I was born to be a duchess: The wiring looked like a bird’s nest (and a pretty untidy bird at that)

pic: pexels

WHEN we moved Orapa, I put the home-made, no-longer-functioning amplifier in the linen cupboard. Then I unpacked the blankets and had to move the ‘thing’ to the hall cupboard.

Faced with a pile of masks and flippers, squash racquets and riding boots, I decided that the hall cupboard would have to house all the sports equipment, so the ‘thing’ went back to where it belonged – the spare room.

I don’t know what prompted us to move it to the workshop.

The amplifier boards were completely redesigned, the power supply bore no relationship to the original and there were twice as many sockets and what-nots on the back of it. The wiring looked like a bird’s nest (and a pretty untidy bird at that).

I had long since lost track of how it was supposed to work, but by the time Corrie had finished with it, it did work. It did, however, have one little quirk which accounted for why it was still in the workshop years later.

As soon as you tried to assemble it neatly, it clammed up. It wouldn’t emit a single squeak.

Of course, an engineer’s wife shouldn’t expect to have a working hi-fi in the lounge. But at least she can play Beethoven in the workshop!

Which was one of the reasons for my taking up woodwork at Orapa. I never got very good at it, but I did make a cabinet for the dart board and a couple of wobbly bookcases. And I enjoyed the music while I was doing it.

In a place where there was very little work available for non-citizen women, other than teachers, one has to take up something.

Photography is an expensive pastime, but the preparation of animated cartoons can make one reel of film last for weeks.

I had made friends with Judy quite early on, and we spent hours in her studio – she painting masterpieces and I fiddling with doodles – while our infants played in the sandpit.

Later we both took up pottery and covered everything, including our infants, with wet clay.


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Susan Cooke
Features Editor

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