Friday, July 19, 2013

The way we live.

One day in Johannesburg, we decided to hop on the Gautrein and go to see Dawid in Hatfield. The train is great, fast and clean. (But not exactly transport for the people, at about R250 each, return) The stations are utilitarian and boring in a grey way. Perhaps the city spent all their money on the train, and that's why it is so broken... the long legged man mused.

I'd heard about Dawid in Cape Town - the industry people call him "The Braam of Pretoria". But nothing could have prepared us for what we found. There is a very fine line between collecting and hoarding. It was almost impossible to take photographs, as you have to squeeze through small gaps to get anywhere. Dawid wasn't home - he said something about taking care of an old sewing machine, but that we should make ourselves at home - wander around, have some coffee. The dalmatian was old and very tired - he lifted his head to bark. The collie and the curly one followed us for a while.
They were very dusty and very happy.

The house may once have been a rather gracious villa, with palms and fruit trees in the garden. Now it is packed to bursting point with anything and everything imaginable. The back garden is a shed with canvas sides, aisles upon aisles of furniture packed in layers. The bathroom, besides a large purple bathtub, is filled with old enamel jugs and basins. There are bags and boxes and crates full of stuff everywhere. Lamps, chairs, umbrellas, crockery, taxidermy, mannequins and statues...

Dawid arrived in due course and we had a good old natter. Even though we'd not met before, he is one of those people who immediately feels like an old friend. I told him I'd heard about him often and he said with a twinkle: Ah - skinner hulle van my in die kaap?
(Are they gossiping about me in the cape?)

By this time, the LLM was feeling rather uneasy - he collects too, but everything in beautifully ordered classes and categories. It is difficult to believe that Dawid runs a thriving props rental business from this extraordinary place, but he does. He also lives here.

As we were leaving, I happened to mention my obsession with wooden cotton reels and he said: Oh! Have you seen my haberdashery?
Lo and behold - he took me to a room I had missed completely. Partly because you have to squeeze behind a wardrobe to enter it. Floor to ceiling drawers filled with buttons and braids, books of needles and cotton reels. Heaps of them. Heaven.

No comments: