Tag Archives: Esigodini

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.

Read the rest of this entry


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

Silk Threads is still here:

Turning points…

Turning points…

I think everyone has turning points in their lives. Days when their whole world changes direction and I want to tell you about one of mine…
On this particular day, I decided to leave home. Run away. I was eight or nine I guess.
I have already said, elsewhere in this blog, that I was a difficult child. I fell over things, dropped precious objects, blurted out inappropriate comments. If I had been pretty or cute, I may have got away with it, but I wasn’t.
A woman (one of those ones who wear lots of make up and long flowing dresses and sandals and string belts with beads on the ends) once told my mum, “She is an Indigo Child. Be very careful you don’t extinguish that blue light,”

My mum had stared at her in stunned disbelief.

Wow, did us kids have fun with that one! We already had a green child…our very own alien… (although that is another story for another day,) now: blue! Cool.

I had been going through a bad patch, both at home and at school, and decided I didn’t fit in anywhere and it would be best for everyone concerned that I should leave home. I know a lot of kids do this, run away, sometimes several times.
In my case, however, it was a very real possibility I could be gone for several nerve-wracking days. You see, whilst I didn’t know anything about the mixed race community, I knew plenty about the black one. On my horse and accompanied by my dog, I was well known in many of the ‘compounds’ in the Esigodini Valley, welcome in the kraals in the TTL (Tribal Trust Lands) nearby. I could easily put my horse in with the cows, slip into a kitchen hut with the kids. The adults wouldn’t know mtwana nge twobob had been there until I had left, bright and early. (My dad’s nick name was ‘two bob’ – so mtwana nge twobob means the child of twobob.)
On this occasion, I had it all planned. I would go to my friend Charity who lived on a farm about five km away.
I encountered a problem immediately. When I got to her home, coming on dusk, I found she had been elevated to working in ‘the house,’ learning how to be a domestic. I tied my horse to a tree and commanded Sheba to ‘stay.’ I decided I would creep close and attract Charity’s attention.
The house, one of those massive old colonial ones, is raised quite high off the garden. A set of sweeping concrete steps polished bright red every morning by Charity’s mother, lead to a wide veranda and beyond, a huge double door with frosted glass panels down each side. Matching wooden windows on either side looked onto the verandah. I guessed they were bedrooms, maybe some living space, a parlour or something. I dashed across the lawn to the bay window which truncated the veranda on the south side. My plan was to creep along the veranda wall to the steps to look for Charity.
Crouched there, about to make a dash I froze at the sound of someone moving about in the room above my head. A window directly above me was thrown open and I shrank against the wall. Soon after, I heard the piano. I was paralysed by the most beautiful music I had ever heard. It filled the scented garden, flooding out of the open window.
It went on for hours and I sat in the soft, wet flowerbed, my back against the wall, enthralled. Beethoven, Liszt, Mozart, although of course, I didn’t know that then. One piece flowed seamlessly into the next. I left my body that night. I was no longer sitting there; I was somewhere else in the universe, flying to the moon, floating on the clouds, totally caught up by the experience.

I didn’t get to run away that time. I didn’t find Charity, I found beauty instead. That evening started me off on a lifelong romance, of discovery. I returned many times to that flowerbed under the bay window. The first time I heard Rachmaninoff, I simply would not believe it was one person playing, above me, there in that room. Pulling myself up on a creeper growing along the wall, I peered over the windowsill at the little, gray haired lady, sitting alone at the piano, her slim fingers flying over the keyboard. I had never seen a grand piano, it looked very different to ours. I wasn’t even sure it was a piano. It stood in a beautiful room with wooden paneling, puffy leather chairs and heavy gilt framed pictures on the walls. Large rugs covered the floor of the lounge which was was beyond the piano. The grand piano stood alone, in the bay window, gleaming on a polished teak floor. It had four little wheels and a lid which opened and the keys shone white under the old lady’s fingers.

I collect music now. I used to have hundreds of Cd’s – now, gigabytes. I have music on my phone, in the car, in my head. I thought I had heard it all, and then, recently I discovered a Brahms I had never come across before! I’m lucky now I’m old and can have Mendelssohn blaring out the car window – my love of classical music always sat a little oddly on the veneer people saw of me – the farmer, the cronky car, the hot chick in the tiny mini skirts!

Two years later, the old lady moved into the house next to us, would you believe. She continued playing most nights until her fingers knotted up with arthritis. I never spoke to her, never let her know I hid outside, listening. I was scared if I did, I would mess it all up by saying something I shouldn’t, or drop one of her ornaments. Instead I crouched outside on her little porch and listened to her play. My own private concert and I can tell you, I have never been able to match that experience. Even on the farm with our fancy sound system open to the night sounds – the dam in front of our house, wild night birds – nothing compares to that sound from the real deal, grand piano, played by someone who practiced every day of her life.

I was privileged to go to the Convent with several musicians, the most notable, Lesley Smith. Her violin never failed to block the breath in my throat.  Nothing beats listening to a master musician play, in the same room as you. It’s a pity Cush lost his ear drums in a land-mine explosion; he played the violin until then. I can only imagine what his Steiner would have sounded like, out in the open bush, our auditorium.

And the Indigo Child? Well, years later, another person told me I had an Indigo ‘aura’ and yes, she also has the long flowing skirts, believes in ‘internal energy fields,’ although with short hair and no mascara! So I searched for the term on the Internet.
I would love it if I were an Indigo Child. They sound so cool.


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Silk Threads

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A Pale

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Silk Threads is free on Smashwords… please download a copy of Silk Threads  here:

Silk Threads

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And a copy of Jack and Jill here

Jack and Jill a short story

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