The things we got up to when adults were not around feature in some of my memorable memories.
Our farm house was at the end of the Street, at No 1 Lawrence Street. It was on a slight incline up towards a hill, with good views all around in all directions. We had good views of any traffic coming up the street, especially anyone walking the distance.
Very few people walked the reasonably long distance up to our house and we gained the impression the majority of walkers might be a little suspicious. Most people drove cars or rode a horse past the residential estate that was located about a mile away.
There was one summer’s day that springs to mind. I was at home with either a girlfriend, or my sister and one of my brothers, and the parents were out for the morning. I think I was about 12 or 13 years old. We were standing on the front veranda when we spotted the walkers, potential visitors to our house. It may have been the summer holidays and we may have been a little bored, and looking to have some fun.
We hatched a hurried plan, we would dress up in our parent’s clothes and pretend to be the adults in the house. Just harmless fun and come what may.
The girls each found one of mum’s hats, a scarf, and a pair of reading glasses and put them on. We may have been ridiculous enough to wear mum’s shoes. My brother grabbed a hat and dads sun glasses and we all sat at the table and chairs garden setting and waited for our visitors to arrive.
Our house was set about 100 yards back from the front entrance. There was a lovely central garden set in the centre of a driveway that ran in a circle up to the house and back to the entrance. A circular Rose garden was in front of the house and to the right of the driveway, with an orchard on the left side. We sat near the Lemon tree in the central garden.
Sure enough, the visitors came walking up the driveway to the house. At first they spotted us and gave a little wave and walked on towards the house. They looked as if they were going to disregard their hosts as they walked on towards the house.
It was my older brother that stood up and called out, “Can we help you”. The visitors turned and came over to our table. “Yes” they said, “can we speak to the owners.” “We are the owners” my brother replied. “No, we are looking for your parents, the adults” they said.
It was my turn, “We are the adults, can we help you” I replied. They barely showed the slightest shock to my reply and started to say “we are Jehovah Witness” when I interrupted and said, “Oh really Jehovah Witness, what an unusual name, and what do you do “.
There were three Jehovah Witness visitors, and each of us three children then engaged each one as if each one’s name was Jehovah Witness. We let them talk and nodded our heads in unison, encouraging them to engage with us. We had a quickly rehearsed plan, to see if they would call our bluff, or if they would play along and pretend we were adults. We had guessed they were Jehovah Witness, but we were not prepared to listen to a sermon. We guessed they would be prepared to engage with children, but would test their resolve.
At one stage my brother got up, in his semi ridiculous outfit and invited them up to the house for afternoon tea. He said he would order the maid to arrange it. Would they prefer cakes or sandwiches. Us girls watched their facial expressions, would they call our bluff, or be surprised. We caught the glimpse of horror and furtive glances they shared with each other.
We invited them to have a seat at the table, while my brother went off to order AfternoonTea. I suggested I had just made a delicious Tea Cake together with Vanilla Slices only that morning. My sister said she had made a Goobly Gooch, with snails on the side and would her visitor like to try it. Her visitor asked, what is “Goobly Gooch” and her host went on to explain that it was a combination of insects and grubs found in the garden, and mashed together with some leaves and dirt, mixed with water and cornflour to bind it together, then baked for twenty minutes at 200 degrees.
It was about this time our visitors decided to decline the offer of Afternoon Tea, and suggested could they leave some brochures with us to read, that it was lovely meeting us, but they had just remembered they were to meet other members, and must go.
We called out to my brother to cancel the afternoon tea, that out visitors was leaving.
My brother, who had been hiding behind a tree, came out cracking a very large stockwhip. He was a crack shot with the whip, and cracked it quite close behind our visitors. Not surprisingly, our visitors hastened their steps, and broke into a run down the driveway. He cracked the whip behind them a couple more times as they headed to the front gate.
The girls stood up, in their ridiculous outfits, and called out to the visitors “goodbye, come back and visit us again soon”.
Needless to say our visitors did not reply, nor did they wave goodbye, as they retreated hurriedly back down the street.
We never did see those same visitors again, but we did play host to other unsuspecting visitors from time to time.