Category “English – Nonsense Novels”


Saturday, 25 October, 2014

A kiddies concert

I have by now become accustomed to Durbanville Preparatory school’s annual concerts.  This year was no exception.  And it matters not what concert they come up with, there is space for everyone to participate.

On Friday night we sent to see one of the series of concerts.

Roar!  (Lion King).

We arrive early and get our seats with a good view.  Excitement abound.  A family ranging three generations moves into the seats in front of us.   The father takes place in front of me. Now I have only a view of his bulk in front of me.  With a bit of gymnastics I can see past him.  But it is a bit like going  to the drive-in and to have to park behind the only tree in the middle of the parking area.

The concert kicks off with the majestic music of Circle of Life.  The props and costumes are cunningly done.  Giraffes, leopards, zebras, and of course the lion clan.  It is a sea of movement, colours and sound.  The kind of stuff that gives you goosebumps.

The elephants remind me of my first encounter with the world of performing arts.  In my first grade I was a mouse in the consert.  We were dressed up in overall kind of suits, with mouse faces of carton to be stapled behind our heads with pantyhose.  I can’t remember much of the concert.  As you can imagine, the grade 1 mice would not have had the most exciting part in the concert.  I do remember, though, that the teacher accidentally put the stapler right through my friend’s ear.  She then accidentally put the other stapler through his other ear.   She said it was an accident.  Yeah, right.

But I digress.

Some of the songs deviates slightly from the script, with tongue in the cheeck use of other songs.  Such as the SABC news jingle for the Morning Report.  Some Afrikaans music and Mango Groove songs render a very African and Afrikaans character to the play.

There is so much to see, with so many actors and constant movement.  Sometimes one misses the good stuff.  Like the young Nala pulling faces behind the back of Zazu, the annoying bird.  And the hiena’s laughter remains infectuous.

Sometimes the greatest fun happens in the background, albeit unintended.  Obviously the main characters had been chosen based on their ability to act.  Leaving those making up the background numbers sometimes, well, less than expert actors.  So, concentrating on the background actors really render some gems.  Here one would dance in the wrong direction, or be totally off rhythm. Some of the boy fireflies clearly were not comfortable dancing with the girl butterflies. I see a great future (although it may turn out to be an impossible feat) for local dance schools to prepare some of these boys for their matric farewell dance ten years from now.

The scene where the buffalos take out Mufasa is so well executed.  In spite of the buffalos remaining on one spot whilst simmulating movement each with two painted buffalo heads in their hands, it is a lively and realistic scene.

In scene 7 we meet Pumba and Timone.   It must be great fun to play these two oddballs. The two actors clearly enjoyed themselves, their faces telling the story more vividly than any dialogue could.    All the costumes were expertly done.  But I felt a tinge of jealousy for Pumba’s costume.  Man, how cool was that.  I can just imagine myself walking through the local mall dressed in that suit.  But then again, given the current spate of mall robberies I’ll probably get shot before I can get near a jewellery store.

The music and choreography are brilliantly paired.  On Waka-Waka we had Rafiki and two unidentified grade one actors doing a brilliant rendition of Shakira at her best.  And eventually, on the beat of “Everybody does kung fu fighting,” Simba rids his world of Scar, with the play ending with Kate Perry’s “Roar”.

I even went home with the following pearl of wisdom:

“Put your behind in your past”, advises Pumba, with a little fart to drive home the point.

Hakuna Mutata, ek sê.…

Men at work

Tuesday, 18 March, 2014

Con men, that is.

I’ve been had.  OK, I have a bit of a reputation of being had rather easily.  But this guy was really good, ek sê.

One Friday morning this gentleman approached me just as I stopped at the Post Office.  He ran out of fuel, he explained, could I possibly allow him to siphon off a few liters from my car.  He indicated over his shoulder where his stricken car was.

I saw him leaving a white Discovery, the driver of whom unsuccessfully tried to assist him, he said, as one cannot put a hose down the Discovery’s tank.  Same problem with my car, though.

