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Farm House In The Karoo

 

I would like to share with you, another account from my Uncle Norman.

This must have taken place in 1950/1, as Norm had bought a 'new' car, a grey Vanguard. He was delighted to have 'wheels' for the first time in his life; eager to try it out on a road trip.

Norm and a friend (I honestly can't remember his name, but let's call him Dirk) decided to visit my Gran's sister Leila in Cape Town. It was a long trip from Kimberley, and a good test for the car.

Dirk had family, living somewhere in the Great Karoo (huge, arid tracts of land; miles and miles of nothing but scrub, with an acacia tree, doted here and there), so they would have a place to stop over and spend the night. No hotels, or sleeping in the car, this time; and Dirk knew the way, so no getting lost either. (For those of you who remember "There Came A Dark Horse".)

Norm and Dirk planned their trip eagerly. Dirk assured Norm that there would be no problem with the stay over at the farm-house; all had been arranged, per letter (very few house phones in those days). So very early one morning, they set out with picnic basket and coffee, all packed.

Their journey into the heart of the Karoo was uneventful, but not too boring. Along the way, they noted large herds of Springbok and sheep grazing in the 'veldt' (fields). Now and then, they would pass a donkey-cart piled high with fire wood; and friendly folk, who waved. Occasionally, they would see a caracal or black-backed jackal dart across the road in front of them.

They rolled up at the farm-house before dusk, and were greeted enthusiastically by Dirk's family. The warm smell of lamb stew, simmering on the hob, assailed their nostrils. Soon, they sat down with the family, in the large kitchen to eat and exchange news. Lamps were lit, and talk went on, into the night. (There was still no electricity in out-ling areas such as these.)

When bed-time eventually came, the man of the house apologised to Norm for not having a guest room; would Norm mind sleeping in the enclosed 'stoep'? (Veranda) Norm replied that he would not mind at all, being grateful that he would have a bed to sleep in and a roof over his head.

Everyone went off to bed. Norm found that the single bed was quite comfortable, and soon drifted off to sleep (despite the unaccustomed night noises); being rather tired after his day of driving. Not long after he had fallen asleep, he was awakened by the cold. (The temperature plummets at night, under these cloudless skies.) He discovered that his sheet and blanket had fallen to the ground. He leaned out of bed, retrieving the bed-clothes, and fell asleep once more. Not too long after, he was again awakened by intense chill, to find the bed-clothes once more on the floor. This time, Norm suspected that his pal was playing tricks on him, and looked inside the doorway to the 'voorhuis' (sitting-room where 'formal' entertaining took place), to see if he could see anyone... Nobody was around!

This time, Norm made the bed properly, making sure that the blanket and sheet were well tucked in; slid down, into the bed, making sure that he didn't untuck the bed-clothes, and went to sleep again. Sometime later, he woke again, to find his covers on the floor. By now, he was sure that Dirk, or one of the family, was pulling a prank on him! He proceeded to wrap himself up, like a 'mummy', in the bed-clothes and slept well until dawn.

The next morning while sitting down to a sumptuous breakfast, of mutton chops, fried eggs, freshly baked bread with farm butter and fruit preserves, the family solicitously enquired as to how Norm had slept. Norm thought "Aha! Here it comes."...He replied, that he had slept very well; not giving them a glimmer of the nights' disturbances.

The farm folk looked surprised, and looked askance at one another, while Norm grinned inwardly... Till they told him, that he was the first person, in years, to spend the whole night, sleeping on the stoep. Only then, was the whole story trotted out...

The Grandfather of the family had always slept on the stoep. One dark night, a native farm labourer had crept up and murdered the old man in his bed. Ever since then, nobody could get a peaceful nights rest there.

In my opinion, I think that it was pretty scurvy of them, to put a poor unsuspecting visitor, to sleep in that enclosed veranda. What say you?

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The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by yourghoststories.com. Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, Fergie, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

Fergie (36 stories) (1094 posts)
 
4 years ago (2013-08-15)
Aah, Vonboeckmann! What a pleasure to get a comment from you! 😊

Norm was my hero; full of fun, but he took no nonsense. The Vanguard... Umm... I have a suspicion that a baby was made in the backseat of that one. Was it you, born in your Dad's Vanguard? OMW! 😲

I am sure that the murderer was caught, as they knew his identity, or so I was told.

I am so glad I could bring a bit of nostalgia to you... The good old days?!

