Nini's memories

  OUR FAMILY (Memories and otherwise)

You asked for it, so here it is, the Saga of our Family:

Round about the middle of the century-before-last, say 1865-ish, various European Missionary Societies were busy Christianising the benighted black savages in Darkest Africa. Among the hopeful missionaries were ones from the Berlin Missionary Society, the French and the London Missionary Society. From this latter came one William Sykes – yea, truly, and nothing to do with Dickens' character of the same name, the skellum Bill Sykes in "Oliver Twist". He was a Yorkshire man, and as the London Missionary Society (L.M.S.) ruled, he had to be married before setting our into the wilderness, so he claimed his beautiful blushing bride, Mary, and off they set on this long and perilous journey. (William and Mary, yes, had occupied the British throne in 1700-something). First several months at sea in a sort of steamship, its high chimney-stack belching black smoke and its gritty decks – discomfort and danger and much seasickness, specially as Mary soon became pregnant, poor girl. But they reached Cape Town safely, and were they glad to see Table Mountain!

 Here the L.M.S. people fixed them up with a covered wagon and a span of hopeful oxen and one fine morning off they went. With black or "coloured" drivers and whips, and a young fellow in front on foot – the Voortrekker- to guide the team along. The whips were long and the drivers very skillfully cracked them with sounds like gunfire to reach the furthest oxen. Unfortunately, Mary in her bonnet got in the way once, and the whip lashed round her head. She could have been badly hurt, but her headgear saved her. So they actually walked from the bottom tip of Africa!

After about a week they reached their first real obstacle, a range of high mountains, which we gaily whiz over in our cars today by means of Sir Lowry's Pass. But then there was no Sir Lowry , and no Pass. But there were plenty of wild animals in the plains below, especially eland and smaller buck – and threatening predators such as leopards and even lions. But the ubiquitous black men seemed friendly enough, and left them alone.

Then the wretched oxen had to get them over the mountains. William and Mary and a servant or two all alighted to relieve the load, and scrambled and trudged over on foot. Mary's long skirts and dainty shoes – she didn't like it! Today one can see the marks left by the wagon-wheels of those days as they struggled up. It was perhaps worth the view from the top looking back down over the plain on to False Bay – false, because ships mistook it for Table Bay, but found the draught there too shallow. And looking over beyond that to Table Mountain in side profile, and Table Bay itself with the odd old ships in it.

Once over the top of the Hottentots Holland range, it was fairly plain sailing, as the centre of South Africa is a sort of plateau, with rolling savannas between more mountains. Well, we have done this journey so often, up to Pretoria and even to Rhodesia, taking just a few days by car. But then ..... just rough tracks, no towns to go through, and lucky if you struck a river for water.

With only a compass pointing north to guide them, and William's gun to provide meat – plenty of that about, Mary had to settle in that creaking old wagon and "housekeep" as best she could, sparingly using the dried foods they had with them. They had to outspan every night and often slept under the wagon with dangerous predators around. Black, speared Impis would occasionally appear to frighten them, but I don't think they had any trouble with them.

When they came to odd scattered farms, they would ask to replenish their supplies and water and rest their oxen. Many Boers were still very suspicious of "the English", and refused them help. But William was struck by a bright idea and declared he came "from Yorkshire"! Where upon the Boer would reckon, "Oh that's alright then," and supply what he could. Mary tried growing things, but it was difficult in a rolling wagon.

Of course they had to traverse the terrible Karroo desert, a nightmare even today. Mile upon miles of flat, arid country with its red-dusty rough roads and no vegetation. Not a bush or tree in sight, and even in our day we'd have to stop next to rocks to spend pennies and make some tea. Later there were the "Lay-by's" where you could drive off the road for a rest, and sometimes find water, where a thoughtful farmer had laid on a pipe/tank and marked it, "Water". Still later, trees were planted in some of the lay-bys, which are getting quite big and shady now. There were none of these convenient petrol-stations we have today, offering P.K.s and refreshments. Once coming down on about the hottest summer day, I and Steve collapsed when we finally reached the Masonic Hotel in Beaufort West, and while Dad and the others went down for drinks, Steve and I just lay in a bath of coldish water to revive. I used to set off on this trip, from Pretoria to Cape Town, mostly 3 days, armed with newspaper, chewing gum, towels, bottles of water, an ice-box with a bottle of cologne in it – and I'd stick paper up on the windscreen with gum, and on the window, to keep the sun out, put newspaper behind my back, so I didn't stick with sweat, and drape wet towels over my shoulders, knees and children. Finally we got an air-conditioned car, and tho' I set out all prepared as usual, I found I only needed a cardigan!

Then from the Karroo you have to get over the high and craggy Zoutpansberg range, then down and across the big Limpopo River. Easy today, but really daunting in the past.
This Sykes journey took more months – can you believe it! Rattle, rattle creak and bump. And finally they reached Kuruman in the Northern Cape, where Robert Moffat had established a London Mission, and could welcome the weary travellers. Mary was in a bad way by now, and shortly gave birth to her poor little baby – that couldn't survive – and poor Mary died too. Both are buried there, and Ben and I have visited their graves, and seen the old church, with its original floor of stamped earth.

Now what to do? The whole idea was for the Rev Sykes to proceed up to Matabeleland to bring Christianity there. But after various conferences, Robert Moffat shook his head and said, "I'm sorry Mr Sykes, but you can't go up into that wild region without a wife. L.M.S. rules. So you will have to go back to Cape Town and get one!"

Oh dear. And that's what the poor chap did. All by ox-wagon. More months. And in Cape Town, with the help of the L.M.S. and Monsignor Kolbe and his family in Paarl, a lady was found willing to take on this rather daunting job. Charlotte Kolbe. The Kolbe family have a fascinating history of their own. But I shall just mention en passont that Willem Kolbe became a Roman Catholic by marrying one, tho' Charlotte remained Evangelist, and that today there is a Kolbe House in Cape Town and our relative in Germany, Wilhelm Kolbe, whom we have visited , and who still keeps up with us Schneiders. Margaret Charlotte was the sister of his great-grandfather.

Charlotte Kolbe, God bless her, was a rather tall and gaunt blond lady with blue eyes. She had a strong face and a strong body - almost a typical Wagner Walkure – and had a slight German accent, the "th's" giving her trouble. "Ziss" and "Zat" (My mother used to tell us about her). Very strong-willed and efficient, with her long dresses and sensible shoes. Mum once or twice said to her, "Grandma Sykes, why don't you shorten your skirts so they don't trail in the dust?" – but she wouldn't. "What – expose my ankles? Never!"

She tackled the difficult journey from Cape Town with a will, organising everything very efficiently to the benefit of her husband and the others in that wagon, and in her life. She soon had canvas water-bags swinging in the breeze and cooling well through evaporation, and a sort of pantry-cage packed round with wet charcoal for perishables. (We used these too). She stowed all their worldly belongings away in the back corners, and established a daily routine. Of course, they had to stop about once a day to make a fire and cook a meal and at dawn or sunset William would go off with his gun to see what he could find. Other delays were caused by difficult rivers, some so swollen they had to encamp on the bank till they could wade across. No bridges, of course, and first the doubting oxen had to be persuaded to go in, and then, enjoying their dip and drinking their fill, had to be persuaded to come out! Charlotte didn't hesitate to hoick up her skirts and paddle over when she could. Sometimes there were "pontoons" to help – a floating platform with ropes each side along which strong natives would tug them across. The oxen – imagine – what a to-do! No wonder it took them months to reach Matabeleland, and of course, Charlotte was pregnant by the time they got there, and arrived at a Kaffir Kraal just south of the Zambezi River, called Inyati. Here, in a grass hut and on an earthen floor with a grass mat, a little girl was born – with the aid of primitive black umfazis, and instructions from Charlotte. And William did what he could. We just can't imagine such conditions today! And that was my little Granny, Mary Margaret Sykes. The blacks were most impressed at a white infant, and how its mother washed it, wrapped and dressed it. The black babies were lucky to get a string of beads round them and to be rolled in an animal skin. No one had clothes, till the Missionaries began to introduce cloth and sewing – later machines.

Ja. Clothes. It took the blacks a long time to wear any. I can still remember when the umfazis found no necessity to cover their boobs. Which was fine when they were young girls and women, but the older they got, the more scrawny became their breasts, ending up just wrinkled pieces of flesh hanging down. I can remember the sight of a woman with a baby on her back, and one boob slung over her shoulder to feed the child as she walked along! Truly. No doubt the child was trained to catch and use its "bottle". They suckled their young till they were well over 2 years. Only recently have the women dancers taken to putting straps across their bosoms or bras, when they dance for tourists. I thought it a bit odd when I first saw it.

