Duo usher in new era for CTPO orchestra

A familiar sight at City Hall concerts is that of two men in black trousers and white shirts busily moving stage furniture around before and during the evening’s performance.

However, on Thursday January 26, Salagadien Paulse, the CTPO’s stage manager and his assistant, Abdulla Trout, were, for a change, the stars. Working in harmony, the duo pushed the orchestra’s gleaming new R2.4m Concert Grand piano – wrapped in a huge red organza bow – on to the platform to the applause of a full house.

Salie, as he is known to his many friends in both the old CTSO and CTPO, was then handed the key of the piano by CEO Louis Heinemann. For 30 years, Salie has given total love and devotion to the old Steinway ensuring that it was properly covered and “put to bed” out of harm’s way under the stage so that nary a scratch appeared on it.

That piano now becomes No 2 and what was No 2 will be refurbished and sold.

No 1, now in Salie’s care, was chosen for its power and responsiveness by that wonderful pianist Francois du Toit, who tested six models in Steinway’s Hamburg headquarters. Hopefully it won’t be long before Du Toit will be playing something as dazzling as that which Paul Lewis did at the concert when he performed Brahms’s Piano Concerto No .1, under the baton of Arjan Tien.

With a generous donation from a company and a private interest-free loan, the outstanding deficit on the costly piano is being reduced in an inspired scheme. Each of the 88 keys is being sold for R18 000. So far, 47 have been bought in return for which the donor will be associated with a key.

A funny thing happened before the concert began. We took our seats in the balcony not realising we’d shown the usher our tickets for the following week. Before we moved downstairs, we were amazed to see a man energetically beating the two seats in front of us with his heavy walking stick. Clouds of dust rose up. Noticing our surprise he called out: “Pigeon s***! If there was more, I could sell it as guano!”

His seats were directly below the ledge where the pigeons roost!

Walk/run for all

Wednesday evenings in Tokai have taken on new appeal since the launch, last October, of a community walk/run starting at 6pm from Brocker Park, on the corner of Birchwood Lane and Broker Way. The event is open to all shapes, sizes, ages and levels of fitness, and people can chose between a 3.5 km walk/run or a 5 km run/walk.

We’ve joined the group a few times, taking Mitch along on a lead. The outing has proved a most pleasant way to meet new folk and see different parts of the neighbourhood.

Another bonus is that the outing builds up a nice thirst for the evening glass of chilled white wine.

The idea for the walk came from Jessica and Gregor Calderwood, who thought that an evening’s amble would fit 
into the routine for young families like theirs – just a bit of exercise before “suicide hour” and some exercise for mom and 
The Tokai Neighbourhood Crime Watch (TNCW) offered a channel of communication and the partnership has developed into regular Wednesday meetings, attracting 15 to 25 people. Hopefully the numbers will swell as word and enthusiasm gets around. Folk from other suburbs are most welcome.

Having the neighbourhood watch involved provides an additional level of security and gives residents the opportunity to 
learn not only more about the TNCW but patrollers Graham Tait and Doreen Pears who ensure that all those who go out for a run or walk, come back safely.

Strange sighting

I’m not sure how much rain fell in the garden rain gauge during those heavy downpours on Friday January 27, but at least 15mm fell inside my car. Stupidly I left the window open five minutes before the deluge.

The welcome heavy rain has already changed the dry slopes of the mountain from brown to green, but, happily, so far there are no signs of sprouting on 
my sodden car seat of that ground cover with pretty yellow flowers and wicked thorns. Beware 
they are popping up along 
the rejuvenated Tokai cycle 

I was examining them the other day when I saw what I thought was a half-grown guinea-fowl chick running up and down anxiously next to the wall of the field shared by various large birds. There was something odd about the slope of its back, the darkness around the throat and the jerky way it moved. Then I looked upwards and saw perched on the wall, a peahen – obviously Mama.

I was unable to find a good online photo of this quaint peachick (instead of a chickpea) but did learn that they are precocial which means they are covered in down and with open eyes at hatching. They can leave the nest in about two days, but, judging from the anxiety of the toddler I saw, he/she was not happy about being on its own.

Trial and run

I heard of a couple who devised a novel way to cope with the fact that we are already into the second month of the year. They decided that as January had gone by so quickly, it was not really a proper month, just a “trial run for 2017”. Their year only began on February 1.

Fat joke

If your dog is fat, it means you are not getting enough exercise. Unknown