On the strength of being brought up on a farm, managing one for a year, and my AI Certificate, and possibly a recommendation from Ashley Wentworth who had been on the AI course with me at Onderstepoort and who worked for Meadow Feeds, the latter company took me of strength as a sales representative. I had three weeks training with their head rep, an Englishman named David Ginn, then I took up my post as Northern Transvaal rep, with an area stretching from north of Pretoria right up to the Rhodesian and Botswana borders.
I found and rented an empty farmhouse ten kilometres south of Pietersburg. Sheila and I moved in with my two dogs, Shakwe, from the Zambezi, and an Alsatian type called Witchy, and Sheila’s two Siamese cats. Soon we were collecting orphans animals from farms that I visited to sell feed. My company car was a new Peugeot 404 sedan. I brought a Friesian bull-calf home in the boot, and soon three piglets followed. We had to put poor William down as he was so brain-damaged that he only walked backward, but Emma and Ferreira (who had bandy legs) were with us for years and produced many fine litters.
The Herd came to a tragic end when the septic tank top collapsed in a heavy rain-storm and he drowned in it.
Sheila got work as an architectural draughtsman (person?) for Liebrecht Fick – Architects, in Pietersburg. It was a very Afrikaans town, and Sheila’s command of the language was not terrific, but she found the inhabitants to be friendly and hospitable, despite her initial misgivings! As an accomplished artist, she persuaded me to accompany her when she joined the local art society. We put several works on a group exhibition. She sold three paintings; more than anyone else sold. I sold none, which says something about my art prowess.
A farmer lusted after my old Land Rover, so I swapped him for two milk cows! But soon after that, two things happened that sent my life in another direction. For family reasons, Sheila had to return to the Eastern Cape from whence she came, and I got fired.
I loved the farm visits; exploring the bushveld country, meeting farmers, helping advise them on feed and learning a lot from them in turn. However, there were competitor feed companies closer to them than that of my company in Randburg, affecting the transport cost just enough to make their products cheaper, despite ours being of extremely good quality. My orders were insufficient to warrant my post, so after six months, they “let me go”, and did not appoint a replacement.
My experience with Meadow Feeds gave a certain amount of credibility to the character, John Stafford, in my crime story, PURGATORY ROAD, published in 2008, and available on Amazon.com both in soft-cover and as an eBook.