An Inordinate Fondness for Beetles

Asked what could be inferred about the Creator from a study of His works, British scientist and naturalist JBS Haldane replied: “The Creator, if he existed, had an inordinate fondness for beetles” Now it’s true he meant the one on the left, not the one on the right, but still . . My gran Annie’sContinue reading “An Inordinate Fondness for Beetles”

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”

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”

Caltex Calenders

Annie had a Caltex garage; Dad worked for Annie; Louis Schoeman traveled for Caltex. Between 1962 and 1971 Caltex gave cloth wildlife calenders as their gift to their filling station owners. Dad (now 96) says Louis would ‘forget’ to hand them out and he would insist on seeing what was in his boot. And there,Continue reading “Caltex Calenders”

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”

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”

Petronella van Heerden

Steve Reed sent a picture of old American cars in Aussie .. I wrote: These lovely old motorised wrecks remind me of Swinburne character Abe Sparks’ Rolls Royce bakkie. And that reminds me of Nell van Heerden. Dr Anna Petronella van Heerden, Harrismith’s first lady doctor around 1916 . . and later South Africa’s firstContinue reading “Petronella van Heerden”

Arthur Kennedy

Arthur Kennedy arrived in Harrismith like a dwarrelwind. Why we were so lucky as to get Arthur to our town I don’t know, but I think his wife Zita had family here. I think she was related to the Kerkenberg mountain vd Bosch’s. He brought an exciting new venture to the dorp: A new motelContinue reading “Arthur Kennedy”

Mom & Annie’s Durban Sanity Trips

Off they’d go in Mary’s pale blue VW Beetle OHS 155. Off to Durbs-by-the-Sea, the Lonsdale Hotel or the Four Seasons for a whole week! Might that be Mary’s VW outside the Lonsdale in this picture? Three cars behind the Borgward? The cost of their stay: R2.95 each per day including meals. Mom thinks Randolph StillerContinue reading “Mom & Annie’s Durban Sanity Trips”

Pony with Pleasure

Sister Sheila sent this lovely old photo – she thinks ca 1920 – of Jack Shannon and our Mom Mary’s cousin Peter Bell on their ponies on Kindrochart, the Shannon farm on the Oliviershoek road and near Mom’s parents Frank and Annie Bland’s farm Nuwejaarspruit, on the Witzieshoek road. Sterkfontein Dam now lies between theContinue reading “Pony with Pleasure”