Stories and Traveltips

ID #4949

Uncle Willie’s Wet Feet, Southwell, Sunshine Coast, Eastern Cape.

Lombard’s Post is a restored 1820-settler farmhouse near Southwell in the Eastern Cape.  It is owned by Peter Keeton, a descendant of one of the original settlers. Saunders Keeton, Peter’s father, was a kind soul who cared for us when we were in trouble for one reason or another, providing a safe haven until the dust settled.

Saunders had an uncle, Willie Keeton, who was old when I met him. Legend has it that he contracted malaria as a young man fighting the Germans during WWI in what was then South West Africa. He had, as a result, developed palsy that caused his jaw to wobble uncontrollably, making whatever he said unintelligible. Characteristically, Saunders cared for him for the rest of his life. Uncle Willie used to while away the day sitting in the sun outside the barn. Eventually he died and was buried in the graveyard in the grounds of Southwell Church.

Basille Glanville and I met on the first day we went to school in 1954.   We were both in Miss Larsen’s sub-A class at Queen Alexandra Secondary School (now Port Alfred High School) in Port Alfred (Portalfred). We became and have remained friends ever since. However, we parted ways and he went farming in the Southwell district. Related to the Keetons, he started farming on Grasslands, next to Lombard’s Post.

Basille took it upon himself to rehabilitate the Southwell church and school that had fallen into disrepair. He mowed the cricket field, repaired the roof of the church, cleaned up the graves and laid out an irrigation system. He did a magnificent job and it was looking beautiful. So he was taken aback to discover that the congregation were fed up with him. It took him a while to discover the reason.

In laying out the irrigation system, he had installed a tap which had developed a persistent leak.  Furthermore, the tap was close to Uncle Willie’s grave – so close it leaked onto his feet. Merle Keeton was fed up because Uncle Willie’s feet were wet. Basille moved the offending tap and Southwell returned to its characteristic peacefulness.

Southwell is west of Bathurst, which is on the R67 south of Grahamstown, which is on the N2 west of East London, which is at the intersection of the N2 with the N6. Alan McIver AVUncle

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Last update: 2014-03-28 08:11
Author: Alan McIver
Revision: 1.1

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