Back and Forth and Ups and Downs


Barbara,  Tim and Angela Hughes, 1939

Back and Forth and Ups and Downs

Barbara Hughes loved her childhood home at Herschel in the Cape and went there again the following year.  She’d often leave the babe with her younger sister Joan and go off with her Dad. Meanwhile, Gervas made plans for a family trip to England, by train to Capetown and ship to Southampton.

Back and Forth and Ups and Downs

A few months before they were due to leave, two goldmine companies owing Gervas £450 for furnace firewood went broke. Half the money  would have financed a grand holiday in England. Much to Barbara’s disappointment, the trip had to be cancelled. Barbara and little Angela saw very little of Gervas on the farm, so it was not surprising that she’d go to her parents’ home and then be reluctant to face the three days and three nights train journey back toRhodesia with the baby. At least once, he instructed her to return to Greenham.

At Herschel, her mother Ursula fell ill.  Joan nursed her for many weeks.  Barbara came down.  Staying too long again, Gervas sent for her, so she wasn’t with her mother at the end, which grieved them.

But soon Tim (son of Matambega) was on the way.  He was born in Salisbury. The doctor told the parents their baby was not normal and then took credit and money for ‘curing’ him.  Joan went immediately to the farm to help Barbara.  Then they all returned to Herschel, by train, again.  Angela contracted typhoid fever.  Joan nursed her day and night for eleven weeks, until the little girl recovered. Once back at Greenham Farm Barbara fell ill.   Joan wasn’t available. A friend, Margaret Pooley, came to the rescue to look after Angela and Tim.

Many Thanks to Tim Hughes of Queensland, Australia for the  picture and the excerpts from his unpublished manuscript  Matambega and Son written in the 1980’s.