By Lindsay Slogrove
The Hadedas are back.
Spring has sprung for them and they are carefully building their nest of twigs on a branch outside my “office” window. Technically, the lounge.
They became one of the positive features of the early days of lockdown, but in spite of all their care for their chick, it fell out of the nest and I found it dead on the ground. It was a sad day.
Their new nest is coming along well, and it’s fascinating to watch. And hear.
Bloody hell, they are loud, and they have many long chats during the day, about 5m away from the window. Even one of their courtship rituals is noisy, clacking their beaks against one another’s.
They have regular stand-offs with the monkeys who use the tree to move from the fence to the roof. Fluffing up their feathers makes them fairly scary, so the primates have found another branch for their journey.
The five furry occupants of the “office” have something new to bark at, so it gets pretty loud at times.
All the activity has became a comforting reminder that life is going on even in the pandemic. It’s also an entertaining respite from the computer screen. And the muted TV.
It has to be muted. Channel access has been downgraded since salary cuts, so it’s pretty much news channels, or reruns. (Dear Boss, I record anything I want to watch for after-hours; only news during work time.)
Seeing what else is on offer has become a great puzzle: who on Earth comes up with some of these programming ideas?
What sort of creative or planning meeting could possibly end up okaying a series on popping pimples? Or deciding horrible things like bodily growths and fungi would be entertaining. And where do they get their subjects?
Reviewers and commentators should know what they are commenting on, but I just can’t. Some bodily malfunctions should be discussed only with a health professional behind closed doors and kept secret on pain of death. It’s all too gross and confounding for me.
Even more astonishing is America right now, 40-something days from their election.
Having referred to us in Africa as “shithole” countries, it’s also been revealed in (yet another) tell-all book, this one by his former long-term personal attorney, Michael Cohen, that Donald Trump dismissed our beloved Madiba as “not a leader”.
According to the orange one, there are no black leaders. He also reacted to a suggestion that his predecessor, Barack Obama, was a black man successfully running a country with a crude “f*** off”.
While we are trying to overcome racism, with individuals, organisations and corporates grappling with the painful and divisive issue, the extent of racism and division has been exposed and is boiling over in the States.
The nation, which saw itself as exceptional and leading the free world, is tearing itself apart while facing Covid-19, natural disasters, filthy shenanigans in the administration, a grifter family and right-wingnut conspiracies. And they all have guns. Big ones. And many fanatics who will use them.
It’s going to get very ugly before November 3 and in the run-up to inauguration day in January.
* Slogrove is the news editor
The Independent on Saturday