A Dog’s Grave of a Garden

Greenham house 1936

Greenham house 1939

Greenham water cart

Water from the Que Que River about a mile away was carted by ox drawn water tanker to  Greenham Farm to supply the house hot water system.

A Dog’s Grave of a Garden

Greenham Farm didn’t have a normal sign post to direct people.  ‘The Big Tree,’ a massive Mukamba (pod mahogany) grew at the house turnoff, partly on the line of the Tiger Reef Mine Road. Gervas persuaded the road builders to spare his ‘sign post’, causing a kink half way along an otherwise perfectly straight five mile section of road.

The house stood on the kopje with lovely views.  Built of flat iron stone gathered from natural heaps and a galvanised roof, its mortared walls were three foot thick, the floor green- stained polished cement.  Barbara made it a lovely home.

A Dog’s Grave of a Garden

Oxen drew a tanker cart from the river about  a mile away to supply the house hot water system.  To run hot water for the tin bath was not simple. The ‘boy’ filled a forty four gallon drum over a furnace with buckets from the tanker.   The hot water flowed  through a pipe in the wall to the bath. Providing it had boiled, there was no chance of contracting bilharzia.  Cold bath water and drinking water were carried by bucket from rain water tanks at the back of the house.

This allowed only the dregs for the garden–just a rockery that Barbara excused as  ‘a dog’s grave of a garden’, which made her sad.  Besides the dogs and cats, there was a pet duiker, (small antelope) caught very young. Barbara fed it toast at breakfast. If any stray dogs appeared it would chase them, and they would run off with their tails between their legs.

Plenty of visitors came on weekends. “Do come and stay the weekend. Could you also bring some vital things when you come, bacon or flour or something?” (Barbara was a great wheedler).   She often rode on her horse to town on weekdays to lunch with friends, and on Saturdays she rode in to  play tennis.

Before long, she was expecting.   Her parents were coming to stay and take her on a holiday to the Victoria Falls.

Many Thanks to Tim Hughes of Queensland, Australia for the  picture and the excerpts from his unpublished manuscript  Matambega and Son written in the 1980’s.


 

10 Comments

  • George Parker

    Reply Reply November 3, 2012

    Hello Diana,
    I expect that Greenham Farm no longer exists and as far as we know it was on th e Gokwe Rd about 10? miles from Que Que.
    Do we have an exact location however that could be identified say on Google Maps?

    • Diana

      Reply Reply November 3, 2012

      George, the farm was 6 miles out on the Gokwe Road, and the house situated about a mile from the Que Que River. I’ll ask Tim Hughes if he has the exact co-ordinates for a google search and get back with you later

  • Ian Wood

    Reply Reply November 3, 2012

    Thank you very much, really enjoyed reading this. I actualy grew up in Kwe Kwe and went to school there.
    My sister lived on the Gokwe Rd on a small holding not far from the Kwe Kwe river.

    Kind regards,
    Ian

    • Diana

      Reply Reply November 3, 2012

      Ian, so glad Gervas’ story resonates with you and all the farmers who pioneered the area. Cherish the memories.

  • Tim Hughes

    Reply Reply November 3, 2012

    George, Greenham farm was on the West bank of the QQ river. The ruins of the house shown in this blog are located at Latitude:18′ 54’32. 84″S. Longitude: 29′ 43’49.44″E.
    The farm was about 1.5 miles wide North/South for about 4 miles to the West. It abutted the East end of Giraffe farm also owned by Gervas that straddled Gokwe road in the West. Gervas built a new home on that farm West of the Gokwe road in 1960 and lived there till his death in 1983.

    • Diana

      Reply Reply November 4, 2012

      Tim thanks for the details. Sad to think that lovely solid rock Greenham Farm house is in ruins.

  • Alfred Moll

    Reply Reply November 25, 2012

    Fresh out of University, with aspects of Engineering Geology still clearly in my mind, i was sent to the proposed Greenham dam site on the Que-Que river to log the exploratory cores drilled on the dam centre line and spill way.
    The Greenham dam site was then considered as a possible future raw water source for QQ. The pro’s of this site were that it was very close to QQ, The con’s being that the whole road system in the area would have to be reworked. Another factor, gained with some hindsight, would be that, at that point, the QQ river is draining Redcliff with all its resultant pollution.
    I wonder if the dam will ever be built.
    Regards, Alf

    • Diana

      Reply Reply November 26, 2012

      Alfred, Interesting study. The population of Kwe Kwe has got so huge. Zisco has been closed down for some years now I believe. It might be something to be considered. My father pioneered the building of Sebakwe Dam, which was thought to provide for QQ’s needs for many years to come. Water has always been the limiting factor in development in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe.

  • Alfred Moll

    Reply Reply November 26, 2012

    Diana,
    The Sebakwe Dam wall, was raised in the 1980’s. Now, it appears to be the 7th (volume)/6th (surface area) largest dam in Zim. (ref http://www.fao.org/docrep/W7560E/W7560E02.htm). In my time with the Ministry of Water Development, it supported a thriving commercial irrigation farming community besides being the major source of water for Kwe-Kwe – also had the tastiest bream!
    I wonder what remains.

  • Tim Hughes

    Reply Reply November 26, 2012

    Alfred, The proposed Greenham dam on the QQ river never went ahead.

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