Monday, August 23, 2010

The sound of rain on an electric fence

This morning, I took the kids on a walk to mail postcards.   It turned out to be the day that the the drought broke and it started to rain.   As we were walking home, Frost was singing a made up song that went something like this:

"I am having a great day,
I am walking along.
Its raining on my head
but I am never, never ever going to put
my ..... rain..... coat... on"

Along the way we heard an odd clicking noise that went like this:


A nice brick wall with an electric topper.
It appeared to be coming from an electric fence.

A woman was approaching the gate of the property so I asked her about it.

"Oh ja," she said.  "Its the sound of the rain shorting out the electric fence."

It appears that electric fences are the mattress-toppers of the Durban-North scene.  You get a double-plus, memory-foam, king-size wall and then you top it with a whole washing line of electric do-dah.  These doo-dahs kill doves at a fair rate.  Perhaps because doves are common and stupid and settle on things.


Frost says that Durban is fun but can be a bit stressful because, as well as the electric fences,  crossing the road doesn't work very well ...

(South Africa is reputed to have one of the highest pedestrian motor-vehicle mortality rates in the world, being an increasingly "motorized" country with an unmotorized culture).  

Despite traffic signs, we have to dash across quite fast and cars often shoot along at high speed.

On our 90 minute walk to and from the shops we did not see any other caucasians walking.  They were all in the cars.  We met lots of other black-african walkers, similarly dashing across streets.  Wren said we had to play "follow the leader" to see how to cross.

Frost also finds the dogs stressful.   Wren and Frost call the dogs barking behind gates "I'M ON GUARD"'s.   They are not normal dogs as we know them in Seattle.  They clearly have a different function beyond family pet.  I mean, how many Rotweilers, rhodesian ridgebacks and german shepherds potter around our friends' houses?
You can also put them on
plaster walls.

Frost and Wren also noticed that there are many flattened animals on the road.  Wren is thrilled by "pancake" frogs while Frost has seen a few birds and perhaps a rat.

The boys debated the correct simile:
"Cooked flat as a pancake"
"Fried flat like a pancake" and
"Squashed flat as a pancake" were all considered.

It is hot on the road so the animals do take on a rather dried, mummified look that is not familiar on Seattle roads!

Some places take their security VERY seriously.
We enjoyed mailing our postcards and having pastries at the local coffee shop.  We are going to eat our challah for lunch and then go to Windemere Center in search of Warhammer base paint.

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