Kameel Stoepstorie: Naamborde en Padpredikante wat elk sy eie storie vertel

Die lewe in die stad is altyd so vining. Jy moet jou haas van die een uiterste na die ander kant. Op die Platteland is dit heel ‘n ander storie. Hier is ‘n ander rustigheid wat ‘n invloed op almal het. Jy kom waar jy wil wees op jou eie pas. Jy maak gebruik van wat beskikbaar is. Die afgelope twee weke het ons ook hierdie spesiale bederf beleef. Die man wat vriendelik wuif maar sy fiets penorent hou. Ons het op stofpaaie gery, dan weer op ‘n heel oordentlike grondpad met kareebome langs die kant. Die Karee’s laat jou so half-en-half beskut voel teen die elemente daarbuite. Ons het op ‘n twee-spoor pad gery. Hier het almal tyd om te groet, beleefheid en oordentlikheid is aan die orde van die dag. Daar was natuurlik ook ‘n hoofweg en ‘n hobbelrige teerpad. Dan is daar natuurlik Randall wat sy vervoermiddel op die spore hou.

Ooral langs die paaie kom ons padpredikante teë. Elkeen dui ‘n rigting aan maar so ook vertel elkeen dat die pad na êrens lei. Die name laat ons glimlag want daar sal verseker nuwe stories wees om te vertel. Nuwe geleenthede en nuwe wind rigtings om in te slaan. Ons gaan nog baie rondrits dit is verseker.

Wanneer die son water trek is dit vir eers tyd om na Kameel terug te keer. Terug na die Huise tussen Treine en tussen Spore.

Tot volgende keer

Hennie en Sandra

Kameel Stoepstorie: Devondale tot Kameel

Al ooit gehoor van Devondale?

Die stasie is 25km vanaf Kameel. Vandag is daar min oor van die eens tuiste en besigheid van my Oupa Victor en Ouma Hester. Na hulle huwelik het hulle Devondale Store besit en in die huis langs die winkel gewoon. In die goeie dae van Devondale was daar die watertenks waar die stoomtreine water gevat het. Ek onthou nog die ou Convent wat een van die groot geboue in die omgewing was.

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Wanneer daar by die familie op Kameel gaan kuier is, het oupa en ouma met die motorfiets en side-car gery.

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Oupa Victor op die motorfiets reg om die pad te vat Kameel toe, maardaar was darem tyd vir ‘n foto sessie.
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Dan was dit Ouma Hester se beurt in die syspan. Sou wat wou gee om daardie hoed van nader te kon besigtig.
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Ouma op die motorfiets. Kyk die leer kamaste. In my opinie sien ons altyd ons oumas en oupas as baie streng maar as ek so na die foto’s kyk haal ek my hoed vir hulle af. Niks kon hulle onderkry nie.

Ek is seker hulle het by al die bekendes van die omgewing gekuier. Aunt Ethel (oupa se suster) en Uncle Rex Collins het, net oorkant die spoor op Devondale, gewoon. Ek is seker dat daar ook gekuier is by Uncle Alfi and Ant Nellie Fincham, wat op Kinderdam gewoon het. Ook onthou ek die Starkes van Curnow. Daar was die Barlow’s (my ouma en ouma aan moederskant) van Langverwag.

Pa Gerald het altyd vertel van die spook op Devondale – ouma en oupa het na die 4 uur tee gaan stap. Toe hulle terug kom was die tafeldoek onder die koppies en teepot uitgetrek en bo-oor alles gegooi, sonder dat iets uit sy plek was. Daar was natuurlik die fosfor-ligte op die drade waarvan Ma Floss vertel het.

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Groot-Oupa Alfred Ernest is in 1937 oorlede en Oupa en Ouma Fincham het toe Kameelbult toe getrek.
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Die dae op die plaas was gevul met daaglikse plaas aktiwiteite. Die eerste trekker was ‘n groot aanwins.
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Die dorsmasjien

Kameel het ‘n winkel gekry – Mr McKay se winkel. Mr McKay was natuurlik Tannie Glen se pa. Hy het vir jare die winkel besit, maar die beste was die stories oor die mak kraanvoël, Jock, wat almal gejaag het.

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Oom Ernest en Tannie Glen op hul troudag. Tannie Glen was ‘n legende in die plaaslike poskantoor waar sy vir jare gewerk het.

Die winkel is later jare deur Oom Daan en tant Lizzi bedryf. Nadat hulle vertrek het, het oom Russel en tannie Corrie Olewage die winkel bedryf. Later jare sou my ouers die winkel bedryf. Nadat hulle genoeg gehad het, het Patrick, my broer die winkel bedryf en later jare het hy dit verhuur. Toe die laaste huurders van die winkel hom, na vele kere gesoebat het om die winkel terug te neem, het hy die bul by die horings gepak en die deure van Wilrick Kontrei winkel geopen.

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Kameel se “Mall” ‘n kontrei-winkel, posagentskap, ATM en die bottelstoor

Daar was ook die Italiaanse kryggevangenes wat op die plaas kom uithelp het na die Tweede Wêreld Oorlog. Pa Gerald het hulle by Zonderwater gevangenes gaan haal en weer teruggevat. Renato het vir baie jare kontak met die familie gehou.

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My Pa, Gerald staan links
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Pa Gerald, Oupa Victor, Ouma Hester, Jean voor en die Italiaaners.

Oupa Victor is in 1954 oorlede en ouma het die Cafee langs die treinspoor begin.

Kameel is een van die dae ek en Hennie se nuwe tuiste ons hoop om in die voetspore van ons ouers, groot-ouers en geliefdes te kan stap.

Tot ‘n volgende keer

Sandra en Hennie

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Kameel Stoepstorie: Kameel Huise tussen treine en tussen spore

Liewe Ma – Florence of soos ons haar geken het as Floss het 5 huise langs die spoorlyn op Kameel besit. My Pa – Gerald het die huise op 9 Maart 1999 gekoop van die destydse Suid-Afrikaanse Spoorweë en Hawens.