It was a bit like watching Derren Brown (the guys who does the mind games on TV) in slow motion.  To cut a long story short, this guy talked me out of all the cash I had in my pocket, instead of (as he suggested) filling his tank up with a quarter tank of fuel.  Instead, also, of being relieved of the hassle of assisting him and sommer leaving my car keys with him so that he can siphon the fuel from my tank and return the car and keys to me later.  He did offer his laptop that he carried in a shoulder bag as security, I should add.

Now, while this was going on, and while I parted with the money, I did not genuinely believe that this guy would return the money as he promised.  It was a good story, though, which could have been reasonably possibly true.  He was fast talking, continually expressing his embarrassment for having to ask for money, offering to triple whatever I give him to get him out of the fix. Working for his father-in-law from Piketberg, he explained, showing me some form of contractor’s card that he carried around his neck.  He has nine children, he said, although he probably took his cue from my reference to my children, so this might not be part of his standard script.  But not lame.  Chirpy, I’d say.

Yet, whilst not really counting on the story to be true, and even less expecting him to really show up to bring back the money by 11h30, I still parted with the money.  I would be interested in the views of any amateur psychologist out there as to how this can happen.  But then again, stupidity and gullibility probably do not require psychological analysis. Or maybe guilt?

Expressing his sincere appreciation for my helping him out, he also offered to bring me a salomi on the house when he returns with the money.

He then left for his car.  But in the opposite direction than where he initially, albeit somewhat vaguely, indicated where his car was parked.  He once again promised to bring me a nice salomi when he returns the money at 11h30.  [Come to think of it, he did not mention which day.]

Halfway across the street he turned around and asked “Chicken or mutton?”

“Chicken,” I said.

I never saw him again.  Maybe I should have asked for mutton.…

Sensitive shopping

Monday, 26 August, 2013

These days condoms are freely available in public toilets, company toilets, gyms, corporate facilites and so on.  However, there was a time when such items actually had to be bought.  I understand there is still  a demand for brand name models of these, such as had been insisted upon by aggrieved students of the Durban Tech a few years ago.

Anyway, many years ago I needed to purchase a few of these.  I can only assume that I was working on the irrigation system in my garden and that I needed something to secure an open pipe and prevent dirt form entering it.  Most probably.  Possibly.  Maybe.  Mos.

So I went down to the nearest Spar.  After inspecting all the isles, I could find none.  Impossible!  I mean, this is such a basic necessity, one would expect a batch thereof at every isle.  Eventually I gave up and approached one of the guys packing out stock.

“Do you stock condoms?” I asked.

The packer froze.  His mouth opened to say something.  He did not say anything.  He stared at me.  He looked around.  Then he slowly put down the carrots he was packing out.  He looked behind him.  He then gestured something with his hands, and started walking away form me backwards as if I have made an improper proposal to him.  I decided that he was indicating to me that he did not know, but that he would make enquiries to ascertain where the sought after items are being stored.  Then he disappeared out of sight.

He stayed away a long time.  In the meantime I stood around, waiting for him to return to his spot at the carrots and cucumbers.   Maybe I should rather have asked the girl at the isle where they stock the painkillers and stuff.

Eventually I saw the guy peering at me from around the corner where he last disappeared.  Another head appeared.  One of his colleagues.  He pointed me out to his colleague.  The colleague made big eyes.  “Aha! So that’s what someone looks like who asks for condoms in a public place.”

They then disappeared again.

Some more time lapsed.  Maybe I should just have gone to the pharmacy which was just next door.

Eventually the two gentlemen came walking around the corner, approaching me.  Halfway to me the one came to a dead stop.  He pulled on the other guy’s sleeves and held out a packet to him.  The other guy vehemently shook his had, turned around and walked off, still shaking his head.  The man with the packet in his hands stared at his departing colleague.

Then he sighed, turned around facing me again.  Reluctantly he approached me.   Slowly.  Maybe he had a muscle cramp or something.  Then, when he reached me, like a flash he handed met the packet which, up to that point, he held enclosed in both hands.  He turned on his heals and briskly walked away.  Funny how quickly his muscle cramp disappeared.

