Sunday, 5 February 2012

The Whittals Settle in on the New Farm.

            These are the ages of the Whittals when we moved.  Daddy was 47 and Mommy was 44, Thelma, 18, Bertha 16, Daphne 14, I was 10 & Les was 5.  This was great for all the young farmers and they all came over to see the young ladies.  They brought horses for the girls to ride, but Bertha did not like the old tame mare which meant the Daf had to settle for Tod Suttie’s old Queeny.   Bertha rode one of our horses, but she fancied Tod’s grey stallion, Prince!!  One day whilst riding him he took off and she lost control and ended up in a barbed wire fence and cut her thigh badly.  Thelma did not take part in these crazy games and helped Mommy in the Kitchen – she was also waiting in anticipation for Gordon Bradford, whom I told you about.
            It was during that same year that my Dad’s brother, Uncle Arthur, bought the farm, Melody, on Skietrug a few miles from us.  He was married to my Mom’s sister, Aunty Dickie, and they had five children.  Walter was 14, Florence 12, Gracie 9, Patty 3 and Audrey 1.
            The Secretary of the School Board was Mr George Potgieter (known as Oom Jors).  His wife, a retired school teacher, ran a hostel for school children and we moved there.  Florence and Gracie also boarded there.  You knew exactly what your meals would be; breakfast was “Mielie pap met melk en suiker en ‘n stukkie homemade bread with butter and jam”.   For lunch it was meat and vegetables with samp and “lekker Kalbas melk”.   In the evening it was bread and jam!  After Supper she held Bible study for all of us, reading from the Afrikaanse Kinderbybel.  She was strict and you had to pay attention as she would ask questions the next evening on today’s lesson.  I got to know the bible characters and remember it all to this day!  She had a little whip called a “kattesweep” and you would get it around your legs if you misbehaved.  I will tell you about the day that I got a thrashing.
            She did not keep boys as boarders once they got bigger and you had to go to the school hostel.  Oom Jors had a farm from where milk and eggs were brought every day and I suspect that the little meat that we got also came from there.  I was fascinated by his tame grey & white Guinea fowls which spent their days on the town’s commonage and came back late afternoon to be given some crushed mealies before roosting in the Kei Apple hedge.  He used bantam hens to hatch and rear his Guinea fowl chicks which would have been caught by hawks, cats and dogs out on the commonage.  The little hens were each in their own portable cage and the chicks could go through the chicken fence and scrounge for worms and insects.  They would also be given fine crushed mielies.
            I lived for weekends.  Daddy or Uncle Arthur would fetch us on Friday afternoons.  Daddy planted fruit trees and Pine trees around the orchard.  He ploughed a new land where he planted pineapples.  He bought a load of packing case planks from General Motors in Port Elizabeth from which be constructed a store and a garage.  He changed the pantry in the house to a bathroom, but the outside toilet stayed.  A new Rondavel was built and thatched and used as a store room.  It was all so very exciting!!!
* * * * * * * *


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Apologies, had to re-write my comment as I noticed I had written a spelling mistake. I am so glad you are back writing your stories.