Sheila sent me an old picture of the du Plessis’ beautiful pool in Harrismith. Joan and Jannie built a big one as they had three amazing swimmers in their stable. As far as I know, Lynn, Pierre and Sonja all represented Vrystaat and South Africa (or at least went to ‘Top Ten’ where the ten fastest swimmers in the country all get into one pool and then see who can get out first on the far side in the big final national gala).
Here’s Gary Beaton’s butt, Pierre’s leg and a du Plessis poodle with Platberg in the background. Plus the big wooden fence shielding the pool from Arthur Kennedy’s famous triangular wood and glass house next door.
Which reminded me:
We painted that fence with creosote. Child labour unpaid by Jannie. Pierre, Tuffy and me, topless in our swimming cozzies. It was great fun. When one of us (must have been Pierre, he was usually our chief instigator) ‘mistakenly’ painted another on his bare skin, it was hilarious. Retaliation followed. More hilarity.
And then it started to burn. Really, really burn. Creosote on your skin is unfunny. We ended up in the pool scratching and rubbing and wiser. We’d learnt a chemistry lesson.
Fifty years later they invented the internet and now I know this:
Coal tar creosote is a mixture of hundreds of chemicals in a thick and oily liquid. People need to be trained and certified to use creosote. Creosote is also a pesticide. A pesticide is a substance that kills pests.
So Pierre was in real danger there.