Back in Salisbury she continued to help with electioneering and campaigning with George and Fred Alexander, constituency chairman for the Lomagundi constituency. Fred was a widower who farmed tobacco and he tried very hard to persuade Winnie to marry him. Nat & I helped her move to a flat in the Salibury Avenues and then in 1970 we helped her move out to a very nice cottage in Northwood and she remained there until she came south with us in 1981.
Proposals of marriage happened a number of times over the years. On a trip to England in 1964, Winnie had a proposal from a United party parliamentarian travelling to England with us. On the return trip, she was proposed to by a retired British Army Colonel who had started a chain of footwear shops across America. Each time she refused because she said she had such a wonderful husband in Ralph that no one could ever replace him.
In 1972 Nat & I encouraged her to visit Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay with a friend and teased her about not coming back unless she had a rich Argentinian Ranchero in tow. Even Doll & George found a gentleman friend who took a great fancy to Winnie. He was doing business with George at the time but because he wore a funny straw hat and was Jewish, Winnie would have none of it. As he was extremely wealthy, we were all rather disappointed when she turned down an invitation to visit him in Johannesburg! Our efforts to pair her off were, I'm afraid always met with strong resistance - much to our amusement behind the scenes!
When it was decided that Nat & I would move to South Africa, Winnie of course said that she intended coming with us. Janet & Oliver were already farming in the Eastern Transvaal (Mpumalanga Province today) at Hazy View.
For the first 6 months in Kwazulu Natal she lived with us but then found a cottage in the village of Hillcrest where she moved to and lived until mid 1982. It was then that she moved into a cottage at Pomona Gardens in central Hillcrest. This became her permanent home, which she was able to buy outright some years later, until she moved into a flat attached to our home in late 1998. She was then nearly 90 years of age, still playing Bridge every week and visiting her friends and going to the Hairdresser. After about a year with us, our Gardener, Ishmael obtained his Driver's Licence and then became her official chauffeur.
Winnie's years at Pomona Gardens were very happy ones and she made lots of friends in the Complex. Molly Cordingly was one particular friend and they used to argue a lot about all sorts of things but remained friends to the end. Molly came from Kenya so they had much in common as ex colonials. Her Bridge circle was also large and she played two or three times a week for many years.
Pomona Gardens had a small Pub, which was opened each Friday night and residents and their guests could meet there for a couple of hours, have a light supper with a good flowing of alcohol and much banter. We also used to go along several times a year and got to know a number of residents and their families very well.
Unfortunately three months after Winnie moved in with us, we dropped her off one Friday night to catch up with all her friends and then intended collecting her to have dinner out. Because she was not eating, she had more than her fair share of drinks and had to be taken home. Her maid was left to supervise her dinner and get her to bed but she insisted on the maid leaving straight after dinner. When we got home, we found her on the floor with a huge scrape down her arm where she had fallen against the dressing table glass. There was blood all over the place and she must have been on the floor for some time as she was very cold and exhausted. Needless to say we refrained from allowing her to visit the Pub again on her own and took to surreptitiously watering down her whisky each night. Her friends were told that she had developed an ?allergy?! It had become apparent that her taste buds where no longer functioning properly and she took to pouring her drinks stronger and stronger with the minimal amount of water. If one of us poured, we always got a flea in our ear about the amount of water and how ?we had drowned ? her drink. At times it caused much hilarity amongst us!!!!
One day I walked out onto the verandah where she liked to sit and read the morning paper. I laughed till I cried when I saw her as she had the last night's paper perched on her head as a hat. I took a photo without her knowing and will one day send it in to the Daily News for printing over a ?funny? caption.
A year after Winnie moved to us, she was interviewed by telephone in connection with the disappearance of the Warratah off the Wild Coast. She had travelled with Granny May from Australia and they had left the ship in Durban as Granny was convinced the ship was unstable. One other man left as well and they were the only survivors of the Warratah's maiden voyage from Australia in 1908/1909. Granny May had been to Sydney to visit her parents and show them her baby.