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December 2010

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Under a blanket of drizzle

Sitting under a blanket of drizzle in our beach cottage. It’s supposed to be summer here. Alas, tourists will avoid our beaches. Which is a good thing. (Is it?) Or so we joke to each other: if you see three people on the beach, it is crowded. Our beach. As if.

The francolins are breeding in quick succession this year. Out of a batch of 10 or 12 young ones, two, three or four will eventually make it through to adulthood. They are a jittery lot – always fighting within their ranks for position and shooting off in a flutter at the slightest disturbance. Threading their way through grass and bush, shadows fall easily and have to be interpreted quickly.

The Guinea fowls appear so much more relaxed. Two mothers, one in front, one behind, guiding their quirky lot of toddlers through thick and thin. More like a kindergarten. But then their bright blue and read headgear must give any would-be attacker a foretaste of note. They can afford to walk bold and proudly – francolins fade away into the shadows.

There is a great sadness among us. Louis has died. Louis was the name given to a solitary male chacma baboon who was quietly and silently roaming our territory in search of open doors where he would sneak in to help himself to bread and eggs and fruit. He was found to have been poisoned. It is a story of our time where the one encroaches on the territory of the other and where careful negotiation is replaced with violence.

Der Regenvorhang hat sich während des Schreibens gelichtet. Es ist wie mit den Gedanken, die in unserem Gemüt als Kulissenschieber agieren. Unser Louis kam ins Gedränge und musste weichen. Wir glauben es zwar nicht, doch bilden uns ein, es ist ein Unglücksfall gewesen.


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