Let us have regrets about the felling of pines

Those who are pleased that the pines in the Lower Tokai Park are being felled should understand that we in the opposing camp
are not just a bunch of bloody-minded tree-huggers. We have
strived to protect the sudden end of a people-friendly environment which is unlikely to be replicated in our life time.

This unique space was free, accessible by foot, bike, horse or a short car journey with parking near to a shaded plantation, sunlit fynbos and a running river in winter. It was large enough for a decent walk by yourself or with dogs which could run free. Most importantly this place felt safe. You could always see and be seen.

The area under its umbrella of pines – which exuded a lovely fragrance after rain – was also an important meeting place for more than 20 years for groups of mostly women friends to walk their dogs. Several would probably have not ventured alone into the park for fear of tripping over a root or encountering a suspicious character.

In a group they enjoyed both camaraderie and safety in numbers, while their dogs, having learnt to socialise, had a ball.

People who claim there are “loads of other places to walk dogs” probably don’t have dogs or don’t walk them regularly. The nearest traffic-free open area is the Tokai Cycle Path at the end of Lismore Avenue. Those who’ve tried it have found themselves frequently backing into the reeds as the strip of tar is too narrow for the numerous bikers and pedestrians with dogs.

After all it is a cycle path.

So we will have to travel further for our walks, possibly to Silvermine, Muizenberg or the Alphen Trail. And we will survive. But please allow us to have regrets about the abrupt end of an era which for some Tokai residents goes back 40 years. These folk have twice seen the pines felled, replanted and grown to maturity. After this recent felling? What will they see? Who knows?

Don’t bank on it

I was sitting on the floor of my bank in the Blue Route last Tuesday trying to hide my impatience at the lengthy wait, when the bank’s slogan “How can we help you?” appeared on the screen behind the solitary teller dealing with a queue of nine people standing. I had the impulse to call out “By getting more tellers, more chairs and while you are about it, putting on the
TV”.

I waited one hour and 44 minutes because I had no alternative. I was flying to London the next day and needed to collect the foreign exchange I had ordered the week before. I thought it would involve a 10-minute wait. More fool me.
The businessman next to me said it was his third visit to the bank on the same mission. Each time he had to leave before he had received attention.

“Today only two tellers are on duty and there should be three. The one in the cubicle for big or private transactions has been helping a single customer for over an hour.”

The fact that I had decided to sit instead of stand, did not go unnoticed. Staff passing the glass door into the bank’s hall, hurriedly carried in a few
chairs, but not enough to go round.

What shocked me was realising that this was the only place in a big bank for processing everyday transactions. One woman wanted to pay a R68 bill. Another need-ed to cash a cheque. The man standing over me was trying for the third time to withdraw R3 000.

We kept our sanity with lots of laughs and quips, somewhat at the expense of the two harassed tellers who were doing their best. Perhaps the bank should rethink its famous slogan and help the staff to be in a better position to help their customers. Otherwise replace the slogan with something more applicable. Like “Patience is a virtue!”

Stolen bag returned

Good news about the runner whose handbag was recently stolen from the boot of her locked car parked in the grounds of the False Bay Rugby Club. The security cameras picked out the vehicle which police traced to Silvermine where they arrested two men holding up people parking their cars.

Several handbags were found in their possession, including my friend’s. The police returned it minus the R600 but happily with her ID and most of her shopping and credit cards.

School code of conduct

The school girl at the centre of the hair-raising controversy should realise that generations of school kids have been forced to conform by difficult school heads. In my day Rondebosch and Bishops boys were often marched off en masse to a barber. And at Rustenburg junior long hair had to be plaited or tied in bunches and no fringe could touch an eyebrow.
A later head mistress insisted that the cord holding the bag with the lunch tin had to be a specific length. Just how daft is that!
Hats always had to be on heads, not at the back of the head, and the length of dress and gym slips was also laid down.

And woe betides any girl who hoicked up her skirt to show more leg.

The big bite

Here’s how to teach the kids about income tax. Buy them an ice-cream cone and take a big bite out of it.

fionachisholm@iafrica.com