Sunday, 14 February 2010

Water Everywhere and Not A Drop To Drink 2

For most of the time my family lived on farms in South Africa, I had to lodge with folk in town.  It was a small, historic little town, (not far from the Battle of Blood River and Rorkes Drift), where my parents did their weekly grocery shopping and picked up chicken food.  And so it was during the course of our farm life that my parents raised over 4000 chickens.  On the weekends, when they picked me up, I had to sit on the back of the truck (known as a bakkie) with huge sacks of meal, corn, grain etc.  When we had to drive through the centre of town, I would lie as flat as I could, so that no fellow school mates could see me.  My parents never understood this...

Sometimes, in between lodging with different people, I would travel into town with my dad and brothers, but that would mean a really early start - around 4am.  Mam also had a part time job at the local hospital.  During our stay at Hattingspruit, where it rained a lot, we were returning home on a wet and windy evening.  The dirt road down to the house was winding and lined with huge boulders, which, for the most part of my childhood, I was convinced were dinosaur eggs (I had no reason to disbelieve mam's tales).  The dirt was a deep rust colour and must have had a high clay content.  The men in the family were quite skilled at driving, skidding and avoiding the boulders.  One thing they couldn't control, however, was the depth of soggy soil.  On this particular evening, the bakkie sank, the wheels spun and we were going nowhere fast.  Mam and I had to get out and push, while dad worked the clutch.  We were drenched; me in my school uniform and mam in her white nurse's uniform, complete with dinky hat.  Just as we were gaining ground, the tyres spun, the engine roared and the bakkie lurched forward.  So did my mam - head first into the red sludge.  I began sobbing, shocked at seeing my mam lying on the ground.  Then suddenly, she picked her head up, looked around at me, and with a faceful of mud pack, threw her head back, and laughed uncontrollably.   I could hardly hear what she was telling me and leant forward...

"...I'm allright you silly sausage...it's allright..."

It's only now that I am a parent and home owner that I can truly relate to my parent's plight.  Home maintenance is ongoing; even when your home is complete and intact. 

It's still raining this morning.  I've just returned from a walk around our village.  As I type, I can hear some of the rain running into the rainwater tanks, and the rest dripping into a mini-pool at the bottom of the rainpipes.  Two large leylandi cypress pines are generous donators to gutter clutter.  The Machinist has to monkey-climb the deck posts and onto the tin roof most times it rains.   I can't complain.  The state of dryness inside the house has increased a hundred-fold since we took the kitchen roof off completely one fine spring evening and replaced rusty tin sheets with shiny new galvanised ones.

Somewhere under the house I can hear the faint croak of a frog.

There's never, ever a dull moment.  Whoever said that living in the country was peaceful, has obviously never really lived...

5 comments:

Alex said...

I wanted to thank you for the thoughtful comments you left on my blog

the watercats said...

life in the country is never dull, lol! Today I'll be clearing up the yard after our winter. We lagged the pipes from freezing with wool left over from the landlord's shearing.. now the dogs have managed to drag most of it all over the yard. Then there's the hay and sawdust from cutting wood... but the sun's out today!
Enjoyed catching up on your posts :-)

matron said...

I enjoyed reading this and the previous post very much,you always manage to bring such vivid 'mind pictures ' through your writing,I could see the colours ,hear the rain etc.can't wait for the next installment.

The Machinist's Wife said...

Alex, it's a pleasure. Your blog is lovely. And funny!

Watercats - I had to chuckle reading how the dogs made off with the wool from the pipes. Ours would have done the same thing. They have an area at the back and if you should dare to leave anything there.. well... forget it.

The Machinist's Wife said...

Matron, thank you. This is how I read yours, too. My family can't believe that you own a castle. They think it is so cool! I will never forget your story about the Titanic crew...