Must tell you about my experience in Coolangatta – the convicts prison converted into a winery near Nowra. During my consulting days I used to stay overnight in this beautiful and picturesque place. They would put me up in the Plumbers’ cottage or the Farriers cottage etc. These are still standing from convict days. One night, I had just put the light out when I thought I saw a woman and a child standing in the bathroom door. It was so real that I got a start from it. Didn’t give it a further thought though. I went to sleep, only to wake up after a terrible dream. I dreamed about the same woman – she was screaming as her child fell from the swing outside. I saw the child lying dead on the ground outside. I sat up, trembling and ice cold. The window was wide open next to the bed and the inner curtains were moving. The hair on my head stood up!! I rushed out of bed and put the light on. Spent the rest of the night lying in bed with the light on. The next day I had to lead a HAZOP at the plant. I was totally exhausted after this experience. But there is a twist…. I told a fellow consultant about it – he regularly sleeps there. I said that I was not comfortable about staying there anymore. He said – Oh! you must have seen the ghost in the Plumbers cottage! I said feeling rather foolish – that I thought I had. He said I should speak to people at reception about it – apparently there had been a dreadful murder in the same cottage many years ago. A man killed his wife and child there. The sighting of this ghost was a common occurrence. I do have a vivid imagination though, and am gullible – but surely this cannot be just co-incidental?
I am planning a trip to Nababeep in October. Why go there or do that, and, what is it, is it a place or an activity? Sounds like a sort of ‘road runner’ with a hooter attached!
For those of you who have not had the privilege of studying African Geography, Nababeep is a place in the North West Cape Province of South Africa, where I spent part of my teenage years before being shunted off to boarding school in Cape Town by my parents, with the help of the O’okiep Copper Company. The company not so kindly were instrumental in sending off most of the town’s English speaking children to Cape Town, where it was believed we would be given an education in English, rather than in Afrikaans at the local high school.
Approximately 50 years has passed since I left Nababeep and when the opportunity came up to attend a niece’s wedding in Pretoria (now I believe Tswane?) my wife Dedrie and I thought it a good idea to travel up the west coast of South Africa and Namibia, partly for me to relive the Namaqualand experience again, the subject of a vast number of ‘remember when’ and ‘only in Nababeep…” tales which my longsuffering family have had to digest over the years.
I am in the planning stage of this trip and rather anxious about what awaits us as we embark on our journey into those arid parts again. I intend to provide those of you who can stomach tales of this nature and a recounting of stories of folly, bravado, tragedy and great joy.