01 March 2009

Talking of the wild side…and the Meadowridge Common


Baboons on the Meadowridge Common! What’s so surprising about that? For those who have ventured on to the Common for the purpose of ridding it of litter, far wilder and woollier things have crossed our paths.
Every three months the Friends of the Common organise a clean-up. Arranging this proves a point: if you do not want the locals to go down to the woods today, just pop them an invitation to join the clean-up. After reading this, they may not even want to look in their postbox.
Baboons are small fry compared to what one can find in the odd bush or two. Not even an Alpha male would venture there for he knows that the khakibos that he knows from his experiences of the bosveld, has been replaced here by the kakkibos. Strangely enough, these bushes are known to exercise a strong attraction over some very pedigreed dogs whose owners may suddenly break off a conversation and head for a bush shouting, “Bowser, out of there!”
But other things lurk: in fact a whole world awaits you. Let’s start in the hardware department… . What can we interest you in? A vacuum cleaner, a set of sprinklers, a window squeegee? There’s also no end of bricks and half-bricks which some considerate neighbours kindly donate to the verges of the Common. Venture further in, though, and you may find something to your liking with a technological touch. What about a laptop, a computer monitor, a television set with the back removed so that you can be the star of the show? (If you prefer the old methods, there was once even an abacus). The automobile trade has its representatives there, too: where else could you find a motor car seat, complete with its metal runners, riding in a bush?
What about the softer side of life, the bedroom with all its accoutrements? Apart from some of the most risqué lingerie yet seen in the Southern Suburbs, a range of cosmetic samples has been found under various Brazilian Pepper Trees of the Common. But if you are into the real thing when it comes to the bedroom, the hedge between the Bowling and Tennis Clubs did produce two books when last cleaned up: Sex Manners for Men and Black Beauty.
Moving to the bush kitchen we have a variety of goods on display, with condiments taking first place: fortunately many a herb bottle ends up here, for they tend to impart a more pleasant odour to the rather dubious goods which tend to still be in the pot, a veritable moving feast. A coffee maker has been found, though, showing that there is life after the meal. Other exotic beverages are also drunk, plenty of them, but this is not limited to the kitchen and are found in bottles and Chateaux Cardboards far and wide.
The sports department also comes to the party: a golf-cart, golf balls and a fishing rod have been spotted, and if you are looking for something in the recreation line, then there has been the occasional deckchair. Which tsunami the surfboard which we found in a bush came from we have not been able to find out, but it was there alright.
There are also places where one can get personal: ID books, driver’s licences and bank cards have been found in some bushes, discarded by some thief. More bizarre was coming across a most beautiful photograph album which held snapshots of holidays at the most prestigious of destinations in Europe of the early 1900s.
Though the Common is largely a place where discarded things sometimes find their way (even a dead cat thrown under a bush after being hit on Edison Drive) not everything that is found there is stale and past its sell-by date. A little over a year ago a sharp mewing from the top of a tall tree revealed that two beautiful Persian kittens had been dumped on the Common the night before. They were rescued and taken in by a neighbour who found them a home in a penthouse at the Waterfront Marina where they are much loved.
When our large hairy interlopers paid us a visit the other day, little did they know that their footprints would be just one of the many that make the Meadowridge Common unique. So if you really want a walk on the wild side, come clean the Common.

P.S. In case you are thinking that the Meadowridge Common is not in good shape, let me assure you that the Common is one of the cleanest areas you will find to walk and exercise your dogs. The items mentioned above are a selection found over a period of six years of regular clean-ups. Because of these we maintain the Common well and are pleased to say that some of those who walk there pick up litter and deposit it in the bins we have provided.
Roger Graham