On holiday in Margate

On Friday 22 August we left the very comfortable Alberfeldy B&B in Pietermaritzburg and drove down to Margate via Richmond, Ixopo and Harding — all of which are now bypassed by the main road. It was a rather dull day, smoky rather than overcast, and visibility was poor. The only town we passed through was Umzimkulu, which has grown tremendously. It used to have a couple of shops, a garage and a hotel. Now it has several shopping malls, and most of the big supermarket chains are established there, and it was crowded with Saturday shoppers. We stopped at a new garage which had a Steers franchise — their chips are the best of those from such places, as they are made with fresh potatoes, and not frozen. It was interesting to see that the garage had been opened by King Goodwill Zwelithini. Umzimkulu used to be in the Eastern Cape, but now it is in KZN.

We’re staying in a rather posh holiday flat. A friend of a colleague of Val’s won a week’s stay in a competition, couldn’t use it, so gave it to us. It’s quite interesting as an exercise in sociology. It has a very fancy TV with quadrasonic sound and all, air conditioners in all three bedrooms (not that we have much use for them at this time of year, it’s quite chilly), but no reading lamps.

Steve & Val Hayes on the beach at Trafalgar 23 August 2008

Steve & Val Hayes on the beach at Trafalgar 23 August 2008

On Saturday Val’s sister Elaine came down from Pinetown to spend the weekend, and we went for walks on the beach, and riding in a paddleboat on the lagoon, taking pictures of birds and the flat we’re staying in and developments on the waterfront. The South Coast has changed tremendously in the last few years, though at least the blocks of flats are not as ugly as they are further up the coast nearer Durban, where 15-20 storey rectangular blocks not only block out the sea view for anyone living inland, but are eyesores in their own right. At least the developments down here are more architecturally varied, but are clearly designed for the very rich. One block we passed on our walk to the beach, Colonial Sands, was advertising flats for sale, priced from R 1,9 million.

Going on holiday

Tomorrow Val and I will leave for a holiday in KwaZulu-Natal. We hope to spend a week in Pietermaritzburg, where we will visit friends and family, and hope to do some family history research in the archives. After that we hope to spend a week down the South Coast, and depending on how much money is left, come home or travel elsewhere.

I don’t know if we’ll have Internet access at all on the way, but if we do we’ll try to blog about whatever we find in the archives,and anything interesting that comes out of family visits. It’s over three years since we had a proper holiday; in May 2005 we went to Britain and had a good time meeting family members (some for the first time) and old friends, and visiting places where ancestors had lived. I blogged about the ancestral places on my LiveJournal. We won’t be going as far afield this time, but Val has been pretty busy at work, and is looking forward to a time of relaxing.

Liquorice Allsorts

Liquorice Allsorts

Two months ago our dog Ariel had puppies, five of them, and by the time we get back they’ll probably all be gone. We’ll miss them, but they grow quite big, and we can’t afford to feed them all, so we hope they go to good homes. Two have gone already, but we are already getting very attached to them. The mother, Ariel, is a cross German Shepherd and Border Collie, and the father, Samwise, is a German Shepherd, so the puppies have some characteristics of both breeds. The one in the picture we’ve nicknamed Allsorts, because she has all the colours of her ancestral breeds.

Visit to KZN

i’ve been in KZN for a few days. I went to Durban for a conference, and took the opportunity to visit some family members. I saw Arthur and Dorothy Benjamin in Northdene. Dorothy is Val’s cousin on the Greene side, and their son Todd was there with his wife Pamela, preparing to emigrate to Australia, and daughter Jessica. Arthur has been bitten by the family history bug, and is trying to trace the Benjamin family that goes back to St Helena.

I’m typing this in my cousin Jenny Aitchison’s house in Pietermaritzburg. Jenny is overseas at the moment, but her husband John was a university friend, so we’ve been catching up after not seeing each other fro several years. I’m alos typing this on John’s computer, which has a strange keyboard and Windows Vista, which seems to do strange things to the text, so I’ll write more when I get home.