On the eve of the Second World War her ship sailed into Table Bay, leaving behind her English countryside and family and all that was known to her.
She was a brave lady for she arrived to marry a man whose family were desperate to be rid of her. South Africa at the time was in the throes of colonialism and my Grandfathers family, mighty mine owners that they were, had no shortage of airs and graces and high hopes for their sons, marriages for whom should only fortify their lofty social standings. Well then, they should never have sent their eldest away to study in London for one day their son chanced upon a woman with long thick dark hair and eyes of steely blue.
And so we come back to that ship blowing into the harbour. I can just imagine the clouds billowing over Table Mountain with the south-easter, creating that ever famous table cloth. She lived the next 5 decades here and only allowed herself to learn one world of Afrikaans : Dankie. And for her many travels to the East, she insisted to me that when she died her tombstone should read as follows: Born in England, lived in Africa, Died in Asia. But she never died in Asia, she died right here. And it was with her death that I saw my father cry for the first and only time, from the same eyes of steely blue. For they say a man loves his sweetheart the most, his wife the best but his mother, he loves her the longest. But I get ahead of myself here.
I miss my Gran. She painted and sewed and wrote and travelled. And when I visited she always made sure I never went home empty handed. She taught me how to search the high tide mark for treasures the sea would throw up and I still find myself doing this today – except the most I’ve ever found is a pair of Taiwanese false teeth encrusted with rubies, which I kindly gave back to the sea.