Leon Fluffy Crawley

Talking about the magic photo of the Soap Box Derby on 42nd Hill with Fluffy’s Dad Charlie in it, we got into an extended email conversation: Fluff: Amazing the dress code!!! Me: Yes, from kaalvoet kid to full jacket & tie. And three ‘hoeds’. And a cop. Even the most casual of the ‘racing drivers’Continue reading “Leon Fluffy Crawley”

Annie’s Abodes

Annie was one of the seven Royal Bains in Harrismith. She was born in the cottage behind the hotel where her parents Stewart and Janet raised all the kids. Her daughter Mary says they were Ginger, Stewart, Carrie, Jessie, Annie, Hector and Bennett. Only Hector got off his bum and got a job – heContinue reading “Annie’s Abodes”

Granny Bland

Part of the stone wall which surrounded Granny Bland’s home in Stuart Street, Harrismith; and the oak tree her grand-daughter Pat Bland planted. Our great-grandmother ‘Granny Bland’ was a Caskie who married a Bland who begat Frank (JFA) Bland who married Annie Watson Bain. Bain Sisters Annie Bland and Jessie Bell lived there with GrannyContinue reading “Granny Bland”

Up the Creek

I can’t really say I was born ‘up Shit Creek without a paddle,’ but I can say that mere days after I was born I was taken home to our house on a plot on the banks of Shit Creek. And that it would be ten years or so before I owned my first paddle.Continue reading “Up the Creek”

Victor Simmonds, Artist

Dad: “Victor Simmonds was a lovely chap and a very good artist. He was a little man, grey, a lot older than me. What? How old? Well, I was probably 35 then and he was grey. He was probably 50. He lodged with Ruth Wright on the plot next door to ours, Glen Khyber. IContinue reading “Victor Simmonds, Artist”

Sgt Culling on Kings Hill

One of Annie’s workers at the Central Service Station on the corner of Warden street and Southey street – the ‘Caltex garage’ as we knew it – was called Johannes. Because he looked so different from the other petrol attendants, we learnt his surname. He was Johannes Culling. Today I found out a bit more:Continue reading “Sgt Culling on Kings Hill”

Local Knowledge

Another of Dad’s tales: Koos Mof van Wyk was a bachelor who lived with his Ma out on the Kestell road. One evening he drove home and a Joburg driver drove right up his bum as he slowed suddenly on the main road in order to turn in at his gate. The Joburg oke wasContinue reading “Local Knowledge”

Old Oak Desk

Long long ago Annie said to me I should get her beloved husband Frank’s oak desk. We never knew Frank. He died when Mom was just fifteen or so, still in school. Annie had five grandkids and I suppose her reasoning was the only grandson should get it? So now Mom’s in Azalea Gardens andContinue reading “Old Oak Desk”

Our Automotive Designer

Harrismith had a very successful sportscar designer! Sheila reminded me on her facebook. He was a big mate of Polly du Plessis. They called each other Sissel Pud (du Plessis backwards) and Tweedie (de Witt backwards). Verster was captain of the rugby team and Mary Bland’s boyfriend. He dopped a few years and was inContinue reading “Our Automotive Designer”

Tin Ceilings

A. Ross & Co. General Dealers in Harrismith had gone phut, sold out to OK Bazaars. Their big old building was being gutted. Dad enquired about the ‘pressed steel’ ceilings* and was told ‘You can have the ceilings gratis if you strip them and remove them within a week.’ He bought six ‘nail puller pliers’Continue reading “Tin Ceilings”