Misdemeanours of a young dog

As a kid I recall it was thrilling if you could put up your hand in response to the teacher asking a question. However, I soon learnt that not knowing the answer was safer than thinking I knew the answer and waving my hand … only to be humiliated that I’d got it wrong.

Happily things are more relaxed at Christopher Brooker’s dog training sessions in Nirvana Way. When he was about to demonstrate how to stop our pooches ruining valuable items, he asked: “Has anyone’s dog caused more than R1 000’s worth of damage this year?”

Unopposed, up went my hand. “This morning Peri demolished my husband’s hearing aid.”

Young dogs like to chew items that carry the scent of their owners, be it seedlings, clothes or hearing aids. Peri has twice swiped the latter off her master’s bedside table but fortunately they could be repaired at 
R4 000 a shot. Since her last theft a few months ago, he has dutifully locked these precious objects into their special box on his bedside table.

I guess he was half asleep when he removed them in the dark as one landed soundlessly on the carpet to be pounced on and demolished with great glee in the morning when Peri came into our bedroom.

Somehow there is always someone else’s experience that makes you feel better.

Last Thursday Anne Wise from Scarborough joined her Constantia Run Walk for Life mates at their annual prize-giving breakfast where, at the age of 87, she proudly received her certificate for walking 10 000 kilometres.

Hearing of Peri’s misdemeanour she told me of a woman who had been deaf from birth and thus totally dependent on her two expensive hearing aids to communicate through lip reading, rather than by using sign language.

She often swam in the pool of a friend with two friendly Alsatians. One day the dogs found her precious hearing aids in her towel and destroyed them. She was literally left speechless.

Storey’s story

The recent Sunday Times extract of Peter Storey’s book I beg to differ – Ministry Amid the teargas in which he tells of his role in uncovering the truth behind Stompie Seipei’s murder, made grim reading. A very different murder mystery from the Agatha Christie play in which Peter played the romantic lead in the mid-50s at Rondebosch Boys’ High School.

The original title of the play, based on Christie’s novel, has since been changed several times. To be safe I’ll call it Ten Little People although it is about adults, not Tiny Tots, spending a weekend in a house and being knocked off one by one.

The leading lady was Peter’s sister and they were the only two survivors of the 10 guests.

I was murdered quite early in the play by being injected with a hypodermic syringe “the modern bee sting” I recall.
This proved to be quite prophetic as I kept bees for years.

Another memory of Peter is how he started dating his future wife Elizabeth Hardie on his bicycle when she was still at Rustybug. Elizabeth and I were school friends and both lived in Rosebank.

Friday was the only day in the week when our “big break” coincided with RBHS. So we would gobble our lunches then get on our bikes to meet for a chat our respective school boy friends at the top of Alma Road.

Elizabeth’s romance with Peter ended in a happy marriage and an interesting life in which her husband led the Methodist Church of Southern Africa through difficult political times as well as providing spiritual leadership during some of apartheid’s darkest hours.

Sadly Elizabeth died a few days before she was due to meet her old class classmates holding a Rustenburg school reunion.

Death of a poet

Verdi’s Requiem was written to mark the death of the famous Italian poet Alessandro Manzoni but its performance on November 22 by the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra coincided with the shocking assassination in 1963 of President John F Kennedy in Dallas.

The Requiem requires a large orchestra, huge choir and a super fit conductor like Perry So to pound it out continuously for 80 to 90 glorious and exhausting minutes. It was therefore the only item on the programme.

This explains why, having bought a glass of white wine for a non-existent interval, I found myself embarrassed sipping it in the upstairs passage and took refuge in the large upstairs hall called the Sunken Lounge where Rodney Trudgeon delivers his pre-concert talks. I was gob smacked at the changes following a makeover to the mouldings and walls similar to that of the Grand Hall downstairs.

Seeing those magnificent new ceiling-to-floor reddish curtains on five extra tall windows, I thought immediately of Scarlett O’Hara, heroine of Margaret Mitchell’s immortal “Gone with the Wind”. Wow, would she have been excited when she saw the potential of turning a pair of those curtains into a stunning ball gown.

Sweet spot

Spotting my all-time favourite sweets at a supermarket till, I noted they were claimed to be “Maynards’ original wine gums”. I beg to differ.

The packets I consumed to keep awake while swotting for school and university exams were packed two by two of each colour and flavour with the black ones, the most popular, in the centre.

In my new packet all the colours were mixed up. I knew why individually they didn’t quite taste the same when I ate two yellow ones coincidently placed together. Eating two at a time, which I always did, enhanced their flavour.

Snoring glory

The spouse who snores loudest usually falls asleep first.

fionachisholm@iafrica.com