Counter Attacks

“When I’m feeling blue, all I have to do, is take a look at you, then I’m not so blue.”
So sang Phillip “it is here” Collins in his hit Against All Odds.
Quite why he couldn’t find another word to rhyme with “blue”, particularly with the massive lexicographical selection available to him, I have no idea.
But it doesn’t matter, because that’s not relevant to this blog post at all.

No, because I meant to start (and sing along with me here):
“When I’m wondering what to write about here, all I have to do, is take a look at the letters page of the Southern Suburbs Tatler, then I don’t have to wonder what to write about anymore.”
It’s like Phil Collins’ efforts, but far more pertinent to this blog post, because it’s exactly what I did (and have done previously). And it was there that I found a letter from P During of Newlands.
It went a little something like this:

Counter Attack
Here is a simple solution to counter Table Mountain muggings (“Mountain Safety Concern”, Tatler, June 17).
Or armed forces must have special people trained in unarmed combat.
Dress some of these people as tourists with valuables such as expensive cameras and watches.
Unsuspecting muggers could then be roughly handled and handed over to the police.
Perhaps people highly skilled in karate would also be prepared to help out.

This issue of muggings on Table Mountain is hugely contentious. People like me lament the fact that each incident (in single figures each year) gets front page news, while the other lot are annoyed that more isn’t made out of it – as if it could be. It’s perfect fodder for the local tabloid though – drama, crime, dismay and the opportunity to prompt letters from P During of Newlands.

In just 5 lines, P During delivers well-considered and powerful advice. You can’t almost see him sitting at home, smoking his pipe and slippers while reading the Tatler’s story on June 17th. He’s thinking that there’s surely some way he can help in sorting this situation out. And then suddenly, it hits him: bring in the army!
“Yes, back in my day, we had to learn what to do when we ran out of bayonets behind enemy lines. A little unarmed combat. Of course, back then you could whip Fritz’s gun and shoot him in the face, but if I suggest that, they probably won’t publish my letter.”

And he’s right, of course. But no-one is fooled by his clever line “Unsuspecting muggers could be roughly handled”. Despite the fact that P During is – in all likelihood – a lovably harmless 80-something year old granddad, that line is clearly unsubtle code for “Unsuspecting muggers could have seven bells of sh!t kicked out of them” (sorry Mum).

But it’s his last line that takes the biscuit. It’s almost as if he thinks that having members of the Special Forces beating up muggers in Skeleton Gorge might not be enough. And while he doesn’t actually use the ‘N’ word, we all know what he’s thinking.
Yes, P During of Newlands wants Ninjas on the slopes of Table Mountain.

And it might not be a bad idea, but it will never happen. Because ninjas (as we all know) are covert agents or mercenaries of feudal Japan. And Table Mountain is a National Park. There is no way that the authorities will allow an alien species to be introduced to the area. Last time they did that with the Himalayan Tahrs, they changed their minds and went out and shot them.
Release some ninjas and if you change your mind, you’ve got problems. Ninjas would obviously be a whole lot more difficult to locate than tahrs once they were released on the mountain.
And you’d have to find some very brave or very stupid marksmen to go after them. While tahrs are known for their sure-footedness and small horns, ninjas are known for stealth and their ability to kill people very efficiently. Get too close when hunting tahrs and while you might get butted, you’re unlikely to find a shuriken embedded in your forehead, flung by a hand you never even saw.

I don’t have the answer to these over-publicised attacks, but I will be writing to the Tatler this week to advise the National Park Board against deploying ninjas for the reasons I give above.

Rogue Abyssinian is a menace

The batty residents of Claremont are at it again in the invaluable Southern Suburbs Tatler:

To the owner of the roaming Abyssinian cat in the Lynfrae Avenue area: your cat comes into my home on a daily basis to eat my cats’ food, to urinate in and against my kitchen cupboards and other furniture, and terrorise my cats who are feeling violated and insecure in their own home.
I have to clean up after your cat, buy extra cat food, purchase various cleaning materials to clean up his mess and tolerate the inconvenience of trying to keep him out. My house reeks of your cat, and it is very embarrassing.
I have walked around knocking on neighbours’ doors to find the owner of this cat, and several people told me that they have to endure the same problems caused by your cat.

Dr Elzabé Dürr-Fitchen, Claremont

So many images. Not least the poor “violated and insecure” cats in their own home. How does one identify those sorts of traits in felines? Low self-esteem? Self-loathing? Lots of sleeping near heaters?

