Gone Away ~ The journal of Clive Allen in America

A Picture Post

(This is one of a series of articles I wrote dealing with memories of an African childhood. To read the first of these, click here)

For some time I have been without any photographs from way back when, those photos that freeze our history in time and provide instant nostalgia whenever required. When I mentioned this to my sister recently, she decided to scan and send her entire album of photos. And that amounted to fifty-four files, each file a page of her album containing, on average, six photographs; six hundred megabytes of bitmap files made their way into my emailbox.

Looking through the photos, I realized that there were some that provided very good illustrations of some of my previous posts, and I decided to gather these into a new post with links to the ones they were relevant to. And this post is the result.

Beginning with the earliest post, here is a photo of Bunty, my father's first Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

A young Bunty

In my posts, Rufus 1 and Rufus 2, I described how Bunty came to us and a little of her character. She came from the first litter of pedigree Staffords to be born in South Africa. While we lived in Cape Town, she had six litters comprising a total of thirty-six pups. Those puppies went on to have their own progeny and now, if you study the pedigrees of almost all Staffies in Southern Africa, you will find Bunty mentioned in their distant past. In fact, my own Staffie, Josie, born more than twenty years afterwards, had Bunty as an ancestor.

The next photograph concerns the house described in my post, Thunderstorms.

Mad and the Window

This is a photograph of my son. Mad, and a friend climbing on the huge window described as follows: "The lounge occupied the bowed corner of the house and into this great curved wall he let in a window fully twelve feet long and seven feet high." The edges of the window cannot be seen but the picture does give some idea of its immense size. It would have cost a fortune to provide it with curtains and we never did.

Incidentally, through the window can be seen some of the wild but interesting garden that surrounded the house. Note, too, how hot and dry it looks; that's because it was!

Moving on, we come to a photo of Billy, who was given a post all to himself in Billy Tucker.

Billy Tucker

Billy's expression in the picture is typically Staffie. I can best describe it as, "Do we have to? You know how much I hate having my photograph taken..."

For my post, The Car and the Computer, I did supply a generic picture of a Nash Rambler, the car that carried us from Cape Town to Zimbabwe. But now I can supply a photo of the actual vehicle:

Nash Rambler circa 1957

Standing next to the car are my two sisters and they give some sense of scale. I am surprised at how small the car was; in my memory it was much bigger. But that is the consequence of having known it when I was much smaller, I suppose. Childhood memories inflate scale to fit the size we were at the time.

The background gives a flavor of the suburb of Cape Town in which we lived; Plumstead was its name, for some unknown reason. Today, it reminds me of Australia with its separate houses and low-pitched roofs.

The next photograph is rather poor in quality, in spite of my doctoring of it in Paint Shop Pro. It is, however, the only one that I have that shows at least a part of the plantation of pine trees written about in Pines.

The valley and the pines

This was taken after the fire that destroyed the pines and, if you look closely, their skeletons can be seen rising up from behind the hedge in the middle ground as vertical streaks against the hillside behind. Beyond them, there is the valley and, in the distance the ridge of the area known as Helensvale. Once again, note how parched and leached of color the countryside is, clear evidence that this was the dry season.

Finally, we have a photograph that relates to my most recent post, Oh Zimbabwe.

The statue at Victoria Falls

This is the statue of Livingstone that looks out over the Victoria Falls. The photograph was taken in the early seventies but it looks exactly as it did when I saw it in the sixties and it probably looks just the same today. I am fairly certain that it exaggerates the explorer aspect of the man; he was, first and foremost, a missionary to the unknown tribes of the African interior. But we make of the past whatever fits with our present needs and desires, I suppose.

These are just a few of the hundreds of photographs that I have now. There are others that are interesting and may well inspire future posts in this blog. But I am aware that I run the risk of boring my readers if I force them to look at any more old photos. So, for the moment, enough of memories!

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(to read the next of the African Memories articles, click here)


Fantastic post Dad. Lovely to see Bill Tucker again and as for the dashing young fellow with the white hair, what panache he climbs with...
Date Added: 26/05/2006

Gone Away
Ah, memories, Mad, memories... :)
Date Added: 26/05/2006

Fragile Industries
What fun to see your photos and the stories they illustrate. Your writing is so evocative that the pictures are not, actually, worth a thousand of your words, but they do bring a certain reality to the story. It's like reading an engrossing novel and discovering evidence that it's all true. BTW, your "Rufus 2" link leads directly to the 404 Page Of Death. As much as I enjoy your love for Staffies, I want to read about the English Bull! Is he/she mentioned therein? Off topic: I dreamed I kissed George Clooney last night. Fool that I am, in the dream I brushed off his obvious advances. Some nonsense about not messing around with married men, because he was joking about catching hell from the wife -- and in the waking world, hes not really married and neither am I. What a chance I missed. I don't know if I can bring myself to post about it. I would be universally condemned as an idiot.
Date Added: 26/05/2006

Fragile Industries
Re: Previous comment's curious transition into italics: After all my blogging about fun with HTML, I forgot to put the end slash </em> after "your". Duh.

Have a nice weekend!
Date Added: 26/05/2006

Fragile Industries
... and it only gets worse . . .
Date Added: 26/05/2006

Gone Away
Okay, my turn to try to stop the italics! If that hasn't worked, I'm sure Mad will go in and fix it. Then this little conversation will look completely meaningless and we can both be dismissed as idiots... :)

Thanks for the warning about the Rufus 2 link, Fragile. I've corrected it now (a small matter of ".com" adding itself to the URL somehow). Unfortunately, I don't get to the English Bull even in that post; I had planned a long series that has not materialized as yet. But I will get to it, I promise!

As for the George Clooney dream, I think you should tell all. I don't think I've ever dreamed about someone famous so it would be like going to the movies for me. ;)
Date Added: 26/05/2006

Gone Away
Okay, it didn't work. And, to add insult to injury, I screwed up the last paragraph breaks. Help, Mad!
Date Added: 26/05/2006

Tee hee hee hee everythings slanty!! AAwwwww doesn't Mad look adorable in his little skirt. . . . nah I'm only kidding. Tis nice to have a look at old photographs.
Date Added: 26/05/2006

Gone Away
Happy Birthday, Boogie! Yes, we're waiting for Mad to fix things so we don't have to be slanty anymore. But glad you enjoyed looking at the photos. I've sent lots to Mad so ask him to show you. :)
Date Added: 26/05/2006

Ok, ok nothing to see here, move along.
Date Added: 26/05/2006

Gone Away
Thanks, Mad. :)
Date Added: 27/05/2006

Ahhh the famous window, you werre right all along it is big.
Date Added: 29/05/2006

I believe the technical term is "fscking massive"...
Date Added: 30/05/2006

Gone Away
I take it then, we're agreed - it's big?
Date Added: 30/05/2006

I'd like confirmation from someone who actually cleaned it before i commit to an agreement ;p
Date Added: 31/05/2006

I agree the window looks massive. And to think that the picture is only part of it. - Wonderful post Clive! Really wonderful! Much better than the slide shows I was forced to sit through when visiting friends & relatives in the 60's...
Date Added: 04/06/2006

Gone Away
Only just discovered your comment, Paul - sorry about that. But you encourage me and I will think about doing another picture post soon. Thank you. :)
Date Added: 07/07/2006

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