Showing posts with label Harrismith. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Harrismith. Show all posts

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

The Dam and Her Majesty's Apology

A page from the diary of The Dam 
The story of the character full house begins at the turn of the 19th century. Paul Michiel Bester was part of the Voortrekkers and he established the town Harrismith in the Eastern Free State in South Africa. The town was proclaimed and Paul became the first magistrate of the town. He then traded and became the owner of the farm called The Dam.

During the Anglo Boer War, Lord Roberts began a policy of farm-burning in the Orange Free State in June 1900. When Boeres were sighted within 20 miles from a Boer homestead, the occupants were given 10 minutes to evacuate their homes with a few belongings before the building were set alight by British forces. The animals destroyed and the homeowners sent to the nearest concentration camp.
Most of the burnings in the Free State were carried out by Colonel Mike Rimington's notorious Colonial Force, The Rimington Guides (Tigers).

Mary Bester (nee |Mandy) and her sister, who were English speaking, sere alone on the farm The Dam, as Mary's husband Paul Michiel, had been captured in September 1900 and were in Tin Town concentration camp in Ladysmith. When Rimington Tigers arrived Mary was asked, "Madam, have you seen any Boers around?" (which they pronounced BOARS, as in males pig). "Yes" she replied, "Down at the pig stay!"
They were give a little time to gather together a few belongs before the house was torched and Mary hid her silver teaspoons in a tin covered with rusks, as the Tigers were known to loot anything of value. As here sister was heavily pregnant Mary asked the soldiers to load a chair onto the wagon which was to take them into Harrismith, which they did. When Mike Rimington saw it, he hurled the chair off the wagon. The two sisters were allowed to travel on to friends in Natal where they spent the rest of the war. 
When the family returned to the farm after the war, the chair was still in the garden and was the only thing left of their home. 
After the war British government grudgingly voted 3 million pounds towards the restoration of the country. Most of this amount went towards toe restoration of the railways and mines. The Boers received very little of this money and there were usually string attached to their claims. 
The tongue in cheek name, Her Majesty's Apology was chosen although queen Victory had died before the war ended and scorched earth policy carried out by Kitchener and Roberts occurred during her reign. 

The Dam in days gone by. The Dam was one of the first Hotels in our area. 
Look at the beautiful broekie lace that surround the "stoep" 
The lady of the house and her girls are dressed up for the photo shoot. I wonder if they went into town. 
Mary Bester in the Dam Hotel taxi. The dominee objected to the name as he said it sounded like a swear word: "the damn hotel". 
The stable boy was pulled from the stables every so often, given a pair of white gloves and given the temporary job of watering at the tables.
Look at the hats of the little girls. Sure that they are ready to hit town in the Hotel vehicle.
In the photo is Paul Michiel Bester the first Magistrate of Harrismith 
with his wife and the youngest son. 
At the turn of the century, Paul Bester, was the original owner of the farm 
The Dam 
When you look out through the windows you can still hear the inhabitants carrying on with live on the farm Life was good at The Dam and the old photo's tell a wonderful story 

Dark days was to follow when the Second Boer War break out in 1899.
"Boer" was the common term for Afrikaans-speaking settlers in Southern Africa.
At the time Paul was interned in Ladysmith during the War.
he infamous Remington's Guides attacked his Free State Farm, turning out his family, and burning down the house.
The rocking chair standing in the corner was the only piece that survived the fire 
After the war, as an apology, the British Crown rebuilt the Homestead. 
The homestead was rebuilt as an apology from Queen Victoria 
It is this older wing of the house which has now been renovated for guests, hence the name "Her Majesty's Apology"

We visited Malcolm and Angie Bester in September 2015 on the farm. 
They are both artist and has put in a huge effort to promote the artist of the area. 
Malcolm and Angie on the 'stoep' of Her Majesty's Apology 
What can we say all beautiful 
Then there is the beautiful inside of the house.
The magnificent dining table and buffet was part of Angie's family treasures 
Lets take a stroll around the yard and what is happening out side 
The Dam now known as Her Majesty's Apology and some details 
The old vine that survived the test of time 
To soon it was time to say good bye.
Hennie and Malcolm having a last chat
Little would we know that Malcolm would pass after our visit
Rest in peace dear friend  
Till next time 
Sandra 

Thanks to Harrismith Chronicle for supplying some of the information 

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

When there is time . . story quilts

If I must say something about myself then . . . .  it must be the comforters that I make.  

After the passing of our eldest son in 2008 I made the first one.  A sort of memory ... or perhaps it started as something to keep my going.   
Now years later I still make them.  
Every one tells a story of our family.  It is a part of us. 
Worn jean, red heart made from a little chair that was re-upholstered. 
These quilts also tell about our road trips because no trip is without stopping somewhere to purchase a piece of cloth or old lace

To create one is a "battle" . . . I cut perfect and not so perfect pieces in the 
30cm blocks and then when there is 72 blocks the process can begin.

Antique lace from my granny's treasures 
Some charm from the Graphic Fairy 
Lots of hand sewing 

The batting at the back is now in place and a second cover is stitch in place. 





Thank you for visiting 
Till next time 
Sandra 

Friday, 24 June 2016

Hamilton Bridge in Harrismith

During the Anglo Boer War British troops were deployed near Basuto Hill – the area known as Wilgepark.

To enable the soldiers encamped in that area to reach the town, a suspension bridge was built by the by the Royal Engineers for easy crossing of the Wilge river. 
The first suspension bridge over the Wilge River was erected in 1900 by the Royal Engineers. Designed for pedestrian traffic. The British soldiers would now have easy access into the town from the area near the Basuto Hill.

