A Present at the Hospital Christmas Day Tea (an excerpt from the novel)

A Present to Remember at the Hospital Christmas Day Tea

The Hospital Christmas Day Tea was a must. Anyone who was anyone came to join the jollification: the long term mayor accompanied by the mayoress, the chief of police, the old Government Medical Officer of Health (GMO), the two private doctors in town, chubby Dr. Eckhart and his wife, Dr and Mrs. Rubenstein and their young family along with the mine officials. Included too, were the staff’s husbands, and of course the patients families.

The hospital was decorated for the season by the sisters, Sunshine girls come out to Africa from England ostensibly to nurse, but also to look for a husband. The Fracture Room was raided as they tackled the decorating task with gusto. Rolls of plaster of Paris were formed into snow-covered hillsides with figurines of snowmen and children sledding. These tableaus stood on tables along the hallway beneath loops of woven crepe streamers in red and green.

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The Fifty First Gamble (A brief excerpt from the novel.)

The novel is based loosely on our family’s experience in Southern Rhodesia, but the novel is set in the fictitious town of Umzimtuti. Rhodesian, Ronald Leavis, prefaced his book Hippodile with the following statement “The characters in this book are purely imaginary. Any of my friends or enemies who resemble them have only themselves to blame.”

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The Goings On at the Bottom of our Garden

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The Goings On at the Bottom of our Garden
October was ‘suicide month’. The heat and the glare without a breath reverberated with the shrill of cicadas, emanating not from their throats but from the rasp of the membranes on the underside of their tummies, so Mommy said. We thought nothing of it. Relief came in the pool where we made friends with the big frogs and their mates who laid globs of eggs in the night that looked remarkably like the pudding we were regularly served by the custard cupful.

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