Hugh Paxton’s Blog resumes its serialisation of my book The Diary of Abbot Buggly, an account of a young girl’s life first year of life in Namibia.
CHAPTER THIRTY: A Christmas Entertainment.
This is the email I sent to my relatives in distant countries.
“Ladies and Gentlemen !
It is Christmas Eve and while I am unable to be with you in person (I’m on a game farm in the Kalahari) let me assure you that I am with you in spirit.
I have been informed that it is traditional in our family to have a Christmas Entertainment and I have put together the following Christmas Entertainment for your amusement.
Merry Christmas !
Dec 24 2003.
‘TWAS THE BUG BEFORE CHRISTMAS.
‘Twas the bug before Christmas and all through the Hall,
Something was moving; not sleeping at all.
At two in the morning a razzing was heard,
Then cheeping and gurgles and cooing occurred.
At three in the morning a thump then a cry,
And a shout and a bellow of “That was my eye!”
At four in the morning some crawling took place,
Then a podgy fist flew into somebody’s face.
By five, before dawn, the drumsticks were flying,
There was rolling and wailing, bug faces and crying.
The sun rose like fire at just six o’clock,
“Fa crying out loud ! It’s eating its sock!”
‘Twas the bug upon Christmas and all through the Hall,
Something was snoring; not moving at all.
A poem by A. Buggly.”
CHAPTER THIRTY-ONE: Happy New Year.
New Year’s Eve passed fairly uneventfully. For us at least. We were back in Windhoek. My parents took me for a walk. They did the walking, of course. I just sat in my push chair and blew bubbles like a tidal crab.
We found leopard spoor in Windhoek marsh.
Interesting to live in a city where a leopard leaves spoor only 100 meters away from one’s house.
Mind you, leopards have mastered the knack of being virtually invisible. In Nairobi a leopard escaped from a menagerie. Box traps were laid in the suburbs. Two leopards were caught – neither was the escapee.
And when builders were brought in to sort out the Nairobi soccer stadium a leopard skeleton was found under the roof. For years thousands of fans had hooted, cheered, roared approval and cursed referees, oblivious to the fact that above their heads a leopard was waiting for the match to end and leave it in peace to clear up dropped burgers, stray dogs cats, rats and street children.
They say that there are even leopards (or panthers, which are the same thing, only black) in England. They’ve been seen, they’ve been hunted, they’ve been unconvincingly photographed by people using those ever popular ‘totally blurred but tantalizing’ camera settings, but no-one’s caught one.
We had a look for the leopard in the marsh but were unsuccessful.
That’s leopards for you. Total no-shows.
Then dawned New Year’s day – January 1, 2004 AD.
We celebrated the grand event by gracing Chez Wou at the Windhoek Country Club with our presence.
It’s a Chinese restaurant, has never been busted for having poodles in its freezers, and it overlooks a casino, which, like every casino my father has lost money in, operates in a lightless, timeless, 24 hour a day, murk.
There were a few stubborn and joyless figures morbidly losing chips in the shadowland below us, and a few other diners at the tables of Chez Wou. But overall the Windhoek Country Club could not honestly have been described as buzzing with activity.
After the Beijing Duck and some mildly chillied soft pork (“pre-chewed pork” to quote my father) we wondered where the owner was. A nice chap, he normally drops in at our table and asks us about immigration rules and regs in New Zealand or Australia and whether he might qualify. Chucks my chin. Gives my father a shot of Special and Auspicious Chinese Wine on the house.
Sadly this performance will not be repeated.
We were, in a round-about-subtle-and-Oriental fashion informed that he’d shot himself (or been shot by someone else). He had incurred gambling debts. One of the risks of running a restaurant above a casino I suppose.
After hearing the news we decided to skip dessert and after wishing the new management better luck (and really meaning it) we opted instead to tour the grounds.
It is, I have been informed, de rigeur for any establishment that calls itself a country club to have a golf course. Windhoek Country Club has one and it has greens.
Along the Skeleton Coast there are several more golf courses. They don’t have greens as such, more like browns. And lots of sand traps.
No-one was playing golf when we visited.
Paulo informs me that the greenest golf course in the entire country lies in Orangemund in the off-limits diamond area. Its grass is mown by oryx.
After we’d explored the Country Club we returned home and as we drove we listened to Radiowave 96.7 FM “Namibia’s Number One Hit Music Station.”
Steven Beresford was on the air. But then Steven Beresford is always on the air. The man’s stamina is not so much awe-inspiring as supernatural. My father admires him immensely for two reasons. He will under no circumstances broadcast any rap or hip hop music. “The radio station without the rap. We don’t PLAY Rap!!!” is one of the call signs of Radio 96.7 FM.
And if you miss the beginning of a song you only have to wait ten minutes before he plays it again.
Steven, you’re our man!
Please don’t shoot yourself.