Our First Paddling Pool at 1 Silver Oaks Road Globe and Phoenix Mine Que Que Southern Rhodesia Brian and I late 1940s.


The Globe and Phoenix Mine gave us everything we needed: jobs, houses, Que Que Stores to meet our material needs and wants and the club which had a bar, billiards, bridge and a library. There was also year round tennis, cricket in the summer, rugby in the winter and swimming ten months in the year. 


Water, as always in Africa, is a precious commodity: the swimming bath really was a luxury in the mind of mine management. The swimming bath was ever so conveniently situated for us, just across the railway line that ran behind the surgery and our house, surrounded by mature peppercorn trees.  It was a cavernous concrete affair filled by the mine once a year.  On arrival, in the winter of 1946, Mom looked forward to taking full advantage of the swimming bath.  However, having no filter, in the heat and rising humidity of October, suicide month, it festered with a healthy skin of algae, attracted daddy long legs to walk on water, water scorpions along with legions of frogs that laid their strings of eggs in it, and dragonflies the size of birds to prey on it from above.

Dad noticed a trend of increasing ear infections as the hot season wore on.  Much worse, bilharzia (Schistosomiasis, caused by a fluke carried by fresh water snails), a chronic debilitating disease, was prevalent in children swimming in the nearby rivers.

At their first hospital Christmas tea party, Mom met the mayor, Harry Watt, a canny Scot, serving his sixth term.  She made a plea for a municipal pool for the town which would also serve the mine, a separate jurisdiction.

“What me lass, we haven’t even goot water borne sewage yet!”  But seeing her crestfallen, he relented, “If you raairse,the mooney, me lassie, the council will undertake to maintain it.”  He felt safe.  The ball was in her park.

She had a cause and time on her hands.

She spoke to the high school headmaster, Mr. Davidson.  Together they applied for a grant from State Lotteries and in due course pleaded their case in the capital, Salisbury. They came back victorious.  Yes, State Lotteries would fund a swimming bath if the municipality would undertake to maintain it thereafter.

At the next council meeting, Mayor Watt rejected the proposal outright.  There was no discussion.

Mom returned home.  Dad was outraged.  “We can’t have that: an entrenched mayor and rubber stamp council.  That will have to change.  I’m going to run for council in the next election.”

“It’s okay,” she soothed. “I think you have enough on your plate already.”  Pragmatic, she resolved to put in a paddling pool in our big garden to cool our suicide month tempers.

Challenged, Dad entered politics in the smallest municipality in the world.