Farty's Fortunes

Wednesday, 21 February 2007

Treasure Trove

This is a true story. Long ago and far away in a distant galaxy (ok, maybe not that distant), a trading ship was carrying its precious cargo of Chinese pottery and carnelian beads and that from the Orient to the ports of Europe. Whilst attempting to negotiate the Wild Coast of South Africa, it was caught up in a terrible storm and dashed against the cruel, jagged rocks. Only a few hardy souls - and their slaves - managed to escape and make their way to shore. After many exciting adventures involving treacherous natives, wild animals and the odd tropical disease, an even fewer number survived the journey overland to East London.

But that's not important right now. When we visited our family out that way a couple of years back, my son-in-law took us for a wee drive down 100 kilometers of dirt track to a secluded beach, then we clambered across the rocks, forded a river mouth at low tide and came at last to a group of women - some were natives dressed in bright colours, some tourists in khaki - picking their way amongst the flotsam and jetsam strewn along the shoreline. It transpired that after 400 years, the tides had finally released some of the sunken treasure from its watery resting place.

Even as I watched, one of the locals let out a whoop of delight and held aloft a biscuit-sized sliver of white with blue markings on it, before thrusting it into a fold in her headgear. With a little persuasion, she plucked it out and proffered for my inspection a beautifully-painted shard of Chinese pottery. "I'm having me some of that," I thought to myself and immediately started scanning the sand and gravel shushing around my bare feet, hunting for goodies while son-in-law went off with a screwdriver to secure some slightly-more-available oysters.

The sun beat down on our heads, a gentle wind blew across us and all the time the waves crashed, crashed, crashed onto the shore, dredging up forgotten hoards of, well, not very much to be honest. A German frau found a couple more bits of pottery, two or three women found some translucent beads, still clearly pre-drilled for threading onto necklaces, but with the tiny holes now clogged with sand. And Muggins? After three hours I had sore feet from the sharp stones, my shorts were soaked through and I had bugger-all to show for my troubles. I was still having a whale of a time but it was growing late and I had to get back before the river became impassable.

Now a dilemma. Should I brazenly continue with the public-consumption version I trotted out when I got back to the family, or should I come clean and tell the truth? Ah, what the heck. You're only figments of my imagination anyway...

One of the German frauleins took pity on me and just as a wave drained away, dropped one of her beads right in front of me. "Look!" she yelled, "There's one now! Grab it before it gets washed away again!"

Quick as a flash, I reached down and snatched it up. "Are you sure about this?"

"No problem, I'm here all week and I've got half-a-dozen already."

"You're very kind. Thank you."

And with that, I stuck the bead in my mouth for safe-keeping, picked up my shoes and with a wave of gratitude to my erstwhile companions, made my way back across the river and returned to civilisation.

When I told my son-in-law the official version, he congratulated me. "My sister's been coming back to that beach every summer for the past seventeen years. She says when she gets enough beads, she'll drill them out and make them into a necklace."

"What a lovely idea. How many has she collected?"

"Four."

5 comments:

BOSSY said...

Bossy thinks this is possibly a TV reality show in the making --Surviver: East London.

Simoney said...

ha ha ha! I found your blog on JohnG's one - so glad there is another farter out there. I've had many a guffing moment. Get it from my own dad (Old Tarf). keep farting away - perhaps those holes will get made quicker in the beads!!!

Mr Farty said...

Bossy - Farty likes your sense of humour, but is not so sure about you referring to yourself in the third person.

Mermaid - Join the club. Had a good laugh at your second ever blog entry.

Toot toot!

kissme said...

Let's hope she has a VERY thin neck

Mr Farty said...

Kissme - snort!