The staple diet of the blacks became maize meal porridge, sadza, thick and stiff, that they rolled in a hand , and dipped the balls into their "esechebu". This was a sort of stew, of anything they could find, from rats and mice, birds, lizards, snails and grasshoppers, with the little green weed they would find in the veld, or take from the garden, called marroc. Locusts were lovely, and when swarms came over, some thcker than others, it was quite frightening. The brown cloud would appear over the horizon, and quickly approach, with more and more humming and buzzing sound. We'd dash into the house and close up all the doors and windows, and the dogs would wimper and creep indoors, hackles risen. We'd don hats, and pick up trays and pots and pans and go out making a good noise to discourage these whirring, scratchy insects with their red wings, blacks catching as many as possible. They'd settle briefly in the garden, little jaws crackling away and when they flew off, there'd be not one trace of green or flowers left. All stripped and devoured. Such devastation – they did so much damage on farms. The blacks would catch them – with us kids' help and tennis racquets – and throw them on to a sheet of corrugated iron over a fire. These tasted a bit like crisp bacon. One midday I went past our "compound" behind a koppie, to see an umfazi busy preparing their essechebu in an iron 3-legged pot over the fire. She was using a basket-full of wriggling, fat, greenish-white caterpillars (Mopani worms), taking the wretched creatures and squeezing their innards into her pot. She politely invited me to have a taste, but I equally politely declined! Of course, their greatest treat was when they had some nyama. They got a ration of meat with their mealiemeal, and when we shot a buck, they were grateful to get all the innards, head, hooves and odd bits. Also the skin, which they would peg out to dry and then "treat" it with a round stone as they crushed their dried mealies, till it became pliable. Then they would use it for floor-coverings, bed-coverings, and even clothing – hats, sandals, and children – also for bags, carriers and baggage.

I remember once when I was in boarding school, I boasted that my Great Grandma had been a German lady. Mistake! The reaction was so sharp and unfavourable – the influence of World War II still being strong – I was "sent to Coventry" for some days – pointed at and shunned, tainted with that evil blood! Bad luck. And then I went and married a German and produced several little Huns, but the last 5, grandchildren, turned out to be Swiss, thanks to their mother, sweet and saintly, Cecille Oertle. And I love them all to bits. I've been so happy with them, and they're so good to me.

Gradually White people started to come. The only transport was ox-wagons, horses, and horse and donkey carts. But they brought church people, prospectors, tradesmen, farmers and general adventurers. No trains till the late 1800's. So our Missionaries could set up small stores and provide the natives with goods – mostly by bartering. Gay, soft blankets took the place of their animal skins. My granny used to tell me odd stories, how the natives loved the mirrors, beads, and that modern marvel, the safety-pin! Once a native woman produced a sixpence and bought 6 safety-pins, 3 big ones and 3 middle-sized. Granny was surprised when she returned some months later and threw down the pins saying they "were no good", and demanding her money back. They were in pristine condition, but it appeared she had kept them carefully together all this time – and they had made no babies at all! It was not unusual to see a black man laughing like mad, holding up a piece of looking-glass in one hand and with the other groping behind it for the face. Tagati – magic! I've seen this in my time too. Beads they turned into all sorts of objects from dress decorations to little covered gourds, baskets, and mats and made "love-letters", with the bright patterns giving messages. I used to have a couple of these. Of course there was no postal system for a long time. You literally had to send a native with a cleft stick. If it was urgent, the tom-toms would get going and messages were tapped from point-to-point, specially at night. I used to like lying in bed and hearing the natives having their best time in the "compound" beating their drums and singing and dancing. Always such a cheerful crowd. But when they got too rowdy, Mum would stump along in her nightie and shut them up. Pad and John had this on their Farm.

A bit further south from Inyati was another Kraal, where The Big Chiefs of the Matabeles lived. They were a Tribe that had broken away from Chief Chaka of Zululand, and settled on the other, northern side, of the 4. big Limpopo River, keeping a version of the Zulu tongue, Sindebele. Chief M'zilikazi ruled then, and the Sykes got permission to build a church and set up a mission near him, which they called Hope Fountain, where many of our family are buried, including my parents, and recently , 2003, my cousin Michael. M'zillikatzi's Government Seat was a big rock covered with a kaross under a spreading thorn tree, from where he dispensed justice. Once Granny Sykes visited Chief M'zilikazi, and noticed his kaross had holes in it. So she took it home and mended it, 38 holes, and returned it. Shortly afterwards there was a great bleating of goats outside Hope Fountain Church and 38 of these animals were delivered to the Sykes' in payment from the Chief! Not far off was a high, flat-topped hill, known as Gubulawayo, or "The Place of Slaughter", where executions were carried out. The unfortunate victims were hurled over the side and down a long, high precipice. I hope they were knocked on the head first. Bulala means to kill, and lala is to sleep. There's a place in Zimbabwe called Lalapansi – i.e. Lie down. Ben and Mum and I spent a night there once, en route to Salisbury, when we were engaged.

Granny was one of 4 children, and one of her brothers, Uncle Joe, became a Canon of the church in the south of England. He had a child who just loved his long, thick beard, and would sit on his lap an "play" with it, enjoying the sensation on his fingers. My mother reckoned that was where I got a similar trait when I was small. I'd say, "Pay wizzor hayo" and creep into her bed and bury my fingers in her long loose hair, and have my best time. That's probably why I've always loved soft furry animals, specially cats.

Chief M'zilikazi was succeeded by his son Lobengula. Geff used to talk of "old Loben", as the Carnegie children were all familiar with him. (They spoke Sindebele before they learned English). I remember a photo of Loben – standing there,a large, fat, pitch-black black, with his Induna's ring on his head, bead "bracelets" on upper arms, hairy skin "garters" round upper calves, and a sort of skin apron. Not a stitch of clothing. Granny knitted him socks, which he treasured, but whether he ever got his large, flat horny feet into them, I don't know. Blacks and shoes didn't go together. Their bare, flat feet had soles like really tough leather, and we'd see a black trudging into town barefoot, with his shoes slung over his shoulder! They made sort of sandals out of cowhide and motor-car tyres, which they wore occasionally.

Some Reflections on Blacks – Blacks were always just there, and we didn't take any notice of them, or always know their names. People just called them all "John", or referred to them as "Jim Fish". At first they were always "Boys", the rest staying out of sight in their Kiyas. Cook Boy, House Boy, Wash and Iron Boy, Garden Boy – and many of them became quite skilled. Only much later did we start having women in the house. We white children blythely ordered them around, and they just humbly obeyed us. They, of course, were fascinated with us whites, and full of admiration of all we did, from reading and writing, which they couldn't, to making delicious food in the kitchen – and our "mutis". They had their own, of course, but had blind faith in ours. So when anything went wrong they'd congregate round our back door, and plonk themselves down in the dust and wait patiently till Nkosikasi attented to them. Umfazis especially, with their Bantwana, could and would always just subside on to the ground and sit their, legs straight out – any time, for any length of time. The men would mostly squat on their heels. So our Mum kept a supply of basic medicines, and most days would run a little clinic to care for their ills. The blacks could stand a lot of pain, without a murmur. I remember once a "boy" at the back with a terribly bloody toe in an old rag, who reported, "Mina enzili mustake!" On inspection – with never a wince – Mum found he had chopped his toe almost off. So she sent me for her sharp scissors and finished the job (no reaction) and dabbed ir generously with iodine – ouch! After a few days it was all better again. Paddy can add her stories to this, of doctoring the blacks on their farm. Took them to a doctor only when necessary.
 Blacks hated and feared chameleons (and still do -) So it was good sport for us to take one on our hand and chase a black, yelling with fright!

The blacks liked to call themselves Tickey, Sixpence ("zoozipuncé") and Shilling. They are by nature full of music, and like singing, whistling and dancing. They'll chant in rhythm when doing any hard manual job, to help themselves along, specially when there are several of them together. And they immediately break into harmony when singing, even the little ones instinctively. But, of course, not our Western harmonies; their own, more in 4ths, than 3rds and 6ths. The basses were always unerringly right, and often had very fine voices. They have a wonderful sense of rhythm, and of course it is from the blacks of Africa that Western jazz sprang.

Then from Montrose in Scotland came the Rev David Carnegie, still the L.M.S. He married little Mary Margaret – always petite and rather delicate, but she rapidly produced 10 children, and never looked back! Her youngest, Dorothy, known as Dopsy, was very like her. Small and dumpy, kind, with a wonderful sense of humour and beloved by all.

Well, let's see. The Carnegies were Arnold, who married Emily; Alfred married to Elsie – my/our parents; Arthur who was killed in the First World War by a sniper, and possibly the last shot of the war. Muriel, Lallie, married to Reg Palmer; Jessie, who married Jimmy Lloyd; Kate and Ruth who died in childhood; Balfour, married Vera; Mary, married to Sandby-Thomas; and Dopsy who married a little Frenchman called Omer Comors. They all had progeny who spread all over the world. Dopsy had only one daughter, Suzette, a beautiful baby, but who got polio and became a cripple. Still is. She married Gerald Jolliffe, and they emigrated to Australia, where Dopsy joined them, where she died in 19 . They also had only one daughter, Hayley, who married a Ross and produced twins.

Lally and Reg disappeared to England, Ipswich. He already had 3 children and Lally produced 7 more, several of whom landed up in Canada and the States.