“Your carrots are still hieso, nuh?” I called after him, but he ignored me.  Maybe he was assigned another job by his supervisor.  No wonder it took him so long to get back to me.

By now I was having my doubts about the wisdom of buying condoms from a supermarket, but headed for the cashier nevertheless.  Halfway there I realised that this whole spirit of conspiracy have effectively been transferred to me, because I was now also holding the packet enclosed in both hands.  I opened my hands to inspect the product.  I perused the rather erotic picture on the wrapping.

Just about then I reached the cashier.  Too late I realised that this is the only item I had with me.  Maybe I should also have bought a broomstick or baby food or something, then the condoms could have gone relatively unnoticed in the transaction.  But now it was too late.

The girl behind the counter could not have been a day older than 16.  I put the packet in front of her.  Instinctively she reached for it to scan it, but her hand froze in mid-air.  She giggled, blushed, looked down, and then approached the package as if it was a snake.  And with a “take that, you snake container”- attitude she zapped the packet with the scanner without touching it.  Where is Darth Vader when you need him!

As I left the shop I peered back over my shoulder.  The two packers, together with what appeared to be the full staff complement of the shop, were smiling at me.  The one packer gave me the thumbs up.

Funny how hot one can sometimes feel on a cold day.…

Me and my cell, aah, me and my cell…..

Friday, 12 April, 2013

By PG Jonker

I recently entered into a contract with my mobile service provider for a rather special deal on a smartphone for my daughter.  We were extremely impressed with the product.  Until the next day.  By then we already had to upload R70 to keep the phone running – and that on a R100 per month package.

I made some enquiries and quickly learnt that you cannot realistically run a smartphone on a budget of R100 per month, except if you switch off all the possible applications to be had.  Which means that the phone can then actually do LESS than the previous not-so-larnie phone she had on a R100 per month contract?

The product, hence, cannot meet the goal for which it was purchased.

I decided to send a complaint to the service provider through their website.  I promptly received an automated response.    A week later I sent their automated response back to them asking whether I could expect a more substantive response from them.  I promptly received an automated response.  It is now two weeks later, and it seems like I have to accept that the automated response is the only response there is going to be.

In the meantime my daughter, who has a bit of IT savvy, managed to get by with the phone, switching off all the data- and airtime gobbling gremlins.  She kept a keen watch on the available airtime to monitor how she fares.  Then she noticed that every evening at 18h00 an amount of R6 is being deducted from her phone.

Ok, by now I know that the service provider will only send me an automated response should I bother to complain.  I need to speak to a real person.  So I call their client call centre number.

An automated voice asks me to identify the relevant mobile number, which I do.  I don’t know why, because you invariably get asked for the number to which your query relates once you (eventually) reach someone to speak to.

Ok, once past that point, THE VOICE gives me various options.  I want to thump the offender’s head against the wall.  There is, however, no such option.

The options are, more or less:

  1. Enquire your free minutes
  2. Temporarily suspend your service or obtain the PUK number
  3. Enquire when you may upgrade
  4. Add or remove service
  5. Blackberry, 3G or Data Service
  6. By now I stopped listening, but I think the last one related to recharging.

Mmmm….. so which one of the above comes remotely close to removing the R6 per day subscription?  No, I don’t know either, so let’s try the one about removing services.  So I hit button 4.

THE VOICE tells me sorry, can’t do that; you first need to have a 5 digit PIN.  I want to ask why, because I already have a 4 digit PIN with them.  Admittedly, I can’t remember the 4 digit one, but still.  But THE VOICE takes no talking back.  So I type in a new 5-digit PIN.

No, sayeth THE VOICE, that number is not good.  She does not say why.  Please try again, she says.  I do so.  I type in the same number.  THE VOICE congratulates and welcomes me to the innermost circle, and that I now have 48 hours of access to the amenities on offer, or words to that effect.

