CRADOCK CLUB

Although their first bank account was opened at Barclays Bank in 1879, the Cradock Club only officially opened its doors in 1881.

Typically, its walls are decorated with hunting trophies. I have already shown you the Aardwolf, one of a pair, standing in pride of place in the Ladies Bar, but there are others scattered around, such as this Kudu:

Warthog:

As well as the stretched out Python skin, with a Springbok looking obligingly at you on the left:

Many of the rooms set aside for different activities have lead-lined decorative panes.

Some of which show the wear and tear inevitable over so many years.

While the Fourth Sherwood Foresters were stationed in Cradock during the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902), their senior officers were invited to make use of the Club’s facilities. At the end of the war they donated their leather-topped Burmese Teak mess table along with a dozen chairs to the club as a gesture of their gratitude.

Also in the Reading Room one can see the Officers’ Snuff Horn which was donated to the Club. This is made from the horn of a Highland sheep and is decorated with silver and amethyst.

Elegant wooden hat and coat hooks in the passages point to a different era of dress code.

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WINTER GARDEN

This is not a flowery time of the year – drought and chilly weather have made sure of that – so what is there of interest to see in my garden at the moment? My nine-year-old granddaughter took me on a tour.

We saw tiny weeds pushing their way through cracks in the bricks surrounding our swimming pool.

A ‘rumpled’ feather of a Laughing Dove on what passes for the lawn.

A newly unfurled leaf on the Delicious Monster.

Another feather among the dried leaves that crunch under foot.

Knobs on the trunk of the Erythrina caffra.

An interesting looking lemon.

Pegs on the wash line.

Which goes to show that there is always something interesting to see if we are willing to look!

CHILDHOOD GAMES: HOPSCOTCH

Hopscotch has a long history, having been played by Roman soldiers, dressed in full battle armour, thousands of years ago to test their strength and agility! The name refers to hopping over the scotch, which is a line or scratch in the ground. It was a favourite game when I was in primary school. There were plenty of sandy places where we could draw the markings for the game with a stick, and any number of stones to choose from to use as our markers.

This is a game in which a configuration of squares are drawn on the ground. The squares should be large enough to fit one foot and to make sure that a stone thrown into the square will not bounce out too easily. The semi-circle at the end was regarded as a rest or stop area where one could turn around and/or regain one’s balance.

To play, you have to toss your stone inside the first square without touching the border or bouncing out – otherwise you miss your turn and have to pass the stone to the next player. You then hop through the squares, skipping the one containing your marker. What makes it difficult is that you can’t have more than one foot on the ground at a time, unless there are two number squares next to each other. Here you can put down both feet, one in each square. When you get to the end, turn around and hop your way back in reverse order. While you’re on the square right before the one with your marker, lean down and pick it up. Then, skip over that square and finish up. If you managed to complete the course with your marker on square one (and without losing your turn), then throw your marker onto square two on your next turn. Players begin their next turn where they last left off. The goal is to complete the course with the marker on each square. The first person to do this wins the game!

It is not a game I see my grandchildren playing, either at home or at school. Then again, hopscotch hasn’t been a familiar game to any number of high school girls I have taught over many years.

It seems to me that this is a worthwhile game to pass on to the next generation before it is lost completely.

ASCENSION DAY

Today is Ascension Day, one of the earliest Christian festivals, dating back to the year 68. It marks the end of the Easter season and is celebrated on a Thursday, 40 days after Easter Sunday because, according to Christian beliefs, Jesus spent 40 days with his disciples after he rose from death before he ascended to heaven.

There was a time when Ascension Day was a public holiday in South Africa, but this fell away when the number of public holidays were rationalised to twelve – although the Public Holidays Act (Act No 36 of 1994) determines that whenever a public holiday falls on a Sunday, the Monday following on it shall be a public holiday!

The windows shown above are in the chapel of the Diocesan School for Girls in Grahamstown.

With it no longer being a public holiday, everyone has to go to work as usual in this country. I was interested to read, though, that according to Welsh superstition, it is unlucky to do any work on Ascension Day!