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Diary report 12, 13, 14: The Hardiman Diaries

It’s almost the long weekend! Said no one. Anywhere.

Dreading it be honest – feel like we are being robbed of a holiday and the Government needs to add up these days we are missing and give them back to us later on in the year? Except of course that last one with Van Riebeeck and “founders’ day”; I feel we should have moved on a bit there – still, I don’t mind doing the Easter Egg thing twice.

Report 12: Day 11

Alcohol units: 116 (who’s counting anyway?)
Showers: 4
Facial hair: Groomed
Jogs: 0
Cat: 0
Dog: 1
Wife: 1
Kids alive: 3
Potatoes: 5kg (new)
Father-in-laws: 1
Easter Eggs: 25

Needing to be a quick one today dear Diary; the ‘Popo’ is patrolling the streets again and I am on surveillance watch – let me explain.

Got an “all points” WhatsApp request (on the “boys’ group) from our neighbor over the road in desperate need of a few bottles of vino. I am behind on my quota, especially with Poppie staying with us, but at the same time with the Vodka distillery coming online I felt I can be a bit more charitable.

To be honest I was feeling a bit magnanimous on the alcohol front, after last night’s success and a little drunk on my own success…and a few glasses of Douglas Green’s finest papsak (it’s almost the long weekend and day drinking so far has gone unnoticed).

I told Dazza I’d leave them at the gate – social distancing and illegal smuggling of alcohol being what it is at present. He’s such a good sport and so often helps out with the kids lifts etc. I couldn’t really say no.

I sent Poppie on the mission, having prepped a cardboard box of mostly empty wine bottles, but adding two full ones (also a good way to get rid of the “empty bottles of shame” building up in the garage); they’re Dazza’s problem now – I just hope he recycles like he should.

I opened the garage door and sent my father-in-law out into the open world. He was wearing my full-length winter coat again with a pair of neon-green skiing goggles and the snorkel we had used in the shed. After watching ‘Contagion’ with us the other night he wasn’t taking chances, he said. In that get up I don’t fancy his chances of catching anything, let alone the virus.

While I kept watch I immediately spotted Mrs. B peering through her binocs AGAIN. Her gaze was focused on Poppie! Amazing you introduce fresh meat into the neighborhood and suddenly everybody on the hunt? (too young for you Mrs. B, too young!)

I could see her pulling back the curtains from her upstairs windows; she was wearing what appeared to be a homemade face mask – I assume it was homemade as the floral pattern matched the very curtains she was peering out from perfectly; this had the curious effect of completely camouflaging her lower face, leaving only her binoculars and blue rinse bouffant exposed. She looked like a bug-eyed stick of blue candy floss; not a good look for anyone.

FFS! Does this woman think she works for the CIA!?

The reason for my brevity here dear Diary, is that within 30minutes of Poppies drop-off and Dazza’s “box” collection, 3 cops started patrolling the neighborhood, very slowly and deliberately, blue lights rolling and all. They pulled up outside Dazza’s house and stayed there for 10 minutes or so before moving on; Dazza later WhatsApp’d me and said he was completely bricking it while they sat in the car outside…only once they left did he pour himself a glass of his illicit merlot (I didn’t say we gave him the good stuff, charitable, not stupid) and relaxed a bit.

It’s all a bit too suspicious for my liking; I am now manning the front room watching the street for their possible return. I fear the snitch next door with all her snooping has ratted out the Distillery and has threatened the integrity of Project Mother Russia.

My shift ends at 7pm after which “Starsky” (he’s back) takes over the lookout.

Update on supplies:

I escaped to the shops today and managed to restock on more Easter Eggs, potatoes and oddly enough a medical grade thermometer for the distillery; I needlessly made up a story about needing it just in case one of us got a fever…so he tried to sell me one of those digital ones…useless in a vat full of distilling potatoes of course…so I told him actually it was for my aging grandmother, who was old-school and was against modern technology …he nodded knowingly and mumbled something about “rectal” temperatures always being more consistent. I chose to ignore him and hurried away with my glass and mercury prize.

Check on the “mash” it’s settling well – tomorrow we strain and distil…Project Mother Russia is on track.

