Thursday, 29 November 2012

Chapter 13 The brave “Dutchman”

Whilst building the Rutenga, Beit bridge rail link, we worked 12-hour shifts. After a day shift we would shower, get dressed and visit the local hotel, the Lion and Elephant, which was 60 miles from Rutenga.

As you had to get up early every morning to go on shift, drinking time was limited so you got in all you could in a short time.

Playing 7, 14,21 in the pub took too long so we changed it to 5, 10, 15. The person throwing the 5th Ace would nominate the drink, which ranged from Whisky, Rum, Contrau, Gin and whatever, the person throwing the 10th Ace would have to pay and the one who was lucky to throw the 15th would have to drink everything in one glass in one throw.

This way you got smashed (drunk) quite quickly.

Driving back to Rutenga one night we saw the reflection of some animal eyes in the light of the car and decided to chase it. Much fun was had by trying to catch these animals, which ranged from warthog to small buck. At one stage we saw some eyes on the other side of the fence and I stopped the car with the lights shining on the “buck”.

Jumping out with the only weapon we had in the car, a small axe, I ran to the fence, leaped over it and was walking towards the “buck”.

As I drew closer I noticed that the “buck” was not running away but crouching and looking me straight in the eye. Yes you guessed it, it was a lioness and she was watching me with a beady eye.

Till today I cannot recall how I got over the fence but my mates said I did it backwards.

“Dutch courage!

Ref. Rhodesia

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