Supplies were low and so it was time for a trip into our nearest town, Fort Victoria, some 150 miles away on dirt and strip roads.
The tar was in two strips that were just a bit wider than the average car tyre. On meeting on-coming traffic you pulled to the left so that only the driver’s side wheels remained on the tar, with the offside wheels on the dirt. As the cars passed each other you would frantically wind up the windows as a great deal of dust and stones was thrown up, often resulting in broken windscreens
A typical bush road with no tar, but plenty of dust and bone-shaking from the uneven surface.
We left Rip at the house with Albert and set off early in the morning while it was still cool, arriving at a friend’s house later that day where we were to stay for a couple of nights. It was good to be somewhere with running hot and cold water and electricity! The next morning we went into the small town and parked outside Meikles, a country-wide, fairly substantial store, stocking most essential foodstuffs and other items. We started off buying the groceries and I told Peter I wanted to go upstairs and see what else was there. He said he would wait downstairs.
I found the materials section and after browsing around at the samples I eventually chose something I quite liked. I gave the assistant the measurements of the material I needed to make curtains for our little house back at Chipinda Pools and she began to measure and cut, while I found rufflette tape and hooks. Peter, it seemed, had become tired of waiting and came up to find out where I was and what I was doing for so long. “I’m buying material so that I can make curtains.” Stunned silence, then: “Curtains! What do we want curtains for? We’re in the middle of the bush, there’s no-one to look into the windows!” Hmmm. What had I let myself in for, I wondered! I suppose I could have said I didn’t want any nosey elephants spying on us.
We collected the groceries and summed up what we had spent. Peter was horrified: the bill had come to more than twice what he usually paid out when a bachelor and, he complained, there wasn’t even any beer! He came to the conclusion that the old adage “two can live as cheaply as one” did not apply in our case.