The saddest thing about the Redwood Second-hand Shop was when goods were brought around after a death occurred. Especially when the passing was unexpected, through sudden illness, or violence.
In December 1995, Harry Cantle was murdered. As I understood it, Harry was helping his one son, Nigel, to pick up the evening’s takings from a bar near Nigel’s home, when Nigel was unable to do so. Harry lived in a caravan on Nigel’s plot on the Thamalakane River. He was followed home one night by two youths and slain in the yard, where he lay until the following morning; Nigel arriving later and assuming that Harry was fast asleep, went straight to bed. Daylight revealed the horrific truth.
One of the many items brought for sale in the shop was Harry’s piano accordion, a splendid instrument, a Scandalli 120 Bass, considered by some to be the Rolls Royce of accordions. Sheila had a Bandmaster 120 Bass, but fell in love with the Scandalli the moment she saw it. We bought the latter for her and sold the Bandmaster to help pay for it. So, twenty years later, she still has a tangible memory of Harry, but only wishes that she could play it as well as he could.
I had David Bodington, who had an engineering workshop, make some low trestles for shelves to display goods, especially clothing. Receiving a couple of suitcases of clothes to sell, I was about to throw out the twenty-odd pairs of underpants when my shop assistant stopped me, assuring me that they would sell. I was very dubious, but at P1-00 a piece, they were snapped up!
Kate Nicholls, a very beautiful British actress with a brood of young children, came to Maun to work for Women Against Rape. She duly arrived at the shop to furnish her cottage home, buying odds and ends like cupboards, a fridge and so on. It was the start of a friendship that lasts until today. Hers became a fairytale life of living in the Okavango Delta with her new boyfriend, lion researcher Pieter Kat, home-schooling her kids there and involved in the study of the decline in the immune systems of the big cats. More of our visit to her camp at a later date.