Tim Does Something Really Bad!

Angela and Tim riding at Herschel in the Cape about 1940
Angela and Tim riding at Herschel in the Cape about 1940

Angela and Tim riding at Herschel in the Cape about 1940

Tim Does Something Really Bad!   

Dr. Millard thought of himself as an old man, though he was only sixty.  He had poor health and had to look after 55,000 Africans.  Luckily, with the resilience of the young, the children settled in happily.  They adored their grandfather, calling him “Daddy, Joan’s Daddy.” They explained “Our Daddy is busy in Rhodesia.  This is Joanie’s Daddy.”

Tim Does Something Really Bad!

Herschel was a lovely place for children, with the garden to explore, trees to climb, a pony to ride.  Sarah the cook ‘spoilt them to bits’.  Jacob, who worked in the surgery, ‘adored’ them.

Joan’s best friend Mary with her two small boys was also living in Herschel.  The four children shared an African ‘ayah’ who took them for walks in the afternoon and cared for them when Joan was busy.

Joan tried to make them extra self reliant, and not feel sorry for themselves, or too dependent on her.  She brought them up with a few unbreakable rules and regulations.  If broken they had to take the consequences.  She didn’t hesitate to administer corporal punishment, but rarely, for something really bad.

Tim was a real charmer, with a smile that won all hearts, but he was sometimes naughty.  Once Joan came to feed the Persian cat and her four kittens (which she was breeding for sale) but there was no sign of the kittens.

“I haven’t seen them today,” said Angela worriedly.

“What about you Tim,?” Joan asked. He smiled angelically and shook his head.  Joan hunted high and low.

“Are you sure you haven’t seen the kittens?”

“Oh, no, I haven’t seen them anywhere.”

His innocent look was too perfect.  She was certain he knew and had hidden them.  After looking everywhere in the garden she came upon four upturned flower pots in a row under the old fig tree.

There they were: one, two, three, four!

Tim had quietly put himself to bed.  He came when she called, tears trickling down his cheeks.  “I found the kittens and you put them there, didn’t you Tim?” He nodded and began to cry, loudly.

Feeling like a wicked stepmother, she gave him two good whacks on the bottom with a stick. “I will not be lied to.”

He took his punishment bravely.  Then he kissed her and never lied to her again.

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