionally-fought war.
The G-man is an ADD-addled action hero. He’s seriously feral. A natural-born actor. He’s South Africa’s Bruce Willis, Woody Harrelson and, er, Lou Reed all rolled into one unpredictable, fearless and insanely cool package. And you don’t have to take my word for it.
He lives noisily in a quiet village north of Durban. You might see him barking like a dog at the La Mercy Lagoon. He can convincingly imitate 36 animal sounds. I know. I heard them all during this madcap adventure.
I could go on. But I’ve used up all of my G-man force for the day. So this what I’ll do. Send me a photo of you with The G-man and, every Friday, I’ll choose the craziest one. The winner will receive one of those brand-new, totally insane Special Edition Crayfish iPhones. Yes, just like the one The G-man is using in that pic!
How cool is that? Yes, yes, I know. Please try to remain calm. OK. Here’s a tip on how to find The G-man. He really digs the coffee that Judd “Juddy-poo” Campbell purveys at the absurdly groovy Corner Cafe in Glenwood, Durban. You’ll find him there most days, high on caffeine and getting up to mischief.
Brace yourself, introduce yourself, get in a picture with our boy and send it to email@example.com. If it’s the nuttiest one of the week, you win a Crayfish iPhone and I publish the pic on here. Well. Why are you still sitting there, staring at this word. Vamoose, babies!
My hands are up. I confess. I’ve had more than a few unkind words to say about Cape Town on this blog.
But that was then. When I was living 40 metres from the golden sands of Umdloti Beach north of Durban and was transfixed by the stunningness of the majestic arch over Moses Mabhida Stadium.
And this is now. I still prefer Durban’s World Cup stadium to Cape Town’s but, given that I have moved Hatman Mansions to a glorious village just two hours out of Cape Town and am trying to make new friends there, it’s time I sucked up to Cape Town a bit. Bloggers are allowed to change their minds, aren’t they? What’s that? Oh.
Moving swiftly on, and in the true South African spirit of ubuntu (togetherness), I have had a strict word with myself and am now happy to endorse Cape Town as a World Cup destination of no little charm.
And the ensuing video suggests that I might not be wrong. For those Korea Dictatorial Republic fans who haven’t ever visited the Mother City, you may now drop your jaws at this…
Not altogether shabby, is it? No. Better than what you’ve got at home, perhaps? Ignore that. Unfair question. So have yourselves a ball in Cape Town, my foreign friends, and thank Peter Greenwall for sending me his cinematic take on what goes on under and around Table Mountain.
And – I’ve got to slip this in – if the stratospheric levels of hedonism get too much for you, hire a car and drive for a couple of hours up the R43 past Hermanus to my home village of Stanford. Here you’ll find a ridiculously friendly welcome at the third best-preserved Victorian village in the Western Cape. And the first best-rehabilitative oasis on the entire planet! I know. I live here and I’m super-chilled. So chilled that I’ve even begun to like Capetonians!
I’m sure all of this has got you gagging to get on that plane out of Pyongyang, hey?
Everybody knows that I hosted the party of the year in 2009.
I just love celebrating my birthday properly. So I invited Frikkie, Lofty, Tich and old Farquaharson round to the Bush Tavern in Umdloti and we had a right skinful while watching the rugger.
Never mind that the Boks lost. Never mind that Lofty got bounced out for trying to snog the barmaid. Never mind that Frikkie fell down the steps on the way out, ricocheted off a really big oke’s girlfriend and took a mighty right to the ear for his trouble. Never mind that Farquaharson, as is his custom, deposited his zooosh kebab on Mrs Hindmarch’s Morris Minor. And never mind that I had to be reminded of all this the next day after being rudely woken up at 2pm in a zinc bath full of what had been ice at the bottom of Tich’s mother-in-law’s garden. Great night out.
But it appears that my party-hosting skills have been usurped.
And, once again, it is that young bounder who goes by the name of Seth Rotherham who has dared to upstage me in the partytjie stakes.
How, you ask, has Camps Bay’s premier blogger and unparalleled sex symbol managed this? Good question.
Well, the little blighter has only gone and hired some posh club in Camps Bay, secured the services of, in Seth’s breathless words, “South Africa’s Most Exciting Party-Pumping Entertainment Act – The Wedding DJs” and then reeled in every one of his infamous Weather Girls (read excruciatingly gorgeous swimwear models), hasn’t he?
