Ostrich syndrome

30 07 2007

Yesterday I was at THE social event on the art calendar. It was the annual Verandah Gallery charity art show. I have been collecting local artist’s work for some time now and though I know little about what is good art I do know what I like. My friend Caro who is the senior art teacher at a very posh girls’ school actually complimented me on my taste. I am a little suspicious though as I know she covets one of the works in my “collection”.

Well, you would not have known that Zimbabwe was in the grip of a terminal economic meltdown. The place was packed and lots of works were being sold although I suspect not necessarily to Zimbabweans. I guess US$200 is not a lot to pay for a work that you like but it is very much a luxury for me so despite perusing several works that I like it was not difficult to leave empty handed. A few years ago I did not have this problem so I guess my income has diminished substantially in real terms.

On Saturday my friend Gary, not the Mozambican one, phoned me in a bit of a panic. He has a game farm just outside Bulawayo and had shot and butchered an eland for consumption (there is no meat to be had in the butcheries) but having put the meat in a freezer and transported it back here, there was no power at his girlfriend’s house. So for the last couple of days I’ve had a freezer on a trailer in my back yard! We don’t seem to have too many power cuts here and it was not in much danger of getting stolen either. Anyway, I’ve done OK out of it all has he has left me a large bag of meat and another bag of bones for Jenni. We are becoming a nation of barterers.

I came home this evening to a large fire burning the bush at the end of the road. There were various farm workers around seeing that it did not get onto the farm where I live. What did surprise me though, was the sight of the same workers a short while later deliberately spreading the fire into the bush below my house (the wind was blowing it away). A few years ago that would have been a criminal offence. Now I guess it is seen as being pragmatic – if the bush burns now you don’t have to worry about it burning again until next year!



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