Saturday, October 22, 2011

Finders Keepers

 New Wild Coast map - next blog down!

One of the benefits of map making is that you get to hike and travel a lot - and one of the side-effects of hiking and travelling a lot is that you get to find stuff.

Unexpected stuff, sometimes.

For years we used to spend the New Year weekend camping on a bit of private land on the banks of a large lagoon. The General Public were pretty much confined to the other bank, about four km away across the water. Their Bank was upwind of Our Bank, and most days we'd trawl up and down the lagoon edge finding all sorts of washed-up stuff the GP had inadvertently dropped into the water - hats and beach balls and even buckets and spades. We had a rule that always worked - if you found a shoe / plakkie / boot etc, within 100 metres you'd find the other one - hurled into the water, no doubt, by a pissed-off owner who thought that having only one shoe left was no use at all.

Once, on a rare change-of-wind, one of our kids lost his beachball - it sailed away until it was nothing but a teeny weeny little dot in the watery distance. Floods of inconsolable tears followed. Exactly one year later the same ball - it had his name on it - sailed back to Our Bank and was retrieved, with whoops of joy.


One day we thought there was a body in the water - oh dear - but it turned out to be nothing but an old leather armchair. How we mistook an armchair for a body [or how it got lost in the lagoon!] is another story, but after we'd dried it out it was a great addition to our summer campsite.

Then there was the time we stopped to admire the view from the top of Middelberg Pass, near Citrusdal. Opened the car door and there, on the ground, was a brand-new R100 note winking at me. Much discussion followed, involving fantasies of down-trodden women tramping dusty miles to the town clinic with a ragtag of sick kids, losing her last R100 ... so we stopped at Tulbagh and enjoyed a reasonably slap-up meal, R100 being worth a bit more in those days.

This looked like becoming a dangerous habit when, a couple of years later, we stepped out of the car at Leipoldt's Grave in the Pakhuis Pass. There on the ground was a brand-new R100 note. This time we naively asked some other quite dishonest-looking people who had also parked there whether they had lost any money.

"Yes," they said (a bit too eagerly, I thought), but we handed it over at once, something we've regretted ever since. They for sure were NOT down-trodden women with a ragtag of sick kids ...

Near the Heuningvlei donkey trail - can you locate this for me?
Most extraordinary of all, though, was my son's find. He was recently walking one of the most isolated paths in the Cederberg, doing some mapping for a new map [more exciting news later], when he and his mate stopped for a rest. My son pulled off the path and sat down on a lonely rock, miles from nowhere, and found ... a real-live Blackberry.

Well, it wouldn't work, of course [this was before the whole world's Blackberry's crashed, by the way], but he eventually reached base camp where, in a flash of brilliance, he extracted a flash-memory card from the thing. We plugged the card into our laptop ... and the card worked, revealing a plethora of folders. These included photographs and we brightly realised that there might be photos of the owner's very own Cederberg trip on it. Sure enough, there they were, horribly low-res but I guess that's a Blackberry for you.

The photos had file dates, of course, so we were able to trace the owner through the bookings at the Algeria office. The Blackberry had sat on its rock through rain and shine, snow and heat, for about three months. Whether it ever worked again I do not know - the owner eventually collected it - but it had been chewed by some small animal. Shame hay, imagine living in the deep Cederberg all your life and stumbling upon a delicious blackberry - only to find that it's made of Chinese plastic, after all.

Bremer, the owner, was a young fellow so filled with amazed gratitude that he wrote a letter and sent a box of chocs.

"Ek wil net dankie sê vir u, vir u menslikheid ... die storie het onlangs my gunstelling een geword; ek het al naby aan ’n 100 mense vertel -- my ma het al meer as 200 mense vertel."

Feels to good to know that not only did we find and return the Blackberry, we gave Bremer and his ma a story to dine out on many, many times ... not like that poor little Cederberg mouse or whatever. Hope he didn't get indigestion.

Toothmarks on B² 's Blackberry

It's my birthday today, I hope both my fans will share my happiness at being another year richer in life, love and lots of good stuff.

-- Die Kaartman, 22 Okt 2011

1 comment:

  1. Belated Birthday Wishes Kaartman! Hope many happy ones to follow and please keep making your art.