Anton | Snakes and Ladders around the Country | Day 4

Thursday 28 April – Choked, poked and stroked

Life is not always about basking in the sun and soaking up them rays. Every so often, life curves you a throw-ball and the breeze calls in. From the warm and cosy lap of indoor luxury, 2/3 of me was soon thrust into the back of the car, jostling for curl space between cameras, notebooks and maps and all the while, the remaining part of me was stuck out-door! Travelling down the motorway at over 90km/hr with your head wedged outside between an almost closed window…….had me, let’s say, choked. Lots of wind, lots of scenery whizzing by and lots of fruit flies too. Not the time to be wide-mouthed, complaining too much!

Thankfully, the miles went by quickly and my prayers were soon answered… the NG Kerk in Morgenzon:

Nathalie Boucry Photography | Anton Day 4 NG Kerk in Morgenzon

And after a little browsing, it finally dawns on me what the relationship between “Donderdaag gesluit” and the big padlock on the door is. Another notice not written in Snake.

Then all of a sudden, I think my luck is in! The sound of hissing has me fantasising about a mate and what the damsel looks like. And will she be swept off her feet by my colourful looks? Frantically I slither all around in desperate search for her. Nowhere to be seen. Around the car, under the car…….only to face the grim disappointment that the sweet hissing that lures me is nothing more than a tyre loosing air. What goes in must come out: and them particles [see, I did learn woodwork at school] were eager to escape the confines of the wheel into the wide-open air.

A short trip to the Shell garage for repairs. And just as quickly, my luck is out again. Wedged in the window, this time there ain’t no scenery going by either. With little if any venom in my veins to keep me alive–the widow is now closed fully – all I can do is watch the repairman get on with their work.

At the first opportunity, I escape into the workshop. I am drained and need to recharge:

Nathalie Boucry Photography | Anton checking out the workshop

And just like clock-work, to the rescue come CR, Marisa and Mika! Their enthusiasm to meet me works wonders for the much needed restoration of my pride and dignity. Now I know why they call this the workshop.

Nathalie Boucry Photography | Anton with CR, Marisa and Mika

Gotta luv Mika’s pink bow and it has me wondering how I’d look in Yorkie fashion mode!

Darn, its lunch-time: gotta eat! And Ta Doris’s Coffee Shop is just the place to be. Bubbling over with treats, eats, jewellery and curios, I slither in, cause the usual chaos and yet find myself captive for over an hour.

Nathalie Boucry Photography | Anton and the girls from Ta Doris's

It’s the raucous laughter and hearty smiles of Doris, Jacqui and Alicia that have me thinking of what a nice place this to be. Even slippery me would want to curl up in this place:

Nathalie Boucry Photography | Ta Doris's | Morgenzon

But it´s Princess Delia that steals the day. And if you are reading this William, I think you missed the girl!

Nathalie Boucry Photography | Anton and Delia

But I gots to go!

Ok, sit down, take a breath. It’s about to get dirty!

An hour later its hills, fields and valleys in all directions. And dusty, dirty gravel roads are all it takes to take one’s fresh breath away.

Nathalie Boucry Photography | Fields and Mountains

And when I am feeling truly out in the wild, wild west [this is after all, out in the wild and west of the start of my day], on the horizon appear three rangers and their steeds:

Nathalie Boucry Photography | Anton on horseback

Ok, “rangers and steeds” is probably stretching it some, but give a guy some room to horse about now will you! Mvulane Khoza shares that he is in Grade 12 at Mzamo High School in New Castle. He hopes to go to university next year to study marketing. Schweet! Both his brother, Thembekani, in Grade 9 and his friend, Bongani Mthethwa, in Grade 12, school at Kuthake Secondary School in Wakkerstroom. Spirited trio these are and after some chitty-chat-chat, they trot out into the distance leaving me again to my own adventures.

So you still think me a sissy do you? Well then, try this: poked and balancing on a barbed wire fence with the sun blazing in the background and a mountainside on your back:

Nathalie Boucry Photography | Hanging on the fence

And as if that was not pain enough, I even have to go, somewhat uncivilised, in the grass:

Nathalie Boucry Photography | Anton slinking through the high grass

Sometime later, feeling like it’s time to change up my mode of travel, I find myself waiting, waiting, waiting and waiting for the train that never came.

Nathalie Boucry Photography | On track!

I guess you could say, I came off the rails.

So I wander further into the magic wetland of Wakkerstroom.

And what will you know, I figure out why the gravy train never showed: it’s stuck in transit:

Nathalie Boucry Photography | In the spotlight

Its along story, really it is, and even my candidature lasts longer than I would like to. So, when forgotten about on the fence, I watch in despair as the car goes away leaving me there alone. Luckily I learn that I am the only snake on the fence as when out of public sight, the fence debates are all friendly and about constructive and productive exchanges. These guys would do well to be the same when the lights are on them!

Never soon enough, the car returns in great haste and I soon am being placated by excessive stroking for the grave oversight. How could I continue my travels if the local folk had voted me in to office!

A while later, it’s our hostess Wendy who runs the Laventaba Guest House that strokes my aches away with a trip to the local joint. On her top-notch recommendation, I am soon gorging-out at the Mucky Duck Pub & Grill to delightful dishes of coq au vin and beef stir-fry. It’s the local club night and the hostess Pat has me in stitches. Not a bad thing, she being the local nurse too.

It’s a wonderfully raucous place in the heart of Wakkerstroom – the drinking village with a birding problem – and the folks are all ablaze with laughter and smiles. That there is also a resident Mucky Duck Family to pose with, soon has me draped over “a box of friends”.

Nathalie Boucry Photography | Anton with his new friends at the Mucky Duck

I remember that these folks did all sorts of charity and fund-raising for the area and that they were also active members of Bird Life – the town being the home its head quarters- but honestly, that’s about all my wine-head can recall. “Don’t blame it on the sunshine, don’t blame it onthe moonlight, don’t blame it on the good times, blame it on the ………..boogie”!

Nighty nite.

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