For Jenny’s Alphabe Thursday, I am going to write my thoughts, the bits and bobs that I remember and how it was for me, during my almost fifty years spent in South Africa.
These are my ‘D’ memories, opinions and views on a time during a much loved childhood and beyond!
(A late rushed entry, oops- too late for Jenny’s selection!) Here are some delightful “D”‘s: Duiker, Drakensburg, Durban, De Aar, Dolphin, and song, Danny Boy
I’m going to start my tale today with the Dolphin. Much loved playful mammal of the sea. They are some of the most intelligent animals on earth. They give birth to their young and feed them on milk, the calf’s tongue forms a straw through which they can drink from Mum.
My best memories of dolphins was at just this time of year; between the months of May and July, when many millions of silvery sardines travel north, up the coast of Transkei and Natal, from the cold southern oceans off South Africa’s Cape Point, this is called the Sardine run. The dolphins, sharks, whales and game fish all follow the shoals of sardine’s, putting on a show that people remember for a lifetime! But apart from the beached sardines it is the show of dolphins I remember most. They get into a frenzy and swim so near the coastline, leaping out of the water and crashing back.
We were lucky enough to live on the South Coast of South Africa for 17 years.
And on a different note something that I learnt today about Dolphins! They have been playful creatures for thousands of years; as some old Roman coins found depicted a boy riding a dolphin.
But back to South Africa…. De Aar, a major railway junction in the Cape Province. On my second visit there, we didn’t stop for long in the railway station: but long enough for me to relate the story about my first visit.
Apparently I was “screaming blue murder”, my father’s expression for a baby crying uncontrollably. He left me in my mother’s arms on the train in this same station to run up the high street and buy some baby food called Cow & Gate. The conductor had to delay the train!! We had only just landed in South Africa in Cape Town harbour and were travelling towards Port Elizabeth for my Dad to begin his new job. I had expensive tastes even at that age! No other baby food would do.
The Duiker is a little deer that got its name because of the way it ducks and dives when startled. It is a shy little creature with big eyes.
They freeze at the sight of humans and larger preditors in the hope that they won’t be seen. You will find them in the game parks in and around South Africa.
The Drakensberg, a place of many happy holidays. The mountain range we had to cross each time we went to Durban on holiday too. But we had roads, not like the Voortrekkers back in 1680 who crossed by ox wagon.
The happiest of my Drakensburg holidays was when my Mom and Dad went with us; they even took to the tennis courts and showed us how to play a good game.
In the absence of my Mom, who has long since gone back to visit her beloved Ireland, in spirit, I add a “D” song , her favourite.
A song for Mom: Danny Boy.
If you would like to catch up on the other letters A to C, here are the links below.