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Die spoorlyn tussen Vryburg en Mafeking is eers in 1894 gebou, ná Stellaland en Goosen nie meer bestaan het nie, Cecil John Rhodes, het toentertyd reeds ‘n droom gehad om ’n spoorlyn van die Kaap na Cairo te bou, en hy wou hê dat dit deur die area moes loop want hy het die De Beers Diamantmynmaatskappy gestig en wou ‘n treinroete na die noorde laat loop sonder om deur die ZAR se grondgebied te gaan.

Kameelstasie was dus deel van die Kaap na Cairo projek en is in 1894 op my groot-ouers se plaas Kameelbult gebou. In 1999 is my Pa genader om die huise terug te koop en die titelakte nr T796/1999 is geregistreer op Florence se naam.

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Kameel is een van daardie klein dorpies op die R377. Dit was eens ‘n besige spoorlyn wat graan en reisigers vervoer het. Daar is ‘n laerskool en twee kooperasies waar jy saam met die boere van die omgewing kan koffie drink en die weer bespreek. Kameel Rust en Vrede gaste akkommodasie is naby die ou Kameel treinstasie geleë. Ongelukkig is die ou stasie gebou gesloop. Tot jou verbasing sal jy Wilrick Kontrei winkel met ‘n bottelstoor ook hier kry. Hier kan jy die nodige proviant kry. Met sekerheid kan ons hul vetkoek aanbeveel en saam met ‘n koue Lager uit die bottelstoor is dit ‘n wenner.

‘n Stukkie geskiedenis van Kameelstasie wat ek by Jean, my Pa se suster, gekry het. Sy het by die stasie gewerk vanaf 1953.

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Die ou Stasiegebou was vol verrassings. Kan dink aan al die papiere wat onder in die kelder gestoor was. Dis ‘n deel van die geskiedenis wat summier verbrand is toe die stasiegebou moedswillig gesloop is. Die ou koper traliewerk en daardie tipiese wagkamer. Treine is daardie dae per morsekode gereguleer. Daar was die pragtige drie-hoekige keramiek waterhouer. Kaartjies is in ‘n kas gehou en die datumstempel van yster moes daagliks op gedateer word. Die Ploegbaas het in die eerste huis gewoon, die ene waarvoor die naam van die stasie staan. Langs die huis was sink kwartiere wat soos ‘n “hostel” was waar die ongetroudes gewoon het. Die Ploegbaas het met ‘n Pomptrollie die spoorlyn ondersoek en herstel.

Oor die jare het die soutpanne by Stella bekende ontdekkingsreisigers en sendeling as besoekers, soos David Livingston en Robert Moffat, gehad. Groot-Oupa Alfred Ernest het op Lonely Hill gebly. Lonely Hill se huis is vandag nog daar – natuurlik erg verwaarloos so op die kant van die soutpanne. Sout is aangery, met donkie-waens na Kameel waar dit dan op die spoortrokke gelaai is. Daardie jare was dit ‘n hout-en-pale gebou Vandag is die soutpanne nie meer produktief nie.

Daar was soms tot 20 busse wat personeel en goedere vervoer het. Die busse het die roomkanne van die plase opgelaai en dit is dan na Kameel gebring waar dit, per spoor, na Vryburg Romerye vervoer is. Die “dubble loaves” was busse wat passasiers en goedere vervoer het. Daar was sitplekke aan die voorkant vir passasiers en dan agter die afskorting is goedere gelaai en na die stasie gebring. Die room en eiers is in die swartroomkamer geberg totdat die trien dit na Vryburg vervoer het. Dit was ‘n soort koelkamer.

Simon wat vir elke okkasie ‘n spesiale uniform aangetrek het. Hy was soort van die “meeter and greeter” van alles wat op- of afgelaai moes word.

Die vuuremmers het aan hake aan die stoepkant van die stasiegebou gehang. Dit was gevul was met sand.

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Oom Kleintjie Kleynhans en sy vrou Tant Gertie was van die eerste stasievoorman. Hulle het in die huis waar Ma Floss gewoon het, hulle intrek geneem. Hul Boarder Kollie het oral met hul saam gegaan. Tant Gertie, of soos sy by die laerskool bekend was, tannie Klein, was een van die eerste onderwysers by die laerskool op Kameel.

Daar is tuine om die stasiegebou gemaak en elke jaar was daar kompetisies tussen die stasies om te bepaal wie se tuin die mooiste was, maar dit was nie altyd net werk nie. Almal het na die jaarlikse vuurbol gooi uitgesien. Dit was die tyd wanneer oud en jonk die vuurbolle in die lug bewonder het.

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Stukkie angswekkende geskiedenis was toe die dinamiet trein ontspoor het tussen Kameel en Wirsing-halte. Dit was ‘n groot en gevaarlike gebeurtenis. Die ploegbaas moet die trein dag en nag bewaak.
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Die spoorpredikant lees 805myl van Kaapstad met ‘n hoogte van 4449 voet.

In 2001 stuur Ma Floss vir ons ‘n brief en daarin skryf sy dat haar skrywe kom van die huise tussen treine en tussen spore. Ma het na haar hemelse woning verhuis op Kersdag 2017.

Ma Floss en Pa Gerald het in stasiemeesterhuis gewoon, sedert 2001. Na Pa sy aardse woning verlaat het, het Ma aangebly. Sy was sommer die Stasiemeester of is dit dalk die Burgermeester. Haar tuin was haar trots en menige dae het sy rustig in haar tuin gewoel en gewerk.

Nou is dit ons en Ma se huise en ons het dit goed gedink om die klein kompleksie na ma te vernoem op ‘n heel ander wyse.

Kameel : Huise tussen Treine en tussen Spore

Baie dae het ons die treinspore ge-ondersoek en bewonder. Onthou nog ons eerste besoek aan ons ouers toe Ma verskoning maak vir die klein veldmuisie wat in die huis is. Twee uur die oggend word ons wakker van ‘n snaakse geluid. Dit was nie die veldmuis nie maar ‘n trein wat verby gegaan het. Nodeloos om te sê die veldmuis het ons nooit gepla nie.