My closest cousins were Arnold's two, Bernard, Bunny, and Stella; Jessie's two, Arthur and Leonore (Migh) and Balfour's Michael, Ann and Alan. Mary's four, ever so Welsh, are around somewhere, though the first two, Philippa and Megan, are in England and Denmark. Anthony we don't see, but Myfanwy and husband Peter Terry-Lloyd we do. And mother-in-law, Joan Terry-Lloyd, widow of the South African Admiral.

Now us. The Carnegie boys were sent to The School for Sons of Missionaries in Cheltenham (I think) in England. Arnold and Alfred arrived first, healthy and sunburnt, and the children danced round them saying, "They look like charred Niggers!' and dubbed them Chardo I and Chardo II. Arthur became Chardo III and Balfour Chardo IV. Later, my brother David was Chardo V.

A family called Nourse used to take pity on poor "orphans" from Africa, and the Chardos spent lots of time in their West London home. Mr Nourse was a Congregational Minister, and they had five children, who eventually spread to the five continents of the world. Mildred married a Missionary and went to China, where they adopted an abandoned Chinese baby girl called Chin-yin – then "Chinese Jean". One son Harold, went to Australia, founded a family there with wife Frances, in Melbourne, I think. Another went to Canada, ditto ditto. The Nourses had twin daughters, and that's where we come in. These 2 darling little girls arrived on the first day of Spring 1888 – March 21st. So they were named Daisy and Violet. Which names they couldn't stand later on, and fortunately had second names they could use, Muriel and Elsie. By marrying Alfred Alexander Carnegie, Elsie became my/our mother.
And what a character she was! So she went to Africa and Daisy stayed in England. Alfred and Elsie were married under a large, spreading thorn tree in front of St. Cyrus, the Carnegie home at Hillside just outside Bulawayo.

And it's only now really that our Family History proper begins, and we're still generations away from the end bits. And I still haven't come to my Memories. Whell.

There's a nice Family photo taken at this time, with little Granny in the middle surrounded by her children and a couple of very young grandchildren . All so very good-looking.

Alfred Carnegie, as a child, used to play down by the river with the little black piccanins, and their favourite games were with oxen. Ox-wagons. They made oxen out of clay (mud) or bagged oxtail bones for these.
Alfred trained as a Geologist and Mining Engineer, his parents, David and Mary, sending him to the Royal School of Mines in London, hoping he'd make a fortune, as gold had just been discovered in Rhodesia. He never did make a fortune in gold, and was perenially broke. In Rhodesia he used to do a lot of travelling around the different mines by car, and whenever I could, I'd accompany him. We'd sing – ah, he could sing, with a lovely baritone voice, and he'd tell me all sorts of things about his youthful experiences. Like, how he and Reg Palmer and Blaffie once went over to Geneva from London for an Easter weekend. They stripped and dived into the Lake – Dad first. The water, mostly molten snow, was so cold, he didn't know whether he had struck freezing or boiling water! But he didn't do or say anything till Reg dived in – and came up with such a face! Dad motioned silence, and they waited till Blaffie dived in and gleefully watched as he surfaced, almost in agony – then all 3 dashed out, and were glad to see an old woman selling hot chestnuts, which revived them.

Another story was Daddy in the Albert Hall. He was very musical, played the violin well and listened to all he could. No radio yet, of course. So there he and a pal sat, right upstairs at the back (cheapest seats), with their attention fixed on the curtained stage, when there was a sudden blast of sound close behind them, and down came a full bag-pipe band with big drums going flat out. The last thing they expected, and they nearly fell off their seats!

So Alfred and Elsie settled on a gold mine at Umvuma, north of Bulawayo, where their first child, little Alison arrived. Alison had been Grandma Nourse's maiden name, and like her husband her father had been a

Headmaster and a Congregational clergyman. A beautiful little girl, with her big blue eyes and golden hair. I wonder where that coloured photo is. Alfred's eyes were blue, but Elisie's were sparkling brown and her hair thick and auburn in her youth. She was very gook-looking, with a marvellous figure. Where's that photo of her in a long shapely dress, with her hair piled up, I wonder?

Alison was followed 2 yrs later by David Alexander Kitchen, last name from an old and very helpful friend in England, which caused much interest and mirth during David"s life. As Mayor of Hartley, when required for a case in the Magistrate's Court, this chap could never resist calling out all Dr Carnegie's names, and doing a double-take at "Kitchen"! David was fair, with green eyes, and very like our handsome Father.

Then came along the terrible 1918 Flu, and Alfred seemed to get it. Mum fought it with all the means she knew, especially piling blankets on him, packing him round with hot water bottles and making him sweat as much as possible – and praying. He actually recovered. But their little girl got it, aged about 4. Her liver was practically destroyed by it, but the doctor said a change of altitude and climate would help. So our brave mother left 2 yr old David with Bulawayo relatives, and took little Alison down by train to a relative called Aunt Effie Philipson in East London. Poor little mite – so sick, and how she suffered and faded away, finally to die in her mother's arms, and she lies buried in an Port Elizabeth graveyard, where Ben and I found her little grave, in with another big one. But this experience was so terrible for poor Elsie having to face it all without Alfred, that her hair turned almost white, and she returned to Umvuma so thin and practically unrecognisable . Losing your youngest child like that – terrible.

Well, God comforted them by sending them another daughter 2 years later – Jean Mary - me! "Black-eyed Susan" they'd call me as my eyes were so large and dark and my hair brown. I was born on the Arcturus Mine near Salisbury, the capital of Southern Rhodesia. In a fairly big square brick hut where the manager, Alfred Carnegie lived. We visited Arcturus later, and it is still going strong. My Godfather, a Dane called Dr Pieter Jansen, was still there (wife Camilla in Denmark) – and I didn't like the way he mauled me and gave me sloppy, wet kisses. He bought me a pretty blue dress. Me about 15. I was a premature baby, and a dreadful scrawny bundle of only about 6lbs, with hair growing down my cheeks and tufts of hair on my shoulders. My mother nearly died. They wanted to remove the infant from her, but she had heard the doctor say on no account was she to be upset, so she gritted her teeth and demanded "Give me my baby!" Which they did, and she cuddled and fed me from the start. I never looked back, of course. That was 10th August 1921.

We moved to a mining village called Que-que, where Patricia Margaret was born, on 25th January, 1924. Much later our father called her "Padarewski", or "Paddy", which has stuck. She was petite, dainty and blonde, with silky fair hair and blue eyes. Daddy used to call me, "My Precious Nini", after I got the nickname from my small brother, Alastair. One of my earliest memories was of Que-que: Mum needed ice – no fridges of course in those days. So Jim Fish was dispatched with a wheelbarrow and a sack to fetch it from the local Cold Storage, and I was allowed to go with him, aged about 3. We always had perfect trust in the Natives, and got on so well with them. On the way back my little legs got tired, so the Boy just picked me up and plonked me on top of the ice on the sack, and thus trundled me home! I think I can still feel my frozen bottom!

The ice, a big slab, was kept in a tin bath in a cool room with a sack over it and used like that – things kept on top of it, and odd bits chipped off the corners when necessary.

Here, as I said, sister Paddy was born and David was about 7. Our mother was a great one for music, an L.R.A.M. from London, she could play the piano so well, which she taught, and also the cello (which she eventually flogged when particularly hard up) and she also gave dancing lessons. David was a splendid little dancer, and there was the photo of him in a harlequin costume standing posing on a mushroom – with his stupid little sister Jean, doing her bet to imitate him. But my forte, apparently, was "doing the hind-porp" (horn-pipe).

It was in Que-que that we were eating mangoes once, Pat in her high chair, and Dad handed her a pip to suck and nibble, which she enjoyed. After a bit they looked at her, and saw no mango pip. Very slippery of course. When asked "where's your pip?" she just pointed down her throat. Horrors! Had she swallowed it? My goodness – try to make her spit it out – rush her off to the doctor, who did all he could to retrieve it, to no avail. But she seemed merry and bright (about 2yrs old, I suppose) so the doctor finally shrugged and said it would probably pass through her. Well though we watched and waited, we never saw it again. But – years later, when we left Que-que, there in a corner far behind the piano, was a mango pip!

We moved ever so many times, Dad being involved with so many mines – metals of all sorts – from precious gold and diamonds to semi-precious tin, sheelite, tungsten and chrome – specially during the 2nd World War. Rhodesia being so rich in diverse minerals.

After Que-que, Dad had a spell on the copper mines of Northern Rhodesia. One of these was Mtuga mine, and while here their last-born arrived. Young Alastair John Michael was born on 15 February, 1928. Mum had to go to a larger village, Broken Hill, for the birth. We chugged along in our T Model Ford to take her there, and to fetch her again. I was 7 and Pat about 5, so now our memories really come into play.

Northern Rhodesia, now Zambia, is nice. Beautiful veld with big Msassa trees and pretty grassed, rolling vleis called Dambos. I've written about the Big Dambo and its lions elsewhere. We saw a lion when we were bringing baby Al home. Msassa trees have pretty, small leaves that sparkle in Spring with shining green – or all the autumn colours – from deepest red, through pink and orange to bright yellow, on different trees, of course. They also have very insignificant scented white flowers.