Thank you for reading, and your great comment Vonboeckmann. ❤
Vonboeckmann (guest)
+1
4 years ago (2013-08-15)
Thanks Fergie for another good story. Your uncle sounds like our kind-no nonsense. I admire that strength. Thank you too for the memories. Country cooking and hospitality. Lanterns at dinner when the generator was out. We too had a Vanguard green bodgy back. I know a young lady that was born in it with a police escort Dad with the shakes in the hospital garden. I think the family could have put a little more detail in "you don't mind"sleeping in the veranda. Still the grandfather appears to have a sense of humor. Do hope they caught the murderer.? Kind regards J ❤
Fergie (36 stories) (1094 posts)
 
5 years ago (2013-02-27)
My goodness Krystallia, You are digging up old bones here! LOL!

Yeah, Uncle Norm didn't scare easily. He was my hero, when I was a child. He was into all sorts of weird things. (Well the rest of the family thought so) like astral travel etc. He was my first link to the 'supernatural'.

Thanks for the compliment. Have I given you the 'munchies' too? LMAO! 😉
KRYSTALLIA (64 posts)
+1
5 years ago (2013-02-27)
Lovely account and very well told as usual! Uncle Norm was a tough cookie if I may say so! I can understand why Oupa was pissed but Uncle Norm had to get his rest!

Now, if you will all excuse me, I have to go raid my fridge. Thanks for that Fergie 😜
Fergie (36 stories) (1094 posts)
 
5 years ago (2012-12-13)
Fantastic news triden, I am so happy to hear that. 😁
I am sure you can manage quite a bit of pain, now that cancer is not at the end of it! 😐

Best of luck, my friend. Please keep me updated!?
Fergie (36 stories) (1094 posts)
 
5 years ago (2012-12-13)
Nordic 'my maatjie",

It's so good to 'see' you again! I have missed you! 😢
I doubt that there is anywhere quite like the Karoo, in the world! It is a balm for the soul, if ever you are troubled!

Humm, I suppose mutton can get boring after a while. Us that are stuck here in-land, never get a chance to get bored with it...it's just too darned expensive. And, Karoo lamb has that special flavour, from eating the karoo bossies...yum!

Drop me a line sometime, if you feel like it. 😊
Fergie (36 stories) (1094 posts)
 
5 years ago (2012-12-13)
Lol Gargoyle,
Thank you for that, did it sound mouth-watering? Have a big, bad lunch... Just remember to eat something small for supper...enjoy!

The old man? Yeah, I would be PO too... He never saw it coming!? 🤔

Thanks for reading and the lovely comment.
triden07 (66 stories) (275 posts)
+1
5 years ago (2012-12-13)
Hey Fergie
The doctor is mostly convinced that there is no cancer, but he is worried about infiltrating growths, so he wants to check everything out before he does anything big. Its reassuriong that I have, once again, dodged the cancer bullet, but I am in pain on a daily basis, that's what gets me down right now.

But, I'm a tough girl, I'll battle through it, lol
Fergie (36 stories) (1094 posts)
+1
5 years ago (2012-12-13)
Triden my friend,
Yeah, I know, all the doctors have gone on holiday until Jan. 😉 So they let you 'stew' for a month!? That sounds like good news in itself! Nothing Major to worry about then! 😊

All good this side!
Nordic (44 posts)
+1
5 years ago (2012-12-13)
Fergie, for the first time in 3 months I get the chance to read some stories, and this is my reward 😁 Awesome story!

I must say, even though I grew up in Cape Town, has spent my life on some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and now live less than a kilometre from the Stellenbosch wine route, I truly love the Karoo. There is just something enchanting (The Afrikaans word, "bekoring," doesn't really have an appropriate English equivalent) about that wide, desolate expanse.

Loved the description of the house -- my aunt used to live in a turn of the century farmhouse like that in De Aar, so you really took me a long way back. And the mutton chop breakfast: it still happens. I remember my brother coming back after a visit to the sheep farm of friend saying that he did not want to see mutton/lamb for a month -- having riblets for breakfast, stew for lunch, and braaied chops for dinner was just too much for him.

Hope you're well! 😆
Gargoyle (51 posts)
+1
5 years ago (2012-12-13)
Fergie

Another really well told story. I imagine that the old guy was really pissed at getting murdered in his sleep and I am not surprised, I would be too!
You are a really great writer. My mouth is watering. I haven't had lunch yet and when I do, I will make sure it is really large and bad for me!
You should write the descriptions of the various dishes on menus for restaurants, they would make a fortune!

😆

Gargoyle
triden07 (66 stories) (275 posts)
+1
5 years ago (2012-12-13)
Fergie
I'm so late in responding, my word! I'm doing alright, finally got my theatre date, so I have an entire month to stress about what is going to be found. Still holding thumbs for good news though.

