Fire destroys family home

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‘The fire that levelled the homestead at the Zesfontein fruit farm raged throughout the night.  A large rambling structure built in wood, high off the ground with verandas back and front, it went up like a timber box.  Hundreds of chickens and most of the pigs perished in the fire, which also swallowed up most of the peach, apricot and apple orchards to the west of the farm.’


 In chapter 10, the Hudson farm is burnt to the ground and most of the family is made homeless. How did such a terrible fire start? The servants flee in terror and Ann and the children watch in horror as the family home goes up in flames.  Vernon is away on business in the Cape and does not know what has happened to his family.  As head of the family, though, he must now decide what has to be done.


 When he returns to Zesfontein in chapter 11, Vernon finds that most of the family has left to find shelter and work in Benoni.  He is not happy:


“What d’ya mean, ‘They’ve gone’?  Where’ve they gone?  Talk about rats leaving a sinking ship!” … Vernon pushed back his chair from the kitchen table and leapt to his feet.  “Jeez, Ann, what were they thinking, leaving you and the children here alone?”


 Meanwhile, George and Molly are out exploring the scorched landscape with their cousins, Andries and Catherine.  However, as the sun rises, Molly complains of stomach pains and is unable to remount her pony.  The cousins are sent ahead to break the news to her parents whilst George takes care of his sister out in the bush.  By the time Vernon reaches her, she is feverish and unable to walk.  The doctor says she must be taken immediately to hospital in Johannesburg.  Knowing that an ambulance could take hours to reach them, Vernon decides he must drive her there himself.  Will Molly survive?  Aged just nine, she is about to face another life-threatening crisis in her young life…


Photo caption:  Molly with her Ayah in Benoni







Latest comments

19.03 | 18:49

Lookin' forward to that, Gillie.

19.03 | 12:22

It's all but written! However, I might wait until we have been back to Kenya (probably in January next year) before publishing.

19.03 | 12:20

Thanks Mike. I'm going to send you a file on all the stuff we found out about Hougham Park, our ancestor's house in Coega Bay, Port Elizabeth.t

19.03 | 11:34

I loved this book. It brought home the real atmosphere of Africa and the story was really interesting.
When is the sequel coming out?