Now THE VOICE again runs the above options past me.  I don’t know why, I mos already chose one.  Ok, so let’s try number 4 again.  At last I’m now part of the inner circle, NOW I’m going to have somebody to speak to.


THE VOICE then tells me I must first register yet something else.  By now I realize I’m not going to get along with THE VOICE.  I drop the call and walk down to the closest shop for assistance.  I need to speak to a human being.  You know, someone who actually responds to what I’m saying in a non-automated fashion.  At least the shop will be able to assist me.

The shop is closed.

With some colourful thoughts, I go back to my office to try again.

Once again I call the call centre number.  I identify the number to which the call relates, listen to the options again. This time I decide, let’s try option 5, maybe “data service” is the thing my query relates to.

THE VOICE then gives me a fresh 5 options.  Die *** weet!  My colourful thoughts have now converted into colourful words.  I close my office door.

I try one of the options on offer.  Yet again I run into THE VOICE.

Breath in, breath out, breath in, breath out.

After a period of some inaction on my side, THE VOICE invites met to press # to return to the main menu.  For lack of any better idea, I press #.

THE VOICE welcomes me and gives me the by new familiar options:

  1. Enquire your free minutes
  2. Temporarily suspend your service or obtain the PUK number
  3. Enquire when you may upgrade
  4. Add or remove service
  5. Blackberry, 3G or Data Service
  6. Recharging your account.

I breath in, breath out, breath in, breath out.  By now I would like to bend my cell phone from frustration.

And then, after a longish pause, sort of as an afterthought, THE VOICE informs me that I may press 9 to be put through to an operator.  That’s now the real person I’ve been looking for the whole time!  I press 9.

Tadaa!  An operator answers the phone.  And asks me to which number the query relates.  Didn’t they listen the first time I punched in that number!?

Then she asks me for my 5 digit PIN.  I proudly give her that.  I know mos this is my access to the inner circle.  Very good, she says.  And what is your 4 digit PIN number, she enquires.

?! How many of these things do they want!  Fortunately I guessed the 4 digit PIN correctly.

Miss Moodley is very efficient, and advises me that a certain service provider in Johannesburg is the people taking the R6 per day, but on my request she unsubscribes me to the service.  She gives me the number of the service provider in Johannesburg.

I call them.  The first three numbers I …

Escaping Crime

Thursday, 20 September, 2012

I’ve been thinking.  Ja, I do that from time to time.

We have a bit of a problem with burglars and the likes in our neighbourhood.  Maybe it should be taken as a compliment that they consider our area as upmarket enough to target us, but I’ve never really been one for the limelight.  Not that I don’t have an ego, I just prefer to be more the back office kind of guy.

Flatscreen TV’s appear to be flavour of the month.  I have considered putting up a notice on my lawn that says:  “NO, I DON’T HAVE A FLATSCREEN, BUT MY NEIGHBOUR HAS TWO.”  But then again, I might just need my neighbour one night, you know.

On the days that the wheelie bins go out, vagrants start doing their bin scratching thing from as soon as the first bins go out.  It is an annoyance having them there.  We have also been advised by the security companies that the informants for the organised crime guys mingle with the bin scratchers to recce the area.  Wow!  How would you fancy that:  mingling with thís crowd.  I mean, it’s not like you share a few jokes over a glass of bubbly.

This leaves you with the problem of how to approach them.  I mean, really, who in his right mind would voluntarily choose bin scratching as a regular occupation.   And to then be verbally abused by apparent affluent people on top of that cannot be much fun.

But then again, can I afford to be politically correct where my security is at risk?

The other night I was doing neighbourhood watch patrol.  At about 03h00 in the morning I spotted this chap walking.  He headed for a bicycle that was hidden on someone’s sidewalk garden (mine, nogals!)  I stopped next to him and sternly demanded:  “Haai!”

The gentleman with the bicycle may tell you that it was more of a feeble croaky “Hi?” that he heard, but who are you going to believe?  An upstanding citizen such as myself, of this chap who lurks around my neighbourhood at three-o-clock in the morning?