Wherever we went, it was essential, of course, for Mum to have 2 things, a piano and a garden. We never had much money, but these she paid for with her piano lessons, playing for ballet, etc, and by selling plants. She always had numerous garden boys in train, who treated her with the greatest respect. Father was fully occupied with his mining activities, and as I have said, had to travel about a lot in his car.

Mtuga was quite near a small railway-siding where a slow train went through once a week or so, and one could overnight at the local pub. Kapiri Mposhi. Here we took Mum when Alastair was born, and Auntie Jessie, Geff, came to look after us with her 2 children, Arthur and Leonora (later Migh – I'll tell you why...). She tried to be very strict with Jean and Pat, and we didn't like that, or her for that reason. No doubt we were a handful. I was always self-willed and difficult, but Pat was a very bright and pert little girl, and every body's favourite. Mum used to call her "Mummy's pretty Baby", which Pat translated as "Mumminy's Tippety Babity".

The photo of Alastair's Christening – by old Bishop May, who travelled around with a Bible in one pocket and a pack of cards in another – for poker or bridge! He and mother were great chess-players, too. Anyway, there they/we are, Mother in the middle, on a sofa in the garden, with her long grey hair tied back in a bun, and her infant in a long christening robe in her right arm. Next to them little Patricia posing (she was always posing) prettily in her white dress and shoes and sox and the other side of Mum, Jean Mary. All gawky legs and arms and bare feet bolt upright, like some large stick-insect, with pudding-basin hair-cut.

We four cousins had lots of fun together, the Lloyds being most enterprising inventing games, and up to all sorts of tricks. A few years older than us. At a later stage, when I was starting school, I stayed with them in Hillside, Bulawayo. Leonora had acquired a new big bike to cycle down to the local school, and I'd go with her, sitting on the back carrier. Leonora introduced two important things into my life: one was my daughter Yolandie, a little rag doll Leonora made to match hers called Murgatroyd. These were sort of puppets with hollow legs and elastic bands in the middle. Fingers inserted into the legs animated them, while the elastic kept them on the upright. Amazing what you could do with these – walking, prancing, dancing and marching along a row of stones hopping from one to another in a most realistic manner. They were naughty children, and would appear on the dining-room table to kick over the salt or a glass, dabble in the gravy and so on, and had a special high-pitched way of talking. Their grand-parents didn't approve at all, but couldn't help laughing. We made so many clothes for them.... Today Yolandie still amuses my family. I thought I'd put away childish things when I went to university, but I missed my daughter so much, Mum had to post her to me. But she did it just like that, in an envelope, and Yolandie 's head got horribly squashed and skew, as it still is to this day.

The other thing I got from Leonora, was a new name and character. She had an imaginary "Family" consisting of herself and me and a couple of Stevenson girlfriends – Ray and . Leonora was called May, I was Amy and the other 2 I forget. She evolved a most peculiar language, or accent at least, which we all cottoned on to very well. Like, a "petticoat" became a "bizigize", and a "carion crow" was a "gazanian gzai". And you had to speak it in a high, nasal tone. Dickson was our surname, so I was Amy Dickson, pronounced "Army Ditsen". This character appeared on all sorts of occasions and in all sorts of situations, mostly to everyone's amusement. So Leonora became "Migh", and still is to this day, tho' many people must wonder why and how. She married a Peter Wigg, so is now Migh Wigg. She had a few children, a boy, Michael, and a girl, Marion, among them. Her brother, Arthur, married Helen and had 2 sons, Patrick and Chwee.

Migh's father, uncle Jimmy, was shell-shocked in the First World War, and the whole family suffered from that. But dear uncle Jimmy and I were great pals. There was a saying we used at that time, taking someone's name and chanting, "Jean, Jean rick-stick steen, be-y, be-y boxing Bean" having to end up with a B, and Jimmy always called me his "Little Beano".

Jess came from this very religious family of Missionaries, but Jimmy just didn't want to know, and forbade wife and children to have anything to do with all this Jesus business. But, when he was dying in hospital in Salisbury – I remember it well, Migh and Army being up a tree at the time, - he called Geff over and begged her, "Please pray for me!" which of course she did. So I'm sure Geff met him again in Heaven. "Bee-why, bee-why Boxing Bean". His Birthday was 1st August.

Migh invented the Bicycle Game. They had a nice big garden all round, full of trees, and we'd gather at the back. One would be chosen to take the bike and the others would scatter and hide. The bike was ridden all round the house a couple of times – "Coming!" and the search was on. Kept us amused for hours. We also discovered that we could traverse all round the property without getting down from the trees once. I used to do that in Que-que, and in other homes too. My mother always encouraged us to climb trees, but just insisted on one hard-and-fast rule – always take off shoes and socks. She and twin Daisy had always been good tree-climbers in their youth – one story was of an apple tree that grew near enough to their bedroom window for them to climb out and down by it, which they duly did!

A gum tree, eucalyptus, is a bit of a challenge to climb. The stem is so straight and smooth and tall, with few side-branches to help. Best thing is to take a run at it, and shin up like a bobbejan or black, till you reach more branches. My limbs were long and strong which helped. Paddy never got up one, and Alastair, 7 years younger than me, never seemed to get into my tree-climbing picture.

I remember, when I was about 9, we were living at Springs mine, South Africa, where there was an open square in front of our house fringed by big, tall gum trees. Just the job for me, and I managed to climb to the very top of the tallest one, where I swayed happily about in the breeze, singing away. Until a lady neighbour came to my mother and begged her to call me down, as she felt quite sick, and just couldn't stand the sight a moment longer! Paddy wasn't so keen on trees, and I used to help her up and down.

Brakpan, South Africa. Here also our rather pokey house was on the side of an open square, with nice climbable trees in it. Some memories here, besides Pad's spanking (see pg 10), were of the "wee hoosie" I built, with little bricks made with match-boxes and dried in the sun, with Paddy, my labour force. In a back corner under a peach tree, and the "house" was big enough for us to creep in and have a picnic in there. I fancy I must have had some help from Dad, in the shape of some cement and an sheet of iron for the roof. This was where I learnt that in brick-laying you do not put bricks one on top of another, but in rows across the gaps. Of course, it all disintegrated in the first rains.

Another Brakpan memory was poor little Fi-fi, a small white puppy, whom we found head down in the kitchen drain. Ever so drowned. But Mum worked on her – upside down, warm towels, artificial respiration, etc and actually brought her round again. So she was named Ophelia, after Shakespeare's drowned maiden.

Our house in Brakpan, was one of a row of mine houses, backed by a "sanitary lane" where the toilet bucket-system prevailed. (The local boys liked to go round lifting the back flaps to catch you at it!) The bucket- system was in general use everywhere in Rhodesia (when it wasn't the "long-drop") and once, when Mother was ambitiously putting on "Romeo and Juliet", on Nchanga copper-mine, Northern Rhodesia, she had her Julet at rehearsal calling out into the night, "Romeo, Romeo wherefore art thou Romeo!" Which was answered by a deep voice calling"Meena aikona Romeo – meena lo sanitary (funani) Boy!" (they had to remove the buckets and replace them with clean ones. Funani means, "What do you want?").

Mum and I attended a garden-party in Brakpan once, given by the Mine Manager's wife, Who came swanning up to Mum and gushed, "Well, Mrs Carnegie, isn't it nice to be living in civilisation after Rhodesia?" Just what Mum needed, having come from her large mine manger's house, with its lovely big garden and umpteen servants, etc – so she let fly!

Dad needed the experience of a "year on the Rand" to get his Mine Captain's Ticket, so that's why we were there in South Africa in 1931.

While at Brakpan, I joined the Girl Guides, which gave me great satisfaction. There, one of our favourite games was "Doctor-doctor". I dressed up in Father's khaki shorts and shirt and my nurse, Paddy, was wrapped in a towel with a hankie of Dad's on her head. We'd carefully lay out all manner "tools" – knives, and forks and spoons – and prepare the kitchen table. Of course we needed a patient for our operation, and once we got young Kathy from next door on to our table. But the sight of our implements, and then me approaching with the bread knife, was just too much for her, and she fled through the door, and just never stopped running!

It was in the Brakpan Convent that I first came to grips with Afrikaans. I learnt the sentence, "Die water is in die dam", never to be forgotten! Bravo!

From Brakpan we went to Muizenberg for a holiday, and caught a boat in Cape town to Beira. Nice sea trip. An attractive dark young lady from the Hotel was with us, and had hot sessions in his cabin with the Purser, whom she subsequently married. We got off in Durban for Rickshaw rides, pulled along by a bright and bouncy Zulu, with his barefeet and fantastic regalia of monkey's tails, beads and horns. You can still experience this today.
Dad was sent to Kingsley Hoard mine, which was near Bendura.

Another favourite game was "Offices". I was the Manager, Mr Dickson, and Paddy my secretary. We would busy ourselves for hours, days, with all sorts of papers, envelopes, pens, pencils, clips and things from Mum. I'd dictate letters to my Secretary which she'd have to write out, and woe betide her if she made mistakes! I finally had to fire her for insubordination. We played this a lot at Kingsley Hoard mine, near Bindura, where I turned twelve. Bindura was a biggish township with shops, where I went shopping with Mum. She trustingly left me in a draper's shop once, where I got busy and bought lots of small lengths of dress material for Yolandie, putting them down to her account. She was not very pleased!