Ek onthou Pa Gerald se ontsteltenis toe hulle een middag van Vryburg gekom het en daar was twee trekkers met kettings aan wat die stasiegebou platgetrek het. Die kelder met al die papier van baie jare is aan die brand gesteek en dit het vir dae gebrand. Pa kon nooit ophou praat hoe onnodig dit was nie. Ja vandag lê daar nog steeds van die bourommel van die stasiegebou. Soos dit in ons tye gaan word dinge verwoes maar daar bly altyd ‘n getuienis agter.

Kameel stasie

Ek onthou ouma Hester se Café reg langs die spoorlyn. Dit was die plek waar ons menige dae na skool gaan kuier het. Ouma het so ‘n glas toonbank gehad met ons gunsteling lekkers agter die glas. Daar was appelkose, Wilson toffies en suurtjies. Elke jaar wanneer ouma op vakansie gegaan het, het Ma die Café ge’run’. Dit was vet pret vir ons Finchampies. Wanneer daar ‘n groot bederf was het ons Marie beskuitjies met kondensmelk gekry. Paul wat die kok was het ons bederf met allerhande lekker geroosterde broodjies. Ouma se stoele en tafels het nuwe tafeldoeke en kussingtjies gekry en ons kon sommer so tussen die broodjies huiswerk doen. Later van jare het die kafee toegemaak en die is ook gesloop.

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Klein tyd het ons met die trein gery tot by Devondale. Vir die lekkerte het Ma vir ons padkos gepak. Dan was ons passasiers op die trein na die Landsdienskampe van daardie jare. Jy moes jou eie bedgoed saamvat. Ma het ons toegerus met sulke “fancy” kombers bande. Nogal egte leer. Die nagmerie het begin wanneer ons moes terugkom en die beddegoed kon nie weer in die bande pas nie. Dit was altyd ‘n spesiale uitstappie. Die tikketak van die treinwiele op die spoor is iets wat altyd met my sal bly.

In ons kinderdae was Oom Jan en Ta’Bettie die Stasiemeester. Die hele familie was groot vriende en kuiertye is aangedui met die rooi en wit ranggeer ligte. Wanneer die rooi lig geskyn het het hulle nie kom kuier nie, maar wanneer die wit lig geskyn het was hulle oppad.

Het jy al ooit na die detail van ‘n spoorlyn gekyk? Elke stuk yster vertel sy eie storie.

Vandag is die treine min en is daar vele stiltes tussen die kom en gaan van die treine. Die wissels en afstandborde vertel hul eie storie

Ek onthou die dag toe Ma en Tant Lena die Golf op die grondpad omgegooi het. Dit was naby Devondale. Ma het ‘n lelike sny op haar kop gehad. Tant Lena het die blikkie koeldrank op haar sakdoek gegooi en probeer om die bloeding te stop. Dit was tervergeefs. Daarna het die Oud Cologne te voorskyn gekom en dit het in ‘n mate gehelp. Tant Lena het haar sakdoek by die venster uitgewaai toe sy hoor dat daar ‘n trein aankom. Die treindrywer het op Kameel vir Pa laat weet dat daar ‘n Golf langs die pad op sy dak lê.

Tannie Glen het die poskantoor beman vir baie jare. Dit was ‘n een man poskantoor en sy het alles gedoen. Onthou die koper pype wat bo-op die toonbank was. Terwyl Tannie Glen daar gewerk het het sy gebrei. Haar dogters het die mooiste handgebreide sokkies skool toe gedra en in die winter het hulle fair isle truie gedra.

Die ou spoorkruising was omtrent daar waar die Eskom paal vandag staan. Ons het as kinders graag op die wa en trekker na die stasie gery. Op ‘n dag het ek en Ouboet die wolbale – wat oppad was na die goedereloods – vergesel. Die wolbale moes per trein na Port Elizabeth gaan waar die jaarlikse wolveiling gehou is. Die wolbale is afgelaai en ons het die pad terug plaas toe gevat. Janboel was die Fordson trekker se bestuurder. Daar was twee treine wat reeds in die stasie gestaan het. Stadig het die wa en trekker oor die spore gekruip en skielik “out of nowhere” het ‘n derde trein die stasie ingekom. Kardoef en die Fordson was in twee. Middeldeur. Gelukkig het niemand seergekry nie. Ek glo nie eers ek en ouboet het regtig geweet wat gebeur het nie.

Nou terug na die Huise tussen Treine en tussen Spore

· Ons gaan die huise geleidelik opknap en ‘n bietjie oemph in hulle sit en dan die tuine opknap. Ons glo aan leef uit die aarde en daarom sal daar vrugtebome en groente geplant word. Omdat die grys water nie onnodig in die “French drain” sisteem gelaat moet word nie, wil ons graag die water hergebruik vir die tuine.

· Die huise kry direk krag van Eskom en die nodige pre-paids is beskikbaar by Wilrick Kontrei Winkel.

· Die sonsondergange is besonders en ‘n moet vir enige fotograaf wat dit wil verewig.

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· Daar is ‘n verskeidenheid van voëls wat jy sal leer ken.

· As jy die gevoel het om te skilder en alles op jou eie tyd te doen – sal die pragtige natuur met die groot doringbome met hul grys peule jou motiveer.

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· Vir ‘n uitstappie is daar ‘n besoek aan die Slag van Kraaipan. Dit so ongeveer n uur se rit Kameel. Dit was die eerste geveg tydens die Tweede Boere Oorlog en die geveg het plaasgevind op 12 Oktober 1899.

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Op die nag het 800 man ondere die leierskap en Koos de la Rey die Britte oorrompel op die spoorhalte by Kraaipan. Die gepanserde trein met die naam van “Mosquito” of dan Muskiet het 2 7-pond kanonne, gewere, amunisie en rantsoene vervoer.

· So dan en wan, stop die Rovos Rail by die Huise tussen Treine en tussen Spore.

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· Maak Kameel deel van jou “memories”

As jy weet van iemand of dalk self uitsien na ‘n rustige bekostigbare lewenswyse kontak ons via selfoon 0822642763 en hoor wat beskikbaar is.

