We daisies get fed up with mob of visitors

If I were a white daisy with a purple heart (aka Dimorphotheca pluvialis) and I knew that 3 000 cars with at least 6 000 eager flower tourists were, like last weekend, going to descend on Postberg, I’d close my petals, turn away from the sun and let the other veldblommetjies handle the crowd.

I’m not an anti-social wallflower, lonely petunia or shrinking violet. It’s just that we daisies get fed up with the mob of visitors to the West Coast National Park who don’t know how to behave.

They drive too fast covering our pretty faces with dust. They ignore “No Entry” signs and go snooping down private paths. They get out of their cars at unauthorised spots and stamp all over the place to get that special “Selfie”.

As for the bottles they leave on the beach. It’s quite shocking.

Particularly when they are not supposed to bring any liquor into the reserve.

We flowers, with help from Mother Nature, have put on an amazing show this year. It does not always happen. There may be too little rain. Too much wind. It’s too cold. Or too hot. But in 2016 the conditions for us to grow have been perfect and the weather over weekends has been ideal for you lot to drive here to admire the floral spectacle.

So please don’t spoil it by picking or driving over us, or thinking it fun to run over tiny tortoises and sluggish snakes enticed out of hibernation by the warm weather.

Mind you I have sympathy for some drivers. It’s awful to be in a queue of 50 cars at the gate, particularly in an open bakkie with the kids roasting in the sun. But this year it’s a case of stick it out or turn around and go home.

In case you don’t know, the R27 entrance to the town of Langebaan is closed for major roadworks and the detour is half way to Saldanha. When you do reach the northern park gate, there’s still a further 25km drive around the lagoon to Postberg. It’s enough to cause a family mutiny.

More sales people than buyers

I went to the Blue Route the other day with one specific purchase in mind. I wanted a reversible black/brown leather belt to replace the one looking shabby after five years of holding up my jeans. Naturally I headed for the shop where I had bought the original belt, but this time there was nothing suitable at Woolies. So I set forth to try out the other better quality clothing stores in the mall.

I was in for a shock. Shop after shop, filled with all manner of attractively presented outfits and accessories for women – including many items marked down – drew hardly any customers. It was mid-morning, two days before the end of August and there seemed to be more sales attendants than willing buyers, or even people “just looking, thank you”.

Were they waiting for pay day? Did they have no credit left? I don’t know the answer. But it left me depressed and aware that money is tight and people are struggling to meet the ever rising cost of living.

Maybe the mall has too many clothing shops chasing the same sector of the market and, as we know, only one offers customers a reduction on their parking fee. Not surprisingly, its quality and policy of “returns” makes it the natural first choice of many shoppers, but if I were in competition to this store, I might feel they had a perceived advantage.

Parting lines

Often in the evening when I watch the weather predictions on eNCA, I’m reminded of that young American famous for his inability to get his tongue around the difficult names of Afrikaans towns “but who knew all there was to know about our weather”.

I’m referring, of course, to the popular weather anchor Derek van Dam. I think he would be very proud to watch the confident team of seven meteorologists and climatologists he helped to train after he was brought to South Africa in 2008 by Patrick Conroy, then head of eNCA News, to set up a local weather division.

By 2014 his work was done as chief meteorologist and he returned to the States to rejoin CNN International, leaving eNCA’s climatologist, Candice McKechnie and her team to produce the round the clock weather updates.

I’m glad they’ve found their own way of ending their broadcasts. I used to squirm hearing Derek’s famous parting comment “Have a good one!” when that “one” was so meaningless!

Derek ended his South African experience on a high. He proposed to his long-term South African girlfriend Tara Hossack at the finish line of the 2014 Comrades Marathon which they completed together in a time of 12.02.59.
The Van Dams now live in Atlanta where his knowledge of the weather helps him with his hobbies of surfing, sailing, running ultra-marathons and trail runs.

Mercy killings

It was distressing to read Annike McClarty’s unhappy experience (Bulletin September 1) euthanising her 13-year-old Scottish Terrier, Pitch.

Three times over 15 years we have had to go down that difficult route with different vets and we could not have asked for a gentler end to the dog’s life. The most recent occasion in July, left me wondering why we can put dogs out of their misery but mercy killing for humans is still a crime in some countries.
Our bill was less than half of Annike’s but our dogs were not on a drip overnight.

‘Weather’ or not

Don’t knock the weather. If it didn’t change once in a while, nine tenths of the people couldn’t start a conversation.

fionachisholm @iafrica.com