Monday, 9 April 2012

Easter Bunnies

The full moon tides of the last few days wreaked their havoc as usual but all I suffered was a bit of gentle flooding across the lower lying portion of the land. My neighbour, Rico, has really been hit bad. I know there is no love lost between Rico and I but still, I hate to see anyone lose their livelihood in this remorseless and inexorable way. Rico is away and the guy in charge is a quiet South African called Paul. Paul is, I have decided, a really nice guy and when we discovered we shared a common past as motorcycle racers well, there you had it, instant friendship. He was very embarrassed at the way Rico refused my offer of cooperation and with the damage done to my land by his trenches. He had come to see me so we were sitting in my office. During the conversation and with a high degree of tact he asked me whether I would consider selling my land to Rico. Since this was Nice Paul and not Nasty Rico, I similarly tactfully told him no. As I pointed out to him land such as this was hard to come by and as I had now dropped out, I would have nothing else to do. He smiled ruefully at that and I could see he understood completely. I told him that I would go round to Rico’s place and see if, perhaps by just getting on with it while Rico was away, together we might save what was left of Rico’s place.

Since Rico never made me feel welcome, I haven’t been to his place for years so was really shocked at what I saw, or rather what I didn’t see. Most of his land and the huts that were on it have disappeared. The remaining cottages, built as they were on stilts, had water flowing underneath them. What once was the car park was feet deep in mud and sand, littered with the twisted detritus of the missing cottages. His land which had once been hundreds of yards wide measured no more than fifty yards over which the waves poured. His once beautiful tropical gardens were smashed and bedraggled. If I was heartbroken to see such destruction, imagine how Rico must feel. The poor bastard.

Marcia’s nieces, Christina, Sofia and Caró, had come to spend Easter with us so I nipped back to my place, collected them and Alex and went back to Rico’s so they could splash about in the swimming pool. It’s a cruel thought but it was best they took this opportunity as no one can be sure how long it will be before the facility slips into the sea. While they played (and took endless photographs of themselves in increasingly provocative poses), Paul fed me ice cold rum and cokes. Both of us agreed, it was too late to do anything so we just sat there, watching the girls and supping our drinks while the waves washed underneath the deck on which we were sitting. The irony of it is that the last structure to fail under the onslaught of the sea will most likely be the swimming pool, built as it is above ground of heavy reinforced concrete. Imagine the sight of a swimming pool sitting in isolation in the sea?

Apart from a few die-hards, there were no clients and certainly none that were willing to stay the night. The restaurant was closed, the power was off because the salt water was causing short circuits and most of the staff had already been laid off. The few remaining sat disconsolately on the pier watching their jobs being eroded away. It was all very triste. Recalling that Paul’s original mission had been to sound me out about the possibility of me selling up, I could not resist saying to him, ‘Look mate, before this lot ends up in the sea, why don’t you sell me your kitchen and dining room equipment and furniture?’

‘Why pay for it?’ he replied, ‘pretty soon you can just salvage it as it floats by your place.’

Encouraged I asked him about the sportfishers.

‘Don’t waste your money, they’re knackered. About the only thing they can do now is float’

Like I said, he is a nice guy with an excellent sense of humour. Apart from being honest, he is also human.

‘Those are your nieces, are they?’ he asked.

‘Well, I suppose they are now that I am with Marcia but they’re her nieces really’.

He is 63 years old but clearly his juices were still flowing. ‘I perhaps shouldn’t say this, Tom, but I would bang all three of them.’

‘Tell me about it’ I said and shuddered at the thought of what Marcia would do to me.

So there we were, two dirty old men drinking Cuba Libres watching nature undo ten year’s labour of love.

Now how sad is that?

Christina. She has only just turned fifteen...


  1. Christina and her cohort need a cold will any old pervert that is reading this blog today!!!
    another nice bit of writing tom!

  2. I'm glad you were able to meet up with Paul and see the damage.

    As for those girls, my goodness! They are beauties--you and Paul might be ageing, but you're certainly not dead!


  3. "...for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust."

    Perhaps the two of you have cause to sue whoever built the dam. Yes, I know how that would turn out.
    I must say that four years of teaching high school and three years of substitute teaching has turned off any desires for teenagers from me forever. At that age ain't a one of 'em nothin' but a clingy, whiny, troublesome dramatic act.

  4. Yes, yellow is my favourite colour too.


  5. Remeber back to the your previous note about the lack of coperation from Rico - I'm sure I told you about "Karma" and what comes round goes round!

  6. Tom, I am fascinated by 'risk assessment'.

    Having pondered on your neighbour's plight (and your own)please do satisfy my curiosity: Are places like yours insurable? If so, presumably the premiums will be astronomical considering the proximity to the sea and the likelihood of flooding. I once bought a Victorian property (say, a mile inland - no danger of eroding coastal line), on a slope, and the word 'subsidence' crept into my vocabulary. As did 'underpinning'. And there was plenty of that. Alas, its completion did not drive down the amount of my premium.


  7. Ursula,

    I doubt any beach/river front property is insurable. Even the government technically ban the construction of anything other than wooden houses close to the sea (although some seem to get away with it).

    With most of my neighbour's place washed away, I doubt any underwriter would take my risk on.

    So there is nothing else for it but for me to pour 400 cubic metres of reinforced concrete to make a massive wall and backfill it with 2,000 tonnes of infill.

    What we in business call an extraordinary financial event and I call an eyewatering kick in the goolies...

    I like yellow clothes as well, by the way, they look so fetching when carelessly discarded on my bedroom floor.


    does that mean God pisses on everyone with equal magnanimity whether they be good or bad?


    no way am I gloating, it could be my turn next.

  8. Hippo, that is exactly what it means. We've got no idea why what goes down, goes down.

    That one, and the book of Job (Job: "Why, God, why?!" God: "You don't know"), speak to me the most frequently.

  9. Left a comment but blogger refused to post it.

    Which was most certainly for the best.

  10. Chris, no foul excuses. I feel shortchanged - and I am sure Tom does too.



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