Groetnis

Hennie & Sandra

Stoepstorie 8: Stuart Street Harrismith

Stuart Street Harrismith as Autumn sets in

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We are part of the street as much as we are part of the town.

Our house address is 17A Stuart Street.

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De Oude Huize Yard was built in 1860! You will find it in the little block right on the right hand side.
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First Title Deed of De Oude Huize Yard

The name Stuart relates to two possibilities.
*Major Warden named all his children after the Royal house of Stuart. Rumors were that he was an unofficial grandson of Bonnie Prince Charlie.
* Stuart Jacobus, 1803 – 1878, author, diplomatic agent and advocate of emigration, took part in the Sand River Convention in 1852.

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Stuart Street in 1904 with a Rickshaw left wide sidewalk right and a railway line. Horses pulled the wagons (or coco-pans “coco pans”).

After the Boer War in 1904, the British had a huge camp on Kings Hill. Here they broke many stones, cut and trimmed it to be used for building purposes. To get these stones in the town a track was laid from Kings Hill to the town. Some of these stones were used when the Town hall was built. This information probably also explains the existence of many houses and buildings in Stuart St, which were built of stone. There were also traces of the track in Vowe and Bester streets.

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The first public building in Harrismith was the Court house, serving the community as a venue for the school, public meetings, bazaars and entertainments. All church services were held in the Court house until 1879 when the first church, the Dutch Reformed Church, was built on the site of the present Moederkerk. (Hawkins 1982)
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Stuart street on a peaceful Sunday morning. The trafic light is situated on the corner of Stuart and Piet Retief Streets.

The early magistrates were Bester, Chauvin, Theron, D Cloete, J De Kock, Bramley, (that was accused of high treason), Canisius, J N Boshoff, J Z de Villiers, F W van der Riet, Charles Warden. (Steytler 1932)

Mr. Joseph De Kock resides at De Oude Huize Yard from 23 July 1861 till 23 April 1903 almost 42 years.

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The corner of Stuart and Retief streets. The Court House on the Left. The trees planted in a square at the foot of Platberg were planted by the “konsentrasiekampkinders” and the indication where the Concentration camp was. The people of the Camp were then transferred to “Tin Town” in Ladysmith
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Corner of Stuart and Piet Retief streets today. The Court House made room for the new Post Office. The trees has grown and where the Concentration Camp use to be is now the town goal.

An almost mad Kitchener was tormented by the Concentration Camp women and children when they did not show respect when the funeral procession of Dr Godfrey Reid pass them. Instead a hissing sound was made. Reid was killed during the Groenkop battle on Christmas day. The women and children were then moved to “Tin Town” close to Ladysmith. Some were transported in open train carriages and the luck ones in proper passenger car.

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This picture was taken on the morning of 8 August 1900. A very interesting photo with significant history. On this morning more than 200 burgers of the Harrismith Commando came into town by horse, by “kapkar” and even Spaaiders. They were ready to hand in their weapons and take the consequences. In front of the Court House the Boer’s were ready to sign neutralizing document. The horses were tied to the railings. The name hendsoppers was given to the Commando members. Some came to town in their best Sunday outfits and hard hats while some came in worn out cloths. One of them was the Member of Parlement – Commandant Piet Maree.
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The guns that was handed in was demolished and was loaded onto a “bokwa”. There it was transported to the courtyard of the Court House. Here the 5th Coy Royal Engineers destroyed the weapons with a 16 pond-hammer on a anvil and hit to pieces.
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The house on the left was the home of the Sieberts-family on the corner of Stuart and Mauritz streets. The building on the right was a private school.
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Further down Stuart street is the Harrismith Club. This is still standing but been looted.
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Sandstone curbs in Stuart Street
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Stuart street with 42nd Hill in the back

Thank you to Leon Strachan, Nico Moolman en Biebie de Vos for their contribution

Till next time

Hennie & Sandra

De Oude Huize Yard

Stoepstorie 7: Wesley Hall and Anne James alias Mrs Tom James

Our next story comes with a twist as we noticed that the cornerstone of the Wesley Hall was laid by Mrs. Tom James. It left a question mark.

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Who was Mrs. Tom James?

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The Chevy is doing a trip and parked in front of the Wesley Hall next to the Methodist Church.

The Wesley Hall was built in 1906 and the cornerstone was laid by Mrs. Tom James on 17 January 1906. She was the eldest daughter of James Putterill. Her husband was a true supporter of the church and was for many years the Sheriff and Mayor of the town.

Wesley Hall 2

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The old Methodist Church was demolished in 1967 – 1968 and the Record Stone of the previous stone was laid by James Putterill on 14 June 1882.

From the time Harrismith was established most of its inhabitants were English-speaking. The British settlers who emigrated to Natal during 1849-50 found the country in the Byrne Valley not suitable for traditional farming practices. Many went to settle in urban areas, while some returned to Britain. Encouraged by Mr Warden, about 1 500 settlers came to Harrismith.

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The story of Anne as shared by Leon Strachan.

