Shaken Really Awfully but Not Stirred.

So a lot of South Africans got a bit of a wiggle on yesterday with our 5,3 earthquake centred near Orkney.  The only one in our family who noticed anything here in Durban was Younger Daughter at work who remarked that her coffee was swilling back and forth and her desk was shaking.  Colleagues said she was imagining it – until the news came through.

This takes my mind back to the 1940s to 60s, when quite severe tremors were such a feature of daily life in the Reef or Witwatersrand area – Johannesburg etc – that they were hardly even noticed.  We would carry on speaking or whatever, and look with amazement when visitors from elsewhere gave screams and dived under tables, simply because items were falling over, pictures hanging on the walls were doing a pendulum thing, and one could feel the surface wobbling underfoot.  ‘Just a normal earth tremor,’ we would reassure them.  Strangely, many did not seem to find this in the least bit reassuring.

I wonder if the earthquake had anything to do with the fact that two of my lawnmowers went belly-up in quick succession, leaving me with this grass at the to-be-moved-into home still sniggering at me?


With not even a moan, and for reasons unknown,
Two lawnmowers conked in, thus leaving un-mown
This section alone of the grass that had grown.

I think that, for both of them, motors have blown –
Experimentation has readily shown
That cable for power is not the fault zone.

© Colonialist August 2014 (WordPress)

About colonialist

Active septic geranium who plays with words writing fantasy novels and professionally editing, with notes writing classical music, and with riding a mountain bike, horses and dinghies.
This entry was posted in Personal Journal, Poems, Really Awful Rhyme, Wordplay and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to Shaken Really Awfully but Not Stirred.

  1. haydendlinder says:

    “Strangely, many did not seem to find this in the least bit reassuring.”
    For some reason this reminded me of a Native American story. When the white man came to settle California.
    They told him, “The ground shakes.”
    He replied, “It’s nothing.”
    They replied, “That land is cursed!”
    The white man did not seem to mind.


  2. bluebee says:

    Loved all the jokes about Zuma dropping his wallet, etc. When I was about 6 years old, I remember the overhead lights swaying and plates falling off shelves in my grandmother’s flat in the Durban CBD. No mine-related tremor that one.


  3. The Asian says:

    I was quite disappointed that we didn’t feel anything here. It would have added a little action to our boring lives.
    Hope you managed to sort out those lawn mowers


  4. nickczardas says:

    I hope you had a martini afterwards to settle your nerves ? BTW Nick Czardas blogs again !


  5. Don’t be hard on people for not noticing the shaking, Col. It’s not their fault…..


    • colonialist says:

      They dinna use their faculties, as the Scots lecturer told his retching chemistry class who hadn’t noticed that the finger he had stuck into the vile liquid when he demonstrated was not the one he had sucked.


  6. Kev says:

    I take it this was nothing to you then. 😀


  7. It’s interesting that a person can get used to earthquakes to a point of hardly noticing anything. Didn’t even know that was possible.


    • colonialist says:

      It does seem incredible in retrospect – but of course we didn’t think of them as earthquakes even when the juddering was quite severe. They were simply earth tremors.


  8. misswhiplash says:

    when your mower goes kerput
    try a good kick with your foot
    if no life comes back again
    you know you’ve tried, but tried in vain

    As for the wobble in the ground
    i prefer my sod to be sound
    I would not like the earth to move
    Unless in a sexy mood
    But that is in times gone past
    So nothing is really meant to last


  9. Col, Granny thought those mowers were cats, but I told her they were machines 😀 Stay safe out there! Pawkisses 🙂


  10. cobbies69 says:

    Earthquakes have a lot to answer for,, including lawnmower damage. 😉


  11. newsferret says:

    Having grown up in Joburg in the 50s I remember those shakes.


  12. jakesprinter says:

    So sad f…… stay safe 🙂


  13. Pussycat44 says:

    The tremor was minor here in Jo;burg, but I feel sorry for the people whose homes were damaged in the worst affected area.
    Can I lend you my nail scissors to cut the grass 😉


  14. things have a habit of breaking at the same time just to annoy us – very cute poem 🙂


  15. Colline says:

    I remember growing up in Jo’burg and feeling those very same tremors.


  16. suzicate says:

    We had one here a few years ago. I felt it and it was quite scary! Glad you all are safe.


  17. I hope you get the mowers sorted before you need to call in a hay-baler. Stay safe.


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