It'll be a nice change to sip a cocktail with Gen instead of getting rat-arsed with old Frikkie
The slick-on-the-draw mind behind 2oceansvibe.com has left no stone unturned in his quest to trump me and for this I am, like, totally stoked. Because he’s invited me along to witness it all.
Something you will not be privy to if you haven’t yet snapped up a ticket. There weren’t that many left at 10.30pm last night (Thursday) so if you want to be rubbing snakeskin boobtubes – or whatever the fantabulous wear these days – with the fantabulous and the even more fantabulous and watch me totally chopping up the floor with my terrifyingly suave Umdloti Wardance, then you had better get on to Webticket like quicksticks. Eighty ront a shot gets you in. There will be zero tickets at the door so don’t even entertain the idea that you can sommer rock up and swan in.
No, really. Seth has taken The Party of the Year standard up a few notches with this little soiree and, with the help of Marina Nestel, uberbabe behind The Little Black Book, tonight’s fandango should cook like Jamie Oliver on, well, whatever, Jamie Oliver is on.
I’m so looking forward to hooking up with my close friend Gen Morton (don’t listen to what people are saying, we are only very good friends and that’s the end of it, right?) and hearing how her very hectique modelling career has been going and, y’know, just chilling in the VIP suites with all of my other model, photographer, film and general celeb connections. I’m not dropping names because, as you know by now, I like to keep it all below the radar. Makes a refreshing change from getting slaughtered with Frikkie and the boys though.
I’ve got it. Why don’t you read what Rothers himself is saying about his own party by sliding effortlessly over to his very entertaining, if a little cheeky, 2oceansvibe blog and reading all about it. Hang on, you’ll need to scroll down a bit, past the pics of Candice Swanepoel “jumping around in her underwear” – Seth rolls like that, to the bit about The Vibe and what will be going down at St Yves in Camps Bay from 6.30pm tonight.
How did you get on with that? He’s got a hilarious turn-of-phrase has our boy, hey? Yes. OK. So let us look forward to a lethal cocktail of glamour, terribly subtle body language, immaculate grooming and terribly good-looking people in very tasteful clobber. I’ll do my best to fit right in. But I can’t promise anything.
So what are you waiting for? Shimmy on over to here and grab your tickets now. Check you later.
OK. I need to be like Speedy Gonzalez, my babies. As a 15kph back-up driver on the Heart & Sole unicycle tour, my name and “speedy” don’t ever feature together – but today is the exception.
The Heartman has arisen and, despite Stanford’s considerable charms, our homesick unicyclist is champing at the bit to get to Cape Town, where he is threatening to chuck his one-wheeled steed into the harbour and fly home to Umdloti and his soon-to-be-wife and five dogs.
Yup, we are hoping to stagger up to the Clock Tower at the V&A Waterfront sometime around 2pm on Friday. Please do come down and and feel free to roll around in mirth as we do our sack-of-potatoes all fall down trick. Yes. We are knackered. Two months on the road is a very very long time. Especially when you are Geoff “Heartman” Brink and a completely uncooperative unicycle is between you and that road!
But there have been some wondrous experiences on the way. Such as hooking up with Bob Skinstad and his exceedingly winsome “Walk This Way” girls at Raka wine estate near Stanford yesterday. “Walk This Way” is a Western Cape initiative to promote Bob’s awesome Bob’s For Good Foundation and its work in providing disadvantaged children with shoes to wear to school.
As people who have zigzagged nearly 2,000km to raise awareness of landmines and the thousands of people who also have no shoes – because they have no legs – Geoff and I feel a special kinship with Bob’s excellent cause. Check it out at bobsforgood.co.za and, I exhort you, do the right thing and buy a pair of Bob’s really cool loafers, an act which will give a poor kid a pair of shoes. Easy. Good. And beautiful. Thanks.
OK. So this is what yesterday looked like…
Geoff and Bob prop up my back-up truck to stop it from falling over. They’re good like that. And Bob proved himself a natural at balancing on the unicycle…
… until he decided a bit of “go forward” was on the cards. Oopsiness! Never mind, Bob, a great many have fallen before you. Ask Old Heartie, mastering a unicycle is very much an acquired skill. Very much like enjoying a conversation with, um, Julius Malema!
Aah, that’s better. The team pic starring, from left, Geoff “Heartman” Brink, Bob Skinstad, Claire and Sarah with Shari and Sue gracing the front row. Top-notch people all. Providing shoes for the kids who have never had any.
Bob and his team need your support to put shoes on feet. I know you will help. Because our two-month unicycle rollercoaster ride has reminded us that, when it comes to stretching out a helping hand, South Africans are very quick on the draw.
