The Cactus Patch
Volume 10       September 2007      Number 09

Hanging Around
A Letter From Bruce
by Bruce Hargreaves

The month of June was spent just waiting for something to happen- no longer employed but unable to leave without gratuity and air tickets. On the 2nd we went to the Eve’s Club annual sale of Indian food. As usual, the food was good, but I’m not sure what all of it was. On Sunday the 3rd we went bird watching with the Bird Club. We went to a dam south of town and watched a few flamingos and spoonbills.

On the 6th we went to the Swedish Embassy for a celebration of Sweden’s Day. In addition to food and speeches there was a display of flowers named by Linnaeus and some great singing by the Sedibeng Choir.

On the 8th & 9th our Gaborone Singers joined with the Sedibeng Choir and the Johannesburg Symphony Orchestra to present Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. This is the anthem of the European Union which is celebrating its 50th anniversary. It was a little embarrassing the first night when president Mogae was there and there was no Botswana flag to display next to the EU one! We sang an “Ode to Freedom” rather than the usual “Ode to Joy”. This translation had been used to celebrate the new government in South Africa.

On the 11th we had a Lasagne lunch at the new Abyssinia Coffee House. It was good and cheesy, unlike the white sauce variety which English tradition has imposed here. Next evening the Film Club started a Swedish film festival with “Nina’s Journey”, a documentary of a woman who escaped the Holocaust and eventually settled in Sweden. The Abyssinia Coffee House served Swedish Pastry!

On the 13th I presented “Rain Birds” (previously given at the Bird Club) as a final Museum talk. Polly went to a farewell dinner with her book club. On the 14th we went to Chutney’s for Indian food and had a different selection next day when Polly’s friend Urmila invited us for lunch. On the 16th we had lunch at Sanitas with Gwithie Kirby to discuss a book she is producing on wild flowers at Mokolodi Nature Centre.

We celebrated our 43rd anniversary with dinner at Linga Longa on the 19th and on the 20th we went west to Thamaga and had “Stone Soup” with the Cooks. (They had jokingly put a large stone in some beans they gave us after I complained that I always get the rock if there is one. We were returning the favor.)

On the 23rd we went to see “Bye Bye Birdy”, a musical based on the recruitment of Elvis into the military. It was basically forgettable. The 50s costumes were OK, but there were a few anachronisms –like Afros and Rasta dos! On the 24th we had dinner at the home of Maggie and Bruce Elston, on the 27 there was a lunch with the Thrift Shop Ladies and on the 30th we had dinner at the Golden Coin Thai Restaurant with David Slater and Lilian Turton.

This was not the end of all the farewell, but I’ll tell more about July, when we actually left! in the next newsletter. I’ll end this one with a quote from “Murder by Reference” (D:R: Meredith, 1991, Ballantine, N.Y.):

In spring, mesquite trees, sagebrush, cholla, prickly pears, and yucca lurked… like invading armies….

The cacti were on no environmentalist’s endangered list, although anyone who ever spent hours plucking the fine needles of cholla or prickly pear out of his body, or treating a stab wound administered by a yucca leaf, might wish they were. And in spite of millions spent on research, no herbicide known to man was more than nominally effective against the mesquite tree. As for sagebrush, one admired its pungent odor and learned to live with it.

Man adapted to his environment. Not the other way around.

[Incidentally this is a murder mystery which takes place in the Texas Panhandle.]

Last garbage Pick Up

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