 Shortly after that, Paddy and I became boarders at Girls' High School in Salisbury, where we stayed till after Matric. As boarders in Weldon House, Forsyth and Beit House, we used to say, "It's a nice day for the Race", "What Race?' The Human Race! Ha ha! Followed by,

"I wish I liked the Human Race,
I wish I liked it's silly Face;
I wish I liked the way It walked,
I wish I liked the it talked,
And when I'm introduced to one,
I wish I thought, "What Jolly Fun!" –

And as we neared the school hols, we'd start chanting:

"This time next week where shall I be?
Out of the Gates of Misery –
No more Latin, no more French,
No more sitting hard old bench –
When the Teacher rings the bell
All the books go down the well
If the teacher interferes, knock her down and box her
Ears (said with great relish)
No more spiders in my tea
Making googley eyes at me,
No more beetles in my bath trying hard to make me
For this time next week where shall I be –
Out of the Gates of Misery!
Free! Free! Free! – Yippee!!"

Education - It's a wonder we got educated at all. Seldom a school near us, so Mother gave us the rudiments of academic foundation, and on that built with a rather good Government Correspondence Course. Then there was a series of governesses. I remember, when I was eight on the Roan Antelope Copper Mine, there was Miss Townsend. A sturdy lady, with a shock of stiff red hair. She liked teaching us to "make things" out of scraps of materials – dolls and animals – and stuffing them with bits of sanitary towels, which intrigued me. (Mum told me what they were ...). Then Miss Smith, from England, whom we called "Mitt-mitt"; a rather pale, pathetic figure with rimless spectacles, who couldn't cope with us at all, and soon left. That was at Nahanga Mine. She was followed by a Governess from Germiston in South Africa, of the Salvation Army. Mrs Wilson, who was made to marry before going up to Darkest Africa. She was a warm and friendly lady, whom we soon got ot love. One day she and Mum had made new dresses for me and Paddy, and our Governess tied large sashes around us forming huge bows at the back. She said, "There, now you are a couple of Butterflies!" And from then on we called her "Flutterby".

Some years later we went to visit her in Germiston, with her family and new baby. A small dark-skinned infant, and we admired Flutterby coping. But there was probably a "touch of the tar-brush" somewhere. Mum always noticed this and was scathing about it. Once I was walking down Victoria Street, Stellenbosch, with her, and lots of students came past, the girls pretty and well-dressed, and I remarked on them, mostly Afrikaans, and Mum's reaction was - "They've all got the touch of the tar-brush!" In other words, blacku blood in them. Often true. Once I was having tea with the Afrikaans wife of a university Prof, who thought I was a foreigner from Switzerland, and she carefully explained to me that the coloured race/problem, was caused by the English! I didn't point out that their mother-tongue was Afrikaans, and they mostly have Afrikaans names!

Yes – I once counted the number of different types of schooling we had, and came to 22! But we got our Matric at High School in Salisbury, and we all went to University. Pad and I to Cape Town, and Alastair to Rhodes in Grahamstown. As Dr of Entomology, he went up to Central Africa to take part in the Locust Control. And after that I don't remember anymore swarms of locusts. Well done, Al!
Here I may add when little Al went to Boarding School, Prince Edward in Salisbuty, his first little letter home he wrote on exercise book paper in the form of numbered sentences! I've still got it somewhere .....

At the Roan Antelope mine, aged 8, I got my first bike, and became quite a holy terror dashing round the house and streets. Here I and my pals dug a pit, where we used to go and smoke filched cigarettes. No, we never got sick. There was a grove of young trees at the side of the house, and here Mum "did" her seedlings. One day I was swinging from a branch, and it broke, dropping me and impaling me through my tummy. Mum lifted me off and applied first-aid. To this day I have the triangular scar there, on the left. Quite a few other good scars – gall-bladder, anurism, heart bypass. Appendix was removed with gall-bladder. "Interesting facts about interesting people!"

I remember the Circus that came to the Roan Antelope, and our special treat of going there. But – there was this enormous cannon in the arena, that dominated and struck fear into my trembling soul. Scared stiff. All thro' the performance I knew it was going to go off, and could think of nothing else. Sure enough, in his colourful and glittering outfit, this courageous young man climbed on to the big gun, and was helped down inside it, feet first. Great to-do's about lighting the damn thing – then firing it! With an almightly "bang!" – our Hero shot out, to bounce into a net and jump up and bow, when I was just about beside myself. Hated it! The trouble was, we lived near enough to hear this blasted thing every night, which really gave me the heeby-jeebies. I could, never stand loud noises (Idon't know how I coped with Dad's guns) and can recall once standing on a London street with Grandma after Sunday School, aged about 5 to see and hear a brass band come past. I wanted to scream and run away as the big drums approached, and fiercely blocked my ears, and buried my head in Grandma's volumous skirts.!

Another memory – we went for a holiday once in Northern Rhodesia to a Mission Station, Dombashawa, next to a big hill. Lots of big, bold baboons, and Mum was a bit fearful for her 3 little children. We could hear them barking, but didn't see any. It was a fair place, and we were allowed into the nice garden while the grown -ups took tea. We 3, Jean, Pat and Al, aged about 8, 6 or 2, were paddling in the fish-pond, and soon had all our clothes off. Near by was a big mulberry tree, full of luscious mulberries. So we happily ate our fill, and as I fed the youngest one, toddler Alastair, he got a bit smeared. Whacko! So we all got completely smeared – what a lark – from head to toe with the squashed purple fruit! "Painting" ourselves and each other, from top to toe, front and back. We laughed like trains and thought we looked so splendid, we had to go and show the grown-ups. So these 3 naked, woad-covered bodies trooped inside whooping with glee to display themselves in all their purple glory – and I leave you to imagine the re-action! Complete shock and disbelief, specially with the bachelor missionaries and our Father. (I believe Mum was heard to chuckle...) She hustled us outside again and down back to the fish-pond, and we were very disappointed to have to wash all our new-found beauty off. But you don't get rid of that stain so easily, specially from heads of hair. So we ended up in a hot bath, with plenty of amonia generously applied by our determined Mum. No mercy even when it got into our eyes and up our noses – horrid! But I suppose it taught us never to do that again!

Mum was pretty sparing with her spankings, but no doubt we, or I, got some that time. Once – at Brakpan mine in the kitchen, I quietly goaded Paddy into a fury, and she flew at me and bit my arm almost drawing blood. Mum laid into her with a hairbrush while I stood by, begging her to stop. She used to threaten us with Father's retribution when he came home; but he was the mildest of men, who loved and enjoyed his kids so much, he would never dream of lifting a hand against us!

To return to Mtuga for a minute, another memory. I had a nasty nightmare one night, and crept shivering into my parents' bed. Told them all about a terrifying fire. I was very frightened of fires, specially as the bush-fires in that region of long thick grass were really awesome with their loud exploding sap. That tropical grass grew way over our heads, and was called "elephant" grass. It sure could hide an elephant, of which there were a few around. Wonderful for thatching. If you pulled out a stalk, its bottom was tender and sweet and good to chew. Anyway the next morning I was over the road visiting the Frame family. The sons intrigued me – Harold liked birds and had several he had caught, specially young ones, in his own little grass hut. He knew so much about them. Gerald the younger one, was more my age, and allowed me to go "hunting" with him and his .22 rifle. I don't think we ever "got" anything – maybe a dove or two. I was in the kitchen with Mrs Frame – wood-burning stove, thatched roof. I noticed a few sparks going up into the roof, so Jim Fish was sent up on a ladder outside with a basin of water. I can hear Mrs Frame saying now, "No – don't just sprinkle water – pour a bucketful on, quickly! –" But it was too late, and that was the end of their house – just as I had dreamed it. I ran in terror across the road, past our house (also thatched in several separate sections) and down to the mine yelling for "Daddy", the mine manager. He came, with a gang of mine boys, but they couldn't save much. And that was why my family listened to and believed in my dreams, many of which came true.

 I was always very scared of aeroplanes, not that we saw many. But one landed once near Mtuga, and I couldn't be persuaded to go near it. Once I saw and heard one crashing so clearly in a dream, and it came to pass just like that. We went to a bioscope in Bulawayo, and among the pre-ads was one for C.T.C. cigarettes (Cape to Cairo), a still with an aeroplane on it, and I remember freezing with fear and having to be helped outside.

"Oft, in the stilly night
Ere slumber's chain hath bound me,
Fond memory brings the light
Of other days around me."

