Signs and erections

Henley has a strange layout with its odd numbering and houses lurking on panhandles, so tucked away no one even knows they are there. It’s great if you don’t want to be disturbed, not so great when an ambulance is trying to find you.

An isolated plot, a couple without friends and family nearby, a natural death … who do you call, what do you do? It makes you think, doesn’t it? In this case it was members of the CPF who rallied around, dealing with police, ambulances, priests and insurance policies.

Neighbours. They are nice to have, I thought, cradling a mauled little dog in the back of a bakkie as we rushed to the vet. It was our turn to help. I like to think that if I call in need, someone will answer me.

Somebody did. My heartfelt thanks to the man in the grey bakkie who herded away three loose pitbulls the other morning and allowed me and my German Shepherd to escape unscathed.

We need our neighbours.

Community is a word you hear a lot here in Henley on Klip. Some say it exists, some say not. According to definition, community is a social unit that has something in common, such as norms, religion, values, identity or place.

Place, yes. We all live here by the river on these tree-lined streets with their grass verges, among the open plots and half-built houses where hares run and cats roam.

We have different backgrounds, different languages, different religions, different values and norms, but we choose to live together.

Sometimes community is easy. We all prize clean streets and roads without potholes.

Sometimes it’s difficult. I still get caught out in Iffley Road when my little car bounces over the highest road-humps in the world. I have to inch over or lose an axle. Tell me, was that really necessary? Obviously, someone thought so.

Sometimes community is easy. We all prize peace, quiet and birdcalls.

Sometimes it’s difficult. The talking point on social media at present is THE SIGN, the biker sign that appeared overnight on Henley Drive. Bikers, you are welcome in our village, it says, but please respect our tranquillity and “COOL IT!!!”.

I have no idea who put it up, and it will probably have to come down. I’m sure that most bikers who pass through our village do throttle down and respect the tranquillity. However, I have fellow feeling for the exasperated sign-putter-upper. The biker who delights in revving and roaring round and round the village on Sunday afternoons drives me crazy too!

Then there are the erections. Another cellphone tower is rising, and more are planned. Protesters have managed to kill construction on two so far.

I sympathise with fears of cancer and radiation illnesses, but it would also be nice to drive along Cleeve Road without my cellphone behaving like a yo-yo and be able to watch Netflix without buffering. Like it or not, we are entering the vaunted Digital Age. It may not be so vaunted, but it can’t be stopped either. The future will come, even to Henley on Klip.

Is Henley a community? Yes, I believe so. There are many, many Henleyites who play their part, whether painting poles and planting trees on Fraser Park, or patrolling the streets by night, or collecting and delivering food parcels. You know who you are, and you make Henley great!

From the diary:

Coming up is the Forage Market at the Hound this Saturday. Easter is next weekend, but the lambs will frolic on the signposts until the end of the month. On April 26, The Lions are having a jumble sale next to the post office on Ewelme Street, and on Saturday, May 4, it’s Walk a Dog Day organised by Rotary. Meet at OWLAG (Oprah Winfrey school) at 7.30am with your pooch and R50 (adults) for Balls ’n All. May 8 is, of course, Election Day at the Hope Christian Church in St David’s Road (on the way to Golf Park). Henley’s Mardi Gras is on May 25.