Mrs Tom James was Anne Putterill and has a truly sad but remarkable story.
Her father James Putterill was a Byrne settler with a big personality who owned land in Verulam before moving his family up to Harrismith in 1863. His eldest daughter, a tiny but stubborn 25-year-old woman refused bluntly to get married, even though women were in great demand in the Free State (in 1863 the Free State Republic had been in existence for only 9 years and was extremely sparsely populated).
Unfortunately her disinterest did not prevent a man to fall in love with her. Anne didn’t want to have anything to do with him. When Anne’s strong-willed father (a grandchild referred to him as domineering) got wind of this he stepped in to salvage the situation. He instructed the man, a Welshman called Thomas James, to build a suitable house and furnish it. He, on the other hand, bought trousseau and a wedding dress for Anne, and fixed a wedding date.
When Tom James completed his ‘solid cut stone house,’ James Putterill instructed his daughter to prepare for her wedding. Anne refused, she said she didn’t love Mr. James and that was that.
The Putterill’s were a prominent family thanks to the very forceful James Putterill, who was an excellent business man and played a leading role in the Wesleyan (Methodist) church, as he did in town affairs. Whilst guests filled the church in Warden street on Anne’s wedding day, he instructed his womenfolk to dress up the unwilling bride. He then continued to drive her to the chapel in his carriage, where he walked a very unhappy daughter up the isle. He maneuvered the obstructive girl into position next to the groom, while he flanked her on the other side ‒ urging a flabbergasted minister to get started.Don’t think James Putterill had won the battle of wills yet. Anne was unfazed, she declined bluntly to take the marriage vows in front of all the astonished wedding guests. She stood her ground, not unnerved at all. Putterill didn’t despair either, neither did he give up. It would be a battle of wills to the inevitable end.
Every time it was expected of the bride to answer the parson, James pushed his silent daughter’s head slightly down as if she nodded whilst signalling impatiently to an ever more uncomfortable parson to get on with it. The ceremony was thus unceremoniously consummated, and the unlikely couple settled shakily into the solid stone house.
They were childless (3 stillborn). Tom James turned out to be a stalwart who became sheriff and mayor of Harrismith. Both he and his wife loved fishing, they were often seen fishing together whenever an opportunity occurred. The 66-year old Tom died in 1894, after which Anne took in a Miss Dixon to keep her company. According to Beryl Osborn (Anne’s niece who penned the family history) they lived happily together until the British garrison arrived on Kings Hill in 1903, when disaster struck.
A striking and very charming young soldier, conveniently named private James, befriended the two elderly ladies. Young James told them he was an orphan with no home and no family, all alone in the world.
Besotted with him, Anne bought him out of the army and formally adopted him. The young man then gratefully proceeded to squander his adopted mother’s savings. Even when Anne had lost everything she owned, never an unkind word was uttered or anything damaging believed of the young man. He bolted unceremoniously out of the country when there was nothing left to spend.
The Putterill family had to club together to provide the necessary means for Anne and Miss Dixon, and their parrot, to live on. Anne rewarded them by living into her nineties.

Till next time

Hennie & Sandra

Kameel Stoepstorie: Melktert

Hier by De Oude Huize het ons ons eie melktertstorie om te vertel.

Elke storie het ‘n begin en hierdie ene begin jare gelede toe ek in 1978 skoolgehou het in Port Elizabeth.

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Die Edward Hotel se binnehof, Die biblioteek, Duncanstraat huise, en weer die biblioteek.

Die pragtige St Georges park was net ‘n paar meter van my woonstel af en was ek bevoorreg om ‘n see uitsig te hê, maar so ook die baie bekende  Havelockstraat wat ‘n paar winkels gehad het onderandere ‘n tuisnywerheid.  So staan ek eendag in die einste winkel en kyk wat ek kan aankoop vir die tee by my  vriendin wat in Prospect Hillstraat gewoon het. Net so om die hoek van die pragtige St Mary’s Church.

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Terwyl ek nog so tussen die koeke en die terte dinge bespiegel kom ‘n Oompie nader geloop, maar ek gaan my gang en toe ek hand uitsteek in die rigting van die melkterte toe vertel hy my sy melktert storie.

“Niggie ek koop toe mos ook so ‘n melktertjie om huis toe te neem.  Die dametjie vra een of twee en ek is ‘n man wat gulhartig is so ek stem in vir twee.   Die ruilhandel vind plaas geld vir tert en daar stap ek uit.  Dit voel vir my al asof ek ‘n paar spoelklippe in die sak het, maar ek gaan vroulief beindruk.  Terwyl ek nou my motor se neus so in die rigting van die huis druk wonder ek darem oor die  tertjies wat nou saam met my oppad huis toe is.  Hulle roep my naam en nooi my om tog net so ‘n stukkie verleiding te proe voordat ek by die huis kom.  Ek het die pad langs die rivier gekies om my huis toe te vat dus was daar min verkeer.  Ek maak toe ‘n plan en proe so ‘n happie  . . . .  wat ‘n skok . . .  daar was geen verleiding in daardie terte nie.  Ek het die kar se deur oop gemaak en die tert laat rol en ek is oortuig hulle het tot binne in die Baakensrivier gerol sonder om enigsins vorm te verloor”.

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De Oude Huize se melktertstorie begin by tienuur vanoggend toe ons Nederlandse gaste vanaf die Drakensberg arriveer.  Nou moet julle besef die vorige nag se gaste borsel nog tande na ontbyt.  So doller dan ‘n afkop hoender hardloop ons rond en die Nederlanders soek ‘n badkamer – wil net noem daar is ses van hulle.

Uiteindelik is die vorige nag se gaste by die hek uit en die Nederlander koek vir ‘n wyle in een kamer terwyl ons die ander kamers poleer en suig en pof en tof om reg te kry.  Ek moet byvoeg ek floreer nie wanneer dinge bietjie vinnig gaan nie!.

In die proses vergeet ek om beskuit te bak, ek vergeet om ‘n happie vir 4 uur koffie te bak. Hennie bring uitkoms en gooi ons kar se wiele in trurat en jag SPAR toe.  Op TV sê die oompie mos hul bakery is so goed.  Ek stel voor hy kyk vir ‘n melktert – so een soos in die brosjure – ‘n outydse melktert van een of ander tannie.

Binne 20 min is hy uit en tuis.  Hy het die laaste melktert gekry.

Die gaste sit aan vir koffie en koek en ek haal die tert van verleiding uit die dekseltjie bak  . .  glo vir my as die Baakensrivier naby was sou die ding ook gerol het.  Dis in ‘n tinfoelie pannetjie met baie deeg en min vulsel.  Die kalf is in die put ek kerm en verduidelik al die asprekte van ‘n ordentlike melktert en begin die affêre te sny.  Die kors splinter is fladers en die tert breek waar dit nie veronderstel is om te breek.  Ons lig die ding uit sy tinfoelie houer en sit dit in ‘n diepbord en probeer weer.  Groot genade kry ons ses stukkies uit die dingetjie.  Ons skarrel om tee en koffie te bedien en dan neem Hennie die bordjies met tert in en . . . .