It’s been beautifulness on a grand scale, Heartpeople. Thank you. There are so many of you to thank that I don’t have the space or time to do it right now. Later. We need to get on the road to Caledon. And, yes, it’s hot. And, yes, there are hills and passes. And, yes, we have just enough dosh for petrol to get us there. And, yes, we are going to conquer this super-hairy monster of a unicycle tour. Because there are thousands of people – those missing limbs – around this beautiful world whose plight is largely going unnoticed. That is all.
Look. I’ve been a journalist long enough to know how to expertly “fudge” an issue. But if this blog is to be an accurate portrayal of the peaks and troughs, nay hills and valleys, of The Heart & Sole Tour, then no way… I’m not making a silk purse of a sow’s ear.
This day has been both beautiful and disastrous. Beautiful in that The Heartman, aided by favourable conditions, chowed up no less than 40.2km. A gentle tailwind and cool, overcast conditions propelled him, despite painful knees, from Scottburgh to Hibberdene in no little style. The hills were tough but, with his stamina and strength on the rise, old Heartie wasn’t to be beaten. In unicycling terms, the best day so far.
Then dee-rama struck on a grand scale. Or not so grand. I’m not going into detail – there’s a Heart & Sole Tour objective to be accomplished – but suffice to say that it has been forcefully driven home to me that perhaps the greatest challenge faced on a marathon adventure such as this lies in the psychological and emotional dimensions. Especially with two such strong personalities at the centre of it all.
OK. Tomorrow is another day. Now, if this infernally weak internet connection allows me, I would like to treat you to a video that has just reached us of Geoff “Heartman” Brink showing off his considerable unicycling skills and talking eloquently about what it is that drives us to overcome all adversity to complete the 1,700km – wait, 1,600km! – which lies before us.
I’ve just been brought a cold “Pussy natural energy drink” to help me recover from this day. And find enough patience with this woeful internet signal to attempt to load up the vid. I suggest you pour yourselves a stiff one while I try…
There. I think it’s on. If you do actually get to see the above video, it was filmed and edited by bright Umdloti thing Jimmy Reynolds using footage shot in Mozambique by Brenda Spaan for The Sole of Africa. The gravely disfigured face in that footage belongs to Ignacio who stepped on a landmine when he was just nine years old. But not just any landmine. This particularly cruel piece of military ordnance was designed, when detonated, to leap roughly five feet nine inches into the air and explode into people’s faces.
This is what happened to Ignacio, a beautiful and innocent boy at the time. And this is precisely the reason why we need to put personal – and ultimately petty – differences aside and finish this Heart and Sole Tour. My connection has gone again. And so have I. Good night.
Slowly, slowly, the mystiqueness that surrounds The Bushguy is unravelling.
I’ve told you in previous instalments of The Bush Palace Chronicles about our bush-dwelling recluse who shies away from people and their cluttered, noisy lives and chooses to live quietly in a three-walled cabin deep in the coastal vegetation behind the Bush Palace.
To refresh your memories, I could add that he only ever wears a pair of navy blue shorts and shuns a shirt and shoes, even in the most adverse weather conditions. Well, as adverse as the weather gets in our sub-tropical paradise of Umdloti.
I bumped into The Film Director, the cool guy who lives in a cottage immediately behind the Bush Palace, at the foot of the steps leading up to our jungle hideaway. He had been surfing and was chilling on the steps with a Castle Milk Stout, apparently still mesmerised by the waves he had caught. Ever the nosey journo-blogger, I probed for info about our Bushguy.
TFD (the Film Director) confided that the only time he had seen Bushguy’s rustic lodgings was when he heard a loud crash one afternoon and went to investigate. “I called out into the dense bush to ask if he was OK and he said he was. Apparently, he had a fourth wall on his log cabin which operated on a pulley system so that it could be lowered on very hot days and then raised when it rained and got chilly.
“What had happened was the pulley system had rusted and that afternoon the whole contraption broke and the fourth wall collapsed,” said TFD. “He’s never bothered to have it fixed so he lives and sleeps with one side of his cabin totally open to the elements, not to mention snakes, vervet monkeys and all the creepy-crawlies that lives in our bush.”
I love this. I don’t know about you, dear Hatpeople, but Bushguy deeply fascinates me. Not least because I can see the appeal in the lifestyle he has chosen. It’s natural. It’s wild. It’s, yes, deeply spiritual.
