Butthead’s Beat: Sheppie survives splash attack

In the nick of time, a grader opened the mouth of the Mzimkhulu River on Monday, saving the Port Shepstone Country Club from flooding for the umpteenth time. It might also have saved the coast from another dose of salt in the water.

TOUCH wood (No 1 or No 3)… the 102-year-old Port Shepstone Country Club escaped the wrath of Thor this time round and (hopefully) there will be golf as usual by today or the next.

Sheppie is normally the first victim when the heavens open up like they did this week, but years of struggling against the mighty Mzimkhulu River has made those in charge oh so much wiser.

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Thanks to a really good relationship between Ugu, Water and Environmental Affairs and the club, permission was granted for the river mouth to be opened on Monday.

If not, these heavy rains could well have been the end of the facility as no insurance company will cover it for flood damage any longer.

OK, maybe there was a bit of luck involved because no one could really have predicted that the very next day ‘somebody up there’ would finally wake up on the wrong side of the bed and break the drought. Thank you, sir/madam, but there was no need to give us a year’s supply of water all in one fell swoop(sh).

A gentle drizzle stretched out over a longer period would have been more welcome, even by Ugu, which has been struggling since December to quench the thirst of many thousands of us. (And, Ugu, please don’t tell us that reservoirs are still empty now. That won’t wash.)

Back to the country club, the course has been flooded on countless occasions because it sits in a flood plain and the Mzimkhulu has often claimed it as its own.

Virtually the entire clubhouse was submerged in 1959. The water level displayed on a plaque in the hall is higher than two metres.

Another occasion, Butthead even paddled a canoe up to the third green.

On the plus side, thanks to a clever system of sluice gates, berms and landscaping, Sheppie probably drains and dries out long before most other golf courses when hit by torrents of rain. Ironically, businessman Johnny Beekman drives the club’s flood strategy and he is sponsoring Business Day tomorrow (Friday).

Some might find this distasteful, but it’s good medicine to laugh in the face of adversity and there were memes galore during the chaos which ‘rained’ here this week.

A ‘gurgling’ voice message, apparently by a mayor, went viral, somebody also posted a photograph of an ark captioned ‘the new Uber’ and then there were rumours that traffic police were stopping people on the highway, asking for… skippers’ licences.

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Bevis Fairbrother
Branch Manager

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