Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Voorslag days

That's why I ended up last night, in the dripping dark of Pennington: I was looking for Umndoni Park at Sezela, where the controversial 1920s SA poet, Roy Campbell and as equally controversial (for different reasons to Campbell though) author William Plomer (of Turbott Wolfe fame), and Laurens van der Post, collaborated on jointly producing their short-lived magazine 'Voorslag'.
The Campbell's lived in a bungalow - separated from a sandy beach only by a railway track - lent to them, I think, by the then well-known SA painter Edward Roworth.
"The house," wrote Plomer, had a verandah on three sides, and was built on a seaward slope overlooking the Indian Ocean. There was little or no garden: the house stood in a clearing in the bush, a step led down in front to the railway line and a path of deep, dry, white sand through the bush to the beach, only a few yards away. It was just an ordinary Natal house of the late nineteenth or early twentieth century, with a corrugated iron roof and boarded interior walls covered with shiny khaki varnish. At a short distance from the house was a rondavel, a round, one-roomed dwelling, which as adapted as a guest-room for me."

Since Easter I've been researching an article I'm writing about these three, and especially focusing on their South Coast.

I could have cut and pasted Plomer's words into this blog post, but I got a thrill from retyping his words - I'm a big fan of the man - and it's a brilliant way to get under his writing skin.

I got caught at a country restaurant, and pub, probably the only one in Pennington, last night so I never ventured further. But I did get a feel for the place; I did get some writing done, and I enjoyed the first rain here in exactly a week of brilliant and sunshine-filled days.

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