Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Grandfather Diaries II

More excerpts from my grandfather's journal

24/8/1945 Went for a walk round camp in the afternoon and met a rhino which gave us some sport. On approaching closer for a better view puppy gave chase (or attempted to) but she turned on him with a snort and a puff like a train starting up. Puppy turned tail and came straight back to me for protection - followed by Mrs Rhino. I was standing in the open on a small mound. She slithered to a halt when she saw us exactly 10 yards away (I paced it out afterwards). I was unarmed but the fundi* with me (a very reliable ECG) had his .404 beaded on her though I wouldn't let him fire. Everything stood still.

There we were - a white man, a black man, a black and tan dog and a cantankerous though somewhat bewildered rhinocerous all glaring at each other waiting to see who was going to make the next move. Eventually I broke the spell by shouting at her but she wouldn't budge, then I threw a twig at her but no better result. So what! Simon (the fundi) I could see was itching to shoot but I wouldn't let him which showed commendable restraint on his part. At last I said to puppy "ssssaa" (which means 'see him off') and he made a bolt at her whereupon she turned with a terrific snort and blast and crashed off in a cloud of dust. I felt a good deal of relief after she' gone - not for my own safety as I have perfect confidence in Simon (who has shot more elephant than I'd like to count) but it would have been a pity to kill her in a game reserve, especially as we started it. She can go away now and lay a few more babies for someone else's amusement.

This is the second time puppy nearly got me into trouble. This morning when inspecting some elephants a young immature bull chased him at the same time emitting the most ear splitting squeal. But thats another story. Only I wish he wouldn't shelter behind my petticoat.

*fundi - game scout


Withnail said...

Is this for real?? This is so wonderful, what a fun grandad to have had!

Robyn said...

This... these tales from the diary are magnificent and the photos too.
I want to be your Grandad... I like the way he was seeing the world around him.

thanks again

Anonymous said...

Wonderful. Miranda, these are priceless and I feel so blessed that you share these family memories with us. More please.

Angela said...

Yes Withnail, he was for real. We have met him when we visited his camp in Zambia, back in 1970. And when our daughter visited her cousins 20 years later, he was still the one who walked ahead on a safari, not minding the heat or the dust. Even she said, what an incredible man! And he was in his eighties then!

Anonymous said...

What a dude.

More please!

Reya Mellicker said...

Fantastic! Thank you for this!

Lemon Gloria said...

These stories are just incredible. What adventures! What an extraordinary time and place to be alive.

Lori ann said...

it's so hard to read when i can't stop staring at these photos.

your grandfather was a legend, in his own time too. i wish i could have met him.

did i tell i've read his book? will you think of publishing his journal as well? your family is a treasure chest of african history and lore.

how's the little one? in mud puddles still? :)

Reluctant Memsahib said...

omg. how completely wonderful to have all that stuff. and the images. glorious, glorious capturing of pockets of history.

family affairs said...

Just so interesting - ps Is Janelle OK? Sent her an email a while ago and not heard back - maybe no generator either ....can you do me a favour and send me an email on - I promised someone I'd get in touch with you and J as his 18 year old daughter is working at an orphanage near you and he's worried about her Lx

Red Dirt Lattes said...

Wow. What a gift you were given. Thank you for sharing it!