In any event, he did not stick around for a discussion.  He hopped on his bicycle and cruised out of the area rather speedily.  Which is good.  I don’t really want to catch skelms, I just want them to go away.

Now, this is a free country, and everybody has a constitutional right to scratch in bins and to travel through my area with their bicycle at 03h00 in the morning.  I, on the other hand, have the constitutional right to be obnoxious towards them, and to make them feel unwelcome.

OK, let met admit this:  I have tendencies.  Whimp tendencies.  I feel bad everytime I see these poor fellows scratching in the bins, even if I suspect some of them to be skelms out on a recce.

So the question is, what do you do about this?

After rather intensive thinking and research, I got to an answer.  And I can’t believe how simple it was.  Should have thought about this long ago.

I have to move.  Simple as that.

All I need to decide now is whether I want to live in Granaatboskolk, or maybe Bloudulsiesfontein.

So now I’m still thinking.


The Luggage Monster

Thursday, 29 March, 2012

One of the ladies in the Golden Girls TV Sitcom series always used to say:  “Picture this, Sicily 1943,” before going on to relate a story.   Nou ja, picture this, Namibia 1999.  We’re on a 5800km trip with our Venture, then with a family of four.  It was great.  The Venture had lots of space, lots of leg room, so everyone could travel in comfort. 

I had the jump seats removed from the back of the Venture and had a horizontal rack inserted to give me a double load bed.  The day of our departure, however, everything was so neatly packed it all fitted in underneath the piece of wood that served as a rack, save for a few minor items just chucked on top of the rack.

Now the thing with space in a car is that it works just like your budget:  expenses rise to meet your income.  Similarly, luggage seems to grow to meet and exceed available capacity.  It breeds or something.   We haven’t even reached Mariental yet, and the luggage monster had his tentacles protruding from everywhere.  My virtually empty rack was stacked right up to the roof.  And we haven’t even attended any curio shops;  we just reshuffled the load we had when we left home. 

Well, we managed to fight down the ever growing luggage monster and contained most of it to the load bay, albeit it up to the roof.  But then things started going wrong.

On the evening before departing for Epupa falls I got my second flat tyre on the same wheel on the same day.  Arriving at the farm Rustig to the West of Etosha I was short of a spare wheel.  

It turned out, however, that the owner of the guest farm where we stayed used a Toyota Stallion for a farm bakkie – using the same wheels as the Venture.  Upon the advice and insistence of Jörgen he took my stricken wheel, replaced it with one of his Stallion’s wheels, and added another spare wheel, just for good measure. 

Have you ever tried to add a whole spare wheel to your existing luggage?  Well, I’ve done it several times.  All those several times happened on that night, each time trying out another method of stacking luggage.  I would say the success rate was one out of five or so. 

The next morning we departed very early.  It was a longish drive up to Epupa.  All went well until we reached the last 78km’s road from Okongwati to Epupa.  Well, from where I sat things were still going fine, but I was driving the car.  My wife was managing the rest of the outfit.  And maybe I should have mentioned that we nearly lost the fight against the luggage monster the previous night.  All the stuff that had to be removed to find a place for the extra spare wheel landed in the passenger compartment.  Pretty much everywhere but the driver’s seat, which was where I was sitting, of course.  By the time we reached Okongwati, the last vestiges fell before the onslaught of the luggage monster.  He was out of control.  (I think it was a she, but sjjj……)

In spite of some verbal reprimands, the luggage monster went about his business annoying us, unfazed.  Some colourful words were spoken, even in slightly elevated tone and volume.  Not even the, well, simultaneous efforts by both my wife and I could stem the tide.

Now we’ve been told what a wonderful sight the Epupa falls would be.  By the time I arrived there, however, all I could think of was f**** the falls!  But those thoughts were actually aimed at the luggage monster.  Really.  It just became slightly misdirected in the heat of things, you know mos.

Eventually Epupa falls indeed turned out to be a wonderful sight.  With a combined sigh of relief we opened the doors and the luggage monster escaped from all available orifices at the same time.  Rather spectacular, now that I think about it. 

