In 1987 Warwick visited us at ?Schoongezicht' Somerset West in February and while he was there I gave him a number of items that took his fancy, such as the Chinese red silk trousers and tops bought for the twins in 1937 and some silver items. It was during this time that I lost a small butter fork that had belonged to Win Picton and was sentimentally valuable to me as it was the only one of its kind I had ever seen.
Then we were off again overseas, through Johannesburg, flying to Belgium on 29/9; from Brussels to Zurich and Interlaken on 5/10, then to Ramagen and Oosterbeek, where we viewed the area of the battle to control the bridge, details of this were given in a book we had with us called 'A Bridge Too Far' and we took this book with us when inspecting the military graveyard there. Just as we finished wandering among the gravestones, reading many of the inscriptions, we saw a man with an Alsatian dog approaching and when he saw the book he told us he had been with the British troops involved in this battle. He was now the curator of the cemetery and living close by as he had married a German girl he met after being wounded there. He then, to our intense interest, described the background of the whole battle, pointing out where the German troops were hidden in a copse of trees off to one side and the long walk that the parachute troops had to make in order to reach the bridge, an almost impossible task. He also told us how the wounded, he among them, were taken as prisoners on a train that travelled back and forth, as the battles raged for more than a week, without being taken to hospital. He had lost an arm but still kindly managed to autograph the book we had with us.
From Antwerp we returned by Hovercraft to London on 12/10. While there we called at Gerards for a watch repair for Ron Wild. This led to a most memorable and pleasant experience because, when we asked at this jewellery shop about refurbishing the daguerreotype picture of my great grandmother, Emma Ruth Warner, they referred us to a book and leather repairer, supplying an address in Polard Street. The entrance was not easy to find as it lay between two modern buildings showing the numbers on either side of the one we were seeking, but not that number. However, as I remember, we entered the right hand building and found that the repairer's premises were above the foyer. And that was when the real experience began. We climbed up very narrow, well-worn wooden stairs and it was just like walking into a Victorian or Dicken's novel. The smell of old leather, old paper and dust enveloped us as we entered a very old fashioned office, with only one, charming young, assistant, surrounded by shelves of old books. After examining the leather-encased picture, she agreed that they could improve its appearance but would not be able to replace the small piece of decorative edging that was missing. It would be ready in a week. ?What would it cost?? ?Five pounds. Is that too much?? We explained that we were leaving for Cardiff the next day. ?It would be no trouble to pack it carefully and send it by post.? Then, when we produced the money, she added, ?No need to pay now. Just send the amount once you have received the parcel and are satisfied with the results.? Truly Victorian!
We returned to Cardiff to stay with the Gitshams, and then visited the Nicols in Dunfries on 19/10, on to Esme in Herne Bay, Faith Findlay in Misterton and Pam Broster in Penalt before leaving from Cardiff for Cape Town on 8/11
[At this time Andrew & Christine were living in Wharf Road, Te Atatu North, Auckland, New Zealand and Peter & Heather in Ogilvie Road, Mount Pleasant, Perth, W.A]
In 1988 we were living at 'Schoongezicht, Somerset West and Peter was with us over Christmas and New Year. Coincidently, Phillip met Dorothy Smythe who knew the Howards in Rhodesia well, when they were both queuing in the Post Office and she added some information regarding the Howard background. His niece, Desia Wood, husband, Derek, and family came down from Zimbabwe to settle in Fishhoek. In March Graham Dallimore (a friend of the Gitshams) arrived from Cardiff, Wales and we took him up the Garden route, via Addo (Aldermans) and Butterworth (Ruth Hall) then to Natal, Umkomaas (Margaret & Hugh and to Durban, where I had my handbag, with rings, cash and diary stolen on about 11th April. There we visited Almaz & Ken Strobel and Winnie in Hillcrest, then we continued on to the Kruger Park and to Pretoria (Union Buildings) before dropping him at Jan Smuts to catch his plane home. In Bedfordview we called to see Len & Joyce; we also saw John, then returned home via Colesburg to Somerset West.
To my great gratification, we had the picture of Hester Warner (Mother of the 1820 Settler), which belonged to Helen Relly, photographed, printed on canvas and framed (quotation in September - collected 8/12 - it cost R170). On 1/6 the townhouse was placed into Phillip's name (paid R75,050 - Asking price R115,000) On 6/6, in preparation for emigration, we had photos taken for passports, completed immigration application, and collected international driving licence; on 31/8 to Police station for finger prints and clearance; on 3/10 we went for medical checks & x-rays and on 17/11 application for residence was accepted. During this period we were wall papering the town house and Phillip was driving elderly people from Robarie (an old age home) for shopping and outings, while I borrowed a typewriter from Ivor Gwynne and typed out the family trees and information. On 26/9 we received the quote for packing up our possessions and transportation to Perth, Australia. Throughout December prospective buyers were viewing the townhouse and one of the children accompanying a couple damaged an ornament, by breaking off the peak of the man's cap from the English hunting pair but, fortunately, I was able to repair it quite well. Andrew had moved to Saltburn Road, Milford, Auckland. On 16th January we received an offer to purchase the townhouse, so went to Charles Perel and Ace Estates to sign the agreement to sell to Marshall A. Patterson.
During our last few months in South Africa, I was reading 'And the Band Played On' - a history of AIDS, a disease I first heard about in California in 1981; we had the dining room chairs recovered. (R45 each, plus R36 for material) and we all celebrated Margaret Robertson's 80th birthday on 5/2 for 2/3. On 8th March we bought air tickets for Australia and a pump for the Portopool for Peter & Heather; also bought a Video and Microwave to take with us to Australia. We were packing up our possessions and on 22/5 the removers arrived to pack the rest into cartons etc. then all into their van on 25/5. As Ronnie Wild had died, Phillip went to the funeral that day, leaving me with the packers. Thompson had valued the furniture on 4/5; Sheila, Rowland & Diane visited on 8/5; the Receiver of Revenue provided our 'release' for emigration 10/5; Win visited 12/5; we also sold the veranda furniture and large Edwardian wardrobe. The parcels of Family information were posted to Albany Museum on 16/5 and we sold the Granada in May, but the garage dropped the price R1,000 below their first offer!. We had a last lunch with Noel Wild, Shirley and Val on Saturday 27th, the day after Ronnie's funeral; said goodbye to the Spooners on 28th and the Wyllies on 29th.
1989 After some seven years of planning and searching we finally left for Australia via Singapore. We joined Peter and family at Ogilvie Road, Mount Pleasant, while another house was being built by Jennings at No: 46. Then, Peter, Heather and their sons went off to France while we stayed at No: 44 and the house building at No: 46 had begun but progress was desultory. The quote received on 25/9 from the Water Board was $9K for two trenches and 2 manholes and sewerage pipes and so we accepted the quote from Andrew Stokes instead. On 18/10 there was a severe earthquake in San Francisco; Margaret Robertson phoned to say Warwick was safe. We sold 46 and arranged to sell 44. We visited York and Busselton (staying at Vic's apartment) About this time Christine left Andrew and returned, with the three children, to her parents in UK. Barbers were living at Glendon Close, Asfordby. Sadly, Pamela Agnes Colgan nee May, daughter of Victor & Biddy died on 7/8 in Johannesburg and in November we received the sad news of my cousin, Althea, drowning in Natal.