My regular correspondent Allan Hannah left an interesting comment on a previous post and I have elected to create a whole new post with it because it could open up a whole new line of discussion. He wrote:
Whilst indulging myself by using the FAD “search facility” to try to find out what has been said, or unsaid, about the hinterland, west of Durban I came across a reference to “Merve the Swerve” aka as Mervyn Gray. Presumably AllanJ made the comment and I wonder whether this was the same Mervyn that was at DHS, had sandy coloured hair, freckles and wore glasses!
Inland of Durban, in the old days, one could spend half the day travelling up to the Pepperpots “tea room” near Hillcrest, have a delightful cuppa, and then spend the rest of an eventful day getting home to Durban!! Ah yes, the old main road between Durban and Pietermaritzburg has so many stories!
I notice that there have been references made to the “hinterland” and, presently, a lot of FAD news concerning Sparks Estate which has been an interesting read and a remarkable slice of history, to boot.
Further up the Western trail, beyond the notoriously slippery 45th Cutting intersection, and a wee bit further on are Sarnia, Bellair, Queensburgh and Pinetown, not to mention other spots like Montclair and Northdene!
After matriculating I looked forward to spending a year of doing nothing other than sunning myself on the beach at Umdloti and doing some serious surf fishing! Dream on!
My father informed me that, thru the good offices of my uncle, who was a big shot in the the Johannesburg office of a large bank, I was to be interviewed by the manager of the Verulam branch with the of view starting work as soon possible at the local branch. So, it’s off to work we go!! Not long after starting work I was asked if I would swap branches and work at the ABC branch in Durban.
ABC branch was “wall to wall” with characters and I soon settled in and made a couple of friends who were of the ”same status” in terms of “positions” and service in the institution! I soon discovered that working at an agency had benefits and accepted a post at Bellair Agency. The Tellers in charge of both Bellair and Queensburgh Agencies had the use of a VW Kombi and we left ABC Branch each day to travel out to the Agencies! The 2 Tellers, 2 Waste Clerks and 2 Assistants would mount up and set out each day, with one of the Tellers at the helm, so to speak!
Queensburgh Agency had Doc Sweidan as a neighbour, the doctor that was a legend in terms of practising Acupuncture and looking after the health of the local rugby players! I was rather nervous of the Doc in those days, probably because I had a unfair impression of needles being stuck into my head to cure a headache!
There was a large clothing manufacturer nearby who specialised in the production of shirts. I think they were called Escom Shirt & Clothing! I am sure that Gerald will recall them!
Morrisons was just down the street and this shop was probably the forerunner to the larger supermarkets of today! I seem to recall that there was a bakery in the shop as well and the smell of newly baked bread would waft up to the Agency and get the old taste buds going!
I don’t recall too much about Bellair Agency except that the office was very hot in summer and we made good use of a standing fan which sounded like a large aeroplane when we ran it at full revs. Sometimes, just for the hell of it, I would move the fan to face the teller’s box and a hurricane would suddenly erupt inside the box! All you could see was notes fluttering around with the teller trying to catch them in flight and, at the same time, yelling at me to move the “@#$” fan!
Maybe this note will tease some reaction from readers of FAD!