Trip Down Mem­ory Lane

South African Country Life - - Your Letters - Wil­liam Stanle, Som­er­set West

Mem­o­ries flooded back when I read your ar­ti­cle about Mod­der­fontein Re­serve (May 2018).

Some­how my par­ents got to know John Dobbs, the res­i­dent man­ager of the wild area that has be­come the re­serve. I think there was some Ir­ish con­nec­tion. He lived in a house with a red, cor­ru­gated-iron roof on the edge of Dam 4, which is prob­a­bly the Fish Ea­gle Dam of your story. We used to drive out there to pic­nic at the dam by in­vi­ta­tion of John. This was in the late for­ties and early fifties. I had a Granta fold­boat that came in three bags of bits and pieces, all of which fit­ted to­gether to form a ca­noe that would take one mod­er­ately sized man, or two small boys with a squeeze. We pad­dled around the dam and wan­dered all over the park. Ob­vi­ously we were not al­lowed to go near the mag­a­zines where the dy­na­mite was stored.

Of course, we even­tu­ally got thirsty and on one oc­ca­sion came across a pipe­line which was drip­ping wa­ter, so we drank from it. My mother was hor­ri­fied at what the ori­gin of the wa­ter might have been, so, in the mid­dle of the night I was wo­ken to be dosed with cas­tor oil. I can still taste it to­day. (edited)

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