” . . and over the hills lay long fields of barley and of rye
and through the fields a road runs by . . .”
Douglas Wright Esq would wax poetical after a few beers, quoting Alfred, Lord Tennyson out on the Vrystaat vlaktes. I spose that’s what happens if you get sent to a soutpiel school in the colonies.
I see now he was misquoting Tennyson (or maybe I misremember and he was spot on?). Anyway, I prefer his version. It’s hardwired in my brain now.
In my mind’s eye dear ole Dougie is wandering across the veld with a shotgun in the crook of his arm, deerstalker on his head, waxing forth . . . .
Fifth from the right wearing a black beret.
Other Dougie things I remember:
- Bok Bok Staan Styf! Hoeveel fingers op jou lyf?
- “We must play pennetjie!” (urgently suggested after a few beers. We never did).
- His fox terrier — (name?).
- His cottage on Glen Khyber, their plot in the shadow of Platberg, away from the big house. It was right on the verdant banks of a little stream that flowed down from Khyber Pass into the semi-beautiful Kakspruit as it tumbled down from Platberg on its way to the Wilge River.
- Doug’s story about Tabs Fyvie when Tabs was little: Dougie asked him “Did you have any rain?” and Tabs answered “Not much but they were big drops”.
- How we used to walk to Glen Khyber from Birdhaven and wake Doug up in his cottage (him probably hung over) and Barbara would show him her whispy ponytail at eye level as he lay in bed and say “Look Doug, my ponytail!”.
- Birdhaven – the ruins
- Glen Khyber – Doug’s cottage the green roof
- Jack Levick’s plot