On the Saturday following Sheila’s departure, I sat up in bed with a big cup of coffee, played her Chris de Burgh tape, and missed her. She had returned to the disasters of the farm mismanagement.
News about my old friends was also depressing. Bruce Barichievy was now a serious alcoholic, according to his wife Joey. Carlo Bighi needed a heart operation and Bepe Coen had been diagnosed with cancer.
I cried for them all.
My Staffy, Mack, had a growth on the inside of his front leg which needed removing, but his operation had been delayed again due to the Vet, Dr Thirlwell, having to go to Shakawe, on the Okavango Panhandle, for a Foot-and-Mouth disease outbreak.
On the Monday the operation finally happened. Dr Modise (no relation to that famous Maun CID detective Sergeant Dice Modise, of my imagination – http://www.amazon.com/Hunters-Venom-ebook/dp/B007H06C94) removed the growth, but cut some arteries, causing Mack to lose a lot of blood.
Mack continued to be miserable, and the wound was swollen. After a week, the wound opened and what looked like fleshy parts were hanging out. It turned out that these were actually cotton wool wads that had been put in to staunch the blood, forgotten when the wound had been sewn up! No wonder my poor companion had been miserable.
On the day I took him to the vet for repairs, the Yellow Submarine’s front wheel-bearings packed up and while replacing them, I was stung on the lip by a bee that had crawled into my Coke can. Good day for a thick lip.
In Botswana at the time, government vets and their technicians would come around yearly to inoculate against rabies. To confirm that each animal had gotten its shot, a red dot would be painted on its forehead. Afterwards, the Army would do the rounds to look for any dog which was sans red dot, and shoot them. This practice came to a halt when, on one such cull, a bystander was shot in the leg.
That year, 1992, the annual flood – the rain that had fallen in Angola in December the previous year – arrived at the junction of the Boro and Thamalakane Rivers on 13th May. We newcomers got caught up in the excitement that is one of the town’s big events, especially in drier years. A fair percentage of the inhabitants head for the junction to celebrate with beer and meat to grill. The floods pause there for a day or two as the pools fill and the Thamalakane backs up in the direction of Shorobe before cresting a ridge and heading south past Island Safari Lodge towards the “Old Bridge” and Maun.