Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The Idler, Monday, February 6, 2017

Wild Coast gastronomic delights


THE epic flight in days of yore of a Datsun Bluebird on to a sandbank in the Mbotyi lagoon, on the Wild Coast, and thence on to the beach was a topic we discussed recently.


It reminds Barry Payn, of Port Edward, of the epic flight of a leg of mutton some years ago at Msikaba, quite near Mbotyi, during his crowd's annual Boys' Week.


"One of our meals was always a slap-up dinner with all the trimmings. But on this occasion we had left our leg of mutton at home.


"Now one of our party, David Hitchens, had to return home early and had arranged for a plane to collect him at the Mkambati airstrip. The plan was for the leg of mutton to come down with the plane and we would all walk over to collect it.


"The day dawned with rough seas curtailing our fishing and the Demon Castle Lager took over .No one felt like walking so we arranged for Hitchens to throw the mutton out of the plane in a hessian bag, with a beach ball attached to act as a float should he miss the beach.


"Mischievously, Hitchens filled the bag with game droppings to act as a cushion. The leg was duly dropped right on target, the plastic bag burst and our precious leg of mutton was deeply impregnated with wild herbs.


"We cooked it like that and it was delicious.  Red wine and castle beer completed a wonderful meal."


Home cookin' was never like this.


Station Drive

I FIND myself at the Station Drive craft brewery, distillery, arts and crafts and small business agglomeration. I had heard of this urban renewal project in a series of old warehouses and things beside the railroad track, but had never before actually visited. The place has a buzz. We stroll about sipping a watermelon and rum cocktail.

Youngsters are chalking patterns on the tarmac outside and on the walls. All kinds of truly innovative and arty stuff is on display: a decrepit old wooden door that, under a huge sheet of glass, becomes a talking point dining room table; small, round tables constructed within what look like old metal tractor wheels. There's very much an industrial feel to the décor, also to much of what's on offer.

We take a glass of wine in the food hall and are serenaded in a language I do not understand by a wiry little fellow with a pointy beard, wearing what looks like a nightshirt but is probably traditional evening dress from somewhere.

I find the place fascinating, though my lady companion says the turnout is not as good as it once was. She hopes the project is not slipping. I hope not too.

We chat to a leatherworker who produces, on the spot, anything from fancy bags to snazzy boots in striped zebra skin. Also to some fellows using lasers to cut and craft all kinds of things. That's quite a spread of skills.

Station Drive stays open at night the first Thursday every month. The brewery and distillery never close. They're all worth a visit.

Ginger Ninja

NEXT I find myself at the Street Shelter for the Over-Forties where a fellow called Denton O'Maker, the "Ginger Ninja", is celebrating his 60th birthday.

Denton is a fellow famous for his late-night soliloquies at the Street Shelter and is a club rugby star of yesteryear – I think he also had a game or two on the wing for Natal. Seldom have I seen so many desperadoes gathered under one roof.

Stories are told. One of Denton being squirted along-North Pier by a powerful ship's hose one night in the days there were still pubs on the pier. Another of his being concussed in a club game for Glenwood Old Boys; his grabbing the ball to run the length of the field to score under his own goalposts.

Lots of fun. And so to bed.



HE'S stalking about the kitchen with a flyswatter.

"Have you killed any?" she asks.

"Five. Three males, two females."

"How can you tell?"

"Three were on a beer can. Two were on the telephone."


Last word

The direct use of force is such a poor solution to any problem, it is generally employed only by small children and large nations.

David Friedman

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