Saturday, October 29, 2011

Memories - Arabella and a mishap......

I love Saturdays.

And today is just a perfect example. I had to pop into town to the bank this morning, and managed to get there and back without venturing into the shops, and before the hordes (see yesterday) arrived. The weather is blustery and autumnal, but no rain so far. The trees along the road are beautiful colours now - red, orange, yellow. Then I did a little more cutting and ironing and pinning. Good too.
The holly tree hanging over my fence
I knew there was an art exhibition by two friends in the village today, which also offered tea and cakes, so off I went. Well. The entire village was out and about and most were at the exhibition, so there was much chattering and catching up to do while looking at the beautiful paintings, which were SO reasonable. I wanted dozens. Unfortunately nearly the entire lot were sold. You had to be there early, it seems. So I consoled myself with coffee and a delicious chocolate cupcake, and more chatting. And to top it all, there is also a Quilt Show on at the other church hall today as well. The library was heaving , and so were the local shops. Parking was a bit of a challenge, because this village is sorely in need of much more parking in the centre, but I loitered until I found a space. It has been a smiley day. You know what I mean?

And home, via Jean's place to hunt for beans for the bean bags, and now more assembling this afternoon. it has already been decided that tonight we will be having fish and chips from the fish and chip shop in the village. So no cooking to do. Perfect.

I love Saturdays.

 Here are a couple of photos from last night. It was dusk when we arrived at the country park, but got dark very rapidly.
 I loved the reflection of the trees in the water - it was so still.

 It is very hard to capture tiny lights without a fancy camera with settings you can adjust. We tried with a few settings on my new little camera, but nothing captured the lights well. You will have to take my word for it - it was beautiful!
 This is as good as it gets. David and Jean down at the waterside, and some faint lights on the water.


We are nearly at the end of the 31 Days of Memories here at RCR. I mentioned my little car - Arabella before. My little pale blue mini with the white roof. Arabella and I went all over the place. I taught a few of my friends to drive in her too. My friend, Peter (Glynis's husband) who lives here in this village will remember her well. He was called upon many a time at university to push Arabella to the end of the residence road when it rained. Arabella's spark plugs did not like rain. The end of the road was the start of the long road down the mountain, you see, so once we were rolling downhill, I could start her.

Arabella also had a rather alarming mishap one weekend. A crowd of us used to go diving up the west coast as often as we could in crayfish season. Crayfish are like lobsters. Big things. There were very strict rules about crayfishing - they had to be a certain size, not in roe, etc etc etc. And there were many police checks and fines as well. We could catch 5 per wet head. So if there were 12 of us, that made 60. It didn't matter if only 5 people dived and caught any, as long as all 12 had wet heads. Everyone always had a wet head. And we used to keep them in a pool of sea water on the beach until we were ready to go home, and then sort them all out.

Edited to add: South African crayfish are rock lobsters or spiny lobsters, not like northern hemisphere crayfish, and the ones we caught were huge. They had to be bigger than a large dinner plate by law, and ours were enormous. I found a photo on the internet and will post it tomorrow!

That is, after we had a crayfish feast on the beach. We would take some huge pots with us and cook them in seawater on the beach over a fire, and all we took as extras was bread and cheese, and the makings of a seafood dip to dip them into. A glass of cold white wine and it was bliss, sitting there in the sun. We used to speculate about the crayfish community plotting revenge in the sea. And there were other delicacies to take home too - perlemoen (you had to beat the heck out of them) and the bounty from the spearfishing  experts. was wonderful.

The west coast is beautiful - very remote and sparsely populated. The roads - well, most toward the beaches were dust roads. And on one trip, there were about 5 cars travelling in convoy, including Arabella. We were careful to slow down round the corners of the dirt roads we knew well, but this time, the front right wheel got caught in the pile of dust in the middle of the road and Arabella started skidding across the road toward the right. So I let the steering wheel right itself (as I was taught to do) and all was well. I steered back to the right side of the road, and so help me, the left wheel got caught and we started skidding toward the edge of the road. There was nowhere to go this time, and we rolled. A few times. Arabella was black and blue. So were we. The wheels had not even stopped spinning (we ended up upside down on Arabella's head) when a crew from the nearby farm arrived to help. Oh, they said - cars are always rolling here, so we are always ready. Gee, thanks. A sign or two warning us may have helped.