I'm wandering. Back to the family, in Northern Rhodesia, near the Equator. We all always wore head-covering, even helmets lined in red, because of the ultra violet rays, but seldom shoes, because of the Matakinis or Jigger-fleas. Tiny brown creatures in the sand that would burrow between the toes and lay a sac of eggs and cause terrible itching and sores. Barefoot, they would easily be brushed off. David was a beautiful, delicate-looking child, with his soft, pink skin and large green eyes, and the doctors told our parents that that altitude and climate was not for him (tough, brown Jean was different!). So our Mum took him over to England, aged 9, and left him there. Jean and Pat went too, and I can remember Grandma Nourse's house, with stairs – and the sight of a small Chinese girl coming down them in Chinese outfit of padded black long pants and jacket. Chinese Jean, being brought up and educated in England, so she and David grew up together. She proposed marriage to him when they were older, to which he replied, "Not on your life!"

My Grandpa was a tall, white-haired man who died while we were over there, and I remember Elsie's tears. I also, aged 5, started school, and was dubiously intrigued with the long black stockings.

David, as "ChardoV" went to the S.S.M. and later trained as a Doctor at the London King's College. Chinyin went to a University in Ireland and trained as a nurse, where she met a student from Thailand, Lert Strichandra, and they married and had 5 kids. Twin girls amongst them. Lert is now a dicky 94 (died 2004). She and I still correspond.

David found a Bride in London, Betty Carter, and they lived in Rhodesia and brought up 4 children – Jean Elizabeth, now Jeannie White in Eshowe with 3 kids, Patricia, Baa (my godchild) married Rob Haarhof, John and Alex. So we didn't see much of David, and he never really "belonged" to our family, but came out several times for visits, and just loved Rhodesia and the Bundu and tramping round the veldt with me, shooting at things. Mostly missing. David always maintained that Carnegie males never reached 60. (He didn't) Because W. Sykes, D. Carnegie, Arnold and Alfred reached only 58. But Bunny belied that by passing 80, and Alastair is already 75.

  I left school and worked for a bit in the A.A. Then our Father made some money with chrome during the war, and decided to send his daughters down to university in Cape Town. Me to study music at the College, where I got a Teaching Certificate – tho' I never learnt to play the piano very well. But I came Top in most of my other classes. Pad to do Social Welfare.

At the first social do, the Freshers' Dance, I met one of the "hosts", a philosophy student from South West Africa, and we never looked back. Bernd Alfred Theodor Schneider and I were married in Salisbury Cathedral in December 1945. His parents did not approve at all, and ignored our marriage. My parents didn't much like the German idea, but accepted him. We started life in Rosebank and Rondebosch, both teaching and saving money, and then went over to Switzerland in 1947 for 2 years, for Ben to get his Doctorate. Started in Zurich, but then came devaluation, which cut our savings into less than half, so we both had to teach to keep us going. We set up the English Institute in Berne. Very interesting times, which stretched our Swiss stay to more than 5 years, when we met so many fascinating people and did so many interesting things, trips, etc.

Finally we got back to South Africa, via England, to Stellenbosch first – Ben at the University. His name, Bernd, I had never heard of, and it meant nothing to me, and sounded like Ben, and Ben he became. Which stuck. Shame – his mother thought "Bernd" was really special! Even Benjamin, even today, and our two grandchildren twins are named Benita and Benjamin, all rather confusing!

Ben got his Doctorate and was Professor of German, Unisa in Pretoria for 30 years, quite a record. He was a wonderful husband and Father, and is still such a marvellous support to me in my rather helpless old age.

We produced 3 children, Ronald, Stephen and Erica. Ron married Karen and then switched to Regine in Germany and has no issue, sadly. Steve married his Swiss lass, Cecille Oertle, and rapidly produced our 5 grand children Jessica, Gideon, Benita and Benjamin and baby Melissa, now 10 years old. Steve, a trained attorney, joined the Kwa Sizabantu Mission in Zululand, and I visited him there – with operated feet. A couple of years later he phoned me, "Ma, I want to propose..." "Don't be silly darling, you can't marry me!" "No – tch! – guess who I've chosen?" "Well, I said , the nicest and kindest girl there is Cecille." "That's the one!" so he asked Uncle Erlo's permission, and came down to Muizenberg and asked her parents for her hand in marriage and finally surprised Cecille by asking her! So they hadn't even held hands before their wedding ceremony.

Ben was an only child, and his parents emigrated from Germany to South-West when he was about 18 months old. He didn't have any siblings. Vater set up a Printing Shop, and was busy with that when he decided his son would not go to Germany to join the Nazis, as all Bernd's schoolmates did, but sent him down to Cape Town after his Abitur, where Vater felt his future would lie. This was about in 1937 or 8, and in 1939 I was also sent down to Cape Town, and that's how we began.

Meanwhile my sister Paderewski was also at UCT, and one holiday I was up at Emadwaleni ("On the rocks", our house there) with lots of R.A.F. trainees around. One "gang" of 5 we saw a lot of, one of which, John Manning, looked round the company one day and remarked, "Ah – no blondes here, I can't stand blondes ....". Shortly afterwards Paddy, a blonde, came home, and there they were, holding hands on the sofa.!

They got married in England, in the middle of the snow and ice, February 1946 and then came out to farm in Rhodesia. Their first, Trishie, was born soon after (Trishie and Rob have became Missionaries in Malawi. These genes! And their 2 sons are now ministers of their church). Followed by Anthony, David and Alison. The latter was due round about the same time as our last-born , and we had decided on Alison Mary for her name,
when a wire came from the Mannings "Alison Mary arrived this morning". So we quickly switched to Erica Maryon. Young Ronnie had a little girlfriend at Nursery School called Maryon, so he chose this name for his new sister.

I can say that Ron was my favourite child, because we had longed for a son, and he was our first-born. I can also say that Steve was my favourite, as he looked so like my beloved Dad and brother David, handsome, with his green eyes, and was always on the same wavelength as me, and "religious". But then came our last-born, our precious girl Erica, who is so good and devoted to us – so she is my favourite child – see?!

Now I must start coming to the end. This account is for all our Family, but especially for Paddy's daughter-in-law, Sue Manning, married to her son David, who has asked me specially to write our History before my memory, and mind, fails me. Steve wants all the information too, specially for our next generation, his children. Pad is now a Great Granny, and both she and I have almost reched our Diamond Weddings!

So here it is, my dears, and, I'm sorry if it is a bit long-winded and wandery, but memories keep coming to me. Like, on one of my brother David's visits to Northern Rhodesia, my big brave 13-year old "never stopped running". We had been informed of a lion about in the district, down by the river, and the blacks feared for their cattle. Father, and his guns wasn't there, but when David came in, I thought I'd have to restrain him from marching out with his gun. Not a bit of it – I still have visions of his bare knees pumping up and down, as he dashed into the house and safety! It was here that I first noticed the method of preserving nyama. Mum kept a large zinc bath or 2 in the pantry into which she poured water and vinegar, and into that went the jointed buck that Dad shot. So our meat often had a slight pleasant vinegary flavour.

What else can I say? To sum up in conclusion, Jean and Paddy, have contributed Schneiders and Mannings. David and Betty are both dead. David, when Superintendent of the Eshowe Hospital, took his Matron to wife. Dear Iris – soft and kind and matronly, who still survives him in Pietermaritzburg, and "tends" his children as much as she can – Jeannie, Baa, Johnny and Alex (in England with partner Pete Rogers). She is very creative, and uses her talents in many ways, one being as a Silver Smith! She also writes most interesting letters, which we treasure. Baa and Rob are also in England and he has switched from tobacco farmer to Anglican priest.

Alastair married Phoebe, and they had 3 sons, Michael, James and Adam. Al got his Doctorate in Entomology. Adam married Laura and they have a son Oliver, and twin boys Gabriel and Sebastian, born 13 April, 2004.

And that's about it. Paddy and John, becoming the "Tobacco King" of Rhodesia, have been forced off their beautiful farm, leaving such a lovely garden behind – and dogs and cats and servants. Anthony and Mieka had the next door farm, and 2 children, John-John (to distinguish him from other Johns) and Jane. J-J married Sarah and are on a farm north of South Africa growing roses. Jane is floating around somewhere in the east with a boyfriend. David's three – Katharine, is in England doing speech therapy, Brian recently married Nadine and is in Harare where are also David and Anthony. David is involved with ferrying and selling planes, and Ant in "business" with crocodiles. None of them can farm round Mangula anymore – blacks have just taken over, and bagged all their cattle and millions worth of equipment and machinery. Turf. David's and Sue's last, Christopher, is still at UCT, and one wonders what his plans will be.

Paddy and John are fortunate to have found a pied-à-terre in Hout Bay with daughter Alison and her geologist husband Ian, and lovely children Samantha and David. Paddy obviously hankers after their old home, and is not too happy, but John is resigning himself to their fate, and getting on with being a South African citizen. Both well, but John plagued with arthritis, as I am. We're lucky to be settled in this perfect beauty-spot-gorgeous view over False Bay to far mountain ranges, nice house and garden, and kind daughter Erica in attendance. I'm not bed-ridden, but chair-bound with a weak heart. We hope to celebrate our Diamond Wedding successfully – but quietly – next year in 2005.

