On Wednesday, Mum and I took a rather loopy trip to Grahamstown. Mum had an appointment with the Optometrist there and we decided to run a couple errands in Port Alfred on the way – hence the loop!
Although the road between Port Alfred and Grahamstown is pretty, it isn’t great! Knowing this, it didn’t come as a surprise when we came to a “Stop, Go” where they were patching up potholes. Are you paying attention? Because this is where we were surprised! We were made to stop by the friendly traffic flow controller (how cool a job title is that?!? I just made it up…) and when we looked ahead to see what traffic was coming our way… well… SURPRISE! A man and his 3 cows were heading our way! ONLY in the Eastern Cape, will a cattle herder be treated like a vehicle!
Once in G-town, Mum left her cute red Suzuki Jimny in my care while she went to her appointment. I didn’t really have anything to do, so I took the opportunity to take a walk down memory lane. As mentioned, I spent 9 years of my academic life in G-town; 5 years at Kingswood College and then another 4 years at Rhodes University. It is safe to say then, that this town (errr… excuse me, City!) is close to my heart.
First stop was Kingswood College. I parked outside my old boarding house, Jacques House and from there took a very familiar stroll around the school grounds. At first I was surprised at how many changes there were, but then I was surprised at how many things had stayed the same! The additions to the school include a girl’s boarding house, a massive academic block, the main sport stand being moved to the other side of the rugby field to accommodate a hockey astro and a beautifully renovated and improved pool area. I actually think Kingswood is getting this “progress” thing right. The nostalgia I felt while walking around the grounds proves that although altered, the essence of the school is still the same and for an old, traditional school like Kingswood, this is vital.
I was stupidly gleeful to recognize a random old tree and see ivy still clinging to the Library. I even got a whiff of the same Dining Hall smell, although truth be told, I don’t think anyone would complain if that had changed… I enjoyed a swarm of memories as I was strolling about. Even the traffic circle at the entrance to the school has memories. It reminded me of returning home from a hockey victory, driving round and round to celebrate each of our goals. Mum must have sensed this tradition, because whenever she drove us Garden Route kids back to school she would drive round and round the circle, until, crying with laughter and mortification, we begged her to stop. As I was passing the main academic block I stopped short. Those damn Weaver birds are STILL at it! Yes, I know, they’re pretty birds, BUT they insist on making their nests above this main walkway, so that we were constantly in fear of being shat on!
I was roused from my reminiscing by a call from Mum to say she was finished with her eye testing and would I go help her choose new frames. OOOO excitement! After trying on like 30 frames, we narrowed it down to a selection of 5 frames and I eventually got my way, getting Mum to buy my favourite! They’re thickish black frames with light pink of the inside. They’re funky, but Ssssssh!!! It’s a secret!
We went to Nando’s for lunch (Yum!) and did a bit of shopping before taking a quick, snap-happy walk around the Rhodes campus. Starting from my old residence, Beit House, we wondered over the Bicycle lawns, towards the clock tower, past the Koi pond, up through the old academic block towards the Library and past some worse-for-wear looking plants where I once went “Bush Diving”.
What is Bush Diving you ask? It’s a drinking sport of course… I’m not sure where or how the idea to jump/dive into a bush came about, or why it continues to be such a popular Rhodes activity, but nearly every Rhodent has at least one story about their Bush Diving adventures. My favourite involves a friend of mine, Kerryn – yup, I just named and shamed you! We had been having some boisterous pre-drinks in res and decided that it was time to head to the glory that is Friar Tucks – a pretty dodgy bar where you could “jam” to cheesy music until the wee hours of the morning. We were in uber high spirits, tiddly to the max and as we walked by above mentioned bushes, someone suggested a bit of Bush Diving… As I was timidly patting down the bush, trying to decide if this was a good idea or not, Kerryn joyfully launched herself into said bush, which turned out to be full of thorns! Needless to say, there were a few yelps from her side and tears of laughter on our side, as we jumped into the bush next to hers, escaping the prickles!
Mum, thank you so much for all the sacrifices you made to give me these wonderful 9 years in Grahamstown.