Mexican sculptor Pedro Reyes poses behind an instrument that mimics the sound of a bass guitar, made from seized guns, at his workshop in Mexico City. The guns that have caused so many deaths are transformed into musical instruments by Reyes. The artist said he was able to choose his instruments from about 6 700 guns that were turned in or seized by the army and police in Ciudad Juarez. Picture: AP

YOU’VE heard of the needle in a haystack. Well how about the diamond ring in the bin bag?

Esmond Caro, a distant predecessor as writer of the Idler’s column, was driving wife Denise out to King Shaka to catch a plane to Mexico for a five-week jaunt judging ballet (she’s a fundi, recognised internationally). Denise was putting on her rings, which she’d carefully washed the day before.

Then she wailed in dismay. Her diamond engagement ring was missing. The one Esmond had given her all of 50 years ago.

Es did an about-turn like in a TV chase sequence and back they sped to their flat in Berea. They found their bin bag, waiting for collection the following day.

Es dived in like a ferret.

“I dried them in a tissue,” cried Denise. “It should be in a tissue.”

And sure enough. Eventually Es found a dirty, crumpled little tissue. Inside it was the diamond ring.

No time for celebration. Back in the car, Es driving hell-for-leather with potato peelings behind his ears. She made her flight.

What do they call that in ballet? An entrechat?

Arts bash

THEY’RE holding an arts bash at Maritzburg College next Thursday evening where five paintings by well-known Nicolette van Rensburg will be on sale.

It’s part of the school’s 150th anniversary celebrations and the proceeds will go towards an academic bursary to be set up by the College Foundation.

Nicolette – often known by her Zulu name, Ingolosi – has her paintings of subtle colour and texture hanging in various collections locally and overseas.

It’s a pity the foundation didn’t approach me. I could have contributed my celebrated charcoal sketch of Cabbage Strachan, the maths master in my day, drop-kicking Spud Conroy, the Latin master, over the crossbar at Goldstones.

Blazing statue

ON THE TV news the other night, a statue of the father of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was blazing like a Guy on November 5. It had been set alight by the rebels.

The crowd cheered and gunmen fired volleys into the air as the blazing head of the statue toppled.

One small question. How do you set fire to a statue? To those of us who matriculated without a course in Molotov Cocktails: Advanced Applications it’s a mystery.


A THAI couple locked lips for 46 hours, 24 minutes and nine seconds to celebrate Valentine’s Day, setting a new Guinness World Record.

It happened at a shopping mall in the beach resort town of Pattaya. Ekkachai and Laksana

Tiranarat won a diamond ring worth $1 600 (R13 000) and a cash prize of $3 200.

What stamina. What endurance. And what hazard. We all know how one thing can lead to another – and with all those cameras zooming in!

Too chilling

OVERHEARD in the Street Shelter for the Over-40s: “I hate sex in the movies. Tried it once. The seat folded up, the drink spilled and that ice, well it really chilled the mood.”

Fortress Idaho

IF THE modern world is getting you down, maybe Idaho, in the US, is the place to be. A group of “survivalists” are inviting people to apply for places in a walled, mediaeval-style city to be built in the woods of northern Idaho.

The proposed fortress community, where residents would be required to own weapons and stand ready to defend the compound if society collapses, would have room inside for up to 7 000 families.

According to the group’s website, among the more modern features of this mediaeval city will be a gun factory producing semi-automatic pistols and assault rifles.

Er, no thanks. It sounds safer on the outside.


A HILLBILLY farmer walks 12 miles to the general store. “Heya, Wilbur,” says Sam, the store owner. “Tell me, are you and Myrtle still makin’ fires up there by rubbin’ stones an’ flint together?”

“You betcha, Sam. Ain’t no ‘tother way. Why?”

“Got somethin’ to show ya. Somethin’ to make fire. It’s called a match.”

“Match? Ain’t never heard of it.”

“Watch this. If you want a fire you just do this.” Sam takes a match and strikes it on his pants.

“Huh! Well, that’s somethin’, but that ain’t for me, Sam.”

“Well, why not?”

“I cain’t be walkin’ 12 miles to borrow your pants every time I want a fire.”

Last word

Outer space is no place for a person of breeding. – Lady Violet Bonham Carter