Frank's Death at 9 Stuart Street

‘Mom! Dad’s in pain,’ said Mary, out of breath. She’d run up to the Caltex garage in Warden Street. Annie drove her back and took her husband Frank Bland to Frank Reitz, his friend, rugby team-mate and physician/surgeon. Gallstones, a gallbladder op needed, was the verdict. Mom was fifteen, ‘about to write my JC‘ –Continue reading “Frank's Death at 9 Stuart Street”

Boy Scouts – 1st Harrismith

Let’s paint the ’42nd’ up on 42nd Hill! Yeah! We’ll shoot up there with some whitewash and paint it quickly. We Boy Scouts needed a PROJECT – a ‘good deed’ – and this seemed a good one. Everyone would notice and be impressed by the shiny white freshly-whitewashed stones spelling out ’42nd’ compared to theContinue reading “Boy Scouts – 1st Harrismith”

Volkskool – Primary School

Mom went to this school, as did all three of us kids. Annie (Mom’s Mom) may have, too? Before us, Etienne Joubert went, and he remembers: Playing ‘Hasie’ under the Bluegums near the old Golf club house; Playing ‘Bok-bok’ behind the bottom class rooms; Eating ‘Manna’ under the Bluegums; Playing marbles in the main playground.Continue reading “Volkskool – Primary School”

Scottish Pith & Our Annie, Linguist

Steve Reed wrote: Gotta love the Scots . . … and their humour. Met up with Sam, an excellent Scotsman who came in for some glasses today. We were chatting about some of the female news anchors you see on TV. One of them, Virginia Trioli, we agreed is opinionated, superior, demanding and – fromContinue reading “Scottish Pith & Our Annie, Linguist”

A Harem in Harrismith?

You know that mansion Mal Jurie is building on his farm? It’s a harem! A what? A HAREM! A place where you keep lots of ladies in rooms and they lie around swimming and eating grapes and looking beautiful. When they do have clothes on its not clothes like your mother wears. He says he’sContinue reading “A Harem in Harrismith?”

from Buckland Downs to the 'Fitzstitute'

In October 1902, just four months after the end of the Anglo-Boer War, Sir Percy Fitzpatrick bought the farm Dreyersgeluk near Verkykerskop in the Harrismith district from the insolvent estate of Petrus Dreyer. Fitzpatrick got Herbert Baker to design a fine sandstone homestead and assist him in building it in 1903 ‘but without full professionalContinue reading “from Buckland Downs to the 'Fitzstitute'”

What’s a Hartebeest?

I’ve always been a bit confused about the hartebeest and the tsessebe, which I thought must be closely related. This weekend we saw a nice herd of hartebeest on the slopes of Platberg in the pine forest, so I thought I must look into this. And its quite complicated! As always with classification you getContinue reading “What’s a Hartebeest?”

Another Successful Campaign

A well-drilled, orderly troop of Queen and Empire Poms marched up Platberg. And when they were up they were up **. They reconnoitered the surrounding area looking for Boer commandos, ready to report any sightings to some grand old Duke, or Lord, or someone. Ridiculously dressed in anti-camouflage they stuck out like sore thumbs, butContinue reading “Another Successful Campaign”

Platberg Pilgrimage

Harrismith had the biggest influx of people in its history recently. Well, that would be my guess. I don’t think even the Rhino Rally ever brought in THIS amount of people! I mean those rowwe hard-drinking okes fit a maximum of two people on their vehicles . . . . . whereas I would guessContinue reading “Platberg Pilgrimage”

The Mass Choir Amasses

A large gathering of the Goor Koor – that assembly of happy inebriates led and accompanied by virtual-teetotaller Mary Methodist, our Mom, gathered together – assembled, amassed – on the occasion of Mom’s 45th birthday. Usually there were far fewer of them gathered at any one time, an occasional Lubricated Quartet perhaps, but this wasContinue reading “The Mass Choir Amasses”