And your side?
Fergie (36 stories) (1094 posts)
+1
5 years ago (2012-12-12)
Lol Rozo, I think only us S Africans can appreciate a mutton chop brekkie! But at 3pm? My goodness... Oh well, I suppose it's morning somewhere in the world... So why not? Lol!

Yeah! Maybe the grumpy ol man didn't want anyone else sleeping in His bed either! There must have been some (good) reason why He was 'offed'? I don't think That reason was told!?! 😉

Thanks for reading Rozo, and your great comment. ❤
Rozo (3 stories) (108 posts)
+1
5 years ago (2012-12-12)
Cool Story Fergie!, very well told!

Must be the grumpy ol man that met his demise in the room... If he couldn't get to sleep a full nights sleep, then nobody will!

Ag Nee man, nou is Ek ook lus for that Mutton Chop Brekkie at 3PM in the afternoon hahaha!
Fergie (36 stories) (1094 posts)
 
5 years ago (2012-12-12)
Beautifuleden I am so sorry to hear of your 'condition' 😢 (lets Not call it an illness), at least you can control it. Living 'carefully' is better than not living at all! 😉

You have a great goal in life... Your daughter is very precious.
Take care, I wish you and your little one everything of the best. ❤
beautifuleden (2 stories) (66 posts)
+1
5 years ago (2012-12-12)
Fergie, oh boy do I know what you mean! I am a Type 1 diabetic and spend my life counting calories, carbs and who knows what else! I would love to just give it all up and just "live", but then I won't be here to watch my daughter grow up 😢 xxx
Fergie (36 stories) (1094 posts)
 
5 years ago (2012-12-11)
Beautifuleden, what a pity we are all so engrossed in counting calories these days... We miss out on a lot of "lekker" stuff! 😉

Thanks for reading, and your comment. 😊
beautifuleden (2 stories) (66 posts)
+1
5 years ago (2012-12-11)
Great story as usual Fergie! Makes me also crave a "groot plaas ontbyt"! ❤
Fergie (36 stories) (1094 posts)
+1
5 years ago (2012-12-10)
Shlain. I think this guy is either a bored teenager, someone with a strange sense of humour or a troll! 😕
Shlain (13 stories) (246 posts)
+1
5 years ago (2012-12-10)
It would be the equivalent of us finding the use of "Jessica" "Samantha" or "James" funny even though its very common names.
Fergie (36 stories) (1094 posts)
 
5 years ago (2012-12-10)
Thank you triden, your help is much appreciated. Perhaps I can roll a rock out of your path some day?

By the way, how are you girl?
triden07 (66 stories) (275 posts)
+1
5 years ago (2012-12-10)
bizzjoe
"Dirk" is a very common Afrikaans name in South Africa. Same as in America they have John, Paul, Peter (which our english families also use).
Fergie (36 stories) (1094 posts)
+2
5 years ago (2012-12-10)
Dear bizzjoe, thank you for the compliment, at the end of your post, I appreciate it.

Now, on to the name that I chose for the other person in my account: 😉
In my experience, I have learned that many 'settlers' in the Karoo are of Dutch/French decent; therefore, any relatives would be of the same family-tree...as you with me, so far? It may of come to mind to use Johannes; Jacques; Johan, or even Jan... But never, John!

I hope I have explained myself well enough, to wipe the derision/surprise from your face... In the nicest possible way. 😊

If there are other South Africans out there, that are willing to help me out, I would appreciate it!
bizzjoe (1 stories) (161 posts)
-1
5 years ago (2012-12-09)
you couldn't remember his name, so decided to call him "dirk" LOL... Oh my god that's hilarious... I think a name like john would have sprung to mind first... Sorry about that... Good story though...
Shlain (13 stories) (246 posts)
+1
5 years ago (2012-12-07)
You better take it as a compliment! 😉

The pressure to eat healthy is strong. If it doesn't taste like cardboard it doesn't pass the lips 😜
Fergie (36 stories) (1094 posts)
 
5 years ago (2012-12-07)
Thanks Shlain, for reading. I will take that as a compliment. Gone are the days of big breakfasts in the City...eh?

Humm...maybe it was a 'trial run' on Norm, to see if anything unusual happened to somebody, that wasn't part of the family. 😕
Shlain (13 stories) (246 posts)
+2
5 years ago (2012-12-07)
Wow, you really set a scene in a person's mind with the background info. And you made me lus for a farmhouse breakfast!

I think it was almost like a prank on Norm to see if it happens to him too. Good on Norm to play things cool.

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