After making camp we started relaxing and enjoying the scenery.   We stood in awe of the falls.  Our campsite was right next to the river.  Tranquil, I’m telling you. 

Now clearly the altercation with the luggage monster could not have gone unnoticed by our children.  So the next day, whilst quietly going about his business drawing pictures of a waterfall on a piece of paper, my seven year old son suggested:  “Dad, should we not rather skip Epupa falls?”




The case for bull bars

Sunday, 18 March, 2012

I have often wondered about the frontal accessories on off-roading vehicles.

There seems to be quite a variation of these. Nudge bars, bull bars, whole rebuilt frontal areas, bull bars with cradles for whinches. It seems like a science on its own.

Visiting websites that specialises in 4×4 accessories I found that you get custom made variations for most makes currently on the road. I must concede, some of these stuff really looks cool. Imagine how I could have been the talk of the town in Windhoek during my national service years if I could have had one of these nudge bars on my 1979 Mazda 323. It would have gone nicely with the fur on my dash.

Aah! My fur! Sorry for interrupting myself, but on the topic of accessories: I remember the night I lost the fur on my dash. On the N7, just outside Garies, about three-o-clock in the morning, heading home after clearing out of the army I had to stop to take a leak. I also used the opportunity to check and adjust the windsurfer on my roof, where my fur was temporarily doing service to cushion my then most prized possession – the windsurfer was worth more than my car. Arriving home on the West Coast, though, my fur was gone. Gone with the wind, I assume.

But that was 24 years ago, so don’t go looking for it.

Anyway, back on the topic of bull bars. I’m told you can’t just slap a bull bar on to your vehicle. You need to take into account the potential effect it may have on the deployment (or not) of airbags.

The weight might affect your front shock absorbers.

Apart from that, though, the most negative aspect listed for the case against fitting bull bars is the effect it may have on the pedestrian or vehicle on the receiving end of the bull bar.

I pondered upon these things upon acquiring a second-hand Venture bus years ago. This Venture sported a nice bull bar with custom made fittings for spotlights. Only, someone took the spotlights.  It looked pretty macho, which is probably one of the reasons why this accessory is fitted by some (guys like me).

Being aware of the detrimental effect that my bull bar may have on anyone or anything that I may bump into, I made a point of refraining from doing this.

Then, on a trip into some rugged terrain with the Venture I became a convert for the case of bull bars. It turned out to be a really usefull accessory. Take my advice. You should not even think twice about it. If you do some off roading, of even only slightly off the beaten track, do fit one to your car.

I mean, really, where else will you hang your towels to dry.


A nose for things

Friday, 25 November, 2011

By PG Jonker

[Also published on 29 November 2011 on Leisure Wheels’ blog.]

Some mechanics just inspire confidence. They’ve just got a nose for things, a skill honed by years of experience.

Theuns is one of these guys. He has been working on my cars for years now. As he is a one-man business (assisted by a competent team) it is a somewhat smaller concern than what one would expect from the agents. The incidental benefit of having a good relationship with a guy like Theuns is that he humours me when I pull into his workshop unannounced on a morning before work with some minor ailment to my car.

The downside of such a good relationship with your mechanic, of course, implies that you need to go there quite often to foster this relationship. That I have done. In fact, I keep on doing this. One never knows, you know.

For instance, my bakkie’s choke would play up and runs up the revs. Or there’s a clonking sound from my A160’s front wheel and Theuns saves the ball joint from coming loose after a previous workshop did not fit the bolt properly, and so on. It’s a bit like your platteland garage where oom Jannie quickly fixes you up and off you go again.

Recently Theuns did a major service on my 2004 Daihatsu Sirion. This included replacing brakes rear and front. Then shortly thereafter I got the smell of a hot iron every time I drove the car. Something was burning / overheating. I could not see anything, because shortly after you stop the smell would disappear. So I guessed it might be the brakes.

I jacked up the car just to feel how free the wheels were turning. And indeed, whereas the rear wheels would spin freely, the front wheels required a bit of an effort to get them running.

