Tuesday, 2 February 2016

45 years between trips

Janice and Mark, South Africa, 2016
As a child, one of our family rituals at Christmas, was opening the crate of South African peaches my great aunt Muriel sent us each year. Muriel had emigrated to South Africa after the war, and always sent the peaches to arrive just as we were settling into our British winter. The smell as well disturbed the straw in which the peaches were packed still lives with me today. The taste is also a memory that I can conjure up ......it was beautiful.

"Do I dare to eat a peach ?"
Alice, my grandmother, auntie Muriel's sister-in-law, spent her superannuation retirement lump sum ( the first person in our family to receive a work related pension !... Alice was a school dinner lady ) on a 6 month trip to South Africa in 1971.

I remember talking to Alice about her trip. I saw her photos, and enjoyed hearing about her adventures. I was 16 when she went on her trip, and was just becoming aware of some of the political issues that she witnessed when she was there. I don't think Alice had much idea about apartheid, and apart from a few not very pc remarks, her diary of the trip shows little awareness of what was going on at the time.

Alice, South Africa 1971

One of her diary excerpts describes an excursion in Cape Town.

Her trip was made on The Edinburgh Castle....note her reference to "natives" unloading luggage. Anyway, she clearly enjoyed her trip around Cape Town and loved the views from Signal Hill.....as I did.

Mark at Signal Hill

Table Mountain, from in front of Signal Hill....just as my grandmother Alice saw it 45 years ago.

I still have the photos that Alice took on her trip....with her little Kodak instamatic.

It is strange to think of her taking these photos in the Kruger Park, and having her roll of 24 snaps developed. I think she must have been pleased with the way these turned out. 

Alice's giraffe photo

Alice's lion photo

I, of course, took hundreds of photos in Kruger Park. I could check them each day, delete the poor quality ones, and enhance the best ones with some light tweaking or shadow tweaking.

Here are a couple of mine ....similar subjects !


  1. Hello Janice, You have been to South Africa! How wonderful and exciting. Beautiful photos (I love giraffes). I love your story about the arrival of the peaches - there is nothing so fragrant as a peach. Hope you are well. xx

  2. As a child, I had an aunt that used to bring us grapes and pomegranates which never usually appeared in our kitchen, so I can imagine your delight at the gift of peaches.

  3. Fancy sending fresh peaches all that way. How wonderful. :) Alice's photos are remarkably good, given the limitations of her little camera. Seeing the excerpt from her diary took me back to my grandparents' writing, which also had stray capitals for some nouns in exactly the same way.

  4. Wonderful that you still have her photos and diary. You look as if you're having a happy time and you look fantastic! A cousin of my mother moved to S Africa many years ago and they always kept in touch with each other. Little gifts would arrive every Christmas from SA. Sadly, around the time my mother died, her cousin Marie stopped communicating. My brother and I tried to contact her, but we had no reply to our letters and had to assume that either she had died too or was no longer able to get in touch. She never married.