Die Gezoem van die bye…

 En die lekker turksvye”!!.   If you want a life of high adventure, it would seem that you only need to join the Outramps CREW Group. 

On Friday, we took off for the northwestern side of the Kammanassie from the Middelplaas Road in the newly repaired Buchu Bus.  Sporting a brand new clutch and zooming with power, Agathosma behaved beautifully and everything seemed to be “Set Fair” for a wonderful day in the mountains.  The first minor hitch was a mix-up in the arrangements to meet Jonas, Berenice and Brendon from theUniondale office.  They mistook the time and landed up in the Reserve at 7.30 am.  This meant that they left Uniondale at 6am.  7.30 was of course, the time that we left George. 

We were walking up the jeep track when the Cape Nature Bakkie came down.  Jonas picked us up and took us up to the nek.  After much discussion, Bill offered to fetch the Buchu Bus and bring it closer, while we walked down hunting for plants.  There was lots of excitement, when we found Geissorhiza heterostyla (we think), Melolobium adenodes and Calpurnia intrusa.  These were all new to us, although of Least Concern on the Red List. iSpot will give us the final answers on the id’s. Dioscorea elephantipes (Declining) was an early find. It was a gorgeous day in a spectacular piece of country, with the buzzing of the bees supplying pleasant background music. 

This all changed with terrifying speed.  Rusell had disappeared ahead of us down the jeep track.  Brian and I were strolling along in deep discussion on various id’s.  Suddenly Brian began to swipe at this head and shouted, “Bees”, as he took off down the road.  My run is a “Hopalong Cassidy” affair, but I moved after him as fast as I could, shouting at those behind to take care.  I came round a corner and there was the Bus.  Both Bill and Rusell were inside and there seemed to be lots of activity.   I tried to get into the combi to escape the bees.  Bill screamed at me, “Go back and warn the others”, which I did.  Some while later, round the corner came Agathosma.  By now, those of us outside the Bus, had escaped the bees.  Bill and Rusell were inside and were both still frantically killing the bees inside.  Bill’s face was already swelling.  We now had to do a very tricky turn on a very narrow stretch of the jeep track.  I was tense and anxious, anticipating a stop in either De Rust or in Oudtshoorn with a rapidly swelling Bill.  Fortunately Ann had an anti-histaminic, which made a very quick difference and we were able to drive home.  Bill refused to go to a Doctor or the hospital. 

His story – He’d parked the Bus and decided to do a brief sortie up the mountain, while waiting for us.  He walked straight into a beehive that was hidden in a bush.  He was lucky not to injure himself, as he hurtled down the mountain.  He was also lucky that the Bus was nearby as a bolthole.  Another plus was Rusell’s getting to the car when she did.  They were able between them, to get rid of most of the bees that had followed Bill inside. This was a very nasty ending to (what should have been) a really wonderful day. 

Bill is much better this morning and the swelling is disappearing.  He must have had upward of 60 stings.  He will now research what we need to carry, in case this ever happens again.   He has had many nicknames in his time. The most popular “Oom Willie van die Berge” and “Barnacle Bill the Sailor” have now given way to “Beesting Bill.”  This is the 4th time in his life that he has been attacked by angry bees. 

On Wednesday, WAGS hiked to the Leaky Dam via the lower road and came back along the high road.  The veld is looking spectacular and we were pleased to find a new locality for Mimetes pauciflorus (Vulnerable).  Elizabeth’s steps are getting trickier, but there is an alternative route.  The slip on the lower road is distinctly challenging, particularly on crutches.  A strong arm from Peter hauled me up the one section, cursing and covered in mud. 

On Friday, we will be attending the Garden Route Initiative meeting.  Because of this, we are hoping to do something local on Thursday.

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