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1_Harrismith 2_Free State / Vrystaat 7_Confessions 8_Nostalgia Wildlife, Game Reserves

Safe as a Guinea

On Tabbo’s Warden farm ‘Rust.’ Mine host Tabbo is second from right, yet another ale in hand.

old-harrismith-warden
– Tony Porrell, Koos Swanepoel, Nev Shave, Charlie Deane, Dirk Odendaal, Ian Fyvie, Rob Spilsbury – Nick Leslie, Doug Wright, John Venning, Mike Curnow, Tabs Fyvie and Guy Kirk –
– front: Gillon Thake – son of Doug Wright’s sister, Yomi Thake –

None of those guineas were killed by me (second from left) with my old man’s cheap Russian shotgun, even though the barrel was smoking. A marksman I am not! I was ‘Rust’-y.

Kai Reitz once tried to cure my handicap of not being able to hit a cow’s arse with a banjo. On his farm, The Bend on the Tugela river outside Bergville, he gently lobbed up big sandclods in a ploughed field and I filled the air surrounding them with birdshot. Then they plonked to earth. Thud! Unharmed.

It was for naught – he had to give up.

With the last two shells Kai took the shotgun. I hurled two empty shell cases as hard as I could. Blap! Blap! he hit both of them. Bang went the gun and bang went my chance of using faulty Russian alignment as an excuse.

Bloody guineas better watch out, I’ll bring my mate next time!

~~~~~ooo000ooo~~~~~

As always, Sheila has the details:

This was taken on 1 September 1974, at a shoot at the Fyvies’ farm ‘Rust’ near Warden. According to my 1974 diary, we had had a wonderful party at Nick & Anne Leslie’s farm ‘Heritage’ the night before – “Had delicious supper. Danced. Sat & chatted” most of us spent the night there, then moved over to Rust the next day, where the guys “shot about 60 fowls.”

~~~~~ooo000ooo~~~~~

Categories
2_Free State / Vrystaat 8_Nostalgia Family

Dougie Wright

. . 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 . . . .

Old Harrismith Warden.jpg
Fifth from the right wearing a black beret

The rest, L to R:

Tony Porrell, Koos Swanepoel, Nev Shave, Charlie Deane, Dirk Odendaal, Ian Fyvie, Rob Spilsbury, Nick Leslie, Doug Wright wearing the black beret, John Venning, Mike Curnow, Tabs Fyvie and Guy Kirk

~~~oo0oo~~~

Other Dougie things I remember:

  • ‘Let’s play 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 beautiful Kak Spruit as it tumbled down from Platberg on its way to the Wilge River. Glen Khyber was below Platberg’s steep, narrow, stony Khyber Pass.

Sheila remembers:

  • 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

1. Birdhaven – the ruins; 2. Glen Khyber – Doug’s cottage the green roof;

3. Jack Levick’s plot; 4. Kakspruit

~~~oo0oo~~~

soutpiel – English-speaking South African; said to have one foot in SA, the other foot in England, his penis hanging in the sea, so ‘salt penis’

Bok Bok Staan Styf! Hoeveel fingers op jou lyf? – weird game where you jump on each others’ backs! amiright?

pennetjie – game where you scratch a hole in the ground and use a stick to prevent your opponent from tossing his stick into the hole; amiright?

Kak Spruit – Shit Creek; Stream flowing down from the top of Platberg past Dougie’s plot Glen Khyber, then past our plot Birdhaven