RH


Report 13: Day 11

Alcohol units: 123 (If age is but a number so should units be!)
Showers: 5
Facial hair: Rugged (John Hamm?)
Jogs: 0
Cat: 1! (we think)
Dog: 1
Wife: 1
Kids alive: 3
Potatoes: 5kg (new)
Father-in-laws: 1
Easter Eggs: 23

Dear Diary, what a day!

Firstly, on yesterday’s police story, for the time being we seem safe; Poppie AKA “Starsky” pulled the last shift early this morning and if I check his notes there has been no notable action on the street overnight. Hard to read his writing as his shift wore on (obviously drinking on the job) but his last entry seemed to indicate that Raymond was spotted in the front garden? Either that or it was the “Ramones were spotted in the garden”. My gut tells me (a) I would have heard them and (b) pretty sure they are all dead (c) if he did see the Ramones what the hell was he drinking?

I will ask Poppie to decipher his notes when he wakes up.

My social media feeds are full of the c-virus; people telling each other “to stay at home, be safe”, asking for banana bread recipes and how much is the legal amount of horse tranquilizer to dose a child (10ml…not saying how I know).

I see South Africans are continuing to like the page “I am staying” …honestly what bloody choice do you have right now!?

One thing that caught my eye overnight was that Sea Point residents were upset by the amount of noise that was been made by an Oil tanker moored just off their beach. A number of residents had complained that the “tanker was making too much noise at night.” A local council member took up the challenge, spoke to the shipping company and had it moved! Possibly the biggest ‘Karen’ moment in history, surely? I can just imagine ‘Karen’ phoning the shipping company in Panama, asking to speak to the manager?

Makes Mrs. B’s “eye spy” exploits seem incredibly tame round here!

Talking of excessive privilege, how pissed off am I that the new Top Gun movie has been pushed back to December!? We have waited nearly 20 years for this and now Tom can only cruise at the end of the year; mind you we probably don’t need soundtrack songs like “Take my breathe away” and “Danger Zone” right now…not at all appropriate.

The new James Bond is also cancelled for now; again, with the title of “No time to die”, it’s probably not the most PC to be punted by Ster Kinekor. Thankfully eTV is still repeating every Steven Segal movie ever made, so we won’t be short of evening viewing at home.

This upcoming 4-day holiday is a joke though! We were supposed to be away in Arniston this weekend. Still convinced this government owes us some backdating of time off later on.

I snuck out to the shed while the kids were in “class” and the wife was putting number 2 into detention; it was the end result of his stroppiness over not been able to hang on to empty toilet roll holder that he had “found”. The wife needed it for a class project, but he was hoping to use it for his own project later on…literally dear Diary is this the level we have reached? Fights over toilet rolls? I had envisaged war over water, oil or religion but not end of world over an empty 2-ply roll (soft)…surely humanity cannot survive beyond this?

The Shed visit was a good one. I have strained the mash out and now we just have the left over liquid; I have added the next set of ingredients and set it to a slow boil…let’s see where this goes; I am still nervous about the recent police activity but I can’t stop now! I would rather go down fighting the “Man” than risk running out of alcohol!

With the increased police presence in the area, I have added a red food colourant to the mix; I purloined this from the baking cupboard earlier – my thinking here is that if we are raided I can claim I was making a funky hand sanitizer and my unique selling point was the colour!

I have even made up a “label” for it – I am calling it “EverREDi”; it’s a nod to the battery guys, this after all will keep me going longer!

Later confirmed from Poppie it was indeed Raymond and not the Ramones that were spotted on our front lawn; Poppie reckons Raymond is preferring to go feral than go home to Mrs. B; can’t say I blame him to be honest. At least we have proof of life; I have asked the wife to inform Mrs. B’s daughter that he has been sighted…maybe that will calm down her solo neighbourhood watch vibes for a bit.

Took the empties out for the rubbish collection today; slightly embarrassed by the number of empties we have going, especially given that I offloaded quite a few to Dazza yesterday. I am slightly confused by the number of Rose wine and Gin bottles though, as I don’t remember drinking these (am I blacking out?), and Poppie’s typical tipple comes in a 5-liter box, so it’s definitely not him.

Maybe they are left over from the good old days? Strange.

