Just the other day, Jules and I were walking our adopted pack of German Shepherds on the Cradock golf course – like we do every morning we’re in town.
There was something familiar about the early winter aspect of the golf course: wan sunshine streaming in through the willows, last-gold leaves on the trees and the kind of morning temperature that makes one rather fond of a beanie, a scarf and a pair of gloves.
But something was nagging at me. I was, as they say, having a déjà vu moment all over again.
“Of course,” I said to Jules. “London!”
“Hyde Park,” I said. “Remember when we went over to the UK in 2005 at Christmas, arrived early at our hotel and dropped the luggage and went for a walk in the park?”
“Yep. What about it?”
“This little golf course, this marvellous stretch of riverside walking we do every day, this is just like Hyde Park. Look at the light. Look at the grass, the trees, even the dogs.”
“Yeah, but where’s the statue of Peter Pan?”
“Granted, no statue. And no swans. But the Great Fish River makes up for it, right?”
“And whaddabout that crayfish, lemon mayo and rocket sarmie I had for lunch in Hyde Park? All I’ve got to eat here are Kibbles, and they’re for the dogs.”
I was not letting go of my London-in-Cradock fantasy. After all, our Mother Church looks the spitting image of St Martin in the Fields on Trafalgar Square. And even though they were here more than 110 years ago, there’s a lot of Basic Brit-sign around Cradock in the form of hilltop chessboards carved onto rocks and such. And lots of 1820 Settler stock all through the district on heritage farms.
I’m really not an Anglophile. I just think, from time to time, that the Poms have some cool stuff.
We began talking about the swans of Hyde Park, and how they all belong to the Queen, when TwoPack, Roxy, Shadow and the shy Nuka suddenly bounded off in a blizzard of barks (?) in the general direction of the river.
We followed them and found they had confronted a family of pink pigs. Wandering pink pigs. Very staunch pink pigs. They formed a Roman Square and stood their ground. The Shepherds performed some operatic barking and took up threatening stances but the pink pigs did not back off.
Finally, old Shadow glanced at the other dogs as if to say This is getting boring, and sloped off across the greens. TwoPack and Nuka followed. Mother Roxy tried to rally the dogs for an attack, but then the pigs charged and she found something better to do in the distance.
“Like London, hey?”, said Jules.
“Yeah. Except there’s no Speaker’s Corner here. Only a Porkers’ Corner.”
Sometimes I’m so witty I could just bite myself…