Monday, July 15, 2013

Die maan lê op sy rug.

Fires every night, drawing water from the well and heating it in an old battered kettle, washing ourselves with a cloth, a pitcher and a bowl. Lighting all the lamps.

We watched a satellite zoom between venus and the moon. And Sylvie told us stories. She speaks with the soft rolling r's of the West Coast and an old-fashioned turn of phrase.
Sowaar, altemit, eertyd se mense.

She says that when the moon lies on his back, the weather will change, and so it did.

Sylvie was born in this house and she married and had five children here. She remembers a man in the village shooting boats-full of flamingos and distributing them to everyone for flamingo curry. Tortoises made into stew... Her husband now lies in the cemetery in Churchaven, a huge aloe on his grave. She remembers that when he was courting her, (vlerksleep), he went to pick her some cherry tomatoes in one of the vegetable gardens, only to find a puff adder hissing under the bush. He worked on the whaling boats and often they wouldn't see him for months. She went to visit him one Christmas - in Tenerife. In the time when there were no roads here. Her son phoned her last week to get a recipe for fish stew. And then asked how to get the power of the fish. Die krag van die vis. Cooking the bones for stock.

Beach combing, hunting for porcelain shards, date loaf on the stoep. An old man fixes fishing nets just down the hill. The francolins wait at the kitchen door for breakfast and take baths in the dust.
In the evenings, Sylvie's brother and some friends join her to watch Sewende Laan. They play rummy and talk and laugh until nine. The chatty honking of the flamingos carries on through the night.

Every time we go there, it is harder to leave.


Petro said...

Liewe Lily,

Vir 'n oomblik was ek ook in die mooie Weskus. Dankie.

the sourcerer said...

Ag Petro, ek is bly.