I think I must mention a bit of History. The Carnegies were there, settled at Hope Fountain, with Chief Lobengula and his Tribe not far off, at Gubulawayo. All went well, and by the beginning of the 1900's, the railway had reached Matabeleland and the whites were "streaming" in and finding the land very fair and promising. Our Sykes at Hope Fountain were joined by the Helms, a Missionary I think, from the Berlin Missionary Society. They were rather German. There were 2 Helm ladies, Jessie (became Lovemore) and Winnie – enormous sisters with square ruddy faces and German accents. I remember once when they'd been having tea with us at Emadwaleni, they left in the pouring rain in their grey sou'westers, and Dad rather unkindly remarked, as they toddled down our drive way, "There go two, old toads!" – very like – shame... (I have had the temerity recently to call Paddy and me, "Jessie and Winnie", which she doesn't appreciate at all.)

When Cecil John Rhodes was Prime Minister at the Cape, he became very ambitious. The "Empire Builder" could visualise the map nice and red from Cape to Cairo, and he set out with his Pioneer Column, mostly wagons, to colonise this new country. There was a statue of Cecil John Rhodes in Jameson Avenue, Salisbury, of him standing with his right arm raised, pointing north, and entitled, "There lies your hinterland!" This statue, of course, was toppled by the blacks, (probably to be melted down ....) when they took over Rhodesia and changed it to Zimbabwe. (It seems as long as there are Z's and A's the native names will do. They want to call South Africa "Azania". OK, Meinetwegen...).

Rhodes had his own railway coach with bedroom, dining saloon, lounge and office, and I've been in it. He had to negotiate with the Matabele chiefs, but they'd all disappeared into the Matopo Hills, suspiciously, and didn't want to know. So it was acutually our Rev David Carnegie who rode in on horseback and persuaded the chiefs to come out and talk to Rhodes, Carnegie interpreting. This incident is mentioned in at least one Historical account, that by Gertrude Milne.

By the way, Grandpa Carnegie could read straight from his Greek Bible into Sindebele, and he and Granny Mary translated the whole of the Pilgrim's Progress into Sindebele. I have seen this book in the Unisa Library amongst the works used for Native education, to this day. Then there is their book, written by him and illustrated by her, "Among the Matabele".

So there was this Great Indabah, where Rhodes persuaded the chiefs to "sell" him land for settlement, and an Agreement was signed to this effect. I suppose Rhodes paid some money, but mostly bartering goods I expect, including their precious beads and safety-pins(!) and all the blacks signed with their cross and thumbprint. So the town Bulawayo was established, and soon the capital in Mashonaland, Salisbury, and the new country from the Limpopo River to the Zambezi was called Rhodesia. Then, of course, the blacks got fed up with all these whites coming and grabbing their land, and rose up against them. The Matabele Rebellion.

This was a bad time, with unrest catching on like wildfire, and white settlers attacked and even killed, by terrifying black Impis, wielding their assegaais. Pillage and arson, and no one safe. Granny and Grandpa hastened by wagon to join the lager formed in Bulawayo, where they withstood the siege. As they left Hope fountain in flames, a crippled boy hobbled up to Granny and handed her a small Bible he had rescued from the burning church. She eventually gave it to me, and I had it at school, but am ashamed to say I haven't a clue what happened to it. Dash it.

There weren't many white soldiers, but of course they were a superior force with guns, so the blacks didn't really stand a chance. Though nasty things happened, like the Allan Wilson massacre, where he and his regiment were ambushed and wiped out to a man in a small wood near Shabane. Afterwards, up in the Matopos one could visit the Allan Wilson Memorial, and Rhodes' Grave. Which Ben and I did, with Mum and Dad and Vera and small Alan, when we were engaged. Quite a climb up, through the Koppies, and Dad picked up a nice big, long piece of granite, which Ben trundled all the way down in Alan's pram, to be incorporated in our Emadwaleni house in Salisbury. It went into the centre over the fireplace in Dad's study.

In 1947, when the Royal Family visited South Africa and Rhodesia, Ben and I were living in Cape Town and we went to see them come off the ship. Then to Rhodesia where they were taken up the historic Motopo Hills by my Uncle Arnold. We have the big photo of them – Arnold with Queen Elizabeth, later our Queen Mum, wearing Princess Elizabeth's shoes, and she in stockinged feet. With Princess Margaret and King George VI. All such pretty and handsome people.
Emadwaleni. I have written about elsewhere, and how it was built by black stonemason Joe. He was an old friend of Dad's from early mission days, and an absolute artist is stone, with his big, strong hands. He used the rock from our plot, and made a fine job of our house, keeping one large, sloping rock as the side and ceiling of a back room. He and Dad would keep company, Dad puffing away at this pipe, and them conversing in Sindebele and singing their old hymns in low bass voices. That big rock had a cleft or "chimney" between it and the next, just wide enough to be used to inch one's way up in sitting position, tail one side and toes the other. Very hazardous actually, about 15ft high, and really only I could do it. Though wretched visitors were made to try. Our maths mistress quavered "Nearer my God to Thee" as she struggled up, and our local young padre had his worst time, but he made it – once!
We had some rather good Bushman Paintings among the Koppies on our property.

After the Rebellion was put down and peace restored, chief Lobengula fled to the north, and died on the banks of the Zambezi River. Then followed at least a century of progress, flourishing farming and mining, and burgeoning industries and good governance. Hospitals, schools, university all grew and triumphed, till Rhodesia became a really admirable country. Then came the Terrorist War and donimance by the blacks, determined to chase all the whites out. They have practically succeeded, and Zimbabwe has retrogressed alarmingly. No doubt the same will happen here in South Africa.

Music. One of the most important facets of our lives has been Music. With a capital M! For me, it was one of the first things I was conscious of. Tho' living out in the wilds, the Bundu of Rhodesia, we had no access to concerts, symphonies or operas. Yet my earliest memories were of my gifted mother playing away on the piano, with Dad on the violin, or singing, and various musical gatherings of friends doing their stuff. Mum was fondest of Beethoven and Chopin, so we were saturated in them, most nights being lulled to sleep with something so nice. I was so proud when I became her "turner overer". So I junped at the chance of a musical secondary education, tho' at the College in Cape Town I found I was woefully unprepared, and didin't know half the stuff my contemporaries did, - but caught up fast. With the help of my Boyfriend Ben, who also loved music and could play better than me, we spent hours listening to the library records, and going regularly to the City Hall Symphony concerts (prescribed) on Thursday and Sunday evenings. He used to accompany my singing.

So I can say it was Music that brought us together, and held us together. We battled away at all sorts of duets, and had tremendous fun. Our children are all musical. Ron getting to play quite well, and joining various choirs in Germany .

Ben and I instituted a very successful Record Club in Pretoria, and have always assiciated with musical people. I taught the piano for as long as possible, and was really sad when I had to stop, when we left Pretoria, and still miss my dear pupils so much. They found my strange name a bit awkward, so called me "Mrs Nice"! And once I heard a girl say, "Well I'm going to call her Mrs Jolly Nice!"

And so it keeps us going. I can't go out any more – specially at night – but Cape Town has this wonderful Fine Music Radio station with good stuff 24 hrs a day, and excellent fundi presenters, specially in the evenings. It is truly meat and drink to us. "If music be the food of love, sing on..."

The Carnegies were very droll and witty, and kept us laughing, specially Alfred and Balfour. I remember once at breakfast with Blaffie and Vera, our boiled eggs were not satisfactory. The day before they had been stone hard, and this morning they were completely runny. So Blaff sends for the cook-boy, and asks him, "Wena asi lo 'Happy Medium'?" "Ja, Baas!" "Well humba chia yena -!" Once, sitting around at the Souchons (he French-speaking form Mauritious) someone asked, "What is the French for "ashtray"?" Dad said quietly, without hesitation, "J'achetrai" – (I'll buy it). Which we all thought was very clever.

The End of Alfred. His heart failed him, poor chap, at the age of about 58, and he died towards the end of the War(II) in 1944, I'd say. I was out of College, teaching at David Livingstone School in Salisbuty and living at home at Emadwaleni. We got him into the Isolation Hospital in Hillside Bulawayo – don't know why there. Mum and I stayed with Jessie Lloyd. They did what they could for him – today he would have been saved. Mum and I spent hours at his bedside, me embroidering things for my Trousseau. He would sing, and the staff would gather in the corridor to listen to him. They tried to remove liquid from his lungs by puncturing them through his back, a very painful process. When he saw the Matron approaching with her vicious needle, he would sing out, "Lay that pistol down, Babe, Lay that pistol down. Pistol-packing Momma, Lay that pistol down!"

We got him back to Emadwaleni, and into my bed and my room. As he got worse and weaker, we sent for Dr David to came from India, where he was on Active Service, in charge of an Ambulance train – having left Betty and Jeannie in London. So he joined Mum and me and our old friend Dr Rosin in the care of Alfred. David moved in with him. One night David called me, and we sat with Dad, quietly breathing, and Mum came and joined us. At about 11 at night, Dad suddenly opened is eyes and said "There's Arthur!" Mum asked, "Nephew Arthur Lloyd?" "No, no –brother Arthur!" A little later, such a lovely smile lit up his face, and he exclaimed, "Mother!" and with that he breathed his last. They were all round him. Dad used to say, "If ther's a guinea-fowl calling, even on my death bed, I'll get up and have a crack at him!" Well, there was one at sunset, but the poor old Boy didn't hear it.