Ek weet nou nie mooi wat gebeur het nie maar een stuk was seker so moeg vir my afbrekende kommentaar dat hy of dit mag ook ‘n sy wees besluit om uit die bordjie te spring en karplaks op die vloer te land.

Ons altwee staan verstom . .  daar was net 6 stukkies

Gelukkig onthou ek dat ons vroeër die dag so ‘n ou versnapperingtjie geëet het en daar ‘n stukkie “bêre vir later” oorgebly het.

Vandag bly ons op Kameel en die melktert is steeds ‘n gunsteling hier in die dorre Noordwes.

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Noodeloos om te sê ek is nou verantwoordelik vir enige tuisgebak!

Groetnis tot ‘n volgende keer

Hennie & Sandra

Stoepstorie 5: Jan Els

Life was not always moonshine and roses that we all know.

We all get motivated to do something that made the community  jaw drop. This was the case of Jan Els when he punched the town clerk.

Leon Strachan we can only send a huge thank you for sharing the wonderful legends with us and putting a smile on our faces. You will find this story in Blafboom 1999 Also thanks to  Cate Lotter for her contribution in the translation of the story of Jan Els.

Jan Els

“I punched the town clerk,” said Jan Els, bursting into Mayor Nic Duursema’s  VC Cafe.

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In the sixties Annie Bland was the owner of the Central Service Station, Oom At Truscott ran the workshop which was situated between the VC Cafe and the Flamingo Restaurant. Spent many happy times in amongst the grease and old tyres. Loved the smell of new tyres. Barbara Swanepoel Tarr.

Jan Els and Caveman Spies were not the only men who punched Harrismith into the newspapers. There were quite a few, from the earliest years. These were often members of the legal profession.

***

When the Free State became independent in 1854, the new government found that there were insufficient funds to run the administration that the English had left behind. They would have to scale down, and Joseph Orpen, a surveyor who was the magistrate of Winburg, was instructed by President Hoffman to close the magistrate’s office in Harrismith. Orpen sent a black man on foot, as was the custom at that time, to Harrismith with a letter to that effect. However, bad weather resulted in Orpen arriving in Harrismith before his letter.

Paul Bester, founder and the first magistrate of Harrismith, was told that he was to be transferred to Bloemfontein.  This did not suit him at all as he owned a lot of land in the district and near Ladysmith where he lived.

The other officials were summarily dismissed, with the exception of  Cauvin, who remained as a special peace officer.   They were now without income, and most unhappy. The townspeople were also very displeased as their nearest magistrate’s office would now be in Winburg.

While Orpen was making an inventory of the books and furniture in office, Bester and the others arrived. A crowd of dissatisfied townspeople had formed outside. Bester hit down hard with his walking stick on a table, and Field-Cornet van Aardt threatened Orpen.    Georg Schmidt, the magistrate’s clerk and the  first postmaster, was also there.

Orpen simply went on with his work, but when he started to carry books outside, Van Aardt blocked his way. He pushed Van Aardt aside, but when he reached the door Schmidt hit him hard against the head. Orpen, a rather small Englishman, regained his balance and hit back. Schmidt punched him so hard on the chin that he fell to the ground.  Schmidt was summarily locked up in the prison behind the office. The crowd outside was getting  riotous, and Orpen took his rifle from the wagon. “If you can shoot, we can shoot too,” shouted one of the townspeople. “Yes”, said Orpen, “that’s true, but keep in mind that I am shooting in the name of the law, while you will be hanged!” He was’t called Do-or-Die Orpen for nothing!

In the calm that followed, Schmidt was summarily put on trial and  sentenced to three days in prison. Orpen however, with his rifle balanced upright against his table, fiddled with the dates on the summons and Schmidt was released immediately.

***

In 1875 a town council was elected for the first time. With the first session of the Council a large number of residents arrived, intending to attend the meeting.  Magistrate Boshoff (previous president of the Free State) would not allow them to enter. This resulted in a clash of words between him and Niel McKechnie, one of the new council members. McKechnie thrust a fist under Boshoff’s nose and shouted: “I defy you!” Strong words, but McKechnie  was chosen as mayor at the same meeting, the first of Harrismith.  It seems clear the South Africa was never at any stage a country for cowards!

***

In 1938, more than half a century later, Council Member Corkhill remarked at a city council meeting: “Farmers, like lawyers, never agree.  But there is one difference.  Lawyers get paid for disagreeing.”

This was not always true. In fact, it sometimes cost them money, and once, even a person’s life.

***

Brand Wepener was another member of the legal profession who was often in the news. On one occasion Brand and Phil Wright, also a lawyer, got into a fight in Stuart Street, right in front of Wright’s office. They rolled around in the dusty street with their neat dark suits until  they were seperated by …….. This while Wepener was on the Council with Corkhill.

Wepener was  not the easiest of men to get along with, but he was a most interesting chap. He came from a line of Free State heroes, being a grandson of Louw Wepener, and named after President Brand.   His father, Louw, was the head of police of Harrismith during the Boer War.

Although Brand had qualified as an advocate, he was eccentric, very eccentric. He was a well-known face in town, strolling along with his walking stick, dressed in his neat dark suit, black hat and dark glasses. He was never without his glasses as he had only one eye. Clients would often approach him on the street.

When a new voter’s role had to be compiled for a municipal election, the typist made a terrible mistake. After the surname and christian name of each resident, the next item was the name of the street where the person lived, followed by the person’s occupation. Alas, in Brand’s case she typed the street name in the wrong block, resulting in the following entry:

Wepener    | Jan Henricus Brand         |   40   Murray                  | Street Advocate

Brand was furious. He accosted Tom Searle, ordering him to  have the municipality summoned for defamation.     “But Brand, isn’t it true?”  asked Tom, with a twinkle in his eye. Brand was the only person who did not find it funny.

He played a role in the burgher monument saga, and on another occasion saved the beautiful trees in Murray Street.  But he was always full of plans, took shortcuts and was constantly in conflict with municipal officials.    At that time Harrismith had a constant shortage of water, which had a very negative effect on the development of the town, until the weir was built in the Wilge River. Water restrictions were nearly always in effect, which Remington, the water-baillif, had to enforce.

