Flea markets are to flee from. My Heidi begs to differ, finding them fascinating. Over the years I've been seeking excuses to stay away from stalls overflowing with items discarded by their owners who evidently consider them redundant. In the South African context, giving them junk status.
My pal Theo was not so lucky. No sport on TV, with only burning tyres, funerals, Zondo and Zuma filling the screen. So no excuse, and off to the flea market he and Marietjie go - together with hordes of others. They leave early without having breakfast as parking space at the venue is limited. Not a good start with a growling tummy.
They had hardly begun down the first of many Scavenger Aisles, when Marietjie is attracted to a stall lit up with jewellery. There's nothing like fake stones sparkling in the sun's morning rays. "Ooh, look at these earrings - they'll match my sky-blue necklace" (handed down from her great-grandmother and too heavy to wear and nothing with which to match it - until now, that is).
Theo says the design of the ear pieces resembles upside down locusts, the wings of which must've put painful pressure on many a wearer's collarbone. "And probably drew blood when smooching too vigorously", he says, giggling.
Since then the locusts have been nestling in their mutual "debris drawer" in the kitchen. (Evidently their daughters laughed hysterically at the sight of their mom showing off what they described as sprinkaan-ore).
Back to the market. When Theo's tummy says genoeg is genoeg, he insists on finding something to fill her up. That's one thing about flea markets, there's always an abundance of eating stalls (probably the main attraction in the first place). So off they go seeking one churning out sarmies.
He can already taste the delicious bacon and egg with the yoke making rivulets down his long fingers to suck off. They pass Paula's Pancake Emporium, Boet's Boerewors Bonanza, and numerous other providers of a myriad gastronomic take-outs. But no sarmies. They nearly call it a day when the telltale smell of bacon hits Theo's proboscis.
They literally follow their noses as the stall isn't sighted. After a long search they find Ben's Bountiful Breakfast Basket.
Home and dry.
Ben displays obvious contempt when Theo orders his favourite. "Nee, man, here I serve real plates of food. Bacon, eggs, boerewors, pork sausages, chips, tomato and lettuce. Don't have time to make a simple sandwich. Jammer, here we graze, not pick like a fowl".
Hard to believe, eh? Ben has all the ingredients for a super bacon and egg sarmie, but finds it beneath him to provide arguably one of the most popular snacks among carnivores.
Owners of the marketplace would do themselves a favour by earmarking a stall specifically for sandwiches - and tender for hirers with a taste for the simple things in life.
I'm personally acquainted with a retired chef, not only known for his culinary expertise, but for his version of an extraordinary bacon-and-egg sarmie. And a handsome presence for lady carnivores as a bonus.
Had Travelling Chef John been around on the day with the couple, Theo says he would've stuck around longer, giving Marietjie the chance to continue scavenging. And would've probably gone back there with her in the future. But no longer.
He reckons he can't suffer the sight of retro bric-a-brac without an intake of cholesterol-rich protein.