My smokey journey to Johannesburg

Yesterday was a very full day indeed. The new occupants of the apartment we were renting, arrived much earlier than expected. By the time we left,  there was a a mass of furniture and boxes outside on the patio. They were moving from another apartment in the same complex, and wanted to swap out their own stuff for what was already there. We loaded up our car, and were soon heading out of  Umhlanga, away from the beauty of the beach and the Indian Ocean.

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It’s a long drive up to Johannesburg, and we expected to be at our daughter’s about 4pm. The roads weren’t too busy, and after stopping for lunch, we were driving through the Free State Province, when we noticed plumes of smoke in the distance.

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At the end of a dry winter, the grass is always tinder-dry and veld fires are very common. As we drove towards the smoke, we saw in the distance, many trucks stopped at the side of the road and a traffic cop standing in the middle of the road, waving his arms around. We were told that there had been an accident involving four trucks and several other vehicles, and it would take many hours to clear the road. There was nothing for it but to turn around and drive several kms back to the last junction and take another route down one of the back roads. Why the traffic police couldn’t have had someone there in the first place, to divert the traffic, is a total mystery. We were bombing along this much pot-holed road, quite merrily, when we saw more smoke and vehicles ahead. Once again the road was blocked, and a truck was on fire. There was too much smoke for me to open the window to take this shot, hence the reflection of my arm.

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We sat waiting for what seemed like ages, and eventually the road was opened, but from the other direction, and dozens and dozens of trucks came slowly driving through.

After a very long wait, we were once again on our way, and finally were passing the industrial outskirts of Johannesburg, which as you can see, isn’t a very pretty sight.

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We battled through the rush hour traffic, and when we arrived at our daughter’s lovely house, the family were all there to greet us, and so was my piano. It was great to see it again. It looked very happy in its new home.  It’s very out of tune after the shaking up it must have suffered on the long  journey up here, but today the piano tuner is coming.

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It’s a most gorgeous spring day here, and the garden is looking so pretty.

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I’ve been glued to the TV this morning, watching the judgement in the Oscar Pistorius murder trial. I really hope that justice will be seen to be done for Reeva and her family.

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Time to say “Goodbye.”

So, my piano is gone. After thirty-one years of bonding and companionship, we have sadly parted company. This morning when I came downstairs, it looked quite forlorn, and I felt really sad. The empty cabinets in the dining room bore witness to the fact that something is afoot. That lovely, but sad song, “Time to say goodbye,” popped into my mind, and I remembered my school pupils singing it to me, thirteen years ago, on my last day of teaching music in Johannesburg. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house, and I felt the same sort of emotion today.

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Just after 8-30, the removals van arrived, and soon my home was a hive of activity. All I could hear above the cheerful but very loud voices of the work team, was the sound of bubble-wrap sheeting being cut, and adhesive tape being pulled. Soon my piano was cosily wrapped up, and all that needed to be done was to take off the legs and pedal lyre.

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When my other piano was delivered in Florida, it took only two men to bring it in and assemble it. They had a special trolley with wheels, which made it much easier. Here, we had six men plus the foreman, and they still battled to get it out of the house. There was much huffing and puffing and chanting too. “Hai-wetu…..Hai-wetu…..Hai-wetu!” …… the Zulu equivalent of “Heave-ho, me hearties.”

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Well, now they and my piano are gone, along with my dining room suite, spare bedroom suite, TV + cabinet, two standing lamps, and sewing machine. The shipment should arrive at our daughter’s house early next week. I’m suddenly starting to believe that this move is for real.

I wish you all a great weekend.