Before Reggie Brown became a famous P.I. and we opened the Agency together he used to tell me about the early days at his farm in Africa (KZN Midlands). This text was unearthed some years later in his memoirs. I reproduce it exactly as he wrote it, no editing, no additions, just Reggie at his reflective best.
“I have a farm in Africa. Well not so much a farm as a smallholding, a very smallholding. We left the big city to settle in the Midlands in 2003. There is nothing I miss about the big city except my old chum Pickle. We had walked the streets of Parkhurst together and had unearthed much during our adventures. He and I kept up a steady correspondence for the first year or so but with the passage of time we have lost touch.
There are five of us; Her Indoors, Himself, Rebecca, Piglet and me Mr. Brown (aka Reggie Brown). I was named thus by Her Indoors; I am a brown dachshund and she thought it amusing. Rebecca is my soul mate, she is a dishy dashy with a gloriously easygoing nature, just as well as I have a temper that is both swift and embarrassing. Her Indoors is a cook and Himself isn’t. Piglet is a cat, obviously.
Living in the confines of a city home with an 8 foot high wall sorely tried my sense of adventure. The garden in our city home was an eighth of an acre and even with legs like mine it didn’t offer much in the exploration stakes. The early morning walks through the suburb with Her Indoors were grand fun and not without incident. Rebecca thinks it so manly to have had half an ear bitten off by a fox terrier and to have been virtually disembowelled by a Staffie with halitosis. Ah the tales I tell her while she admires my war wounds. Like many males, and never one to let the facts get in the way of a good story, I tend to embellish a little.
Here in the country with 10 acres to explore I have had many adventures and I have been able to pursue my chosen career as a Private Investigator. The wildest thing we saw in the big city was a flock (a very small flock) of triangular birds, which apparently cost only a guinea, and are rather fowl mouthed. Since arriving in the Midlands I have had altercations with cows, befriended a Duiker who does not take my posturing seriously, tried to nibble a number of evil tasting frogs (I am a slow learner), chased a Vervet monkey up the Ginko tree, become obsessed with great hordes of triangular birds and chased a scrub hare (no contest). My most dodgy confrontation was with a Rinkhals, ugly little brute that only its mother could love.
Perhaps I should tell you about the rest of my family.
Very nice they all are.
Right, now that we’ve done the praise-singing bit let me tell you more about myself.
I know, deep in my heart, that one day I will catch a mole. They are a challenge. They can’t see, live underground, run at about half a mile a day, leave great piles of soil lying around to let me know exactly where they are, and still they manage to evade my frenzied digging. I can imagine them sniggering at night over a cup of hot chocolate while they watch ‘Animal Planet’ on TV.
Since the great trek south we have changed allegiance to the Sharks. Piglet feels particularly let down by the Cats. I became an ardent Brent Russell fan until he moved south – we look so alike at full speed, chests stuck out like pouter pigeons, little legs pumping like pistons, eyes sparkling and the scent of glory in our flared nostrils. There is one significant difference however. His curious little ears are mostly hidden under his hair while my ears become weapons of mass destruction at full tilt.
Which brings me, seamlessly, to the Midlands weather, well who could ignore it. 16 degrees one day, 30 degrees the next. It’s OK for Piglet who he has a thick, rather scruffy, fur coat, which he bought for a song at a garage sale. Rebecca and I are ‘blessed’ with poorly insulated shorthaired designer coats and must, perforce, spend much of our day lolling about on the deck in the sun or in front of the fire, sleeping.
Truly it’s a dog’s life.”