Showing posts with label De Oude Huize Yard. Show all posts
Showing posts with label De Oude Huize Yard. Show all posts

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

The Dam and Her Majesty's Apology

A page from the diary of The Dam 
The story of the character full house begins at the turn of the 19th century. Paul Michiel Bester was part of the Voortrekkers and he established the town Harrismith in the Eastern Free State in South Africa. The town was proclaimed and Paul became the first magistrate of the town. He then traded and became the owner of the farm called The Dam.

During the Anglo Boer War, Lord Roberts began a policy of farm-burning in the Orange Free State in June 1900. When Boeres were sighted within 20 miles from a Boer homestead, the occupants were given 10 minutes to evacuate their homes with a few belongings before the building were set alight by British forces. The animals destroyed and the homeowners sent to the nearest concentration camp.
Most of the burnings in the Free State were carried out by Colonel Mike Rimington's notorious Colonial Force, The Rimington Guides (Tigers).

Mary Bester (nee |Mandy) and her sister, who were English speaking, sere alone on the farm The Dam, as Mary's husband Paul Michiel, had been captured in September 1900 and were in Tin Town concentration camp in Ladysmith. When Rimington Tigers arrived Mary was asked, "Madam, have you seen any Boers around?" (which they pronounced BOARS, as in males pig). "Yes" she replied, "Down at the pig stay!"
They were give a little time to gather together a few belongs before the house was torched and Mary hid her silver teaspoons in a tin covered with rusks, as the Tigers were known to loot anything of value. As here sister was heavily pregnant Mary asked the soldiers to load a chair onto the wagon which was to take them into Harrismith, which they did. When Mike Rimington saw it, he hurled the chair off the wagon. The two sisters were allowed to travel on to friends in Natal where they spent the rest of the war. 
When the family returned to the farm after the war, the chair was still in the garden and was the only thing left of their home. 
After the war British government grudgingly voted 3 million pounds towards the restoration of the country. Most of this amount went towards toe restoration of the railways and mines. The Boers received very little of this money and there were usually string attached to their claims. 
The tongue in cheek name, Her Majesty's Apology was chosen although queen Victory had died before the war ended and scorched earth policy carried out by Kitchener and Roberts occurred during her reign. 

The Dam in days gone by. The Dam was one of the first Hotels in our area. 
Look at the beautiful broekie lace that surround the "stoep" 
The lady of the house and her girls are dressed up for the photo shoot. I wonder if they went into town. 
Mary Bester in the Dam Hotel taxi. The dominee objected to the name as he said it sounded like a swear word: "the damn hotel". 
The stable boy was pulled from the stables every so often, given a pair of white gloves and given the temporary job of watering at the tables.
Look at the hats of the little girls. Sure that they are ready to hit town in the Hotel vehicle.
In the photo is Paul Michiel Bester the first Magistrate of Harrismith 
with his wife and the youngest son. 
At the turn of the century, Paul Bester, was the original owner of the farm 
The Dam 
When you look out through the windows you can still hear the inhabitants carrying on with live on the farm Life was good at The Dam and the old photo's tell a wonderful story 

Dark days was to follow when the Second Boer War break out in 1899.
"Boer" was the common term for Afrikaans-speaking settlers in Southern Africa.
At the time Paul was interned in Ladysmith during the War.
he infamous Remington's Guides attacked his Free State Farm, turning out his family, and burning down the house.
The rocking chair standing in the corner was the only piece that survived the fire 
After the war, as an apology, the British Crown rebuilt the Homestead. 
The homestead was rebuilt as an apology from Queen Victoria 
It is this older wing of the house which has now been renovated for guests, hence the name "Her Majesty's Apology"

We visited Malcolm and Angie Bester in September 2015 on the farm. 
They are both artist and has put in a huge effort to promote the artist of the area. 
Malcolm and Angie on the 'stoep' of Her Majesty's Apology 
What can we say all beautiful 
Then there is the beautiful inside of the house.
The magnificent dining table and buffet was part of Angie's family treasures 
Lets take a stroll around the yard and what is happening out side 
The Dam now known as Her Majesty's Apology and some details 
The old vine that survived the test of time 
To soon it was time to say good bye.
Hennie and Malcolm having a last chat
Little would we know that Malcolm would pass after our visit
Rest in peace dear friend  
Till next time 

Thanks to Harrismith Chronicle for supplying some of the information 

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Towers along the road

This blog post is about towers that we saw on a recent road trip of approximately 1700 km. These towers might not be very high but they are scattered throughout the country. 
This time the photos will tell their own story and hopefully you will be able to associate with the towers along our route. 
This is made up of town hall towers, wind pumps, church bell towers, electricity pylons, historical building clock towers, water drill towers, grain silos, and memorials. 
On this blog post there is a couple of wind pumps and you will notice that we have a special like towards these. They use wind power to get the water from the borehole to the dam. 


Greetings as the sun sets in the west 
Till next time 

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Afghan with diamonds and bobbles.

After spending some time looking for a pattern to knit a stunning afghan this was the number one choice.  
This pattern was copied from Freepattern.  You can download it here 

If you do have problems please send us a comment with e-mail address and we will forward it 

The texture and lace effect was a must.  Must say it took longer to finish than expected.  