But it got better at the weekend. On Sunday, the hottest day we’ve had in a while, I strolled along North Beach – still unfamiliar to me – looking for a gap in the rocks where I could swim. Bushguy’s coming towards me with two of his dogs and a piece of wooden panel under his arm. He recognised me and gave me that haute enigmatique smile. After he had shown me a spot in the ocean, clear of reef, where I could swim, I pointed to his piece of wood and asked him if he had been bodyboarding.
“No, skimboarding,” our man of few words murmured. “I made this out of something I found. It works really well. Want to see?” He ran off towards the waves and I got my camera out just in time to record this…
Bushguy's wooden panel from somebody's former wardrobe works a treat as he skims impressively into the ocean...
... and he's engulfed by the foamy stuff as his skimboard ride comes to an end...
... and, without so much as a 'how's your father', Bushguy lopes off along the beach back to his safe haven in the bush Pix: Hatman
Got to love Bushguy! Enigmatique or what? More on him and his life in the wild as it all unfolds…
In the ninth of my weekly interviews with interesting people in Umdloti, I asked the Big Five questions of German and honorary Umdlotian Tom Striebl. And got just one answer back. This is a guy who has taken the “Live The Holiday” vibe to a whole new stratosphere and was clearly so busy living it up at his “office” (The Bush Tavern) that he wasn’t bothered to answer each specific question! Serves me right to have stereotyped Germans as an orderly lot. Vorsprung etc…
Never mind. Let’s take a look at the man who totally owns the lifestyle the rest of us only dream of…
Tom and friends Jozie, Bianca and Felicity. Mmmm. Pic: Hatman
1. So, Tom, you’re a German who spends half the year at home in Germany and the other half “at home” here in Umdloti. And you don’t work. At all. You are “Living the Holiday” in the extreme. How did you manage this?
2. Tell us about your dodgy heart and your “defibrillator”. How does it work and does it get in the way of your “Living the Holiday” vibe? As in drinking, smoking and any other recreational activities that you may or may not indulge in…
3. Tell us about your life in Bavaria. What do you enjoy about living there that you can’t do here? And vice-versa…
4. Tell us about the first day that you discovered Umdloti. And any other funny stories that you have about our crazy little seaside resort and the people who live here (and, like you, have an “office” at the Bush Tavern)!
5. OK. Last question. What do you do with your time in Umdloti, where are your favourite places to go in Umdloti and around Durban in general? And what do you tell your friends back home in Germany about South Africa as a tourist destination?
Each year I’m coming south with the swallows to the summer. Its cheaper that way. Cheap cheap!
The doctor says my heart condition is 30% pump power and so I must not work. And so they pay “retired money”. The doctor says I must have “Nada de stress”.
The lump in my chest is actually a defibrillator (some people think its a pacemaker). If my heart stops then it gives me a shock of 300 volts. Its not lekker but gives me a jump start. Then I can carry on drinking beer!
The smoking of different types of “spicy” tobacco is good for keeping the stress down. I cannot swim in the sea, anyway it’s a septic tank.
I take eight different tablets that keeps the blood pressure down and keeps the fluid amount low in my lungs and… and… and down in my lungs.
In Bavaria I can speak Bavarian with friends and drink my German beer with friends and hang out in 32 degree heat when its cold in SA. Bavarian girls are very different.
In South Africa I can hang out in the warm weather while the Bavarians freeze their balls off. It keeps the blood thin and easier to pump. In SA I can watch the sea with the big waves that they don’t have in Bavaria. And I have all my Umdloti girlfriends!
I was living in Umhlanga and I was pissed off with the place. One day I took a six pack in my bag and started walking along the beach north. When the six-pack was finished I found myself in Umdloti… and I thought that this is going to be my place where I stay. Paradise… “Umhlanga sucks – Umdloti Rocks!!!!!”
Every day I go to my “office” at the Bush Tavern and meet and know many people who are at the same level as me… goofed! For a change of view I like to go to Tasca Pizza to see Marco or next door at “Gay Island” (Beanbag Bahia). There is a different vibe and view. My other favourite place is Zinkwazi at the skiboat club and forest camping. In Zinkwazi I do some fishing.
I tell the Germans that in South Africa there are elephants walking down the street and people get attacked by green mambas and bees on the beach. But it’s its not so bad… I like the adventure!
I have to go now because Happy Hour is coming up in my “office”.
