From de­liv­er­ing post to beer col­lect­ing

Talk of the Town - - News -

FROM be­ing a post­man with Royal Mail in Eng­land to own­ing three prop­er­ties in the United King­dom and one in Port Al­fred is the suc­cess story of pop­u­lar lo­cal res­i­dent, Roy Bushell.

But it has been a long, hard strug­gle to achieve this.

Born in Zam­bia, but brought up in Bu­l­awayo in Zim­babwe, Bushell first made his mark in life as a golfer at a ten­der age.

Dur­ing his teen years, he rep­re­sented the then South­ern Rhode­sian ju­nior team for two years, cap­tain­ing the side in his last year, play­ing off a scratch hand­i­cap.

Dur­ing those years, he played along­side the fa­mous Nick Price, when he won the world ju­nior cham­pi­onships.

After leav­ing school, Bushell fought in the bush war in Zim­babwe, where he served in the army’s ar­tillery reg­i­ment.

Once the war ended and Robert Mu­gabe had taken over the coun­try, Bushell moved to South Africa, where he worked for sev­eral years un­til he was retrenched. He then had to make a de­ci­sion, and moved to Eng­land on an Ir­ish pass­port and with­out much money or qual­i­fi­ca­tions, in 2004.

“I heard one could make good money by work­ing for Royal Mail pro­vided you were pre­pared to work hard,” he said.

So he ap­plied suc­cess­fully for a post­man’s po­si­tion in Swin­don, Wilt­shire, and spent the next nine years de­liv­er­ing post to up to 1000 prop­er­ties a day.

He ex­plained that there were plenty of op­por­tu­ni­ties to work over­time and he took ad­van­tage of this to “make as many ex­tra pounds as pos­si­ble”.

His days started at 5am and he of­ten worked for up to 11 hours on a shift, cov­er­ing up to 12km come rain, hail or snow. The bag he car­ried weighed up to 16kg and he would de­liver up to 12 of these in a day.

Iron­i­cally, there were many South Africans in Swin­don and he be­friended many of them.

Tra­di­tion­ally, as is the case of all post­men through­out the world, his big­gest curse on his rounds was get­ting past res­i­dents’ dogs.

“I re­mem­ber hav­ing a close call with an Al­sa­tian and a pack of five Jack Rus­sells – they were the small­est, but the most vi­cious,” he smiled.

Mean­while, through sheer hard work and sav­ing, Bushell had built up sufficient funds to buy three houses in Eng­land. But by 2013, he and his wife, Lee-Anne had had enough and wanted to re­turn to South Africa. They sold one of their prop­er­ties and set­tled in Port Al­fred be­cause they liked the town and its friendly peo­ple.

“We haven’t looked back since then,” he said.

His wife joined a lo­cal es­tate agency and Bushell got the spinoff from this as he of­ten did re­pairs and main­te­nance on houses that were on the mar­ket. He still does so to­day.

For the past 20 years, Bushell’s hobby for pubs he has al­ways had in his var­i­ous homes.

Now, fi­nally set­tled in Port Al­fred and able to con­cen­trate on this se­ri­ously, he has built him­self a pub in his Smith Street home that most men would die for.

Here he has been able to dis­play his thou­sands of items, many of which have a story to tell. He has con­cen­trated on col­lect­ing beer bot­tles (all still unopened), caps and ties.

He es­ti­mates that he has about 300 bot­tles of beer from all parts of the world in­clud­ing China, Sin­ga­pore, Amer­ica, Canada, South Amer­ica and most of the Euro­pean coun­tries.

Per­haps, the most spe­cial and un­usual one he has in his col­lec­tion comes all the way from Kat­mandu in the Hi­malayas.

He also has a bot­tle of Lion beer brewed in 1974 es­pe­cially to cel­e­brate 150 years of Lion Lager in South Africa. All bot­tles still have their orig­i­nal la­bels.

Over and above these, his li­brary of au­to­bi­ogra­phies.

Among these are a set of four writ­ten by the fa­mous Bri­tish prime min­is­ter, Sir Win­ston Churchill, on the Great War. He said he bought these at a car boot sale while still in Eng­land, for the princely sum on £10. He has since been of­fered R18000 unseen by an an­tique dealer.

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