The structure was washed away in March 1904.  By then the regiments were gradually moving to barracks on King's Hill and complete repair of the bridge seemed unnecessary. The troops made a temporary foot bridge of planks resting on barrels.

Today, at the same spot, a more sturdy structure, called the Hamilton Bridge, names after Sir Hamilton Goold Adams, Governor of the then Orange River Colony, provides access to vehicular traffic from the town crossing the Wilge River.
It was open to traffic on 7 August 1907.
In 1910 with the extension of the President Brand Park toward the south the town council kept the tradition of a suspension bridge and the existing suspension bridge was then built.  

The urban area has increased over the past decades and today there are new developments in this area. But the old Hamilton will stand tall.
Thanks to Nico and Biebie for sharing their photo's
Till next time
Sandra

Monday, 4 April 2016

Beauty along our roads from a distant turbulent tragic past


Cosmos beauty along our roads 
Today we are sharing our blog with Andrew Barlow.  
He was born in 1931 and he attended school Wartburg Kirchdorf School.  
He is a full-time novelist, historical and current affairs analyst with a love of coffee, horses and cats.  
He was the Head Regional Magistrate of South African Department of Justice.  Andrew and me at a gathering.  
Where does one start with a story which still raises deep seated emotions?
Please read more about this "historical" flowers here 

Along many of our roads all over South Africa the sides of many of our roads and often in the veld for long distances the Cosmos flowers are to be seen in Autumn. 
They are beautiful and are in several colours. 
Many motorists are so captivated by their beauty that they stop and look and and are entranced by the calm serenity and prettiness of these flowers. 
Nowadays only a very few people know where and how these flowers came into the country.
The magic of Autumn in South Africa 
During 1899 to 1902 the South African War was fought between the two Boer republics of the Orange Free State and the Transvaal on the one side and the British Empire on the other side. 
The total Afrikaner population of the two republics was about two hundred and fifty thousand people.
The British High Command believed that it would need only infantry to wage the war but soon found that against a highly mobile force of Boer Commandos mounted on their Boer Perde it needed ever increasing horse mounted soldiers. 
Apart from the horses available in the country it had to import many thousands of horses from all the colonies and from other countries such as the United States and Europe and especially from the Argentine. 
British troopers needed horses during the Boer War. 
Those horses were sent, via ship, to South Africa.
Horses bound for war, transported via double stalls on a shade-covered ship's deck.
(Horses on Board Ship: A Guide to Their Management, by Captain M. Horace Hayes) 
To feed these horses huge amounts of fodder had to be imported. 
During the course of that war far more than five hundred thousand horses were used. Of these more than three hundred thousand died.
They died from sickness, from being killed in battles and skirmishes and in the case of the Commandos from being ridden to death.
In the fodder imported from Argentine were cosmos and khaki bush.
This photo is the khaki bush in bloom 
Cosmos 
Wherever the British horses moved across the country, all over the Free State, the Cape Colony and the Transvaal the seeds of these plants germinated and grew.

Along our roads, along many of our roads and in large parts of our veld these flowers are a beautiful reminder of a vicious war.
In Port Elizabeth there is a monument to these horses. Of a soldier holding a bucket of water for his horse. 
Whenever I have seen that monument I have had great difficulty to hide my tears. Tears of sorrow that the most noble of all animals has had to die in a senseless human war.
The Horse Memorial (Cape Road, Port Elizabeth, South Africa) bears the words: "greatness of a nation consists not so much in the number of its people or the extent of its territory as in the extent and justice of its compassion" "erected by public subscription in recognition of the services of the gallant animals which perished in the anglo boer war 1899-1902"
If you pass the Cosmos Flowers along our roads salute the horses who brought this flower to this country.




The pink and white patches on the wheat fields 
Dancing in the wind 
Thank you for taking this trip along memory lane 
Till next time greetings from South Africa 
Sandra 

Monday, 7 March 2016

Red Onion Marmalade

Often we utter the words - know what would be great with this? 
Onion Marmalade 
Then I asked myself how difficult it could be to make this sweet sticky onion marmalade. 
It turns out, it's the easiest recipes to fill your own jars with. 

Caramelized Onion Marmalade makes a delicious topping for bruschetta or pizza; it's also a nice complement to grilled steak, chicken, or pork. Try it with pâtés, terrines or a ploughman’s lunch 
Red Onion Marmalade 
2kg red onions 
4 garlic cloves – have used 3 elephant garlic cloves
Enough olive oil and butter
140g brown sugar 
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves 
750ml red wine 
350ml vinegar 
200ml port
 Method 
Halve and thinly slice the onions and garlic. 
Melt the butter and oil in a large, heavy-based pan over a high heat. 
Tip in the onions and garlic and give them a good stir so they are glossed with butter. 
Sprinkle over the sugar, thyme leaves and some salt and pepper. 
Give everything another really good stir and reduce the heat slightly. 
Cook uncovered for 40-50 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
The onions are ready when all their juices have evaporated, they’re really soft and sticky and smell of sugar caramelizing. 
They should be so soft that they break when pressed against the side of the pan with a wooden spoon. 
Slow cooking is the secret of really soft and sticky onions, so don't rush this part. 
Pour in the wine, vinegar and port and simmer everything, still uncovered, over a high heat for 25-30 minutes, stirring every so often until the onions are a deep mahogany colour and the liquid has reduced by about two-thirds. 
It’s done when drawing a spoon across the bottom of the pan clears a path that fills rapidly with syrupy juice. 
Leave the onions to cool in the pan, then scoop into sterilized jars and seal.  
Till next time 
Sandra