ZULULAND LETTER: On the wrong side of the railway tracks

When the woman who was to become my wife in later years – and eventually my ex-wife – took me the meet her parents for the first time, I failed to recognise the main warning signs of incompatibility.

These were homing pigeons circling the house, a Blue Bulls flag flying from the TV aerial, a Ricoffy tin tied to the fence for a post box and the chairs fashioned from of old car tyres on the stoep.

Another, more subtle indication that I was on the wrong side of the railway track, was an actual railway track across the road.

Once inside the house I should have noted other oddities – the block of a Datsun 1400 engine on the coffee table in the lounge, oil dripping onto the carpet; the JH Lynch print on the wall of a half-naked woman lying on top of a tree stump; their nine dogs’ barking which made it sound like I’m at the SPACA; and the missing guest toilet door…

Coca-Cola crates

That people who made The Simpsons on TV look boring had such a beautiful and well-mannered daughter was baffling.

She seemed to be the only normal member of a family of complete loones and during that first visit kept apologising for everything.

Such as when her mother got a bit overexcited with the wrestling on the ancient Barlow Vision TV and shouted at the top of her voice: ‘Grab him by the goolies, grab him hard and rip it off!’.

She also apologised profusely when I got oil on my trousers after not noticing the four pistons lying on the couch and suggested we rather go sit in the kitchen.

Once there I discovered why the toilet doesn’t have a door – it was moonlighting as a table on top of some Coca-Cola crates.

While sitting at the toilet door cum kitchen table the smell of tripe being cooked made my throat close into a spasm and I was desperately hoping for the visit to be concluded before lunch time.


Shopping trolleys

The back door was one of those farm-style jobs with a bottom part and a top part, and behind it the pack of nine dogs went rabid.

It might have been the smell of the tripe or perhaps it was me, but whichever, I stayed well clear of the door because a big black mongrel with a severe case of mange was propped up against the bottom door, chewing on the wood like he hasn’t had a meal for days.

The smaller mutts were attacking his legs and every now and again the black dog – Slash – would go down for a few moments during which an epic dog fight would take place.

For a second I pitied the poor burglar who falls into their jaws, but then realised there’s absolutely nothing worth stealing.

Even Checkers were clearly too afraid to ask for their trolleys back because I counted 12 lying in the backyard next to the pigeon house.


Open plan toilet

Perhaps I shouldn’t have gone back after that first visit, but I did and eventually learned to accept my in-laws for who they were, and while I never got used to the smell of tripe hanging in the air like death, I did end up using the open plan toilet.

You just had to time it right and as a precautionary measure, shout out loud that you are going to the toilet, so people know to give you a few minutes.

I eventually came to love my peculiar in-laws very much and stayed in touch even after the divorce, but won’t do it again and to this day I am extremely suspicious of people who keep homing pigeons.

  AUTHOR
Val van der Walt
MOTORING JOURNALIST

Latest News

COMMENTS

Top
Recommended Story x
ZULULAND LETTER: Flight of The Urinator

Thanx for your referral. We have no doubt your friends will love our newsletter as much as you!

Don't forget to verify your email.

to our FREE newsletter
SUBSCRIBE to our FREE newsletter.




SELECT your titles:

Zululand Observer


Your details:


Your friends: