Head On

Adie de Koning

Adie de Koning

My Land Rover was having the brakes repaired and as it was due to be ready on the afternoon of 1st September 1992, Adie de Koning offered to take Sheila’s Landy, that I had been using, home for her after work. Gavin Allwright fetched him from our place in a company Landcruiser. As they were nearing the Basil Read Construction office, another Cruiser, oncoming, swerved into their path.

We heard the bang all over town.

Adie came on the radio to say that Gavin had been rushed to Maun Hospital (with a severe compression fracture to his skull, we were to learn, later). All the Basil Read personnel set about trying to find the resident MRI emergency rescue nurse, Alison Brown, get the police and search for Adie’s dogs which had been aboard and had disappeared into the night. The radios came in handy. Keith Spackman, the consulting engineer’s R.E. and by now a good friend, brought Adie back to our home to spend the night, then set off to look for lamps to light the runway for the MRI plane from Johannesburg to land as there were no landing lights at the time.

With Adie settled in, Sheila and I set off to look for the dogs with Peter Wooller, another Basil Read foreman, but only found the puppy. Back at the airport, we watched the MRI Lear Jet come in just before 01h00, our assorted vehicle headlamps lined up to guide it in. By the time we left at 02h00, Gavin had still not been transferred.

Apparently Gavin nearly lost it, but the MRI doctor and team managed to get a breathing tube into him and get him stabilized. They eventually left at 04h00. The flight-path lighters only got to bed at 04h30.

With so many people sleeping in, the office was quiet, so I took my survey team to search for Adie’s missing dog, Oscar, which we found. Adie was overjoyed to see that he was okay, after his ordeal, when Sheila brought him to the offices with her.

All of us were anxious to hear news of Gavin. By that afternoon he had had a CAT scan to confirm his fractured skull and crushed sinus cavities, but the neuro-surgeon was optimistic about his recovery as Gavin was young and strong, although still in ICU.Gavin Crash OkObs

Besides being very busy at work, surveying and running the monthly claim/payment certificate, there were other noteworthy happenings.

Allison Noone, Andy Dry‘s fiancé, and Sheila met me at the Price-Waterhouse offices to sign the forms that would make us directors of the company Redwood Holdings. Being directors of a Botswana company would aid both of them in their quest for residence permits. We held the first “Director’s Meeting.” Ha ha! I had decided to get the shelf company to start a possible business that might be able to sustain us should I, at some stage, leave Basil Read Construction, as we had no intentions of leaving Botswana, even when the company’s construction contracts ended.

We were phoning lawyers constantly to try and get hold of the money owed to Sheila for the sale of her cows in South Africa.

And I got the disturbing news that my father had been diagnosed with bladder cancer. It was, however, thankfully, not immediately terminal. He had an operation to remove some malignant polyps from his bladder, and although sore and uncomfortable, he pronounced that he was okay.

Gavin, in the meanwhile, had a plate put into his skull, and reconstructive surgery done to his sinuses.

About peterjearle

Writer of thriller novels. 6 Published: 'Purgatory Road', 'The Barros Pawns', and the Detective Dice Modise Series:'Hunter's Venom - #1' 'Medicinal Purposes Only - #2', and 'Children Apart - #3; and 'Tribes of Hillbrow'; all from Southern Africa.
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