The texture and leace effect was a must.
Must say it took longer to finish than expected 

I have used Elle Pullskein wool and adjusted the pattern accordlingly

Finished - hand made with a lot of love 

Thank you for visiting till next time 

Monday, 4 April 2016

Beauty along our roads from a distant turbulent tragic past

Cosmos beauty along our roads 
Today we are sharing our blog with Andrew Barlow.  
He was born in 1931 and he attended school Wartburg Kirchdorf School.  
He is a full-time novelist, historical and current affairs analyst with a love of coffee, horses and cats.  
He was the Head Regional Magistrate of South African Department of Justice.  Andrew and me at a gathering.  
Where does one start with a story which still raises deep seated emotions?
Please read more about this "historical" flowers here 

Along many of our roads all over South Africa the sides of many of our roads and often in the veld for long distances the Cosmos flowers are to be seen in Autumn. 
They are beautiful and are in several colours. 
Many motorists are so captivated by their beauty that they stop and look and and are entranced by the calm serenity and prettiness of these flowers. 
Nowadays only a very few people know where and how these flowers came into the country.
The magic of Autumn in South Africa 
During 1899 to 1902 the South African War was fought between the two Boer republics of the Orange Free State and the Transvaal on the one side and the British Empire on the other side. 
The total Afrikaner population of the two republics was about two hundred and fifty thousand people.
The British High Command believed that it would need only infantry to wage the war but soon found that against a highly mobile force of Boer Commandos mounted on their Boer Perde it needed ever increasing horse mounted soldiers. 
Apart from the horses available in the country it had to import many thousands of horses from all the colonies and from other countries such as the United States and Europe and especially from the Argentine. 
British troopers needed horses during the Boer War. 
Those horses were sent, via ship, to South Africa.
Horses bound for war, transported via double stalls on a shade-covered ship's deck.
(Horses on Board Ship: A Guide to Their Management, by Captain M. Horace Hayes) 
To feed these horses huge amounts of fodder had to be imported. 
During the course of that war far more than five hundred thousand horses were used. Of these more than three hundred thousand died.
They died from sickness, from being killed in battles and skirmishes and in the case of the Commandos from being ridden to death.
In the fodder imported from Argentine were cosmos and khaki bush.
This photo is the khaki bush in bloom 
Wherever the British horses moved across the country, all over the Free State, the Cape Colony and the Transvaal the seeds of these plants germinated and grew.

Along our roads, along many of our roads and in large parts of our veld these flowers are a beautiful reminder of a vicious war.
In Port Elizabeth there is a monument to these horses. Of a soldier holding a bucket of water for his horse. 
Whenever I have seen that monument I have had great difficulty to hide my tears. Tears of sorrow that the most noble of all animals has had to die in a senseless human war.
The Horse Memorial (Cape Road, Port Elizabeth, South Africa) bears the words: "greatness of a nation consists not so much in the number of its people or the extent of its territory as in the extent and justice of its compassion" "erected by public subscription in recognition of the services of the gallant animals which perished in the anglo boer war 1899-1902"
If you pass the Cosmos Flowers along our roads salute the horses who brought this flower to this country.

The pink and white patches on the wheat fields 
Dancing in the wind 
Thank you for taking this trip along memory lane 
Till next time greetings from South Africa 

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

A blue greyish lamp post in our garden

There were oil lamps in the streets and candles in the churches and it was reported that the ladies complained of the candle grease "falling on their wearing apparel". 
The Council embarked on a scheme for electric lighting, at an estimated cost of 19000 Pounds. The work was carried out by Messrs Morley and Dawbarn of London and Johannesburg. 
Mrs Caskie, wife of the Mayor of the day, turned on the lights at a banquet in November, 1904. 
Six beautiful street lamps were donated to the town. 
The according to word-of-mouth it was donated by the British Monarchy.
These  stunning street lamp took poll position in front of the Town Hall. 
When we moved to Harrismith there were still 2 lamps standing 
Some years ago we were driving though town and saw four guys rolling this base of a lamp.
The base of the street lamp 
After a couple of minutes Hennie was convinced he could save the old street lamp. 
In the same year the then museum had to be moved. This was a main . . . main job. There was an old ox-wagon that needs to be removed. Under the ox-wagon a lot of broken pieces of a street lamp, was hidden. 
The then committee entrusted the broken bits and pieces to us. We learnt that it was destroyed by a truck. Biebie de Vos - our town historian - helped with a picture of the original street lamp. 
 Hennie started the restoring the lamp.  

In the words of Mother Teresa
If you want a love message to be heard, it has got to be sent out. 
To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it.

Bits and pieces put together 
A couple of years ago this pieces was entrusted to us when it was hit by a truck
"May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out"

JRR Tolkien

A picture of a street lamp in Madison Avenue dated 1924.
This was part of the inspiration 
Bits and pieces 
Hennie started to renovate it as time was available.
He had to make new pieces where pieces were missing.
Painfully he managed to restore it

Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of
creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness. 
More detail of the bottom tulip shape 

Wonderful to see it standing in our garden
Thanks for visiting and may you have a wonderful time
Love from South Africa