Johannesburg, Snake

Beware of the Dragon

We are privileged to live in a beautiful bubble.  Our secure housing estate is a Garden of Eden throwback to our carefree 70’ and 80’s childhoods where children can ride their bikes and walk to the neighbours’ houses to knock for their friends.

The Dragon  is one of our most notorious residents,no, NOT me,although I suspect Mr Incredible might disagree every time the morning alarm clock rings!  The ‘Dragon’ is a giant monitor lizard introduced to control the rodent population.  An apparently successful plan… however, for any new resident who has an un-forewarned Dragon encounter, particularly if it’s late at night, it can come as a bit of a shock.  We are yet to sight this mythical beast, but I’ll keep you posted if and when we do…

Much of the housing stock in our estate is a slightly Disneyfied version of other architectural styles, this imitative Disneyfication is referred to as Fauxburg.  There are faux Mediterranean villas, faux thatched country cottages, faux sleek minimalist fortresses and the odd faux 70’s monstrosity (although I suspect these could actually be genuine 70’s monstrosities rather than Fauxburg ones).

Yes, the immaculately manicured lawns and equally immaculately manicured wives give off a slight whiff of Stepford, but freedoms such as fearlessly sleeping with our unbarred windows wide open is a luxury rare as hen’s teeth in a city such as Johannesburg.  I say fearlessly, this is not quite true, I worry about the bugs….My solution for dealing with unidentified grotty looking creatures, (and unfortunately dealing with grotty looking creatures generally falls under my remit), is to vacuum them up.

There are stringent security measures to get in and out of our estate.  However, the security measures do not keep out snakes and as we were driving home one day I saw one wrapped around a tree trunk.  I u-turned back to the security gate to pick up a security guard to deal with the offending creature.  I pulled up close, windows tight shut gripping the wheel ….he said; ‘Thank you so much for reporting this, it’s important to inform security of any and all dangers….but, ma’am, that is just a hose.”  I mumbled something about being new and quickly drove the chuckling guard back to his post.

Are you laughing?  Because, I did find a real live snake in our garage this past weekend.  Considering it was about a metre from my near naked foot, I think I remained astoundingly calm.   Having backed slowly away I stood guarding the doorway to the house, then yelled until Mr Incredible appeared annoyed and dripping from the shower to see what I was whinging about.  Realising the yelling had probably been quite justified, he then took over snake-watch while I phoned security.

A guard arrived promptly with snake removal tools, by which time it had slithered into a storage cupboard.  Minutes later the contents of our cupboard where cluttering up the garage and the snake was contained in a knotted plastic carrier bag, (which I had thorougly pre-inspected for any tiny holes), and identified as a harmless red lip, but my goodness, what better incentive could I have to have a thorough New Year’s purge in the garage.  Picture me in January armed with a golf club and the hoover – and proper footwear, trousers, longsleeves and maybe even gloves and a cycle helmet for good measure….

There's a snake in my garage.

Lastly, (and I am reluctant to tell you this in case Mr Incredible insists we move), there are rumours that a new TV series ‘Housewives of South Africa’ has the green light.  Modelled on the likes of ‘Housewives of Orange County’ and ‘Big Rich Texas’, it has been whispered that at least one of the most probably spoilt and dreadful fauxburg ‘housewives’ selected lives right here in our estate….Hilarious and awful at the same time.

November 2013

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