Readers send me zillions of sayings and readers may be mollified to know that I keep them all. I hope that, one day, I will be able to ring Threnody, my secretary, from home, and tell her to snip off the first 600 words (which is all that this column can hold), and send them to the editor while I take the day off to play on my skateboard.
The problem is that Threnody files everything under M for Miscellaneous so it becomes a time-consuming task to find anything at all. I have, therefore, started a file of my own marked OS (Other Stuff) and in it I file sayings.
The low, liquid warble of the coucals – those heavy-billed, chestnut-backed predatory birds – and the Crested Barbet’s cheap imitation of an alarm-clock have now joined the witches’ chorus of the Hadeda Ibises to wake us up these mornings. It’s a signal that spring has sprung.
The coucal’s call is also said to indicate the nearness of rain, but I find coucals know as much about weather forecasting as budgerigars.
We – that is the six of us in the Tour de Farce cycling team that regularly explores Darkest Europe to bring back to Africa tales of the funny natives there – have a rule. Rule 2254/e says each member has only two minutes per expedition to talk of his aches and pains. This is because once one is over 50, one tends to go on about them.
But, as proprietor of this column, I observe no such limit and I can’t wait to tell you what happened to me last week.
One of the characteristics of the urban stockades that are springing from the ground like fungi around Greater Johannesburg is that they have become infested – yes, that is the word – with fluffy little white dogs. I think they are specially bred for townhouse complexes.
Among the Rottweilers, Bouviers and German shepherds my family has had over the years we’ve also had two of these – both were Maltese. The first was named White Fang and the other, Susie. The latter was foisted upon us by a daughter who married a man whose two Alsations had a poor tolerance for little white dogs.