These are the risks you take when you have pets – the chance that someone else’s bigger pet will come into your home, eat their food and pee on your cupboards. I see it as a metaphor for life. You’re either a big fish in a little pond or someone comes into your home, eats your big fish and pees on your cupboards. But is writing letters to the local rag – however heartfelt they may be – really the way to go about solving the problem? And isn’t “tolerating the inconvenience of trying to keep him out”, a little dramatic?

Because – and sit down, because here’s a plan – why don’t you close your door?

I have found that even the most agile of felines find it near impossible to navigate their way through a couple of centimetres of solid wood. No matter how hard you throw them. In trying this method, you’ll probably come across other unforeseen benefits of door closing. Not only will rogue Abyssinian cats be kept out, but so will other annoying things like wind and rain and leaves and burglars. And, as an added bonus, things like warmth, your TV and your laptop will remain in your house.

With the lack of support they’re getting in this worrying situation, it’s only a matter of time before the good doctor’s cats take matters into their own hands, follow the rogue Abyssinian home and wreak havoc upon his house by going in and sleeping near their heaters. Unless his owners have taken the radical step of closing their door, of course.

I must, however, mention that while living in Oxford back in the mid-90’s, I did experience a similar problem to that suffered by Dr Komplik8ed-Sürñåmê, whereby a neighbour’s cat came into our kitchen and pee’d against the cupboards. Once.
However, rather than writing to the local freebie newspaper in an effort to trace its owner, I was more proactive, trapped it in the kitchen and then took a broom handle to it (in the style of the Maid from Tom and Jerry, but without the fat legs) and soundly beat it until it was black and red.

That seemed to sort the problem out almost instantaneously: once released (I helped it over the garden fence), it never came back. Although I too had to purchase various cleaning materials to clean up the mess.

Anyway, bye for now, Abyssinia.

The Tale of Blanket Man

More from the free weekly amusement that is the Southern Suburbs Tatler. You may recall the story of the annoying church bells, which they ran a couple of weeks ago.
This time, they’re reporting on a recent Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association meeting in the suburb of Pinelands.
Now, I’ve no doubt that there are some serious issues being discussed here, but the way that reporter Lauren O’Connor wrote her article left me… bemused.

Several residents complained about two vagrants who frequent Pinelands. One is known as Blanket Man and the other as Beanie Man or Polo Classic.
Councillor Brian Watkyns said people were concerned because Blanket Man masturbates in front of children on their way to school.

Inspector Waters said police have arrested him for malicious damage to property.

Eh? How does that work, then? (Actually, don’t explain).

So, does Inspector W have any tips for getting rid of Blanket Man and his disgusting, depraved, dangerous and damaging “habit”?
Of course he does:

The reason why Blanket Man keeps coming is because people are giving him food.

Indeed. I believe that selenium and zinc are particularly important for that sort of thing.

A reminder of the time

A tenuous churchy theme running through today, I note.

From the letters page of the Southern Suburbs Tatler, the local freebie that they continue to insist on delivering, despite my many threats of violence. Perhaps I’m threatening the wrong people.
The subject being discussed is the rights and wrongs of church bells being rung early in the morning in a residential area. I didn’t see the original story, but this correspondence leapt out at me.

I read with some concern that the church bells were causing annoyance.
I was so thrilled to hear the beautiful clarion calls and bells at Christmas, and also hoped they would continue.

It is lovely to hear the bells at 5:45am, at six in the morning and the evening and at noon – nice to have a reminder of the time.

Joan Wurr, Claremont

Yes, at 5:45am, Joan likes to have a reminder of the time. And not just for her, but for the thousands of others who live in the area, too. Heaven forbid (npi) that she and they should sleep through that most important of times: a quarter to six in the morning. Although, it’s nice to know that if you somehow manage to continue your slumbers undisturbed past 5:45, then the local clergy have instituted something akin to a snooze function 15 minutes later.

Joan – if it’s “nice to have a reminder of the time” how about buying a clock with an alarm function? They’re all the rage these days, you know?

For the record, I have nothing against church bells ringing at noon or six in the evening. Not even at a reasonable hour in the morning like 9 o’clock.
But no, there’s no such thing as a nice reminder of the time at quarter to six in the morning.
If people want to know when it’s 5:45am, then they should do what I did and have kids.

Extra marks to me for getting all the way through this post without using the word “ungodly”.