I’m coming home…part 1 of 2

34 Bishopfield Close.  What’s in an address?  Type it in to Google maps on your phone and it will probably take you 500m down the road to a dead end(I find google maps on the phone terribly unreliable…).  Google street view on the other hand gives an image from 2009 of 3Ps Tuckshop, complete with it’s green wheely bin outside the front gate.  I think that wheely bin eventually got stolen.  It was replaced and the replacement was also stolen.  For a long time that’s what 34 Bishopfield Close was, 3Ps Tuckshop.  But not many people actually called it that.  It was more affectionately known as Aunty Lallie’s Tuckshop, after my mother who started up the business years before that carrying a basket to the primary school on the opposite hill.  When we were young we would be able to look out from the school playground and see 34 Bishopfield Close calling us back when the buzzer went.  Time before that almost seems unfathomable but trust me, there was a time before that.  For years it was a partially completed construction site, complete with a putt putt course that only had one hole but different tees.  And golf putters fashioned from metal pipes and tree branches that bent just so.  Farther back still, and before any construction started there was a set of very uneven stairs that seemingly went up a grassy bank in every angel except flat.  A grassy bank that was extremely fun to slide down using a cardboard box but one that would occasionally wash away if the rains were too heavy.

If you go back far enough you will discover that 34 Bishopfield Close was first and foremost the home to one Mr I Luckan, his wife Mrs Luckan and his 3 children, all named with the letter P that would later give the name to the Tuckshop.  My father bought his house in 1988, the year my sister was born.  Until then we had been living with my grandfather on what we referred to as the farm (I did mention this in a previous post).  I was already 6 and by the time we were ready to move in had already almost completed my first year of school.  Newlands West seemed so far to travel to, but in reality it can’t be more than half an hour from the farm.  And it was strange, no open spaces of rolling grassland, no veranda that if you looked out from on a clear day you could see the sea from, but mostly no cousins to run around with and cause chaos.  So I am sure I didn’t want to move at all.  And I was the last to move in.  My parents moved in November with their clothes and personal belongings and the furniture for their bedroom.  I had to wait until school closed for the year before I could fully move across as well.

Over the years the house grew with our little family.  For the first few years my brother and I shared a bedroom that was furnished with cupboards and beds my mom got from her brother.  My sister shared with the parents.  Eventually, during the phase when 34 Bishopfield Close was a construction site, an additional bedroom was built and I got my own room.  The lounge was also expanded and a double garage built.  The construction took the better part of the 90s.  I swear that’s no exaggeration.  I think it must have started in 1992 and was completed when I got to matric in 1999.  Because that was the year 3Ps tuckshop was opened.  And it stayed open until earlier this year.  It had a good run.  Bathrooms were redone, a little too late to avoid that morning congestion during school when we each had a scheduled wake up slot in half hour intervals.   Puppies came and went, fish tanks were added, remodeled, decommissioned and recommissioned… My mom has always wanted to also have the kitchen redone because it was too small to keep us all fed, but eventually never managed to get her wish.  Despite that she did manage to keep us all fed though, very well fed in fact.

I moved up to Johannesburg in October 2005 so I was officially the shortest lived resident of 34 Bishopfield Close.  My brother followed shortly after in January 2006.  And then in January 2011 the last hatchling left the nest and moved up to Johannesburg as well and later went on to live in Cape Town.  And that was the start of the period when the address became a destination, being punched into the GPS in the later years not for directions but to get a target arrival time to be beaten.  Whenever a long weekend presented the opportunity, or a family function gave us an excuse, we would jump on the N3 and make our way to Durban.  Where were we going?  Home of course.  11 years in the hiveld and more than 10 moves later but Durban has always remained home.  In fact, I’m sure we had a CD that we had Michael Buble’s Home that we would play when we’d set of from Joburg. And (as Dips would say) we were already smelling the sea once we hit Harrismith.  I have driven the route so often I could almost do all 570km of it in my sleep. Falling asleep at the wheel however would of course be extremely dangerous and I can honestly say has only happened twice.  Both on the way back to Joburg of course, because anyone who has done the trip often enough will tell you driving there is always exciting and keeps you awake but the journey back seems just that little bit longer…

I made what I think is the second last trip to 34 Bishopfield Close this weekend.  My parents have sold the house that has been our family home for almost all my life.  It took a lot of convincing to get them to do it, but in the end it was the right decision to make.  In fact it was a rare occasion as we all went home this weekend.  To pack up our childhood.  I had been surprisingly efficient in what I have accumulated and what I have gotten rid of over the years.  I therefore had very little to pack away.  My mom did find R490 of the money I earned bartending while I was still at university which was a bonus.  And when my brother looked in the ceiling he pulled out the baby walker my parents got for me because I was too lazy and that was passed down to my siblings.  To be fair though that was not me who kept that but the folks. I got a few of my childhood toys and a few of my dad’s old cameras.  My brother had a lot more to sort through but got to all of it in a couple days.  And my sister, well I think she was still sorting through her stuff when I left and might need another weekend to complete everything…

There’s one last trip down the N3 sometime next month.  One more journey home.  To pack up the rest of the folk’s stuff and move them up to Johannesburg.  That’s going to be a tough one.  Will maybe get some fishing done, catch the sun rise over the Indian ocean a few more times, squeeze in a trip to the Sappi birdhide perhaps.  I will definitely make time to get down to Durban after that.  They say you can take the boy out of Durban, but you can never take the Durban out of the boy.  If I ever get into a fight in the future the first thing I’ll say is “El ekse you know where I’m from?  Newlands bra, Newlands!” But after that trip in July I’ll never be going home to Durban, I’ll be going for holiday in Durban.  And when I’m done, I’ll head back up the N3 to the big city, to the hustle and the big smog of the place that I will have to start calling my new (although I have been here more than 10 years already) home…

2 thoughts on “I’m coming home…part 1 of 2

  1. Sbuda

    Big moment this baya…the hardest part with such a move are the memories you feel you leave behind….the house you grow up in almost has a piece of your soul, your being….all the best though with the parentals up here…I’ll be coming for lunch after GIBS sometimes


    1. Ya that house will always hold the fondest memories hey! That’s why it was so hard to convince the parents to sell, the sentimental attachment was too strong. The first offer they got met their asking price and then they were like lets ask for more! Hahaha.
      And for sure on that lunch hey. Going to help mom set up a small catering thing once she’s up here. You can be first reviewer as long as you recommend her to the other guys there with you at Gibs!


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