A story as told to me by my father (79) a few days ago.
I don’t know where, but when I was about five Squeak∗ got hold of a pellet gun and he and Jack went off with Pat Cloete. Pat Cloete was naughty; he was always naughty and always getting into trouble.
Next thing Mr Steyn from up the way, who had a farm above us, came to see my Dad. I was standing with him on our verandah. Our verandah was on two sides of the house and was a wooden deck, covered, with quite ornate pillars heavy wooden railing around the perimeter. The steps up to the verandah were the only thing that was brick.
My Dad and Mr Steyn stood on the verandah looking out. Mr Steyn held out a handful of pellets and started shouting. He said that my brothers had killed his chickens and he wanted compensation for the loss of his chickens. He kept thrusting this handful of pellets in front of my father’s face, for him to see. He was very angry, and I was scared, so I just stood watching with my back against the wall of the house, which was corrugated iron on the outside.
My Dad, who was from Lancaster, remained calm and told Mr Steyn that if he wanted money for the chickens, then he had to bring the chickens to him and he would pay for them.
I don’t know what happened about that – whether he ever brought the chickens – but Mr Steyn left.
When Squeak and Jack came back home, Dad tore a strip off both of them, even though I am sure it was Pat Cloete who actually shot the chickens.
He took the pellet gun from Squeak and smashed it to smithereens on the heavy wooden railings of the verandah, and cut his finger.
∗ Squeak (real name Harold) and Jack were my Dad’s brothers, nine and ten years older than him respectively.