IT MAY BE BOR­ING DOWN SOUTH, BUT IT IS SAFE

Cape Argus - - METRO - DAVID BIGGS dbiggs@glolink.co.za

AS I AM of­ten wont to do, I was ex­tolling the de­lights of my home town, Fish Hoek, to a vis­i­tor from “up the line”, as we say down here in the deep south.

Any­where north of Muizen­berg is sim­ply “up the line” to us.

“Just look at this,” I said, sip­ping a glass of red and wav­ing at the sea, the moun­tains and a pass­ing whale.

“Could you imag­ine any place more de­light­ful?”

“Ac­tu­ally,” he said, “I must ad­mit I find Fish Hoek just a lit­tle bit bor­ing.”

“Bor­ing!” I snorted, al­most spilling my shi­raz.

“How could any­body find this bor­ing?”

“Well, Muizen­berg has the surf and all those sexy young girls splash­ing about in biki­nis, then there’s Kalk Bay with all its pave­ment bars and sou­venir ven­dors and an­tique shops and restau­rants. No won­der it’s a ma­jor tourist des­ti­na­tion.

“Then, on the other side of us is Si­mon’s Town with its rich naval his­tory, yachts, quaint pubs, sou­venir of Just Nui­sance, the buskers play­ing marim­bas, it’s vi­brant and alive.

“Fish Hoek just has shops and a beach. Dead bor­ing, man.”

Once I had recovered my breath and re­filled my glass I con­sid­ered his opin­ion of my beloved town and said: “Maybe it is, and maybe that’s why we love this old place. It may not be a tourist trap or a street bazaar, there may not be clowns and jug­glers in the street, but it’s a com­fort­able and rel­a­tively safe place to live. Un­like Muizen­berg, Kalk Bay or Si­mon’s Town, Fish Hoek is a home town, not a tourist des­ti­na­tion.

“Ours is a town rich in schools and also wealthy in re­tire­ment com­plexes. School kids and pen­sion­ers can walk our quiet streets hap­pily. We have no arm-wav­ing park­ing at­ten­dants in our Main Road. We know our shop­keep­ers and greet them when we pass. We chat to the bar­ber and the post­mas­ter and the phar­ma­cist and they know who we are.

“If this is bor­ing, so be it. It’s a fam­ily town that is cel­e­brat­ing a cen­tury of peace­ful life this year.

“Some peo­ple want to change that and seem to be­lieve the sale of al­co­hol will im­prove Fish Hoek. Frankly I don’t see that adding a bot­tle-suck­ing va­grant or two to our streets will make it a bet­ter – or safer – place to live.

“I’ll hap­pily set­tle for bor­ing, thank you.”

Please call, I al­ways like to ac­knowl­edge mes­sages, whether on my email, phone or an­swer­ing ma­chine. Even abu­sive mes­sages get a grudg­ing, “mes­sage re­ceived”. I think that’s only po­lite. But I re­ceived a call on my an­swer­ing ma­chine re­cently from some­one who left an in­cor­rect call-back num­ber. I feel guilty about be­ing un­able to call back, so Diedre, if you read this, please try again. You left out one digit.

Last Laugh

Over­heard: “How many typ­i­cal pes­simistic South Africans does it take to change a light bulb?”

“It doesn’t mat­ter. The new one will prob­a­bly be just as use­less as the pre­vi­ous one.”

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