Here’s a Mother’s Day tribute to my lovely mother, Gail Nettelton who was born in Pretoria, South Africa, in 1934, and who lived 10 exciting years in Lesotho – in Mokhotlong and Maseru, during which time I was born – before emigrating to Australia and living on Lord Howe Island after which she and dad made Adelaide their home.
Her love of adventure
Mum passed on her love of adventure to me. She ’emigrated’ to Canada when she was 21 (because it was cheaper to emigrate) and travelled and worked there for a year while the friends who originally were going to accompany her dropped out to get married.
She then travelled to the UK in the mid-50s and lived in the heart of London, working as a secretary in between trips through Europe in an old car having answered a newspaper ad posted by three Irish girls who were looking for a fourth to share costs.
After she returned to South Africa, aged 25, she worked in the British High Commission where she met dad whom she married a year later. Reluctantly she sold her Austin Healy Sprite sportscar she’d bought when she returned from the UK but had plenty of compensations living at 10,000 ft in mountainous Mokhotlong, also known as the British Empire’s remotest outpost.
She loved entertaining and did a lot of it, despite the fact the community consisted of about 5 people, but there were lots of visitors after the Pack Horse Inn burned down.
Mum used to joke that in Africa she had no children and three servants and in Australia she had three children and no servants.
Mum passed on her lack of house-cleaning abilities to me. My first boyfriend taught me how to fold laundry and where to scrub for dirt in a kitchen but my mother taught me how to look at life as one enormous adventure. She died 23 years ago, much too young, but having packed it with riches and filled it with love.
Here are some pictures of her.