Early January 2011 saw the euphoria of the Festive Season fade, and the sense and sensibility of the new year ahead had set in. Graham said Lulu had to be put into retirement. The image of Beachcombers Bed and Breakfast as an upmarket place to stay was important.
A giant scare-crow dressed in hessian, greeting our Guests outside our front door was no longer an option.
Thursday’s here in L’Agulhas are re-cycle refuse collection days.
Lulu was dismantled from her place of honour on Wednesday evening and Graham and I respectfully propped her up against the neighbour’s wall, ready to be placed with all the plastic we had put aside for municipal collection the following morning. (If I had bag-pipes I think I would have piped her out with the “Last Post”)
We went about our daily routine during the course of Wednesday, with Lulu sitting indomitably by the wall.
I noticed our neighbour who had returned the day before from spending time away with his family had parked his car out in his front garden and was giving it a good wash.
Then I heard a yell and his Boston Terrier’s barking madly.
I went out to see what the commotion was all about. There was old Oom Pieter peering over the garden wall at Lulu, while his dogs were yapping and biting poor Lulu’s ankles.
Pieter looked up at me as I approached and said, “Wow, wat is hierdie lelike skepsel doen hier sit?” (Wow, what is this ugly creature doing sitting here?”)
“That’s Lulu,” I answered
“Man, Sue…ek het gedink dit was ‘n gedrink wat deursoek onder die bos, en was aan die slaap die drink af!”
(Man Sue, I thought it was some drunk who had crawled under the bush and was sleeping off the booze!)
“Dit is ‘n lelike ou!” (That’s some ugly ou!)
I was highly amused at the thought of our somewhat inquisitive neighbour peeping over our wall and coming face to face with Lulu, thinking she was a vagrant lurking in the bushes and couldn’t help laughing.
Graham arrived to see what the commotion was about, and to our delight, old Pieter re-enacted his discovery of Lulu, which had all three of us doubled over.
Lulu was still working her amazing capacity to making everyone light hearted…
Thursday arrived and so did the refuse trucks.
Normally only one stops outside our house, but this time there was a drag race of two vehicles with competition to claim the right to take Lulu away.
The collectors jumped off the back of the trucks and there was a mad race of men rushing towards our pile of rubbish where Lulu perched.
The first two men who could run the fastest grabbed her and carried her off, while the losers shouted abuse at them, “Ahh, jou MAARSE!” (Ahh, your Mother!”)
Gently they hoisted Lulu into the back of their refuse truck and then clambered up to sit next to her.
I rushed outside to ask them why they were all fighting over Lulu.
They told me that they had all enjoyed seeing her wave during the course of the Festive Period, and that she had made their children very happy, so they had no intention of relegating her to the rubbish heap, she was going to live with them outside their house where everyone could still enjoy her.
The truck pulled back onto the road with Lulu gazing at me, while four men clung to her affectionately. I waved, and one of the men helped her wave back at me.
“Moenie bekommerd wees nie tannie, sy is in veilige hande is, sal ons kyk na haar!”
(Don’t worry auntie, she is in safe hands, we will look after her!)
“Good bye Lulu, good bye!” I called as I waved sadly…
Graham came and gave my shoulders an affectionate squeeze
“She’s just a puppet Babe”
“I don’t think so…” I mused,
They say that Angels come in many guises, Lulu was one of them.