Last weekend saw the forty sixth anniversary of Rhodesia's Unilateral Declaration of Independence, when the late (great) Ian Douglas Smith said "Enough! We go it alone!" and without going into any serious political discussions about betrayal, for a good few years there was prosperity for all of the citizens, Rhodesia was the bread basket of the African continent, exports of tobacco and maize, to name a few, supported the country and benefitted its neighbours but unfortunately pressure from ......blah, blah blah....and now Zimbabwe is the basket case. (This is not a political blog!)
Every year at this time, which also happens to be Janet's birthday and our wedding anniversary, we got married on her 21st birthday on the 10th November, ex Rhodesians all over the world gather to celebrate and to commiserate and to reminisce about the good times in what was a beautiful country.
So we were invited back to the "Bamba Zonke" guest farm just outside of Yzerfontein, owned by an ex BSAP (Rhodesian Police) member and we gladly accepted, we were there two years ago and had a wonderful time but could not make it last year, I was really looking forward to it once again.
We arrived at about 16h30 and already there were a good few people there, including Neil, the owner of the place. We got settled into our room, a very comfortable double with an ensuite bathroom and then joined them for a drink around the famous fire-pit.
We sat around the fire talking crap for a good hour or two until the sun set and it started to get cold, I put a big pot of mussels on the fire for an early snack but it wasn't long until we moved inside and Eddie lit a fire in the lovely big kitchen area.
Neil's on the barstool to the left, Neville is sitting at the table and Johnny Walker is in the foreground, gradually everyone moved inside and before the braai I opened about three dozen oysters as a starter.
The guys, there were only two women there for the weekend, Janet and Belinda, all moved into the kitchen and soon made short work of the oysters.
The jokes were flying thick and fast, here's Cyril on the left who claimed that his liver was royalty; named "Sir osis" and Ross both of whom kept the party moving!
Neil, one of only three ex-Bsap members there was the first to salute the flag. The party raged on into the night and I'm not sure what time we got to bed, the only thing organised for the next day was a fishing competition and Neil wasn't even sure if there were any fish left in the dam. It certainly wasn't a high prority for me!
We awoke to the sounds of raucous laughter and to the smell of frying bacon, Sir Osis was already telling jokes, (or was he still telling jokes?) and Belinda was making breakfast and several of the guys were getting their fishing tackle ready to see who could catch the first fish. The dam is right next to the guest house so at least it wouldn't be a long trek.
They tried from different positions around the dam, and they sat there for ages but in the end;
it was Sam who bagged the first, and probably the only, Bream and that won him a case of beer. He threw the fish back because it was not big enough to feed the hungry mob and the fishing sort of petered out after that.
We had a lazy day, a very nice braai lunch and then in the early evening as the sun went down a bunch of us started playing "Lie-dice", you must know it, where you use poker dice which you throw into a container and get the person next to you to accept your nomination, he then has to improve the hand to the person next to him and if he is proved to be a lier he has to drink, if not the challenger has to...etc., it's dangerous!
We played that for a while and then the mob moved into the bar where they carried on with "7-14-21", also using poker dice the person who throws the seventh Ace nominates the drink, the person who throws the fourteenth Ace pays for it and the one who throws the twenty-first Ace has to drink it!
This was where I opted out and left them to it, I had to open the rest of the oysters, I remember that kind of drinking game from my youth and I was bad enough at it then!
The guys moved through to the kitchen and attacked the oysters with gusto but as the evening progressed it seemed like most of those who had been playing dice were fading quite quickly!
While this was going on Eddie was preparing one of his outstanding chicken potjies out on the front veranda, in between popping in to eat oysters!
We ate in the kitchen again, it is a lovely big room with a huge fireplace that lends itself to happy and comfortable conversation and of course lots of bullshit!
The later it got, the quieter it got and people started contemplating a comfortable bed, there were some though who were not ready to pack it in;
The ever-ebullient and indefatigable Sir Osis kept the party going with his jokes and his raucous laughter, I don't know what time it was when I eventually fell into my bed but it had been a fantastic weekend thus far.
Sunday we awoke to pouring rain, that put paid to the traditional five kilometre walk but Eddie and Belinda made us a delicious breakfast of fried eggs on top of left-overs and gradually everyone said their farewells and headed off home.
Another very memorable and festive "Bamba Zonke" weekend and I hope we are around for next year.