It was schoolfriend Koos Beukes’ birthday today and I remembered he’s from Aberfeldy, so I asked him about a half-remembered memory that popped up on thinking ‘Aberfeldy:’
‘Who were the rooinek ladies that farmed out your way again?’
‘Natalie and Phyllis Arbuckle on Somerby,’ said Koos. He actually now owns the farm! He bought it from them around 1986 and Natalie then moved to White River to stay with Phyllis’ daughter Aileen.
Somerby was renowned for a big dam known for very good fishing. Fishermen actually paid to fish there! Natalie charged R2 a rod and donated the proceeds to her church. She was a staunch Methodist, and her R2’s probably doubled the takings!!
Mom says Natalie was in elder sister Pat’s class in school, so like Pat Bland, she was probably born in 1925. She remained single all her life.
Natalie died in 2010. The big damwall broke that year and Koos surmises the knowledge of that loss may have contributed to her death. Her ashes were scattered on Somerby.
rooinek – Engels; English-speaking, really; usually not English-from-England
feature pic: The bridge over the Elands River at Aberfeldy
Mom Mary fondly says bachelor Louis Schoeman was quite important and quite full of himself – ‘He thought he was the Prince Imperial!’ she says teasingly. ‘Louis the Seventeenth,’ she says, adding one to the last of that French line of kings.
‘He played polo, you know, and that was very posh. He walked with a regal bearing. So when he walked in to Havengas bookstore one day and threw down a document on the counter in front of Dad saying, ‘Pieter! Sign here!’ Dad said ‘What for? I don’t sign anything unless I know what I’m signing!’ all the assembled men’s heads turned to Louis, sensing drama.’
‘I’m getting married!’ he announced, ‘to Cathy, the sister at the hospital.’ Well, like sympathetic, caring, thoughtful bachelors will do when a friend is in need, the men roared with laughter and teased Louis unmercifully!
‘And you know what?’ says Mom Mary: ‘It was the best thing that ever happened to him! Cathy bore them five lovely children and was a wonderful companion, mother and home-maker. Wonderful sense of fun and humour, and they were very happy together.’
Wild-haired Kathy Putterill ran a nursery school in her home. Their house was on a long thin plot on two levels. The lower level had Shetland ponies on it. And I think she had dogs. I seem to remember small dogs.
That’s about all I remember. They had a funny car. Right? Kathy enjoyed a smoke and a drink?
Their house (her husband was Leonard, right?) was where Warden Street T-boned into Murray Street. Below them Murray Street got steep as it rolled down, kinking left just before it crossed McKechnie Street and ducked through the subway under the railway line. The house is gone now.
Leon Fluffy Crawley and Noeline Bester remembered the ponies! They say Fridays was horseriding. Noeline says it was the highlight of the week and the only reason she hung in there! Fluffy tells how his gardener used to accompany him to school on his go-cart all the way up from Garvock Street – going home would have been easy: downhill!
Fluffy remembers Kathy smoking, and says sometimes you’d get there in the morning and have to wait outside while Kathy got ready – late start!