FH: Riiiight. I see. OK. Thanks for that, Tom. You’ve completely blown my definition of Germans as a hard-working, diligent, slightly boring bunch out of the water. I like that. And I’m sorry if I cramped your style at the office for the five minutes it clearly took to answer my FIVE questions. Have a long and lekker life. Don’t worry about us!
You might think that my driving behind our Heart & Sole unicyclist Geoff “Heartman” Brink for 1,700km from Durban to Cape Town next month is to be, apologies to Nelson Mandela, a “Long Stretch to Boredom”.
I don’t think so. If our training rides are anything to go by, it’s never ever a dull moment, my dear Hatpeople.
Take our late afternoon (and somewhat into the night) ride from Umdloti to Mount Moreland on Monday. Overcast. Damp. Dirt road. Bumpy. Heartman plenty time on bum. Hilariousness!
Allow me to run you through this unicycling sitcom in a series of pictures. Bear in mind that, never mind my nutty unicyclist friend wobbling around up front, I’m negotiating a heavily rutted dirt track in second gear, left hand on steering wheel, shooting these pics freestyle with right hand out of the window. OK. Seatbelts on? Here we go…
Gotta love The Heartman! One moment he's styling it over the bridge and the next...
... he's taking a little nap with AmaOneWheel on the side of the road
Wait! It's woken up. Oh, I see. I know that smile. It fell off (again). And you say you want to ride 1,700km to Cape Town?
Mmmm. There are lots more where those came from. But let’s keep wheeling on. OK. Funny anecdote alert. Funny then. Funny now. Funny forever. I’m focusing so hard on trying to get a decent shot of Heartman weaving crazily around and over the ruts in the dirt road to Mount Moreland that I don’t immediately become aware of a double-cab truck buzzing around behind me. When I realise that I’m holding up the double-cab driver, I swing off to the side and stop to let the vehicle go past. As I raise my hand in apology, the female driver halts alongside me, looks at me in a manner which suggests I might be something really nasty which has crawled out from the sugar canefield and says: “What about you?”
Er, what about me? I thought of starting with my birthplace and birthdate and then telling her about being dropped on my head by the doctor but, seeing the look on her face, thought better of it and explained that I was driving in support of the unicyclist ahead who was about to ride from Durban to Cape Town to raise awareness of landmines.
She twitched her Nip ‘n Tuck nose, tossed back her Terry Scott hair, adjusted the Dolce & Gabbana sunglasses and screwed up her Revlon lips before shooting me a “I live in a huge Zimbali house and drive a very expensive double-cab. I’m very important so don’t screw with me, bru” look. This cabaret interlude gave me time to glance at the name plastered over the side of her vehicle. “Dick Muir… sponsored by Blah Blah and Blah” it read. Wowness! This was the vehicle of our massively-esteemed Springbok rugby team assistant coach! Now I’m a huge fan of former Natal Sharks and Springbok centre Dickie Muir and know him to be a top-notch guy so, instead of concocting something horrible to say to the female driver of Dickie’s double-cab, I smiled sweetly and waved happily as she sped off past a bemused Heartman…
Let's not have any Muir of that, please!
As I say, never a dull moment. Now, where were we? Oh, right. Yes. Our spirits were almost immediately lifted when a canecutter strolling along the road saw the man riding on AmaOneWheel and exclaimed “Hau Nomzaan!” This is what ensued…
Our friendly canecutter clearly thinks there's work to be done on Heartman's Zulu war dance...
... and Heartie reckons Canecutter has some way to go before mastering AmaOneWheel!
Coolness. That’s more the kind of vibe we like to cultivate on our rides. In fact, come to think of it, I am noticing a pattern forming. The more expensive the vehicle, the greater the disdain of the driver. The more dodgy the car, the greater the interest and support from the driver. As is the case with the unsophisticated farm worker standing by the side of the road… pure joy at seeing somebody crazy enough to ride a bicycle with only one wheel. Phenomenalness from the common man. We love it.
OK. So I’m sure you have work to do. Let’s wrap this up with a couple of pics of us making our way back to Umdloti along a cane farm road in the dark. Because we had so much fun, we didn’t realise the time. We roll like that, Heartman and I. Big kids. Enjoy, good Hatpeople…
X marketh our nutty unicyclist! By the light of Hatman's back-up truck does Heartman unicycle home through the canefields...
Our Heart & Sole training ride neareth Umdloti and a hot supper. But by this time, I think Heartman's walking and I'm weaving all over the dirt track so much that this is the result of the camerashake. Good fun. Good night! All pics: Hatman
I sent your Intrigue-o-meter soaring when I intro’d you to The Bushguy in my first Bush Palace Chronicles post last week. And I promised updates on this highly unusual individual if and when information became available.
