An Illicit Romance in Rhodesia?

The Que Que River ran through the Greenham Farm
The Que Que River ran through the Greenham Farm

The Que Que River ran through the Greenham Farm

An Illicit Romance in Rhodesia?

Gervas engaged a thirty year old married man, Arthur, to help with the dairy and keep Joan company while he was away.  Kicked by a horse when he was fourteen, Arthur was hard of hearing and had been turned down by the army for the war.

An Illicit Romance in Rhodesia?

He found it difficult to work with the Africans.  They made fun of him.  But he was a good worker.

Because he was lonely he spent a lot of time with Joan and the children, who asked “Why does he always have to come with us?”

Joan found it tedious too, but was sorry for him.  Every night she would bath and change into a long dress because of the mosquitoes.  He blurted out one evening, “I’ve fallen for you in a big way.  I wish you didn’t always dress up in those eye catching long gowns.”

She laughed and said, “I can’t stand being bitten.  You’ll just have to put up with it.  I’m engaged to be married.  You better remember you have a wife.”

It was all very light hearted, till the night he suggested going to bed together.

She was annoyed.  “Don’t be silly,” she said, “I think it’s a bit mean.  You know there are no doors in the house, only curtains, and that I don’t care for you one little bit.”

He replied, “I can’t hear you. What did you say?”

The thought of having to repeat her little speech at the top of her voice caused her to start laughing.  He was mortally offended and went off to his room.

Joan sat down and wrote a polite note to his wife: I think your Arthur is feeling lonely and missing you.  Why don’t you come and stay for a week or two?

She wasted no time in coming: a tall very skinny lady with black hair in a bun.

Arthur left soon after.  As he looked at her soulfully he said, “You can’t really blame me can you?”

She gave him a good kiss in farewell.

Gervas said, “I wonder why Arthur didn’t stay?  I thought he was happy here.”

Joan didn’t comment.  He had enough on his mind.

Excerpt taken from Rain on the Roof, by Joan (nee Millard) Freyburg (1999) ISBN 0 646 38477 5 with  family permission.   Tim Hughes has electronic copies of this wonderful book that may be available on request via the comments section of this blog.