The man with the goose

A week or two ago, I happened to find myself in Harfield Village, a rather quaint part of Claremont, with the intention of hand-delivering a copy of my book in a friend’s postbox.

I slowly came a-pootling around the corner of one of those tiny lanes where you hope fervently that you won’t encounter any vehicles driving towards you, when one did. As it was being driven, in a wobbly uncertain line, by an elderly lady who peered nervously over the steering wheel, I thought it prudent to mount the nearest driveway, so that she could squeeze past with millimetres to spare.

Eeek!

As I unmounted the driveway and drove on, a curious sight appeared up ahead.

It was a man with a goose.

No, seriously.

A goose.

This is Cape Town. A sprawling urban metropolis, with (I think?) more than 6 million human inhabitants. And home to innumerable dogs, cats, and even feathered creatures, most of which tend to be confined to cages or homes. Near the townships, I’ve seen goats, chicken, sheep and cattle grazing the grass verges right next to the national highways, and exhausted cart horses trotting along suburban streets.

But a goose?

That was a new one.

Intrigued, I slowed to a crawl and stopped at the T-junction, where a series of speeding cars roared past. While I waited for a gap, I gazed, mesmerized, at the man and his goose.

Yep, it was definitely a real live, fluffy white goose. Complete with yellow beak and yellow feet. Waddling straight across the road and onto a little patch of green lawn, where it seemed to be grazing. Or something.

A car hooted impatiently behind me, so I reluctantly turned into the one-way and drove to my friend’s home. When I returned to my car, I was delighted to see the man and his goose walking along the pavement past me, so I could get another look. Several other cars passing by slowed to a crawl too, and the driver of one leaned out of the window to wave and shout a greeting.

The goose made an odd little honking sound, whenever the man walked a little too far ahead. He would slow down patiently and wait until it had caught up.

What a strange pair they made.

——-

This morning, I had walked to the Howard Centre to do some shopping. After my unpleasant encounter with the post office, I went to the public library to treat myself to a couple of good books.

As I emerged from the peace and quiet of that heaven for bibliophiles with my inner peace restored, I found myself right behind a man pushing a trolley, and being followed closely by a goose.

Yep, a goose with white, fluffy plumage and yellow feet. It honked softly whenever the man walked too far ahead.

A couple of shoppers froze in their tracks, their mouths falling open. Others, who had wandered past in a dwaal and not paying much attention to their surroundings, did a double-take. Most smiled broadly at the unusual sight.

It HAs to be the same man and the same goose.

Right?

I doubt that they walked here all the way from Claremont, so I can only imagine that she climbs in the car with him.

I wonder what the story is here….

I just wish I’d had my camera with me.

4 thoughts on “The man with the goose

  1. Regg, You are starting to live my life…a few weeks ago I had a petition and I am not making this up, regarding marrying a chicken. I can only imagine that things will get more enchanting as I age, I love your book

  2. Hi,
    Happen to come across your blog this evening. I am the ‘Goose Man’ that you happened to see in Harfield Village July 2009 and Howard Centre, Pinelands.

    I have been writing children true stories for a number of years about geese.

    We trade at Kirstenbosch Market ( the last one for the season is this Sunday) should you have time to pop in
    and visit us.

    • Hello Acton – How delightful to hear from you – thank you so much for leaving a comment! At last, the mystery is solved! 🙂 Unfortunately, I missed the last Kirstenbosch market, but I’ll keep an eye out for you at the markets from now on. Best of luck with your children’s stories.

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