While living in Broken Hill they looked after an African Grey parrot for 6 months. Winnie had a garden boy called Sikunka. Within a week the parrot could imitate Winnie perfectly and caused old Sikunka many an unnecessary trip to the back door thinking that Winnie was calling him. It caused all and sundry, except Sikunka, much amusement and the old boy came in for a lot of ribbing by the other staff. The parrot could also swear like a trooper. He caused Winnie great embarrassment one day when the local Anglican Minister called to talk about Janet's Christening. It was not the Minister's first visit and the bird didn't like men very much. Before Winnie could answer the door, the bird in a loud voice, just like Winnie's, said ?Here's that Bugger again?.
In 1937 Winnie & Ralph went on long leave to England to go and show off their child to Ralph's parents. On the Ship going over, they travelled with Moisevitch (? Spelling), a world famous pianist who was so taken with Janet that he wanted to adopt her and raise her as his own. She was already at such an early age showing a musical ability beyond her years of 18 months. This was to be Winnie & Ralph's last leave until 1947 because of the War.
On a visit by Dolly to Livingstone in 1937 when Betty Rudland was a baby, Winnie and Dolly decided to go to the Cinema and left Ralph to babysit Janet, Jenny and Betty. Imagine their chagrin when they came home and found Betty's cot covered with a blanket. Betty was sitting bolt upright and wide awake. Ralph said she had cried and he didn't know what to do so he covered the cot because that's what you do to keep a bird quiet !!! He said that she hadn't uttered a sound thereafter which just went to show that his theory was correct !! I don't think Dolly forgave him for a long time.
During the war years Winnie employed a coloured girl called Daisy who helped look after Janet and myself. Life settled back into the Colonial pattern after the War with Civil servants being granted 6 months leave every three years. This meant long leave to England in 1947, 1950, 1953 and 1957 and 1960. Janet & I accompanied the Folks in '47, I went along in '50, Janet in '53 and then we went enfamilie in '57. The trips were made by boat - usually Union Castle except in '57 when we went on a Holland/Afrika ship. On all these trips Winnie won the prize for the ladies deck tennis and had done on all other previous voyages. However, in '57 she had a strong contender in me but I only just pipped her to the ?winning post? despite the age difference !!!!
1950 saw the Rudlands again join us when we went to England and Tony & I were left at Hadley Wood with Granny & Grandpa May while the parents went on a voyage of the Norwegian Fjords right up to the Russian border. The Korean War had just broken out and Winnie made Granny promise that if they were taken prisoner, she would move heaven and earth to get them home !!! She didn't fancy cleaning latrines in a Siberian prisoner of war camp !
After Winnie's death on the 23rd June 2201, I came across 2 fur capes, which I recall she had bought at a shop situated in the Arctic Circle when the Midnight sun was up. In fact they were bought at about 11.0pm.
In 1951 Ralph was offered a post in North Borneo to do the development in that emerging country. It was an honour to have been chosen from amongst a number of other Senior Communications Engineers from around the Commonwealth. Due to the fact that it would have meant Janet would have had to stay in Cape Town on her own to finish her schooling and I would have had to commute to England for Senior Schooling, Ralph declined the post.
In '53 Janet was taken to England and placed in a Secretarial College in Sevenoaks, Kent. During that year, when it was summer holidays, Winnie, Ralph, Janet and her friend, Pam Priest - also from Livingstone, went on the first Thos. Cook Tour to Yugoslavia after the borders were opened to visitors.
The trip consisted of the channel crossing and train to Paris, where the biggest rail strike after the war started just as they arrived. It took the Tour people two days to get them on a train for Trieste - supposedly with compartment and bunks but only Winnie & Ralph managed to find seating. Janet & Pam had to stand or sit on cases the whole way. The ship going down the Dalmation coast to Dubrovnik was meant to have 150 passengers and ended up with 700! Janet & Pam had to sleep on deck. All of them hardly had any food for four days. While queuing to board the ship, Ralph heard a child crying piteously and it took him a good few minutes to locate the child under the feet of a German tourist ahead of where they were standing. When Ralph managed to indicate through the crowd what was happening, the other man merely shrugged his shoulders. Ralph, usually a quiet man, was so incensed, he roared out so that the crowd parted to let him help the little girl to her feet, he held her up on his shoulder until the mother spotted her and then Ralph turned to the German and told him off and ended up by saying ?and don't forget WE won the war?! Apparently the German was so taken aback that he gave up his cabin to Winnie and Ralph for the entire trip down the coast!
1954 saw the family transferred to Salisbury, S. Rhodesia. Winnie liked living there and soon had a number of friends with whom she played Bridge. The sporting side of hers and Ralph's lives had ceased by this stage because of Ralph's eye problem.