Welcome to The Cape Record blog!

Chris and I have been living in Westville, a suburb of Durban in KwaZulu-Natal since 1997. We moved into an old Westville home with loads of space for our daughters, Kate and Emily, to enjoy. We own a Bed and Breakfast called Our Little Family – the name belies the fact that our family is a large extended family with lots of animals.

Our home is filled with old world furniture and interesting artifacts from our game farming days. That is another reason we choose our house – the rooms are large enough to accommodate large items of furniture.

Bertie’s handwritten diary.

Prior to moving to Westville we lived on a farm called Magadalena, after the wife of the first settler, in the Ngotze District. The Hlengeni River flowed through the farm and then down into the Hlomo Hlomo Valley where it joined the the Hluhluwe River. It was paradise – but not so when the original voortrekker settles arrived there during the 19th century. The husband and Magadalena and their 5 children all died of malaria on the property and are buried next to the river. We’ve often wondered in what order they succumbed. We subsequently named our game ranching operation Zulu Bush Safaris and we lived there from the mid-1980s where we had 16 species of antelope, rhino, cheetah, leopard and giraffe. They were wonderful days filled with adventure and many camp fire stories that we reminisce about.

I have started this blog because Chris inherited a diary from his (Great) Aunt Gwen (much more about her later) and over the years we approached many different people who we thought may be interested in publishing the stories but after all these years nothing has come of it.  I decided to type the diary word for word as Bertie Browning had written it and even with that being done we still haven’t had any luck. I really believe it’s a wonderful account of two men on an adventure in what can only be termed a ‘modern’ Wolesley 18/85 car modified to set up the London to Cape Town record. As I have typed Bertie’s story I can honestly say I have fallen in love him!

The index of chapters.

At this point I must mention I know NOTHING about cars – so from the mechanical side I have no knowledge.  I did in fact meet Chris on a motor mechanics course when I purchased my VW Beetle in 1984 when I worked at the then Durban Dolphinarium, but I still have no idea how cars work.

As with any blog I’m sure there will be people who know something or have information that can add to this story.  Please feel free to comment or drop us an email at cwilkin@iafrica.com .

I have transcribed Bertie’s diary word-for-word. Sometimes his writing was a bit difficult to read!