Archive for September, 2009

Forty years ago my dad woke me up and said I must go outside because there were elephants under my bed.


South Africa had just experienced its worst earthquake:   6.3 on the Richter scale.  We were 90km away, and it was felt as far away as Durban (1175km). 

Mr Muffin remembers he was watching a cowboy movie in the old Alhambra Theatre

To commemorate the 40th anniversary, the Tulbagh Hotel is hosting a ‘Tulbagh Rocks” party.  Your R75.00 includes a cocktail, a burger and a Rock ‘n Roll Party.  Cool hey? 

What were you doing on 29 September 1969?


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The Flip Side

I went to a rehearsal at 19h30 last night, and traffic cops prevented me from going onto Wynberg Hill, which had been the scene of a horrific accident. I stopped and asked for details, expecting to be shooed away. But the officer was very polite and told me that a truck had overturned, and both lanes of the M3 had been closed. They’d been redirecting traffic since 16.30, and didn’t know when the road would be opened.

When I returned at 22.30, they were still there, in the rain, diverting traffic. Instead of just feeling sorry for them, I converted Mr Muffin’s car into a mobile café bar for the next few hours, as I dispensed about 50 cups of coffee and tea to the traffic officers, firemen and City of Cape Town emergency workers.

Apart from the feel-goodness from a random act of kindness, I got a rare glimpse into the life of our much-criticised civil servants. And I have a new respect for these people. There was not one word of complaint that they’d had to give up their evenings, cancel plans, and report for work the next morning. This was all part of the job, and it just had to be done.

As the tea lady, I got to hear conversations Joe Public wouldn’t normally hear. And guess what – these guys are normal. They’re just like us. They bragged about their kids, wondered when they’d be able to take leave, and complained about queues in banks.

I also learned why the road takes so long to clear: About 20 tons of manure was on that truck (which weighed about 15 tons). And because there had been a death, the cargo had to be reloaded onto the same truck, for the forensics. This means that a grader had to clear the manure from the road, wait for the truck to be righted by a crane, and then put all the manure back onto the truck. Only then could the truck and its cargo be towed away. Not a speedy process.

Some of the personnel at the scene expressed a regret that the grader had taken so long to arrive. They knew that today’s radio and press would be inundated with complaints of incompetence from people complaining about how they’d been stuck in traffic for two hours.

But they were very grateful for the coffee. I just wish I’d had rusks with me, as by the time I left at 1am, most of them still hadn’t had supper.

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