Not only has a snippet or two of info been leaked to me but I have a picture of the man who chooses to live only in shorts in a three-walled dwelling deep in the bush behind The Bush Palace.
If Austin Powers dubbed himself to be an International Man of Mystery, then Bushguy is Umdloti’s Local Man of Mystique. But let’s chat excitedly later and try to build a profile of a young man who flits about in the bush with his three dogs, wears the same pair of shorts every day, is seen only when he sprints down to the Bush Palace main residence for a cold shower under the building and, for all we know, lives off berries and goodness-knows-what-else, if anything, in our pristine patch of sub-tropical coastal bush hugging the Indian Ocean.
OK. I will keep you waiting no longer. Here is the only known photograph captured of Bushguy (since he left school, I imagine… and I can only assume that he attended school at some point)…
That's him! The Bushguy. Melting into the bush after a shower under our house! But wait. Thanks to new technology, of which I have only recently become aware, I can take your closer to our Local Man of Mega Mystique. Fasten your seatbelts as I zoom you in...
Ah, that's better. You will have to take my word that he is a deadringer for a young Kenneth Branagh, the British actor and director. Pics by The Heartman
There you are. I’m sorry this pic does not show his face but even The Heartman is respectful of Bushguy’s clear wish to live undisturbed in our dense vegetation and be left well alone. This is the lifestyle he has chosen – for whatever reason… and this I would love to know much more about – and the other resident characters of The Bush Palace want to be as unobtrusive as possible. Apart from me, of course.
I can tell you that he resembles a young Kenneth Branagh, only more handsome, and that he must be around the age of 28. I suspect that reclusivologists would remark that this is young for a person to cut themselves off from the outside world and it does indeed seem that way. Right. Let’s come over all CSI or whatever those programmes are which feature nosey people who piece together bits of info to form a profile of somebody nobody knows much about…
1. The Bushguy is about 28, fair-haired, medium-build, looks better than Ken Branagh did at 28 and wears the same dark-blue shorts every day.
2. TBG (The Bush Guy), because I don’t want to type it all out every time, lives with three dogs in a three-walled wooden structure about 50m behind The Bush Palace and deep in very dense bush. There is a wooden fence which encloses his bit of land and screens off his private space from curious outsiders such as myself.
3. TBG only seems to leave the wider Bush Palace property to swim with his dogs in the nearby La Mercy Lagoon – I think he prefers to go through the bush to get there rather than use the beach – and has never been spotted in town doing anything like shopping, eating or drinking at the Bush Tavern.
4. He has never been seen carrying shopping bags, leading to speculation that he must be living off what he finds in the bush. In other words, and I mean no disrespect, he shares a diet similar to that of the local troop of vervet monkeys.
5. The only reasonably regular sightings of TBG are to be had when he rushes – he moves athletically and surefootedly – down the path and under the house to have a shower. Working as I do on my deck, I catch sight of him out of the corner of my eye and wave at him in a friendly manner, saying “Hi, how are you?” TBG never responds verbally, choosing instead to lift a hand in recognition and give out an enigmatic smile. Excruciatingly enigmatique. What I sense from his demeanour, his body language, indeed his energy, is an overwhelming gentleness, tranquility and perhaps a little vulnerability. An intense spirituality nourished, perhaps, by his powerful and virtually exclusive connection with nature. A man who is very much content to live away from people and their noisy cars, people and their noisy cellphones, people and their noisy lives. People and their noisy energy.
That, my dear Hatpeople, is all I know. The Heartman, The Fiancee and The Film Director, my fellow Bush Palace residents, know no more. Being an ex-journo, I am primed to dig deeper – but I, like the others, do not wish to upset Bushguy. But what drove him, drives him, to live reclusively among the monkeys, the birds, the snakes, the buck? What happened? Was there one extremely traumatic incident which led him to live this life? Was it a series of unfortunate events which left him disillusioned with humankind? I want to find out. I need to find out. Because, and I open my heart to you, there is a sizable chunk of me which feels strongly inclined to embrace a lifestyle similar to his. Because I would much rather listen to the haunting hoot (which sounds like two steel pipes being rubbed against one another) of the strange bird that I can hear right now than the brain-wrenching shriek of a car burglar alarm.
Oh, I took these pictures from my deck yesterday… and suddenly feel moved to show them to you (probably because I’m so powerfully in “intrigued-by-Bushguy” mode)…