Friday, February 29, 2008

Magtig, wragtig, tagtig!

- Lewis Tilney -

Essentially of well-known Caledon farming stock (Lady Duff-Gordon writes in her book, “Letters from the Cape”, how a young farmer Metcalf drove her over the Caledon veld at breakneck speed in his buckboard) this urge to “cross country” lives on in our local “settler-Metcalf”, Dick!

Our respective mothers, Enid Metcalf and Louis Tilney, were school mates at the Caledon Public School, I think, while the Metcalf Caledon clan were very well-known to my Ouma and Oupa Krige, also an old Caledon family and parents of my mother.

Dick and I met at stages over the years, culminating in an eventual very active “getting together” in Worcester, where Dick was employed by a prominent builder – forsaking varsity for the more practical side of things.

Dick’s wheels at that time were an ex-Army 350cc Royal Enfield bike on which he was wont, suitably inspired, to chase hares on the moonlit Worcester commonage. He “came short” only once, riding home to Mossel River, near Hermanus, for a weekend; both Dick and the horse survived their “get together.”

Our favourite Worcester summer pastimes were river-bathing, always suitably accompanied, and dancing, particularly at the Goudini Baths Hotel, of a Saturday night – great fun! We had a four-wheeled, four-seater vehicle at that stage. But, of course, these carefree days were not everlasting …

A chance encounter led to the “old firm”, Metcalf and Tilney, coming together again – many years later Dick surprised Beryl and me, stopping by for a moment at our Plett home from his Stanford farm. We told him that a small dorp, Prince Albert, had taken our fancy – we’d bought two adjoining erven for “next-to-nothing.”

Dick was immediately interested, reminding me that his Dad had been stationed there in the Standard Bank when he was a “pikkie”, and that he would certainly “gooi ‘n draai” on his return trip from Port Elizabeth.

This he duly did, visiting his erstwhile home in Luttig Street, and, spotting a “Te Koop” sign on the house next door, he immediately phoned the seller and bought the house then-and-there, “sight unseen”!

Dick and Shirley contribute ably and joyfully to local social life at No 7 Luttig Street!

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