  Well, we trundled him down to Bulawayo, Mum, Dave and I, all night in our bakkie, with Dad's favourite Boss Boy sitting on the coffin in the back. He didn't seem to mind. To Geff's house in Leander Avenue, where the Family asssembled. And where I fianlly broke down, and just couldn't srop weeping. They wisely didn't try to stop me. Then the Funeral at Hope Fountain, and that was that.

Mum lasted about 25 more years, to die aged 82. She was about 5 yrs older than Dad. Very diabetic. Paddy bore the brunt of her passing, which I believe was quite a struggle. On Sikona Farm. I wasn't there (married in Pretoria). Anthony was a very stalwart support, and Dr Jack Tasker was in charge. They took her down to Hope Fountain too, so that again was that. May they Rest In Peace.

Mum left her March Birthday to Erica, who has to celebrate too near Xmas. So Kiki has 2 Birthdays, and could have a party during term time and invite all her school friends.

The name Carnegie doesn't appear in the history books (except that Gertrude Milne mentions the incident in hers of Grandpa Carnegie fetching the chiefs from the Hills to meet with Rhodes). As Ben points out none of us really did anything outstanding. David became a doctor and Superintendant of Eshowe Hospital, and Al has done well for himself and has some publications behind his name. Otherwise our name is not important.

Little memories more: I went to St Peter's Boarding School from N. Rhodesia – and hated it (being pretty untameable). I'd bring various songs, etc, home in the hols, and would organise Pad and John (as we mostly called Al- Dad often said "Alastair-Johnny-Mikele") to give little "concerts" for Mum and Dad and anyone who would listen. Very young John once recited a long poem, as a Doctor treating a sick dolly, ending up: "Keep her werry warm, keep her wrry 'till, And when I come tomorrow, please pay de bill!" We also sang a long riigmaroly song, "Once upon a time there were three Jews" Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and I have – or had – a tape of very small Ron singing this – perfectly in tune.

Alastair had a lovely voice, high, clear and true soprano, and he once sang the Erisky Love Lilt in the Eisteddfod, carrying off the first prize. We recorded it, and the result is still floating around somewhere. Today Paddy's young grandson, David, also sings very well, and is in demand for concerts at school, etc. They've got him taped too.

Somewhere we have a photo of David and Betty singing in a Gilbert and Sullivan Opera – and our Dad made a very good Mikado and a Poo-bah, once. Mum did all the producing and accompanying on the piano. David did the Wandering Minstrel in the Mikado and he and Betty were caught in that one scene. Alastair in the Gondoliers. He was Griselda in one of his school productions, making such a beautifuls heroine. The lady sitting behind me said, "That can't be a boy!" to which her husband replied – "'Course – look at his feet!"
Both Ron and Steve took part in their senior school Gilbert and Sullivan productions. Ronnie was Sir Joseph Porter KCB in H.M.S. Pinafore, and Steve a Policeman in the Pirates of Penzance.

Al inherited our Dad's fiddle and learnt to play quite well – with Dulcie Bell in Plumtree School.. He passed this on to our granddaughter Benita, who is learning quite nicely, but alas, Steve and she got bashed into by another car, and both our violin, and Pa Carters', got smashed up.

Ron built himself a harpsichord and plays away. He'll get my piano one day. Karen has kindly given hers to Erica, who'd play well, if she only got down to it. She has the merciful gift of being a good sight-reader.

Pad has a jolly good voice, and used to "take off" our opera-singer friend, Bud Souchon ("Cleo") to the tee – powerful high notes and all! Both she and I were in our GHS choir, where we learnt hymn descants, which we'll put in at the drop of a hat - much to Erica's chagain in church, "Shsh – quiet Mum!" Only now I have to use the descant in the tenor!

We always sang in the car, mile after mile. Driving in Rhodesia was more comfortable than in South Africa, as we at least had our "strips" on the roads. Two rows of tarmac helping the cars along, while in South Africa the roads were still rough and dusty. That's how our family expression: "Take an intelligent interest" evolved. Our Father was skidding about in Karroo sand, the wheels whizzing round and not gripping, and we kids were laughing away in the back. He finally shot out – "Stop that laughing and take an intelligent interest in what I'm trying to do!" So we soberly tried to help him, by placing sacks under the wheels and thus got him out. This mollified him somewhat. Now we have to "take an Intelligent Interest" in all manner of Problems ... Only much later was the Karroo route tamed and tarred. Today it's a comfortable, swift journey, with roadside petrol-stations with P.K.'s and refreshments. So you don't have to find a bush or boulder, and pull up your pants quickly if another car approaches, very likely to stop, which one always did for a stationary car, to see if they were in trouble.

Driving in Rhodesia, we'd get thwarted by a rising river, and would have to spend up to a whole night waiting for it to subside enough for us to cross. Our old car had open windows, no roll-ups, so we'd sit there in the inclement weather in the dark, slapping at the mosquitoes and singing all sorts of things from hymns to Gilbert and Sullivan, Dad's special songs, and our school efforts, etc. Singing away in 4-part harmony – Dad bass, Mum alto and kids soprano and descant. Then Army Dittsen would appear, and heaven help us! She – I- would hold forth with lots of good Advice in her atrocious accent, and then she'd start singing – excrutiatingly off key (my parents didn't know how she could do it!) One of her favourite songs was words and tune by herself. The tune consisted of 7 bars repeated ver and over again, ad nauseam, and getting worse and worse. It went CFGAB(flat) CAFAGCGF and the words were (I think Pad and Al will remember it) "When I went down to Devonshire, wot did I see? I seed a little wabbit awaiting there for me. And wot did I say to 'im? I sez to 'im sez me, "Oh dear little Wabbit, would you like a cup-a-tea?" Ee sez to me, "Dear Mawster, I'd like that very much, if I can only havitt in my little wabbituch"! I sez to 'im "Dear Wabbit, oh yes, I quite agree" and hastened off to make. him a lovely cup-a-tea. But then when I got back to him, he'd run away from me, and never did he get to his lovely cup-a-tea!" Usually long before this, several siblings would be sitting on my head, and the parents commanding Army to stop! What a row! By dawn, usually, several blacks had pitched up from nowhere, and, for a few cigarettes, would help us over the river.

Maybe I have maligned the Karroo, which did improve. From absolutely Nothing, one could see Something, driving along. The very sparse grass and bushes were found to be good for sheep, so farmers movced in , sank boreholes, and soon there were oases of growth dotted about. And, yum-yum, Karroo lamb has become a real speciality! If it ever rains – even only a few millimetres – the desert will burst into a carpet of flowers – a real miracle. There are a few typical flat-topped hills, to break the monotony. But really nothing much else. Odd little dorps have sprung up – joy to the traveller.

A little more about E.M.V.C. (Tho' I could write a book about her!) I longed to be with her when she was dying, but I had gone up from Pretoria shortly before, to stay with David and family in Banket. She was in Hospital near by – Sinoia – so we had many long sessions together, and were both resigned to the fact that I had to return to my Family. She looked so treat in her fancy nighties, with a velvet ribbon in her snow shite hair, a different colour each day, and that's the picture of her that I remember. We spoke of everything – her life and death especially. Her Faith was strong and she had no fear, and she was, as always, a great inspiration to me. So courageous. From a pale pink Pommy, she turned into a tough warrior, fighting everything and everyone, and hitting straight from the shoulder. She used to tell us, "Don't be afraid of snakes. They are more frightened of you, and will just slither away." True. She didn't hesitate to wield Dad's heavy shotgun, and once I saw her shoot a snake in a tree, which fell out in 2 pieces, with a chameleon in the middle! In the end, Pad took her home to the farm, where she died.

One of Mum's special talents was writing. She had a nice bold, clear handwriting, and her weekly letters on the inevitable blue paper, were a great thing for me. She submitted articles to "The Outspan", and was good at verse. She once wrote a whole rhyming play for us to do at boarding school..And she published a little book on Gardening in Rhodesia, which I believe is still a standard work there. I've inherited this gift to a ceratin extent, as E.M.V.C. got it from her mother. Paddy's Ali is turning out to be a bit of a writer, and Al's Adam is a jolly good illustrator. This is also a gift from Elsie, who could draw and paint very well. (Was ther anything that marvellous lady could not do?!) His 2 brothers, Michael and James, are both good artists.

Well, that's all folks, and I hope you can make head or tail of it! Many admiring thanks to Erica for searching her way through it, and typing it all out.

You must just pick out from this rambling perroration, the bits you want! We thank God for all His many blessings! Amen.

That nice old song again – let's have all of it:

If Music be the Food of Love,
Sing on, sing on, sing on, sing on –
Till I am filled, am filled with joy!
For then my listening soul you move
For then my listening soul you move
Wiht Pleasures that can never cloy –
Your eyes, your lips, your voice declare
That you are Music everywhere –
Your eyes, your face, your mien decalre
That you are Music everywhere.
So, if Music be the Food of Love,
Sing on, play on, sing on, play on!


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