RH


 

Report 14: Day 13

Alcohol units: 128 (went easy last night)
Showers: 5
Facial hair: Rugged (John Hamm, last series, Mad Men)
Jogs: 0
Cat: 1
Dog: 1
Wife: 1
Kids alive: 3 (+2, will explain later)
Potatoes: 5kg (new)
Father-in-laws: 1
Easter Eggs: 22

Dear Diary, ‘tis the eve before Easter; normally one would look at this long-weekend as a nice little break with the family; this year however many may need a nice little break from the family! Still, chocolate.

It’s going to be a long haul and made even longer by the President’s speech.

We all gathered on the couch, along with the rest of the nation to listen to his speech. It started off well; that we had cut the infection rate right down, that there were fewer cases being diagnosed daily…all the rewarding and positive bits for staying inside and testing the bounds of familial relations to the limit, even though you knew it was coming…the big “BUT”.

It reminded me of the last recession when the boss stood up and told everyone what a great job had been done, how much individual effort had been put in by each team member and that he was proud to be associated with such loyal and hardworking humans…BUT…there would not be a Christmas bonus this year.

Cyril’s “no ‘Xmas’ bonus” came in the form of an extra two weeks of lockdown; almost like he was saying, “you guys are so good at this, let’s see how much further we can go! Go team!” To be fair the ‘oke has very little choice, if we all go out now, post-Easter, we will probably re-infect everything and the last two weeks would have been for nothing…still…I was hoping for a jog or at least a walk down the street without the questioning eyes of Mrs. B boring through my skin!

The “vodka still” is ready and waiting, the mash is now removed, but as you will remember I borrowed the “Ibiza” towel to sieve the liquid.

The towel, dear Diary, has become a problem.

We bought it from one of those cheap and cheerful tourist shops as a last-minute souvenir…it’s louder than a Prime Circle concert and is less effective at drying out than Keith Richards.

It’s really is bloody useless; water just runs off the acrylic-nylon blend faster than Angelina Jolie collects kids. No absorption power whatsoever! I have had nightmares about that thing getting near an open flame. I’d give it 5 seconds before it was in flames and melting!

But back to the dilemma.

I am now the proud owner of a neon pink (and dark blue Ibiza lizard decal) acrylic-nylon-blend, waterproof towel that contains just under 5kg of dried out potato mash and Jungle oats at its center and no real way of disposing of it.

I had thought about leaving the congealed mess out in the garden for the birds to eat; Pinelands has a wonderful flock of some twenty thousand Egyptian Geese that regularly hangout with the local Hadeda’s; the bird song in the morning as you can imagine is less than ideal.

I felt sure that the birds would dissipate the mash. The only problem with the plan is the large pink towel that the goop is rock solidly stuck to – it won’t seperate for love or money; its chemically bonded. If I layout the towel on the lawn the wife would see it quite quickly…in fact NASA would see it from the Space Station, it’s that bright.

I could cut it up into pieces but that may require a stiff saw and a lot of elbow grease; wasn’t keen.

Ultimately, I have decided to make a positive out of a negative. I retrieved my long winter coat from Poppie (he put up somewhat of a fight), found two good broom handles (they were attached to brooms but I converted them) and built myself a scarecrow.

The “head” of the new family member being made up of a rather bright pink solid ball of potato-oats mash with a pair of old skiing goggles (also taken from Poppie) for eyes.

The end result was a brightly sunburnt-looking Worzel Gummidge, who looked like he was off to ski in Chamonix for the weekend.

The yet unnamed new member of our abode is now standing guard over Josephs’ (the gardener, whom we are now paying two extra weeks I guess?) and mines growing marijuana plantation behind the shed. The plants are coming along nicely but it’s worth adding some extra security; feel like a cast member of “Narcos”!

With that all accomplished I set aside the liquid ready for the proper distillation process. I added the red food colouring but it needs to be filtered through charcoal apparently…all I have is briquettes but even I am not that desperate. I need to pop to Checkers and buy some; Pick ‘n Pay won’t let you buy braai stuff as it’s “non-essential” which is ridiculous; never has a Braai been more essential I would posit; not sure Raymond Ackerman is so against them?

Update 3am (GMT + 2):

Been up since 1am dear Diary but will write more later…suffice to say it involves the Police and a few more family members being added to the Compound. Going back to sleep now. Sigh!

RH

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