As any homeowner knows, when you go and look at a house you wish to buy, although you do thorough research, check on all the stats, scrutinise everything down to the last detail, there is always something you miss. Never ever fall in love with a house, because you will overlook one or two very important flaws in the surrounds.
And so it came to pass that I bought a house in a lovely little country town, which happened to have a great big chundering factory working 24 hours a day set right in the loveliest part of the town between a large number of houses. I never saw it at the time and I didn’t hear it because it was switched off on that day my sister and I drove up and down the streets admiring the view.
So anyway, there’s this factory and because I’m a few blocks away and the town needs employment and a tax base, I made my peace with it, and, in fact, the sound seemed to diminish as time went on. Until the factory was sold to new owners and suddenly the noise began to resemble Gatwick at noon, 24 hours a day. Actually, that’s incorrect, for some reason it was dead quiet during the day, only starting up at 11 o’clock at night and continuing until morning.
After more than a few sleepless nights, I decided to find out what the deal was by posting an item on our town’s Facebook page, enquiring politely why the factory was working during the night and not during the day and whether it would be possible for noise abatement mechanisms to be put into place. Mostly I wanted to find out if it was just me, or if other people were being bothered by it.
Weeeeeel, you’d think I’d snatched the sandwich right out of the baby’s mouth, the response I got. The employees of this factory laid into me to such an extent that crap was raining down on my head, and me without a helpful sombrero to cushion the blow. Imagine the irony of a city person, not complaining about the rooster waking me up, or the pigs snorting, but the city noise that that has followed me to this sweet little country town. Apparently I should go back to the city because it’s QUIETER.
Because this is South Africa, the more resentful members of the community instantly turned it into a racial thing, correctly guessing that I was (gasp shudder) an actual white person (although I’m more pinkish-brownish). I made a valiant attempt to defuse this through humour and keep the subject on track by posting links to factory noise abatement technologies, to no avail. In a town like this, you’re still a newcomer after 20 years and since I’ve only been here for two, I should shut my filthy mouth.
Must say, the whole saga was very entertaining for the other members of the community, but this morning when it all started up again, I got bored and deleted the whole post. Boo sucks, what a killjoy. Got. Better. Things to do.
So anyway, all I can say to people wanting to move to a lovely little quiet Western Cape town, put down that Country Life instantly. It’s not like that at all.
Must just make a comment on the unemployment situation here. There’s plenty of work, plenty of work, but as I’ve mentioned before, hy wil werk maar hy willie (he wants to work, but he doesn’t really want to work). Since we’re in the middle of a hectic drought, I bought a new water tank and needed someone to connect the downpipe for me. The “plumber” duly arrived, having heard through the grapevine that I was in need. I showed him what I needed and made it clear to him that I wanted to work with him direct and not through a middleman and that I would rather he collect the entire fee than have someone telling him what to do and taking a cut of his wages. All fine, and since he was a bit short of money, he borrowed a small amount in advance and promised to return on Monday after the tank arrived. On Monday, there was no sign of him. Or Tuesday. A week later, he arrived outside my house, climbing out of a very nice brand new BMW driven by his “new boss”, a smooth looking dude in shades. I asked him if he’d come to do the job and he said no. No, he said, but he wanted to know if I could help him with some more money for NOT doing the job.
Needless to say, I will do the job myself. And painting my wall and mowing my own lawn, because unlike others, I actually turn up and on time, I can do as crap a job of painting as any man in this town, and best of all I’m completely free. A win-win for all concerned.