Stone animals, mid-pose, are gathered in a courtyard and in the corner a tall lamp post is glowing with a red light.
It looks like a scene from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
But while there may be something magical about the concrete ornaments strewn around the gravelly courtyard of Grahamstown’s Style Decor, there is nothing sinister about the place.
A stone patterned path with large footprints (it is clear now where the large feet at the fresh water spring came from) leads into a semi circle display of statutes. (Candice, the proprietor, is standing next to the water fountain.)
Sunlight streams down on an angelic pair of cherubs cuddled on a stone bench. A pair of dolphins – captured mid-dive – have wide beatific smiles on their faces. And there is the ubiquitous boy urinating into a fountain.
But most realistic of all is the trio of tortoises – one black, one pink and the third a natural grey – clustered at the foot of the fountain, still and unmoving.
And then I turn and Janus-like, I see that the right side of the yard houses as many different shapes and sizes of tombstones as there were animals and mythical creatures on the other. Unsurprisingly, this side of Style Decor shares a fence with Siyabonga Funeral Home.
I shouldn’t be surprised. Funerals are big business everywhere; and definitely much bigger than the demand for quaint garden ornaments etched in stone.