A process which began with a casual decision in about October
last year to produce a book of facts and figures on the City
of Durban came to an end today when I copied the files off
of my computer onto a CD-ROM disc and handed it over to the
printers. Perhaps it's just as well that I didn't know before
I started how much work would be required or that the project
would take over my life to the extent that I had trouble thinking
about anything else.
For a while there it looked as if I'd never get finished but
I eventually had to take the decision to close the first edition
despite the fact that there were a number of facts I hadn't
been able to check and a number of others which were still
begging for inclusion. Click for a list
of the sources I used.
At the printer to view the page proofs. What a great experience
to see one's creation in all its glory, albeit still without
its cover. All was not joy, however, when I noticed that I'd
left out two pictures. Difficult to see where I would have
put them if I had remembered. Thanks to the magic of the Internet,
however, I have included them below.
Seidle Gibson - see the entry for 1939 in the
book. The pic is of her statue on T-Jetty.
Pessoa - see the entry for 1896 in the
book. The pic is of his bust on the corner of Pine
and Gardiner Streets.
The excitement begins to reach a crecendo. Facts is due for
collection from the printer tomorrow at midday and after that
I've got an appointment with a real bookseller. Incredible!!
up some of my details here
in case you should ever wonder who is behind Facts.
The book is here at last. It's been beautifully printed by
my printer Print 24 from my admittedly excellent computer
files. I literally haven't stopped since it arrived and have
been hitting the marketing trail with a vengeance. It has
already been bought by Adams
Bookshop whose owner, Peter Adams, was very complimentary.
He also very kindly forgave me for not mentioning in it that
Adams, itself, was established in 1865 and is thus Durban's
oldest business still owned by its founding family. I
hope to be getting more details soon and some pictures.
of the people who helped me most during the research
for the book was Sonia Coleman and, when I delivered
her copy of Facts, she had found another interesting
picture in her files.
haven't been able to date it with any certainty but
it must be from the time when large ships could not
enter Durban bay (pre 1904) and passengers were swung
to and from their ships in a large wicker basket.
pic was obviously taken on board a ship as the passengers
prepared to make their terrifying trip to the shore.
And no, we weren't able to read the ship's name on the
on image to view
Courtesy: S. Coleman
What a hectic week!! I've been rushing round to all the places
I can think of to try and get them to stock Facts. I've had
a pretty good response, all things considered, and only one
flat-out refusal to take any copies. One large chain said
that they'd consider stocking the book in their Durban stores
if I was prepared to pay them R10000 to register as a supplier.
Lord only knows how many copies I'd have to sell to pay that
off, especially seeing as they'd also be wanting a big slice
of the cover price as well!!
on image to view
very good item of news this morning was that I found
that Jon Penn, the very worthy Mercury Idler gave Facts
a very nice mention in his column today. Thanks a lot
found another couple of pics which I'm going to post
here in the next few days. The other item of possible
interest today is that I spotted a herd of elephants
wandering about near Durban Drive-In.
PERFECTLY TRUE FOLKS !!!
I'll prove it if you watch this space...
I've got a bit of a mystery here for you to solve. It's a
picture of a military formation (looks like they could be
Guards of one sort or another) marching down Victoria Embankment
and passing the Criterion Theatre which was on the corner
of Victoria Embankment and Field Street closest to the Berea.
The date and the occasion are unknown and I'd love to hear
from you if you know anything about it. Click on the picture
below for a larger version (1024x768 pixels - 114Kb) in size
to take a closer look; you can use it as your desktop wallpaper
if you like. Click here for
a close-up of the uniform worn by the soldiers.
Courtesy S. Coleman
8 September 2003: My
informant Doreen Monckton has told me that the soldiers
are Grenadier Guards who, she recalled, visited the Durban
in 1927 or 1928. Added 25 January 2005: See
here for another pic of the Grenadier Guards in Durban
American and European tourists have all their preconceptions
about Africa confirmed when they spot Elephants in downtown
Durban !!! The screen of the Durban Drive In movie theatre
is clearly to be seen in the background.
on image to view
larger version. <62Kb>
kidding nice tourist people.
:-) The elephants are
part of Brian Boswell's Circus which has been visiting the
city for umpteen years. Still, elephants grazing within twenty
or thirty yards of a busy intersection is not something you'd
see all that often in Europe.
A very pleasing development today. I received a nice order
for Facts which nearly cleaned out my stock so I had to order
a second print run. The nice printer says they should be ready
on Friday, I'll take that as a 'might' and see what happens...
the picture, below, of Howard College at the University of
Natal through the fence at the top of Howard Road, Click on
the image to download a wallpaper-sized version of the image
(1024x768 pixels - 144Kb).
I'm on the track of more facts about one of the many ships
which have come ashore over the years on Durban's beaches.
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