The next morning I pulled in at Stellenberg Motors. I stopped next to Theuns in his workshop and asked him whether he could smell anything. He could. I explained the experiment I did with the wheels, and that I already diagnosed the problem for him as the front brakes. And as he was the guy who recently worked on them, clearly he would have to jack up his quality control. So could he please have look….

“You’ve got a plastic bag stuck to your exhaust,” Theuns interrupted me. “Pull her on the lift.” I assured Theuns that it is not as simple as a plastic bag on the exhaust. I mean, I have mos done that little experiment jacking up the car and spinning the wheels and so on.

“It’s a plastic bag,” Theuns stubbornly insisted. “Your car is automatic, front wheel drive, and the front wheels will not run as freely as the rear wheels. Now I can’t tell you whether it’s Checkers or Spar, but I’m telling you it’s plastic on your exhaust.”

Mmmm…… Some people think they know everything. I pulled the car onto the lift and Theuns jacked her up. You’ll see, it’s not a plastic bag, it’s the brakes. I stood there tapping my toes while Theuns inspected.

“Here!” he called me over. The bag has since come loose, but the molten plastic was still evident, running from the lower part of the manifold and following the exhaust to the rear of the car. Theuns and one of his assistants quickly scraped the molten plastic off.

Problem solved.

I knew it would have been something small.


Driving Miss Daisy

Thursday, 17 November, 2011

By PG Jonker

[Also published on Leisure Wheels’ Blog]

Ever since I can remember I have loved driving. Be it as a passenger or as the driver, although my preference has always been to be the driver. This is something that only happened occasionally since the age of 11.

I never had much of an interest in exotic cars. Anything that could be driven was fine, as long as I could be the driver. Not that I would turn down the opportunity to drive something exotic, but I’ve had more opportunity to do old cars and farm bakkies. Although I personally consider my 1998 Mazda bakkie to be rather exotic, it seems to be a view not shared by many others, and least of all, by the rest of my family. I don’t know what it is with these people.

So, I like driving. The other night, however, in the words of the Nissan ad, I got driven.

Our washing machine, referred to in my house as Miss Daisy, tore the rubber seal of the door, resulting in my kitchen floor being under water every time we do the washing. The experts were called in and they advised that, due to the product suppliers having left the country, the replacement of the rubber would require the import of the offending rubber, and the total quote for repairs would come to about half of the price of a new washing machine. Our Miss Daisy, they advised, was up for replacement.

Not to be thwarted by something as simple as a torn rubber I decided “patch and solution” should be the answer. I mean, after all, that’s how you get your bicycle up and running again. I will show these guys that with R25 worth of supplies I will fix Miss Daisy. Now this might be a good time to mention that I am not exactly a handy kind of guy. If my car breaks down my attempts to get it running again is limited to a few loving strokes across the engine. If that does not work I need to get a mechanic in. Up to now my endeavours in this regard have not yet been successful, I may add.

In any event, maybe to cut a long story short, I may inform you that not all rubbers respond favourably to “patch and solution”. Solution does, however, bond very enthusiastically with human skin. At the end of a tiresome exercise I found myself glued to the outside of Miss Daisy, with the rubber seal still having this gaping smile where it was torn.

There comes a time one has to admit defeat. A new washing machine was installed, and Miss Daisy was moved outside the kitchen door where she stood, awaiting fresh plans.

My wife came up with the new plan. The dogs’ blankets need to be washed, thank you. You see, apart from the fact that our second hand bulldog is extremely stupid, she also wets her bed. And when she’s done with that, she simply moves over to the comfort of the Jack Russell’s bed and, if nature calls, repeats the exercise.

So arriving home after work one evening my wife told me that she started washing of the dogs’ blankets, but that I just need to fix the plug. The washing machine did such a violent song and dance in its spinning cycle that it pulled the electric cable clear from the plug. The plug was still in the wall socket, only with no cable attached to it. Our nine-year- old saw the whole incident and thought it was mighty cool. Could we maybe do it again?

