Thursday, October 21, 2010

beside the seaside

The one thing I will always have with me from my Durban Girls' College days are those songs Mrs. Perrigo (I never even realised how wacky her name is: it suits her perfectly) taught us that must have been written in the 1940s. I found myself singing "Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag" whilst washing dishes the other day and gave a wry smile at the line"while there's a lucifer to light your fag". Language usage changes endlessly. There's also "There's a long way to Tipperary" and - of course "Oh I do like to be beside the seaside". College being what it is (or perhaps was? I'm a bit behind) the version we sang was a little different as the line"There are lots of boys besides, I should like to be beside" to "There are lots of games to play, every day's a lovely day". But that's another story...The point (in my piece from the other side of the boerewors curtain) is that I am beside the seaside, in Southport on the KwaZulu Natal South Coast to be exact, and - in my best English - I do am liking it. A lot.

KZN is so wonderfully green, or I should say greens, because there is not just one shade. The lush grass is a green so bright it is almost luminous, and then the deep and shady greens of the trees and over-hanging vines contrast with the grass and yet more greens that I can't put words to. It is even more beautiful in the pale five am sunlight with a fresh and gentle breeze enlivening everything.

There are always breezes and winds and chuckles in the air. There is sometimes the sharp, salty smell from the sea where I can almost feel the granules in my nostrils, or the sweet, ambrosial smell of the plants after the rain or just the intoxicating whiffs of Jasmine that float around at this time of year. I'm sure it is a large part of why people get so attached to the land here: there is always so much movement and life you feel like everything around you is communicating and that it has caught you up with it too.

And when I got back to the shop (Ramsgate Stationers: so much of a South Coast Institution that it was in Lonely Planet guides for years) that I have been working in - on and off - for almost seven years, it almost felt like I was at another home. We're packing up and moving shop (they have been in the same one for 26 years) and so everyone is a little frazzled, but there is always laughter and joking and caring and understanding (and the odd flared temper thrown in for spice). I feel like I am being thawed after a freezing spell in a hostile retail environment in Pretoria. I feel as though a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

I can't wait 'til Saturday when I can dig my toes into the sand and enjoy the sun.

1 comment:

  1. Wow this made me nostalgic. Ha ha, on the first day we were warned her surname means 'danger'. Such a great person