Die hard support for safety and trees

If you’ve just read the article in the Bulletin about last week’s meeting on the future of Lower Tokai, you might wonder who are the people behind Parkscape? They are neither a bunch of activists, as some people are suggesting, nor a group of nutters who would tie themselves to the pine trees on the day the chain-saw teams moved in. At least I don’t think they would…

They know that “saving the trees” was something that had been tried twice before and failed, first by the Urban Forest Protection (2006 to 2008) and then Shout-4-Shade in 2010.

Nicky Schmidt from Stonehurst, chairperson of the revived Parkscape, described the group to me “as just eight concerned residents worried about safety in the Lower Tokai and that the recreational opportunities currently provided in plans for a balanced environment, will be lost”.

Others in her team are Professor Eugene Moll (Kirstenhof), Chris Whyte (Tokai), Glenda Phillips (Silvertree), Ann Hutchings (Tokai) – who had the vision for a different kind of Tokai Park – Sandra Kruger (Tokai), Renee Baard (Bergvliet) and Duncan Greaves (Stonehurst).

Two I know personally. Sandra Kruger regularly walks her two, sometimes three, golden retrievers in Lower Tokai. Glenda Phillips is a fellow member of Run/Walk for Life in Constantia who recently completed the London Marathon. She makes me feel good by letting me run next to her sometimes for sort distances.
Though Parkscape II only came together in May and was constituted as an association a month ago, it is fast increasing its popularity. It has members as far afield at Stellenbosch and Brackenfell and residents in Sea Point, Newlands, Hoot Bay, Noordhoek and in the greater Constantia Valley.

Other groups in the area have shown their support. Like the Tokai Residents’ Association and Neighbourhood Crime Watch, Women of Westlake, Zwaanswyk Residents’ Association and various riding, pony and dog walking people.

Protect animals

If you were sickened by the video sent out by the SPCA of the group of children who dragged a stray dog to a secluded spot in Manenberg and set a their pit bull on her, you can show support on Saturday morning for a much smaller organisation fighting animal neglect and cruelty.

The Karoo Animal Protection

Society (KAPS) will be holding their monthly charity bonanza, at 7 Moorland Crescent, Tokai, extension of Keyser River Drive, between Medicross and BP Garage, on Saturday July 30, from 9.15am to 11.30am.
There will be lots of bargains including toys, books, jewellery, winter clothing, shoes and bags, glassware, linen, bric-a-brac, pictures and frames. For information you can contact Lynne on 021 794 5387.

A job well done for Mandela

I woke the other morning feeling surprisingly stiff. Couldn’t think why and then remembered that I’d spent my 67 minutes for Mandela picking up rubbish along the verges of Tokai Road in a TNCW (Tokai Neighbourhood Crime Watch) initiative organised by Doreen Pears.

It had hardly been strenuous. Particularly not the first 15 minutes after setting off from Tokai library where I was given latex gloves and a black plastic bag. With only fag ends and sweet papers in my bag, I decided to head for the big grassy open space near the bridge where there were trees offering shelter and privacy for people to meet, eat, drink, sleep and do other things they felt like doing – and certainly did.

Apart from the numerous plastic bottles and empty cartons of take-out food, I found two men’s socks filled with wet sand, a pair of rain sodden men’s jeans, woman’s striped top, half a battered shoe and two woolly caps. Soon my black bag was bulging and I was pleased to find a strong sand bag to carry the excess which included broken parts of a heavy porcelain wash hand basin dumped in a sloot.

Among the tree roots I was intrigued by what appeared to be the insides of toilet rolls but were pieces of brown paper folded in an identical way. I suspect they were used for smoking something but definitely not Rothman’s cigarettes of Pall Mall.

The two groups of volunteers who set off in either direction on Tokai Road collected a total of 20 black bags of litter, discovered at least seven sleep holes under overgrown bushes and a pair of high heels.

Safety rules before climbing

The unfortunate death of Gugu Zulu on the Trek4Mandela expedition to climb Mount Kilimanjaro stresses the fact that climbing Africa’s highest mountain is not like climbing Table Mountain. Many people climb both and live to tell the tale but there is a dangerous perception that any reasonably fit person can tackle Kili.

Take this flyer advertising two African marathons down to fun runs held over the Victoria Falls Bridge earlier this month and on February 16 around the lower foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro. Then came this suggestion: “Combine this race with a Kilimanjaro climb, or a safari to the Serengeti ….” Not a word about the need for a guide or a warning about AMS (acute mountain sickness) caused by acute exposure to low partial pressure of oxygen at high altitudes.

Every year more than 1 000 climbers are evacuated from Kilimanjaro and 10 deaths are reported with the number expected to be much higher. At 6 000m compared to Table Mountain’s 1 085m, it is not something to do unplanned and unprepared after a fun run.

Give that golden spaniel a bone

I’m pleased to report that the golden spaniel Oliver Philbrick-Hindle gave a faultless performance in The Barretts of Wimple Street at the Masque last week. Not an entrance was fluffed or a cue missed as the recently elevated SPCA stray confidently played Flash, the beloved pet of English poet Elizabeth Barrett. Moreover, he was part of her plot finally to thwart her abusive father and he deserved a bone for his role.

Blonde moment

Have you heard about the two blondes walking into a city building? You’d have thought one of them would have seen it….
fionachisholm@iafrica.com