So I fixed the plug and restarted the washing machine. Man, what a performance!

The moment Miss Daisy went into a spinning cycle she was dancing around like mad. It was quite a racket, too. I got on top of her, but of no avail. It sounded like she was really getting knocked up inside. She simply did her merry dance with me on top. Beginning to feel the onset of motion sickness I got off. Miss Daisy was in any event heading straight for the sink basin and I thought it a better plan to rather steer her away.

Now, even empty, a washing machine is a bit of a weight. Add the centrifugal force of the spinning drum to the mix and it becomes an untamed animal. Miss Daisy won the race to the basin, bumping against it so violently that the drainage pipe came loose, causing an additional water spill. I managed to steer her away from the basin, and did my best to keep her from damaging the wall. I could not dare leaving her to reach for the wall plug, for fear of her causing some other damage.

By the time Miss Daisy came to a standstill, I was exhausted, and somewhat shaken – literally.

It’s rather amazing, I thought, how this machine managed to do its thing inside my kitchen without breaking everything to pieces. In the current state it is clearly unusable, except if you have someone with a Code 10 driver’s license at hand to keep it from flattening everything near it. I was rather puzzled.

“But did you not fix those transit bolts that keep the tub from swinging and bouncing when in transit?” my wife asked.

“Of course not,” I responded. I mean, goodness, I’m not stupid, you know.

Later, discretely and under cover of darkness, I slipped out at the back door. I forgot: with a view of transporting Miss Daisy to a remote location, I did, in fact, fix those transit bolts. I quietly removed the bolts and started Miss Daisy up again, just to check whether the problem was solved. It was. Miss Daisy then ran like a song!

To my wife I mumbled something about having made some minor adjustments that fixed the problem.

Miss Daisy need not be driven anymore.


There’s a fly in my …..

Friday, 11 November, 2011

By PG Jonker

[Published on Leisure Wheels’ blog on 10 November 2011]

Ja, gory stuff, getting a fly in your soup. Not appetizing at all, except, maybe, if you are a cannibal. I do suspect, though, that even cannibals have their pride. Certain things are just not on, you know. Universally, kind of.

But no, the fly I’m writing about is not in my soup. It’s worse. After all, this is a motoring blog. So let me get to the point. One day I’m driving my bakkie, minding my own business, and enjoying the rumble of the big six. [Although sometimes I imagine hearing the liters of petrol fighting each other to get to the carburetor first].

Then a movement inside the speedometer cluster caught my eye. And there, ladies and gentlemen, sat a fly behind the glass. Well, he did not do much sitting. Appearing rather flustered and agitated, he would fly from the one end of the cluster to the other. Admittedly, it was more like a STOL kind of exercise: Short Take-off and Landing, given the confined space.

Now, you will not believe how annoying this 3mm sized little fella can be. No matter how hard I tried to concentrate on the road, my eyes kept getting drawn to this spectacle. Now and then I would bang with my knuckle on the speedometer to get him to calm down. He would not listen.

Now I ask you, how this fella got there in the first place! Later, back home, the fly and I sat eyeballing each other. It’s a bit like having an itch somewhere that you just cannot reach. And the fact that you cannot reach there causes that itch to become an annoyance out of all proportions.

I assume the fly must have had similar feelings, only his might have bordered more on the panicky side of emotions. Bearing in mind how stupid my bulldog is then, given the size of the fly’s brain, I have to assume that he would not even have remember how he got himself into this mess in the first place.

Over the next few days the fly disturbed me every time I drove my bakkie. However, as time passed, the fly ran out of energy, and eventually passed away (well, he probably sommer just died).

Some locals from around here sport oranges on their aerials, fur on the dash and those little doggies with the heads that bounces up and down when you drive. But I reckon I’m the only guy I know of who sports a dead fly in his speedometer cluster.

Sometimes driving on corrugated road the dead fly would still draw my attention, merrily bouncing up and down. But otherwise I have since made peace with him.

He also seems at peace now. It’s just a pity I can’t show him off, you know, being quite a unique feature in my car.