The downside of country living

I’ve passed through my move-to-a-small-country-town honeymoon phase and have had to face a few disturbing truths about country living.

It’s not quiet.  No it isn’t.  When the power goes off, the generators come on.  Someone is always mowing and weedeating, cutting down trees or angle grinding.  The town fathers and mothers have seen fit to locate an animal feed factory a stone’s throw from a residential area, and it chunders away day and night.  The sound is not loud enough to result in total insanity, but annoying, irritating, like a pebble in the shoe.

Nature lovers?  Not.  When I arrived and started digging I was told I was wasting my time and that I should “poison the whole thing and start again”.  Great gallons of herbicide are freely available at the co-op and from the looks of some of these gardens, it’s been liberally applied.  I suspect it was sloshed around my own back garden before my arrival judging by the super weeds that cover every inch.

Animal lovers?  Not.  Perfectly respectable townfolk think nothing of letting their unspayed animals run around adding to the unwanted populace.  The local animal welfare have not yet received their funding to begin their work and the only option is the vet 48km away.

People lovers?  Not.  There are no public toilets.  On weekends farm workers come to town for the day and have nowhere to go, which is why you will see them squatting under trucks, behind cars and leaning against the nearest convenient wall.

Crime-free?  Not.  Although the crime is largely opportunistic and devoid of the sort of violent weapon crime found in cities, another business was burgled last week.  The culprit is known to the community, but he’s learned a few precautions during his time in jail, eg,  he now wears gloves to avoid leaving sticky fingerprints over everything, but his getaway vehicle is still a shopping trolley.  It’s only a matter of time…

Drug-free.  Not so much.  Meth, known locally as “tik” has reached even these parts, therefore garden tools, garden furniture, solar lights and any random bits and pieces of metal should be locked securely away.

As in all good marriages, once the rosy-coloured glasses are off, it’s time to begin the real work.  I will not be poisoning my garden, I will pull out each and every weed by hand and the only thing I’ll be sloshing around is compost.  Tomorrow my orphan kitty goes in the car 48km to the vet to be sterilised.  I’ve locked away the tools, but won’t be locking myself away.

When faced with a poisoned system there can only be two responses, join in or resist.  Ah well, they already think I’m loopy.



South African writer, crafter and all round animal lover
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