We were mildly hysterical, because the old tape player which had run out of battery life suddenly burst into life again, and the milk bottle had somersaulted through the car and landed the right way up without spilling a drop. Not to mention the fact that the spear gun between us had not shot anyone. So, once Arabella was on her 4 legs again, we carried on to Donkergat (Dark Hole) and went crayfishing.

We were stupid.

We headed home later in the day, and the next day discovered that my friend Tessa had broken her collar bone - she went diving too. Crazy crazy stuff. We were lucky to be alive. Telling my parents that I had rolled a Mini was another thing. Nobody rolls Minis. It is impossible.

That night, it was my sister's school carol service, and I knew Mum and Dad were going to that, so I drove to the school and hid Arabella in the bushes, and waited for Dad to drop Mum and Marge at the front door, then followed him and confessed all. He looked at me and said "You did WHAT???" Then buried his head in his hands and said - "We got you a Mini because it is the one car on earth you cannot roll - and WHAT HAVE YOU DONE???" I grovelled. In actual fact, he then started laughing, because he was my Dad and just so thankful we were alive. He may also have been bordering on hysteria, of course.

But Arabella....poor thing. Every single part of her needled panel beating. Nothing major because I was seriously not going fast at all. Just dented all over. She lived on for another 5-6 years, and I loved her to bits. But she never did want to go in a straight line again. She tended to veer off to the left. But we got along just fine.

Oh - I came home with the full allowance of crayfish of course. My mother loathed cooking them. She would heat up the water in the huge pot, and then toss them in, slam on the lid, slam the kitchen door, the lounge door and as many doors as she could between the pot and herself, because she said the crayfish screamed.

I just loved eating them. (SO did Mum - once they were cooked and seriously dead, of course!)

Arabella looked something like this, but was pale blue with the white roof. I loved her - and all her quirks! Photo courtesy of Google Images.
And there we have another memory - this one seriously made me grin. Oh - Tessa? The one I nearly finished off? She lives 20 minutes from me - amazing coincidence! And we are still friends.


Needled Mom said...

What an amazing story. You were lucky that it turned out as well as it did. I can just imagine your father's reaction. As you say...stupid kids, but then again, all turned out well. It was much better than being hysterical about it.

I know that lobsters cream so I imagine that crayfish do the same - maybe smaller screams!

Your evening pictures show how beautiful and calm it must have been. It's such a pretty time of the year for sunsets and sunrises.

Vee said...

You had me chuckling aloud several times here. The paragraph I best love is the one that begins "We were mildly hysterical."

I do understand the love for a little car having been given a 1965 aqua mustang in my freshman year at college. She never rolled, but she did have ice and snow fly up through the floorboards one day drenching my sister.

I can't stand boiling lobster so I perfectly understand your mother's reluctance as well.

Crystal said...

Your stories are wonderful, so full of details and always humourous. You have reminded me of the car, a blue Duster that I had during university. Perhaps I will have to write of the time I plowed her into the median snowbanks!

Your Saturday sounds perfect! I am going to a funeral for a 64 yr. old teaching friend who has passed away far too early.

Linds said...

Hi people - I have had a couple of emails telling me that some of you are getting error messages when you try to comment. I haven't changed any settings and all seems to be normal here - I checked them, but please email me at if you are having a problem so I can see what is going on. Thanks!

Stripeyspots said...

I love this story but the best part of the blog is when you said the library was heaving. I love the idea of libraries being full of people choosing books...

Angie said...

What a great story! I read it out loud to my husband. Made us laugh out loud.