i didn’t write yesterday. i slept in because my mom is here and i was so excited at her arrival and showing her around that I was exhausted and slept though my alarms. we awoke to a sick little lulu and had to take her to the vet in town where the receptionist knew two of my favourite primary school teachers from treverton – such a small world. lulu shivered and shook. every time we take her out i think she thinks we are taking her to get groomed and she hates that. anyway the doctor gave her antibiotics and painkillers for her infected abscess and when he tried to give her biltong afterwards she tried to bite him. Well, gum him. we looked so funny with our fluffy white child. we were so worried about her; mom reckons we’ll be wrecks of parents if we’re that worried about our little dog. if i ever have children they’ll be bubble wrapped and home-schooled. mom and i took a drive out on the R44 to her hometown. she showed me where she used to keep her horse and told me about how she used to ride down the middle of the R44 to get to the Stellenbosch Riding Club from Somerset West for horse shows. Way less cars back then, obviously. They also used to ride on and around neighbouring farms. There were no fences keeping people out back then. We went to Strand and parked the car and took a little walk on the beach. the sand is white and soft, soft, soft; not coarse and hard and brown like in KZN. Funny how the texture can change in just a few hundred kilometres of coastline. The water was the most brilliant blue and so much warmer than camps bay and clifton. it is school holidays, so there were stacks of teenagers and families on the beach. the waves are totally playable, so i think it will definitely be my new choice of beach. perhaps even my very own promenade if i wake up super early in summer. we dipped our toes in the memories of mom’s childhood. she used to take the train from her home in somerset west to Strand and then hang out all day at the beach (if she wasn’t riding) with her friends, swimming and chatting up boys. if it got too windy she would tan on the roof of the lifesaver hut to avoid the stinging sand. one day she fell asleep in the sun whilst studying for a biology exam and burnt herself crisp. in those days there were no cellphones so you had to prearrange a time and a meeting point for your parents to pick you up if there was no train and by god, did you get in trouble if you weren’t there waiting and ready to go. we took a drive to my granny and grandpa’s old house in strand; the house i visited when i was a baby. it is a tiny little house with a postcard-size lawn and my mom laughed about how my granny used to moan about having to cut the grass. she showed me the hill where the brakes of my grandpa’s old beetle failed while she was driving down it with me in the backseat. she told me how sorry she used to feel for us farm kids in the midlands who had to rely on our parents (i.e. her and dad) if we wanted to do anything or go anywhere. we were so sheltered and our parent’s friends were our friends, even if we had nothing in common. we couldn’t just walk to our friend’s house down the road or catch a train to the beach. i got all wistful for a childhood i could have had, living in a little house close to the beach, riding a bicycle to school, spending holidays in my cossie by the sea, getting up to all sorts of mischief because I could venture about without the assistance and permission of my parents. my mom showed me the corner cafe where my grandpa used to buy his newspaper and cigarettes every evening on his walk home from the train station and she laughed about how he would have hated to see how built up the area is; all suburbs of one big city now really. It’s funny how times change; how precious our living space and our children’s stomping grounds are, how big our homes and gardens have become but how our scope for roaming has whittled down to practically nothing, save a lope around the mall. we blame it on safety and security, but is it all a figment of our imagination; are we prisoners of our murky past? i wonder if our kids will be chauffeured about in their bubble wrap, ferried from school to ballet to swimming to piano and back to the safety of their big home. Or if they will catch a train to the beach and ride horses down the main road and through neighbouring wine farms? I fear it may be the former.