I had a ?kroeg? in Africa Print E-mail
News - Rubrieke
Wednesday, 18 August 2010 02:55
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Karin Saffy

Most of you will know it as Ed’s Place or some of you that have been in the area for a while as the-bar-with-many-names.

Ja, it started off as Pheasants Nest Restaurant and the Zonked Guinea Fowl bar in 1994. This got struck by lightning at the end of 1999 and as insurance payout was not enough, we built the new smaller version.

This has been known over the years as: Road Runners Pub and Grill, Bull ’n Bush Pub and Grill, Cool Cats, Ed’s Place, The Playground, and now Bull & Bush, again.

My late husband Eddie and I, in a moment of madness, decided it would be a wonderful idea to build a restaurant pub on our plot. You know the feeling . . . dreaming of serving people wonderful meals and standing as the patron behind the bar telling grand stories whilst enjoying a gentle drink. Well the reality is certainly a bit different.

To say that it has been an interesting ride would be putting it mildly. I will never forget opening night at Pheasants Nest restaurant. As my husband was a real maplotter he thought it wise to employ our local garden boys as top notch waiters. We dressed them up very fancily in white shirts and bow ties and they really looked spectacular. The only problem was that they had no idea what was going on.

We also under-estimated the interest that would be shown during opening night and by 7 pm we were fully booked. Our fancy looking waiters were frantically scurrying about trying to make sense of what the clients were saying. One client actually had the audacity to ask what would be served with the meal, meaning chips, potatoes or veg and our waiter, smiling most kindly, told him, no the meal comes with heeltemal niks nie!

Meanwhile in the kitchen we had our temperamental Italian chef, Adrian, and my husband trying to make sense of the strange orders coming in. As there were so many orders they decided to hang these up over the char grillers so they could read them very quickly. Next minute, whilst checking on the deep fat fryers for chips, they smelled something burning and ja, you guessed it – the whole spulletjie (all the orders) went up in flames.

So now, picture and hear this in your mind – gentle background piano music playing, a lot of customers in the restaurant getting quite dronk because no food was forthcoming and then from the kitchen a terrible shouting and swearing episode from Adrian and Eddie. I do believe some people actually did get fed that night, but how I will never know. Most customers tell me they actually had a ball.

As we still had another business to run (insurance loss adjusting), we soon realised that there was no way we could do both and hence employed a variety of very interesting managers.

First up was Pietie en Hasie. They were actually very good, except that Ou Pietie had a taste for the drank and hence proceeded to polish of a case of beer a day. They were promptly followed by Jimbo and Hettie. Now Jimbo was an Irish gentleman who had fallen onto a bit of bad times and boy, could he moan. Old Hettie also had a bit of the taste and was often seen staggering about.

Then we had Abram – he came and lived in a caravan next to the restaurant and boy, oh boy, did he come across as slim. He organised us a beer festival – 10 very expensive bands, sound systems, tents, toilets, stages, 20 waiters. It all looked and sounded very impressive. Ou Abram unfortunately just forgot one thing – to advertise! I say no more except that it was a very expensive lesson.

Abram then disappeared overnight leaving behind the caravan. Silly us, thinking well maybe we can sell this and recoup some of our losses, were in for a big shock. A few days later the cops arrived saying this had been stolen so of it went.

We obviously still had not learnt our lesson because next to be employed was Nefie. My husband really had a tendency to try to help people in need and Nefie fitted this to the T. He told us he had worked in many a bar and seemed to be quite good with the customers – sorry I forget to mention he was another karavaan outjie.

We suddenly noticed that every night two plates of food would be sent to the caravan. Also, our books never balanced. Something triggered in Eddie’s mind and he decided to go to the police to check Ou Nefie out. Lo and behold, he had a warrant out for his arrest.

I am there unsuspectingly doing stock with Ou Nefie when Eddie phones to tell me that he and the police are on their way to arrest him. It was a frightening half hour, I can tell you. We also then found out later that Ou Nefie had a love for young coloured boys who he would entertain at night in the caravan.

There are too many of these to mention all here, except maybe when John Knox took over the place and called it Bull ’n Bush. He carried on fine for a while until one night he really upset some drinking customers and after he had locked up the place and gone home, they came back and put fire lighters all around the thatched roof and set this alight.

I can only say thank goodness there was no wind that night and there were so many people who came to help that we managed to save the place.

Ja, that is our locals for you. Always lending a helping hand and standing by you in a time of need. When my husband passed away in 2005 I was absolutely devastated and if it wasn’t for some very good friends in the area I do not think I would have survived. You guys know who you are and I would like to say a big thank you.

We have also had some very interesting customers. One that really stands out in my mind is the houtbeen outjie from Pheasants Nest days. He also liked to dop seriously and was a regular customer for a month or so. One night he ran out of cash and as we had threatened our bar man with death if he gave anybody credit, he refused.

Die arme outjie must have been really dors and kept on nagging and carrying on until he suddenly came up with the brilliant idea that he would leave his houtbeen behind as collateral. Bar man thinking, well certainly he will come back for this, proceeded to give him about a R700 account. Unbeknown to us he had a spare leg and disappeared for about a year when he suddenly phoned me out of the blue, demanding the leg.

We must also have the only bar in the world where, when you do your cash-up in the morning, you count ten rand, twenty rand, een koper lepel, twee koper lepels. Very strange but true – Ou Kaalvoet klonkie, Francois, decided it is a good idea to pay with these.

Thanks, Francois; I love my spoons. There are so many wonderful memories of the place and so many amazing people I have met, but after my attack in November last year I decided to go away for a while and hence have rented the restaurant out again.

Thank you so much to all the locals for the support over the years and living and learning with us. (Certain names have been changed to protect individuals.)


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