Brand had a lovely patch of maize on the big stand on the corner of  Murray and Biddulph streets, which apparently never suffered from a lack of water. Remington was aware of this and went out of his way to catch him out. When the ground became dry Brand would  lead his horses into the mealie land, and leisurely wash them down with a hosepipe until the whole mealie land was thoroughly wet, or until it rained once more.

And then one day Brand Wepener punched another colleague, Henry Helman.

At that time the old court building was situated where the post office stands today.  Wepener and Helman were opposing each other in a civil case. Wepener started to argue with the magistrate over the merits of the case, and Helman responded with sarcastic commentary. This led to a clash of words between the two. Wepener told Helman to keep his mouth shut, and the magistrate told him to calm down. Wepener stormed out of the courtroom shouting: “I’ll get you!” He waited for Helman in the passage, and when he showed, punched him on the nose. The court ordely had to separate them. Helman consequently had Wepener summoned for assault.

Frank Reitz had to deliver medical evidence at the hearing.  He told the court that the complainant’s nose was badly swollen, and also remarked that different faces would swell in different proportions. Helman was of Jewish descent and Wepener immediately countered: “It is logical, Your Honour, that the bigger a person’s nose, the bigger the swelling will be.” After the laughter in court had died down, Reitz had to agree. Brand was found guilty and fined. However, both men were warned to stay out of trouble.

***

Nearly half a century later a tragedy took place at the country club. It was early autumn in 1978. Two acquaintances, the lawyer Charles Shadford  and Garth Romeo, a well-known rugby player, were socialising and gambling at the club on that ill-fated evening. An argument ensued over a throw of the dice, and tempers flared, ending in Romeo knocking Shadford off his bar stool. The latter was helped up and sat down again for a while. The argument flared up and when Romeo hit him again, he fell head first to the floor, partly on the footrest of the bar counter. He was out cold and a doctor was called in, who rushed him to Johannesburg. Shadford never regained consciousness and died tragically two weeks later at the age of 48.

Romeo was found guilty of manslaughter and fined. Extenuating circumstances were found to be the fact that Shadford’s skull was thinner than normal – he had a so-called eggshell skull.   His injuries would probably have been less serious if he had had a normal skull.

***

Caveman Spies was in court for assualt one day, as he had apparently slapped his garden boy. During cross-examination Spies differed from the interrogator about the nature of the slap. When the interrogator asked him how he had slapped the complainant, Caveman calmly walked over to the complainant’s bench, and before the stupified court orderly could intervene, gave the poor man a mighty slap. “Like that, Your Honour” he said, “like that did I slap him.”

 

Stoepstorie 4: The abundance of pears

There is a pear tree in our neighbor’s garden but we are fortunate that a couple of branches arched into our driveway. On a windy day the pears would end-up on our driveway and were to bruised to eat or use. Every year we would safe some but end up with a bottle or two chutney or perhaps a starter of blushing poached pears.

This year there was a good crop of little Hood pears hanging over our driveway.

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A little research and we were ready for our harvest. Pears ripen from the inside out. Left to ripen on the tree, they may become mushy. They ripen quite nicely once harvested. The old trick of storing the pears in a cool, dry place and the add of bananas did the trick. I put the bananas on top of the pears—and the more bananas, the faster the pears ripen.

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Yesterday was Mulled Pear day.

We peeled and core the pears and let is sit in a bowl with salt water to prevent the pears to turn brown.

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First the oven needs to be preheat to 150oC.

Then it was time to make the Mulled syrup. I used crab apples to give the syrup a nice pink color. Once there was a nice pink color in the water. The crab apples were removed.

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Then cinnamon, star Aniseeds, gloves and allspice were added to the crab apple water.

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The water was put to a rapid boil and then sugar was added. The sugar was then added and once the sugar dissolved a good bottle of red wine was added. A Merlot is a fruity wine that add to the flavor. The smells from the big pot was divine. It reminded we of my Mom and the many bottles that she filled during the summer months. Her specialty was canned whole peaches. We called it cling peaches because the pip was left inside and when eating the whole peach you really have to cling on to it or it would flew over the dinning table.

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The syrup was then strained through a muslin cloth and I must say the color was looking just right.

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The pears pack into warm, sterilized jars. Pears are very bottom-heavy and I find that you have to fill the bottles with more pears than originally though. Heat the syrup to boil and pour into the jars.

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Cover the jars with lids, but do not tighten it properly. Place the jars about 5cm apart in the oven for about 2 hours. This will also depend on the size of the jars.

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Remove from the oven and seal properly and place on a wooden surface. Leave undisturbed until completely cool and check the seal the following day.

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It will last for about 12 months on the shelf of your canning cupboard.

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Proof is always in the tasting. For an early evening we had mulled pears, with Parma Ham and Goat’s Cheese Salad

Till next time

Hennie & Sandra

De Oude Huize Yard

Stoepstorie 3: Scotty the English teacher

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Stuart Street – this quaint and superbly kept cottage once belonged to Miss Helen Scott “Scotty”. Miss Scotty was the English teacher to many scholars. She was a wonderful teacher and friend to so many people in Harrismith who all loved her

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The letter dated 13/10/1958 which Josie Cronje received from Miss Helen M. Scott her English teacher in 1958 when she was in Std 8. This little part of our history is priceles.

She also wrote a testomonial for Mary Bland, in 1945, when Mary was finishing off Matric.

Scottie testomonial to Mary Bland in 1945

Till next time

Hennie & Sandra

De Oude Huize Yard

Kameel Stoepstorie: Traveling Companion

Wanneer ek ‘n Volkswagen Beetle op die pad raakloop dan kyk ek altyd waar sy flikkerligte sit. Julle weet daardie armpies wat so uitgeskiet het langs die deure wanneer daar gedraai word. In Engels is dit semaphores.

