Musings of a retired postmaster

2008-11-14 00:00

WHAT is your connection with The Witness and to Pietermaritzburg?

I used to be a postmaster and retired to Pietermaritzburg in 1988. I have always had The Witness forwarded to me at the various offices in which I work-ed as a matter of course.

Where were you born, where did you grow up and where were you educated?

I was born in Durban and grew up there. My early years were spent on the Bluff where my father was works manager at the Shell petroleum site. In those days the Bluff was largely bush infested with snakes but, at low tide I could wade across to Salisbury Island to watch the flamingos and play in the mangrove swamps.

How do you spend your days?

I am addicted to The Witness crossword puzzle. I manage a group of Mahjong enthusiasts (a game which I have played all my life). I play correspondence and e-mail chess, listen to classical music, watch good films and read constantly.

Do you write letters to other newspapers? Why do you choose The Witness?

In the past 30 years I have only written to The Witness and have not read any other newspaper on a regular basis.

How do you receive your news about South African current affairs and why do you follow it?

I receive news by way of The Witness and television and follow them because “no man is an island”.

Do you have any other passions or interests?

I have a deep interest in astronomy and a love of good poetry (not the modern chopped up meaningless prose which [nowadays] passes for verse).

What do you think is the value of letter writing? What inspires you to write letters?

Like keeping a diary (which I have done daily since 1944) it is probably a form of personal egotism. However, I do like to comment with humour on things which I find ridiculous. Tragedy is too hurtful to comment on.

What do you think are the biggest challenges facing South Africa today?

To recover a maturity which we have lost and “walk with clearer eyes and ears this path that wandereth”.

What is your age and marital status? Do you have children? What is your occupation?

I am a married 81 year old and have a son and a daughter of whom I am quietly proud. My occupation has been described as a collector of uncorrelated information.

What do you believe has been your best letter?

I have no idea.

Do you get any feedback as a result of your letters?

I get phone calls and laughter and occasionally a letter.

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