57 – The riding crop and other parties

Turning left from our house would take you to the Golf Club and right to the Country Club. Very much like the rest of East Africa, my parent’s social life was centred around the Country Club.

The great and the good (well, not necessary the good) of Kampala’s society were members including the Kabaka’s brother, Prince George (he was one of the good).

Father Christmas (Dad) - kongwa2london.comThe club employed Father Christmas to distribute presents, he rode on a red fire engine and just happened to stop at our house to give me a gift. Under that nylon beard he looked very much like my dad.

The social calendar included a state visit from Princes Margaret, she was the guest of honour at a garden party. For a change, everyone was on his or her best behaviour.

My parents entertained at home, they hosted lunches, dinner parties, buffets and cocktails. The servants always look very smart in their dishdasha (like a shirt, but it goes right down to the ground), tied with a colourful sash and they also wore a red fez.

Jeremy (L) and myself (R) - kongwa2london.comOn one occasion, my friend Jeremy and I volunteered to help. We went to and fro from the bar delivering drinks to the guests, but not before taking a sip from each glass. It wasn’t long before we had collapsed onto the floor giggling and then were carried off to bed.

The riding crop

Back in Kenya, we had Marco, our horse and sadly couldn’t bring him with us. We kept the saddle, stirrups, bridle, halter, reins, harness, bits and the riding crop.

Apart from paintings, we had a spear, a sword, a shield, and a bow and arrow nailed to the walls around the house. In my parent’s bedroom and in pride of place, along with a photograph of Marco, was the riding crop.

At the house parties, the ladies would use the bedroom to freshen-up. One such lady looked at the riding crop, turned to my mother and with a touch of empathy said “you too”.

Her sympathy confused my mum and the full meaning of “you too” didn’t hit her (sorry) until she had left. It was too late to explain that she was not the victim of a sadistic fetish.

Read the next chapter “Rallying Moss, struggling MG and melting Eskimo”.

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