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Pa was die “traveler” in ons familie. Hy sou niks daarvan dink om ons in die kar te laai en êrens heen te ry. Ons eerste kar was ‘n Borgward – ‘n besonderse motor wat op voco-paraffin kon loop.Aust76

Daar was die oranje VW Beetle met die “dog-box”. Ek onthou die reis af Jeffereybaai toe – die bagasie is in die neus van die Beetle gelaai en dan het Pa die neus van die motor in die regte rigting gedruk. Ons plek was bespreek in die Jeffreys Bay Hotel. As ek reg is is dit vandag die Savoy Hotel. Pa het op gevoel gery so het ons Jeffreysbaai ge”overshoot” en in die destydse Ferreiratown gestop. Gelukkig was daar ‘n vriendelike man wat Pa in die regte rigting gestuur het.

Dan was daar later die bootvaart op die Knysna Lagoon en die gety wat ons wou intrek. Janboel en Julian wat moes stoot dat hulle bars om die boot op droeë grond te kry.

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Al die kere wat ons gaan springhase jaag het met die Willy’s Jeep. Dit was ons Saterdag-aand uitstappie op die plaas. Menige aande het ons met Jeep en al in ‘n gat te lande gekom. Dit was pret om met ‘n groot gesukkel weer huis toe te hinkepink.

Die Nuwejaar kamp by West-end dam met pa se 8-ton lorrie en die wit Engelse tent. Die blou lorrie sou die naweek van Nuwejaar gelaai word met onder andere beddens wat kon opvou in sulke oulike amperse tafeltjies, die nodige potte en panne en natuurlik die wit tent. Daar is visgevang en geswem. Later van tyd was daar ‘n bootjie waarmee die vissermanne se hoeke die water ingeneem is. Dit was in die tye voor sonbrand beskerming en gewoonlik was daar ‘n paar erg verbrande rooi lywe.

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Die Engelse tent het ‘n spesiale plek gekry by Kameel Rust & Vrede Bed en Ontbyt

Die kuier by tant Meraai in die Gamtoos en die tabak-vlooie wat ons byna opgevreet het. Ma het so in ‘n fluister stem vir Pa vertel van die vlooie maar ai, met Tant Meraai se ore was daar geen fout nie.

Dan onthou ek ook die kuiers by oom Salmon en Tant Pollie op Uitenhage. Tant Pollie was my ouma Barlow se suster. Vandag nog is Tant Pollie se appeltert deel van De Oude Huize Yard se spyskaart. Ek onthou die tafel in die kombuis waar ons almal saam gekuier het en stories van die Kolonie vertel het.

Daar was die tye wat ons laat-laat middag by die huis weg ry om by Popeye, soos my Pa my Ma genoem het, se familie in Skurweberg te gaan kuier. Tant Madeleine en oom Was het by Skurweberg gebly. So lekker teen die klip koppie. Daar is gekuier om Grand-cru en roomys.

Soms het ons 21h00 van die plaas gery om op Cypress in die Steynsrus distrik te gaan kuier. Dit was waar Fritzie en Rhoda geboer het. Ontbyt aan die tafel in die voorhuis was altyd ‘n ondervinding met Fritzie wat vir elkeen ‘n snybrood gesny het. Nooit meer as een sny op ‘n slag. Vir ons Finchams was dit nogal vreemd want dit was ons stapelvoedsel. Ek onthou die uitstappie met die Bluebird Datsun in die Golden Gate. Daarna was Pa Gerald nooit weer gretig om Golden Gate te besoek nie.

Op ‘n ander toer is ons na Francistown in Botswana, daardie kuiers in die destydse Suid-Rhodesia. Die Vic Falls, waar ons op ‘n bootvaart op die meer was. Een van die passasiers se kinders het ‘n aap geterg en is gebyt. Toe moes almal terugkeer wal toe. Pa het ons die Valley of Ruins en Matopo Hills gewys. My gunsteling plek was Leopards Rock omdat dit so ‘n pienk kleur geverf was en ek het aan Monaco gedink.

Daar was al die rally’s saam met Cecil en Paaijapan. Persoonlik dink ek daar is klein-kinders met Av-gass in hulle bloed. Pa en Ma het een aand in die middel van die winter by ons oorgeslaap. Juis met die hele Rally konvooi. Pa het voorgestel dat die manne buite sou slaap maar het nie rekening gehou met die Vrystaatse koue nie. Die nag het die manne voor die kaggel geslaap. Dit het nogal ‘n gesnork uit die boonste rakke gewees.

Pat en Pa wat “flips” in DVZ ZA oor Kameel geneem het. Dit was vir Pa groot vreugde en hy het later jare vertel hoe Kameel en die omgewing uit die lug lyk. Daar is later ‘n langer aanloopbaan deur die mielielande gemaak. Later jare sou Pat, Ma, ek en Hennie gaan blomme kyk in Springbok en ja ek kan ‘n noodlanding aftik op my lys.

Daar was die kuier in Namibia by Susan en Derick. Die plaas was op Gobabis en toe die terugrit aangepak moet word was die motor se battery pad en al genade was die Landdrover. Nodeloos om te sê, Derick het ‘n plan gemaak, ‘n matras is vir Ma en Susie agter op die Landdrover gesit. Hulle moes darem in gemak reis. Ma kon nooit uitgepraat raak van hoe sy en Susie die hele pad terug Windhoek toe gegiggel het.

Daar’s al die kuiers by Mike en Hes in Bloemfontein en Mike wat Pa na elke “scrapyard” in Bloem moes neem. Dis seker waar ek my liefde vir ‘n skrootwerf gekry het.

Daar was kuier in Harrismith en pa se woorde aan Hennie – “Hendrik ek weet nie wat jy betaal het nie maar ek is seker jy het te veel betaal”

Oupa wat Pedri geleer het van toast, bacon en eiers – sy gunsteling!.

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Wat ‘n lewensrit was dit nie!
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When you give your children knowledge, you are telling them what to think. When you give your children wisdom, you do not tell them what to know, or what is true, but, rather, how to get to their own truth.

Tot ‘n volgende keer

Hennie & Sandra

De Oude Huize Yard