It seems that the natural slant of my stories has ended up being reasonably amusing. This is probably the first of a few rambles about the beginnings of my saga of running but more importantly for us locals, to look out for the new people in town, they are often really lonely and would love a smile, a cup of coffee or an invitation to your home.
I arrived in Cape Town alone in March 2 years ago and lived in a little flat that had been furnished for a student, but was reasonably comfortable. I had the necessary things, and a bouquet tv channel, and I was starting a brand new job. It is only now on reflection that I think of those days, when I didn’t recognise one single soul when I went to buy groceries, or have a cup of coffee, I would try desperately hard to start conversations in lifts just to have someone to talk to. I would wander into the local pharmacy and hope that they would give me my “two extra tablets”, but as a foreigner I was flatly refused and informed that I needed a script. I eventually managed to get my little Annabella flown to Cape Town to keep me company. She arrived by airfreight and I would cite this as one of the happiest days of my life. So started our new life. Annabella you see, had grown up in a pampered environment of a massive Natal garden and the freedom to come and go as she pleased. She was suddenly in an flat and we became totally interdependent in our terror of this unknown. To make matters worse, there was a no pets policy at the block unless you had prior permission as an owner.
I invested in a rather large bag, collar and leash and so began our life of hide and seek. I set my alarm for the early hours and when it was still dark, I put Annabella in the bag with her collar and leash and would instruct her to be very quiet. That little tot, would stay as quiet and as still as a mouse, even when someone got into the lift with us. Perhaps she could feel my heart racing and my legs quivering at the possibility of being caught out. This pattern became our early morning wee ritual and our late night ritual. In the morning, we would walk down the path, and as we got out of the gate, past all the cameras, I would squat, take her out, then hide the bag in a tree and off we would go. We started walking at first and this slowly changed to a slow jog and in a few weeks we were virtually flying around Newlands and up into the forest. Her face and mine over the next few months would change from consternation to joy as soon as we hit the pavements and had the freedom to explore and revisit pretty places we discovered. We were soon doing this twice a day and people started to recognise us and stop us to chat. Cecelia Forest became our Saturday morning treat, and the locals started chatting to me at coffee spots.
It was on one of my morning runs that I bumped into a neighbour at the block and he asked if I ever would like to run with him that my life took yet another turn. My 3-4km’s with Annabella became an added 6-8km and my passion for running was building as was my repertoire of friends.
I am pleased to say that I am now, quite the local, there are not many places along the Newlands strip where I am not waved at from within, where coffee is offered before I ask and sitting at Barristers for a drink or two feels like I’ve lived here for years. My entire hoard is now known at the pharmacy and life could not be better.
I’m just reminded how terrifying it is to be new – so lets look out for anyone with the frantic look I used to have on my face….