Category Archives: Long ago

off a ranch in Matabeleland…


They took the boy off the farm, from under the endless African skies and sent him to Europe, to fight for the land his father had left, more than twenty years before. They swapped the dry dusty vastness for the trenches, the mud, stench. Bombs and gas. The boy watched in horror as friends were blown to smithereens, or died screaming, hopelessly pushing entrails into the tattered skin that in the morning had been a young man’s muscular stomach. Read the rest of this entry




Today, twenty nine years ago, my rib provider sent me a Valentine Card. He also sent one to my friend…he said he thought it was the polite thing to do, since we had both been out to the farm to visit.

…I think he was hedging his bets.

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Red Memories…


Our long term memories are located near the emotion centre in our brains. Psychologists know that to lodge a memory well and truly… link it to an emotion. Looking through my photos for interesting ones to post on FB I came across this one…

Indaba Site

A vivid recollection flashed through my mind: the first time I ‘met’ Cecil John Rhodes.

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We seem to have been fixing up our house forever…I wonder if it will ever be a guest lodge? A blog of our (slow) progress would have been good, but then of course, we started before blogs existed. But I do have photographs, so perhaps I will compile a picturelogg.

Park Road


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‘Nuther hare-brained scheme…

‘Nuther hare-brained scheme…

We lived a very simple life when we first got married. I went to town one day a week and Cush got to stay on the farm the whole time. One year he only went to town twice in a whole calendar year!.
Of course the wheels fell off that soon enough…but it was magic while it lasted.

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Zimboes are brought up tough and they remain tough.
Ages ago, I stood next to a guy at an auction whom I know well enough to chat with casually. It was a little chilly that day. The wind blew through the auction house and seemed to make it worse.
“That’s a nice jacket,” I said to him.
He nodded.
We waited a bit while the auctioneer did his thing, and since we weren’t interested in buying anything…he decided to tell me the story behind the jacket.
“You know us Zimboes are tough, hey?” he said and I nodded.

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Hare-brained schemes…


My dad always had hare-brained schemes.

He would hear about something or read about it, and he would want to try it out. We had any number of half finished projects lying about when I was a kid.
When I married and moved to a farm with much more space he tried to interest me in several of them.

Once he sent us about 20 geese. He said they would look nice on the dam, and they did. They floated around looking majestic, they came into the veggie garden and polished off the tender mealie shoots, ate all the beans. As if they couldn’t find tasty shoots on twenty thousand acres. My dad had plans about what we would do when they bred up. Feather pillow industry, fattened geese for Christmas…

Insiza River watercourse
Now twenty geese look much the same as nineteen geese, and eighteen geese. Seventeen, sixteen. Remember this is a water course, not some civilised dam on a plot in Esigodini. Cros live in the dam, hippo’s and later we found out, otters. Ya, cute Tarka said, cool. Bring it on. These big fat white geese are much easier to catch than wiley old Gippos. Worse thing, my dad would keep asking about them….I would dread the question, “So how are the geese doing? Any goslings?”

Ive heard geese mate for life. We had three geese float about on the dam for years and they never bred, so their partners were obviously Tarka’s lunch…Hare-brained schemes
My dad’s, most harebrained scheme of all was when he heard pigs can be put behind oxen in the feedlot. The theory: the pigs eat the cow manure and you don’t have to feed them anything…

Good plan, he says and sends me three little porkers. Two males and a female. Great scheme. It works for the two males, they slobber up all the cow pats and grow nice and big enough to eat. The female, however was much smarter. She asked herself, why should she eat a cow pat when she could just hop up into the trough and eat cow food? We never caught her in the trough, mind. Whenever we arrived at the feedlots, she made a huge show of snuffling around on the ground, her nose in the middle of a cow pat, peering up at us with her little piggy eyes half hidden under her flappy piggy ears. Also, she was always suspiciously clean.

We discovered it was because every day she would go down to the river and bath. We watched her once and it was even more of a production than one of my baths… She put her head under the water, shook those huge floppy ears and scratched up against a dead tree. Actually she sounded quite alot like me too…and back then…looked a tiny bit like me…
A lot like me.
We always dreaded what we would say to my dad when the croc decided he wanted pork for dinner…Hare-brained Schemes - pig

Oh yes, dad. The scheme worked well…but…

I knew he would ask why we didn’t lock her into the feedlots. The answer: she was an escape artist. The fence was good enough to keep the cattle in, the other two pigs in, goats and stray cattle out…but not her. She managed to get out no matter what we did.
The two males went the way of all piggies, but the female was ingeniously not there when the lorry came to collect them, and when one day another lorry came and took away all her cowpat producers she said no problem, I’ll eat second grade butternuts instead. But hey, what the hell, she thought after a few months of this substandard fare, I might as well eat first grade ones. Why wait for them to brought in from the lands?
It was then I put my foot down. She had to be locked up I said, fattened and slaughtered. She was put in the dairy and missing her daily bath, she climbed into the trough coming up in the next door calf pen instead of her improvised sty. She killed the two calves and half ate them.
I shot her and used her skin for several bags, one of which Harebrained schemes - bag Harebrained Schemes - bagI still have. The pork tasted a little like butternuts.
Harebrained schemes Pig skin

I have now published one of my short stories, Jack and Jill  on Smashwords. Please have a look  here

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