About Me

My photo
I am a full-time mama with a passion for writing and talking to fascinating people. I live in a one horse town with a Cowboy and my son. Thank Lord for cyberspace! I lived a colourful life in Sydney for a number of years. Working in advertising and journalism for FPC and the Sydney Morning Herald. During my time in Sydney I competed in a Dragon Boat race, choreographed a dragshow, used the Share Accomodation advertisements as a way to meet men and was told by Noiseworks frontrunner Jon Stevens that I was a bitch! Then came the decision to move back to country for 3 months to help out my Father with newspaper business while he was having treatment. Convinced I was a city girl I was caught by surprise when I fell in love with a farmer (and no, he didn't want a wife... still doesn't it seems!) convinced him that we needed to see the world, popped off to Vietnam to teach english in Saigon - before realising that the "food" in Nam didn't agree with me... turned out to be Monte - my son who is now with the Cowboy and I back in country NSW! I am in a wonderful stage of my life where I am focusing on the things that really make me tick. Including writing these chronicles.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Guest Blogger - Edwina : What freaked me out

I have started asking bloggers whose style / knowledge I like to guest post for the Chronicles.

Thought it might be a welcome break between stories of yellowing hair and humilating fashion moments.

This week I asked Edwina (pictured) from Maisie and More (who you met previously through her hilarious encounter with Jen-Jen) to tell me about the freakiest thing that has ever happened to her.

I have a line-up of other writers who I admire coming soon with their stories. Very exciting.

In between these I will share with you the major renovations going down at our house at the moment!!

But for now - here is what freaked out Edwina:

It’s the year 2000. I am 18 years old and returning home from a year away in the UK. On a whim, I decide to spend a month in South Africa with a friend I met when he was doing an exchange to my school in Hobart.

It is November when I fly in to Johannesburg and the dark undercurrent of crime and fear in the city is immediately noticeable.

On the way back from the airport, we take a wrong turn off the expressway and end up in a bad part of town.

Phil doesn’t bother to stop at traffic lights here.

We travel down the coast and it looks a lot like Australia, I think, with the gum trees and beaches.

But then I see the shanty towns and realise that’s where the similarities end.

We spend a week in a house in Durban with a bunch of other well-off, white 18-year olds. We have a maid, a black woman from a local shanty town who walks around behind us, picking up and caring for our discarded possessions.

On the fourth day she doesn’t come into work.

Her daughter had died of aids overnight. Her other daughter, the dead girl’s sister, turns up instead to clean up our empty beer bottles and wash our clothes for us.

The guilt is almost overwhelming for me but the others seem not to notice.

We continue our drive down the coast and end up on the border of Lesotho. We drive over it and the crossing guard offers Phil money for me.

I’m not sure whether it’s tongue in cheek or not. I hope Phil’s response of “$200 please” is.

That night we sleep at his family’s farm near the border. There has been lots of murders of Boer farmers here lately by people coming across the border from Lesotho in the dead of night. They come by the truck-load, turn up on the farms and steal what they can.

They kill the white families that live there and disappear back into the night.

That night, at about midnight as I am about to drift off to sleep, I hear the sound of tyres softly crunching the gravel driveway.

The vehicle is moving very slowly and quietly up towards the house and I have to strain to hear it at first. But it’s definitely there and it’s definitely getting closer.

I creep down the hallway to Phil’s room and wake him.

“There’s a car coming up the driveway.”

He crawls out of bed and to the window and looks out.

“Come with me,” he says and we leave the bedroom for the kitchen.

At that moment, the vehicle winds round into view of the kitchen.

It pauses briefly and we both tense.

Then, it drives past the house and continues down the driveway to the servants’ quarters.

“It’s the workers,” Phil says, sounding relieved. “They’re coming home late from the Speakeasy.”

That night, I sleep terribly, my dreams interrupted with thoughts of truck-loads of men with shotguns coming to kill me where I sleep.

In the two week duration between that night at the farm and flying home, we see more signs of a country in trouble than I’ve seen in the rest of my life elsewhere.

We accidentally interrupt two burglars as they strip our car of possessions. They leap from the vehicle at us, and we back away quickly. They get away with a few mix tapes, a bit of loose change and an inflatable telly tubby we got free at a bar.

We drive past an overcrowded minivan that’s come off the road, something Phil says kills thousands of South Africans every year.

We end up in a shopping centre full of men with assault rifles, but that’s a whole other story.

When I get back to Australia, I’m newly thankful for how lucky I am to live here.

Thanks Edwina very much for sharing your story.

That would have freaked me out big-time too.

If you would like to be a guest blogger on the chronicles - give me your pitch and I'll give you an assignment.


  1. Sorry about the mega spacing at start of story - when I copy and paste odd things happen at times and I can't fix it.

  2. Wow.. truly awesome story. Like you I am glad to live where I live. Very fascinating ....

  3. I was an exchange student to South Africa in 1984 - back then things were very different but no less tragic. Its a beautiful country with beautiful people - just a stuffed system. Thanks Edwina for sharing your story.

  4. My goodness! I wouldn't have been the same since! What a great story!

  5. Thanks for the opportunity Sharni!

  6. What a mess of a country. We are so lucky to live in Australia. I have to say South Africa is not on my wishlist of places to visit before I die! But then again Edwina, if you hadn't visited you would not appreciate your life as much.


Lovin' your thoughts leave them here or email me direct.
Oh and Hi!