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?