Going Home! Come for Tea.

Going Home! Come For Tea

Going Home? Well, not quite back to where I was born and brought up in a swimming pool but back to Johannesburg which I also oncecalledhome and beyond to Botswana, new territory for me.

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The End

The End

In 1921, Gervas Hughes, newly arrived in Que Que from England, went to work at East Clare Ranch. Every day, in a Scotch-cart pulled by four oxen, he collected cows that had died from the drought. His job was to boil them in 44 gallon drums, feed the meat to pigs, dry the bones and grind them in a large coffee type mill, worked by a mule, walking around in a circle.

In 1976, African terrorists, determined to over-throw the Rhodesian government, started to make their presence felt around Que Que.

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Carrying On

Carrying On

Gervas Hughes, Matambega, The One Who Could Be Trusted, as the Africans came to call him after time, put his son Tim in charge of Melrose Farm when he returned from 4 years of agricultural college and seeing the world. But Tim only stayed six months before emigrating to Australia.

He was sixty-one years old, feeling his age, but had no wish to retire.

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From Bundu to Outback

From-Bundu-to-Outback

From Bundu to Outback

Tim Hughes severed his ties with Rhodesia in 1962. In those days pilots navigated by the stars to cross the Indian Ocean flying at night. The four day trip from Johannesburg in a propeller driven Constellation made an overnight stop at Mauritius due to bad weather and then onto the Cocos Islands, Perth, Melbourne and finally Sydney.

He took a train to Brisbane. The next morning he was back with Eleanor. After lots of hugs and kisses, Tim took back the driving seat of his blue VW Beetle. Tim proposed at their favorite picnic spot at Heifer Creek on the way to Eleanor’s home at her parents farm. She accepted.

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Breaking Away

Breaking Away

Gervas Hughes had fended off military call-up papers for four years, telling them his son was overseas. One day another letter arrived from the Ministry of Defense requesting Tim attend a medical examination before doing his four months compulsory national service training.

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All in a Day’s Work

All-in-a-Days-Work

All in a Day’s Work

A typical week at Melrose Farm for Tim Hughes started with a cup of tea from his ‘cookboy’ Mark before daylight. After pulling on his khaki shirt, shorts, boots and hat, he’d hurry to the workshop to beat the simbi (metal plough disc) to summon the workers, just as the sun popped over the horizon. He’d mark their attendance cards and detail them to their various jobs.

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