Yesterday afternoon, my wife and I dropped the sprog of at her gran’s house and went to Tokai Forest for an abbreviated picnic lunch. Although both parties do enjoy spending quality time with with one another, the visits have to be kept relatively short for mathematical reasons. You see, the number of irreplaceable family heirlooms destroyed is generally proportional to the length of time the sprog is loose in Gran’s house and Gran’s patience is inversely proportional to the number of items destroyed. Ergo, the Gran’s patience wears rather thin after an hour or so. Since we have plans to abuse our babysitting privileges for many years to come, we need to ensure that Gran remains sane.
Tokai Forest is one of those places that brings back fond memories of my misspent youth, because my adolescent friends and I used to go there every so often for a braai. Of course, when I say ‘braai’, I mean a few sorry pieces of sausage scorched until crunchy on the outside, but soft (i.e. raw) on the inside, accompanied by a few cans of beer purloined from someone’s older brother. Come to think of it, I may have stumbled upon a cause-and-effect relationship there.
Wood smoke is quite effective at masking the scent of a number of ‘thou-thalt-nots’. We always thought our cook-outs were a great a cover for indulging in the illicit pleasures of hops and barley away from the the prying eyes of adults. In retrospect, it seems unlikely that our folks were fooled at all. When my dad used to tell me, “I don’t want to see you drinking beer”, I think he meant just exactly that.
Anyway, my minor digression leads me to my point. Some things have changed, some things haven’t. The picnic spot that my spouse and I chose was littered with bottles of the sweet ‘n’ sugary variety of alcoholic drink that seems to appeal to the teenage palate. I may have been a young hooligan, but at least my mates and I took the trouble to remove the evidence when we were done. Littering annoys me, but it is especially galling to see it in an arboreal location where there are almost as many bins as trees. You would think that the entry fee at the gate would be put to good use, like purchasing shotgun shells for the rangers to execute litterbugs, but apparently not.