My ancestors were amazing. They were part of the 1820 Settlers that were placed by Britain, in the old colonial days, as buffer between the Xhosa tribes and the Boers in the Cape.
None of the new settlers were farmers in any way at all. The first few months they lived in army issue tents listening to the roar of lions in the night and by day they learned to avoid elephants and venomous snakes. For this alone they should have been awarded medals. Their ignorance of farming, and paucity of support, financial or educational, from Britain caused them to plant their crops upside down, too deep, too shallow, too thick, too thin, too exposed to the vicissitudes of African weather. They had no idea on animal slaughter, hunting, husbandry – or the tropical diseases that attacked their population at various times. And there was no recourse to hospitals, nurses or doctors – even when the Xhosa attacked.
One Christmas when great, great, great Grandmother had just prepared the most British feast of roast fowl, roast potatoes, vegetables, “plum” pudding and custard, the neighbour rode over to warn them that the Xhosa were about to flow down over them and they must get to the nearest fort pronto. Great, great, great grandfather loaded the wagon speedily and called for the family – but mother was missing. They found her in the kitchen packing all the cooking pots with the Christmas dinner she had so lovingly prepared. “They can have the house, they can have the farm – but they can’t have our Christmas dinner!” she is reported to have snapped.