By the rivers of babble-on, there I sat down


By the rivers of babble-on, there I sat down

People are the worst, I thought. People should just shut the hell up. Then I thought again

The thing about people is they never stop talking.

I was at the Bath of Aphrodite this week, on a hot hillside on the Akamas peninsula, high above a lovely clear cove where a gull bobbing on the surface casts a sharp dark shadow on the white-pebbled sea floor. The Bath is a cool, natural grotto fed by several small mountain springs and overhung by a vast spreading fig tree as old as time, and back in those days Aphrodite, goddess of love, would come here in the evenings to get her kit off and ablute in peace and quiet. That’s right, I said ablute. Even goddesses have to ablute.

One day, the story goes, the handsome Adonis was doing some hunting in the neighbourhood and discovered the goddess soaping up under the waterfall. He was instantly smitten – judging by the statues she was quite a looker – but it was also a hot day so he took a drink from the pool, and that really did it for him. To this day, I’m told, in some parts of Cyprus – and probably some parts of Cape Town’s northern suburbs – newly-weds drink each other’s bathwater as a sign of mutual devotion...

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